Jenny Nordbak takes us to a place that few have seen, but millions have fantasized about, revealing how she transformed herself from a USC grad lacking in confidence into an elite professional dominatrix who finds her own voice, power and compassion for others.
On an unorthodox quest to understand her hidden fantasies, Jenny led a double life for two years. By day she was a construction manager, but at night she became Mistress Scarlett. Working at LA’s longest-running dungeon, she catered to the secret fetishes of clients ranging from accountants to movie stars. She simultaneously developed a career in the complex and male-dominated world of healthcare construction, while spending her nights as a sex worker, dominating men. Far from the standard-issue powerful men who pay to be helpless, Mistress Scarlett’s clientele included men whose fantasies revealed more complex needs, from “Tickle Ed” to “Doggie Dan,” from the “Treasure Trolls” to “Ta-Da Ted.” The Scarlett Letters explores the spectacularly diverse array of human sexuality and the fascinating cast of characters that the author encountered along the way.
In this entertaining read, Nordbak sets the tone early: "I was having a typical Monday. My foot worship client had been late." For more than a year, while working a day job as a construction manager, Nordbak spent her nights working at one of the most popular "dungeons" in Los Angeles, "a similar idea to a brothel, except no sex happens there and it specifically caters to fetishes." But "no sex" really just means no penetration, and Nordbak details a wide range of sexual appetites being satisfied in an unassuming residential house "where pleasure and fantasy were sacred." She deftly explains how she learned the difference between a submissive and a dominatrix as well as the complexities of the work itself: "I had to be confessor, therapist, and temptress while in the space of a few minutes negotiating a business transaction... and reading the subtext of a client's fetishes." She also introduces the reader to a range of customers, such as Doggie Dan, an elderly man who liked to be led around on all fours while wearing a dog collar, and an unnamed Hollywood star who was into urethral sounds, metal rods originally used by doctors to open blocks in the urethra. Throughout, Nordbak is sympathetic in describing her clients as well as frank and funny about her own kinks.
One of the Best Books of the Year!
When Jenny decided to transform into Mistress Scarlett, it wasn’t for the reasons that you might first expect. She did it to uncover the truth – her own truth.
With the Dungeon as a backdrop, Jenny uncovers so much more than the stark reality of sex. She discovers the vast depth of humanity, the nuances of pain and the power of simple kindness.
When I read the blurb for The Scarlett Letters, I knew that I had to read it. I was expecting plenty of kink and sex but I wasn’t at all prepared for the emotional undercurrent of Jenny’s story.
She created such a complex combination of both the cerebral and the physical that it spoke directly to my secret self. And I would really love to know who her client “Oliver” really is ;)
It’s honest and cruel, wickedly sexy and thoroughly empowering!
Amazing Read, Really Eye Opening Into That World!
I had first heard of the book through the podcast "Sick Addictions with Joclyn Stone." It was a great interview and really sold me on reading the book. But, after reading it, it was better than portrayed in the interview.
It's not simply about working in a "dungeon" even though there are several stories about this in the book. It's also a tale of learning who you really are as a person and learning that others have their own personal struggles, so rushing to judge others is never a good idea.
I was also pretty amazed that we have been conditioned by the media, movies, and TV that coming out about who you really are is almost always met with rejection. While she describes the fear of that rejection, she was always met by support with friends and family about it (at least, that's what it read like), even her mother said she was glad that she had found a way to be happy. So, it's always reassuring to hear tales of people wanting the best for their friends and family, no matter where that road takes them.
All in all, highly recommended, even if you don't consider yourself "part of that world."
This book was an incredible read! I loved the point of view of this author, which is very authentic and honest and shows a perspective of a world most don’t get a chance to see in a light that is very realistic and matter-of-fact. Through her self-discovery we learn about many of Jenny's insecurities and vulnerabilites and adresses many themes about the world that many would rather ignore and shows many facets of human sextuality in a way that makes you reevaluate your own perspectives on sexuality. There has never been a more open, heartfelt, and inspiring story about self-discovery and learning to live and love without fear from judgement! Absolutely loved it!