Caller: Hello, Mistress Matisse? My name is Mistress Cleopatra. I’m a professional dominatrix in Distant City and I have a question for you.

The first thing I notice about Mistress Cleopatra is that she’s got a deep voice that she’s trying to force into a higher pitch. But I’ve heard of Cleopatra, and it’s well-known that she’s a male-to-female transsexual, so a low voice isn’t surprising. What is a trifle odd is that she’s calling from a Seattle area code. I wonder if she’s visiting.

Me: Sure, what would you like to know?

Caller: I’m looking for some information about a client. He came to see you about a year ago, and I just wanted (her voice cracks) to get some information about him.

What she means is that she’s been contacted by someone who claims to know me, and she wants to know what I thought about him. A reference usually isn’t an absolute requirement for a new client, but getting another woman’s take is one way of finding out if a guy is going to be reasonably polite and well-behaved.

Me: Well, I don’t keep any records of clients, and if it’s been that long, I don’t know for sure that I’d recall him. But tell me his name and what he said about our session, and maybe it’ll jog my memory.

Caller: Well, his name is John, and he likes to crossdress. He’s very submissive, too, and very eager to serve his mistress.

Me: Oh, honey, I’m sorry, but that’s really vague, I need more than that.

Caller: He likes (voice cracks)—ahem, he says he likes verbal humiliation.

Me: Him and dozens of other guys. Did he say anything personal that I might remember? Where he’s from, what he does for a living, anything he and I talked about?

Caller: Haven’t you done any sessions with a really pretty sissy-slut who likes to be verbally humiliated? Maybe if you tell me what kinds of things you usually say, I’ll be able to tell if it’s the same person or not. Oh, and did you spank him? This guy likes to be spanked if he misbehaves.

Wait a minute, this is all wrong. This is not how client references are done. You don’t get into blow-by-blow descriptions of the session. You just give the facts, and if the other lady knows him she’ll say something like, “Yes, I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy, and I’d book him again.” Or, less often, something like: “Yeah, I know that asshole—he showed up drunk and shorted me 50 bucks on the fee last time he saw me. I can’t believe he gave me as a reference.” Besides, if she hasn’t met the guy, how does she know he’s pretty? But more to the point: How do I know this is actually Cleopatra?

Me: Um, Cleopatra, would you hold on just one second?

I punch up my web browser and find Cleopatra’s website, and on the other phone, dial the long-distance number listed there. “Hello?” a slightly husky voice answers.

It’s not the voice of the person who called me, but just to be sure I say, “Mistress Cleopatra, this is Mistress Matisse in Seattle. By any chance, did you just call me about a client reference?”

“No,” she replies, sounding puzzled. “Why did you think I had?”

“Please, give me a few minutes and I’ll call you right back and explain,” I answer. Then I turn my attention back to the mistress-impersonating phone wanker—but either his falsetto gave out or he figured I was onto him, because he’s hung up. As I program his number into my don’t-answer list, I reflect that he was a clever wanker. Pretending to be a transsexual dominatrix to try to get me to talk dirty to him is a stroke of brilliance. But you know, the good part about paying for your phone sex is: You won’t get laryngitis.

matisse@thestranger.com

THURSDAY 2/2

THE TRAVELING EROTIC ART SHOW

Live performance art, video, burlesque, and photography by Charles Gatewood, Steve Diet Goedde, Barbara Nitke, and more. Green Room Studio, 321 Third Ave S, Suite 304, www.travelingeroticartshow.com, 6–10 pm, free.

MASQUERADE JACK OFF PARTY

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a nice communal wank at Rain City Jacks, a private, men-only JO club that’s alcohol, smoke, and attitude free. www.raincityjacks.org or rc@raincityjacks.org, 6:30–9:30 pm, membership required.

FRIDAY 2/3

REDMOND RANCH SWING CLUB

“New Couples Night”: First timers are just $25 per couple. Single men must RSVP for the waiting list, couples/single women can just show up. Doors at 7 pm, new people must arrive by 8 pm, 425-868-8169, $45 for couples/$25 for single women.

SEDUCTION: HOW TO GET THAT HOTTIE INTO BED

Secrets for seduction from Teri Ciacchi, Ian Hagemann, and Allena Gabosch. Notoriously sex-positive, polyamorous, kinky, and queer, this trio will have a large bouquet of sexy techniques for you to choose from. School of One, 523-5544 or www.schoolofone.com, 8–10 pm, $20 donation requested.

SATURDAY 2/4

LOVE LOUNGE SEATTLE

This “adult social club” holds events for bi women and male/female couples—no single men, please. Membership required, lovelounge@lovelounge.net, 9 pm, no cover, 21+.

SUNDAY 2/5

MAX’S BONDAGE WORKSHOP SERIES: PARTIAL SUSPENSION

This hands-on workshop covers “almost” suspension, where the person being tied stays on the floor but with a vertical line taking some of their weight. Wet Spot, membership not required, 2:30–5:30 pm, $30, (Wet Spot members attending the following party, $35) www.bondagelessons.com.

MONDAY 2/6

BABY BOOT CAMP

Whip that baby into fighting shape at Seattle Center’s Baby Boot Camp, which provides guided exercise for moms and infants up to 2 years old. Center House Stage, 305 Harrison St, 684-7200, 10–11 am, first class free.