The Secret Life Of Phone Sex Operators
Talking to strangers about sex takes a bit of bravado. It is exciting for the caller sure, but contrary to the shared belief, it can be exciting for the operator as well. Sharing your fantasies with a complete stranger – even if they are make-believe and pay your bills – is a weird but ultimately exciting endeavor. A lot of these people wind up doing that job because they genuinely enjoy fulfilling other people’s sexual fantasies. This is not a one-way street, or at least not always.
But what do we, the customers really know about these people at the other end of the line? Do we even want to know them or would that ruin the fantasy? Do we wonder about what do they look like? Do we wonder if they want the same things out of life as us? Is it even fair from us, wanting to give them a face to go with the voice we love so much? Would they appreciate this or hide behind their mask? Philip Toledano might have wondered about these same questions when he decided to photograph phone sex operators within the comfort of their homes.
This is a rare opportunity to see them in their comfort zones, the people who usually prefer to hide this part of their life. The photographer’s images offer us a glimpse into the world of these wonderfully unique people. Yes, they are women and men who talk dirty for a living (well, at least some of them make a living out of it), but that doesn’t mean they are not caring, emotional human beings. In fact, there is something humane about trying to recreate the fantasies of someone whom they probably never met in their life, and probably never, never will. I mean, who does this?
The fact that we ask these questions about them instead of us, their callers, may not be the fairest thing in the world, but the truth is that those who have the power to fulfill fantasies are always more interesting. We are drawn to these people at every level and phase of our lives. It is a power of a kind, one that most of us want to exploit in one way or another. Yes, we are not interested in the callers, we are them. Me, you, your neighbor, most certainly your boss! If you think about it, we all do this… We may not all call the professionals to pay for a service to achieve it, but we do wish to share our most intimate fantasies with others, especially those whom we’d like to fulfill them with.
They are normal people… for the most part
By looking over the pictures the first thing you can notice is that these people likely come from very different backgrounds. The stepping stone is sometimes working as a customer service operator and having an arguably sexy voice, other times it’s a result of seeking inner strength. A desire to feel attractive and wanted at the age of 60, or just the will to provide a professional service catering to the customer’s needs without wanting to fulfill any desire!
Well, other than the obvious monetary one. And it does seem to work — no — we know it works. Toledano’s approach is as subtle as it is revealing. The home environment creates a level of trust that’s so important to any photographer who seeks intimacy, “realness”, and these photos are as real as they come. There is no trickery here, there are no smokes and mirrors. The artist is able to catch the simplicity behind those lives. If these pictures did one thing, it was showing us how these people are remarkably similar to us. They probably have the same dreams and desires in life, they just chose a different approach to how they plan to achieve them. There is no right or wrong here, just a very accurate and raw visual representation of the human beings behind those phones… Seeing them in this way makes us all realize that we are not that different, regardless of the choices we’ve made in comparison with them. They may represent the opposite side of it, but they are the same coin nonetheless.