Are you a cup half full -or-
cup half empty kind of person?
I like to think world isn't so binary. Just refill the cup.
Recount an experience that always makes you smile.
During a solo holiday to Japan some years ago, I had hunted down the best bowl of ramen in Osaka one night. The establishment had a line out the door, even at that hour, but once inside it was exactly what I expected; blonde wood counter tops, minimal wall decorations, simple menus, and grouping of locals noisily face down in enormous bowls of piping hot noodles and broth. I took a counter seat next to a middle aged stern looking Japanese man. When my food arrived I settled in and did my best not to embarrass myself even though the soup was hot enough to burn a hole through my esophagus! I expertly and loudly S-L-U-R-P-E-D my ramen, the wood chopsticks feeding more and more into my mouth without biting down... "SLUPR!" the noodles slapping my face and splattering my glasses..."SLURP!!"
See, in the Western world it is extremely rude to slurp food, and in fact is a pet peeve of mine, however in Japan when it comes to Ramen it is seen as polite to slurp...in fact it is a way or saying "chef, this ramen is excellent", which of course I knew, having done my homework before visiting Japan RE: customs, niceties, slurping your ramen, etc et el.
So there I was slurping what was indeed, excellent ramen, and at one point halfway through my bowl of ramen and mid vacuum-style-sucking noodles into my mouth I glanced out the corner of my eye to the stern gentleman on my right to catch him pause, smirk and give an emphatic nod of approval. I didn't even try to hide the beaming pride that spread across my face!! I felt so "seen" by this silent moment of recognition from his local ramen connoisseur... I smiled big at the man, then we both turned back to our bowls and the noises ensued.
Pilates vs. Cardio?
Hard-pass on both...I don't want a high butt, I want a round ass!
I do 'functional mobility' training which outside looking in, looks super dull and boring, if compared to the pump of crushing out aggressive sets of deadlifts for PR's. Don't get me wrong, the meathead in me loves the squat rack too, but functional mobility work forces me to really slow down and focus on my form. TBH it's the hardest training I have ever done...physically and mentally. Turns out the research and hygienic anecdotes tells us our ancestors already knew a thing or two about adopting movements for a healthier and longer life.
Fantasy threesome...who's invited to the bedroom?
Any true lover of pleasure knows there's more than a singular way to enjoy two bodies at once. And why limit it to just threesomes...What about foursomes and more-somes? I do love a good old-fashioned orgy.
the bedpost notches I wish I had:
LESBIAN THREESOME: myself, Frida Kahlo and Eartha Kitt
SPIT-ROAST THREESOME: myself, Anthony Bourdain and King Solomon (from the Bible)
FMF THREESOME: myself, Trevante Rhodes and Zoe Kravitz
for extra credit:
SPIRIT-REALM LESBO THREESOME: myself, Oshun and Rati
SPIRIT-REALM MFM THREESOME: myself, RÄgarÄja and Priapus
bonus round, and deep(throated) appreciation to the man who makes these a 2020 reality:
COMPANION THREESOME: yourself, myself and Valerie August
COMPANION THREESOME: yourself, myself and Nia Bolde
COMPANION THREESOME: yourself, myself and Jade Wang
COMPANION THREESOME: yourself, myself and Heloise Golde
Dive bar or nightclub?
Swank dimly-lit lobby bar, rather.
How would you define success, and how well do you measure up to your own definition?
When I first cut my teeth in the sex industry it was 2007, I was living in Chicago at the time..this was immediately before the economic collapse of 2008. It's been so long ago, most of us forget how dire things were then... where once CEO's of major corporations were competitively trying to land jobs as lowly baristas, and people like myself who had nannied for my whole adult life was suddenly out of a job and facing homelessness, unable to keep a cellphone on, depending on generosity of friends, who were also struggling, to offer me meals and sometimes a place to sleep. I took up escorting because at the time I simply needed a way survive. Sex work would become that vehicle, but it would be many years until the industry would evolve into what it is now...this
illustrious part of the luxury sector where escorts have globally recognized "brands", some well known names in the biz have gone on to earn 7 figures and others to give TED Talks. Escorting wasn't always this. Back in the early 2000's in the era before Twitter, when organizations like SWOP-USA had only recently been established,
before Sesta-Fosta got passed, and before I’d personally ever heard the words 'escort', 'companion' only derogatory marginalizing terms like "prostitute" and "hooker". Back before any of us knew how to pre-screen our clients to stay safe, when it was still a bit seedy working, back when my first ad was placed not online, but in a newspaper...back when there was no one to look up to or emulate. It was different back then. The industry has changed a lot, I have changed and grown a lot. The only one constant now as it was then, and even the decades before; is that sex workers have always been savvy business people. The enterprising, resilient ingenuity and self awareness required to not just survive but succeed in this industry is nothing short of awe inspiring. I feel so proud this has been my history.
It is now 2020, and in the decade+ since my introduction to the world of companionship, I have built a brand and reputation that precedes me. I've been asked to give talks around the country at Ivy Leagues and to corporations on my experiences as a sex worker and lectures on industry innovation, I sat on the board of a national 501-c3 sex worker rights organization, I lobbied for decriminalization and stormed Congressional hearings to protest bad legislation. I have been approached about book deals. I've taken my skill sets which I became an expert in here, and translated them to the company I own in the hospitality sector. For originally just being a vehicle to survive, my career as a sex worker has taken me far.
The Merriam Webster dictionary define success as: "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose."
I want success that can't be quantified, I want to leave a legacy. I believe we can manifest destiny, which is good because my ambitions and goals and the venture I am currently working on will require a lot of soul. By my own definition I feel I’m already a successful business woman, but I’ll put it like this: I am not ready to retire just yet.
What are you currently reading?
All About Love, by bell hooks. This author's entire body of work is important reading but this book has been especially poignant for me; offering radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. My paperback copy is extremely well worn; the bright red cover with tattered and entirely ripped-off corners and dogeared pages with coffee rings and tear stains. 10/10 recommend.
Favourite ways to paint the town red?
Ordering the whole menu and shutting down the restaurant to only stay longer and have drinks with the chef,
sitting on your lap in the back corner of dimly-lit cocktail lounges, late night drives in the drop-top, breaking into public swimming pools after midnight...
What’s something inexplicable that never fails to turn you on?
Mornings are sacred to me, they're important, the silence is what is important. Waking and laying still...coming back into your body after a night of sleep. No phone, especially no talking...just perfect silence. Silence...except for the way crisp white bedsheets sound sliding across bare skin; crinkling as I roll over to hug the cool side of the pillow to my body and slowly shift my gaze across the lumps and hills of bunched up bedsheets across the bed to silently meet eyes with a lover on the other side. That sound. The sound of bedsheets in the morning. I love that sound!
What is your favourite love-scene in a movie?
Love Jones, 1997.
If you know, you know. But the steamy scene set up is when Darius (played by a baby-faced Larenz Tate) gets the invite back to Nina's (Nia Long) apartment after a Chicago nightclub poetry slam ...and they slam. It's that sweet, cheesy lovemaking in 90's cinema, which of course didn't hit the spot, ahem, unless it was set to a Maxwell R&B soundtrack. Oh and it was. The back-arching, parted lip moans and sweat all climactic to the music...but the most smoldering part of this love-scene, was cutting to next-morning...when Darius was
cooking breakfast for his new lover. Well played Darius!
Take note fellas; the way to a woman's heart is through her belly.
Best pick-up story...
I haven't told this story in a long time, I forgot how perfect it was!
This is a story about a pick-up while in Dubai during my first tour there back in 2013. I stayed at an airbnb in the Dubai Marina, a very well appointed studio with an enormous balcony overlooking the water and yacht club. My host Roberto was a svelte handsome Italian businessman expat, who also lived in the towers, in a unit a few floors above mine. We met briefly upon my arrival, polite, professional...and once during my first week we ran into each other in the elevators, and once in the grocery downstairs. Polite, happy, professional both times.
By end of my first week a repair was needed in my unit to fix the air-con so Roberto came down to stay in unit while the repairman wasn't alone with me doing the repairs, so I felt safe. I didn't have any clients or plans so I was free to hang around during the repair and chat with my host. It was spring time in Dubai, so perfectly balmy...we went to the balcony where my host lit a cigarette and took a seat, and I stood barefoot across from him wearing what I had been waving all day - a white cotton sports bra and drawstring sweatpants. Conversation was easy with Roberto. I remember thinking how beautiful he was, dark complexion, sun-kissed that day after he had spent afternoon at beach, his black wavy hair he would absentmindedly run his fingers through as he spoke...he had immaculate white teeth and laughed often. I liked him. He had a confidence that was very attractive...that innate flirtatious forwardness that lives in all Italian men. We were flirtatious but not flirting. At one point there was a comfortable silence and he sat across from me, viewing me...taking me in as he dragged on his cigarette. Me, a woman who knows her body angles, stood leaning in the open sliding doorway, my hip popped out, hands in my sweat pockets, staring back at him. This wasn't sexual tension, it wasn't butterflies in the belly, this was calm, steady, knowing. This was big-dick energy from BOTH of us!
"You are very a beautiful woman" Roberto finally said to me without breaking eye-contact...to which I immediately responded back "Would you like to have sex with me?"
The look on this man's face!!! I surprised myself! I'm confident and bold but I had never stated my sexual needs like that to a man before. A stranger, no less. All I knew is I felt safe in that moment and I knew I wanted him. Roberto urgently sat up tall in his chair, aggressively smashing out his cigarette, and without breaking eye-contct with me, shouted through the the open door to yell inside to the repairman to 'please come back another day after the weekend to finish'. Two minutes later, closing the door as the repairman walked out, my airbnb host turns back to me like a wild cat coming in for the kill, picks me into the air, I wrapped my legs around his waist and we fell into bed! Which is where we remained much the day, and again that night and twice more during my stay, and for each of the following return trips to the UAE over the two years that would follow. He was a good one.
Name one illicit behavior or bad habit you have
This is sorta charming, but will definitely get me in trouble someday (or at a minimum severely humiliated) when my wayward ways catch up to me and I'm accused of pilfering. I steal spoons. Tiny itty bitty cute lil baby espresso spoons, to be precise! I've pinched cute spoons from my favourite restaurants and idyllic cafes in cities/towns/villages of most the countries I've visited and at least half of the lower 48. It's naughty, but I don't feel badly. They're meaningful momentos from establishments and experiences that inspired or moved me.
What is your go-to music?
I grew up listening to early rock and jazz and Motown. Thrifting for vinyl at yard sales with my mom on Sunday afternoons, and coming home with $1.50 Al Green bargain, gently wiping the dust of the spinning black disk, then ritualistically getting low and eye-level to the record, gently undulating in circles, the stylus arm lightly held between my fingertips before dropping it down on just the right song..on the B side. That warm crackle and hiss of a spinning record...I love that sound. These days I don't even own a turn table, and I would really like to start collecting vinyl again...I remember someone (who has a collection of many owns thousands of records) once telling me that all a good collection is just 100 records. One of these days...
In meantime, Spotify keeps my ears happy. I listen to a lot of sultry sounds...music that nod towards the sounds I grew up with: hip hop that uses brass horns, melodic and moody electronic music, low-key disco, DJ's that mashup. I like music I can be sad to but also want to fuck to.
What's the one dish you always order off the menu?
Seared scallops. Oh, and oysters. Big fan of tuna tartare also. Unless there is a fresh caught of the day. Actually probably just any of the seafood!
Also while we are reading our menus I will strategically ask you what you're leaning towards, I am sincerely interested but this is also calculated, see...if one of the entrees you mention is also one of my top choices, this is going to e a great dinner date! But if you're learning in a different direction I will masterfully attempt to steer you towards ordering one of my top two picks..because inevitably I'll be stealing bites off your plate anyway.
I take GFE "girlfriend experience" pretty literally. All of your (food item) are belong to me! Girlfriends be like that, always wanting what you have, your meal, your movie snacks. And just so everything is out on the table; I might also abscond with your hoodie. just sayin.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A multi-hyphenate business woman and someone still willing to reinvent herself.
Where to next on the bucket-list?
First time I ever left the country, I traveled to Italy with the woman I was dating at the time. For three weeks we wandered our way through Florence, Rome and Naples. Devouring everything that crossed our paths; the sounds, the sights…the intoxicatingly fragrant bustling morning street markets selling their blood oranges and buttery slices of Coppa. The Roman men....with their tightly tailored crimson pants and intent gazes…oh the Italian man! Italy changed my life. Not because it’s a beautiful country, though it is, but because it taught me how minuscule my own world was. Up until this inaugural trip I’d always believed international travel was something that required a “reason” to go, and that it was a privilege outside of my reach. As soon as I realized that if you have the desire, and can squirrel-away the funds…that you just, simply...GO. And keep going, as far and as often as possible.
Years later I still love Italy, and Europe in general…but these days I'm most interested in going to the places that aren’t quite as “easy.” Remote villages only reached via rickety vehicles bouncing down muddy off-road passage ways, places with challenging language barriers but an urgent desire to communicate. Places where I have to bear witness to things that make me uncomfortable - poverty, inequality, and political unrest - cities in countries on continents where I am reminded just how resilient and beautiful the human spirit is. I have been through 25+ countries but I want to see them all. I want to travel to the places where the weather is murderous but some brilliant hotelier dreamed up a luxury resort there. I want to see places so stunning and so culturally rich they inspire awe; the type of locales where I stand dumbstruck in silence, because sometimes words just aren't enough. That's where I want to go next. As the writer Susan Sontag once said, "I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list"