Remember The Sage?
A while back – I think this was shortly after my “Hey, let’s just be friends” talk with him – we were texting and he was going on and on about how desperate he was to be tied up for a while (being tightly immobilized is a way that he deals with stress). This is not a thing I’d care to do – even if I were interested in The Sage, the particular scenario he has in mind doesn’t do it for me at all. He just wants to be trussed up tightly and sat on for an hour or three so that he can decompress from the stressors in his life. There’s nothing in this for me; nothing about it turns me on or twigs my dominance at all. But I am in a state of constant financial uncertainty and have been considering venturing into some kind of light sex work to supplement my income. Sitting on some dude while I watch a movie doesn’t sound unpleasant per se, just not interesting at all. I’d do it for money, though.
Before I could even propose this, The Sage actually volunteered that he was “practically desperate enough to pay someone” for the bondage he craves. And I was like “Y’know…I might be up for that.”
We negotiated for a while and came to a consensus: I would be willing to have him come over, get in a sleep sack and gag (that he provides) and I’d babysit him for a pre-decided period of time to make sure he didn’t choke and die. And probably sit or lie on him, too, to help maximize his immobilization experience. He, in return, would pay me $40/hr for this service. (Initially, I cagily asked him what he thought was a good price, just in case he volunteered higher than the $40 I was thinking. He suggested $15/hr. HA HA HA NO. That’s less than I get for modelling – a job I actually like. Plus I’m a very private person so having someone in my apartment is kind of a big deal. And I am taking on a certain amount of responsibility here; it’s not likely that The Sage would start to suffocate, or fall off my couch and bash his head open, but it could happen. I do have to be alert and pay attention. Also if he went to a prostitute or pro domme for this he’d be paying at least $100/hr, so the way I see it, $40 is a bargain.)
So we hammered out those terms, but then we didn’t make any plans to actually do this. I keep coming up to the edge of sex work (if you could even call this that) and then chickening out, and maybe he needed some time to think it over, I dunno. But the conversation trailed off for the time being.
Then his work got super busy and he was doing overtime and stuff, and I got busy with my life, too, and we kinda fell out of touch for a couple of months.
Recently my finances have become even more precarious. For some reason my modelling jobs have begun to dry up; as things stand, I will not be making enough money to cover my expenses for April or May. June, July and August are summer vacation months, so the art schools will be closed down, further drying things up. So unless a miracle happens or I give up and get a “real”job, I’ll be heavily relying on my savings until September. Which will probably deplete them entirely. Scary shit.
And so I started trolling Craigslist for foot fetish guys offering to pay for foot worship. But then I thought “Hey, why do all the groundwork of taking sexy photos and sending them to these guys and weeding out the real deal from the time wasters when I have a guy already good to go?”
I sent The Sage a chatty message on FetLife to re-establish contact. He broached the subject of the $40/hr activities first, actually, saying he’d love to play with me but is worried it might affect our friendship, as he would be my client.
In my mind, we barely have a friendship – we’ve met in person exactly twice and barely spoken since – so I don’t see that there’s any risk here. Although the word “play” kind of raised a red flag for me. Like did he forget that I’d only offered to babysit him while he was immobilized, or does he think that counts as play to me?
Today, via text:
Sage: How do you feel about duct tape for bondage?
Me: How does that work? Put it over clothes?
Me: If you bring tape, I’ll use it on you. Is it hard to get it off without damaging clothes, though? Cut or peel?
Sage: I will wear disposable clothes. It shoudl be possible to cut and peel tape without damaging the clothes. But if you needed to cut the clothes, you could. [New message] Heck, you could even cut the clothes because you wanted to. For tickling, or nipple clamps, or…
Me: Ah, but the price we discussed was for immobilizing you. That Aspie stress-relief thing. I am not entertaining going further at this time.
Sage: Thank you [He thanks me whenever I'm brutally clear about my expectations, since as an Aspie he doesn't pick up on hints.]
I decided to lay my thoughts out on the table entirely and if The Sage was hurt or repulsed and backed out of our deal, so be it.
Me: My thought process is as follows: [New message] The immobilization thing doesn’t twig my dominance, particularly. It is not a thing I’d choose to do with someone in a scene.
Me: Doesn’t seem unpleasant, either, but I’d be doing it to cater to your needs, and it’s a few hours I COULD be spending doing things that cater to MINE. Hence I suggested payment. $40/hr would leave me feeling that the time was well-spent. Everyone’s happy. [New message] Actual PLAY…[New message] As in, stuff that gets me fired up…
Sage: You have my rapt attention for what gets you fired up. [Uggggh dude just SHUT UP...]
Me: Is something I’d only want to do when there was good chemistry with someone and it felt right. …It’s POSSIBLE a person I don’t have that spark with could convince me to play for pay, but it would feel like I was twisting and skewing a dynamic very dear to my heart, so I’d be wanting a hell of a lot more than $40. [New message] I don’t feel that kind of spark with you. Possibly it will assert itself one day – we’ve only met twice, after all. [New message] As it stands, though, I’m open to some friendly paid sitting-on-you-while-you’re-trussed-up, and not thinking further than that. [New message] Does that make sense?
Sage: It does make sense. Thank you. I will take you up on that.
…And then he suggested coming by this Friday when he’s done work, taking me out to Swiss Chalet so we can catch up for a bit (his treat), and then going back to my place for an hour of bondage. I like that he was clear about paying for my meal so I didn’t have to wonder, and I like that we’ll have that “buffer zone” of being able to chat in public for a bit before we get down to business.
Some things that are on my mind:
- Until I looked through my blog archives just now, I had totally forgotten that I’d said “let’s just be friends” to The Sage. I couldn’t remember how we left things – if I said I just needed a break, or what. I also forgot most of the shit he did that irritated me until I reread my other posts about him. Now that my memory is refreshed, I’m quite certain I will never be interested in him as a submissive or partner or whatever. I really, really wish I hadn’t implied that it could happen. I don’t like that I sent mixed messages.
- Sometimes I get called in for life modelling jobs on short notice; these usually pay $60 (albeit for three hours). It has just occurred to me that if I have to turn down modelling work because I’m already booked for that one $40 hour with The Sage, I’ll lose money. I think in future – if we even decide to do this again – I’ll instigate a two-hour minimum with him.
- The Sage continues to be too flirty and enthusiastic for my liking. That thing he did before where he’d text me “*kisses*” or “*cuddles*” and I told him to please stop because it was too much? He was doing it again in our recent text conversations. I told him again that I’d prefer he didn’t say those things (in fairness, he may have just forgotten – we haven’t spoken since January, I think). And then he made some comment about “working towards” hugging/snuggling, which I ignored, but srsly WTF?!
The Sage has Asperger’s syndrome (officially diagnosed). He really, really seems to fundamentally not get how some of his behaviours come across to other people. And it’s entirely possible that his super-huge, puppy-like enthusiasm is a byproduct of being on the spectrum (I’ve heard that Aspies often get attached to people quickly and kind of overwhelm them with interest/affection). I am sympathetic to all of this. And it’s true that when I tell The Sage what I want from him, he thanks me for my clarity and tells me he wants to adjust his behaviours so that I’m comfortable. But a lot of the time, he seems to slip back into his old patterns and I have to remind him numerous times to stop it. It’s possible that he’s just forgetful, but it’s also possible that he’s kind of a manipulative jackass. Time will tell. I’ll stay on my guard.
Just as an aside, I’m facepalming a lot for believing The Pedant’s claims of autism. I’ve known some dudes on the spectrum before; they all had a very distinctive vibe. The Pedant, though weird and awkward, frankly does not have that vibe. The Sage does - it slapped me upside the head within five minutes of talking to him. Unmistakeable; unquestionable.
But The Sage could be legitimately autistic and hiding behind that fact in order to keep pushing people’s boundaries, which is why I need to be careful.
I will say this much: whether he’s repeating his mistakes by accident or on purpose, it gets to a point where I get tired of saying “Hey, remember how I said I didn’t like that?” – I’ve just sighed and ignored a few things, like that rapey “I’ll work toward hugging/snuggling” remark. And the paranoid side of me wonders if The Sage knows people can be worn down in this way and that’s what he’s going for.
On the other hand, I think correcting him is tiring for me because I’m always trying to phrase things carefully so as not to hurt his feelings, and looking for exactly the right strategic wording stresses me out. But I probably don’t need to. I mean, first off there’s the fact that if someone is repeatedly doing something I said I didn’t like, they kind of deserve what they get, but also he’s on the damn autism spectrum. Subtlety goes right over his head, anyway. I could probably just go “NO” like I was reprimanding a begging dog and he’d be fine with it. I’m going to try to get up the nerve to just start saying “no” or “inappropriate” when something comes up. Saves me a lot of brain power and lets him know my wishes clearly every single time.
In a way I’m glad that my first little foray into sex work(?) is with someone kind of oblivious like that. Issues will probably come up and catch me off-guard; if I’m momentarily flummoxed or annoyed or have to tell a lie, The Sage won’t be able to see it in my face. I’ll be a little less vulnerable with him than I would with someone neurotypical. And in the meantime I can figure out how best to deal with the common problems that’ll come up, and develop a cool, professional veneer to use in future.
Hey, sex workers who may be reading this: do you take your money upfront, or afterward? And if it’s afterward, have you ever had someone pull a “whoops, I don’t have enough cash on me” to try to bargain you down for services already rendered? I think I’ll probably ask for money upfront but maybe there are good reasons not to. I just don’t know.