Caller: Is this Mistress Matisse?
Me: Yes, this is she.
Caller: My name is Mistress Hypatia. I'm from Large East Coast City, but I'm thinking of moving to Seattle and opening a new Domination Center.
A "Domination Center"? Hmmnn, there's a phrase I've never heard before. I wonder if that's anything like a shopping center? Would it have a food court? Or would it be like a Wal-Mart dungeon? "Mistress-Mart! Always Low Prices!"
Caller: So my associate and I would like to talk to you about having you work with us.
Yep, that's where I thought this was going. And while I don't know exactly what a Domination Center might look like, I do know exactly what I think about working in, around, or with one.
Me: Well, it's nice of you to ask me, but no, thank you.
There's a short, surprised silence.
Caller: But... but... it's going to be a very large and exclusive Domination Center.
I consider asking her how something as specialized as a pro-domme dungeon can be both very large and exclusive—the adjectives seem contradictory. But nitpicking her advertising-speak seems pointless when the odds of this actually happening are slim. Over the years, I've gotten calls like this from lots of people who had grand plans for big commercial kink emporiums. Almost none of them got off the ground. Those that do generally fold in six months or less. (And sometimes the owners leave town owing people money.) Running any small business is hard, but operating something as hydra-headed as a large dungeon with multiple mistresses is a species of masochism that even I blanch at.
However, she clearly expects me to jump at the chance to get involved, which makes me suspect she has no actual experience in the field.
Me: Are you working as a professional dominant now?
Caller: No, you see, I've about to get my MBA, and then I'm moving out to Seattle with my girlfriend. She's a very dominant lady, so she'd do the actual sessions. I'd just manage the business end. I have a lot of ideas about how to really make this pay.
Me: Look, I'm not trying to be rude, but you're talking about this like it's a Subway franchise or something. It's actually a lot more complicated than that.
Caller: Oh I know, that's why we want to be affiliated with a dungeon that's up and running. With my business education, we can really take things to the next level.
Ah. So a woman with no sex work experience thinks her college classes qualify her to take over the business that I've built up? I see. Perhaps she could give me a little blue vest to wear? Leather, of course. And pay me a sub-poverty wage, and deny me health-care benefits, too.
Me: I'm happy with the level I'm at, actually. So I certainly wish you the best of luck, but no thank you.
There's a heavy pause.
Caller: Look, we know you're established out there, and we'd prefer to be cooperative with you. But if you're not willing to work with us, well...
Oh, suddenly we've switched from B-school jargon to channeling Don Corleone? What, she's going to come to Seattle and put a horse head in my bed if I won't work for her?
Me: Excuse me, are you trying to threaten me?
Caller: I'm just saying, when our Domination Center comes to town and takes all your business away, you'll be sorry you didn't come work for us when you could have.
Me: Yes, I suppose if that happened, I would be sorry. But I feel quite certain that it's not going to happen.
Caller: Oh! Oh, you think you're all that? You think you're better than everybody else?
Good lord, one minute she's a corporate mobster, the next she's a petulant child on the playground. Did someone forget to take her meds today?
I hang up. Yeah, sure, I'll work for a big-box discount dungeon—when I'm 80. I'll be the dungeon greeter—a sweet little old lady with a walker and a whip.
THURSDAY 11/17OLD-FASHIONED JACK PARTY
FRIDAY 11/18MEN-ONLY NIGHT
BDSM play party for the boys. Theme: Needle Play. Wet Spot, membership required, firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-9746, 10 pm–3 am, $15, male ID required.THREESOME PARTY
Swing club Redmond Ranch welcomes newcomers for their "Threesome" theme party. Single men must RSVP to get on the waiting list, but couples and single women can just show up. 425-868-8169 or www.redmond-ranch.com, doors at 7 pm, new people must arrive by 8 pm, $45 for couples/$25 for single women.
SATURDAY 11/19BLACK GLOVE THEATER
Black Glove events promote "monogamous erotic activity in a group setting." So, same-room sex, yes; partner swapping, no. www.blackglovetheater.com, 8:30 pm, $40, screening/registration required.KISSING SCHOOL
Kissing School is a safe, playful way to explore tantra and experience the kiss sublime. No previous experience necessary. 10 am–5 pm, $300 per couple, preregistration required at www.kissingschool.com.
MONDAY 11/21OPEN MIC COMEDY NIGHT
Indulge your fetish for humiliation by taking the stage with no more than four minutes of material, or settle for garden-variety masochism and just watch. Comedy Underground, 222 S Main St, 628-0303, 8:30 pm, $4.