At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows. - William Shakespeare, Love’s Labours’s Lost (I,i)
Every time of year has its charms, and I prefer each to be as it should be; I like my springs to be warm, my summers hot, my autumns cool and my winters cold, with appropriate precipitation in each (though I wouldn’t be too broken up about it if I never saw another ice storm or tornado). But of all four seasons autumn is my favorite; as I described in my Halloween column, I always start to feel good around the end of September and tend to have very high spirits for the rest of the year. And for me Halloween and Christmas are the bookends of my favorite part of that season. As we now move into Yuletide, you may notice many of my columns become more lighthearted and fanciful; this is not to say I plan to spare my scalpel on those who deserve it, but neither should you be surprised if I sometimes veer more toward cuteness than bitchiness.
One major aspect of the season which I dearly love is gift-giving; though it may sound cliché I really do like giving them better than receiving them. As I’ve mentioned before I have a good friend who is still a working escort, and she recently came up with a stroke of genius: Until Christmas she is offering extra time to clients who donate toys to her for needy children, which she plans to give to the USMC Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. Since I have donated toys to the program every year since I started stripping, it didn’t exactly take a lot of arm-twisting on her part to convince me to write an appeal for the charity and to call attention to its website, where one can find local donation centers; many toy stores even have a donation barrel right in the store so as to make it as simple as possible. It’s bad enough being a needy adult at this time of year, but children lack our mature understanding of economics and it’s heartbreaking for them to think they have been forgotten by Santa Claus. I urge all of my American readers who are financially comfortable to please donate at least one toy this year; even bargain stores such as Big Lots and Dollar Tree have donation bins, so for only a few dollars you can send a little bit of Christmas cheer to those less fortunate, and so experience a little of the joy of giving and help to make a Merry Christmas for some child who cannot control the conditions in which he lives. Those who prefer not to go near shopping malls during this season can even donate money directly on the website via credit card, donate in memory of a loved one or specify that toys go to American Indian children, many of whom live in some of the most shamefully poor conditions in this country. Also, if any of my readers chooses to send me a gift from my Amazon wishlist this season, I will make a donation of equal monetary value to the Toys for Tots foundation in your name. My international readers might also inquire if there is some similar program to benefit needy children in your country.
Of course, you (my readers) gave me a wonderful Christmas present early this year. I knew that it would take some time for my website to become successful, so as long as my daily averages were tending up I was happy. I had an average of 61 visitors a day in August, 71 visitors a day in September and 81 visitors a day in October. In the last week of October it was 91 per day, and 116 in the second week of November…then it suddenly shot up. Two weeks ago I averaged 210 visitors a day, last week 510 per day and this week so far 731 per day. The real explosion seems to have come just after Furry Girl “tweeted” about me on her Twitter account, attracting a number of new readers and a dozen new links, which in turn seems to have boosted me up into Google’s field of vision because when I duplicate searches which led others here The Honest Courtesan now shows up on the first or second page. I can’t tell y’all how happy this makes me; the more traffic I get and the more often this site is linked, the more people in the general public will get to hear our perspective. And the more we are heard the more people will recognize the truth of what they’re reading and reject the propaganda and outright lies spread by the prohibitionists. The more that happens, the more public opinion will turn in our favor and the more politicians and judges will start taking note, and if I can have some small part in helping to bring that about I can die a happy woman. So, here’s a great big kiss to all of my regular readers, new readers and those who have helped me to get the word out by linking posts which spoke to them!
Of course, we have a long way to go, and in the meantime the continuing suppression of our profession in many countries (including a number of those in which prostitution is technically legal) makes it easy for police, bad clients, gangsters and violent criminals to victimize us because we do not dare report crimes committed against us for fear of being arrested ourselves. Even in jurisdictions where we legally could do so the police establishment often refuses to listen, and in “Nordic Model” countries hookers dare not expose themselves because even though they are not subject to arrest, the police would very likely put them under surveillance so as to use them as unwilling bait to trap their clients. And neofeminists, who claim to be so keen to stop all violence against women, ignore the real violence against prostitutes and instead pretend that our jobs themselves are a form of violence! Faced with official reactions ranging from apathy to hostility, the Sex Worker Outreach Project organized the first International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th, 2003, and the event has taken place on that day ever since. I’ll talk more about the observance on the 17th, but wanted to call attention to it now just in case any of my readers might be interested in attending planned events in Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Montreal, New York, San Francisco or Tucson; see the SWOP site for details.
Christmas is the modern Western name of a holiday which has existed since mankind started keeping calendars some 10,000 years ago. Many religions have holidays during this time, and even atheists celebrate this solstice season as a time to gather with loved ones and share gifts; the name “Christmas” has come to mean the secular holiday, and to most people no more refers to its Christian eponym than “aspirin” specifically means a Bayer product. Christmas belongs to everyone, not just Christians, or else it loses all meaning no matter what selfish people try to claim. So this year, get your shopping done as early as possible; give gifts which reflect your feelings rather than a price tag, and save yourself the stress of last-minute rushing around and trying to outdo others. And during the next few weeks, try to spare a few thoughts for the children who are denied basic human pleasures, and the women who are denied basic human rights.