{fray} work - retirement

In a dimly lit, sparsely furnished room I stood, staring down at a forty-something, slightly chubby, naked man. He'd found me through a magazine ad and was now lying spread eagle, tied to a table.

Teetering in four inch heels, I circled around the table commanding him to sing Christmas carols – dousing him in hot candle wax whenever he misspoke the lyrics. He was Jewish, which made the task all the more difficult for him.

By the time his session with me was over, his thighs had welts from my thin riding crop, his nipples were swollen and painful to the touch. He continued to sing and whistle cheerfully with a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin on his face as he dressed.

Like most of my clients, he was from out of town and married. He liked my style (sadistic yet coquettish) and my figure (padded bra with a rubber miniskirt). He was a dentist from Boston – at peace, if only for the moment, now that he had found a space in which he could totally let go (of his fantasies, of control, of responsibility).


I retired a few years ago from my career. I was a dominatrix. I wasn't top of the line, but I was good. I worked in a bondage/dominance "house" with other women. I got paid by the hour, but had to give 60-75% to the house.

I got to sleep late, wear outrageous clothes, meet very interesting people from around the world, act sexy all the time, be outrageous, and sometimes I made a really good chunk of money. Other times I had to scramble to put food on the table. Now that's all gone.

I left the business when the people screening my clients stopped doing their jobs and I ended up in some dangerous situations. I quit when I couldn't stand lying to my family about what my job was anymore. I quit because I got burned out. I quit because I wanted a different life.

I've become a writer since retiring. I've moved out of the urban jungle and into the suburbs. I live in a big house with a yard, and don't have to drag my clothes to the laundromat every week. I'm not paying rent to a corrupt landlord, and I always have a parking spot. I'm very happy with this life. Even if I do still despise mini vans and shopping malls, they don't define me – I still have my tattoos, my motorcycle helmet, and the "fuck your gender" bumper stickers.


But sometimes I miss things from my career days. I miss dressing up. Lots of miniskirts, high heels and stockings, push up bras, wigs, rubber and latex dresses. There isn't much call for that in my life, now. It's good for Halloween and a couple street fairs during the year. Sometimes I miss it enough that I'll do the dishes while wearing my thigh-high, 5" heel boots. I put on one of my old tapes, slip into my boots and elbow-length latex gloves and scrub my dishes until I wear the glaze off of them. No one else sees it, but I feel good. The sound of the latex snapping against my hand trying to put the gloves on, and the slippery feeling of my arms melting into the water brings me back to those places not so long ago of warm, latex covered sex acts and the empowerment I get from wearing high-heeled boots.

It's a place I will always love, but can never go back to.

Now my mornings start with yoga. Ironically, I practice to the music I used to use for my s/m sessions. To paraphrase American Bandstand – it had a good beat, and I could whip to it. That music keeps me connected to my body in a way that makes me feel confident and sexy. It still makes me feel relaxed and energized at the same time.

Even though I'm out of the business, I can't bring myself to totally get rid of my equipment. I'm too attached to them to pack them away in the attic. At work, they used to hang from pegs on the wall, shaker-style, so as to be easily accessible. Now, they're hanging from hooks on the back of my bedroom door. Every night when I close the door on my way to bed, they knock against the wood to remind me of their existence. The whips give off a faint smell of worn leather – one of my favorite arousing scents. It sends me off to sleep every night and greets me every morning – just like a lover's caress.


I can now relax when I go out in public. I no longer panic and tense when someone taps me on the shoulder – afraid it might be a client who has recognized me in public. Approaching a sex worker in public is a basic faux pas, but it happened too many times – and often when I was with a date or family friend who knew nothing of my working life.

I was sitting in a restaurant, on a first date. Suddenly, a man appeared with shock in his face and asked, "Mistress, is that you?" My date was terribly confused. I sternly replied that he must have me mistaken for someone else, but the damage had already been done – my date was more horrified at strange men yelling to me across rooms than the implication of his words.

It made dating tough.

I fantasize about going back into the business from time to time. I think about the dentist from Boston and the businessman from Sydney. I muse over the books and flowers and gifts given to me, and of the feeling of control I love so much. But going back means working in the seedy parts of town, afraid that each new client could be a cop, and that one day one of these men is going to beat the hell out of me again.

Retirement isn't so bad. I'm content to just get the laundry done.

What have you retired from?