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Archive for December 14th, 2010

I’ll be  a prostitute, that’s what I’ll be.  You get to pick your customers, and you get paid for it.  Now, that sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? –  Barbara Ann Greene (Tuesday Weld) in Lord Love a Duck

Like so much of the propaganda directed toward our profession, the claims about its difficulty contradict each other.  For centuries prohibitionists have called us “lazy”, implying that our job is so incredibly easy it’s actually antisocial.  Christian reformers have tried to reclaim whores by teaching them the virtue of “honest work” (i.e. slave-wage drudgery resulting in premature aging) and the Nazis classified prostitutes as arbeitsscheu (“work-shy”) and sent them to concentration camps where they could be worked literally to death.  Neofeminists and trafficking fetishists, on the other hand, claim the exact opposite: that our work is inherently humiliating and degrading, and that no sane person would consent to it unless enslaved or otherwise coerced.  As is usual with extreme statements, both are wildly exaggerated; the truth is that for all but the very lowest strata of our profession, prostitution is a job like any other.  It has its good aspects and its bad aspects, but for those of us who choose it the good points (high income, freedom, independence, rewarding experiences with good customers, ego gratification and variety of work) greatly outweigh the bad ones (uncertainty of income, unpleasant customers, and the risks of disease, rape and persecution by cops).  As I have said before, it’s not for everyone, but what job is?

With the “Swedish model” and trafficking fetishism in ascendancy one hears the “inherently degrading” brand of nonsense more often these days; pompous control freaks who have never done as much as a single call use terms like “horrible” and “soul-destroying” to describe work they know absolutely nothing about, and silly women who work menial jobs for a pittance (or don’t work at all) comfort themselves by imagining that they’re better than we are.  The truth, as I discussed in my column of November 9th, is that as a group prostitutes have unusually high self-esteem, and studies conducted among legal prostitutes (such as this one from Australia) demonstrate that the vast majority of the profession who are not imprisoned, drug-addicted streetwalkers (the only whores neofeminist “researchers” ever bother to study) have rates of job satisfaction comparable to those of women in “regular” jobs.  You want to know what an “inherently degrading” job really looks like?  Health magazine recently published a list of the ten most depressing jobs in America; 7% of the general population have experienced a major depression in the past year, but members of each of these professions experience measurably higher rates than that.

The single most “soul-destroying” job in the US is not harlotry, but rather working in a nursing home or day-care center; 11% of people in such jobs have experienced major depression in the past year.  This is probably because the very old and the very young are needier than even the worst escort client, and unlike the latter they are often unable to express appreciation for the difficult, often unpleasant work.  You think getting screwed by an old, fat dude is disgusting?  Try changing his adult diapers and cleaning his bedsores for less than a tenth as much money, and being unable to refuse service to him without losing your job.

Those who oppose “inherently degrading” jobs should take aim at waitressing; 10% of foodservice workers in general and 15% of waitresses in particular report a major depression this year.  Waitresses’ customers are ruder than ours, their shifts are much longer, they have to kowtow to everybody and their pay is often below minimum wage…and Uncle Sam adds insult to injury by taxing their tips whether they get them or not.

I’d be willing to bet a free session that a high percentage of rabid prohibitionists are social workers, so perhaps their rhetoric about our jobs being so awful derives in part from projection.  10% of social workers per year suffer from at least one serious episode of depression, and they suffer from violence almost as often as sex workers do but for about a third of the annual income before taxes.  And like waitresses, nursing home workers and day-care providers they work long hours and have no control over client selection.

Doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals have comparable incomes to ours, but have to deal with sick, injured or dying people every day and often cannot alleviate their symptoms in one visit as we can.  Add to that long hours, ungrateful patients and the constant threat of malicious lawsuits and you’ll see why roughly 10% of them were depressed at some time this year.  Well, at least many of them get more respect from governments than many of us do.

The depression rate is 9% for people in creative fields such as artists, writers, entertainers, etc.  Part of this is almost certainly due to the artistic temperament, but a lot comes from the same kind of income uncertainty whores experience (and as with us, bad reviews can be devastating).  Unlike hookers, however, creative people often work grueling hours and cannot count on at least some sales; if a prostitute does not succeed in attracting clients she doesn’t work, but a writer may work for months on a project and yet never make a penny from it.

Maybe Melissa Petro should have stayed a hooker; teachers suffer depression far more often than we do, make far less money and have absolutely no choice of clients whatsoever.  Imagine if most of a whore’s customers were unappreciative and did not really want to be with her, yet she was blamed for their failure to achieve climax.  Add to that mountains of ridiculous and unnecessary paperwork and several levels of pimps over her, including a “prostitution board” staffed almost entirely by non-prostitutes which could fire her because her clients’ relatives objected to her having been a teacher when she was younger.  Talk about exploitation…

Administrative support staff (i.e. middle managers, executive secretaries etc) constitute textbook examples of a “thankless job”; when things are good their bosses are credited, but when things go wrong they’re the ones who are blamed.  They have to take orders from above and respond to demands from below, and have very little power to do anything about it. Contrast that with escorts’ lives and you’ll see why they get depressed far more often than we do.

Maintenance and grounds workers are like medical staff without the glamor and high pay; they deal mostly with problems, and work weird and often inverted schedules.  They are also often alone, and like retail clerks their hours may vary wildly with the seasons.  Prostitutes have most of those issues as well, but we make a lot more money and get a lot more praise from our clients than do janitors.

Accountants, brokers and other financial advisors are among the few professionals on this list who make more money than call girls do, but they’re also a helluva lot more stressed than we are.  If I goofed up a client might fail to reach orgasm, but if an investment counselor goofs up his client could lose millions and if a CPA goofs up his clients may be audited by the IRS or even accused of tax evasion.  And though whores are affected by the bad economy, we aren’t blamed for its effects on our clients.

Tenth on the list are salespeople, whose depression rate is lower than the others we’ve discussed but still measurably higher than the 7% average.  If hookers really did have higher rates of depression than others, this is the category we would fall into because we are essentially independent saleswomen, marketing our own services.  Commissioned salespeople have uncertain incomes, long hours, no benefits and high seasonal variation in business volume.  Many have to travel for long stretches and live alone in hotels away from friends and family.

Of course, all of these jobs are better than unemployment; 13% of unemployed people have suffered a major depressive episode this year, about twice the national average and higher than any of these jobs except waitressing.  Yet the prohibitionists actually want you to believe that being unemployed and/or on welfare is actually better than our lucrative, often pleasant job with flexible hours!  Brandy Devereaux recently wrote on this very subject, and since she’s already said it at least as well as I could I’m going to leave you today with a link to that column.

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