Things You Only Know When Your Mum Runs A Sex Line
The Debrief: 'I think my Mum has verbally whipped, spanked, plucked, yelled at and bankrupted half of Britain’s male population'
Illustration by Joey Pasko
Mum puts her glass of wine on the coffee table, sits back and declares with an air of Kim Cattrall confidence:
'When I’m logged in, I call myself Suzie.' She pauses for delicious effect, appraising the faces of her listeners. Soon, my friends are shrieking with laughter. And me? All of this has been going on for so long, I sometimes call her Suzie myself.
It’s a night in at my new flat with the girls and my Mum. Drinks had turned the conversation juicy and salacious ‘Suzie’ popped out for a visit; a bit tipsy, overspilling with secrets. Suzie is my Mum’s pseudonym for when she is working from home on her sex line.
I totally get it. Who needs bitchy office politics, stinky commutes and horrid bosses, when you can sit on your comfy sofa and talk on the phone all day? Mum hasn’t been with my Dad since I was a baby and always chose to keep boyfriends away from home. With me and my older brother up and gone, she’s enjoyed a solitary home life that allows her to do exactly as she wanted.
I can’t remember the time that Mum actually told me about her new ‘career’. It’s a slight change from her posh Financial Advisors. She was a victim of the Recession. An utterly miserable year ensued; trawling job boards, being patronised by The Job Centre, being stuffed into suits for interviews for jobs she didn’t want. At some point in all of this, she found her way to a registered ‘telecommunications company’. It was straightforward, just sign up, get a PIN, log in to accept calls and log out again to turn it off.
There’s never really been any shame or anxiety on my part, regarding how my Mum makes her cash. That might sound a bit weird, but I guess it depends upon the relationship you have with your own Mum. If you’d typically find her homemaking, baking cakes and Sunday roasts, you might just be a bit freaked out if she suddenly started talking about ‘Cornish Steve’, who she humiliated once again with the ‘Tiny Cock’ song last night. We’ve always been more like sisters than mother and daughter.
My Mum’s niche is ‘mature’. She doesn’t do her own advertising, but usually people who call her will have found her in a magazine and be expecting a lady of a certain age. Apparently this brings a slightly different type of caller; fetishists, loners, or bashful young lads wanting to know ‘what it’s like’ talking dirty with someone of their own Mum’s age.
There’s been Derek the roofer, who loves smelly feet (especially when they’ve been in tights), also a man who is into ‘Financial Slavery’ ands send random funds via PayPal, simply because he likes the ideas of being forced to part with money. Let’s not forget Mal, who likes to pretend he’s being dressed up as a dinnerlady. I think my Mum has verbally whipped, spanked, plucked, yelled at and bankrupted half of Britain’s male population; all of whom were probably whispering on the toilet, or squirrelled away in the garden shed.
One day, my relationship came to an end. I returned to my old bedroom at Mum’s for a month, whilst organising a new place to live. After a week, it became second nature to avoid and ignore certain things. For example, I dodged the living room before 7am - the early hours are the most lucrative times to ‘make hay’ apparently. Oh, and Christmas Day! When you thought your man had ‘nipped out’ to get emergency sprouts...
There were the various sound props on the arm of the sofa; a belt buckle, an electric toothbrush, a scratchy bit of lace. I asked my Mum why she didn’t get a cordless phone and move around the house? She told me that it would make her sound distracted and lazy. Because of her diligence, she’s regularly at the top of the online ‘scoreboard’ for call times, with so many repeat customers hitting her PIN each month.
The chat line company I write about is of course a legitimate business and there are several to choose from within the UK. All calls are screened and if anybody tries to veer onto illegal topics, such as children, incest or bestiality, then the call is terminated. I’ve been told how some callers try and trick the operator into talking around dodgy scenarios. Most develop a sense of when to hang up right away.
In two years my Mum will retire. Will she hang up the phone forever? She thinks not. It’s an interesting, insightful job that she enjoys. She has an angle on men that few will ever safely experience. So when she drops the ‘I run a sex line’ bomb on people from time to time, I just think it’s funny. It’s amazing what has become normal for us both in these last five years.
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