Words by Rain DeGrey
I have always had a fetish for confident women owning the fuck out of their sexuality. Obviously, with a fetish like this, Nina Hartley would be the sort of woman that I would admire and look up to for inspiration. A performer, educator, activist and all around delightful person, Nina has been kicking ass and taking names for long enough to qualify for OG status in the industry.
I had heard of her long before I finally met her in person, but we didn't actually meet in the flesh until the day she had to make me a pair of pasties to prevent the police from closing us down.
We were both performers at a fundraising event in San Francisco that made the unfortunate call of having both alcohol and uncovered nipples at the same time, which is a bit of a no-no without proper permits. Permit-scorning rebels that the organizers were, nobody thought that the fundraiser would be big enough to attract any attention of the authorities. We were wrong. Hundreds of people ended up showing up and the place was packed to the rafters. Mid-event, the police raided the place and gave us the option of either covering up all the wayward nipples or closing down the fundraiser.
Option "cover the nipple" was selected and there was a hurried rush to make multiple pasties for all those poking out pink bits that are so dangerous when near the booze. I happened to be standing near Nina when the raid went down and she was so unruffled as to be blasé.
"Not a problem," she said with a smile, "we used to have to make pasties on the fly all the time when I was dancing." With a deft movement, she extracted a can of hairspray, some black electrical tape and some scissors from her purse. Flipping the can upside down, she covered the bottom of it with strips of the electrical tape, trimmed down the tape strips in the shape of a circle using the hairspray can as a guide, and handed me a set of nipple pasties in under a minute. She was like the MacGyver of sexy times and I was really curious what else she was carrying in that purse...
In short order all of the offending nipples were covered and the fundraiser continued. I kept the pasties after the event as a prized memento, as it isn't every day that one gets a pair of pasties made for them by the one and only Nina Hartley, but I honestly thought I would never interact with her again.
It was a few years later that one of my friends sent me a text giving me her new updated phone number and wishing me a happy New Year. I promptly responded, both wishing her a good New Year and including a pic of me dressed in my new panda suit onesie I had gotten for Christmas because honestly, who doesn't need a pic of me dressed up as a giant panda to start off their new year?
It wasn't under after I hit the reply button that I saw that it was actually a group text she had sent out, and when I replied, I had replied to "All." I had just sent a fair number of people I did not know a photo of me doing some panda cosplay. Unless the unwitting recipients were furries, they were probably somewhat taken aback at their unexpected panda gift. Quietly cursing my lack of tech skills, I resolved to look harder before texting next time.
It was around 30 minutes later that my phone rang. I had already moved on from the panda incident and was expecting a call, so I picked it up without thinking.
"Who is this and why are you sending me panda pictures?" Said the voice on the other end.
"Errrr. My name is Rain and I am not great with phones, sorry about that," I said. "Who is this?"
"Nina Hartley," she replied.
"Wait. What?? THE Nina Hartley? The famous one?!" I stammered (smooth, right?) I couldn't even figure out how she got my number or why she would be calling me for a moment until it all fell into place.
She chuckled as I tripped over myself trying to both explain the situation and bring up that I still had the pasties she made for me all those years ago. "Met you... police raid... hairspray, tape, group text, panda pajamas for Christmas...HI!!" was the basic eloquent flow I laid on her. I could feel her amusement on the other end of the line, but she was just as calm as she had been on the night of the fundraiser as I watched her elegantly sit in the center of a never ending flow of frothing bright eyed fans without ever losing her shine. I guess at a certain point one gets used to people getting all flustered over you.
After awkwardly proclaiming my fan girl status, we ended the phone call with mutual well wishes. Bless that woman. Of course out of all the people that I had accidentally group texted my panda pic to, she would be the only one calling for some follow up. Hopefully if I ever meet her for a third time, there will be no pandas or police involved. One day I will be smooth. Maybe.
Rain DeGrey is a veteran performer with over eight years in the industry who is blessed with both an extremely open mind and a very twisted sense of humor. When she is not being a Professional Naked Person she keeps herself busy as a writer, educator, and performer. For more Rain DeGrey, go to raindegrey.com, raindegrey.net and @raindegrey on twitter.