They used to call me Mistress Natasha. You’d think from my name, I’d wear stilettos and blood red lipstick while I would usually wear 12-hole Doc Martens and a wily ginger beard.
They used to call me Mistress Natasha and paid me for the privilege. But I didn’t work in a dungeon or a backstreet brothel. I plied my trade in the non-descript basement of a family home on the comfortable North Shore.
They used to call me Mistress Natasha but there was more than one that bore the name. Before I assumed her identity, two women had created her and cloaked her with such mystery that a man like me could fill her spike-heeled shoes.
They called me Mistress Natasha for that was the by-line I assumed when I was employed for a short time on a computer sex service in the early ’90s. What the men who used these services didn’t realise was that Mistress Natasha wasn’t some slinky seductress, some icon of straight male desire, but in fact two dykes and a poof with torn jeans and cropped hair.
The erotic database on which we worked was part of a small communications company and the technology we used was called Videotext. It enabled users to link into other computers via a telephone line, allowing an exchange of computer mail and the possibility of subscribing to another system’s information like one would subscribe to a magazine.
The service would work something like this. The clients would send in naughty messages and Natasha would reply. For ten dollars, you could have your own personalised porn. Alternately you could subscribe to her dirty story database or her gallery of digitised erotic illustrations. For a while Natasha operated a classified section that soon failed as it was apparently written and read only by straight men.
Natasha was indeed resourceful. She ran a counselling database and was able to advise her clients on problems such as impotency. It was no matter that she was unable to cure her customers as she also provided a catalogue of sex toys to compensate.
Natasha was a big name to live up to and I tried to do her justice. It might have helped if I had some facts when it came to appealing to straight male fantasy. It hardly mattered as the imaginations of most of my clients rarely extended further than penetration, which presented its own challenges. As rich as erotic language may be, there are only so many ways you can position a missionary and my porn rarely transcended the patriarchal vernacular.
That is not to say that Natasha did not attempt to educate her horny hackers with a fist full of feminist sensibilities. If they made an unsound suggestion, she would crack the whip across the keyboard. If they made an unsafe suggestion as well, Natasha would spare no mercy. She always tried to promote safer sex, especially as there could be no greater prophylactic than a personal computer with nothing more to fear than an exorbitant telephone bill.
Mistress Natasha also attended to the cosmic needs of her clientele. If you subscribed to her computer service, you could receive clairvoyant instruction as well as sexual relief. Her mystical powers were indeed extraordinary. Natasha could give an accurate tarot reading without turning a card. Natasha could tell your horoscope, although it was suspiciously similar in theme to that found in that day’s paper. Natasha even offered a crystal consultation in which one would sit in front of a computer and ask questions of a piece of quartz on a string.
When our employer began to offer 0055 technology, you could even hear Natasha breathily predicting the week’s events. These astrological readings were actually devised by myself from long stretches of automatic writing, in which I would arbitrarily assign listeners with a daily destiny irrespective of their star sign. There may be many legitimate practitioners of this ancient science but unless my muse was also a spirit guide, Natasha was not one of them.
Unfortunately Natasha could not predict her own demise. Like some star of the silent screen, she was a victim of the vagaries of technology and commerce. Soon the company moved to providing freelance consulting, and Natasha, along with her creators, became redundant. Mistress Natasha then walked out of our lives, her stilettos echoing on the sidewalk like the clatter of a keyboard.