The summer of my eighteenth year I was hard up for cash when I discovered that I did not win a sizeable poetry scholarship I had won the previous year while still in High School. Eager to return to my expensive liberal arts college for a second year, I searched around for gainful employment to no avail, until I found an ad in the paper for "Phone Actors and Actresses". Figuring I had nothing to lose, I called in, arranged an interview and was hired, almost on the spot. I had become a Teenage Phone Sex Operator. I attended one training session, where the budding trainees (mostly bored housewives, college students and itenerate drifters) were given lessons in how to keep the customers happy and on the phone. I was then told to pick a name (I chose Celeste), description and history for our phone characters. Over the next 2 1/2 months I discovered a few of the secrets behind the phone sex business.

1. Don't believe the descriptions Despite what Spike Lee portrayed in Girl 6, most Phone Sex Operators are not devastatingly beautiful women who sit around looking pretty in stylish cubicles. We were told that roughly 30% of all "female" phone characters were voiced by men. Most of the people I saw at the training session were only average in appearance. And while this is not true for all phone sex companies, the one I worked for allowed us to work from the comfort of our own homes, which meant I was usually chatting in a ratty t-shirt and sweats.
2. It doesn't matter what the operator says they're doing, they're probably not. One of the most frequently asked questions I've been asked upon revealing my sordid past is, "Wow. Did you get off a lot?". Let me explain something, for the operator, phone sex is largely tedious and repetitive. There's nothing really erotic about some guy asking what you're wearing and subesequently breathing heavily as you make funny sounds and lie about how hot he makes you. Even the rare phone sex operator who gets aroused during working hours is unlikely to be getting off during every phone call. I received an average of twenty calls a night. How many people can masturbate that often?
3. Get off quick If you must use a phone sex service as a sexual aid, try to finish up as quickly as possible. In general, phone sex operators recieve bonuses for keeping their clients on for an extended amount of time. Thus they will try to string you along for as long as possible. It's your money, use it wisely.
4. Phone Sex Operators are not your friends I had quite a few regulars who would spend outrageous amounts of money to chat with "Celeste" on a solely friendly basis. These were typically lonely single guys, although some of them claimed to be unhappily married. They were invariably upset when they tried to pursue friendship on any sort of real life basis despite my explanation that providing a client with your real name, phone number or address (besides the company home adress) was grounds for immediate dismissal. Phone Sex Operators are paid for their time, and while they may lend a sympathetic ear, the truth is that when the the phonecall ends so do any vestiges of friendship.
5. Phone Sex Operators aren't well paid. A friend once assumed that I made a fortune from this job because of the cost of phone sex ($1.99 US in 1995). But obviously, the companies hosting phone sex wouldn't turn a profit if they paid their employees $120/hour. In 1995, I was paid $7.50/hour base, with incrmental bonuses for longer average times. When I quit that August, I was making about $13/hour because of my skill at keeping customers on the line. It was a tidy sum for someone who'd just completed their Freshman year of college, but nowhere near the fortune some people dream about.

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