Friend and Foe

I’m sitting in bed with 8 paws around me tonight taking a deep breath. It has been a big week. So, naturally, you’ll all hear why.

 

I met my friend L for lunch on Wednesday. I could tell she was nervous, about something…. Small talk didn’t roll off the tongue and her eyes were downcast. She proceeded to tell me that someone in my group of friends, who I had entrusted the information of my job to, had decided to tell another friend that hadn’t known.

 

I was naturally pretty disappointed, as my first nervous conversations with them involved very explicit instructions that if they wanted to talk to someone about it, they needed to ask me so I could speak to the newcomer first. So when I confronted the small group of girls that I had told about my job, I was shocked to hear that two of them had told others without asking me – one as long as a year ago. Two girls even lied to me about who they had told. Trying desperately to figure out who else could know so that I could damage control, I learnt that they all knew. Someone outside my circle of friends was told. It even went as far as one of the girls stalking down my work location. The only way she could have gotten this is by some pretty 007 methods, as I guard that information closely; and this was done by a friend that I’d known for 12 years. If that isn’t violating enough, it didn’t end there though; she decided that she would message another girl and tell her that she knew where I was.

 

I was beyond angry…. I was and still feel totally betrayed and heartbroken. I couldn’t believe that a 12 year friendship didn’t mean that I could trust someone. I hated that they made me second guess everyone in my life that I have trusted. I couldn’t believe that they had decided that it was their decision as to who knew my secret. But here is the hypocrisy…. After the first day I told those girls, they never asked a question of me. Instead of trying to understand how I was feeling by asking me questions, they pow wowed about it and based opinions upon their own uneducated perceptions. They told themselves it was because they were concerned about my safety, but never asked me how I was being safe. They either never gave me the opportunity to discuss it, or ignored me when I told them that I had researched safety aspects of the industry for over a month before starting. I spoke to working girls, ex working girls, brothels…. I researched surveys regarding the risk of sti’s in my industry, I researched the risk of violence, I left no stone unturned. And I chose this job because I discovered that what I thought the reality might be was far from the truth. I discovered a very lucrative industry with minimal risk and maximum return.

 

When we grow up we are taught that sex work is dirty. It’s for people with nowhere else to go for money. It’s for drug addicts. According to my friends, they thought it was for people of little self worth. Sound familiar? This stereotype of sex work has been popping up a lot for me lately, and I got sick of it. I am sick of it.

 I love that it has given others that feeling that the world is at their feet, that they feel alive, that they finally have the reins rather than the bank or the ex.

I just got back from “How to Be Single” – I know, I can’t believe that a Rebel Wilson comedy flick might actually bring me perspective. But it did. It reminded me that at the end of the day, your life is your own. And I just don’t care what they think anymore. I don’t mean that in a “you fucking bitches, how dare you judge me, fine I don’t need you anyway” kind of don’t care – I just genuinely don’t care. People will form their own opinions with or without my education. Some will base it on media misconceptions. And I don’t blame them – after all, we’re brought up to look at this job in a certain light. But it is far from the reality of the job. At the end of the day, I’m not a push over – I am 100% comfortable with myself as a person and value myself. I have self worth in spades. I don’t need another person’s approval, I know that I am worth a lot despite my job, and probably even worth more in the future because of my job. I believe this because it has taught me more about self acceptance, self awareness and empathy than most learn in their entire life. It’s made me a better friend and a better person.

 

The reality of my job is that I wake up, check my phone, book in clients. I get dressed, go to work, alleviate someone’s loneliness for a period of time and am well paid for it. I come home, fix my books, cook dinner, chill with my housemates, cuddle my puppies and go to bed. I live a normal life.

 

When I was thinking about writing this blog, I was considering calling this job an altruistic job but that is not true. Altruism by definition involves giving yourself without receiving in return. And although I give a lot emotionally and physically to this job, there is reciprocation. It has given me financial freedom, the ability to study with minimal hindrance, a higher level of empathy for others, the ability to fill a spot of loneliness in someone’s life. It has given me a plethora of incredible friends that I know will be there forever if I need them. Friends that make no judgments, are not squeamish about any conversation and who will stick up for me no matter what. It has taught me which friends in my normal life are truly friends; who totally respects me and who I can tell anything to. Realising that now my life is totally and utterly in other people’s questionable hands is surprisingly a small price to pay for knowing that I have a select group of friends who will take my secrets to the grave and are by me because they know that my job does not dictate my health or me as a person. And it has given many of us working girls a lot more – a lot of workers talk about how sex work has empowered them in their life, has given them control financially and emotionally that they have never had before. I love that it has given others that feeling that the world is at their feet, that they feel alive, that they finally have the reins rather than the bank or the ex.

 

For me, I was broke. I had $250 and it was defer uni, sell my dogs or try something new. To the more shallow thinkers, this sounds like I was pushed into the job, that I was ‘turned’ to prostitution like some of my friends think…. But that is bullshit. I made a decision based upon research and decided that the monetary benefit of using my body for work was far healthier than the psychological shitstorm that came of not knowing if I could afford a $2.50 can of tomatoes.

If I could turn back time, I would make the same decision again.

 

Some of my friends want to talk more…. Some clearly don’t. Messages telling me that I can talk to them when I’m ready are a cop out…. Because I’m ready now. I will 100% defend this industry. I am more than happy to challenge societal ideals. I won’t allow them to make me feel any shame for this. I wont allow them to make me feel like my health, whether mentally or physically, is at risk. Because that attitude is not representative of the norm, it’s representative of the minority. There is no difference between the IV drug using hooker with her thumb out on the streets and Bob the plumber that is an alcoholic and beats his two kids. They’re both outside of the norm in their industries.

 

There will always be people who will struggle to deal with this information. It stems from being oblivious to a world that is very secretive. If only there was a switch I could flick that would light up a bulb over the head of every person that has ever worked or is working. You’d be in for the shock of your life. What about a client bulb? That would be even more of an eye opener. This is the oldest job in the world, and it is for a reason. If done correctly, can be extremely safe. It helps people. It is lucrative. It is legal where I live. In short, it has a massive place in our society behind closed doors.

 

So now I’m at the stage where I have a better idea of who is friend and who is both friend and foe…. and I guess knowledge is power, although it’s a shame I learnt about my frenemies in this way. I still love them, I am still their friends – I am able to forgive. But I unfortunately will never forget, and my trust is forever gone with them. But girls, if you are reading this, if you are forming opinions on me – don’t decide what is right or wrong unless you’ve immersed yourself in the people, the job, the psyche… make sure you’ve done your research before you preach to me. Because I will preach right back – I’m a stubborn bitch like that.

6 thoughts on “Friend and Foe”

  1. Hello Charlie,

    Praise to you my dear.
    Well spoken and well written.

    You are displaying maturity beyond your years
    And far beyond that of your peers..

    Your social peers that is. You understand who you as a person, a friend and a professional.
    They are yet to even start analyzing who they themselves are. Sadly..

    Your professional peers… to a person I have found you all to be genuine, grounded, sincere ladies. Hard working, happy and empowered.
    Undoubtedly you also present yourself as a significant member of this sisterhood.
    Hold your head high.

    Bonne soiree
    Paul

  2. David from Melbourne

    Great piece of writing. Really enjoyed it. You get your ideas across in a really clear and profound way. As a regular user sex workers I am very interested in this subject matter.

    I guess my interest was piqued a year or so ago when I was casually watching some TV. I think it was the ABC’s QA or a show like that and they were interviewing a sex worker who was making the point that the work was positive for her. She had paid her way through her studies and made several other positive points about it.

    They also had a counter opinion with a woman with such a militant attitude who shamed the sex worker. Told her she was psychologically damaged and didn’t know (and was incapable of knowing) what she was talking about. She told her she would burn in hell and that getting on TV and telling her story was ‘glamorizing’ prostitution and any young girls who become prostitutes and got diseases or who are killed by evil ‘johns’ are her responsibility. She then went on a quoted a bunch of stats about the extent of sexual slavery (no doubt a massively real problem although a significant amount of it(but not all) is in 3rd world)

    This lead into a spiel of anti-man rhetoric. If you use sex worker services you are a misogynist, exploiting vulnerable women, a pathetic loser and pretty much just plain evil. The studio audience had the ability to make comments and a man defended the industry and the anti-sex work crusader went up another gear of hysterical vitriol and made a personal attack on the man himself which she concluded was a user of sex workers himself just because of his defense. She said something like ‘don’t you know every sex worker you have ever used has hated your guts. Every single one…even the ones and especially the ones you think like you’

    The girl was understandably shaken up by this attack. And to be honest so was I. I thought I had some really healthy and nice professional relationships with some girls I had seen regularly and didn’t like the thought they secretly hated me one bit. I really needed to think about whether I was exploiting anybody by doing what I like to do. I had always thought of it as a win-win and that I was responding to an ad. Or going to a brothel where a girl already was. I was not coaxing anyone into sex work. The girl I was seeing as an adult had already decided to do what she was doing. I really didn’t want to be exploiting anyone. I had always had very positive experiences and treated the girls I spent time with, with care and respect.

    I didn’t see any sex workers for maybe 6 months until I thought through all the issues that confronted me and I made peace with them all in my mind.

    So I really enjoyed your blog article Charlie. It is obvious it is from the heart. There are no hidden agendas. I now read articles of this kind of thing quite regularly which makes me more comfortable with the conclusions I reached. Sophie Deveaux (another beautiful and highly intelligent and articulate sex worker) Makes similar points in her blog.

    http://www.sophiemelbourne.com/category/escortblog/

    Sex is such a complicated and personal aspect of our lives and psyche. Society has felt the need to but in from pretty much the beginning of society itself. There are so many hidden agendas. Men who hate the idea that women may not be financially reliant on them. Men who hate any kind of female sexual expression because they feel a loss of power. Women who are jealous, who may not be able (lucratively) or have the courage to do it. Women who are frightened their husbands don’t desire them and cannot control them 100%. And of course religious nuts of all varieties like to but in to how individuals should use their sexuality and what is acceptable and what is not.

    It is so sad that ignorant people seem to think that they have the right to tell somebody else how they should use their sexuality. It is ok for somebody to spend a 3rd or more their life perhaps doing some backbreaking repetitive menial job but it is not ok for a woman to use her own independence and the genetic cards she has been dealt to get by in the world. And for a man who for any number of reasons doesn’t want to be in a relationship or is unable to have a relationship to get some sexual intimacy by some giving something valuable to get something valuable and creating a win-win scenario. Without sex workers you can be guaranteed of more undesirable deceptive behaviour from men chasing casual sex. A situation with a massive supply and demand differential. Something caused by what evolution has deeply programmed us to need.

    My general philosophy is if nobody is being hurt and all parties are consenting (and have the capacity and age to consent) then how the %*&# is it anybody else’s business. Especially societies. When I see the sex workers rounded up and arrested in the U.S. it is appalling. This country basically runs the worlds and constantly pushes it’s credentials relating to freedom. They are not doing too well with all the people they decide to lock up and execute and all the people allowed to have guns and kill children. Pretty warped concept of freedom but I digress.

    I really identified with your point about the plumber who beats his wife and stereo typing sex workers to their lowest common denominator. It is absolutely a tiny fraction of the situation that gets all the attention. Such an unbalanced argument that continues to go unchallenged.

    I particularly hate that ‘safety’ stuff. When intelligent, independent sex workers give opinions that I have read 100% of the time they say that this work is safer than meeting a man in the pub or going on a Tinder date. Yes there are aggressive and dangerous men out there but there always has been and probably always will be unfortunately.

    These men are opportunists and will prey upon women who take risks with their safety whether that is in a pub or a sex worker. The media love a sex worker assaulted story so you can be sure if any happen we are informed about them. As a man I hate being tarred with the same brush as cowardly men who assault any women but there isn’t much I can do about it except state my exception to it and treat all women (all people for that matter) with respect.

    Wow. I didn’t intend to write that much. Turned into an essay almost. I just wanted to say thanks Charlie and to support you. Your writing made me feel better about myself. I am glad you like what you do and don’t feel exploited. I hope you can avoid the negative heads of this world and continue to be happy, enjoy your life and bring happiness to others.

    David.

  3. Hi C
    Dont know you.
    Have never met you.
    But am in love with your mind and the openness, and in part courage, that allows you to share the introspection of your inner thoughts.

    More power, happiness and success to you.

    Ross

  4. “I made a decision based upon research and decided that the monetary benefit of using my body for work was far healthier than the psychological shitstorm that came of not knowing if I could afford a $2.50 can of tomatoes.”

    This.

    Great blog Charlie. I’m sorry you’ve had a rough week, but I’m glad that such a wonderful piece of writing came out of it.

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