From de Sade to Decisions, Decisions...
“It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure…. There is no more lively sensation than that of pain; its impressions are certain and dependable, they never deceive as may those of the pleasure women perpetually feign and almost never experience.”
—Marquis de Sade
Thanks to a vexatious conspiracy of redundant street names combined with near constant road construction, driving around the Queen City can best be described as falling, like Alice, down a rabbit hole—or an act of pure masochism—which is apropos, as I’m on my way to interview a professional dominatrix, Mystrys Genevieve, one of Charlotte’s few true ProDommes. While en route, images of Julie Newmar as Catwoman grappling with a leather-clad Emma Peel tango in my head, but as I pull up in front of the very non-comic book lair Mystrys Genevieve and her boyfriend share—a nice, middle-class home, the likes of which might be found on practically any doppelganger cul-de-sac in countless suburbs across the land—my fantasies quickly dissipate. Hell, there’s even a basketball net. Do Dommes shoot hoops? I wonder as I ring the doorbell.
Mystrys Genevieve greets me with a warm smile and a firm handshake; her brown hair pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail. Of medium height and medium build, for this encounter, she has chosen an outfit consisting of dark jeans and a dark T-shirt. Except for a heightened twinkle in her eye, she is the kind of woman one might see almost anywhere—comparison-shopping in the cat food aisle, sitting next to you on a bus lost in a book.
After introducing me to her unassuming but substantially built boyfriend, Mystrys Genevieve ushers me upstairs. At the top of the landing is a small, cozy antechamber that serves as her office. This is where she screens clients and negotiates the particulars of the services she will—and will not—perform. “Shall we move into the playroom?” she asks, accommodatingly. “I thought you’d like to conduct the interview there.” Mystrys Genevieve leads me a few paces down a short corridor and approaches a nondescript door, beyond which lies her dungeon. Stepping across the threshold, I can’t help but think: Toto, we’re not in Kansas, anymore.
Passion is both a powerful magnet and a demanding mistress. To understand what drives one person to pursue her pleasures in a real and meaningful way, while others never dare slake that thirst, I often find it best to begin by uncovering the moment when undercurrent becomes overtone, when whisper becomes command, when the dreamer wakens from the dream…
What drew you to the lifestyle?
I came into it kind of naturally. In my early twenties, I started going to science fiction conventions, and at one of them—it was the last Magnum Opus convention in Greenville, South Carolina, I can’t even remember the year—I saw somebody getting flogged in a stairwell. And I thought, Wow, that’s really cool. What is that? And then, it just kind of passed on.
Then I was in a couple of bad relationships, and in each one, I was trying for “the dream: the ring—I was engaged twice—the white picket fence, the come home to cook dinner after work, the slippers. I was trying to do what I’d always been told I should do as an adult woman. And each time, these assholes were screwing around on me. One used my credit card to buy his girlfriend roses on Valentine’s Day. Didn’t get me anything. I got the bill later and said, “What the hell is this? I didn’t get any flowers.” And I realized at that point the problem was not them, it was me. I wasn’t being me. I wanted to be in charge. I needed to be in charge. The “dream” I was trying to live was someone else’s dream.
So, I had been going to these SF conventions, and doing The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I played Janet for three years, and then I played Frank for two. And I gave my very first spanking at The Rocky Horror Picture Show (at The Silver Screen in Charlotte, 16 or 17 years ago). We were doing the “virgin sacrifice” and one of the virgins had a birthday, so they put a paddle in my hand and said, “Our Frank is going to spank you. So, I totally broke the curtain, came out as Frank and gave her the spanking, and I thought, Oh, this is cool. I want to do more of this.
How did you proceed from there?
The Internet was just getting started. I was on this little bulletin board called Atlantic BDS. I was talking to one of the people at the event one night about how cool it was to spank somebody, and he says, “Well, you know, there’s a munch group in Charlotte, and I go to it.” So I asked, “What’s a munch?” This was probably when I was about 24 years old. When I went in, I was the only single girl there, and I was also the only dominant female there. Everybody else was a male dom or a female sub, and I was extremely out of place and highly uncomfortable. I enjoyed the conversation, but I was really out of my element.
After that, I kind of…stopped. I was like, Okay, that’s it. If that’s the way it is, that’s fine. I was talking to the people there and they’d say, “Oh, you’re a dominant.” I’d say, “Yes.” Because I knew myself. I’d already been through trying it the other way, so I knew who I was. So I got the, “Well, you know, in order to be a good dominant, you have to have been a submissive. You have to subjugate yourself to a master—and oh, by the way, I happen to have a spare collar here. At that point, I was like, Okay, this is not for me. I’ve obviously taken the wrong turn, and have ended up somewhere that I’m not supposed to be.
Over the years of attending science fiction conventions, I started meeting friends who were swingers. While, I’ve never been a swinger, I’m a voyeur, I love to watch. I love to go to swingers parties and sit in the corner with a drink and just watch everybody. That is so cool, but I’m not really a swinger type of person. But, I was friends with some of them who dabbled in S&M, and it kind of went from there.
I told them about my experience [at the munch] three or four years earlier, and they said, “Well, that’s not the way it always is. Hey, come, watch a scene.” So he spanked his girlfriend for me. Then he said, “Here, spank her.” And I said, “What?” And he said, “Yeah… Here, hit her this way. Hit her with this.” And I’m like, This is cool! This is what I wanted it to be.
So, I got back in touch with my friend from the first munch. We started doing some exploring around Charlotte, and went to a few events. I enjoyed it for what it was, but I had a real hunger to learn back then, and the few events that I was going to, seemed to be a lot of spanking and a lot of bondage—which was fine. It was great fun, for the first little bit, but then I started wanting more. I wanted to learn more and do more, but all I was seeing was Spanking 101.
I looked around, and I found a ProDomme, Mistress S. (Mistress Savannah) in Charlotte. she’d been here for years. She was the only one. I looked her up on the Internet. I emailed her and said, “I’m not a client, but do you teach Dommes, because I want to learn how to do stuff, and all I’m seeing is spanking and bondage, and I want more.”
I apprenticed under her for a year. Over the course of that year, I got to learn spanking and bondage—and flogging, rubber fetish, and infantilism, and electro-torture, and CBT (cock and ball training/torture), and ball busting, and nipple torture. I got to talk to slaves, and I watched her interview them, and I just really got a nice exposure to a lot of different things, and how to do them safely.
It was like going from a 101 Kindergarten class to college level within a couple of months. I was doing stuff that I had never seen, and it was fun and exciting and it just kind of kept going from there. And then, over the years, it got to be more and more of an obsession.
The Client Question
How did you end up transitioning from a personal level to the professional level?
I trained under Savannah and I learned the business of kink under Savannah. In addition to learning how the toys worked, which was the main reason I went to her, she also showed me how to screen clients.
How do you screen them?
Well, the client may normally feel like we’re alone, but there are two cars in the driveway when they pull in. So, they already know there’s somebody else in the house, whether or not the thought crosses their mind. My boyfriend stays here and he’s very much into what I do—it’s part of our relationship. He’s my security. When I’m in the playroom with a client, he sits in another room and listens in. Not only is that good for me, it’s good for the client.
I had a situation where the client passed out while he was on the cross, and I’m pretty strong, but he was a larger gentleman, so it was helpful to have somebody else here that could help me get him down. It is for my safety, but it’s also for theirs. But—knock on wood—people never know that he’s here. I’ve been training out of this location for five years, and he’s been with me the whole time. He sits in another room, he has one headphone with the television on so he can hear the TV, and one ear hooked into me. That’s one line of safety. The second line of safety is my training.
Could you go into a little more detail about how you vet potential clients? What are the steps from first email to first session?
I have a pretty standard way that I like to do things. I don’t see everyone that asks. I’m pretty picky, actually, and because I have a day job that provides most of my income, I can afford to be.
I have a little form on my webpage that pretty much covers all my basic first questions. If a potential client takes the time to fill it out completely—I find I’m more interested in contacting him/her back quickly. I look for common interests first. There are some things I don’t offer—which are clearly stated on my webpage—and if a potential client seems to be more interested in one of those, we won't have a very good session. I don’t like to fake things, and I won’t do anything illegal.
If there are common interests and the e-mail is respectful, I try to return the e-mail and ask a few questions. If a respectful and polite reply is received, then I usually like to set up a phone interview for a discreet time to chat. If all goes well at that point and we seem to have chemistry, I will set up a session. I wait until 24 hours before the meeting to confirm the session and send the directions to my playspace.
What are some red flags that warn you not to accept a new client?
Real “triggers” of a possible problem is someone being disrespectful in tone, poor spelling, typing in all caps, not calling when expected—or if a potential client starts asking for a sexual act. I will simply wish him/her well, and refer them to another Mistress.
I’ve been doing it this way for almost 10 years now, and only twice in all that time have I ever had what I would call a “bad” experience. Just never let the money overrule your common sense. Money is unimportant compared to self-esteem and personal safety.
Tell me about your first “professional” experience—after Savannah, once you’d set up shop on your own, so to speak. Were you apprehensive? Did it go as planned?
I was very nervous, actually. I was working out of a lifestyle friend’s home and that really helped. I knew if I got into any trouble, help was just a room away. By that time, I had been playing for over a year at parties, and such so I wasn’t worried about my play skills. I just remember really wanting him to enjoy it.
Things went as planned, and because Savannah had helped me screen him, I had no problems. What really made it “real” though was holding the money in my hands at the end of the session. It was such a feeling of liberation. Like I knew what I was doing, and held my own future in my hands. It was quite a rush.
How do you find your clients?
I have a web site. I’m also listed with most of the major Domme listings like Max Fish and Dickie Virgin’s. There’s like 15-million of them (laughs), and I’ve got an inbox full invites for another 15-million. But if someone is looking for a Dominatrix in Charlotte, I’m usually one of the people that pops up. That’s pretty much the extent of it. This pays for my toys, but as far as my main means of support, I do have a day job. And I’m a manager in my day job. It’s a small family company. I’ve been there for 15 years, so it actually predates all of this—I’ve only been playing for 13 years.
So, back to how you got started as a ProDomme….
Savannah (Mistress S.) had gotten out of the business. I wanted to go to some conventions and things, but I didn’t really have the money for that, because the toys are very expensive. This set (a custom, handmade matched silver and black leather set of cats and whips) was $500. The toys are not cheap, and I like quality toys. Some of the people I’d been playing with said, “You’re so good at this, you could charge money.” It just went from there. (She hands me one of the toys.)
It’s beautiful work.
I can do everything with them. Each one has a different purpose. Like this one is really, really soft, so it’s good for warming up. When you have someone and you’re playing, you don’t just start wailing on somebody—well, you can if that’s what they want. Not unless you’re doing an interrogation scene.
There’s usually some kind of warm up….
The skin is just like any other part of the body. It’s like if you were going out for a run. You wouldn’t just go out on the street and take off full blast. You’re going to stretch, you’re going to jog for a while, and then you’re going to go full blast for a little bit, and then you’re going to cool down. That’s what these toys are for. This one is for stretching; it warms up the skin, gets it ready for harder play. This one has a little bit heavier impact, but still not too bad. Then we can get into the real heavy-duty stuff that will make people bleed—if I want it to.
How do you learn that control?
Practice. Lots and lots of practice….
To be continued…