He Answered a Dream Job Post...You Won’t Believe How it Ended!

(WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES)

I’ll start this story in the most rational place available to me, the beginning. I am a divemaster and dive instructor since 2014; it’s my passion and a perfect fit. It (barely) affords me the means and ability to travel, explore the world underwater, and share my passion for nature and adventure. I've heard it’s not exactly a "normal" job, and getting hired is a wacky adventure in itself.

I've been a member of a few job boards, and I frequently check for the right kind of post. Many of the positions entice you to beaches around the world with mostly-stable jobs in legitimate dive centers. Others advertise seemingly too-good-to-be-true job offers, which always turn out to be so. And still others are worded so poorly, or convey such oppressive management mentality, that they're only good as fodder for the group's trolls. A thirsty bunch.

But every once in awhile a dream post surfaces, and at 9:15pm on March 16, 2017 I found mine.

(the following is a conversation with my good friend Crispy, taking place simultaneously to me answering the job post; as you will soon learn it is one of the only pieces of evidence from the entire story)

Upon reading this, a few things may strike you as they did me. First off, Julia is working for a wealthy American couple with 4 free months to endeavor on a round-the-globe yacht expedition, where they’ll be hitting 3 of the top 5 dive destinations in the world. Additionally, she mentions they will be spending 2 weeks on their island in the Caribbean. Their island.

If you're understanding this like me, I’m pretty sure these people are rolling in it, and barring any truly freaky shit, this could be THE dream. So I answered the post.

applying for the job

I received a response a couple of hours later, which initiated a live chat with Julia. A normal start to what was by that point, a routine conversation I had been having with potential employers. Questions about dive experience, language mastery, availability during the contract period etc. Here though, is where I got the first sense that this was not just any divemaster yachtsmen job.

(for reasons that will soon reveal themselves, only my half of the conversation with Julia survived)

early signs of weird

The personal questions are not uncommon as these jobs are typically halfway around the world and will generally disrupt your “real job” and your “normal life”. The request for a picture was not out of the question either; they want to make sure I'm not a schlub.

At this point though, Julia returned the conversation to normalcy and asked a few diving relevant questions. What kind of experience do I have on boats and large sea-faring vessels? Where is my prior dive experience? Yada yada.

We conversed until Julia initiated the money talk by asking how much I currently make...ok Julia, not a bullshitter I guess; it's negotiating time.

the money question

When she asked what I think would be fair pay, I used the opportunity to divert back to information-seeking mode and rifled off a line of questions. Julia gave me wholly acceptable answers (the yacht, btw, is 175 feet), and we continued with more interview stuff. Then it got goofy...

weird request

Julia asked if I knew what a 'sub male' is, and I fully understood that this was not just any job. I, in fact, knew exactly what a sub male is, because only 6 months prior, I had visited a very special event called the Folsom Street Fair (look it up) in San Francisco, California with a friend, let’s call him T-Bone.

T-Bone guided me on a tour through SF’s premiere BDSM street fair, and if you don’t know what BDSM is, it stands for Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism, and a sub male is a submissive male, typically the one wearing the leather harness and chain leash in the relationship (think the gimp in the basement from Pulp Fiction). BDSM encompasses a wide range of tastes and if I learned anything about it on Folsom St. that day, it's that nothing should surprise you, and that leather is, apparently, for everyone. 

But I wasn’t going to spoil the dialogue, so I played dumb.

bondage gags obedience

(luckily for everyone, I was still online with Crispy, live-covering the whole conversation as it developed...)

submissive male divemaster

In my chat with Crispy, I quoted Julia’s responses to my inquiries about what specifically her clients were interested in, and it involves some pretty kinky stuff. But I consider myself a pretty experimental and adventurous guy, at least theoretically…

incentives pay terms conditions

Submissive divemastering. I was no longer searching for a job as an underwater ambassador and guide; I was inquiring into a whole new gig. And my curiosity could not be sated. Even though I knew this was not the job for me, I had to play along, and Crispy was thinking along the same lines.

(please pardon the lewd talk between myself and Crispy)

rabbit hole gag hole

Good ol’ Julia opened the door, and couldn't backtrack, so she walked through the door and slammed it behind her. She requested a shirtless picture, then offered to pay me double whatever I was currently making. I decided not to tell her that as a traveling divemaster, I was averaging about $5/day; I figured that would be a poor negotiating position.

nothing sexual

Julia rounded out the job description by mentioning, very nonchalantly, that there was just one more thing. “Would sex be off limits?” She follows immediately with an offer of $50,000 for the 4 months work. As any level-headed sub male divemaster would do, I told her I’d need some time to mull it over...it was $50K after all.

(my behind-the-scenes conversation with Crispy)

lawyer girlfriend family

I didn’t want to lose her, but I had to nail her down if I had any chance at this thing. As you can see from my exchange with Crispy, I had apparently decided that $100k was my number to hit to reconsider her offer, (which coincidentally is signficantly lower than I would have said had I been playing the "How much money would it take to..." game with friends). But evidently I had crossed a line, in both the shifting sands of my own psyche, and the conversation with Julia…

(my relay to Crispy, the concerned and vicariously engaged friend, via Julia, the exuberantly wealthy American couples’ discreet assistant)

lawyer up no hire

And just like that...POOF...Julie removed herself from the conversation and eliminated her half of the dialogue at the first mention of my lawyer (I don’t really have one). I imagined a scene in which I receive some out-of-contract request from the kinky couple in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which I simply must refuse. Upon refusal, they throw me overboard of course, because they can.

I glimpsed a different world though. A world in which two extreme sports of sorts, two passions, cross paths in a bizarre clandestine marketplace. A world in which I can still hold out hope to make a fortune doing what I love. I was so enthralled that I even did some Googling, searching for other similar job posts, hoping maybe the right one is still out there.

Along the way I found the probable inspiration for this wealthy couple’s fantastic divemaster fantasy in a wonderfully well written 3-novel, divemaster-themed, erotic, romantic, suspense series called Going Down by Jayne Rylon. I highly recommend it. Despite my research though, I can find no other forum for discussing my experience. This subculture, I believe, is still in it's infancy busy finding a place for itself in the world.

going down erotic romantic suspense novel

I also realized that the BDSM community and the diving community do have a number of very telling similarities, one of which is their affinity for acronyms. Read the following statement and tell me where the standard dive talk ends and where the kinky stuff starts.

“Today my OWSI taught me DSMB deployment and BWARF. My BDSM DM taught me a lesson as well..."

Additionally, divers and BDSM enthusiasts alike love to be done up in harnesses, leashes, whips, neoprene and steel buckles. Our worlds may be even more closely related than originally thought. Really, aren't we all more closely related than originally thought?

I wonder about my own tendencies...would I be a dom, or a sub? A DM or a Sub DM? The evidence is clear and the case is conclusive.

Take exhibit A, a photograph taken well before the aforementioned incident, wherein you will see me, DM Alex, employing a SSTBMLC (seahorse single-tank back mount leg-cradle) on a seahorse Sub DM, who, coincidentally, is none other than the infamous T-Bone of the formative Folsom BDSM Street Fair experience. Now things are getting really spooky…

Exhibit A: DM Alex Lichtblau displays his demonstration quality SSTBM (seahorse single-tank back mount leg cradle) positioning on T-Bone McGoan. Photo credit to Mauricio Riquelme of AquaLife Photography

Exhibit A: DM Alex Lichtblau displays his demonstration quality SSTBM (seahorse single-tank back mount leg cradle) positioning on T-Bone McGoan. Photo credit to Mauricio Riquelme of AquaLife Photography

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