A Sex Worker Explains How to Talk With the Escorts Outside Of Her Job
I would be unintelligent if I did not understand that sex and money are convincing subjects, but you would be a fool if you did not understand that I do not want to be pointed out as an object of entertainment.
Last weekend I met new people. I'm like an Escort in Amsterdam and I went with a friend of mine, and also with some friends of my friend. When she told one of them what I do for a living, I felt a little embarrassed.
I should not have worried. If there was discomfort, I probably brought it with me, as usual. A few times during the night, however, I realized that I was listening very closely to my answers to basic questions. Maybe they were waiting for my eyes to become kaleidoscopic, or for the problems of my childhood to arise.
Then I realized: I'm probably the first sex worker that they know socially.
This happens often. I am open about what I do, and I am a friend of many men. I could be more discreet, but too many times I've been on a brunch and my vague lie of being an online cook raises 20 enthusiastic follow-up questions. I hate the taste of increasingly elaborate lies. I am lucky to live in Amsterdam, a city so big that if someone disapproves of me, we can choose not to see each other again. So fuck it.
Here are some things you would consider if you were introduced to a sex worker at a party or a karaoke bar.
YOU CAN ASK QUESTIONS
If you are curious, do it! Try to stay away from nuts and bolts, and nothing too deep, too fast. Imagine that I sleep animals to earn a living, not because it is an equally sad profession, but because they are equally susceptible. There is no must for "Do you touch that the spirit leaves the body of the cat?" And if only for the sake of our mutual friends, do not ask me about sexually transmitted diseases before eating.
There are absolutely women in the world who are victims of trafficking, who are doing sex work for reasons that are terrible and coercive and highly traumatic. If you meet someone with a history like that socially, do the best you can to help her.
But if you run into a self-identified sex worker (or dancer or prostitute or cam girl), especially in a big city, and you do not see someone behind her holding a gun, please assume that they have control over their own life. Do them the favor of assuming that they make decisions according to an idiosyncratic but valid analysis of their choices and the consequent financial results. Do them the favor of not assuming that they hate their work, or that they love it, or that their story is like something you read or saw on television or even someone else you know. Do not make assumptions about your emotional tone. If you are calm enough about your life to avoid the stigma and tell the truth, you are probably as seekers, imperfect and confused and do it like the rest of your friends. Like you, they prefer not to talk about work all the time.
I DID SOMETHING ELSE BEFORE THIS
For me, the most difficult part of being a sex worker is that it informs many of my interactions with other people and has a stronger effect on my perceived identity than anything else I have done before. I accompany for money, just as I have done other jobs for money. However, when I was a waiter, people did not assume many things about me because I put food on the tables and picked up dishes. They did not want to ask me about the true meaning of the food, or ask me if being a waiter was emotionally stable, or demanding that I know what I would do when I was no longer a waiter. I did not feel that I should behave as best I could to give the waiters a good name. It is exhausting.
I understand that almost everyone knows a waiter. But just as I was not a waitress when I worked as such, try to understand that I am not Escort above all else.
IF I COMPLAIN ABOUT MY WORK, IT IS BECAUSE EVERYONE COMPLAINS OF ITS WORK
Sometimes I have difficult days, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes people arrive late. Sometimes I have two clients in a row who are valleys of tears dressed as businessmen. Sometimes I have someone who stores muffins where their empathy for other humans should be, and I hate it, and I need to process that. And sometimes Gmail is crazy and I lose money and that bothers me. If I complain about these things, it's fine. I'm still fine. You're still good. Everyone complains about their work. This does not mean that to be a good friend you must worry or start a serious talk. It would be better if you had a glass of wine with me and then complain about your work.