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Posts Tagged ‘anecdote’

Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere else.  –  Mae West

Lately, a number of people (including interviewers, clients and even other whores) have asked me about the different types of sex work I’ve done, when I did them and how I got started.  And though this was the subject of a three-part column soon after I began this blog six years ago, there were a few passages I omitted way back then and only wrote about much later, and a couple I think I’ve only spoken about (but never written).  So in the interest of collecting everything in one place and filling in the gaps, I hereby present a concise history of my personal journey through harlotry.

The very first time the word “prostitute” was ever applied to me was when I was 12 years old, in the spring of 1979.  Don’t be too shocked, y’all; the term was used by the nun who was the principal of my grammar school in reference to a punishwork-for-pay scheme I had dreamed up in 8th grade, and I was still a virgin for another two and a half years after that.  The first time I took money for actual sex was at the beginning of January, 1985, a few months after I’d turned 18:

An engineer who was a friend of one of my professors had to go out of town on business; his wife, also an engineer, was away as well, but they had been waiting for some time for a contractor to do some work on their house and he had offered to squeeze them in between two long jobs…All I had to do was open the house at 8 AM, supervise the contractors until they left and close up by 6 PM.  For this I was to be paid $5/hour, 10 hours a day for seven days, or $350 total; not bad for a broke coed in those days.  The contractors got done ahead of schedule, by Friday morning, and the engineer also came home early and arrived about 4 that afternoon.  While I was showing him a few things the contractor had asked me to point out, he kept finding excuses to rub up against me and eventually came right out and propositioned me…without hesitation I said, “Can I stay on the clock?”  He raised an eyebrow and I elaborated, “I was counting on being paid through the weekend”…It took less than an hour, and when he forked over the whole $350 I felt rather proud of myself…

It didn’t take my whorish little brain long to realize that my sexuality was now monetizable, and I had a number of guys I could subtly hit up for cash in exchange for sex when bills came due.  I went on like that until the spring of 1987, when I stupidly agreed to marry Jack (because I was fucking stupid); my hiatus from whoredom lasted until he left me on January 2nd, 1995.  The part I haven’t previously mentioned in print was that my ill-fated marriage was bookended by two sugar relationships, but with sugar mamas rather than sugar daddies.  Remember, I’ve always been bisexual, and when Jack proposed I agreed only on the condition that I could still have girlfriends.  Since the autumn of ’84 I had a sugar mama (in her late 30s then) I was very fond of; she almost never gave me cash, but took me out to dinner and a movie several times a week (especially in ’85).  The sexual part of our relationship actually dried up pretty quickly; she was seeing a therapist who thought homosexuality was immature and had convinced her that “Gay is not the way”.  I know that seems weird and even unethical to modern ears, but that was not an unusual viewpoint among psychiatric professionals in the ’80s.  Anyhow, she met a man in the summer of ’87 and dropped me pretty soon after; I did date girls whenever Jack and I broke up (which was often) from ’87 to ’92, but none of those were pragmatic relationships.

My next foray into whoredom came in the autumn of ’95; I was so distraught after all the events of my Year of Disaster that I just wasn’t able to work anymore, and quit my job.  I survived on pure momentum, some help from my mother, frequent handouts from friends and the patronage of another sugar mama, a woman in her late 50s who took me to dinner at least three or four times a week, gave me many presents and even gifted me with small sums of cash that were sufficient to pay the electricity & water bills.  I never actually had sex with her, either; she was very attracted to me and was clearly hoping for something in return, but I never actually promised her anything and was able to avoid the half-dozen or so direct passes she made at me over the next year by telling her (honestly) that I was still too messed up to be sexual with anybody.  So though I wasn’t technically selling her sex, I was certainly being paid for my emotional labor and for paying attention to her, which is a huge part of GFE and sugar-dating both.  She got tired of my coyness by November of ’96, and found Jesus soon after; I’m not sure what part (if any) our relationship played in that.

Almost a year later, at the end of September of ’97, I started stripping; soon after that I met Grace and we moved in together, and her truck allowed me to commute to the clubs on Bourbon Street where I could make more money than I could in the little suburban club where I’d started.  By the autumn of ’99 my outstanding debts were paid off and I took a few months off before starting at Pam’s escort service on January 2nd, 2000.  I started my own agency by Easter, and also worked for two others after leaving Pam’s; I finally retired from agency escorting in June of 2006, after burning out due to overwork and Hurricane Katrina-induced chronic illness.  At that point I moved into the long-term contractual form of prostitution we call “marriage”, and from July of 2006 until July of 2010 I saw no other client but my husband.  As most of you know, that didn’t work out as well as I might’ve liked; my retirement seems to have been a major factor in the disintegration of my marriage, and soon after starting this blog in July of ’10 I also returned to sex work, this time as an independent, “partly for pocket money and partly to put myself in the right frame of mind to write the blog.”  But as my activism developed I felt less and less willing to hide the fact that I was no longer retired, and as I prepared for my book tour in the spring of ’14 I let a number of trusted friends, patrons and whore sisters in on my secret.

The last step to where I find myself now began last summer; frustrated by the slowness with which I was building a clientele under my work persona, I decided to throw caution to the winds, ditch it and just work under the name I’d so painstakingly built up a reputation under for the previous five years.  Since then, what little was left of my anonymity has fallen away or been tossed aside, and I now get as many clients from Twitter and this blog as I do from referrals or my escort ads.  I’ve even scheduled an appointment with a gentleman who Googled me after seeing me on KIRO-TV back in January.  So in a way, I’ve come full circle: for the first decade, my pragmatic sexual arrangements were conducted under my own name, sans any kind of marketing or work persona; now I’m back to doing everything under the same name, even if it isn’t the one on my birth certificate (nearly all of my friends call me “Maggie” at home), and my work, activism and “real life” are so tangled together as to be nearly indistinguishable.  I’ve been charging for my favors in one way or another for over 60% of my life, and I have no plans to stop this side of the grave.

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Sweet 16

Who did your tits?  –  practically every doctor client in New Orleans

red lace frontI love my tits, and I know I’m not alone in that; of all my features, they probably get more compliments and other commentary than any other part of my anatomy (including my hair).  But neither I nor genetics nor the gods can take credit for them; the responsible parties were my bank account and an unusually-gifted plastic surgeon whom I silently bless every time someone bestows praise upon what Matisse is pleased to call my “jaw-dropping rack”.  And the reason I’m mentioning that now is that it was sixteen years ago today when Grace went, in her words, from “having the only tits in the house to having the smallest”.  Yes, today is my tits’ Sweet 16!  And though I’m not quite as overwhelmed with them as I was when I first opened my eyes to see them there, I still occasionally catch myself in the mirror and say something like, “Wow, these really are pretty spectacular!”  Please excuse the slight – OK, not so slight –  vanity, dear reader; you’ve got to recall that I was quite plain in my formative years, and was extremely flat-chested for considerably longer than that.  So I hope y’all can forgive me for looking for any excuse to display them, and for occasional jokes like, “Hi, I’m Maggie McNeill and these are my tits.”  I’m not really that full of myself, except when I am.  Those of you who have never been fortunate enough to see them in all their glory up close and personal will just have to content yourself with a few pictures, at least until you make it out to Seattle and book an appointment.  And I promise, I won’t say much more about them after today.  Not in the blog, anyhow.on my back

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Maggie on KIRO 1-6-16Last week was so incredibly busy I’m amazed I was able to keep up with everything I had to do.  I knew at the beginning that it would be busy work-wise because I had a solid schedule of appointments, but I had no way of knowing that on Wednesday the pigs would barge into the lives of Seattle sex workers, uprooting one of our major advertising venues and shitting all over our reputations to the press.  Of course, the excuse was “sex trafficking”; Korean sex workers in the area were denied agency, claimed to be “trafficked”, and a number of their clients, bookers and other associates were arrested.  Naturally, nobody has seen any of these supposed “victims” or been allowed to talk to them, but the sheriff of King County nonetheless felt qualified to say that the members of SWOP were “delusional” for saying that advertising boards help us to build communities and screen clients.  Because obviously, his magical swine-o-vision allows him to see into our lives despite the fact that he was too afraid to allow us into his press conference.  But whatever he hoped to achieve by this ham-fisted attempt to shut us up was a failure; by Wednesday night, over 12 hours before his press conference, I had already appeared on not one but TWO local news broadcasts to give our viewpoint, and the sheriff and other officials were flustered and annoyed by several reporters asking them about us and our concerns.  Furthermore, when the conference let out we were waiting, and most of the reporters got statements from us (as I detailed in Friday’s column).  We’ve had several emergency meetings since Wednesday (the first mere hours after the seizure, ’cause we don’t work 9-5, y’all) and plenty more conversations via email and text; I think I’ve received as many text messages in the past week as I would in a typical month.  As a kind of side-effect of all this, I’m even more out now than I was before; on Saturday my pedicurist told me, “I saw you on TV!”  But while I’ve been hailed as a badass in my community for saying “I am a prostitute” on TV while standing in a courthouse full of cops, the truth is that I’m really just plain stubborn.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a bunch of morally-retarded thugs tell me how to conduct my life or what motivations for sex I’m allowed to have, and I’ll be thrice-damned if I sit by and let credulous ignoramuses slander my sisters and endanger all our livelihoods.  I may not be able to win against the colossal machine of prohibition, but by Aphrodite I’m going to go down fighting.  And even if they crush me, I’m not going to suffer in silence.

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Then, I was inspired;
Now, I’m sad and tired.  –  Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar

Life Shattering by Martz90 (2012)This has been a year of dramatic change in my life, and to a slightly lesser extent in this blog, and so I’m sure most of you won’t be surprised when this column breaks the tradition of New Year’s Eve columns that I maintained for five years.  In the past, I would write a thorough synopsis of the year’s events, with copious links to the columns in question; this year, I’m afraid that I have neither the time nor the energy for such an exhaustive reiteration.  Whereas I used to prepare non-news columns weeks in advance, now I’m lucky if I’m two days ahead; most of the time it’s only one, and sometimes I hit “schedule” just hours (and in a few cases, mere minutes) before press time.  The main reason for this is that my life is a lot busier now: rather than living in semi-retirement on a ranch in the country with an estranged husband and a minimum of face-to-face interaction with others beside Grace, I’m now back to work full time in Seattle with a girlfriend recovering from a severe motorcycle accident, and I have to make a specific effort to get the time and privacy I need to write.  That’s why I haven’t managed to get another book out; I’ve only barely managed to keep the blog going, and I can’t recall a time when I was so continually exhausted yet so unable to obtain adequate rest and recuperation.  On top of that I’m almost six years older now than when I started – I’ve gone from not-much-past-forty to nearly-fifty in calendar years, and I couldn’t even estimate how much I’ve aged experientially.  Barely anything about my life is the same now as it was two Decembers past, and even my self has changed to a point that would cause the Maggie of 2010 to reel in shock.  I spend hours every day processing my thoughts, feelings and newly-acquired knowledge, and yet the sheer volume and gravity of the stuff I have to process precludes my getting it all done anytime soon.  But if there’s one thing I know with certainty, it’s this: my commitment to the cause of sex worker rights is greater than it has ever been, and if anything it will only increase in the year to come.

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Diary #286

And so we wind down toward the end of another year; this will be the last diary column of 2015, and a number of the others will be very short.  See, I really AM learning to relax a little.  Tomorrow Grace arrives for a Christmas visit, and she’ll be here until January 3rd; that’ll be even more relaxing, because I really do miss her terribly and having her here (even for a little while) will be a great comfort.

SWOP Seattle held several events to commemorate the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers; the vigil itself was the most meaningful to me, because as I wrote on the day itself I have never attended one before.  The attendance was very good despite the cold and rain, and we walked across Pioneer Square under red umbrellas, with volunteers (including me) reading the names and ages of all the sex workers who died by violence in 2015, while everyone else repeated them in chorus.  It was very powerful and moving, and I plan to attend every year while I’m here.  But for the next couple of weeks, all the group activities I’ll attend will be with my friends and loved ones, and that is just fine with me. 12-17-15

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Tara BurnsLast week, I was pleased to have Tara Burns stay with me again; she was only in Seattle for two nights, and was here the second one.  She’s truly an amazing woman and an amazing activist, and I’m glad she feels comfortable asking to stay here when she passes through (a request for which the answer will always be “yes”).  We probably should’ve had someone take a picture while she was here, but I really don’t have the photo bug and I often forget that I can and/or should take a picture of something until after the chance is passed.  If I were less honest I might represent that as a personal rebellion against the urge to overdocument which is so common in the modern West, but the truth is it just doesn’t usually cross my mind unless somebody says “You ought to take a picture of this.”  Or unless I happen to think I look especially alluring at the moment.

This week, on the other hand, has been dominated by things that haven’t happened yet.  I’ve had several long phone calls to plan projects which won’t actually happen until the late winter (including Seattle’s Annual Sexwork Symposium [SASS], which Savannah Sly asked me to help with).  This week is our December 17th vigil, accompanied by several associated events (such as a panel discussion in which I’m participating on Saturday).  Of course I’ve also been busy buying Christmas presents and otherwise helping Santa, and Grace will be arriving a week from today and staying through January 3rd.  Add to that juggling Jae’s various rehab appointments (of which there can be as many as 7 per week) and my professional dates, and writing this blog, and you begin to understand why I haven’t managed to finish either of the two books I’m trying to write.  However, longtime readers who have expressed concern for my health will be glad to know that I’m making time for myself too; I’m trying to go to dinner with a friend at least once per week, and even (gasp!) relaxing alone for a few hours once or twice a week.  I’m still not very good at it yet; my brain never stops unless something forces it to, and the number of things I’ve found that can accomplish that is very small indeed.  But one has to start somewhere, and as I’ve explained in the past I have help.  And maybe one day I’ll actually figure out how to create a schedule that I don’t have to force downtime into.

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Diary #284

A Most Amazing Clockwork Woman by Ian Daniels (2010)Back in the long-ago and far-off days of two years ago, my schedule was so regular and predictable that I was always a month ahead on most of my columns, and several days out on the news columns.  I devoted every Tuesday to outside-the-blog work like “Mind-witness Testimony“, the Cato Unbound series which appeared two years ago this month, and the preparation of Ladies of the Night.  When I began to plan my book tour in the spring of last year, I got even more ambitious and prepared my columns for fully two months out; after my return home late that summer I quickly stabilized it at a month out again.  And now I’m pleased when I manage to be two days ahead for a little while.  You know what else I used to plan in advance?  Meals.  Because Matt travels so much for his job and the nearest full-sized grocery store is 20 miles from my ranch in Oklahoma, I actually planned my meals a month in advance; now I usually have no idea what I’m going to eat (or often, even where or when) until I actually set out to prepare or buy it.  See, I’m actually kind of a homebody; I like things to be predictable and planned and comfortable.  I like to eat at regular times and do things in a reasonably-regular fashion, and I don’t much like surprises.  And maybe someday I’ll be able to live that lifestyle again, at least in the weeks when I’m not traveling; maybe after the house is finished and I have my retirement income figured out and preparations for taking care of my loved ones set in stone, maybe then I can get back to some degree of regularity…though I suspect the days of Phileas Fogg-like clockwork predictability are gone forever.  Well, at least I usually have many of my work appointments and most of my social and other appointments planned a few days to a week out; I know Grace will be arriving for her Christmas visit two weeks from today, and I’m involved in planning some things that won’t take place for over two months yet.  And who knows?  If I try very hard, I might even manage to do another book sometime.

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