A few days ago, a guy contacted me from my Eros ad, but was reluctant to provide me with the screening info I asked for. I patiently explained to him that sex workers face a number of serious risks in coming to hotels to visit strange men in private, and that screening helps us to stay safe; he replied that there are risks associated with being a client as well, and suggested I might not be the woman in my pictures, or that I might bring along muscle to rob him. Now, my advertising clearly describes who I am, including my book, articles, TV appearances and Twitter feed, but his response made it obvious that he was one of the many clients who don’t bother to read a lady’s ad copy before contacting her; I therefore simply suggested he Google me, since the first 7 pages or so are mostly me. Similarly, a Google image search leaves little doubt that I still look like the pictures on my website and in my ads. Now, I haven’t quite reached the “Don’t you know who I am?” level of celebrity, and it’s possible I never will (and probably better if I don’t). But as hookers go I’m pretty damned well-known, and it’s not exactly difficult to check the statements I make right there in the text of my ad.
Another, kind of arse-backward version of this is when prohibitionists pretend to have “discovered” some very public fact about my life, especially the rather prosaic one that I owned an escort service (which is not only in the bios I give out for writing commissions, speaking engagements, etc but also comes up in nearly every single interview I do). For example, in a recent hate-screed for Logos the prohibitionist arch-fabulist, Melissa Farley, wrote, “We have located 12 people from 8 countries who publicly identify as sex workers or sex worker advocates but who have also sold others for sex or who have been implicated in the management of sex trade businesses in various specific ways…” and included me along with Norma Jean Almodovar, Terri-Jean Bedford, Maxine Doogan and others. Apparently, her editorial “we” weren’t trying very hard; I could double the size of that list off the top of my head. And you know why? Because despite the efforts of prohibitionists to pretend otherwise, there really isn’t some unbridgeable gap between sex workers and management like the chasm between workers and “capitalists” in a Marxist wanking fantasy. A very large fraction of sex workers who’ve been around since before the turn of the century (and the rise of internet advertising) have at some point in their careers played some kind of management role; pretending otherwise can only work if, like my lazy client, the reader doesn’t bother to Google.
As I pointed out a few weeks ago, this isn’t only true for me; alongside my name and words (and often picture) in articles like this one and this one are the names and words (and often pictures) of women I work and socialize with, many of them dear friends like Endza, Mistress Matisse and Savannah Sly, who is now president of SWOP-USA. In fact, I’m now “out” enough that it scares a few of the more timid clients away (though I hardly think it likely I’ll begin to be recognized in public anytime soon); I’m just hoping I can soon get to the point where I don’t have to tell my clients to Google me if they worry about my dearth of reviews.