How do they know that 99 were pimps? Were they wearing garish clothes and funny hats? Or perhaps they had ID cards in their wallets which said “pimp”? – “Reading Between the Lines”
Things really began to pick up in November of 2010. I was getting lots of new readers, and my traffic was increasing dramatically; though each month up to that point had increased by a sizeable fraction over the month before, November’s traffic was more than triple that of October. Yes, the sum total for that whole month (7893) is less than three average days’ tally now, and in fact my busiest single day so far exceeded that by over a thousand. But I was beginning to see a lot more incoming links, and I could already tell that the popular columns I mentioned in the September back issue were going to be consistent attractors of attention. It was one of November’s columns, however, that first “put me on the map”, as it were: “Hidden Hordes of Hookers”, my very first debunking of the “gypsy whores” myth, drew the attention of several reporters and won me my first mainstream interviews the following January. That was by no means the only current event column for the month; “Reading Between the Lines” was my first dissection of an FBI “sex trafficking sting” press release, “Unreal Princesses” used the outing of fake escort blogger “Alexa di Carlo” as the hook for a discussion of “cyberdrag”, and “Something Rotten in Sweden” chronicled the beginning of American police departments’ turn toward Swedish-flavored rhetoric, a development I had predicted nine days earlier in “Sea Change” (wherein we saw the beginning of the UN’s move toward decriminalization which finally came to fruition almost exactly two years later).
Besides those full-column news analyses there was also the two-part “November Miscellanea” and “What a Week!”, the first weekly synopsis column. It really isn’t the direct predecessor of today’s TW3 feature, though; if you take a look at it you’ll see that it’s written in a sort of conversational style rather than presented as a series of short items. I was already trying to move away from the long block quotes which characterized my update and miscellanea columns at that time, but I wasn’t sure how to do it yet and that gossip-column-like format was one of my experiments. I also used it in “Jezebel” and in December’s “Bits and Pieces”, but only a few times after that. Another experiment was an early, clearly-divided version of the essay/news hybrid which later became one of my staples; this month’s “Drama Queens” is one of the few examples of this now-extinct transitional form. Other column types, however, either still exist in the same form (this month’s harlotography was “Mata Hari” and its fictional interlude “Ripper”), or existed thus for quite a while; though I now present both reader questions and book reviews one at a time, I used to post them in batches as seen in “November Book Reviews” and “November Q & A”. Of course, I still do holiday and special-occasion columns as well, and this month had “Election Day”, “Guy Fawkes Night”, “Happy Birthday, Devil Dogs!” and “Thanksgiving”.
By November, I was drawing on my own experience for far fewer columns; other than “Pam” (which describes the awful owner of the first escort service I worked for) and “License to Rape” (which in part describes my own assault by cops), the subject matter was becoming a lot more far-ranging than in previous months: “Amsterdam” is self-explanatory, “Meretrices and Prostibulae” is a glossary of sex work in ancient Rome, “Plaçage” describes a form of concubinage practiced in early New Orleans, “Lying Down With Dogs” looks at the list of other countries beside the US which criminalize prostitution, and “The Lesser of Two Evils” describes the Catholic Church’s historic tolerance of it. I also wrote on “Wife Swapping”; the psychological defense mechanism called “Reaction Formation”; the deep hypocrisy of feminists who insist on a woman’s right to abortion but deny her right to do sex work (“My Body, My Choice”); and women who want payment for sex, yet insist they aren’t whores (“Halfway Whores”). And finally, in “As Young As Possible”, I vivisected a bogus “sex trafficking” study, as I would many more times in the years to come.