One charming thing about sex work is you sometimes get paid to do things you'd have tried anyway. That's how, many years ago, I attended my first swing party.
The escort service I was working for called me. "So, there's this guy who wants to go to a swingers party. He's made all the arrangements, but he can't go alone, he has to bring a date. Would you do it?"
"A swing party?" I was intrigued, but I played coy. "Oh, I don't know."
"He says you don't have to fuck anybody—including him—if you don't want to. It's all married couples, so just go with him and pretend you're his wife, that's all. He'll be on his own for sex."
That sounds like the perfect arrangement. "Okay, I'll do it."
That evening, I met my "husband," Jim, at a chain restaurant on the outskirts of town. While he seemed nice, he was much older than I was, with a shy, halting manner. His conservative khakis and blue shirt contrasted sharply with my Joan Jett haircut and black miniskirt. As we drove in awkward silence to the party, I thought, I look more like this guy's delinquent daughter than his wife. No way is anyone going to believe we're married. I wondered if they'd make us leave; maybe really being married was a requirement. What if they figured out I was a call girl and became angry? I got a little nervous.
We pulled up to a brown ranch house at the end of a cul-de-sac. Another couple were walking up the driveway, she with permed hair and a short, slinky jersey dress, he with a Tom Selleck mustache and a satin shirt. Jim turned to me. "Should we go in?" As we walked toward the house, he took my hand. His palm was damp. He's more nervous than I am, I thought.
We were admitted by a Rubenesque fortysomething woman with long, blond hair and a lot of rings, wearing only a sheer caftan shot with sparkly threads. She proved to be our hostess, Dana, and Jim introduced us to her. She arched one carefully plucked eyebrow at me skeptically. "This is your wife, huh?"
Oh, we are so busted. She totally knows I'm a ringer. She studied me in silence for a long moment, tapping one long, manicured fingernail against her chin. Then she smiled. "Well, c'mon in then. You're the last ones to arrive."
Dana led us into a large living room where about 30 other people were sitting, talking, and drinking wine. Although no one was actually fucking, many of them weren't wearing a lot of clothes and I saw a lot of caressing hands. "Hey everyone, these are the new kids, Jim and Jamie. I just know y'all will give them a warm welcome," our hostess said.
Everyone turned and looked at us. A few of the women gave me a cool oh-really glance. But the men all smiled. I got an idea as to why when I realized that the average age of the other guests looked to be about 35—making me 15 years younger than anyone else in the room.
When everyone went back to general mingling, however, the first person to appear at my side wasn't a man. It was Dana. "Tell your husband bye-bye and let me take you on a tour of the house," she purred. Without waiting for an answer, she took my hand and drew me away. We got as far as a bedroom, where Dana proceeded to give me a very warm welcome indeed. And when we were finished, she gestured to the several guys watching appreciatively from the doorway. "Pick one," she invited. So I did. I remember briefly hoping Jim was having as good a time as I was. I think I asked him on our drive back to my car, but I was too exhausted to remember what he said.
One day I told this story to a swinger pal, who said, "Oh, man, you were a Golden Ticket. That's what we used to call girls like you."
"What, there's a name for this?"
"Oh yeah, it happens all the time." He grinned. "We can always tell. But we love it."
And all this time I thought I'd gotten away with something.
RAIN CITY JACKS PARTY
The Wet Spot's kinky dance party: goth/industrial music, sex, and BDSM, with a younger, more style-conscious crowd. Wet Spot, 270-9746 or firstname.lastname@example.org, 9 pm–1:30 am, $10, membership required.
A BDSM play party for the boys. Wet Spot, email@example.com or 270-9746, 10 pm–3 am, $15, male ID and membership required.
A NIGHT OF VIRTUOSO MICROTONAL GUITAR
A performance by guitarists dedicated to exploring the universe of the "notes between the notes," with such musical perversities as: the single-string monochord, the lap slide guitar, and the infamous 34-tone equal temperament guitar. Wicked! Brechemin Auditorium, University of Washington, 323-8853, 8 pm, $12.50 adv/$15 DOS.
An alternative nude gathering for men to honor male erotic energy through music and dance. Romp Naked is a sexy party, but not a sex party, and it's an alcohol- and drug-free event. Expected headcount: 100–150 men. With modern, global dance music from DJ Diazepam. For RSVP (required), tickets, and location, see www.rompnaked.org.
THERAPIST, COUNSELOR, AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL INFO NIGHT
Learn about the products and resources available at Babeland for patients and clients who are menopausal, preorgasmic, or have concerns with erection or ejaculation control. If you have questions on whether a specific topic will be covered, please give them a call. Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, free.
BURLESQUE SHOW AT THE CAN CAN
Miss Indigo Blue and the Atomic Bombshells. Can Can Kitchen and Cabaret, Pike Place Market, 94 Pike St, 652-0832 or www.thecancan.com, 10 pm, $12/$15 VIP.