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When something goes wrong, we never call [the cops]…we know they will arrest us.  –  Maria, a Romanian sex worker in London

Check Your Premises

Florida cops claim to be “helping” marginalized women by brutalizing them and giving them criminal records which will make them forever ineligible for on-the-books jobs:

Seven women have been arrested in a prostitution operation along US 19 in Pasco County…Many of the women have been arrested before for the same crime…Captain Chris Beaman…said prostitutes lead dangerous lives, sometimes targeted by serial killers or human traffickers…Beaman said business owners are afraid of becoming victims of crimes themselves…

The article goes on to say that some business owners are “elated” at the pogrom, which is exactly why we now live in a police state.

Across the Pond

Is anyone really surprised by the fact that young migrant women bear the brunt of police harassment under a system which declares them infantile “victims”?

…Between 2010 and 2014, the number of young women [18 to 25] the police arrested in London for prostitution-related crime nearly trebled…The increase contrasts with steep falls in the number of arrests of men and across all the other ages for crimes related to prostitution…Laura Watson, from the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), calls the rise in arrests of young women “horrifying…The police use public concern for young people’s wellbeing to justify targeting and ‘saving’ young people from working as sex workers by arresting them…No alternatives are given, just criminalization”…treating young prostitutes as victims does more harm than good…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

When will lawheads learn that whores cannot be made to vanish by proclamation?

Thailand’s…sex industry is under fire, with the tourism minister [fantasizing she can] rid the country of its ubiquitous brothels and a spate of police raids in recent weeks…Those who work in the industry say curbs on commercial sex services would hurt a flagging economy…Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul played down the role of the sex industry in drawing visitors…”We want Thailand to be about quality tourism. We want the sex industry gone,” she said…

Would somebody from Las Vegas care to school the minister on the likely outcome of her Disneyfication fantasy?

If It Were Legal (#27)

Let’s hope this myth is dead, or at least nearly so, by the next election:

As thousands prepare to descend on Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, a coalition is helping spread the word about a crime that often accompanies large gatherings…Experts say trafficking tends to spike around large-scale events…”It’s definitely a concern,” Hugh OrganMoe the bartender, associate executive director at Covenant House PA, said…”But it’s not anything like the Super Bowl.”  The Super Bowl is the top human trafficking event in the United States, Organ said…

Of course, other people whose names don’t sound like something Bart Simpson would ask Moe the Bartender to page are saying similar things about Republicans:

…The top strip clubs in Cleveland, Ohio, are all preparing for the inevitable influx of horny, cash-flinging Republican out-of-towners who will drop by during next week’s GOP convention…A huge gathering of drunk, lustful Republicans—much like drunk, lustful Democrats, or drunk, lustful registered independents, or drunk, lustful Green Party members—is sure to be great for business…Jeff Kallam, general manager at the Crazy Horse Cleveland strip club…insists…“Republicans love strippers, so we’re just hoping to make some money”…

Traffic Jam (#29)

“Pimp” classification schemes are some of the most painfully stupid tropes of this whole panic:

…The Empower Youth Program…[has] identified five “disguises” that a person looking to exploit someone may take on to gain trust.
1 – Pretender — Someone who pretends to be something s/he is not, such as a boyfriend, a big sister, a father, etc.
2 – Provider — Someone who offers to take care of an individual’s needs, such as for clothes, food, a place to live, etc or their wants, like cool cell phones, purses, parties, etc.
3 – Promiser — Someone who promises access to great things, like an amazing job, a glamorous lifestyle, travel, etc.
4 – Protector — Someone who uses physical power or intimidation to protect (but also control) an individual.
5 – Punisher — Someone who uses violence and threats to control an individual. When the previous disguises have been exhausted, an exploitative person often becomes a Punisher to maintain control…

King of the Hill

If interstate highways are so dangerous, why aren’t prohibitionists calling for them to be banned?

The internet makes commercial sex largely invisible, but northeast Wisconsinites need only pull up a map and draw a line down Interstate 41 to see where much of it happens.  The corridor of cities along I-41 — Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay — is not only convenient for those working the sex trade, but is another form of control for a pimp, since women and girls who don’t feel familiar with their surroundings are less likely to flee.  “It’s a major thoroughfare,” said Carl Waterstreet, a [moron with a penchant for stating the obvious]…

Torture Chamber

Calling a prison an “immigration centre” doesn’t make it any less of a prison:

The Home Office is refusing to reveal if any female detainees have been sexually assaulted or raped inside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre…A member of staff reportedly told a newspaper that “disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests” of people involved with Yarl’s Wood such as Serco, the private company that runs the facility…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Super-ally Anne Elizabeth Moore has published a new book, collecting her comic-strip-format exposes of the deep connection between the rescue and garment industries:

…The through line of Threadbare is that, due to a combination of US trade policies with developing nations…and cultural restrictions on women working outside the home, the garment industry is the only legal job available to the majority of women in the world.  But…when there are no other legal job opportunities…women will do what they can to get by…So, where the garment trade exists, there is generally a healthy sex trade as well, and it’s often tolerated or legal until the US steps in and criminalizes it, often as a rider in trade deals.  These are presented as “anti-trafficking” measures…the garment industry supports the arrests of, and finances the supposed rehabilitation of, women who leave the garment trade, forcing them to return to these low-paying, high-risk jobs that more often than not include a likelihood of sexual exploitation…

Little Boxes (#504) whore in denial

Sex workers who pretend they aren’t are almost as bad as prohibitionists:

There’s been plenty written about the Power of Human Touch…That’s the concept of the professional cuddling company Snuggle Buddies…Professional cuddling is not meant to be sexual.  It’s a point [Lisa] VanArsdale can’t emphasize enough, though she seems aware of the fact that clients may not fully understand, even when respecting the rules…The Snuggle Buddies website addresses these rules plainly in the contract its clients must agree to electronically.  Clothes are required, sexual requests are forbidden, and anyone who doesn’t abide by the cuddling contract—even with rogue questions asked via email—is blacklisted…Strip clubs and prostitutes offer the fulfillment of more promiscuous desires, anyway…

Every sex worker has some kinds of physical contact she won’t allow; having an especially long and/or strict list doesn’t magically make you into a non-whore.

What a Week! (#648)

It’s a “shock”, except to people who habitually go through life with their heads outside of their own rectal cavities:

Dr Emily Cooper…carried out dozens of interviews…which she said “smashed” her preconceived ideas about massage parlours…and how they affect people’s lives…“They evoke feelings of safety and security via their often 24-hour presence, they are distractions from the mundane hours of work, they contribute economically via the use of taxi services and other amenities for clients and sex workers, and finally, a role that is never reported, the sex workers are also neighbours and friends who ‘put the bins out like everybody else’”…

Guinea Pigs (#650) 

If you think that American whores don’t have to worry about prohibitionist nuns as our Irish sisters have to, think again:

Through a $100,000 matching grant the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph has helped the Exchange Initiative and two developers create TraffickCam, an app that helps [cops hunt down sex workers like animals]…TraffickCam allows anyone with a smartphone to help [expand universal surveillance] by uploading photos of hotel rooms when they travel…Sex [workers sometimes] post photos of [themselves] in hotel rooms in their online advertisements.  [Cops] can use these…to find [sex workers to arrest]…

Traffic in Nonsense (#651)

NPR is a hotbed of empty-headed prohibitionism, so it was only a matter of time before they lauded “Truckers Against Trafficking”:

…”Trafficking happens everywhere,” [Kylla] Lanier says. “It’s happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere.  You know, it’s an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere.”  And these days TAT stickers, wallet cards and posters — showing a phone number for a sex trafficking hotline — are becoming ubiquitous in the trucking industry.  TAT [indoctrinates] drivers to try to spot sullen, hopeless-looking children, teens and young adults.  Perhaps they’re wearing revealing clothing, or maybe have tattoos like bar codes or men’s names that might indicate ownership…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#653) 

Pro-censorship loon wants parents to panic about “artificial necrophilia”. I am not making this up:

…Internet pornography is a real problem for the 66 million American parents with children under 18.  Parents don’t have to believe that such material is a direct cause of sexual violence to be driven a little crazy by it.  It’s bad enough that it’s giving our sons and daughters some very creepy ideas about how they’re supposed to look and act…Two bills passed by Congress to restrict minors’ access to pornography over the past two decades were struck down by the Supreme Court because they infringed on adults’ First Amendment rights…In addition to making pornography hard to contain, the internet is making it weirder and weirder…The fetish that’s trending right now…is necrophilia — “artificial snuff films”…I…don’t want my preteens watching actors having sex with corpses, even fake corpses, before they’ve begun to date…

Diary #316

As I predicted, the Desiree Alliance conference was a blast!  Vignette, Jae & I flew down on Sunday, and as I explained in Friday’s column the trip was very tolerable for me despite moderate turbulence.  “Moderate”, that is, for any normal person; if not for my Valium-Zofran one-two punch I’d have been puking and sobbing.  But thanks to Better Living Through Chemistry, I instead passed the trip tweeting and writing and arrived in my home town only slightly Valium-dopey.  Dinner and cocktails with Kaytlin Bailey, Joy de Vive and my traveling companions soon set me to rights, and by the time Grace arrived via motorcycle I was feeling just grand.  The next day was dominated by socializing, cocktails, a performance of Kaytlin’s new show “Consensual Business“, and a very memorable dinner with her, Grace and Tara Burns in which we got Grace to eat octopus, Tara scored us a free round of cocktails and Kaytlin googled “Maggie McNeill naked” on her smartphone to show the waiters.

On Tuesday, I took a break from the conference to visit my gynecologist, my cousin Alan and my friends Frank & Olivia, in that order; Grace took me on her motorcycle and we didn’t get back until about 2:30 in the morning.  On Wednesday Allena Gabosch and I bummed around the French Quarter; I bought two new dresses from my friend Solomon and a print of this beautiful Tara McPherson painting, which I like more every time I look at it.  We then had cocktails with Matisse, and later Matisse and I hung out together and talked, which we’ve both been too busy to do with each other for the past few months.  Then on Thursday evening the two of us, Savannah, Stacey Swimme and another lady were taken to dinner by a lovely and generous gentleman, and the party which followed…well, let’s just say absolutely nobody knows how to party like whores.

On Friday Vignette and I walked around the Quarter while Jae, Matisse & Savannah went to lunch together; I bought another dress from Solomon and some souvenirs from the flea market.  The flight home was just as endurable as the one down, despite even more turbulence, and that, my friends, means I am air-mobile again!  I plan to start limited touring, so if you want me to visit your city and can spring for a plane ticket, just drop me an email and we’ll go from there.  If you can’t afford my travel expenses but would still like to see me, no worries; just keep your eyes on this space, where I’ll announce each trip as soon as I start planning it.

This is ridiculous; this cost a lot of money and is tomfoolery.  –  Don O’Neill

pig trickery signOnce again, so-called “liberal” Seattle has demonstrated its deep conservatism, prudishness, hypocrisy and dishonesty by setting up an elaborate entrapment scheme intended to humiliate the clients of sex workers, deprive us of income and produce a severe chilling effect on the market.  Sara Jean Green, who should know better than to believe the anti-whore garbage vomited out by cops, told it this way [with a few corrections from me] in the deeply-prohibitionist Seattle Times:

…members of the Seattle Police Department’s Vice…Unit arrested 204 men during the 10-day operation that began July 5, netting more than $22,000 in cash…“We never anticipated this volume,” [lied] Sgt. Tom Umporowicz [about]…the police-operated Euro Spa, the first sting operation of its kind in the city.  He estimated court fines from the operation — $2,733 for a first-time offender, with repeat offenders paying more — will total at least $550,000.  Formerly known as Bamboo Spa, the business was shut down in May by Umporowicz and his squad…Umporowicz’s [scam artists] posted ads for Euro Spa on backpage.com…For the “average john,” hiring an escort “is a crapshoot … because you don’t know who is going to show up at the door,” Umporowicz said.  Picking up a woman on Aurora Avenue North is also risky since “you could easily get … ripped off and you’re more visible to law enforcement…Most of these guys going to massage parlors think they’re fairly safe”…In many of the vice unit’s earlier stings, men were arrested then released, later receiving summonses in the mail.  But [politicians declared]…that…there should be mandatory jail bookings for men arrested for sexual exploitation.  It’s the relatively new name adopted by the City Attorney’s Office for the misdemeanor crime of what used to be known as patronizing a prostitute.  The hope is that the experience of changing into orange jail garb, being photographed and fingerprinted, and undergoing the jail’s process of verifying names, addresses and phone numbers will serve as a future deterrent…[one] veteran [sleazy sow is referred to]…as “the vice queen.”  Dressed in a tight tank top, a short skirt and four-inch heels, the [sociopath is expert]…in making men comfortable [in order] to [destroy their lives]…“Some guys won’t even hand me the money — they throw it on the bed or they throw it on the floor,” she said.  “It’s degrading…They would never treat their wives or girlfriends or someone they were trying to pick up in a bar like that.”

As usual, the pigs grunt and oink a lot of filthy lies in order to rationalize that their robbery scam is somehow justifiable, and that it serves some constructive purpose other than pleasing busybodies, getting votes for amoral politicians and letting pervert cops (like the sociopathic policewoman described at the end) get their jollies in a massive nonconsensual public humiliation scene.  The lies are so thick and obvious here I’m sure most of y’all can spot them; for example, the pretense that the average client doesn’t “know who is going to show up at the door”, when in fact most modern escorts have websites, reviews and an established online presence.  And the pretense that not directly handing the sex worker the money is “degrading”, when in fact most don’t want the money directly handed to them (in the mistaken belief that this will protect them), is especially vile considering that the police and the prohibitionist laws they enforce are the direct cause of this so-called “degradation”.  Sorry, amateurs; the truth is our clients generally treat us better than they treat women silly enough to give it to them for free, no matter what sickos who get off on pretending to be whores tell you.

But while the cops boast about their contribution to destroying the fabric of society and fascist media companies obediently parrot the propaganda, the faltering “sin and degradation” narrative has lost considerable popularity and stings like this are recognized for what they are by many other journalists:

…KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill…noted that the [Seattle police department] is understaffed by more than 340 officers and they are currently being paid tons of overtime to deal with the recent protests related to shootings around the country…That’s why, to him, the sting was a “colossal waste of time…You pick up the phone and call the police and they’re not coming…because we’re using our man- and women-power to do stuff like this.”  O’Neill said…it’s…an attack on the lives of tech workers and lonely Seattle residents…“there will be divorces over this, families will be embarrassed and they may end up losing their jobs”…

And Tana Ganeva of The Influence wrote:

…Female officers were tarted up in tight clothes and high heels and offered men sexual acts for cash…The sting caught 204 so-called “johns” and netted the department $22,000 in cash.  But that’s only the beginning of the city’s  profiteering…all the court fines…could total $550,000.  And who were these monsters?  They ranged from surgeons to a nurse to bus drivers to a journalist…The operation, of course, is presented as a means to protect exploited women…But…there wasn’t even the pretext of trying to catch johns who were looking to hook up with under-aged or trafficked women…in what business on earth does it benefit workers to have their customers arrested?  As many sex worker activists have pointed out, depleting the customer pool of men who have the most the lose if they get caught makes sex workers’ lives harder and more dangerous…

pigs torturing innocent menAnd there, as the Bard put it, is the rub; well-established escorts with large client bases aren’t going to be affected by this beyond the usual two- or three-week lull that results every time the cops stage one of their high-profile pogroms.  Nor will celebrity whores like me, whom potential clients can verify with a quick Google search.  No, it’s going to be the immigrant women and other marginalized sex workers, those who work in massage parlors, on Backpage or on the street, who will suffer the most from this evil game.  Sex work isn’t going anywhere, no matter what cops, prosecutors and morally-retarded billionaires want you to believe; it fulfills a very real and important social function and new sex workers and clients enter the demimonde every day.  These crusades do nothing but hurt the most vulnerable individuals on both sides of the transaction, just as all prohibition disproportionately harms the most marginalized.  One might think that at a time when the public is beginning to awaken to the realities of overpolicing, public officials would have more sense than to approve of these sadistic spectacles; however, that would assume that said officials aren’t echo-chamber-dwelling narcissists.  The only way to stop this will be for those who approve of it to suffer actual consequences, and that isn’t going to happen until all of you clients out there get off of your duffs and fight.  Regular clients outnumber full-time whores by at least 60 to 1; gentlemen, I suggest you had better rethink your current silence, unless you want to be the next one with your name and picture splashed across newspapers, TV screens and websites.

Links #315

Every inmate can obviously state that he is uncomfortable in jail.
–  Dean Flippo

This week’s video is a very, very strange short absurdist horror operetta; I have no other description for it, but it was contributed by Jesse Walker (who also provided “Pokemon Gothic”).  The links above it are from Tim Cushing (“boo”, “expected” and “together”), Wendy Lyon (“Sweden”), Walter Olson (“headline”), Jillian Keenan (“cost”), and Mistress Matisse (“Cassandra”).

From the Archives

Anti-prostitution advocates…incorrectly portray the global sex workers’ rights movement as dominated by Western, white, middle-class, cisgender women…as a way of dismissing the movement as “non-representative.”  –  Chi Adanna Mgbako

License to Rape Joseph Stanton

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

Joseph Raymond Stanton…was arrested on June 29…[for] the rapes of two prostitutes and the attempted rape of a third…In each case…Stanton…passed himself off as a…[cop] and lured the victims to his car.  He then drove them to a secluded location and raped them.  One of the women was able to escape before he could [rape] her…Stanton posted bail and was released…the day after his release [cops] found him dead in what appeared to be a suicide…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying them fairly that isn’t:

Four Montreal police officers who work with informants have been arrested…Fayçal Djelidi…is facing nine charges, including perjury, attempting to obstruct justice, breach of trust by a public officer and obtaining sexual services for consideration…David Chartrand…was charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of attempting to obstruct justice…Two more officers were also arrested and are being questioned by Montreal police…Djelidi…is alleged to have communicated with unknown persons with the aim of procuring sexual services for himself in exchange for payment…

An Example To the West

Chi Adanna Mgbako on sex worker activism in Africa:

…In the past 10 years or so, sex worker activism has exploded throughout Africa, and there are now sex-worker-led organizations in African countries as diverse as Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and many more.  In Kenya alone, there are now over 80 sex-worker-led collectives.  All of these groups are advocating for their right to work, to access de-stigmatized health care, and to live free from violence and discrimination.  It’s also important to note that outside of formal civil society actors like sex-worker-led NGOs, sex workers informally organize and resist criminalization by supporting each other financially, socially, and emotionally in their local communities.  This informal activism is an indispensable part of movement building…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

Kate Iselin gets it, though four years after I did:

…The scenario that gives rise to the demand for android sex workers reads like a great big “told you so” fantasy of anyone involved in anti-sex work campaigning…It’s a creepy, shallow rendering of the nightmare portrait of sex work we’re too-often sold:  An industry that we worry dehumanises women can only be saved by, in this case, literally replacing humans with what amounts to an almost-sentient Fleshlight.  The idea that a robot brothel can solve all of our problems is naïve at best, and deeply ignorant at worst.  What assumptions does one need to make about our clients to suggest that they would be just as happy – or happier – penetrating chrome steel instead of receiving the touch of a human?…the “any hole’s a goal” mentality presumed in the [notion] overlooks the vast reasons one may have for seeing a sex worker: loneliness, curiosity, sexual or emotional unfulfilment, desire, the want for a certain skillset, or perhaps simply the need to be touched by a new and unfamiliar pair of hands…Plus, it’s telling – and hurtful – that little to no consideration is given to the skills of the sex worker.  I know myself and the service I provide well, and there is no possible way that the warmth of my body and the skill of my touch could be unnoticably replaced by an android…

Damned If You Don’t

But picket-fence queers say cops aren’t our enemies:

On July 4, police made sweeps and arrests at a gay beach in New York City, much to the surprise of beachgoers.  At the far corner of Jacob Riis Park—a gay beach that has been a notorious LGBT safe haven for decades…police descended unannounced…gay Brooklyn photographer Krys Fox…stood with a towel wrapped around his waist…Suddenly, the towel loosened and dropped.  Before Fox could refasten it around his waist, he was tackled to the ground by a squad of police.  Fox told the Daily Dot that police had dominated the gay beach all day—”on horses, in uniform, undercover”—and were “everywhere.”  But he didn’t expect to be arrested, he said, because he hadn’t done anything wrong…those who…were [there]…noted that police targeted the gay section of the beach specifically, stating that there were no police on the rest of the beach…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s kind of refreshing to read an article which portrays us as depraved monsters rather than pathetic victims:

…Police raided a Warsaw [Indiana] massage parlor…next door to Kevin Love’s home.  He said he knew something suspicious was happening for about three years now…The two women were arrested after police found evidence related to prostitution, tax evasion and corrupt business practices.  Love said he often saw two women walking around the neighborhood in the evening…”just like any normal person would get out and go for a walk”…Love…is just relieved it is over.  “There are children on back further in the neighborhood, and they don’t need to be around something like that,” he said…

Bait and Switch

One can always assume there’s a wide gap between what actually happened and what the cops claim happened:

Aren Lindquist…has been sentenced to 25 years at Montana State Prison with 20 years suspended…[he was tricked by a fake] online ad for an escort service called “Barely Legal 18.”  [Cops told] the respondents…that no 18-year-olds were available and they had the option of having sex with a 15-year-old or a 12-year-old…

Another Fine Mess

Reporters never get tired of pretending that ordinary sex work practices are new and novel:

…at least 60 prostitutes from China [are] advertising their services online and operating in condominiums and apartments in Geylang…Instead of relying on pimps and brothel keepers, the women post suggestive photos of themselves and ask those interested to contact them on mobile phones directly.  These freelance prostitutes enter Singapore on tourist visas and typically work for up to one month…

A Procrustean Bed (#440) Judge Paul Herbert

It’s enough to make one vomit:

…These weekly court sessions are the core of a special probation program for victims of sex trafficking in Columbus. [Judge] Herbert started the program—known as CATCH (Changing Attitudes to Change Habits)—in 2009.  Women arrested on prostitution charges in Columbus can opt into this program – where they get safe housing, counseling, and close supervision instead of jail time.  Nearly all are in recovery from addiction.  As he moves through the docket, Herbert calls each defendant by her first name…”He said we’re going to love you until you can love yourself. And…I see something in you that you can’t see yet”…

King of the Hill (#537)

It looks like they’ve scaled back the claims about Charlotte, North Carolina’s “hub” status, maybe because the kids they’re trying to scare with it are smarter than the adults who believe this crap:

Starting this fall, sex trafficking will be addressed in seventh and eighth-grade classrooms across Charlotte…Director of Present Age Ministries Hannah Arrowood [said] “Charlotte is actually the number one city in the state of North Carolina for human trafficking”…Five-hundred new ads are posted soliciting sex in Charlotte every day…many of the women in the ads are not women at all, but rather trafficked teenagers and young girls…forced to have sex with multiple men…

Checklist (#593)

Because there aren’t enough real “victims” to go around, the rescue industry creates fake ones:

Catherine Pisha…is…an actor learning how to portray a [stereotype of a] human trafficking victim.  Pisha works at the University of Vermont’s Clinical Simulation Lab…[and] helps health care professionals improve the quality of their care by being a human guinea pig…Edith Klimoski…writes the scripts for these actors…Studies show that anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent of human trafficking victims will come in contact with someone in the medical community during the time they’re being trafficked…

The Public Eye (#609)

Laura Lee braves the hostile waters of Mumsnet:

…One of the most infuriating strands to the current feminist discourse around sex work is the assertion that we are abused, or even raped, every time we sell sex.  That statement is injurious and grossly insulting to those who have survived abuse and rape, and it also strips sex workers of our agency.  As much as we campaign for the right to say “yes”, we absolutely reserve the right to say “no”.  I detest the use of the word “empowerment” in any debate on sex work.  My job is no more empowering than anyone else’s; it allows me to support my family and pay my bills.  But as a community, there is no doubt that we are more empowered to say “no” when we are permitted to work together for safety…

Uncommon Sense (#619)

the upcoming German law…will enforce mandatory registration of sex workers nationwide.  The law pretends to fight human trafficking…Forced registration through obligatory counselling includes the evaluation of one’s mental status by a state authority and implies sex workers…are perceived as irresponsible, mentally incapable beings…Our very own whore ID will be a state-issued document including our picture; our profession (that is “prostitute”, as the word “sex worker” is a bit too modern for the German state), our real name and address…In order to get it we will be forced to visit a state body and undergo counselling…You read that right: a functionary will decide in a compulsory talk if you have the marbles in your brain to be a sex worker…

Air Stream

I usually write my columns at my desk.  I’ve done some in hotels, and some fragments in coffee shops or other such places; I even wrote part of one at a party once, and a whole (albeit short) one while sitting in my car on Bainbridge Island waiting for a ferry.  Also, I usually write my columns dead sober, though I have done a little editing and preparation of news columns while slightly drunk or waiting for an edible to kick in (they’re legal in Seattle, remember?  And I’ve discovered I like them, so there.)  One column in the past month I edited, illustrated and scheduled while quite stoned (no, I won’t say which, and I’ll bet you can’t guess because I did an excellent job if I do say so myself).  But today I’m doing something new on both counts: I am writing this on an airplane in flight, on crappy, slow wifi that Alaska Air charged me TWENTY FUCKING DOLLARS FOR even though it’s horrible compared to the wifi I got for free on JetBlue in May.  And I’m doing it while under the influence of 10 mg of Valium and 4 of Zofran, because that’s the way I roll when I have to fly.  My first test of this new meds combo was when I flew to LA in May, but that was a smooth two-and-half-hour flight; this is a FOUR and a half hour flight across the Rockies, and let me tell you it is NOT SMOOTH.  Normally, I’d be crying and puking right now, but I’m actually OK despite the frequent rumbling and shaking.  The Valium seems to be controlling my nerves and the Zofran my stomach, so let’s hope that continues.  My computer’s clock says it’s 13:31 (Sunday) right now as I type this, but it’s 15:31 in New Orleans and presumably 14:31 below us in Colorado (though by the time I figured out how to take this screenshot on my Chromebook we were at the border of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas and therefore crossing into Central Time.  I would’ve used my usual screenshot program, but it’s been goofing up lately & I don’t know how to fix it.)

Screenshot 2016-07-10 at 13.37.19

But anyway, when I was at the airport earlier talking to Allena Gabosch (who’s on the same flight as Vignette, Jae and I, though in  different row) I told her that I’d finished my blogging through Thursday, and I had a brainstorm: what if I wrote one on the plane?  Since I’m dopey as hell right now (though the first Valium’s probably wearing off since I took it at 10:00 PDT, I only took the second one just before I started to write almost an hour ago), I thought the results might be interesting.  Speaking of results, I am still not panicking from all this bumping (the seat belt sign just went back on), nor am I sweating, flushed, queasy or any of the other symptoms that let me know I’m about to be very sick indeed.  And yes, I would knock wood if there were any in this plane.  But if things keep going like this on subsequent flights, I might actually be air-mobile again, which is pretty cool.

This is not to say I actually LIKE flying; it’s a wholly awful form of transport and I hate being on a freaking bus in the sky, even when the plane isn’t bouncing around like a ping-pong ball.  And if that weren’t already bad enough, I despise having to deal with the blue-gloved morons.  Today I had the misfortune to be behind an eedjit who believes the propaganda about security theater (I told him statistics proved him wrong but I wasn’t going to argue), then my luggage was “selected” for “extra screening” because it contained “a large amount of organic matter” (a dozen copies of Ladies of the Night).  That explanation sounds entirely bogus to me; do people with lots of cotton or woolen clothing get “selected” as well?

selfie 7-12-16Anyhow, my brain seems to be getting fuzzier (getting only three solid hours of sleep last night followed by two intermittent hours probably has something to do with it.  That and the Valium) .  And I somehow screwed up the map that was showing our remaining time to New Orleans, though obviously we must be over Texas because it’s almost 16:30 Central Time and we’re supposed to land in something like 75 minutes.  And once we land we need to Lyft down to our hotel on Canal Street, where we’ll be meeting Kaytlin Bailey for dinner (and I hope Grace is there by then).  So I guess I’ll finish up and try to figure out if I can upload this selfie I took a little while ago.  When you read this I’ll be getting ready to return, so maybe I’ll make a comment when I’m on the flight back.  And I hope not being sick.  And noticing that I use a LOT of parentheses when I’m doped up.

Last Friday, Dan Savage tweeted a question he’d received to get the opinion of several sex workers, namely Mistress Matisse, Mike Crawford and me (plus anyone else who cared to chime in).  The question itself is interesting, and I found it fascinating how much the answers diverged.  So although Dan already published the question and answers on his Stranger blog, I’d also like to feature it here:

man courting womanI’d appreciate your thoughts on a matter of sex worker etiquette and social boundaries.  Someone I’d describe as an acquaintance/casual friend recently let me know that she is working as an escort.  I’ve known her for a few years, and have always been more than a little attracted to her.  We dated very briefly when we first met and have had an intermittent friendship in the years since.  We’re close enough to talk about subjects like sex work and our mutually non-judgmental attitudes toward it, though this is someone I bump into fairly rarely—maybe a couple of times a year.  If there’s an appropriate and respectful way to bring up that I’d be interested in her professional services, I’d love to do it in the right way.  Or would you advise me to leave this alone?  We’re well enough acquainted that I could broach the subject in an in-person conversation or by text (as opposed to, say, booking an appointment anonymously and saying “Surprise! Remember me?”).  Any thoughts?  –  Friend In Favor Of Compensating For Benefits

My answer:  It’s a delicate one. If they had never dated I’d say it was pretty straightforward. But as it is she could conceivably feel awkward. My advice: He should tell her he’d like to see an escort and ask if she has any recommendations. Then IF she’s comfortable, she can volunteer her own services, and if not he’ll get a very good recommendation to another.

Matisse:  I personally do not accept people as clients if I’ve been friends with them socially. But that is partly because I’m a dominatrix and some fantasies and D/s rely on a certain level of mystery and distance. Definitely via email, NOT in person. Tell her it’s cool if she doesn’t feel comfortable. And accept it will change things.

Mike Crawford:  “How’s business? Are you taking new clients? Would you be open to seeing me professionally?” Best approach I can think of. As mentioned, the prior relationship could make it awkward. As any client should, if she declines to see him, FIFOCFB should accept that graciously.

Lara Belle:  I would choose one of the zillion other SWs where boundaries are not an issue. The question can be broached: “Are you open to seeing clients who are part of your personal life,” etc., but don’t even go there at all if he expects her to keep it a secret and have a whole range of new pressures forced upon her with her other friends/acquaintances.

Conner Habib:  Yes, he definitely has the right to ask! But I want him to ask himself why he’s asking, too! I’d ask: Out of all the escorts in the world you can hire, you chose one whose boundaries may be problematic for you and would need negotiation. What does that tell you about yourself? Self-investigate & move on.

Rosemary Lashes:  I had a friend ask this of me when I came out and frankly I find it insulting. For me, I want compartmentalization. I do not mix business/clients w friends. It complicates too much, and $ creates power dynamics regardless of intention.

Ava Grace:  Definitely don’t surprise her with a booking without notice. But considering the history of the friendship you can always ask the question. If she’s not ok with it she will say no. And you need to be prepared for and ok with accepting that no if it comes. Good luck.

Daddy’s Princess:  It would be awkward to see him professionally & maintain a friendship.

Melodie Nelson:  Sex -paid for or not-can change relationships. But he should ask simply. No more stigma 1 day.

Sensual Muse:  IMO no on this-personal life is sep from work: 2 mix risks never having down time.  it’s personal I think…just my boundary pref. no clients in personal spaces

Mandy Mitchell:  every SW is different but to me the “used to date” part gets a little dicey, there are plenty of other pros to seek, always

Sophie Darling:  I NEVER EVER mix business into my personal life. Just my MO though…

Buttercream Bombshell:  My view is to face to face express interest politely and let her decide.

Violet Baudelaire:  IF she says yes, he needs to realize that all her normal work rules still apply, even though they know each other.

There were also a good number of conversations on the topic; Matisse especially had some good discussions with a number of the respondents, as you can see by following the links.  It just goes to show you:  everyone’s different, and on matters of sex work etiquette there’s sometimes no one “correct” answer.

(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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