This man knew I was a sex worker. It says so, right in my own Bumble profile: retired media whore, current actual whore. He’d even commented on it, using what every woman longs to listen to from a romantic interest:’Haha, nice 😉 ‘. And yet I watched as his face contorted directly into an expression of disgust, his upper lip curling as the truth of my profession came crashing down around him like a tonne of bricks.
“That is a lot,” he explained, and then he rolled on to his back and stared at the ceiling. I didn’t hear from him again.
It often surprises people to listen to that sex workers do a number of normal people activities, like working other jobs, studying, taking the bins out. We exist in real life after our shifts end and the red light is flicked off; we’ve dinner with our families and shop at K-Mart and wait on hold with your online sites providers for what feels like hours.
It’s not common that the physical and emotional experiences we have at the job could be enough to replace a possible not enough intimate connection inside our lives outside of work; so most of us also date,
A few months ago, I ended a relationship with a person I have been seeing for pretty much two years. In private, he was a huge supporter of me working, but around his colleagues and
I don’t genuinely believe that he personally had a problem with me being fully a sex worker, but I actually do believe that the chance of others judging me – and then judging him to be with me – was enough to produce him want to help keep me a secret.
So I’ve recently downloaded some dating apps and put myself back on the proverbial market, but it’s tough. Along with the usual questions one ponders before a date (What do I wear? Where shall we go?) I find myself asking such things as, “At what point do we’ve the talk?”
The talk in which I clarify my job, re-explain my profession in the event my date didn’t read my Bumble bio, forgot what it said, or – worse – thought it absolutely was a joke. Do I tell him as soon as we meet, or before we say goodnight? Or do I throw it out randomly over the course of the evening: “Wow, this wine is delicious. Incidentally, I’m a hooker. Pass the salt?”
The best dream scenario is that my date is supportive, and happy that I’ve found a line of work that I love and supports me financially. Unfortunately, it’s only happened once – once! – so these days, I find that a lot of responses fall somewhere between abject fascination and outright objectification.
Sometimes I end through to the receiving end of one thousand rapid-fire questions (“What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done at work? Have you ever had a celebrity client? Are the people all old and ugly? They’re not, like, normal guys like me, are they?”) which is preferable to horrified silence, but leaves me feeling like I’ve just been interviewed for an hour.
Other times, my date can barely contain their disgust, quizzing me over and once again about how frequently I get my sexual health checks done and if I’m sure I’m not a carrier of some mutant strain of gonorrhoea.
“That’s all very well and good,” one man said, over coffee, “But obviously in the event that you went out with me, you’d have to get a real job. And you couldn’t tell anyone we realize that you used to work.” You ought to probably Google me before you get too attached to that idea, I wished to sneer.
Obviously, even the crudest line of questioning is really a better case scenario than the very real threat of violence that many sex workers face when speaking about their job. I’ve friends who have been followed home and stalked by men who couldn’t understand just why their date with a sex worker didn’t end with a romp, and others who have had partners arrive at their work in a spontaneous fit of jealousy, viciously demanding they empty their locker and return home with them immediately.
And even that’s better the likelihood of physical violence from an intimate partner. I once proceeded a date with a man who invited me as much as his bedroom, held me down as he initiated sex with no condom, and then read among my own articles, about sex work, aloud to me as I lay silently alongside him.
Dating isn’t possible for anyone. Even the act of experiencing to distil your whole person directly into a short and snappy paragraph fit for a dating app is sufficient to make anyone wish to purge their hands and surrender to a life of solitude.
Still, I believe in love, and I understand from past experiences that relationships – when they’re good – are worth every struggle.
On the times when it’s all an excessive amount of, I find myself thankful for the straightforward, stress-free nature of transactional sex. One hour on the clock and a peck on the cheek to state a fond goodbye until next time: if perhaps finding love was as simple.
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