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Portraits of Phone Sex Operators by Phillip Toledano.
June 11, 2008 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Portraits of Phone Sex Operators by Phillip Toledano.
posted by chunking express (55 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautiful. Killer ending!
posted by krilli at 11:09 AM on June 11, 2008


Fetish Cat is watching you masturbate.
posted by anonaccount at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2008


The captions were almost as interesting as the portraits.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:15 AM on June 11, 2008


Fantastic.
posted by The Straightener at 11:16 AM on June 11, 2008


Neat link. I'd love to see a documentary on these people.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:16 AM on June 11, 2008


I'm on hold.
posted by Dizzy at 11:18 AM on June 11, 2008


“Gary was watching a ‘World’s Strongest Women’ show and saw a woman pick up a motorcycle.
‘Oh I could do that,’ I offered.
‘Could you?’ he responded, breathless.
‘Yes. How much do you weigh?’
‘160.’
‘Oh. I could bench-press two of you.’
‘Oh my god… I’d like to see you lift up my girlfriend’s car.’
‘What kind of car does she have?’
‘A Mazda Miata.’
‘Oh yes, I could pick up a Miata. In fact, I would love to.’
‘Really?!?!??! Oh my god! What if my girlfriend was inside?’
‘I would just pick it up, lift it to my shoulder level, and then hoist it up over my head, with your girlfriend inside. I’d slowly turn around in a circle with it held up in the air, with your girlfriend screaming in the front seat.’”
posted by xod at 11:20 AM on June 11, 2008


make a foot pussy!
posted by fuzzypantalones at 11:21 AM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


was i the only one surprised that at least half of them were somewhat attractive? i wonder how much of that was intentional selection and how much was true sample.
posted by 256 at 11:21 AM on June 11, 2008


This post is useless without dialogue.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


was i the only one surprised that at least half of them were somewhat attractive? i wonder how much of that was intentional selection and how much was true sample.

What does that have to do with phone sex? They're not doing it to get off, they're doing it for money - everyone needs money!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:28 AM on June 11, 2008


This is great!
posted by CaptApollo at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2008


We should just call this ThingsMagazineFilter
posted by parmanparman at 11:37 AM on June 11, 2008


Toledano is the king of concept series. As a general rule, people who focus on the concept first use it as a crutch to make up for poor lighting. Here we have phone sex operators. Look through the pictures again, as portraits only. Where the subject is simply the person. It actually makes the whole series boring, since the lightning and composition is not very interesting or accomplished.

The rest of his commercial work on Art Department is much the same way. Lots of ideas, not very much in the way of technical skill.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


That one lady would have clearly benefited from the recent AskMe on bra fitting.
posted by Liosliath at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2008


That one lady also seems under the impression that guys are looking at her pics before deciding to call her. Is no-one going to break it to her?
posted by criticalbill at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2008


The fact that you do not find someone attractive does not mean that she is not attractive. It's a lovely photo of a beautiful woman. Who is wearing an ill-fitting bra.
posted by ferociouskitty at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2008


Please let us be nice with this.
posted by Dizzy at 12:10 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


infinitefloatingbrains, I actually like the portraits quite a lot; I don't have the option of going back now, blank slate - but I believe I would have been intrigued and interested with most of the images without the "phone sex operater" hook.
posted by taz at 12:17 PM on June 11, 2008


Is no-one going to break it to her?

What, that fat people are undesirable and unlovable? I'm pretty sure at least a few people have espoused that opinion to her by now. On the other hand, many more see her picture, start salivating, and call her to tell her how much they'd like to be with her. She probably has better self-esteem by now than you do.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2008 [17 favorites]


Great! Nopw I know what my sister is doing since she said she found a summer job.
posted by Postroad at 12:26 PM on June 11, 2008


Postroad: If only you knew what your mom was doing.
posted by rusty at 12:40 PM on June 11, 2008


Hehe that "--Dogs'll eat anything!" line gets me every time.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:48 PM on June 11, 2008


Is no-one going to break it to her?

When I was in college a friend and I thought it would be funny to record a couple of greetings/profiles on one of the local singles lines and listen to the responses. The one we had portray herself as being very overweight got far and away the most interest, and the most graphic responses. Many people find fat the opposite of a turn-off.
posted by frobozz at 12:56 PM on June 11, 2008


Very cool, thanks for posting. I hope all of them have found a niche where they can (hopefully) make good money without turning into complete misanthropes.
posted by maxwelton at 1:09 PM on June 11, 2008


...but I believe I would have been intrigued and interested with most of the images without the "phone sex operater" hook.

That's the thing though - would you honestly follow a link, or more importantly, be intrigued enough to go to a gallery show where the subject is just straight up 'portraits?' When you choose a subject like 'phone sex operators,' the hook is everything. I stopped by the NY PhotoFest show a few weeks ago where one of his portraits was printed large, and it was just not all that impressive compared to the others on display. The only reason I happened to see that show was because a friend asked me to go.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 1:09 PM on June 11, 2008


I don't know why phone sex operators are stereotyped as being unattractive. Is it that Beavis and Butthead episode where they ask to talk to the phone sex lady's butt that gave everyone that idea? In my experience, PSOs are no more or less unattractive than the members of any other profession.
posted by Jess the Mess at 1:10 PM on June 11, 2008


This is pretty great, There's so much creativity that goes into it.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2008


I don't know why phone sex operators are stereotyped as being unattractive.

I would bet it has something to do with this video.
posted by euphorb at 1:22 PM on June 11, 2008


I don't know why phone sex operators are stereotyped as being unattractive.

Why is hard to believe that physically unattractive people are drawn (or rather, pushed) to the extremes of society and behavioral norms more often than the drop-dead gorgeous people?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is really interesting. Thanks for this.

"Most times I would aggravate the caller into hanging up by refusing to talk ‘shit’ with him, but this night I was feeling frisky. So I indulged in his request and gave him the shittiest call ever. I started out by telling him I was a vegan."

"I make twice the money I made in the corporate world. I work from home, the money transfers into my bank account daily. I’m Scheherezade: If I don’t tell stories that fascinate the Pasha, he will kill me in the morning."
posted by jessamyn at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2008


i just posted an askme, oddly enough, but i'll ask it here, too:

anyone know how to "break into" being a phone sex operator? i've been thinking about it for a while, but i don't really know where to begin.

also...anyone on the blue ever done this? what were your experiences like?

(if this is an inappropriate comment for this post, i apologize. perhaps interested parties could just go to my askmefi question directly...)
posted by CitizenD at 1:40 PM on June 11, 2008


i just posted an askme, oddly enough, but i'll ask it here, too:

CitizenD
I saw your askme after I first read this post and assumed the post had inspired you!

(I just thought "wow, that was a fast for a career change!")
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:04 PM on June 11, 2008


Re: my comment about the tight bra, and the ensuing "Fat people are attractive too amirite!" comments.

Um, I don't find her unattractive. It just made me physically uncomfortable to see how constricting that bra was - double boob and all. Furthermore, I'm far from skinny, so I'm the last person who would call her out on her weight. If you've got the curves, you know, work them, don't bind them.
posted by Liosliath at 2:39 PM on June 11, 2008


And furthermore, I went to get a bra fitting at Nordstrom's because of that very AskMe, and it was awesome. I've been wearing the wrong size bra for years (boo hiss Victoria's Secret staff) and discovered I'm actually a 36DD. I think that lady would look fabulous if she had on something like this, for example. [nsfw]
posted by Liosliath at 2:49 PM on June 11, 2008


This is pure awesome. Not just because it shows the faces of people who work in an industry that is much maligned and full of stereotypes, but because it contains some great stories too. Thanks for the link!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:17 PM on June 11, 2008


Is this first sex phone operator the guy or the dog?
posted by puke & cry at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


See? This is the sort of thing that Hustler should cover. Or Nerve, I guess.
posted by klangklangston at 4:39 PM on June 11, 2008


Phillip Toledano’s new book Phone Sex (July 2008, Twin Palms)
A book about phone sex operators published by "Twin Palms"? I'm surprised it wasn't put out by "Eponysterical Publishing Co.".
posted by hincandenza at 4:56 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll admit to the world that I find fat unattractive. The problem is, it's not particularly natural. We subsist on a diet made, basically, of agricultural leavings, chemical flavorings, and fat. We Americans go to the fast food stand, get a lump of pseudo-meat between two lumps of pseudo-bread, and are fundamentally unsatisfied because our bodies say this is not food while our senses say this is tasty. So we eat more, to try to satisfy the hunger. Over time this becomes a habit, and we get fat.

Refusing to admit that fat is bad is counter-productive. It's bad to have a negative body image, of course, but having a negative body image isn't always a "false signal:" if you are obese, you need to be thinner. (The problem, of course, is that a lot of people think they're obese but aren't, due to the BMI and other flawed measurements.) The exception might be if you are living in northern Russia or Scandinavia and develop "brown fat," which helps to preserve and generate body heat.

It's similar to depression. Depression today is treated as a disease, which it can be, but isn't recognized as a signal. If your life is depressing, you should be depressed; it's your brain telling you that you need to change something. Treating problems like obesity and depression as though they aren't really problems, or as though they are problems of an entirely different sort, is dangerous.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:47 PM on June 11, 2008


sonic meat machine: the world, as a whole, doesn't give a shit what you find attractive. HTH!
posted by sugarfish at 7:19 PM on June 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


“It is my job to indulge their fantasies, to convince them that I am not a doll. I am their dream turned real ... I do not view myself as this doll, as the commodity. I am the manufacturer who creates her from the blueprint that the caller provides me. When the caller comes, it is positive feedback. Like an architect patting his contractor on the back.”

I suppose I should realize that these women make or lose money based on the power of their dialog, but that was very eloquent.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:24 PM on June 11, 2008


subgear---
Why?
posted by Dizzy at 7:27 PM on June 11, 2008


sugarfish, the world doesn't give a shit about anything. What you mean is that you are offended by my opinion. Perhaps I should rephrase:

Obesity is unhealthy and unnatural... but even though it leads to heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems, I sure can't get enough of those loveable feminine mounds of amorphous, gelatinous fat. I especially love the sickly, sour aroma of a body whose primary intakes are sugar and fat and which labors to move itself even a moderate distance.

Is that more to your liking?
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:34 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is really cool. I thought everyone in the photos was attractive, and thought that was the photographer's intent and, thus, that he did a great job.
posted by treepour at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2008


Yayyyyyyyy I was hoping we'd get a chance today to talk about how fat people disgust us!
posted by BaxterG4 at 7:44 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, BaxterG4, we started out with a rather mild joke and proceeded immediately to the "big is beautiful" reaction. Since everyone was so quick to defend themselves, I thought I'd offer a counterpoint.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:50 PM on June 11, 2008


Refusing to admit that fat is bad is counter-productive. . .

It's similar to depression. Depression today is treated as a disease, which it can be, but isn't recognized as a signal. If your life is depressing, you should be depressed; it's your brain telling you that you need to change something. Treating problems like obesity and depression as though they aren't really problems, or as though they are problems of an entirely different sort, is dangerous.


I think you oversimplify. Within the spectra of bodies and brains, from individual to individual, body fat and depressive symptoms have different causes and signify different things. Some people are naturally fatter than others. What you consider to be an unappealing body is not necessarily an unhealthy body.

And depression, as a disease, is characterized by false signals.
posted by flotson at 7:53 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just think it's fascinating how quickly people get distracted by something that has nothing to do with obesity other than a single picture of an obese woman. I've seen too many of these threads -- the moment I saw that pic in the linked article, I knew with that a significant part of the discussion over here in the blue would be about it.

And now I'm contributing further.

Discussion from now on: phone sex operators / portraits thereof, not obesity -- deal?
posted by BaxterG4 at 8:00 PM on June 11, 2008


You may be right, flotson: my threshold for attraction may be lower than the threshold for ill health. I will point out, though, that it's a notable health issue, in the U.S. especially.

As for depression, yes, it can be due to false signals--but depression due to working an unrewarding office job, for example, may not be a 'false signal,' just a signal it's difficult to acknowledge. A person who is depressed for this reason will still be given antidepressants and treated as a person with a psychological disorder.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:12 PM on June 11, 2008


Could y'all maybe make this a little less about how you feel about fat people and a more about the topic of the post and/or closing your browser window?
posted by cortex at 8:37 PM on June 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


For balance, I'd like some photos of phone sex callers.
posted by rhymer at 1:33 AM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


This post is useless without dialogue.

Here's a oldie but a goodie.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:32 AM on June 12, 2008


I loved how nerdy/geeky two of the women were.
posted by sararah at 12:25 PM on June 12, 2008


More work by this artist:

a series of photographs of recently abandoned offices. (via)
posted by prefpara at 3:15 PM on June 19, 2008


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