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Turning Dominatrix Ain't Easy

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House of Pain

I recently received an e-mail asking me, somewhat impatiently, for the exact addresses of Seattle's "professional dominance centers." The writer wished to begin employment at one right away and found it annoying that she was unable to locate them easily.

A professional dominance center? That sounds like a nonprofit corporation with folding chairs and support groups. This writer was seeking what I call "a pro-domme house," which is a place outfitted for commercial BDSM use, with dungeon furniture and toys, where a staff of women waits for clients to walk in off the street.

The abundance of kink references in pop culture might suggest that such places are as common as strip clubs and massage parlors, but that's not true. Not that we have that many strip clubs or massage parlors in Seattle, either. But we had a pro-domme house once—about 12 years ago. A woman styling herself "Mistress Kat" blew into town and made a big noise in the BDSM community about her grand plans for a multiroom dungeon. She rented an industrial space off an alley in Interbay, painted it an odd shade of aquamarine, and "hired" a bunch of local kinksters. Trouble was, they never got any clients. People just sat waiting around in the windowless, echoing blue rooms, tapping their riding crops and getting bitchy with one another. After a few months, Mistress Kat unexpectedly departed Seattle, leaving her employees unpaid and unhappy. I spoke to her landlord, posing as a prospective (vanilla) tenant. He said he'd "had some strange people in there." They never paid their rent after the initial deposit, he said, so if they hadn't left, he'd have evicted them anyway.

As far as I know, that was Seattle's only according-to-Hoyle pro-domme house. But a lot of women—many of whom aren't kink-identified—ask me how to get employed by one. I understand why. There's an illusion that dominatrices remain more physically distant and emotionally detached from their clients than strippers and escorts, and that the overt power dynamic keeps you safer.

None of which is true, but that's beside the point. In Seattle, you have a better chance of finding a well-made corset off the rack at Metro than you do of finding a job in someone else's dungeon. Aside from the business challenges of running such a place, there's the legal hassle. Some cities are more tolerant of organized sex workers—as long as they stay in the de facto red-light districts—and thus the outlay of cash required to equip and market a dungeon can pencil out in the long run. But in liberal Seattle, people get all freaked out about bikini espresso stands. Something resembling a BDSM version of Seth Warshavsky's old Club love.com warehouse would send local newscasters and neighborhood activists into a tight-lipped, Norwegian tizzy.

So the precise location of Seattle's pro-domme houses? New York. Maybe you should Google Map it before you leave, though. recommended

 

Comments (22) RSS

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mixy 1
Maybe the giant multi-room dungeon concept would have worked better if they'd offered classes or something community oriented? I don't think I would paint my dungeon aquamarine, though.
Posted by mixy on June 30, 2010 at 4:43 PM · Report this
2
Oh well, sounds like she's got the attitude right, at least.
Posted by FeralTurnip on June 30, 2010 at 8:03 PM · Report this
jvm 3
so where in New York are they?
Posted by jvm on June 30, 2010 at 9:50 PM · Report this
starsandgarters 4
"Tight-lipped, Norwegian tizzy" is the best descriptor ever.
Posted by starsandgarters on July 1, 2010 at 8:11 AM · Report this
5
Well, they CAN work in places other than New York. California has 3 very successful ones I can think of off the top of my head, all of which have been around for years, if not decades in some instances. They do web marketing and scheduling like any other pro-domme, as well as run public events. I suspect most of their business is NOT walk-in off the street, in fact. A Seattle house that started small with 2 or 3 women working out of the same dungeon would probably not run into many problems or have the neighbors carrying pitchforks and torches.....
Posted by olderwithmoreinsurance on July 1, 2010 at 11:43 AM · Report this
6
But in this case... what DOES a woman who wants to work as a domme do in order to start? Work at home? Place ads in magazines? Start a website? Is that how it works?
Posted by ankylosaur on July 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM · Report this
7
Mistress Matisse,

A dominatrix needs to be kinda hot. When I called mistress Danielle she sounded husky. When you dominatrixs start doing outcalls then call me and we'll have some fun together. I'm not going to your home court and having you secretly filming me for your personal gain.

Need more hot dominatrixs!
Posted by steven.b on July 1, 2010 at 2:50 PM · Report this
8
That sounds ghastly. Sitting in a metal folding chair during a support group meeting is hardcore punishment.
Posted by Carlito on July 1, 2010 at 3:31 PM · Report this
9
@#7: I assume by your context that "sound husky" means "sounds fat". How the hell does someone sound fat?

Oh, and film you for personal gain? Really? That's the behavior of a vindictive ex, not a professional dominatrix.
Posted by Hannah in Portland on July 1, 2010 at 4:44 PM · Report this
cyranothe2nd 10
@7--lol, paranoia will destroy ya.

And, for the record, I'm not a big fan of those bikini espresso stands either. They're just weird to me. I'm looking for hot milk, not hot milf.
Posted by cyranothe2nd on July 1, 2010 at 6:24 PM · Report this
11
steven.b is a pro-douche!
Posted by Honk on July 1, 2010 at 7:17 PM · Report this
pales 12
@2: touché!
Posted by pales on July 2, 2010 at 3:31 PM · Report this
13
In all fairness though, bikini espresso stands are really stupid.
Posted by I, Zimbra on July 2, 2010 at 8:53 PM · Report this
Danrilor 14
I am not sure why, but walking into an aquamarine colored BDSM factory filled with irritated wage-workers sounds really indimidating. Plus, living in an alley off interbay myself the neighborhood is all wrong. You would probably have to dodge stray golf balls from the driving range just to get through the parking lot. Add in a collosal failure of marketing and what do you have? Epic business failure. Probably would have happened in any American city, Scandinavian puritanicalism or not.
Posted by Danrilor on July 3, 2010 at 4:30 AM · Report this
15
Steven B, don't flatter yourself. Why would a pro-domme film you, or any other client? Cause that's what you are - a client - not a fantasy that a professional wants to re-live after the session is over.
Posted by Mayjah on July 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM · Report this
16
Funny, I'm having the opposite experience having moved to the LA area.
Clients expect that I will be working in a Professional Dungeon! Coming from the comforts of My own dungeon in the NW, this is inconceivable to Me.

And to the poster wishing for out calls from Pro Dommes..........highly unlikely darlin...........and so is the idea that any of us would be remotely interested in secretly taping our sessions with you. Better check that ego at the door of My dungeon or I will beat it out of you ..........consensually of course!
If I had a dollar for every request I have had to be filmed........well, I would be richer!

The point being, no Domme is interested in "secretly" taping any sessions for use later on......don't need to, nor are you going to be so spectacular that we would want to review the tape again and again for our personal collection!
Posted by Mistress Marry on July 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM · Report this
17
@16 "The point being, no Domme is interested in "secretly" taping any sessions for use later on......don't need to, nor are you going to be so spectacular that we would want to review the tape again and again for our personal collection!"

Narcissistic subs? Whoodathunkit!

Though TBQH, I could see some more "well-respected members of the community" being paranoid about their proclivities getting out.
Posted by yeeshes on July 5, 2010 at 4:31 PM · Report this
18
@7 sounds like a classic case of projection (as iot were). *You* would like tapes of your session to jerk off over, so of course the pro domme would as well. I've never been a pro domme, but I have worked in other aspects of the sex industry and believe me, viewing film of my clients (even the nicer ones) would be very, very low on my fun ways to spend the weekend, right after cleaning the gutters and scrubbing the toilet.
Posted by AnathemaT on July 6, 2010 at 3:56 PM · Report this
19
Are you people ullitterate (I'm not sure how to spell that word- it's the one describing not being able to read)?

@7 referred to doms secretly filming him "for [their] personal gain." As in blackmail. And that sort of thing happens. Didn't you read East of Eden?
Posted by kungfujew on July 9, 2010 at 1:43 PM · Report this
20
Anyone else see the irony of stating you can't spell illiterate in a post using said word? chuckles
Posted by barb_ on July 12, 2010 at 4:51 AM · Report this
21
Not really. What they meant was obvious.
Posted by kablooey on August 19, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
22
"Are you people ullitterate (I'm not sure how to spell that word- it's the one describing not being able to read)?"

I thought that was hilarious, kungfujew, as is your alias.

Yes, his point was obvious, but that makes it no less stupid. "Pro" sex workers who engage in blackmail don't remain viable businesses for long. And anyone who hires a sex worker, with the intention of having them inflict pain, is an idiot if they don't check the person's reputation thoroughly first.

A bad domme is more likely to do you damage than to blackmail you; after all, they risk exposing their own often-underreported source of income as well. But if you don't check reputations, you might find yourself in the hands of someone who thinks "anything goes" or who simply doesn't have enough experience to know how to engage in kink safely and effectively.
Posted by troia on October 4, 2010 at 8:34 PM · Report this

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