It was after dark and I was standing on the sidewalk sharing a smoke with the manager of the NYC hostel I was staying in (Marlborough menthols. God, the depths of debauchery). He’d been sneaking furtive glances at my cleavage for days and had all the markings of what a fellow whore and I term a “Total Client”. A TC is a guy you spot a mile away as
1. interested, and if he’s older, just a bit desperate
2. willing and eager to pay
Obviously, we really like TCs.They are hungry and old enough to be whore-broken, that is: polite, enthusiastic and agreeable about money. George was a perfect TC– Fifty and going through his second divorce. I’d gleaned from our sidewalk smoke conversations over the past three nights though that he was broke, what with the five kids and two ex-wives.
As he walked back into the hostel to start his graveyard shift, a group of four gay men approached me. “Nice RED DRESS you SEXY BITCH!” one screamed. I smirked “And don’t I know it!” We high-fived as they passed me by. I looked down at my low cut red dress and how it fit snugly over my black lacy camisole. He had a point. It was all workin’ tonight. Hm. Now how to profit off this sexiness?
I got the idea to write George a note propositioning him. But what if he reacted badly and tried to have me busted? Or I intimidated him because I was too explicit? What if there was a knock on the door and he was telling me that they don’t like “my kind” here? Would he really be able to get away from reception to see me?
I sat on the tiny bed in my tiny hostel room with my heart racing. I decided these were all very unlikely scenarios and considered what I would do in the event that any one of them occured nevertheless. Then I had the thought that got me into this business and keeps me here still: What the fuck?
So, hands shaking, I wrote this note: “Hey handsome, I think you’re kinda sexy and sweet…and I’m kinda broke. If you’re interested in sneaking away for a little fun, I’d make it worth your while. Simple and fun, no? Come up to my room and we can talk… xx J.
I looked at my note and beamed with pride. I had flirted and flattered him, implied finances without incriminating myself, was sexually suggestive without being too overt and appealed to his desire for sex that didn’t come attached with custody agreements. Plus… lots of…ellipses=HOT SEX, RIGHT? Genius.
I went downstairs and passed the note to him over the counter with a wink before returning to my room. I didn’t hear anything from him for over an hour so I concluded that it had been worth a try and began to get ready for bed. I was standing in my room naked when there was a soft knock at the door. I smiled to myself and threw on a black vintage slip. “Well helloooo there George!” Bashfully, he whispered hello, telling me he only had half an hour but he really wanted to come see me. Delighted, I let him in. It’s so easy for me to be really nice to my clients. The fact that they are about to pay me for being a babe makes me really, sincerely, completely happy.
We began our negotiations. I could tell he was a regular client because he was the first to bring up money, knew he wouldn’t be kissing me and asked politely if he was allowed to touch me. Definitely whore-broken. As I suspected, he had very little money–only $100. Damn. I thought about whether to bother going ahead at all but then realized that while it may only be $100, it was still $100 that I’d rather have in my pocket. I proposed a hand job with above-the-waist-only touching. He nodded and handed over the twenties. We sat on the bed and as I got going, he chatted (more) about his ex-wives. Finally he closed his eyes, leaned back and moaned “God it’s nice to be touched again. It’s been so long.” It wasn’t the first time I’ve felt like the Florence Nightingale of handjobs.
He kept promising me that he’d save up so he could have a proper booking with me when I next return to NYC. We’ll see. Dudes like to promise things so you’ll like them more but I never count my twenties till they’re in my palm. We were done in ten minutes, all cleaned up and I sent him out the door with a big smile on both our faces. Nice way to make my ticket home!
San Francisco flicks
Days before, I had arrived in San Francisco and spent my first day in North America doing a Ho Marathon. I watched 10 HOURS of films at the SF sex worker art and film fest. I got to see some films I’m going to show here in Toronto next week at Sex Workers Vs. The Media (thanks to Carol-leigh, the fest organizer who generously loaned me her films and made curatorial suggestions).
My favourite program was the one organized by Sins Invalid called Krip Sex! Krip Sex Work! Sins Invalid are “a performance project on disability and sexuality that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized from social discourse”. OMG, they’re like everything I love in one slut-tastic package and I want them to rule the world.
I was especially excited about the work of Krip Hop artist Leroy Moore Jr. His films pulled no punches politically but while still being remarkably sexy. (One of the films depicts a performance where Leroy is doing a puppy scene. Hot…under…collar. I took very careful mental notes).
During the panel afterward, I was riffling through my purse for something when one of the SI organizers was talking about common experiences between sex workers and people with disabilities (who are themselves also sex workers). I stopped cold when she said “It’s as if both of us live with a permanent DNR (Do Not Ressucitate) above our heads”.
As much as I can, I try to protect my happiness by keeping the whore-hatred around me to a mininum. So I’m shocked when someone reminds me that yes, Pollyanna, some folks (many folks!) think my little Handjobs for Humanity gig makes me less than human, less valuable, less precious. How bizarre! Don’t they realize that I’m amazing? That we’re all amazing?
But I’m touched when that reminder comes from another who faces some of the same (and some verrrrry different) struggles to change how our lives are valued and who gets to make those value judgments. In that moment I felt like someone else had my back, that I’m not alone in this fight.
Now here I am in Toronto, enjoying my friends and trying to work (with moderate success). A BIG! LUSCIOUS! shout-out to my friend D who is letting me use her apartment for incalls and to T for the same. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work in way that is, for me, far and away the safest and comfy-est way to work outside of a brothel. Big hugs and sparkles from the Ho In The Sky Who Loves Us All.