I became a sex columnist by accident. It all happened one drunk evening at Beluga. I’d met Sam Wilson, then editor in chief of Women24, a few times before. She’d read some of my stuff, but we’d never really connected. After a few cosmopolitans I decided it was time to take the bull by the proverbial horns.
‘Sam,’ I said, ‘Sam I must write for you.’ She said, ‘Yes, yes you must. I’ve been waiting for you to say something and now, now you shall be my sex columnist.’
I wanted to be a thinky writer. Writing thinky, important, Marianne Thammesque thinks of import on weighty topics
This was not want I wanted to hear. I wanted to be a thinky writer. Writing thinky, important, Marianne Thammesque thinks of import on weighty topics such as feminism, politics and socio-economic whatnots … something like that.
But no. It was to be sex. And, as it turned out, I was pretty good at it. The writing that is, not the sex. Which is something I had to clarify also to my mother when her face dropped at that line after her exasperated question: ‘Maar hoekom moet jy nou oor dit skryf?’ (‘why must you write about that‘)
It’s not really a question that has any formulated answer (not great for interviews, I’ve found), but it is a topic that includes a few of my favourite things: sex, conversation and poking at dark places that make people uncomfortable and force some honesty. And, as it turns out, it’s quite a thinky, important thing to be writing and talking about.
Anonymity was part habit, part necessity that became mostly all fun when I started working with Sasha Martinengo as ‘The Stig of Sex’
Sex, sexuality and sensuality – how we relate to it in ourselves and with others is a personal experience that affects the national agenda, and vice versa. (I talk about this more in this year’s 2012/2013 Big Issue Collector’s Edition). It’s a feedback loop that needs self-reflection, awareness and dialogue if matters – from accepting your kinks to accepting the reality of sex workers – are ever going to change for the better.
Which brings me to the face issue.
I started blogging under the pen name Dorothy Black in 2006. Three years later, when I began writing for Women24, the name was as much a part of me as my experiences were. It didn’t feel like a pseudonym I was going out of my way to employ. Of course, at the time, I was working a respectable 9-to-5 job, writing for and copy editing respectable publications that would never have taken kindly to associations with the ‘seedy’ side of journalism. Anonymity was part habit, part necessity that became mostly all fun when I started working with Sasha Martinengo as ‘The Stig of Sex’.
I’ve pissed a lot of people off. But I’ve made peace with that. Haters gonna hate and family eventually comes around
Naturally, there were other reasons for anonymity: creeps, nasty column trolls that took pleasure wishing physical violence upon me, and family and lovers that were new to the idea of being written about so intimately and from such a one-sided opinion. I’ve pissed a lot of people off. But I’ve made peace with that. Haters gonna hate and family eventually comes around.
But the conversations I have and want to have about sex and relating cannot be done behind a screen anymore. I preach honesty, openness and frank dialogue but do so, it appears to others, from the ‘safety’ of relative anonymity – a fact that diminishes the punchiness of the message. Which is a fair point.
So. Enough of that. Ta-daa. Here’s my face.
You better like it cos being in front of that camera was a fucking nightmare. I am extremely camera shy and even though my darling photographer Lillith made me feel like a supermodel (they really do do that thing you know… ‘yes, great, you’re looking sexy, chin up, look at the camera, beautiful, you’re beautiful, you’re amazing’…), I walked away reminded that I chose writing as a career more because it’s largely a faceless solo performance than because I’m particularly gifted at it.
I have a profound, new respect for models and people in the entertainment industry. I might even go so far as to say I’d tip my hat to Jeannie D.
So there you go. A lot will start changing now. The kind of content will stay the same, but there will be more of it. More videos, more face interviews (me doing the interviews, I’m like a deer caught in head lights when I’m interviewed), more covering of events from Sexpos and such, and more pics from the parties, the people and workshops I talk about.
It’s a whole new world for me plums. Hope you stick around for the ride.