Most kids grow up playing make believe. Sometimes it carries into adulthood. Go to any Renaissance Faire and tell me those participants are not having fun. But when fantasy borders sexual deviance, it suddenly becomes a topic that’s not spoken about in “polite” company, and practiced in dark dungeons.
“Playing Darlene” is a true story about one woman’s secret life as a Dominatrix while working as a respected school teacher.
I agreed to review “Playing Darlene” out of morbid curiosity. I confess I was prepared for a book filled with explicit details of sick, perverted actions. What I found, however, was a smartly written story about a woman’s ability to overcome an abusive childhood and carve out an unconventional future doing something she enjoys.
“Darlene” had it rough growing up. From the outside, it looked as if her life was straight out of “Leave It To Beaver” but past those closed doors was a dysfunctional family. Her father was rarely home, her mother was weak and controlled by Darlene’s older brother – an adolescent who enjoyed terrorizing his sister. What kept Darlene going was her love of performing. She thrived under the spotlight and found opportunities to perform in dance, plays and school events even as her brother took pride in destroying her happiness.
Darlene was a sponge for learning through college and beyond, but once she felt like she’d conquered the tasks, she grew bored and sought out something new. She wasn’t a “desk” person, preferring active positions where she could mingle with people. She soon combined her love of dance with the lucrative art of stripping. From there, she began to explore the fantasy world of S&M, Bondage, Slavery and Domination. While some might question her decision, I prefer to remain non-judgmental. Darlene found fantasy role-playing an exciting outlet for her desire to perform.
An interesting element in “Playing Darlene” is the case histories of clients layered throughout the book. I found it fascinating to enter this world via the written word, and walked away with a better understanding of how Dominatrix are caring for the special needs of their elite clientele. Very often, the client sends a description of exactly how they want their fantasy to play out, even including props and costumes. It’s usually planned down to the smallest detail. Darlene never had sex with her clients, although they were allowed to pleasure themselves. Many didn’t because it was about a different experience.
You won’t find explicit sex scenes in “Playing Darlene”. There’s plenty of erotic fiction out there with titillating details. Even though the subject matter might prove unsettling to some readers. In my opinion, this is a great human interest story about a courageous woman who took lemons and made lemonade. Darlene lives her life with honesty and pride. She is as comfortable teaching students in the public school system as she is “playing” with customers in the dungeon.
She lived her fantasy dream for 18 years and is still enjoying life. And while her dream might be vastly different from most people, I admire her ability to juggle the light with the dark without losing balance.
Playing Darlene: The True Double Life of a Public School Teacher & Professional Dominatrix
Genre: Autobiography/Memoir/ Erotica
Publisher: Chances Press, LLC
Number of pages: 114
Word Count: 23,000
Cover Artist: Geronimo Quitoriano
In this eye-opening true story, one woman recounts the double life she led working in two very different professions…one revered and the other reviled. Darlene spent over twenty years being thought of as a well-mannered teacher in a Southern California public school district, but her colleagues and students would have never imagined that for eighteen of those years she also worked as a professional dominatrix in a dungeon. “
Playing Darlene” lets the reader take a peek into the mysterious lives of professionals in the sex industry and some of the jaw-dropping encounters she had with the thousands of clients whose fantasies she helped come true. With everything from roleplaying a shopaholic wife being spanked by her husband to wrapping up a muscular cross-dressing client in plastic and watching him wiggle, Darlene helped men realize their most secret desires…while she wasn’t grading school papers on her breaks.
Darlene’s true stories of balancing her two different personas are frequently shocking, at times hilarious, and occasionally touching, but at the heart of the story is a woman on a personal journey not only to reconcile with her past, but also to discover the full potential of her own sexuality.
About the Author:
Darlene was born in Hollywood, California, and grew up in Pasadena, a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. She received a BA in German from California State University, Los Angeles. For several years she worked in television and film. Credits include General Hospital, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the female lead in the film Monstrosity in which she played a spaced-out punk rocker. She even photo-doubled for Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun and Corey Feldman in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (when they were 14 and 12 respec- tively). For the past 20 years, she has been a public school teacher in Los Angeles County. She currently lives in the San Fernando Valley, where she can be found indulging in her favorite hobby, ballroom and country-western dancing. Her next book is scheduled to be released in early 2013.