In this disheartening time of deepening recession, your writer is all for the entrepreneur finding new and imaginative ways to carve out success, be it sociological or financial. If both, then all the better. ‘If the path is not there, create one’ we are implored by the moguls and social commentators. With rising costs of living and less opportunity for the energetic youth, creativity and ingenuity has risen to the fore. However, utilising the creative side of the grey matter to generate cash has often been the plaything of the intelligentia. Add to that the increasing cultural cancer of wanting to be rewarded for doing literally fuck all, and perhaps there seems to be a readymade remedy for the Class of Kyle, 2012.
Unfortunately, as proven in the eye-popping and jaw-dropping Channel 4 documentary ‘My Phone Sex Secrets’, it seems that you don’t have to be that imaginative to earn a substantial salary if you can bear the sound of your voice uttering the unutterable, whilst distant voices on the other end of at least one line do the unmentionable. With over a million of the available female workforce currently unemployed in the UK, the relative ease of which to ‘earn’ £1 per minute can sound attractive.
This morning, across management and HR desks up and down the land – probably in rural towns like Ipswich, for example – the flutter of hastily-written resignation letters could be heard, as hundreds of previously unimaginative viewers – who have used the word ‘bastard’ whilst having sex at least once – told their bosses to stick it. Then, inevitably hoping against hope that 24 hours later, said same bosses call them back, wanting to be told to stick it deeper.
The documentary set out to tell the story of three specific ‘sex-callers’: Rosa, a student and ‘first-timer’, who was wracking up bills as a student and wanted to find new revenue, er, streams. Her significantly older mentor – and munter, it must be said – Jenny, was what the football pundits would call a ‘whiley old campaigner’: ten years into her career, she was probably due a different type of testimonial altogether. Finally, there was the rather precocious and uppity dominatrix, Marnie Diamond, who was beginning to question her career choice, at the age of 19, and wondering if it was too late to change. Kids, eh?
We start with Marnie, wandering around Waitrose with a basket on her arm and her phone pressed to her ear, discussing genitalia and their potential hardcore usage, in between ordering lottery tickets and squeezing broccoli. Surely in Aldi that’s fine, but Waitrose? Come on. Marnie was earning a substantial wage through her posh dominatrix call line, and as such could afford a “plush, waterside apartment, costing over £600 a month!”. Wow. That means she must have been somewhere like Peterborough, or Northampton, as anything even remotely useful in anywhere less remote and less useless would have been considerably more expensive. She would have had to have told a lot more men to slap their puppy’s bollocks harder – yes, this was on camera – if she wanted to move out.
We then moved on to Rosa, our student who had the face, chins and bedside manner of a sloth about to be patronising. She had not done this before, and we embarked on the mission together. Her first caller messaged her to say that he liked to have his smoking controlled. No, I’ve no idea, either, readers.
“Have you ever smoked much?” asked the director, from off-camera.
“I did…once, I think…but I can’t remember. I don’t think I liked it” was our virgin’s response. One expected that this evening’s escapade was going to have a very similar conclusion, except that she would definitely remember the time she spoke to a stranger on the phone, whilst he furiously masturbated and she pretended to know about smoking.
The half-empty pint of bitter sat next to the laptop as the phone rang, indicated that some libation had been taken to ensure a steady hand and calm nerves. She had the voice of a women being strangled by a fistful of flumps, and one can only assume that the caller hadn’t heard a female voice in weeks, as she fumbled her way through to the successful conclusion of the call.
Jenny, on the other hand, was literally an old hand. The opening scene with our veteran showed her slapping paint on the walls of her kitchen, telling the caller to “Urgh!…Ya bastard!.…Fook me ‘arder…yeah…ya bastard” without missing a stroke of magnolia. Our caller probably did likewise as he also splashed his own emulsion around.
Jenny used her powers of dramatics to great effect – she had more than one standard voice, so that she could keep the phone ringing most of the day, where on her best day, she had coined nearly £600 – or a months rent in Diamond’s world. She had a school-girly voice, which meant she talked a little bit higher and faster than normal; her ‘normal’ voice, which sounded like an amorous Yorkshire cab driver being force-fed gravel through a Darth Vader sieve. But her masterpiece was her ‘elderly voice’, Mabel. Now, your scribe is not easily offended, but this was when the comedic took a turn to the horrific darkside.
The horror became more pronounced when Rosa met Jenny, and they spent some time in Jenny’s technicolour nightmare of a living room, practicing their orgasms. “No, love…you want to slow down, and sound exhausted at the end of it….like this….” It was the infamous ‘When Harry Met Sally’ café scene, played out by two walrus, fighting on a DFS sofa-lined shoreline. The sound of a million men vomiting did not make the late night news as it should have done. Jenny proved that this was a well-rehearsed occurrence by producing in front of another low budget living room full of her friends, who gasped their disgust and admiration in equal measure.
But what about the people behind the voices? Both Marnie and Jenny had suffered relationship issues, unsurprisingly, as their work had made them confront parts of the male psyche that they would have rather was kept from them. Marnie was suspicious of all men, yet at that tender age, to be so exposed to such depravity, one found it difficult to sympathise. After all, this was a path that she had chosen to take, and was rather boastful of it in public places.
Jenny, on the other hand, had had a call from an old flame, and was falling in love all over again. Her partner was incredibly understanding, and actually proud of the fact that not only was his lover working, she seemed to be bloody good at it too. Fair play to him.
Rosa returned to an obnoxious student pub, to discuss it with her equally uninspiring student friends, and decided that she would continue along her path pretending that the ends justifies the means. This viewers doubted she is in this career for the long haul. Marnie replaced businessmen in babygrows with a camera and a studio – “yah, it’s going rarly well, actually” – and has thankfully returned to some semblance of posh sanity. However, the anonymous callers at the other end of the transactional exchange replace her with another number, another voice, and the expiry date of a credit card as they juggle their way to their self-satisfying end, as the credits roll.
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