For some of these gentlemen, I represent a safe middle ground in which to experiment” Guest Author Jessica Rivers

Ideas are dangerous things. A little errant thought picked up by your unconscious can be worse than a song stuck in your head, and it really doesn’t matter where it comes from. Sometimes, it’s a late night airing of The Crying Game that gets the ball rolling or maybe an old Jerry Springer episode. Even Oprah did a few very nice things over the years (some of which actually complicated my life in strange and unforeseen ways.) There was even a Playboy spread that made some waves back in the 80s, I think. And it’s not as though girls like me aren’t all over the internet these days. Whatever it is, it’s usually a delicate chain reaction of events that leads these men to my door.

Not that they’re all the same, mind you. One of the few things I know for certain is that everyone ultimately is a different breed of cat. But there are some common threads in the stray cats that show up on my doorstep.

They are already sexually adventurous, usually a bit older and quite experienced themselves by the time they see me

For some of these gentlemen, I represent a safe middle ground in which to experiment. They’ve been there, done that and now they find themselves a little older and more… curious?

And that’s it. Just a question mark? They don’t really know what’s next until they get the idea stuck in their head which then combines with the unanswered question. That’s usually where I come in.

I find that men are often troubled by their own definitions

Call it the Curse Of Adam. There was a reason it was Adam who named the animals, making them objects. It is the nature of men to do such things, to objectify, define, delineate. A man’s world is defined by external points of reference. This is why they’re always measuring, comparing, and classifying things. Contrary to what most modern feminists seem to think, it’s generally a wonderful thing. It keeps them focused on the tasks at hand, dealing with the external world, building bridges, moving the heavy things. It also keeps their attention focused on us – on all of our lovely shapes and forms. (I told you it was wonderful!)

If a girl experiences a casual lesbian fling in college, no one thinks she’s gay

In contrast, women subjectify by nature, which can be more of a curse than a blessing. They define themselves by internal measure. For a woman, what she thinks about who she is speaks of supreme importance. Women resist and resent being defined by external actions. If a girl experiences a casual lesbian fling in college, no one thinks she’s gay unless she thinks she is gay (and why a gentleman who takes a lovely transexual out to dinner can be racked with guilt that he’s somehow “become gay”.)

This is why self-esteem is so crucial to women and while normally it could be thought of as a good thing to not let yourself become too defined by the world around you. It can easily be taken to the extreme and a woman can become detached from what she does and cling to her self-image, refusing to believe that she is what she is and rationalizing what she actually does.

Time with me seems not only exotic, but dangerous

What this means, practically, is that men often define themselves by their external actions (not their internal feelings). And that’s what many of these gentlemen found was their biggest obstacle to meeting me. They believed that if they spend time with me, it somehow makes them something different, that it would change how they define themselves. (Oh my God, does this make me… gay?) Yet they could never reconcile the burning curiosity combined with that radical idea floating freely in their heads so they did nothing but think about it. A lot. Constantly. For years, sometimes. Until the dam suddenly breaks one day and there they are, at my door, shaking like a leaf. So much drama! I tell them that it’s just not that serious a decision! Much ado about nothing! And I usually end up explaining it to them in food terms:

“You can have Italian food every night of the week for your whole life, and one night decide to have Chinese food instead. It doesn’t make you Chinese. It doesn’t mean you won’t eat Italian again tomorrow. It doesn’t even mean you’ll like Chinese food. It just means you want something different tonight, that’s all.” – Jessica Rivers, circa 2006.

Other gentlemen friends of mine are true aficionados; they have a taste for me

and know exactly what to do with me. They choose me specifically to add an unusual flavor to their otherwise vanilla life. This is not to say that they are vanilla people. To the contrary and that’s the problem. It’s the lifestyle they find themselves stuck in that is vanilla. They’re usually overworked, under-appreciated, and know what they need and where to get it. They know their Chinese food and never need to see a menu. And a little time in my teahouse is exactly what they need. While I do always love being the teacher, it is nice to meet a gentleman who knows what to do with me. Oh, and they do!

The very idea of me is scandalous

This makes me a well-kept, dirty, little secret. No one admits to even thinking about me, much less actually spending time with me. The love that dare not speak its name has nothing on me. It makes my life both delicious and tragic at times. I confessed this to a client over dinner at Hillstone in Dallas last month. At first he didn’t see it. I may get advances from men all the time, but I can’t get involved with any of them. My life is far too complicated for them. It could hurt their purty little heads! And the men I do get to know would never admit to knowing me in public. I’m their secret.

“But” he says, “I am here with you having a lovely dinner in public.”

At which point I say, “Yes, and it is my precisely my secret which makes it so delicious, isn’t it? That you know it and they don’t.” He knows I’m right.

I’ve learned to love the angry glances from women

This isn’t nearly as bad as I make it out to be. As tragedies go, it can be pretty entertaining. It can make everything I do charged with a certain electric quality. It can make the mundane kind of amazing. That’s why I cherish these times, these passing dinners, being this unknown exotic creature, swimming relatively unnoticed, in the middle of a crowded pool of… goldfish. I’ve learned to love the angry glances from women, the desperate glances from husbands when they think their wives aren’t looking. In a way, it shows me I’m doing something right.

I think about where we’re going and what’s going to happen next, and it turns me on

My date signs the bill, holds my hand across the table and says we should go… he simply can’t wait any longer. I bite my lip, because I can’t wait, either.  I look around at the unsuspecting goldfish and smile. When we get up to leave, he pulls out my chair and I pause to kiss him briefly in front of the whole restaurant. I must confess the naughtiness of it still gives me a thrill. Seeing our waiter wink at him on the way out was priceless.

Being The Secret does have its moments.

Written by Guest Author & Transgendered Courtesan, Jessica Rivers