Definitely head over to our sister-site ReadWrite to read the entertaining piece that the entertaining Mr. Lyons wrote, and below is the full uncensored scoop just for all you xoJane lovelies. Oh and to answer many people's questions, even though I started seeing someone, yes, I'm still doing the story. But not until Joy Behar's audience has a chance to vote as well -- I'm doing her show later this month.
Dan: You've done this before, for a different assignment? When and how did it go?
Mandy: February 2010. You can see me talking to Joy Behar and The Insider about it on YouTube.
I did the story for The New York Post because there was a news peg to the "first legal male gigolo" at the Shady Lady Ranch outside of Vegas. This legal gigolo named "Markus" who was behind it was doing all manner of hilarious interviews comparing himself to Rosa Parks as a pioneer of gigolos and so forth. I had a reputation as being a kind of fearless, funny not afraid to talk about sexuality person at The Post so the managing editor asked if I would be game to do the story. I was. I called the Shady Lady Ranch to book an appointment as a reporter and because "Markus" had been making such an ass of himself in the press, they refused the request.
So I had a friend call and book the appointment. We had her practice her Jerry Springer guest-style accent and saying things like, "This is for a friend of mine who just got divorced and let me tell you he was no good. This has been a long time coming." She booked the appointment successfully.
I flew to Vegas and went to the Ranch. You can read the actual story in The Post if you Google it online. It was the top read story for five days running. I enjoyed doing it because it combined a few of the skills I think I have: being a good interviewer, being fearless, being funny, being self-deprecating, not giving a shit what other people think of me and talking about sex and sexuality in a way that defies conventional societal norms where women are either branded in the "Madonna" camp or the "whore" camp.
My line has always been that I think you can fuck like a porn star and still be the smartest bitch in the room. There's no reason women should be ashamed to explore sexual adventure the way a man would -- except for the projected judgments people might put on top of you. And that's about them, not me.
I think it's when sex gets repressed way down that things get very complicated. One guy I know was so entrenched in Catholic guilt that he would engage in bukkake sessions off Craigslist and just be tortured by the shame of it all, rather than daring to acknowledge that darker ventures turned him on -- or even that he was actually doing it at all. Who cares. If it's consensual, there you go.
With Markus, he did not know I was a reporter (and I was justified in not revealing this because he was a public figure) and he (as you'll see if you read the story) made me take a shower with him immediately so he could "inspect me." So, right away, it was pretty straight to it. That was I think the most nerve-wracking out-of-body part of it for me, I would say.
I wasn't attracted to him (I'm mostly attracted to intelligence, confidence and more alpha qualities), but I'm a big fan of the Hunter S. Thompson philosophy of "Buy the ticket; take the ride." I was in it to win it (with the story, not the sex). I might have slept with him if I found him attractive, but I most certainly didn't.
So I just interviewed the shit out of him while I gave him a half-hearted hand job and let him finger me for two seconds. And that was pretty much to keep him from doing anything more to me and not reveal that I was a reporter. He really wanted to go down on me and fuck me, but alas, no go, buddy. I paid for it with $500 from The Post's cash reserve box, which was kind of special.
He kept expressing shock to me that I was doing it because I was "hot" and "almost an 8 or 9" or something. I told him I didn't have a lot of experience and was quite shy. It's not like I actually do have a ton of experience (I was married and with the same man from 20 to 30 and am currently 37 so didn't date anyone besides one man for an entire decade), but I did have much more sexual experience than this kid.
He was 25 and had only been with 5 sexual partners. He was actually becoming a gigolo so that he could get more sexual experience. He had read a lot of books, he said. As a very sexy hilarious friend with benefits of mine said after I did the story, "Man, I read a lot of comic books -- but that doesn't make me a superhero."
It was a fun story to write, but The Post tamed it way down. I think I had a line in there that was cut. It was after I let him touch my vagina briefly and he asked like a child looking for praise, "Did I find your clitoris?" Oh boy. I think I just nodded awkwardly. Shit like that you couldn't make up.
After the story came out on the front page of The Post, Markus quit the business a month later, as revealed on Perez Hilton with the headline "Quitter!" and a link to my blog. That little moment and sending Andy Dick to rehab after he bit and groped me still stand as two of my greatest hits. Hey man, if you can't stand the heat. Don't be in the public spotlight.
I don't know why, I've always found the intersection between revealing truths about human nature and sex and comedy to be a favorite area to mine. It is often considered taboo, yet the world is run by sex. Not entirely, but I think you'd be ignorant not to agree that it certainly drives huge movement and change and even innovation (thank you, porn tech ventures on the Internet). I'm interested in the area.
I think I'm fascinated by the double standard that men are regarded as studs whereas women are sluts when it comes to sex or sexual experimentation or prowess or knowledge. And I think it's been fun to take risks with public perception in a way that many women might not have the courage to do.
I think it's fucked that there is this fear that a woman being known as a sexual creature will then define her perpetually. Look at any number of stories I've written. All of the finger-waggers that said I would be one-note known as the "woman who hired the gigolo."
Nope. Never happened. Their fear. Projected on me. The Puritanical shit causes way more problems than it does good, in my opinion. That's what CAUSES over-sexualization of youngsters and all the rest, is by not openly discussing sex and sexuality and having a dialogue.
Dan: What gave you the idea to do this assignment on xojane?
Mandy: After I wrote about going to dark sexual places, a reader wrote me and said I should do what she did: "Go professional." She gave me info on Cowboys4Angels and so I followed up as I knew it would be a fun hilarious fascinating story. And I decided to do the crowdsourcing angle because I'm a dork, and I love shit like that. I'm a big Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, even that annoying "Crush It" guy person and I love all the hyper-articulated ways that our society is changing with tech. This seemed like a terrific way to involve crowdsourcing in something that was sexy and sexual and fun -- and encourage reader engagement.
Also, they are "escorts," not prostitutes so I have no intention of sleeping with the man. I think that I could -- without it being prostitution as long as it wasn't an exchange of money for sex -- but I'm not so interested in that. Super handsome ripped guys aren't really my thing, but I love playing around with different roles and sexual dynamics so I think this will be a blast just to see what will result.
Some of my favorite questions to ask people are: "What search terms to do you type in on porn sites?" and "Have you ever had a threeway?" and "What do you think about when you masturbate -- that specific porn loop in your head"? Why not? All that not talking about it does is leave others alone in their head with the shame of being sexual creatures. I think that is an unfortunate fate. I'd rather there be an open dialogue.
Dan: Is this the craziest thing you've ever done or is this just a regular week in the life of Mandy Stadtmiller?
Mandy: Definitely not a typical week. I mostly walk my dog and spend my time working -- with plenty of pop culture consumption, often in the background, tearing through TV series on Netflix while I edit and assign and deal with the crushing infoglut I experience on this job (which is terrific to have so much email engagement with readers and publicists and superiors on the job, but definitely a time management challenge).
I have done crazier things. Before I was sober I had a failed threeway (failed because they had to leave for a film shoot the next day) with a dominatrix and her partner while trying cocaine for the first time and then when they left, taking along with them thousands of dollars of dom gear for a film, leaving me blue-clitted (as opposed to blue-balled I suppose), I then went on Craigslist Casual Encounters for the first time and slept with a black guy for the first time. A night of many firsts.
When he came over I answered the door wearing nothing but stockings and was so coked up, I changed outfits -- from naughty stewardess to naughty nurse to naughty Pocahantas -- about three times and then role-played over my desk asking, "Boss do you think my skirt is too short?" Then he picked me up, carried me across the room and knocked over the Wiccan love candle I had in the middle of the room and wax spattered everywhere. Then he found one of the giant black dildos that was leftover from the dominatrix that she had brought for the shoot. I'm still friends with all the people involved in this story. I need to write this one up for xoJane. The dominatrix is writing her rival version, and we're going to compare experiential memory.
Thankfully I got sober, which is best for my life, but if you read my story of getting sober on xoJane, which involved sex clubs, I haven't let it turn me into a nun. You can have such a better sex life sober. And honestly, for as much as I write about sex, I really don't have it quite frequently. I suppose I will be doing so now if this relationship continues currently, but I'm pretty picky. Most people bore the fuck out of me.
Dan: Which fantasy are you hoping your readers will choose?
Mandy: The one where the guy compliments me. I think that will be good for my head.
Dan: Which guy are you hoping they'll choose?
Mandy: I don't really have a preference. I guess the one that the owner suggested as being his favorite to use in the piece.
Dan: Do you think any of the men might be gay? Would that bother you at all?
Mandy: It's funny. The first guy I dated when I returned to New York was what I would call a Kinsey 3, meaning he revealed during the date that he had mostly been with men before. He was rich and brilliant, receiving his masters degree at age 20.
Also we would have had hot kids because he was super cute so that would have been cool. But I wasn't that into him. I don't think it was the fact that he had probably sucked more cock than I had. I think it was just not a great fit. I think we would have run out of stories pretty quickly but he was a good kisser and sweet.
So would I mind? Yeah I guess so. I can be kind of pathologically narcissistic when it comes to sex. Probably just residual low self-esteem. But there is definitely part of me that I think likes to own men psychologically in the sexual space. Obviously, I don't, by any means (except for that Craigslist guy for a minute -- I think I gave him quite a night), but I think that because I had some sexual experiences that were more out of my control when I was younger, I've probably seen reclaiming of power in the sexual sphere as appealing.
Dan: What are you hoping to get out of this?
Mandy: I'm just hoping for a great story and experience. I don't have trouble getting dates, but this is an experience where readers can live vicariously through me -- especially with the crowdsourcing component. One of the few women who I've ever hooked up with solo (as opposed to with a guy there), wrote a song about me. It goes: "You wake up in the morning/ And you say that you're not gay/ But you're touching and you're teasing/ Like you really want to play/ Experience girl/ Experience girl/ In it for the experience/ Experience girl."
I think that's probably about right.