Calibrate, Guest Post by Jen Cross

This is how it was between them: leaded with need, full throttle, every night.

It didn’t matter who they were outside of the apartment. It didn’t matter how the world saw them. It didn’t matter: the misconstruals, the misreadings, the misunderstandings, the harassment, the rage. It didn’t matter that it often seemed as though no one could see them but one another.

They saw one another, and that was what really mattered.

Daphne placed the call, every afternoon at three, right when her boss stepped out for his afternoon constitutional – which actually amounted to making a rounds of the department and harassing the rest of the secretaries for awhile, giving Daphne a break.

At ten to three, Gage knew to step away from whatever machine she’d been underneath, wipe as much grease from her hands as she could, and stand nearish the phone. Every one of her coworkers at the shop knew what she was waiting for, and they didn’t quite understand why she pretended not to be waiting for her girlfriend’s call. The guys raised eyebrows at one another, but no one talked any shit. Gage had been at the shop longer than anyone, was the first woman the boss had ever hired back almost twenty years before; she had slowly but surely trained the boys how to deal when she was around: “No sexist bullshit,” she’d explain to a new hire, clapping him or her on the shoulder while showing them around the place. “I don’t wanna hear about any gash or pussy or tail or ass you got last night, got it? None of the other guys do, either. You talk about your women with respect, or don’t talk about ’em at all, got it?”

It didn’t matter to Gage that plenty of the guys wanted to hear about the pussy and the gash. She was all right with them resenting her for that. Fuck them. If she had to walk through the walls of hostility just to get to work every day, they could fucking well hold their tongues to avoid the shop getting sued for creating a hostile work environment.

Exactly at three, the oil-stained phone rang. Gage wiped damp palms on her coveralls and picked up the line.

“Stoney’s Auto.”

“Gage?” Daphne’s voice sounded like warm honey that’d been poured over shards of broken glass in the back alley behind some biker bar.

“Yeah.”

“You there?”

“Always, baby.”

“You got something for me when we get home?”

It never failed. Gage had to swallow hard just to be able to answer. All these years, and still she went immediately rigid at the sound of a woman—her woman—asking for what she wanted. Gage dropped her voice a shade, deepening it the way she knew Daphne liked, and trying to keep a little something private from the guys trying not to look like they’re listening in. “You want something when we get home?”

“Yeah.” A little whimper at the end.

“You gonna tell me about it.”

“Yeah.” A little sharper whimper.

“How’m I gonna calibrate?”

“Bring it all.”

Gage’s heart ached. She knew from this that Daphne had had a particularly hard day; maybe the boss had tried to feel her up again during the staff meeting, or maybe he’d offered up his only-very-thinly-veiled reminder that if she’d only go home with him, he would happily promote her up to management.

“I got it ready.”

“Ok.”

They hung up. One of the guys across the floor, Samuel, Gage’s oldest buddy at the shop, made eye contact with Gage as she hung up. Gage nodded a little slowly. Samuel gave a small smile and a shrug. Gage shrugged back. “Yeah,” she said. Then she went home, mind spinning with what was to come.

Daphne got home before Gage nearly every evening. Most nights she tore off her office drag—button-down shirt and pencil skirt, “nude” nylon stockings, low black pumps—off as soon as she walked into the bedroom she’d shared with Gage since their four-month anniversary. She’d let her long auburn hair down from its tight bun and wrap herself in one of the many peignoirs she’d collected over the years. Most nights she’d have a bath drawn and dinner started by the time Gage walked in the back door.

“Go clean up,” she’d say to her love, eyeing with hunger Gage’s thick shoulders and broad, filthy hands. “Dinner will be ready soon.” She’d let the satin robe fall, accidentally, from one smooth shoulder as Gage walked past her, which she’d trained Gage never to leave unsuckled, and so, most nights, she had to boil a pot of water to reheat the tub by the time Gage made it from the kitchen into to the bathroom. Most nights, Daphne was the one who’d sit down to their shared dinner oilstained.

It didn’t matter how anyone else saw them, what anyone else read into the roles each played. What mattered was how each of them ached, specifically, for what and who and how the other was.

On this night, Daphne did not take off her clothes. She did not start dinner. She didn’t even remove her red plaid trench coat. She didn’t get past the kitchen. She fell into one of the chairs at the kitchen table, the ones with the metal frame backs and the plastic covered seats that came with the ’50s-era linoleum kitchen set they’d found at an estate sale not long after moving in together. She didn’t cry, not again. Everything in her was numb.

Gage found Daphne this way when she arrived home a half-hour later. The evening sun had already given way to shadow, so Daphne was just a silhouette when Gage walked in their back door. There were no lights, none of the music Daphne always had going, no aromas of arroz con pollo or fried plantain or feijoada. Just the stinging scent of lemon cleanser and Daphne’s sorrow.

Gage didn’t speak. After kicking off her work boots, she knelt in front of Daphne. Gently, she removed Daphne’s coat, then let down her hair. She listened to Daphne’s body, the shallow intake of breath. She listened to what needed to happen first.

Gage took both of Daphne’s hands in her own then stood, pulling Daphne to standing with her. She slung a dirty arm around Daphne’s somehow still pristine white work shirt, and led her into the bedroom. Slowly, slowly, Gage began to unbutton Daphne’s shirt.

“No.” Daphne still had not met Gage’s eyes. “Leave them on.”

Gage hardened. It was going to be like this, then. She took a box from next to the bed, and as she went into the bathroom, she said over her shoulder, “Take your nylons off. Leave them on the floor.”

When Gage returned to the bedroom, Daphne had done as she’d been asked. She was still sitting on the edge of the bed, far away. Gage collected her woman up in her arms, eased them both back onto the bed, then lifted herself up, reached down, and inched Daphne’s skirt up over those thick hips. She unbuttoned her fly, took out her cock, lubed it up and slipped into Daphne’s cunt.

It was then that Daphne started to cry. She fitted herself to Gage’s body—legs wrapped hard around thighs, arms clenched to Gage’s well-muscled back, fingernails digging in hard. She wept in big, fat sobs, burying her face in Gage’s chest as Gage buried herself in Daphne. Gage knew what to do. She found her rhythm, their rhythm, and kept steady as Daphne’s sorrow brewed and boiled over. It took awhile. She never knew how long it would take on nights like these. Give it to me, she thought. Give me what no one else can see.

The shift was immediate, when it came. Her gasping sobs shifted to gasps raw and thick with hunger. “Yes,” Daphne whimpered. “Yes. Like that, baby.” And Gage knew she could let go. She dropped her hands from where they’d been cradling Daphne’s head and shoulders, grabbed her woman’s hips, and drove herself home. “Yes,” she answered, panting. “Like this.” Daphne’s face wet, her body sore, her heartache subsiding. Yes, she thought, as she had every night for seventeen years. Yes, girl, please. Like this.

The Longest Running Queer Porn Site, Courtney Trouble’s Indie Porn Revolution, is the April Feature

papi-banner-vertical
When did you first discover Courtney Trouble’s queer porn work? Did your BFF email you a link recently, now that her entire empire is under the Indie Porn Revolution umbrella? Were you following links in sidebars back in the day before search engines magically indexed every single page on the web, and you stumbled on NoFauxxx, back in the day? Did you notice some sexy sexy queer salivating at you from your favorite sex blog and follow the link to QueerPorn.TV or QueerPornTube?

I remember discovering Courtney through Bitch Magazine in the late 1990s when I still lived in northern Colorado. NoFauxxx had ads in the early issues, and I spent a significant amount of time online (trying to escape the life I was confused to find myself living), and I of course went to visit the site immediately. Being a cheapskate, and not yet understanding and feeling how important it is to support artists with money, and not having any idea how to really use my own money yet, I didn’t get a membership for probably almost ten more years, but you better believe I followed the work in that time.

And now, Courtney Trouble has an epic network of websites, hundreds of thousands of photographs, numerous Feminist Porn Awards, and a solid place in the porn world as a revolutionary. She’s not only changed queer porn—or, practically invented queer porn—her queer porn ethics and methodologies are radically effecting the mainstream porn world, too.

Bad. Ass.

dorian-ipr-bannerJust a quick tour around the FREE parts of Indie Porn Revolution and you’ll know that Courtney’s saturated color, penchant for sexy sexy queers, ladies, and artists of all kinds of stars and stripes, and authentically shown orgasms and laughter and fun and mistakes are absolutely worth diving deep into.

(And yes, that is exactly what I mean, pervert.)

So, April is Indie Porn Revolution month this year here at Sugarbutch. I’ve got a variety of ads up in the sidebar (come onto the site and check it out, if you’re reading this by RSS) and I’ll unveil and feature a few of my favorite scenes from Courtney throughout the month on my own social media networks.

So keep an eye out for those! And meanwhile, go check out Indie Porn Revolution!

To the femmes on whom I’ve crushed this past year

If you think I’m not kicking myself for not making a move when I had the chance, you’re wrong.

I wish I made a move. Although really, I wish I had had the capacity to make a move. Explain it through the spoon theory, call it the grieving process, call it heartbreak, call it post-poly trauma and fear—whatever it was, I was not in the place to play, fuck, open myself up, make an offer, make a move, or hell, sometimes even flirt. I wish I had been.

These past eighteen months, there were moments my life continued on without me, me being pulled along behind the autopilot me who somehow managed to eat and sleep (no small feat). Sometimes, I had no idea you, beautiful kick-ass femme, were there, making a move on me, giving me The Eyes, putting yourself out there. Sometimes, three months later I found your email in my inbox and felt puzzled, where’d that come from? Why didn’t I even see that before? Wtf? Sometimes, I got so excited and turned on and pleased to receive an offer from you, and I plotted scripted wrote schemed what I would say back, and by the time I actually went to reply, it’d been too long and the connection felt broken.

Time is wonky in grief, in heartache. I wanted to be in an open poly playful place, and so I think sometimes I came across that way. But in retrospect, I was more shell than soul, more fear than fire. I couldn’t bring myself to our interactions—maybe you didn’t know. I didn’t know, either. Rather than defend myself, I just want to tell you that our moments, whatever we had, were special to me, and let you know that I wished I’d been there with my whole self instead of the half-ghost version you got of me.

To D:

Who took me out on a walk and talked so sweet of flowers and foliage, who held my cheek so gently in your palm before we kissed. Who wrote me a tender-hearted letter that broke my heart a little with kindness. Thank you.

To N:

Who fed me the most amazing wine and cheese and pot and smiles (that way your eyes smoke your lips part velvet you toss your bangs), you nourished me when I was incredibly dark. I’m sorry I didn’t know it better at the time. I still feel I owe you an apology. I still think of your hair falling in my face and on my skin, and how your lips felt when you whispered in my ear. Birds and photographs and more wine, and I hope you found an amazing place in New York to shine your gifts.

To A:

Your legs for miles and the way you move, your laugh and quick wit and ease. We’ve basically co-topped, more than once even, and when you made it clear you wanted to play (I think your text said, “I’d like to suck your cock,” thank you for being direct) I froze. Saw you the next day and neither of us spoke on it. Didn’t even text you back until later. In another context, I would’ve begged for the chance. I still feel like a dunce for that one. I’ve learned so much about poly watching your relationship(s) from a friendly far, and I admire how you play and hold people in such high respect. I can’t wait to see you perform again. The way you move your body … I can’t take my eyes off of you.

To C:

And your curls and handfuls of ass and knee socks and drag act. I still have your dirty story in my inbox and I feel stupid for not writing you back. I hope that wasn’t our only chance to play, because I can fuck better than that. Maybe someday I’ll work up the courage to ask you if I can prove it.

To J:

My beautiful (temporary) canvas, thank you for letting me mark you up, paint bruises and scratches and teeth marks into your gorgeous skin. And thank you for the photos after, they came at a time where it helped to be reminded of my own power, and the ways stunning creatures like you will sometimes allow me to borrow some of yours.

To T:

My fellow judge, the only one who asked me about my pronoun, the one I knew was ‘my people,’ particularly when you dipped your head just a little and then egged me on in writing: “And then what happened?” I barely remember the dirty fairy tale we started to tell, but maybe sometime we’ll get to finish it.

To D:

A kind of femme I almost don’t recognize in writing, but I recognized your markers. I recognized you in person. Your ferocity calls me still. I wish I’d had time energy spoons spunk to write you languid sexy stories you would read over your tea, slitting open the envelope with a dirty knife. I’m intimidated by your politics and youth and clarity. I ache to think of your mouth, my hands on your skin. How will I get another chance? I hope to be more ready when I do.

To L:

And perfect crisp white hotel sheets, and joints in the park, and your lipstick that never came off, and the way your hair looked in curls on the pillow in the mornings, and how much I wanted to stay sequestered with you, and your patience empathy understanding holding, and your gentle fist, and your heart-shaped mouth, and your jeans on the grass by the airport. I got a piece of myself back because of that weekend, a piece I didn’t know I was missing. Watching your hands speak I remembered those words I’ve hidden deep, wondered if you were speaking to those places when you slid inside me. I have already mailed you a dozen little ‘thinking of you’ packages in my mind, but in reality I have had no follow through. (Not just with this. With everything. Unopened mail unpaid bills unorganized paper.) I know you understand grief. Do you also understand how much I am grateful for you taking your time with me? How rare it has been for me to let someone explore those inner canyons? Thank you for being strong enough to offer to hold me, and for letting me return the exploration of your own folded in secrets. I want more of you, want to fist your hair again, bruise your knees against the floor, hold you down. Want to kiss your ankles and make an offering on my knees, though nothing really compares to what you gave me when you plucked me out of my chest and handed me back to myself. Thank you.

And to you:

You who attended my workshop in Noho or DC or Seattle or Chicago. I noticed your eyes, the way you bit your lip, how you looked me up and down, how you checked out my package, how you waited your turn and didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say either. There is often a performer/audience teacher/student power dynamic I try not to exploit (unless, you know, I have permission). But let me be clear here, now: I noticed you. Fuck, I wanted you. My mouth watered at that glimpse of your skin. Maybe I was particularly worked up that night before I even arrived, but more than once I didn’t wait to get back to my hotel before remembering your mouth and twinkle and just-barely-too-long of a glance, and I got myself off. Coming with a grunt and a sigh in a stalled bathroom, keeping someone waiting, licking off my fingers and thinking of your lips.

At another time, in a different year when I was not so lost, I would have tried to ask, to flirt, to be bold, to make it clear I was game if you were, to have boundaries, to ask for yours, to try things, to write you back, to be curious, to connect, to feel our hearts beat together (if only temporarily). I may have missed my chance, but I still want you to know that I think you’re extraordinary, and whoever did get the chance to feel your fingertips roam, to taste your skin shined with sweat, to read the book of your scars, to hear your breathing shallow and release, to be anchored down by your weight, was lucky. I barely know you, but it seems clear to me that you are luminous.