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Women Lend Voice to Adult Phone Line

October 24, 1985|DAVID WHARTON

'A lot of people aren't open minded when it comes to this sort of thing. But we aren't hurting a soul.'

Tiffany is not her real name. It is her nom de telephone , the one she gives the many men who call.

And 500 to 1,000 men call her each day.

Tiffany is paid to describe sex acts over the telephone. The 26-year-old Studio City woman works as a program director and "voice" for Lusty Lady Productions, which offers two-minute, sexually explicit messages to anyone with a telephone and $2 to pay for the toll call.

She and the other women who work for Lusty Lady agreed to be interviewed on the condition that their real names not be disclosed. Tiffany, Liz and Rose said they fear harassment from perverts and religious groups.

"There are a lot of weirdos out there," Tiffany said. "We have to be careful. We have to protect ourselves."

Lusty Lady began offering its recordings three months ago, joining 61 other "adult entertainment" messages that can be dialed in the state of California.

Pacific Bell first offered 976, or Dial-a-Message, lines in November, 1983. The numbers are rented to independent companies that pick the messages they offer. There are 976 lines for everything from horoscopes and stock market figures to movie reviews and sports scores.

But it is the adult entertainment lines that have proved most popular. They represent one quarter of all existing message lines, said Larry Mobbs, a Pacific Bell spokesman. Last year, there were 12 million calls to sex lines, almost 50% of all the calls made to 976 numbers. As of Sept. 1, 1985, adult messages have drawn only 27% of the calls, but still come in a close second to the horoscope lines.

Pacific Bell is one of many telephone systems across the country that have filed suit in federal court to stop telephone sex services.

"I think it's sad and rather pathetic that this sort of thing goes on," said Rosemarie Pegueros-Lev, a Sunland woman who is vice president of the National Organization for Women in California. "I think it furthers the exploitation of women as objects. The women who are doing this wouldn't be doing it if they could earn decent wages at decent jobs."

Said Jess Moody, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Van Nuys: "This is just awful what they are doing. I could say it is sinful and wicked. . . .It is a really degrading thing to a city. How can we allow the youth to be ravaged by the avalanche of pornography?"

Tiffany talks with the sound engineer as the actresses walk in from a dry, still October afternoon, into the cool, red-light darkness of a West Los Angeles sound studio where Lusty Lady records its messages twice a month.

Liz, from Sherman Oaks, wears all black: a low-cut top, leather miniskirt, lace hose and spiked heels. Liz, 28, is a former Miss Florida and third runner-up in the Miss America Pageant. She has acted in several NBC series and appeared in "Friday the 13th, Part III in 3-D." With styled brunette hair and a perfectly made-up face, Liz is strikingly attractive. She is also nervous. This is her first recording session. She sits in the corner, anxiously smoking long, thin cigarettes.

Rose is a veteran at this game, having worked at it for almost a year and a half, mostly for a service in New York. The 27-year-old Venice woman sings in a rock 'n' roll band. Dressed in a rumpled, sleeveless undershirt and cut-off jeans, she kneels barefoot on the carpet and sips fruit juice.

Tiffany emerges from the sound booth.

"I think we're going to do the menage ," she said.

The women reach for their scripts and move toward a bank of microphones at the center of the black-walled studio.

"Remember," Tiffany said, "the energy level . . . just like in rehearsals . . . keep that energy level up. Those men are out there listening, give it to them."

The three stand before the microphones awaiting the engineer's cue. Rose licks her lips. Liz tugs on her skirt. Tiffany stares intently at a stopwatch she holds. With the cue, the stopwatch clicks and Tiffany speaks.

"The message you are about to hear is sexually explicit in nature. If you are under the age of 18 or if you would be offended by sexually explicit material, please hang up now."

Rose leans toward the microphones.

"Liz, there's something I've been meaning to tell you. . . . Oh! I didn't realize there was a man here. Would you like to join us?"

Like many women who are paid to talk dirty, Tiffany was a struggling actress when she took her first telephone sex job.

"I thought, gosh, this is kind of weird," she recalled. "But it was all on the up and up. And I could create a sexy lady and be anonymous. That was exciting."

In the two years since, Tiffany has had other vocal jobs: speaking the part of the unseen receptionist in a dog food commercial and cooing in the high-pitched tones of a female chipmunk for the animated cartoon show "Alvin and the Chipmunks."

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