Tinder Is A Modern Day Whorehouse. I Said It.

Back when I was too small to see over the kitchen counter, I would often imagine the “Wild West” as an adventurous place, people traveling in covered wagons, panning for gold, building cities where no cities ever stood before.

But I didn’t daydream about whorehouses. Maybe I should have? They’ve been a part of human culture and countless civilizations since essentially forever. I’m sure T-Rex even had his go-to spots for his particular reptilian tastes. They’re not abnormal or historically rare, you just don’t like them.

The notion that a man’s sexual needs are no different or less important than his need for food has always been a business opportunity. It’s not called the world’s oldest sin, but the world’s oldest profession. Until we decided prostitution was somehow “wrong” and created laws and religious fist-shakes to shut it down. Because that would stop it, right?

I believe sex work should be legal. Not just legal, but strongly regulated. The health and safety of sex workers and their clients should be no less paramount than the health and safety of anyone else in a physically demanding job. We pay men millions of dollars to slam their bodies together, but we make them wear football helmets when they do it.

If sex work was legal, we could stop resting on an overstuffed sofa of “morals” that allows us some kind of mental comfort and superiority. Sex won’t be a normal, natural part of life if we say it shouldn’t be, right? That’ll change human behavior, right? If we could acknowledge that men pay women for sex anyway (and women pay men, too), then maybe the hungry men I deal with on a daily basis can get the fuck off Tinder,* where they think they can have anything they want for free.

Take this fine young man for example. He is a stranger. I’ve never met him before. That first message is the first thing I said to him. He only waited 22 words to mention his erection. I blocked him instantly and went on about my day, but the exchange bothered me, and I had trouble putting it out of my head. Maybe because it wasn’t the first, and I’m assuming (though hoping otherwise) that it won’t be the last.

Why did he think that was okay? What made him think that he could speak to a woman he didn’t know like that? What made him think he could impose upon her to sate his sexual need in that moment? What makes him not an exception, but one of innumerable men that think they’re being “forward,” when really they’re being inappropriate? Maybe it’s because Tinder is a modern day whorehouse.

Online dating apps are where (some) men go to get whatever sexual satisfaction they want. And it’s where (some) women go to provide it. Sound familiar? I’m basing this assumption on the fact that at some point this guy had his behavior rewarded, otherwise why try again? He was way too casual about it to be a newbie. The first guy to ever walk into a room and ask to pay for sex was either thrown out on his ass, or accepted as a customer. My money is on the latter.

I’ve already written on the topic of ethical non-monogamy. Married men seeking out more and different sex than they can have at home is also an activity best engaged in in a place where both parties enter for the same transaction. I use dating apps so that I can stop dating. Married men haven’t had to date in years. Call me crazy, but Ashley Madison was a brilliant idea. Keep all the sexually stifled marrieds in one pen, please, there’s no reason to have them mingle with the rest of the herd.

The specimen above however was really interesting to me. Single and busy, I totally get that. Maintaining a relationship or marriage at home when you travel more often than not would certainly be a struggle. But this guy wants contact. The company of a woman. In small doses. Do you see the goddamn theme here?

We are sitting ducks. Single women on dating apps are the most target rich environment on earth. Solicit, offend, entice, whatever her response, there are so many more where she came from. You can what do you want, consequence and debt-free. Anonymity, abundance, affordability. In ye olde days, you got your ass kicked if you left without paying. Now, you’re free to do and say what you like, to who you like, and nothing bad will happen to you. That’s where they get the nerve. That’s why men think they can open a conversation by asking us to text them through their morning masturbation. They need a different place to go. I did not sign up for this shit.

Some will argue, “But they do pay! Dating apps aren’t always free.” Fuck you and the delusion you rode in on. These men are paying more for Citibikes than what could mildly be described as phone sex. And I’m paying, too. I’m paying to be a maybe. Maybe she’ll sext me while I jack off. Maybe she’ll let me fuck her once a month when I’m home. And then say nothing, ask nothing, expect nothing at all. Least of all respect. And hey, if she won’t there are millions, literally millions more where she came from.

Do I have a solution to all of this? No. I simply crave honesty. Society lied to itself when it criminalized prostitution. It created a fantasy in its head and I’m old enough to see over the kitchen counter now. Wake up. Sex is free, but sometimes it shouldn’t be. If you’re using no more than a swipe of your thumb to instantly acquire it, that’s one of those times. We’re not restaurants you flip through on Seamless, we’re human beings. And single, female human beings looking for single, male human beings that conduct themselves with a modicum of respect do not deserve to be made to feel like they’re working in a profession they did not choose.

Let’s all stop imagining they’re “dating” apps, or just give me a place to interact with single men in a way that won’t make me want to send them a bill.

  • I use Tinder as a general reference to most dating apps. Much the same way you don’t call it a tissue, you call it a Kleenex.

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Tales of Rock: As ‘Rocketman’ Prepares to Take Off, Hollywood Holds Its Breath – Part 2

ImageThe film arrives in theaters on May 31 as perhaps the most ambitious movie of Hollywood’s summer season, a four-month period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales.CreditDavid Appleby/Paramount Pictures, via Associated Press

Paramount certainly seemed pleased. Publicists for the studio, which has placed last at the domestic box office for the last seven years, even as it found occasional hits like “A Quiet Place,” sent out a news release that said in capital red letters, “We’ve been waiting a long, long time — ‘Rocketman’ blasts off in Cannes!”

Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen and Company, expects “Rocketman” to collect roughly $120 million in the United States and Canada and rank as one of the 12 biggest movies of the summer. Sequels and reboots will fill every other slot, Mr. Creutz predicted in a recent report, with one exception. He also has high hopes for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony), a lavish 1969-set drama from Quentin Tarantino and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.

“Buzz for the film seems pretty solid,” Mr. Creutz said of “Rocketman,” which he described as “a counterprogramming alternative to younger audience-targeted fare.” Also arriving on May 31 is “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (Warner/Legendary) and “Ma,” a Universal-Blumhouse horror movie.

Still, success for “Rocketman” is far from guaranteed.

How much clamor is there for Elton John music? There may be a great deal: Mr. John has spent the last decade performing sold-out shows in Las Vegas and touring the world to similar results. On the other hand, Mr. John has spent the last decade performing. “Bohemian Rhapsody” benefited from pent-up demand for Mercury, who died in 1991 of complications from AIDS.

One of Paramount’s biggest challenges involves the perception of success. If “Rocketman” sells even half the number of tickets as “Bohemian Rhapsody” it will be a runaway success. But try telling that to box office headline writers.There is no way for Paramount to avoid comparisons to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” even though “Rocketman” is a sharper-edged film that has a more auteur sensibility. Mr. Fletcher’s film begins and ends with Mr. John in rehab, where he identifies himself as an alcoholic, with addictions to cocaine and sex.

 

Gay imagery was largely underplayed in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to the dismay of people eager for Hollywood to become less timid about homosexuality. But the depiction of same-sex relationships in “Rocketman” could limit interest in more conservative parts of the United States. The contemporary romantic comedy “Love, Simon” was a hard sell last year because it ventured a kiss between teenage boys. “Rocketman” is expected to generate enormous ticket sales in countries like England, but the film will not make it past Chinese censors without severe sanitization, something that Mr. John is likely to deem a nonstarter.

“Even if the movie doesn’t make one penny at the box office — which will kill Jim Gianopulos — it is the movie I wanted to make,” Mr. John said from the stage after the Cannes premiere, referring to Paramount’s chairman.

To overcome any box office difficulties, Paramount has thrown all of its weight into marketing the film. Fans can upload photos of themselves to a Paramount website and find out what they would look like in flamboyant Elton John eyewear. (Tagline: “Show the world you were never ordinary.”)

To generate word of mouth, Paramount teamed up with Fandango to offer sneak-peek screenings at 400 theaters on Saturday.

Mr. Gianopulos even likened “Rocketman” to a superhero movie as part of a push for the movie at the most recent CinemaCon, a convention for theater owners. “If musicians were superheroes, Elton John would be Rocketman — capable of escaping the gravity of the ordinary, fear and prejudice,” Mr. Gianopulos said on stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where Mr. John performed 450 shows for 1.8 million fans from 2004 to 2018.

Paramount then sent attendees home with sparkly “Rocketman” T-shirts.

 

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Tales of Rock: As ‘Rocketman’ Prepares to Take Off, Hollywood Holds Its Breath – Part 1

Taron Egerton as Elton John in “Rocketman.” How the film performs at the box office will be a measure of his star power.

LOS ANGELES — Multiple movie studios passed on the opportunity to make “Rocketman,” an R-rated musical fantasia about Elton John’s hedonistic breakthrough years. Too gay. Too expensive. Too reliant on an unproven star.

But one film company, the down-on-its-luck Paramount Pictures, saw the audacious project as a chance to prove something to both Hollywood and Wall Street — namely that, to borrow a reference from Sir Elton, it’s still standing.

Now comes the moment of truth.

“Rocketman” will arrive in theaters on May 31 as perhaps the most ambitious movie of Hollywood’s summer season, a four-month period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales and relies overwhelmingly on franchises. Starring Taron Egerton and costing an estimated $120 million to make and market worldwide, “Rocketman” trails glitter — a million Swarovski crystals adorn the costumes and eyewear — and depicts gay sex, a first for a major studio. Mr. Egerton, 29, known for the “Kingsman” action comedies, did all of his own singing, reinterpreting classics like “The Bitch Is Back.” There is intricate choreography (one stylized scene finds an entire London neighborhood dancing in formation) and an orgy musical number set to “Bennie and the Jets.”

Depending on its box office performance, “Rocketman” could have wide ripple effects. Paramount has delivered nine consecutive quarters of improved financial results for Viacom, its corporate owner, but a turnaround is still tenuous. A big hit — and one that’s not a sequel, spinoff or reboot, at that — would provide a morale boost and send an important message to Hollywood’s creative community and Viacom investors: that even in the age of Netflix and Marvel, Paramount can deliver.

 

The stakes are also high for Mr. Egerton. His previous movie, Lionsgate’s big-budget “Robin Hood,” was a critical and commercial bomb. If this one fizzles, Mr. Egerton’s leading man opportunities may vanish. Dexter Fletcher, who directed “Rocketman,” is also hoping for a career-making moment. Mr. Fletcher, who also acts, has never had a breakout success as a filmmaker, although he earned points in Hollywood for finishing “Bohemian Rhapsody” after the credited director, Bryan Singer, was fired.

In some ways, almost every major studio has something riding on “Rocketman.” Movies built around song catalogs have become white hot in Hollywood. Baz Luhrmann is working on an Elvis Presley movie for Warner Bros. Sony recently bought the rights to “Once Upon a One More Time,” described as a fairy tale fueled by Britney Spears songs. Universal is developing a Madonna biopic called “Blond Ambition.” Celine Dion, David Bowie and Judy Garland films are on the way from smaller studios.

Turnout for “Rocketman” could either heat up or cool down studio interest. Right now, film executives are dreaming of finding another “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The Queen bio-musical collected a jaw-dropping $908 million worldwide last year and won four Academy Awards, including one for Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.

“It will be interesting to see how broad the ‘Rocketman’ audience will be — whether it bridges the gaps,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, which tracks box office data.

Heterosexual men are typically the hardest audience for musicals to reach. “Bohemian Rhapsody” overcame that hurdle, but no one is exactly sure why. Some longtime movie marketers point out that Queen anthems like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” are sporting event mainstays. “Or it could be that these movies are hitting on multiple levels: biopic, jukebox musical, an anchor performance, a little documentary even,” Mr. Dergarabedian said.

The film arrives in theaters on May 31 as perhaps the most ambitious movie of Hollywood’s summer season, a four-month period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales.CreditDavid Appleby/Paramount Pictures, via Associated Press

 

 

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The Beach House – Chapter 14

“It was a harbor boat. I was hired to take care of a guy on his yacht anchored in the harbor. I fucked him, and then we went to the deck for a break. I was naked and pretty stoned. There were six of his friends waiting for me when we got up there. He told me I had to take care of all of them, and I refused.” She sighed. “He got a hold of my purse and clothes and told me I wasn’t getting them back until they were all satisfied. When I refused again, he threw them overboard and told me they would just take what they wanted. Luckily, they were more drunk than I was stoned. I was able to get on his harbor boat and break away. That was my lowest point, Dale. When I knew I didn’t want to go on anymore.”

“Now I know everything. I don’t want you to leave me.” I was afraid she hated herself so much that happiness was hell for her.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go.” It was a cop out. My frustration was rising, and I knew it wouldn’t help the situation.

“If you want to leave, I will give you whatever money you need to start over. Do you love me or not?” I couldn’t believe I had just drawn a line in the sand. I was angry, frustrated, and scared of how she would answer. She turned back to me with wet eyes and nodded.

“Yes, I love you. I just don’t know how you could love me.” I smiled as a warmth filled my soul. I hadn’t lost her. I wrapped her in my arms and pulled her lips to mine. She responded slowly then added passion to match mine. I rolled her onto her back and held her face in my hands.

“For now, just accept that I do love you.” I smiled and kissed her face all over. “No more secrets, no more lies. You are mine, and I am yours.” I was back at her lips as she folded her hands gently around the back of my head and engaged my tongue. She ran her thigh up along mine and quickly separated her lips from mine.

“You’re covered in sand.” There was desire in her eyes. “How about the pool?” She was breathing hard. I had no idea how she moved from “don’t touch me” to “how about the pool.” All I knew is that I wanted her badly. My arousal was evident as I pulled her to her feet. We almost ran to the pool, trying not to let the mood weaken. I dropped my suit and dove in. I turned and watched the most adorable striptease. She had to peel herself out of her suit which required a few sexy shimmies and made her all the more desirable. I gave a wolf whistle as she finally pulled it down her legs. I received a sexy runway pose before she dove in after me.

Our lips met again in the shallows. Her breasts pressed into my chest as I ran my hands over her body not knowing where to touch first and not wanting to miss a part. My inexperience was evident as I explored. Mia tenderly grabbed my hand and moved it between her legs. “This is yours.” She whispered in my ear. “I don’t want any other man but you to touch it ever again.” It felt like my dick was trying to grow larger. As I let my hand explore between her legs. The folds were sensual, soft and slick. I ran a finger along the slit carefully feeling for the entrance. She opened for me and I slipped my finger into the warmest and most inviting embrace.

“You feel so beautiful.” I was mesmerized with her pussy. I had never taken the time to enjoy a woman so completely. Mia moaned as I explored her with my finger. I liked being the cause of the moan. I felt her hand around my hard-on, and my hips jerked a bit.

“I want you in me,” she said, looking into my eyes. I felt a twinge in my groin at that and knew I wouldn’t last long. I didn’t want to disappoint her, but she was just too damn hot. I removed my hand and fumbled my dick into position. I was a bit over excited and had trouble finding my way in. Mia smiled, and I felt her grab my cock and guide it toward Heaven. Her feet left the bottom of the pool, and she encircled my hips with her legs. The most wonderful sensation enveloped my shaft. She slowly took all of me while watching my eyes. I was trying desperately not to explode. I never wanted it to end. She looked so gorgeous hanging on my shoulders. Her hips moved to meet mine.

“Do you love me, Dale?” She knew the answer to that. She just wanted to hear it again.

“I love you, Mia.” I felt her hips grind into my groin. Her head tilted backward, and her smile warmed deliciously. My experience was irrelevant. My words were her aphrodisiac. “I want you more than anything.” Her hips were grinding involuntarily. I was trying desperately to hold back just a moment longer. “You are in my soul. I will love you forever.” Mia’s whole body began to shake, and her muscles tensed. I saw the veins in her neck enlarge as her hips ground harder and more sporadically. A sexy growl came from her lips which sent me over the top. I emptied into her again and again. I thought I would never stop as pleasure coursed through my body into the love of my life.

Mia pulled forward as her spasms subsided. My legs collapsed, and we fell backward underwater, her lips locked on mine. I thought she was going to smother me to death, she was squeezing so hard. She separated from me, and we rose back into the air. It was the single best experience of my life. “I really love swimming with you!” I couldn’t even attempt to shrink my grin. Everything about her was so exciting. Mia laughed and wrapped her arms around and through me.

“You were beyond perfect!” She kissed me on the lips. “I am yours, you know.” She kissed me on my nose and moved to my forehead then my cheeks. I held her close and whispered in her ear.

“No more doubts?” I didn’t want to ruin the mood, but I had to know.

“None at all.” I felt her smile against my cheek. My plan had one more step. It was an insane step, but my life had always been a bit insane.

“Marry me.” I said it clearly. I didn’t whisper. I wanted her to know I meant it. She pulled her head back and looked me in eyes.

“You’re serious.” It was a statement that didn’t require a response. I gave her one anyway.

“Absolutely serious.” I didn’t let my eyes drift away from hers. Without blinking, the word formed on her lips.

“Yes.” Her expression didn’t change. I felt she was waiting for me to withdraw the offer. I just smiled and gave her a tender kiss which she returned.

“Mia, my wife… I really like the sound of that,” I said when our lips parted. I think it hit her right then. I wasn’t pulling her chain. I had no fear of her past and no fear of our future. She melted into me and screamed into the air. She released all her fears with mine, and we emotionally entwined our futures.

The sliding glass door slammed open and Dr. Williams came running out. He had heard Mia’s scream and thought the worst. He slowed when he saw a naked entwined couple in the pool with smile-laden faces. “Whoa! not quite what I expected.” He said trying to cover his eyes. I could see a grin hidden behind his hand. Mia started laughing. What a wonderful laugh.

“You want to be really blown away?” Mia said with sparkling eyes.

“Nothing you two do will shock me anymore.” He sat on a pool chair which allowed the side of the pool to provide the necessary modesty.

“Mia has agreed to be my wife.” I watched his expression go through three or four emotions and then settle on happy.

“That is many levels of insane, but with you two, it just seems to fit.” He was smiling at both of us. He started laughing to himself. “Monica is going to shit when she hears this.” He started slapping his knee. “She was so pissed at you for screwing up her anniversary. She made me promise to make you do the heavy lifting, and she gave the clinic a lot of your money to make sure it happened.” He was having a hard time trying to control the laughter. “She said you wouldn’t last a day.” He was hysterical at this point. “She’s been waiting for your apology. Called me twice wondering why you weren’t begging for forgiveness.” He pointed at me. “What I wouldn’t give to see her face when she hears about this.”

“Honey, we really should do something nice for her and her husband. After all, you did screw up their anniversary.” Mia pulled me close smiling. I was fine with her being my social compass.

“We certainly owe her something for putting us together.” I squeezed Mia. “We’ll put our heads together and dream up something special.” I looked back at the doctor.

“Well, my work is done here. It’s been an absolute privilege working with you two.” He smiled as he stood up. We had drifted to the edge of the pool so he didn’t have to hide behind his hand. “I am truly happy for both of you. I just never saw it coming.” He held out the palm of his hand. “I’ll show myself out.” He was still chuckling as he walked back through the house. Mia shouted thanks as he disappeared inside.

“Well Mrs. Tomlinson, or Perez if you prefer, would you like some dinner?” I was steering her toward the stairs.

“Mrs. Tomlinson is indeed hungry.” She smiled at me as she followed.

We had a wonderful dinner of frozen crap. Mia and I decided that grocery shopping was first on the list for tomorrow. As we were cleaning up the plates, my phone buzzed. It was Frank.

“Frank, I am going to put you on speaker.” I wasn’t going to hide anything for Mia anymore. I placed the phone on the table. “Mia Perez is here with me.”

“I’m not sure I understand Mr. Tomlinson.” Frank was a bit confused. He didn’t expect to be talking with anyone but me.

“Mia, Frank is the one who I had looking into your past. I suspect he has information about the boat incident to report.”

“Hi Frank.” Mia smiled at me. I think she was happy that I didn’t take the call privately.

“Hello, Ms. Perez.” Frank stuttered a bit.

“Frank, I hired you to clear up some issues between Mia and myself so I could talk her into marrying me.” I heard a cough on the other side of the line. “She has already told me what happened on the boat and has agreed to be my wife.”

“Ahh, congratulations!?” It sounded more like a question.

“I think we may have caught you off guard Frank. I told Dale everything. I am sure the gentleman on the boat may spin it a bit differently but, the gist will be the same.” Mia scooted next to me and gave me a peck on the cheek.

“Sorry, I am not used to working for couples with so much trust. Kind of comes with the job.” He was getting on his feet again. “The yacht is owned by a Walter Patterson. It was his son Thomas Patterson who hired you, Ms. Perez, for his evening’s entertainment.” He paused to make sure that I was fully aware of the events. “It seems that Mr. Patterson has a habit of renegotiating his agreements with his entertainers once he has them on his father’s boat. You are not the first one he has done this to.” He coughed a bit. “I apologize, Ms. Perez, but he calls them his ‘water bang parties.’ He has some like-minded friends who frequent the events.”

“What a bastard!” Mia had grim look on her face. “I thought it was a spur of the moment thing. You say he planned to share me with his friends?”

“Yes ma’am. A rather distraught young man, Kyle Gladstone, filled me in. He was on board and had no idea that you had not previously agreed. Mr. Patterson controls his job prospects. He spent a good twenty minutes telling me how ashamed he was for not telling the police.”

“Tall blonde kid, funny glasses?” Mia asked.

“That describes him pretty well.” Frank added. Mia looked at me.

“He got in the way of the other guys when I made for the harbor boat. I think he got in over his head,” Mia injected.

“That was my feeling also. Both Mr. Patterson and Mr. Gladstone work for a small chemical outfit called Gem Works.” Frank sighed, “I don’t think you should have bought him a new boat, Mr. Tomlinson. They would have dropped the charges just to keep the incident quiet and avoid jail time themselves.”

“How much did I pay for the boat?” I was beginning to devise a bit of payback. I heard paper shuffling on the other end.

“$33,781 according to the invoice Bob sent me.” I wrote down the number and a few other notes.

“Thanks, Frank. Your service has been very valuable to me.” I was getting use to thanking people.

“Thanks, Frank. I appreciate your careful choice of words.” Mia smiled at the phone.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Ms Perez. Congratulations on your engagement.” He disconnected. I really liked Frank. He was a no bullshit guy who seemed to care for his clients. I was hoping I could use him again in the future.

“I suddenly don’t like Mr. Thomas Patterson.” I said with a mischievous smile. “What do you say we try to put an end to his water bang parties.”

 

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