I spent eleven or so months doing escort work. For the last twenty days, I've not done escort work, and have been at my parents/grandparents/staying with overachieving, now in the workplace, so now have perspective, and I still have tried to take on the exploited/cringe-ish feel I should have having done it, and it just doesn't take. I actually really can't wait to get back to it.
I personally know about 8 or 9 girls involved in sex work. One is an independent escort. Three operate high-end agencies. Two work for high-end agencies. One works at a brothel. and one is a streetworker on a high-profile strip.
And they all strike me as strong, independent, quirky, women. Woody Allen/Joyce Carol Oates/Quinten Terrentino Femme Fatale types. They all also like sex work. Women that I admire and am even a little bit in love with. And could teach the average college girl or high-school sweet heart in mid america a big lesson.
What they all have in common is that they understand contemporary gender relations in a way that Gender Studies professors don't.
If you're curious, the line of thought that brought me into work:
1)I am horny. I want to be found pretty and petted and complemented. I am too busy with research/my unpaid-but-resume-gold-more-than-full-time-internship to go through the trouble. And I AM NOT going to sleep with a friend/hit on a friend/have a club-started-drunken-one-night-stand/resort to web-dating.
2)I like older men. I like their stories. I like their experiences. You learn a lot listening to them. And they're generally quite gentlemently and if you ignore the bellies, quite good in bed.
3)Had had a bad stint with guys (sleeping with two guys in open relationships simultaneously followed by a six-date-sex-no-call-back run, then good-guy-friend follows me around a party while getting drunker and drunker/asks me to help him bring stuff to his/walks me to mine/then vomits all over my sun room/ then begs me to sleep with him then lets me know the next morning that he actually was still involved with the sweet little ethnic thing who just wouldn't put out and wanted some but hoped we could still be friends...) and was NOT up for dating.
4)And, per 3, was a bit angry. Did not help that an anthro-linguistics class ended with Judith Butler and Cathrine Mackinnon: So this chain of thought set off:
-99% of heterosexual-oriented sexworkers are women. Meaning, we live in a society where men are willing to pay for sex, and women are not.
-Society places pressure on women to objectify themselves. de Bouviar says a womans' greatest weakness is her vanity. Whether it's societal or biological, women really enjoy looking at themselves, and having men look at them and want them, and being complemented by men. Actually, I'd say that 95% of my own non-work sexual relationships were vanity-induced.
-Which isnt a good thing, and is a bloody waste of time.
-But a prostitute recognises that she, in part, exists in society as an object, and rather than trying to supress that feeling/urge to be objectified, cashes in on it.
-Or in other words, rather than being pissed off (as Virginia Woolf was) that she couldn't focus in the British Library's reading room like her male counterpart (refer to A Room of One's One); rather than agonizing and writing about how society is unfair, or even worse, getting involved in an unequal and abusive relationship...writing tomes and blogs on the number of hours lost from studying/writing applications while waxing and foundationing and looking at oneself in the mirror, baking cute cakes and coddling unworthy men...a female sex-worker accepts society as it is and makes lemons out of lemonade. All of these weaknesses biologically or sociologically engrained in women, which generally disadvantage women in the standard job market, become resume-bullet-point-gold of what is a very lucrative job.
When I started, it all seemed like some sort of con artist swindle. Or...like taking...reparations for the supression of women over the ages and in particular inequalities in contemporary society... from men who control contemporary society. And the poor dears, it seemed, didn't even know it.
The "work" involves
-two hours (waxing 1x/week, nails 3x/week, shaving, touch-ups, hair, makeup, dressing, shopping for lingerie, and stay-up hose) transforming myself into society's perfect woman...right off the page of elle or harpers bazaar.
-twenty or so minutes in transit
-I get VIP access to restaurants/bars/clubs/hotel suites my (professional, corporate parents) can't afford
-as well as access to the type of men who can afford these luxuries
-40 minutes of fantastic conversation
-150 euro-1200 euro, depending on the length of time.
And the sex? About 30% of the time very good, 50% ok, but the fellow's pot-bellied/hairy/an unfortunately bad kisser/wants me to call him daddy, and 20%...unpleasant. But then, it's only 25 minutes at most...
I'm not quite the angry feminist I was six months ago...
And when I'm lonely, when my grandmother (who is as talkative and hot tempered as I am) drives me (literally) out of the house...
I do sort of fancy renting a design-hotel lodge in Napa and hiring a nice boy to watch the sun rise and set with and watch the fire and listen to me talk and call me sweetheart and stroke my hair and cuddle me and baby me until I fall asleep.
So maybe it's more of a fair deal than I thought.
A financial leveler, at any rate ;)