As an inveterate New York Times crossword puzzle solver, I’d hit a dead end with 28 Across. 8 letters starting with d and ending in s. The clue read “Certain numbers.” Hmmm, I pondered; unable to shrink “denominators” or stretch “digits” into 8 letters. Having spent an embarrassingly long time ruminating over it and having exhausted every internet crossword site, I decided to call the New York Times Crossword Clue 976 number where I’d get the answer to my clue and the closure I so dearly sought. At $2 per minute though, I’d need to be quick about it or I’d rack up certain enormous numbers. Evidently in my haste to expedite matters, I misdialed (mis-poked really) and unknowingly called a phone sex number. I should’ve known something was amiss when the lady on the other end said, “Listen honey, do you know who you dialed? You haven’t got a clue do you?”
“No. I do have a clue,” I protested. “I do have a clue and it’s 28 across…8 letters…certain numbers. Any ideas?”
“We get this a lot of this sweetie. You misdialed,” she instructed me. “This is 976-KISS, not 976-CLUE. You need to dial certain numbers to speak to the proper party.” I quickly hung up.
Yikes! I’d accidentally called a phone sex operator and it was now part of my permanent record. I was unclean. I wondered if I wouldn’t be allowed within 100 yards of Taylor Swift or locked out of the Disney Channel. But as the experience settled in and my curious mind began to consider this industry as an economic entity, I did some research and began an examination of this unique service from a labor management point of view. What I discovered was worth reading all the way to the end. Especially if you want to know the answer to the crossword puzzle clue. I did not realize the industry was on the cusp of unionizing. You can learn a lot from doing crossword puzzles. Here’s my report:
Phone Sex Workers of the World Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but your Shame.
That’s the Marxian pitch the Communications Workers of America (CWA) are making to beleaguered phone sex workers in an attempt to unionize their oppressed ranks. CWA Local 420 President Lil McGill, who is spearheading the recruitment effort, was going to hold a full blown press conference, but owing to the topic, felt a teleconference was more appropriate. She began:
America’s phone sex workers need union protection. Too many of these important jobs are being outsourced to offshore fulfillment centers in India where dissatisfied men are relieved of their seed before they can say, “What are you wearing tonight, Vishnukananda? The CWA proposes to bring this filth, I mean “erotic dialogue” back home where it belongs. No more offshore drilling!
An even more pressing issue is the deplorable working conditions these mostly female workers must withstand right here in the United States. We aim to improve these conditions. Bear in mind, phone sex workers are often impressionable teenage girls who are lured into the glamorous world of phone sex by predatory “managers” or Huggy Bears who exploit their texting addiction by promising them faster and furiouser phones. Then, once they’ve got their hooks into them, the phone sex starts. This road to perdition begins innocently enough. Let’s listen in on a secretly recorded conversation between a Huggy Bear Phone and the little cub he’s grooming:
Here’s $20 Kayla. Now go get yourself something nice at the 7-11. Oh yeah and (hands the vulnerable teen a dazzling new iPhone 6G equipped with a Little Mermaid hard case and a pair of BOSE® QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling Earbuds) could you talk to my friend John here. He has a few questions about bikini waxing that maybe you could clear up. Would you talk to him for say, half an hour? And use your little girl voice.
Now the trap is sprung on the unsuspecting mark – unlimited Slurpees®, Little Mermaids, and aural penetration with form-fitting earbuds. There’s no turning back now. This pattern goes on for some time and until the “Huggy Bear” eventually sets up a string of Johns to keep the poor girl’s ears burning for hours. And once the money starts flowing in he steals her wages under the guise of “management fees.” These phone pimps then threaten to freeze the now text-addicted girl’s cell phone account if she doesn’t put out. Sometimes they threaten to keep them locked in a helium-filled room so they’ll talk in a little squeaky voice and won’t be able to work. It’s vocal fold abuse at its worst and worthy of a Liam Neeson movie.
The CWA vows to clean up this tawdry industry and fundamentally change the way it does business. First of all we will abolish the “Bring your daughter to work” days. It was just a shameless grooming technique used by phone sex worker management. Drawing from CWA’s years of communicative expertise, we believe we can offer both the phone sex worker and their clients a bigger bang for the buck – so to speak. We also propose to keep phone sex legal and safe. It is currently legal in most states including: various states of arousal, certain states of intoxication and all of Iowa.
Sex workers in general and phone sex workers specifically are vilified for their outlier activities. They’re one notch above Congress when it comes to societal respect. And although the CWA fully supports the 1st Amendment, we recognize that Phone Sex Work is not free speech – not at $2 a minute it isn’t. However the current standard and practice is for $1.60 of each minute to go to their “supervisor.” The only way for a girl to make money is to get their own stable of cell phone fillies or to come up with some kind of killer phone sex app that makes your voice sound like Lauren Bacall’s.
In order to fortify these underserved women and to elevate their status as contributing working women, the CWA proposes the Clean Dirty Talk Initiative to promote healthy, erotic dialogue and a living wage for phone sex workers. Here are the tenets of the Clean Dirty Talk Initiative:
- Each phone sex worker is issued a hypoallergenic phone with filth-cancelling earbuds
- Jews will get Kosher phones
- Amish will get Dixie Cups and a very long string
- Hardiman will go straight to hell for writing this indecent fantasy
- Free bumper sticker proclaiming: Phone Sex Workers do it at the cellular level
- Phone sex workers with speech impediments will be paired with Johns who are aroused by women that lisp
- On demand ear wax removal and unlimited mouthwash
- Earn double time for neck up Skype Sessions. Quadruple time for neck down Skype Sessions.
- Senior phone sex workers can retire with dignity at the How Much Time Do I Have Left? Home for the Terminally Hoarse
Phone sex working is often a gateway medium to something far more pernicious. And if there’s one unspoken fear amongst phone sex workers it’s the terror of descending into the hellish world of telemarketing. You know you’ve hit bottom when you’re cold calling for timeshares in Bakersfield. At least with phone sex the person on the other end wants to hear what you have to say. With telemarketing you’re unwanted and unwelcomed.
CWA President Lil McGill then closed the press conference by saying she had to attend to her young daughter, lil’ Lil McGill. Just before she hung up, she pumped her fist (we assume) and yelled an emphatic “Union √ Yes!“
Forewarned is Forearmed
The CWA has collected unsolicited testimonials from a broad spectrum of broads (I’ll fix that when we go to print) to highlight the exploitation and savagery that runs rampant in this non-union world of verbal depravity. Excerpts are presented below:
Judy Chicago (real name Judy Detroit) tells us of her long slow descent into the muck of vulgarity:
I started turning a few phone tricks with strangers. At first it was fun and my Huggy Bear really liked my vibrato. Nobody smelled like curry and I didn’t have to explain my superfluous third nipple. But after a while, with all the heavy breathing, I started having hyperventilation issues. And I grew weary having to say repeatedly, “Oh, your voice is so strong, and so big too.” I needed more to satisfy me so I turned to cold-calling for a local aluminum siding company. My specialty was Russian Roulette, but in the business it’s called the Random Dialer. I thrilled to the anonymous pick up, the disembodied voice, the peremptory hang ups and, of course the occasional nibble. If I closed a deal I felt real dirty and I liked it. That is until one day when my father recognized my voice and said, “Judy? Is that you baby? You know we’ve already got siding honey.”
I had hit bottom and had nowhere to turn. That’s why I support the CWA when they say, “Phone Sex Workers of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose but your shame.”
Most phone sex workers have their hang ups. It’s part of the job. If someone doesn’t like you they hang up. That’s their hang up, not mine. At first there’s an upside. I put myself through massage school by being a phone sex worker. Then I put myself through college by giving massages. Now I’m now a $2000 a night escort in Las Vegas. But only to pay for my meth habit. CWA help me.
Kelsey Nussbaum (no relation to Wanda):
At my old job I was fired for always being on the phone. Now I’m actually encouraged to do that. It’s great being stupid. CWA help me.
Brittany Nussbaum (no relation Wanda or Kelsey):
Previously I was only able to engage in long distance relationships. But now I can do local calls. It’s terrific! I’d really grown. Then things went downhill. One month I missed my quota because I was at a Girl Scout Jamboree and suddenly Jeffrey turns into Ike Turner; “Where’s my money bitch. I’m not paying you to talk. Wait a minute. I am paying you to talk. Stop putting words in my mouth.” It got very complicated until he started using that TTY Relay System for the deaf. That way he could slow down and arrange his thoughts while the intermediary typed them out. He’s crazy still. For his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge he called out Lou Gehrig. CWA help me.
Francine Wallenda (Wanda, Kelsey and Brittany’s sister):
Phone sex has become such a high wire act. It started with a little flirtatious sexting with my boyfriend and the next thing you know I’m sprawled out on the bed in the President’s Suite at the Ritz-Carlton talking long-distance with the Sultan of Brunei about feminine hygiene. I knew those Sultans liked to talk about crude things, but I thought it would be oil and not tampons.
My Huggy Bear blocked my phone when he found out I was cheating on him by using call waiting to host multiple sessions. What’s a girl to do when you’re giving 80% of your wages to management. My treachery was discovered when the Johns started complaining that I couldn’t keep their fantasies straight. I’d be talking on one line about digital penetration and on another line about butchy lesbians and I somehow blended the 2 fantasies and wound up describing Hans Brinker sticking his finger in the dike and saving Holland from flooding. I completely ruined their fantasies – a big no-no in this racket. Help me CWA.
The benefits of this job are great. You can telecommute from your mother’s basement or even the comfort of a Krispy Kreme dumpster. Plus you’re never criticized for always being on the phone. There’s no dress code and you don’t have to trim your area. One thing you can’t do though is call in sick – unless you have laryngitis. I’m lying. I hate myself and what I do. Help me CWA.
A Brief Examination of Phone Sex from the Demand Side
In all this discussion of the evils of phone sex, I’ve neglected to mention what really fuels the industry. It’s men (invariably). Men who have one head and one penis and only enough blood to operate one of them at a time. Men like Fred Nussbaum (no relation to all those other Nussbaum’s). Fred is a church-going, tax-paying gentleman pervert who is also a member of the Frequent Breathers Club (a buy 5 get 1 free, reward program for heavy users). Let’s hear him discuss why he prefers the hygienic embrace of Phone Sex as opposed to dangerous liaisons in seedy hotel rooms:
Well first of all it should be noted that the members of the Frequent Breathers Club come in all lengths and sizes – at least from what the girls tell me. Now some men like prerecorded sex talk. But for me there’s nothing like the real thing: private one on one, real-time verbal intercourse. And with the iPhone’s new Motel 6 Penetration app, you’ll swear you’re in a seedy motel room having a dangerous liaison with Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS; or whomever you decide on for that session.
Phone sex is ideal when you have to take matters in hand. With phone sex I never have to worry about my comb over or explaining my superfluous third testicle.
Now I’ve tried 3-ways on the phone, but it doesn’t quite work out. You end up talking over each other and you hear a lot of “No, you go ahead.” Plus with all the talking, you can’t get a marital aid in edgewise. You have to get it in some other way. The upside is that when it’s all over, there are no awkward good-byes. You just say you’re low on juice (which at that point is true) and hang up.
A word to the wise: if you’re a habitué of phone sex, make sure you remove Call Waiting from your cell phone plan. There’s nothing worse than nearing the point of cellular ecstasy and experiencing Phonus Interruptus.
Male Phone Sex Workers: So Far Not One Pregnancy.
Occasionally a female may partake of the telephonic sexual arts and speak with a male of the opposite gender in order to achieve some measure of sexual gratification. The measure she receives is dependent, as always, on the size of the member she’s chosen. Listen to this cautionary anecdote from Milton Nussbaum (not even related to his parents):
I got a call from code name Ursula, who wanted to explore an underwater sex scene she’d seen in a James Bond movie. Wearing only a facemask and a snorkel she’d pretend she was innocently swimming along and I’d pretend I was a flirtatious clownfish who’d then nibble on her funny bone till she became hysterically pregnant. It was a very complicated scene. She said things like, “I could swallow your fishing pole hook, line and sinker if only it was dangling in front of me.” And I might respond, “You’re such a sucker for a twisted worm.” It was more feminist conceptual art than legitimate phone sex. And all was great fun until I accidentally discovered she was my 3rd Grade teacher.
In a moment of passion I breathlessly whispered, “You are my dirty Little Mermaid,” and then she recognized my voice; “Milton! Milton Nussbaum. Is that you sweetie?” “Yes Mrs. Drucker,” came my sheepish response. “I thought that was you. I remember how you always talked about the Little Mermaid in class,” she said. With the ick factor through the roof I asked Mrs. Drucker if I could please be excused and she said, “No. In fact call me your dirty Little Mermaid again. After all I am paying for this.” At the end of the session she gave me an A+ and I felt so dirty, I stood in the corner for the rest of the day.
The CWA may be onto something here. If the Federal Government won’t regulate the Phone Sex Industry, perhaps those bastions of probity and transparency known as unions can lend some much needed ethical standards and financial regularity to the industry – Union √ Yes!. What could possibly go wrong?
Obviously this was not what Alexander Graham Bell envisioned when he invented the telephone – after all, there are no smell, touch, taste or sight organs involved in telephone communication. Essentially you’re just using one sense. Well one sense and perhaps the most important sexual organ of all. The one between your ears. The best phone sex is the kind where you hang up the phone, drive over to your sweetie’s place and use all your senses in satisfying each other. Anything less is just lip service
Oh and one more thing. The answer to the crossword clue; Certain numbers, 8 letters, starts with a d and ends with an s is dentists. The b in numbers is silent.