So I had what I guess one would call “a bad date”. Except that because the gods and goddesses have a sense of humour, it happened on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. AND it was from a woman. AND a fellow worker.
What an INSANE day! Don’t worry, I’m fine. As bad dates go, this was no probs. What it was, was fucking surreal. Involving drugs, lies, paranoia, pawning gold jewelry, a wrestling match over a stolen cell phone (well, I “borrowed” it, really) and ending up with a 10 pm parking lot meeting between me (with three friends) and a guy I’d never met, handing me $600. Seriously.
I know this sounds scary but actually, the dispute was only ever with another (tiny) woman and I was never in danger. It was also pretty fun. For a few hours I got to feel like I was in a spy film. I learned that when someone steps onto a crowded sidewalk they really do disappear. And then, just like in the movies, you stand on the sidewalk going “shit! I can’t see her anywhere!” and looking around, frustrated. I’ve seen that scene a million times and there I was, in downtown Sydney finding out that truth is way fucking stranger than fiction.
I felt weird the next morning wondering if I had done the right thing to fight so hard to get the $800 owed to me…and then it passed. It helped give me perspective when the worker called me repeatedly to apologize, swearing she’d never intended to rip me off (uh huh. whatevs). Now I feel pretty good about it all and proud of how I handled it. I knew she was dodgy and that I was taking a risk by not getting paid up front but I wanted to stick it out and see where it would all go. Who knows how these things turn out? Once again, thanks sex work for providing me with a relatively harmless opportunity for adventure! I got a bruised wrist (thanks to the wrestling match) but I’ve gotten worse from doing stage set up! (and thanks meditation for making it easy for me to calmly strategize during the crisis and then process my feelings the next day.)
This seems like it couldn’t have been better designed as a test of my sense of solidarity with other workers. I mean REALLY! What are the CHANCES of my first ever problematic booking happening on DEC 17 with another worker? (The self-help book on her bedside table? “Count Your Blessings”. Really, you can’t make this shit up).
But no, you can’t shake me. It just reminds me that:
1. God, dudes are so easy to handle. The client just did whatever we told him to do, including leave.
2. Payment up front! (I knew that one!)
3. I’m quite physically strong. And can out-wit. I can rely on myself.
4. It’s such a bizarre world out there filled with people making incomprehensible choices that make them totally unhappy. I don’t want to live one of those lives but it’s pretty fascinating to get a peek into it.
And there you have lessons I learned on Dec 17. Speaking of which, I also organized an event to mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers the night before with my friend K. It was a really lovely, moving tribute to workers who’ve experienced abuse and violence in the line of work. I will be publishing what I wrote here, shortly. I wanna thank all the folks who came, listened, cried, donated art, bought art, helped with food and set up and and made us feel like we have a safe space in which to be heard and believed.
24 hours of rich irony.