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20140829_204721In Atlanta, I felt my first twinge of homesickness; I reckon it’s because I was back in the Deep South, in a city I’ve visited many times, and saw many familiar business names and the like that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  Mancrack (who as you may recall provided the art for my Lammas column) was my hostess, and I got to meet a number of readers both at my Liberty On the Rocks event last Monday, and in private on the night before.  Another interesting thing about Atlanta was that three of the attendees at my event were running for office; perhaps that indicates a strong Libertarian Party in Georgia, but one way or another I think it’s very important that politicians (of any political party) hear about sex worker rights, so I’m really pleased and I’m hopeful for similar attention to future events.

While you were reading last Tuesday’s Tour Diary, I was en route to Tampa Bay, where I stayed with my friend Kelly Michaels.  Since I hadn’t heard anything from any of the people I had contacted in the area, I was expecting just a quiet week of visiting; however, while I was in Atlanta I was emailed by Tampa-area reader Hotlix, who absolutely would not hear of this, and beat the bushes to attract more attention to my visit.  Kelly hosted a potluck supper and discussion group at her house Friday, and Buttons Berry advertised it on SWOP Tampa Bay’s Facebook page; in all eight people in addition to Kelly and I showed up, and it was absolutely one of the best events of the whole tour.  Besides the quality of the participation, everyone really made me feel like a rock star; so much so, in fact, that I was a little embarrassed by it.  I’m really happy to be reaching so many people that they come out of their way to see me; three of them made a two-hour (one way) drive from Orlando in Friday afternoon traffic!  As you read this I’m in New Orleans, but everything I’m doing here is private; the Tampa Bay event was therefore the last public one of the tour, and I couldn’t have wished for a better sendoff.

Local Flavor

A restaurant is a fantasy–a kind of living fantasy in which diners are the most important members of the cast.  –  Warner Leroy

Due to the high cost of hotels and gasoline, it was absolutely imperative that I keep my food costs as low as possible on my tour.  The great majority of the hotels I chose had free breakfast, and many generous people treated me to dinner (either at restaurants or at their own homes), but that still left quite a few dinners on my own.  Obviously, I ate a lot of fast food because it was cheap, but I knew I’d quickly become bored if I ate at the same places too often (even Waffle House or Steak ‘n Shake).  So fairly early in the trip, I hit upon the idea of visiting fast food places that were unique to the city (or at least the region) where I was staying; not every city or state has such places, but many do.  A few of these have begun to spread out from their native soil, but I did not include any regional chain (like Popeye’s or Sonic) which has become national or at least semi-national.  I ate at most of these during the tour, but there are a couple I knew from previous experience:

Braum's logoBraum’s  This chain is limited to Oklahoma and a few nearby parts of neighboring states by the fact that all of its dairy products are produced from its own private dairy herd near Oklahoma City.  Their hamburgers are good but not outstanding (similar in quality to In-N-Out), but their milk is the best-tasting I’ve ever had and their ice cream products are top-notch.  Braum’s restaurants all include a small grocery store.

Bud's Broiler logoBud’s Broiler  There are a number of local fast-food chains in the New Orleans area (such as Danny & Clyde’s and the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company), but Bud’s is the most distinctive with its mixture of sloppy-but-delicious charcoal-broiled burgers, po-boys, fried pies and the like.  A local favorite for decades.

Cook-Out  This chain is based in North Carolina, but also has locations in South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.  All the food is grilled outdoor style, and though Cook-Out logoI didn’t find the flavor especially outstanding the portions are generous and the menu is notable both for its extent and the flexibility of combinations allowed.  The hand-dipped milkshakes are as good as those at Frostop, though not quite as good as those at Braum’s or Steak ‘n Shake.

Cosmic Pizza logoCosmic Pizza & Steak  I stumbled upon this unpretentious little place in Warwick, Rhode Island (near Providence Airport) simply because it was close to my hotel, and I’m glad I did; they have a huge menu featuring Italian dishes, fried seafood, Philly-style shaved steak sandwiches and more, and take pride in their ultra-low prices.  And they’re so friendly it actually constitutes another reason to visit besides the delicious food and budget-friendly pricing.

Five Guys logoFive Guys  This Washington, DC chain with an extremely simple menu (burgers, fries, drinks) is spreading along the Eastern seaboard, and will probably be the first one from this list to go national.  Some people call it the country’s best burger, and though I wouldn’t go that far I will say it’s exceptional.  Five Guys has a similar cult following to In-N-Out, but IMHO is more deserving of the reputation.

Harold's Chicken Shack logoHarold’s Chicken Shack  This legendary South-Side Chicago chain, praised by many Chicago rappers, is as no-frills as it gets and very inexpensive, but delicious and has a distinct flavor different from the typical American fast-food fried chicken such as Church’s or Kentucky.  Wikipedia says there are also franchises in Detroit, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Madison, Dallas and Atlanta.

In-N-Out logoIn-N-Out Burger  Many Southern Californians praise this place to the heavens, but I’ve never quite seen what the fuss is about.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good burger, but IMHO it can’t hold a candle to the offerings from Frostop, Steak ‘n Shake, Five Guys or Nation’s.  One notable feature is the “secret menu” of things one must already know about to order.

Milo's Hamburgers logoMilo’s Hamburgers  This Birmingham, Alabama chain is Grace’s favorite, and though I’ve only been there twice I will eat there again next time I’m in Alabama at dinnertime.  The chief distinguishing characteristic of Milo’s is its secret sauce, which according to the company’s website was developed by what we would today call “crowdsourcing”.

Nation's Giant Hamburgers logoNation’s Giant Hamburgers  This San Francisco Bay area chain is, as you might expect, noted for the colossal size of its hamburgers; I was incredibly hungry and could only barely finish one.  They’re really tasty, too.  The chain is also noted for its pies, but I’ve never eaten one so I can’t vouch for them personally.

Prince’s Hot Chicken  For such a highly-acclaimed eatery, Prince’s (whose sole location is in Nashville) is amazingly divey; one sidles through the crowd to the window, orders and pays, and then waits.Prince's Hot Chicken  And waits.  And waits.  But damn, it’s good, and very hot!  While waiting I chatted with an older gentleman, and when I told him I had ordered the “hot” (as opposed to mild, medium or extra-hot) he shook his head sadly and told me that he used to be able to eat the hot, but now couldn’t take it any more.  Let’s just say it made my nose run, and that I was reminded of it again the next day.

Skyline Chili  Skyline Chili logoThis Cincinnati chain is unique in that it doesn’t serve burgers, chicken or any other fast-food staple, but rather a thin, homogeneous chili sauce with Greek spices.  One can order it atop spaghetti (with lots of grated cheese), hot dogs or even potatoes, but these only serve as carriers for the delicious sauce.  Definitely worth going out of one’s way for.

Tops Bar-B-Q  Tops Bar-B-Q logoDespite the excellence of this  Memphis chain’s food, it is surprisingly inexpensive; even their sweet tea is superior.  If you like barbecue, you owe it to yourself to try Tops when in Memphis.

This list is not meant to be remotely comprehensive; just the opposite, in fact.  If you have a local favorite which isn’t known outside your region, please add it in the comments!  Anything from single-city to single-region fast food chains are welcome, but please don’t nominate a chain if it’s known in more than, say, 15 states, or if a basic meal there costs more than about $10 per person.  Sit-down casual places are OK if they are in the fast-food price range.  I’ll probably be doing a lot of on-a-budget traveling in the next few years, and I’d love suggestions on where to have a yummy, unique but inexpensive dining experience.

Links #217

We did this now to protect her for now and in the future, because this could get worse.  She could be taken.  –  one of the worst mothers ever

I’m on my way to New Orleans today, and will be home Thursday night; it’s been a wonderful tour, but it’s a good thing it didn’t go on much longer because I’m only barely on schedule now and I really need to catch back up.  Today’s first video is from Gideon and is one example of what is probably a very typical situation that, before video, always went undiscovered.  The second video is from Jesse Walker  (who also contributed “supervillains”), and though I don’t usually like “cute kid” videos I thought this little guy’s “logical” arguments were very funny.  Everything above the first video is from Grace, and the links between the videos are from Dave Barry (“headline”), Jemima (“Hello Kitty”), Popehat (“no reason”), Franklin Harris  (“texting”), Nun Ya (“lucky”), Michael Whiteacre (“Chelsea”), and Mike Riggs (“life sentence”).

From the Archives

There’s a collective American fixation on the creepy image of a sex offender salivating just beyond the playground fence, but that’s just not how things usually work.  –  Jesse Singal

Decentralization

For the first time…a country will officially adopt bitcoin as its currency: Dominica…[made] an agreement…[with] Coinapult, Aspen Assurance, Bitcoin Beauties, and the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN)…[to] send a small of amount of bitcoin to every island resident via text message…[turning] Dominica…into the most densely concentrated bitcoin community in the world…The launch date…March 15, 2015, at 9:26 a.m., coincides with Pi Day, a global celebration of the mathematical constant…

Above the Law Erasmo Mata

A grand jury indicted a former [Texas cop]…after he…sexually assaulted an underage girl multiple times…Erasmo Mata Jr., 25, is accused of [raping] a 17-year-old girl during work hours [in] five separate incidents…other [cops] watched Mata commit the sexual assaults and…Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas met with the victim’s family…and told them not to hire an attorney…

Legal Is as Legal Does (TW3 #34)

As I’ve stated many times, any artificial bottleneck in the legality of sex work (such as licensing, venue restrictions or immigration controls) inevitably creates problems in the restricted sector:

Police are investigating five illegal brothels across the Geelong [Victoria] region…[with] a new specialist investigation unit dedicated to prosecuting unregistered sex operators.  Sergeant Aaron Riches said…“We’re not the moral police but…you’ve been committing a crime by soliciting an illegal sex worker”…Registered brothel Lorraine Starr boss David…welcomed the police crackdown on illegals…“We’ve seen illegal ones open up next to the homes of mums and dads and last year even a school”…

No one is safe from the horror of sex rays!

Under Every Bed 

I’m sure every reader has seen 12-year-old strippers and websites where they can “purchase” girls:

…[a "sex trafficking" fetishist publicly fantasized about]…how young at-risk girls fall prey to older “pimps”…victims are typically girls 12 to 14 years of age who encounter older men on the Internet…and are…forced to work as prostitutes, strippers or massage parlor workers in large cities like Atlanta…while there has not yet been a confirmed human trafficking raid in Albany, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation strongly suspects the activity exists…“There are online sites where ‘customers’ can go to ask for a 12-year-old blond, for example and then purchase that girl. Unfortunately, those sites aren’t being shut down”…potential [victims are] more likely to have unsupervised access to a smart phone or…computer…and may walk alone to school or to the local mall…communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by…summer lunch programs…and homeless shelters…

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Over a dozen Sex Workers…are getting set to travel to Guyana in October where a meeting of Sex Workers from across the Caribbean will take place…Among the countries from which Sex Workers are expected are: Trinidad and Tobago (2), Jamaica (4), Suriname (2), Grenada (3), Antigua (2), and Dominican Republic (3).  Some ten Sex Workers from Guyana are also expected to participate…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #327) enjo kosai

New to Japan, maybe, but not to the Americans they’re emulating:

Police in Japan have adopted a new tactic in the apparently unending struggle against the under-age sex industry, introducing sting operations against minors offering sexual services…In the first six months of this year, officers using these tactics took into custody 220 girls under the age of 18.  Instead of arresting first-time offenders, however, the police are providing “cyber correctional guidance”, which warns them of the crimes they are committing and the potential dangers.  After a dose of moral re-education, the girls are then taken home and their parents informed…The phenomenon of enjo kosai – which literally means compensated dating…first emerged in Japan in the 1990s.  Concerned at the number of men eager to pay for the company of a teenage girl, as well as the appetite of minors for brand-name goods and…the funds to buy them, Japanese authorities passed strict new laws…

Enjo kosai didn’t start in the ’90s, though the term dates to that time; anyone who thinks young girls trading sex for cash is something new is an historical illiterate.  As is anyone who isn’t disgusted by the phrase “moral re-education”.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #327)

The University of Missouri has banned obtaining clear consent:

…MU Title IX Coordinator Linda Bennett provided…students…an all-university memo a few weeks ago.  Elaborating on an already-overbroad sexual harassment policy, Bennett’s memo seems to prohibit asking for consent for sexual activities.  “Examples of behavior that will not be tolerated,” the letter says, include “Requesting another person to engage in a behavior with a sexual body part or enacting a sexual behavior.”  (Emphasis added.)  How is a student supposed to engage in any sexual activity, except by first requesting that the other person engage in it?  Maybe MU doesn’t think consent is sexy, after all…

Be Careful Who You Rape

Maybe if the doctor’s victims had been “good” women, they’d have been investigated in a timely fashion:

A highly paid neurosurgeon who indulged his cocaine addiction…and was directly linked to the death of two prostitutes avoided detection and continued to practise…Dr Suresh Nair worked at the Nepean Private Hospital in Sydney’s western suburbs…He would eventually be charged in connection with the deaths of two sex workers from cocaine toxicity and have his medical licence revoked…many of his patients were horrified to learn…[that] Dr Nair had botched their operations and left them with life-long ailments…Victoria McIntyre…died of a cocaine overdose after a booking at Dr Nair’s apartment…the NSW Medical Board…was not informed…another young escort, Suellen Domingues-Zaupa…[later] suffered a cardiac arrest, but Dr Nair left her for dead as he went elsewhere to continue partying with other escorts.  Many questions have been raised about how the doctor was allowed to continue practising…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, this was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Zürich…opened Europe’s first municipal drive-in brothel in an old industrial area…Sex workers who agreed to relocate from their traditional…haunts were allowed to ply their trade…with a minimum of fuss…they had to obtain permits and pay tax…”The first year of the service has been positive,” Zurich social services said…authorities admit that not everyone is happy.  Some sex workers complain that their earnings have fallen and that they are too far from city-centre bars and nightclubs…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #351) Brown Family of Sister Wives

Last December, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down a central part of the Utah law banning polygamy. [Wednesday]  he issued the rest of his ruling…Waddoups found the Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman violated the Browns’ constitutional rights when he oversaw a 2010 investigation into whether [they were] committing bigamy…Buhman eventually decided not to file criminal charges, but Waddoups said the investigation stifled the Browns’ rights to free speech, religion and equal protection.  Waddoups ordered Utah to pay the Browns’ attorney fees…Utah’s attorney general says he plans to appeal the case…

Flush Criminalization (TW3 #352)

A…doctor who was among the 104 men swept up in the “Flush the Johns” sting last year has been acquitted of patronizing a prostitute, and his attorney is considering suing Nassau County.  Richard Obedian…was the fifth defendant…to take his case to a bench trial.  Four of those trials have resulted in acquittals.  The doctor was the only defendant to continue to trial since District Attorney Kathleen Rice…began allowing the men to plead guilty to…disorderly conduct…At least one other man arrested in the sting has filed a notice of claim…against the county for false arrest and false imprisonment.  Asked for comment…Rice’s office [vomited out disgusting "end demand" propaganda]…

Cops and Robbers 

While “sex offender” hysteria appears to have peaked in the US, it’s still ramping up in Canada:

…sex offender Keith Constantin was released from prison in July after five years, but in…a few weeks he was run out of town twice…Constantin, convicted of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy and a 45-year-old blind woman, faced a concerted backlash orchestrated by 200 angry mothers; his face and crimes plastered on posters on every pole in town.  In the end…he [was accused of breaking] his curfew and [re-arrested]…growing numbers of grassroots activists…use…posters, taking pictures, pestering to the point of harassment, anything to send the message that sex offenders are not wanted…Organizations like this say they are not vigilantes, but their messaging is questionable.  In a promotional video, [one group] uses graphic images with slogans like: “Hurt my kid and I’ll bury you where they’ll never find the body”…

Cuckoo Advertising (TW3 #420)

These “findings” absurdly presume that a woman planning to cheat on her spouse will be totally honest with everyone else:

…According to a new study, women who cheat on their husbands are looking for passion and sex, but they have no desire to end their marriages.  Using data from AshleyMadison.com…Eric Anderson…the [business's] chief science officer…[eavesdropped on] 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45 on the site.  After [unethically] reading their conversations with potential lovers, Anderson found that 67 percent of these married ladies were specifically looking for more “romantic passion,” aka sex.  None wanted to actually leave their husbands and most even painted their clueless spouses in a positive light…this sample isn’t quite representative — the findings are only generalizable to the women using AshleyMadison…

Nice While It Lasted

Britain’s most senior police chief has called for wide-ranging new powers to tackle…terrorism, including a “rebuttable presumption” that anyone who visits Syria without prior notice should be treated as a terror suspect.  Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe…also called for a return of control orders and…[backed] Boris Johnson’s proposal for the presumption of innocence to be overturned for Britons who travel to warzones…”If we can get an assumption that when people come back and have been to Syria they’ve been involved in terrorism.  If they can prove they haven’t then that’s up to them.  It’s pretty hard for us sometimes to prove what they were doing in Syria…”

Above the Law (TW3 #434) Eric Roberts

OHP Trooper Eric Roberts also sexually assaulted [a second woman who has come forward]…Roberts pulled over her car on July 8…and made inappropriate sexual comments to her.  She texted a friend with the Trooper’s tag number because she was afraid she might die when he instructed her to follow him…he drove her to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her.  The woman…didn’t report it initially because she…thought no one would believe her…

Banishment (TW3 #434)

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that governs where they can live”…The unfortunate thing about this situation is that laws designed to restrict where sex offenders can live are really and truly useless, except as a means of politicians scoring easy political points by ratcheting up hysteria.  There are many tricky social-scientific issues on which there are a range of opinions…among experts, but this isn’t one of them.  Among those whose job it is to figure out how to reduce the rate at which sex offenders commit crimes (as opposed to those whose job it is to get reelected, in part by hammering away at phantom threats), there is zero controversy:  These laws don’t work, and may actually increase sexual offenders’ recidivism rates…

Bait and Switch

If you believe this, you didn’t read Monday’s column:

A three month investigation ends with more than two dozen arrests for prostitution offenses in Rochester [Minnesota].  The police…posted ads to…backpage.com…Of the 29 arrested, close to half wanted someone underage.  Experts say this sting highlights a problem bigger than prostitution…

Another Fine Mess

It’s really gratifying to see an amateur who recognizes that ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy because hookers use them:

It seems that every few years, some intrepid reporter…[makes] the game-changing discovery that a lot of people use the Internet to conduct their business.  Though this sounds like an absolute non-story, when the people in question are sex workers…editors are bound to green-light…stories that all essentially reveal…that sex workers advertise and network online…Some of the stories appear to just be comically out-of-touch…and…many such non-stories perpetuate the myth that sex workers are coming for civilians where they least suspect it!  They browse among us…better hide the husbands!…

Another Fine Mess

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on July 20th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

All week long I collect sex-work-related news stories for my Saturday “That Was the Week That Was” news columns, and when I prepare the columns each item is filed under a subtitle which refers back to a previous post.  But as I explained in “Case Study”, “every once in awhile a story comes along which is so interesting, funny, horrible, odd or whatever, that I like to analyze it at length.”  This is one of those stories, and my attention was attracted to it by two things: one, that it was difficult to fit into only one heading; and two, that there’s so much ignorance here one almost has to admire the journalist’s dedication to spreading misinformation.  After all, she could have obtained nearly all the information she needed from the two activists she interviewed; instead, she chose to shove their input to corners of the article and instead concentrate on the pronouncements of a clownish cop and a self-important academic (whom I’ve criticized on several occasions for his dopey assumptions).  Author Jessica Guynn wastes no time, starting off with monumentally dumb statements from the very beginning:

For years, sex workers have been the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that no one talks about.  But…the sex industry has been closely linked to boom times in the Bay Area going back to the Gold Rush…

Scott CunninghamThat it’s the San Francisco Bay Area is neither here nor there; every place there are men with money to spend, there will be sex workers for them to spend it on.  Guynn seems to imagine herself an intrepid investigative reporter exposing some hidden scandal; I’m sure she thought it clever to intersperse sentences about the mundane doings of sex workers with those describing recent anti-sex worker pogroms and the overdose death of a Google executive, no doubt hoping the latter two would lend some lurid spice to the rather dry meat of the former.  And even when she’s dealing with basic, easily-checked facts, the “pimps and hos” mythology she learned from cops (or television, or other equally-ill-informed sources) seems to interfere with her ability to transcribe them; when the story first appeared she referred to the screening service Preferred 411 as “Preferred911”, and even in the corrected story she portrays it as an escort service directory (with obligatory scare quotes around the perfectly ordinary word “escort”) rather than what it is, a screening service and ad platform.  I’m sure activist Siouxsie Q (the first source quoted herein) could’ve thoroughly explained P411 to Guynn, but instead she quickly turns to Scott Cunningham, who might actually be able to turn out good research if he’d consult sex workers instead of proceeding from his own wholly-erroneous preconceptions:

Scott Cunningham, an associate professor at Baylor University who studies the economics of prostitution, said the Internet has made the sex trade “extraordinarily efficient,” taking it from the streets and red-light districts to home computers and smartphones.

This is the fundamental flaw in Cunningham’s work:  he believes (and has repeatedly stated) that prior to the internet, the majority of whores worked on the street; all of his studies are based on this fallacy.  Street workers have never been the majority at any point in history, and under criminalized 20th-century conditions they represented 15% or less of American prostitutes.  While it is true that some street workers moved indoors after the advent of the internet, the majority of internet-based escorts are those who used to work in hotels, take out ads in alternative papers or contract with escort services (which largely advertised in phone books).  But Cunningham insists on comparing apples to oranges, resulting in strikingly-wrong statements like, “Before the Internet, clients didn’t know where to find the prostitutes and prostitutes did not know where to find the clients.”  That’s news to me, and to every other sex worker who did quite well in pre-internet times; I can assure Professor Cunningham that my clients had no trouble whatsoever finding me, and the idea that hookers had trouble finding clients seems to proceed from another ridiculous and false assumption:  that clients are only a small subset of all men.

Kyle OkiThe belief in a lost era of woebegone streetwalkers crying plaintively in the night for rare and elusive clients (and its counterpart, the creed of the magical whore-multiplying powers of the internet) is also clearly evident in the statements of Sgt. Kyle Oki of the San Jose Police Department Human Trafficking Task Force (formerly known as the San Jose vice squad), who said “prostitutes are gravitating to the Internet because they can charge clients they find there more money for the same sex acts”.  This is a fine example of the principle of Garbage In, Garbage Out; Oki proceeds from a set of faulty assumptions, and authoritatively states a conclusion which is literally the exact opposite of the truth:  because the internet makes it easier for amateurs to place ads, cheapskates can more easily find cut-rate girls and established ones must either charge less or do more to compete, or else resign themselves to less business.  In other words, contrary to Oki’s blather, most prostitutes find that because of the internet they can charge clients less money for the same sex acts.  In 2000, the going rate in New Orleans was $300 per hour, above the national average; though it’s still possible for an established lady to get that, $300 buys a lot less than it did 14 years ago.  And in some areas (such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles) the bottom has almost dropped out of what was once a very lucrative market.

The rest of the article suffers from the same syndrome that permeates all of prostitution law and much of the public’s conception of sex work:  the fallacious belief that sex is different from all other human activity, and sex work different from all other work.  Would a reporter find the idea that any other entrepreneur had grossed almost $1 million over several years of brisk business remarkable?  Of course not, but somehow it becomes so when the entrepreneur is a sex worker (I also doubt Guynn would use the demeaning word “servicing” to describe the work of a landscaper, chef, masseuse or therapist, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day).  And then there’s this line: “One sex worker [said] she uses credit-card payment processor Square to charge clients…” to which any normal person’s response should be, “So what?”  How many businesses have you run into lately that don’t take credit cards?  Accepting credit cards is not remotely notable, for sex workers or anyone else, and it hasn’t been for at least two decades; the fact that a businesswoman uses a popular payment processor doesn’t make it any more interesting.  But that’s par for the course with mainstream articles on sex work; rather than discuss important issues like sex worker rights, police brutality and how “authorities” use the moral panic around “sex trafficking” to justify massive violations of human rights, reporters prefer to present dry-as-dust details that they portray as somehow shocking because the transaction involves sex, then liberally moisten the mixture with lies, myths and sexual fantasies from self-appointed “experts” who know less about sex work than they do about quantum physics.

Professor Scott Cunningham says these indoor sex workers will have to wait at least another century for their clients to find them.

“Liberal” and “conservative” have become mere insults for political imbeciles to hurl at each other, nonsense words with about as much meaning as “poopyhead” or “cooties”.  –  “None So Blind

Venetian courtesanThough I made a big change in my procedures this month, it was largely invisible to my readers: given the chance to join my husband in New Orleans for a few days (the first time I had been away overnight since starting the blog), I had at last figured out how to schedule my columns for automatic posting.  Since I usually posted my columns soon after breakfast (between 9:30 and 10:00 Central Time) I set the automatic posting up to that time as well; it wasn’t until the following April that I switched to the fixed 10:01 UTC posting time I use today.  That New Orleans trip spawned “They All Axed for You”, an essay on the Crescent City’s dialects; another one-day trip with two other whores produced “Weird Sisters”.  But aside from those two trips, it was business as usual; August saw the usual Q & A column, a two-part update column, a two-part miscellanea column, and a fictional interlude (“Ghost in the Machine”), The Exorcistbut no harlotography; by this point I was publishing those columns roughly every five weeks rather than once per month, and since “Aspasia” was on July 31st the next installment (“Lulu White”) had to wait until September 3rd.  That allowed it to be a quasi-sequel to “Storyville” one year before; the only August column in that category was “Blackball” (sequel to “Nuisances”).

Tex Avery Wolf“Sex trafficking” hysteria had become a major topic by this time; “The New Victorianism”, “One Size Fits All”, “It Looks Good On Paper”, “Spotlight”, “Crying for Nanny” and “Law of the Instrument” all cover various aspects of it.  But I didn’t ignore other aspects of sex work: the two-part “In Denial” looked at sugar babies; “None So Blind” and “Part of the Picture” bizarre anti-porn rhetoric; “Business Opportunity” anti-stripping hysteria; and “One Born Every Minute” scams targeting sex workers.  “Crying Wolf” and “Inevitability” examined the degeneration of feminism, “Droit du Seigneur” the way cops and politicians Heavy Hand of Justice by Kevin Moorethink they have sexual rights over women, “Saving Them From Themselves” teen sexting hysteria, and “Counterfeit Comfort” the failure of “sex offender” registries to do what they’re supposedly intended to do.

Only four columns escaped easy categorization this month, and three of them describe personal matters:  in “Leaving the Life” I tell the story of my first attempt at retiring from escorting; in “Top Ten” I rank my “top” columns to date in various ways; and in “The Fur Is Flying” I describe a brouhaha between two activists.  The odd man out is “Follow the Leader”, wherein I point out that government actors often do things they would arrest and cage individuals for. Le Droit Du Seigneur by Jules Arsene Gardier (1872)

Getting Caught

Because my wife has let me know in no uncertain terms that no more sex will be forthcoming, ever, I followed your advice and now see escorts, mostly when I travel but sometimes closer to home.  I’ve found that a few hours with a lovely, intelligent woman 2-4 times a month makes a huge difference in my life;  I’m happier, my mind is sharper, my sleep is less troubled, and I’m much more focused and productive.  I no longer find myself deteriorating into extreme and disturbing sexual dreams and fantasies.  But what shall I do when I get caught?  I say “when” rather than “if” because doing something long enough means the probability approaches 100%, no matter how careful I am.  While my marriage is sexless it is not without value to me, and I dread the thought of divorce (which wouldn’t help either of us).

Monkeys typing ShakespeareIt’s true that the Law of Very Big Numbers guarantees that virtually anything, no matter how small the chance, is bound to happen if the number of chances for it to happen is large enough.  But actually, the number of chances isn’t that large in this case; if you’re about 50 and see an escort roughly 36 times a year for the next 10 years, then drop to 20 times a year for the 10 after that, we’re only talking 560 chances of a screwup by the time you’re 70.  And provided you are very careful as I advised you to be, that’s probably not even enough to get over a 10% lifetime probability of exposure; remember, about 20% of men see sex workers occasionally (and 6% see them frequently as you do), yet we don’t see anything like 20% of men exposed as clients.  The fact that ignorant people believe the nonsensical claim that fewer than 15% of men have ever paid for sex tends to point toward the lifetime exposure rate as being even lower than that, though of course it’s really hard to be sure.

You also seem to be presuming that your wife doesn’t already know, and that she would have a cow if she found out.  But in fact, neither of these is certain; some wives know (or at least suspect) that their husbands are seeing escorts and simply don’t say anything about it, especially if they’ve lost interest in sex.  Remember, women tend to be a lot more pragmatic than men give us credit for; a wife who truly doesn’t want sex any more usually views her husband ceasing to pester her for it as a good thing, and she might not be inclined to look too hard at why he isn’t doing so anymore for fear of messing it up.  Remember, your marriage is probably as valuable to your wife as it is to you; just as her frigidity isn’t enough to induce you to end it because you get other things out of it, so your infidelity may not be enough to induce her to end it for the same reason, especially if you don’t rub her nose in it.

Given that last sentence, the most important advice I can give you is this:  even if you think she’s found out, don’t say anything until she directly accuses you.  Stop seeing escorts for a while just in case, but it might just be guilt or paranoia on your part so you don’t want to open your trap and ruin everything.  If she accuses you directly, you might still deny it unless she presents evidence, but if she has that you might as well just admit the truth…but make it the whole truth, including when and why you started.  Yes, she may decide she wants a divorce, but she may not.  And though it doesn’t hurt to consider this question, dwelling on it is borrowing trouble.  Just be careful, don’t take any unnecessary risks, and it’s unlikely that the problem will ever materialize.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

 

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