As those of you who follow me regularly know, I have a lot to be thankful for this year. That isn’t to say the year’s been uniformly wonderful, but I don’t think it has to be to inspire us to give thanks for the things that are. And I have many of them, both professionally and personally; with a little luck, a great deal of hard work and the grace of the gods, next year will be even better. Happy Thanksgiving and Blessed Be, dear readers, and thank you for all your support; I wouldn’t have had any of this without you.
I’ve been seeing a well-reviewed independent for the past three months, but on our sixth visit she was very chatty and started drinking. Six hours into our three-hour appointment she offered an overnight at no extra charge, but wanted to eat at a nearby bar; there she drank even more and ended up very drunk. When we returned to her incall she tried to go through the motions, but she was so far gone I decided it was better not to do anything with her. Over the next couple of hours she texted her boyfriend “I love you…” in my sight, played music on her phone, repeatedly fell out of bed and did other crazy things while still trying to engage me in activity. Finally she fell asleep, and I left; I later sent her an email detailing all the drunken behavior and assuring her I hadn’t done anything inappropriate. She responded that nothing like this had ever happened before; she’s embarrassed and won’t see me again. I knew describing all the drunken behavior could upset her, but felt I should tell her because I was the only witness and for an escort, getting drunk with a client is unwise and dangerous. I think she’s had other substance abuse problems in the past, because though her body looks young for her age her face looks much older. Do you think I acted correctly?
I think you acted in the best way possible given the circumstances. Life might be easier if everyone closely minded his or her role in a relationship and never stepped outside of its bounds, but because we’re human such professionalism is rare and can tend to feel a bit odd and off-putting. And that’s only considering “ordinary” Western-style business relationships; in Asian cultures, for example, one is expected to socialize with one’s co-workers, and even in the West some business relationships seem to invite line-blurring by their resemblance to intimate ones (doctor-patient, teacher-student and sex worker-client are a few examples). Usually it’s the client who gets confused about the boundaries of his relationship with a sex worker; since he’s paying for an illusion it isn’t too surprising that he sometimes loses himself in that illusion and mistakes the performance for sincere romance, sexual attraction or friendship. It’s very important for whores to maintain boundaries, so we usually get quite good at it; there are some circumstances, however, in which that ability is eroded, and biochemical impairment is probably the most dangerous one. I am firmly of the opinion that a professional should absolutely never indulge in alcohol or any other drug while on the job, but I’m a bit square in that respect; most escorts can handle a glass of wine or two without impairing their judgment. Your lady, however, is clearly not among them; anyone who can’t understand that it’s inappropriate to get drunk while at work (compare a doctor drinking at the hospital, a teacher drinking at school or a driver drinking in his truck) definitely has a drinking problem.
In short, she acted in a way that was stupid, unprofessional and (as you pointed out) dangerous, and that isn’t your fault. Could you have recognized that something was wrong after her she had her third (or fourth, or seventh) drink and let three hours lapse into six? Sure. Should your alarm bells have sounded when she offered an overnight freebie? Absolutely. But as I said above, keeping control of the situation isn’t actually your job, it’s hers; it is, in fact, part of what you’re paying her for. You shouldn’t have to check up on the side effects of a medicine your doctor prescribes, or make sure that your lawyer stays awake in court; it is their responsibility to exercise due diligence, and that is no less true of a paid companion. I think you were wise not to have sex with her; after all, if your cab driver were drunk you’d be wise to ask him to pull over so you could get out. Furthermore, telling her what she did was the right thing to do; I think it’s safe to say she’s in denial and that this isn’t actually the first time something like this has happened (which is why she won’t see you again). There’s nothing else you can do; she’s an adult and has the right to mess up her own business and life if she chooses. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, or that you shouldn’t feel sorry for her, but in telling her what she did and ensuring that no harm came to her while you were present, you have done all that is required of you as a moral person and all that you can do as a stranger. If she asked you for help the situation might be different, but she hasn’t so it isn’t. And if she contacts you later and offers to make up for the session you didn’t get, I think it would be best for you to politely decline.
I actually wrote last week’s diary entry a few hours before going over to Mistress Matisse‘s house to prepare dinner, because I was pretty sure I would not get back early enough to write it after. And was I ever right; Matisse, Jae, Savannah and I had a lovely evening I’ll always remember. To an outside observer it probably wouldn’t have looked all that exciting (except for the nudity, cuddling and horseplay), but when sex worker friends get together there’s a kind of camaraderie that I’ve not generally felt among groups of other adult women; it’s a sense of shared experience, of being denizens of a secret world unknown to the general population. Perhaps we cleave to each other more tightly because the “good” women of the world reject us; perhaps it’s an outgrowth of the necessity for us to watch each other’s backs. And perhaps it’s also due to our comfort with displays of affection and intimacy that others would find shameful. In any case, it was one of those magical nights when everything works out wonderfully, and I hope my next visit is just as grand!
On Tuesday I had lunch with FurryGirl, then in the evening Savannah and I were on a panel discussion with another advocate and three prohibitionists. If I must say so myself, we wiped the floor with them; our statistics and logical points were answered with collectivism, social engineering, attacks on “patriarchy” and “capitalism” and one panelist repeatedly quoting her grandmother as an authority on Amerind culture. They seemed to lose most of the audience by about halfway through the event.
I was not at all happy to leave the next morning, but at least my return journey to Chicago was not marred by motion sickness; I accomplished this by taking pseudoephedrine all day and diphenhydramine all night, thought the combination did leave me a bit fuzzy-headed the next day. At dinner on the second night I was seated next to comics legend Mike Grell, and he and I talked about both his work and mine; I also gave him the very last copy of my book from the stock I took on the tour. In Chicago*, I had breakfast with Cathryn Berarovitch before boarding my train to Kansas City, on which I discussed sex worker rights for several hours with the young man sitting next to me. Unfortunately, the last part of the trip left me dizzy, shaky and just short of sick, and I had trouble sleeping in the hotel afterward; I think I may have taken just a bit too much antihistamine medication on the journey.
Though it wasn’t nearly as bad as either flying or the bus ride from Hell, I have come to the conclusion that it’s just not a good idea for me to ride any common carrier. Driving, on the other hand, works well for me; in addition to avoiding motion sickness it also gives me much greater flexibility. So I’m planning to buy a dependable late-model used car that gets excellent gas mileage, to use strictly for touring; my preliminary research indicates I should be able to get what I want for approximately $3000. I’ve already got about a third of that from funds left over from my tour and accumulated from book sales, subscriptions and the like, but if you’d like to help out with this project just PayPal me whatever amount you like and make sure you put a note that it’s to go toward the car fund.
*And speaking of Chicago, here’s the article student organizer Clairemarie LoCicero wrote about the talk I gave at Loyola on the way out to Seattle.
My gifts and abilities are mine to be used as pleases me; they are not for others to command or control, and only I determine which of them I’m willing to trade on, and when and how they will be employed.
– “The Logical Song“
As the end of 2011 approached, my procedures slowly began to shift toward those I have used for two years now. The number of miscellaneous news items had grown so large it had become impractical to hold them for only one feature per month; since “November Updates” appeared in three parts and was supplemented by “Further Developments“, I could easily have organized them into four weekly columns instead and started to do so only three months later. In “October Q&A” I had also announced that I would answer questions more regularly than once per month, but somehow that took another year to happen. In a bigger sense, though, the pattern had already been established; the essays from this period read very much like those I write today in style, length, tone, etc.
One of the things I had learned was that the hardest part of doing a daily blog is figuring out something new to write about every day; it’s why the blog has become so much more structured as time has gone on. As of the day I write this I could already tell you what type of column (though obviously not the subject) will appear on more than half of the days in the first seven months of 2015, and though that wasn’t nearly so true three years ago I was clearly headed that way. Besides the miscellanea, fictional interlude (“Bad News”) and harlotography (“Veronica Franco“) columns, this month featured special essays for the Day of the Dead (“Saint Death“), Guy Fawkes’ Day (“Revolution“), the USMC “birthday” (“Semper Fidelis“), Armistice Day (“Collaboration Horizontale“), “Thanksgiving” and the beginning of the Yuletide season (“Toys for Tots“). However, the “One Year Ago Today” feature didn’t produce many sequels this time around; only “Gorged With Meaning“, “It’s That Time Again” and “The Law of Averages” fit into that category, and all of them would have to have been written anyway. That last is an extended debunking of the “average debut at 13″ myth; many more “child prostitute” lies are refuted in “Water Seeks Its Own Level“.
The observant will recognize an unusually-large number of the titles from this month; many of them persist as subheadings in TW3 columns, some very commonly. “Forward and Backward“, “See No Evil“, “Schadenfreude” and “Follow Your Bliss” appear quite frequently, and “Across the Pond” did until a year ago. And though “Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong” and “Divided We Fall” aren’t nearly as ubiquitous, both have been used in the past few months.
There are always a few columns which defy easy categorization in these retrospectives; this time there are seven. “TANSTAAFL” looks at an example of the adage, “if it seems to good to be true, it probably is”; “Maier’s Law” does the same for “if the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.” “If I Can’t Sell It…” is another collection of whore songs, and “The Logical Song” a look at how the titular hit described my own experiences. “Eglimaphilia” discusses sex work clients who fetishize the illegality of prostitution, while “Big Sister” discusses Swedish model vigilantes in Iceland. And “Don’t Confuse Us With Facts” examines the bizarre belief that people can somehow be magically “harmed” by electronically-generated pictures that they didn’t even know existed.
This essay first appeared in Cliterati on October 26th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.
As long-time readers know, I’m very fond of science fiction and fantasy; the difference between the two is that the latter describes a world which (by our understanding of the laws of the universe) could not actually exist, while the former describes a world which could but does not (at least yet). As some have pointed out, though, the term “science fiction” is really too limited; very often the world described in such a story differs from our own not due to some scientific discovery or technical development, but in a social or cultural way. For this reason, some writers and critics prefer the term “speculative fiction”, which broadens the genre to include things like alternate-history stories; my tale “For I Have Sinned”, for example, imagines what our modern world might be like had the Catholic Church won the Crusades and successfully suppressed the Protestant Reformation. The story is an example of a type called a dystopia; while a “Utopia” is a fictional world better than our own (at least in the writer’s estimation), a dystopia is one that is worse. But just as the traditional science fiction of yesterday (e.g. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Destination Moon) can become the science fact of today, so can what was once the stuff of dystopian speculation become the true and horrible political reality.
The process is usually very gradual, just as technological development is; a poisonous idea becomes established in one place and spreads to others, expanding in scope once it’s in place. The wicked Swedish model of prostitution law, which defines women as moral imbeciles and men as their evil oppressors, is sold to the delusional, the misandrist and the ignorant as a means of “protecting” women from dirty, bad sex, and though it has been repeatedly beaten back in England and Scotland it has now taken root in Northern Ireland:
The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted by 81 to 10 in favour of making it a crime to pay for sex…Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to vote in favour of the measure. There is still some way to go before the bill becomes law, but the prospect of a ban on paying for sex in Northern Ireland has taken a significant step forward…Opponents included Justice Minister David Ford who claimed it would be difficult to enforce…
“Difficult to enforce” is an understatement; the US has criminalized both the buying and selling of sex for a century now, and though only a tiny fraction of all such transactions are caught by police it takes “sting” operations and other violations of civil liberties to accomplish it. In other words, even if you believe that stopping consensual behavior is somehow a good thing, prohibition can’t actually accomplish that. It does, however, provide a useful excuse for the construction of a vast police state; “protecting children from porn” was the rationale for establishing the UK’s internet censorship regime, but it’s now being extended to allow suppression of any viewpoint of which “authorities” disapprove. Nor will they be content with merely silencing such people:
People found guilty of Internet “trolling” in Britain could be jailed for up to two years…following a number of high-profile cases of abusive and threatening behaviour on Twitter. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling…[said] “This is a law to combat cruelty — and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob”…last month a man was jailed for 18 weeks for what prosecutors described as “a campaign of hatred” against a [politician]. “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life…” Grayling said. “That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence”…The government proposes to amend two existing laws to extend the maximum jail term and also the time limit for prosecutions, from six months to three years…
I edited this item to remove the cases politicians are using to win the support of the thoughtless and focus on their real motive: shielding politicians from criticism. Thoughtcrime is now a very real offense in Britain; perhaps you read about this case:
Robul Hoque…[was convicted for] his collection of Japanese Manga or Anime-style images alone…His barrister Richard Bennett said: “These are not what would be termed as paedophilic images. These are cartoons”…Police found the images when they seized Hoque’s computer…none were of real people. They were classified as prohibited images as they depicted young girls, some in school uniforms…exposing themselves or taking part in sexual activity…Six years ago he was prosecuted for having “Tomb Raider-style” computer-generated pictures of fictional children…
That’s right, he was convicted for having drawings of a taboo subject. Drawings. And pay attention to that line about how they found the forbidden doodles, because their power to search you for “evidence” (or any other excuse) is increasing all the time:
Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant. The new policy from the British Home Office went into effect Oct. 15…Britain’s gun owners were subject to the home visits before the update, but the inspection had to be conducted with prior notice…the Association of Chief Police Officers [claimed] the revamped guideline does not grant police any new powers…ACPO is also encouraging [informants] to call a new Crimestoppers hotline to report any [people they want harassed by police]…The Home Office is [pretending] that legitimate guns could easily be stolen and wind up in the hands of terrorists…
Of course, guns aren’t the only things which terrorists might use; knives, household chemicals, cars, computers, money…why, the list is endless! Clearly the police need the power to “inspect the storage” of those things in private homes, without warning or warrant. And if the owners aren’t home when they arrive, well, in the interests of national security the police should clearly be given the power to let themselves in, and if the place gets ransacked in the process you can be sure those in charge will dismiss any claims the householders make with the assurance that proper procedures were followed.
All of us are time travelers, and though the process is both slow and unidirectional, it inevitably brings us into a world very different from the one where we started. Unfortunately, we cannot merely hop into the TARDIS and return to the past or visit a different future if we don’t like the one in which we find ourselves; we are stuck there, like it or not. Tyrannies don’t materialize without warning overnight, nor are they usually imposed from outside any more; the world around us is a prison we have allowed the powerful to build, stone by stone and bar by bar. They capitalized on our fears, our intolerance, our greed, our envy, our laziness and our wrath, and though we could have stopped them many times over we were always more concerned with what other people were saying, doing or thinking, and thus handed our self-proclaimed “leaders” the weapons they needed to dominate us all. Welcome to the future, and if you think all the things I described above are hunky-dory just wait until the inexorable action of legal precedent brings your face under the boot next.
Posted in Current Events, Perception, Tyranny | Tagged censorship, comics, consensual crime, cops, dirty, imaginative fiction, internet, Ireland, law, politicians, porn, See No Evil, surveillance, Swedish model, United Kingdom, weaponry | 21 Comments »