Iʼd better preface this post by saying that I am not well qualified to write it as my own few attempts were so awful I simply gave up and despaired. I never dreamt then that meeting mistresses would one day become part of my work.
So how in pre-Internet days did you go about meeting a mistress? and we mean here a professional mistress as the thought of meeting anyone who was happy to be dominant without charging for it was almost inconceivable. This is my own experience so if your experience differs from mine feel free to comment.
So night clubs existed of course and even fetish club nights. Personally I hated dark clubs and their kind of music but it seemed then that to gain entry into a certain lifestyle that was one of the few options. I never understood why I had to dress in a certain way and listen to the right music to find that sympathetic mistress. So I never took that avenue.
Failing that there appeared to be two main methods:
Cards in phone boxes
Meeting your mistress commando-style. Probably not recommended for a lasting ongoing relationship. Adrenalin required.
Find a telephone box and look for the illegally placed cards conveniently at eye level. Ring the number on the card next to the photo/drawing of the mistress. Speak to the “maid”, usually an elderly sex worker who would describe the lady in question -inaccurately of course. Bust size, height, hair colour. Within an hour or so you could be there waiting to be processed after another customer. Where? a dingy basement near to the phone box maybe. Cash only. Explain to the mistress just what you wanted and hope she’d understand. Usually disappointing – from others too so I hear.
The contact magazine
For those who preferred a more measured approach to meeting a mistress there was the contact magazine. This small A5 magazine, cheaply printed in black and white, was sold in Soho sex shops and if you were lucky – newsagents. With names like Superbitch or Real Mistress the purpose was to provide an introduction by means of personal ads. Unlike today where you are blasted by websites and social media heaving with video clips and all the photos you could ever desire, the magazine would allow you a grainy low-res photo of the mistress which let the imagination weave its own fantasy of how she might look. Seeing these tiny grey photos not just once, but over and over the imagination in the head would supply a glamour which reality would render disappointed. Sometimes it wasnʼt even the face, for people were cautious of revealing themselves even then. A glimpse of a boot, maybe. Equally evocative would be the copy. Very terse and to the point but with enough salaciousness to get you to write the first letter.
That would be sent to the publisher of the magazine in an envelope with the number of the advertiser written outside, not forgetting a stamp addressed envelope back to oneself. It would be then forwarded on to the said advertiser.
And wait for the reply, sometimes weeks. And sometimes no reply to your letter at all. But if a reply came -oh joy! (I heard from one of my contacts his reply letter was opened by a flatmate and considerable hilarity ensued in his college)
The reply would generally be business-like and a point of contact established, maybe even a time of meeting was arranged with a landline number – no mobiles remember.
Did you even dare pick up the phone to make a call?
Once an appointment was made it was definitely kept. After so much effort made in securing the meeting the only thing preventing an appointment from being kept would be death itself. Even a relative’s funeral or a countrywide blizzard would not have prevented the appointment from going ahead.
Trusting to luck
Any sort of verification in either of these was too cumbrous to be considered and people just trusted to their luck, client and mistress alike. Unbelievable the risks taken but the youthful urge propelled you through.
The risks of indiscretions were localised. A mad letter written feverishly at night with all kinds of confessions would merely be discarded in the bin by the other party, not indiscreetly splashed all over social media for anyone in the world to read for ever and ever.
Moreover you could not hope to meet someone who would cater to your exact fetish as easily as today so you hoped you found a mistress flexible enough to understand what you desired. Most were trained to take on all “comers”.
The great difference was that there was so very little information to go on whereas nowadays there is just too much info, with a race to the bottom to provide as much content as possible about the mistress, resulting in jadedness and half heartedness. But that was just how it was..nobody thought it an effort .
This memory of the past is not nostalgia for the good old days but rather the opposite. In a way they were the bad old days. In spite of all the current laws now hemming in free communication on the Net, people can and will communicate so much easier now and are more likely to meet the right people who respond to their own interests. However threatened one might feel these days the Internet has made communication possible in a way inconceivable in the days of my youth. Will those dark days ever return?
I personally donʼt think so.This may be the end of a golden age but not the start of a dark age.
Unless the whole internet disappears?
My U.S. writer colleague Irv O’Neil has just written a blog post about his own pre-Internet experiences in New York. And check out his fine femdom fiction while you are there!
7 thoughts on “Meeting a mistress pre-Internet”
Much of what you write resonates with me. At least you were in London and had access to Soho and the dubious delights on offer there. I lived in Scotland back then and there were no cards in phone boxes and contact mags were seldom seen, I don’t remember there ever being clubs either. As I recall the only real option were ad’s in the personals column usually for generic massage parlours some of which claimed to offer more exotic services. Even getting hold of a copy of Miss Sadie Stern’s Monthly or Madame In A World Of Fantasy was a bit of a challenge.
And I thought it was a runaround even here!
[…] My British artist colleague Sardax just did an excellent post about seeking femdom experiences over in England back in the pre-Internet days. You can find it here. […]
[…] Meeting a mistress pre-Internet […]
[…] New York based Mistress Chloe in classic corset, see-through skirt and stockings straddles the commissioner of the painting in an elegant spacious lounge, and looks round at us knowingly. His role is perhaps a delivery boy (in chastity) who has to deliver roses to her house. The number is significant as the number of years that the commissioner has served her. On the coffee table by the sofa, a copy of the contact magazine “Dominant Mystique ” of the type used before the Internet. […]
That’s a fascinating article. Irv O’Neil’s was so interesting also. I didn’t have those experiences with phone booths and etc., but I think it’s likely that there are more fake doms than ever, truthfully. I’ve been very lucky but it took a long time. It will probably always be very hard to find someone you really resonate with, no matter what technology is used to find them.
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Reminds me of two very British movies from this era: ‘Personal Services’ and ‘Mona Lisa.’ For me, one was a weird mix of grubbiness and excitement, and the other of grubby melancholy and raw scariness. I found both highly intriguing, but also quite off-putting too – especially ‘Mona Lisa.’ I kind of miss the old Soho though. I distinctly remember how skittish I felt the first time I summoned up enough courage to enter one of the tasselled doorways in search of ‘specialist interest’ magazines. Inaccessibility was a big part of the allure. Now the internet leaves little for the imagination to conjure of its own accord. Different times, different worlds in a curious kind of way. Some of those cards in telephone boxes were little works of art in their own right (i.e. the ones which were drawings rather than badly photocopied photos). Perhaps we are lucky in some regards to have known both the wilderness and the wonder years?