Monday, February 14, 2011

Hustling: It'll Cost You

video

Here is my author's video, posted recently on Smashwords, Amazon, Facebook, and sarahkernochan.com.

This video cost me a dear friend. We had never met, actually. We had been email pals, an innocent philosophical conversation that somehow stretched out a couple of years, until he made the mistake of showing the clip to his wife. She had been aware of our correspondence. I never thought she might feel threatened, since he was happily married in Scotland and I am happily married in New York.

But the video suddenly snipped the line of communication. Even though in the clip I refer to my dry hustling days as sins of my youth - and indeed they are over 30 years behind me - suddenly she could not trust me around her husband. And there you have the price of con games: even if you no longer practice the fine art of manipulating men, even if you are well past the age of your average femme fatale, and even if what you wrote was mostly fiction, don't be surprised if some people will forever believe that everything you say is fiction, devised to deceive, seduce, and betray. The very act of hustling in a video adds to the impression of your arrant untrustworthiness. She'll say anything to sell her book! She'll do anything to part a fool from his money (or his marriage)!

So my friend's wife made him end our correspondence.

In the video I mention that the life of a con artist is lonely. Your friends can't trust you, and if your only friends are other hustlers, you can't trust them either. It may be fun to watch ingenious flimflammers at work, but be aware of the red light blinking overhead: there's a tragedy in progress.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Belle Du Jour De Trop

A propos of my last post, ("Tantric Dirty Stuff") where I complained that people were downloading Dry Hustle sample chapters and then not buying the book, a reader remarked that maybe most of the people downloading free chapters are men, and there was really nothing to turn them on in the first 50 pages except a slammin' good story and unforgettable characters and brilliant writing. I contacted Smashwords to change the free excerpt to later in the book, where we have the masturbating-while-watching-a-game-show scene. But Smashwords said they limit the sample to the beginning of the book, so.

I was musing today about many women's enduring fantasy of being a hooker.  What if I had to give myself to strange men, one after another, who made me do things against my will and generally degraded me? (Actually, I don't have this particular fantasy, preferring to imagine myself molested at sword-point by pirates. This is described in greater detail in my song "Can I Get On Top This Time," one of the mp3's offered for free download on sarahkernochan.com.) Luis Bunuel made a classic movie about the whore perplex called Belle Du Jour. Catherine DeNeuve, a bored trophy wife, falls into a secret life as a call girl during the daytime. She is numb in her normal life, whereas being used by her male customers breaks through her catatonia and forces her to feel something. I guess living the easy life makes you yearn for abuse.

While "researching" Dry Hustle, I was aware that I was crossing into similarly dangerous territory, although at least I wasn't selling my body. But I was manipulating men's expectations of sex by pretending to be horny, and I definitely had the sense that I was degrading myself - that I was flirting with the subterranean culture of con artists as well as developing a twisted psyche and some upended values. Yet I had to pull myself back, because my fascination was too strong. Move another inch, and you're lost: over the rim into the lower depths. Or, to bring back the pirates, another step and you fall off the plank, to the mercies of the crocodiles below.