Today’s Avoidable Contact opens up with a brief vignette concerning a young woman’s slide into what one calls everything from “ho’ing” to “sex work” depending on the duration of one’s time at university. Yes, Virgin(ia), prostitutes are typically made, not born. Last night my mind was on Porsche productastrophe, but this morning I’ve let that go and now I’m thinking: putting aside the politically-correct and sex-positive claptrap, how do I really feel about sex work and sex workers?
Let’s start with this: there’s a reason why devout Muslims put their women into various types of extremely restrictive dress and lock them up day and night. “Everybody — well, every woman — has some kind of sex secret, right?” That’s what one woman I knew said to me, right before she told me a tale that was sufficient to blow my hair back like what used to happen to the guy in the old Maxell ads. It’s true. Even the most reserved and chaste women among my acquaintance have some kind of story to tell.
“I went to a boat show and did it with a guy I’d just met, in the bathroom.”
“There was a time when I was sexting with a guy in Jamaica.”
“I blew my ex-boyfriend while he rained dollar bills on my head.”
“It’s possible that I forgot to mention my college abortions.”
And then they look at me, like “What’s your story?” The truth is that my “story” is one of fairly consistent devotion to 6502-based computing until I got a VAX account at Miami and started contributing to USENET, but that’s not what they have in mind.
“Oh, I’ve done some stuff. Trust me, you don’t want to know.” And then I look off into the distance like I’m remembering something from my youth. But if they could actually see inside my head they’d see something like
19100 IF XYZ < (PEEK(132) + 256 * PEEK(133)) THEN 19020 19110 ? #3; "END OF VARIABLE NAME AND VALUE TABLES." : ? #3; "NUMBER OF VARIABLES FOUND = "; RST-4 19120 ? #3; "STRING/ARRAY AREA IS CURRENTLY "; ((PEEK(142) + 256 * PEEK(143)) - (PEEK(140) + 256 * PEEK(141))); " BYTES LONG." 19130 CLOSE #3 : END 19140 ? #3 : ? #3; "ERROR! VARIABLE TYPE NUMBER = ";PEEK(UVW) : END 19200 ? #3 : ? #3; "SCALAR--"; : IF PEEK(UVW + 2) = 0 THEN ? #3; "ZERO" : ? #3 : RETURN 19210 ? #3; INT(PEEK(UVW + 3) / 16); (PEEK(UVW + 3) - (INT(PEEK(UVW + 3) / 16)) * 16); "."; 19220 FOR OPQ = 4 TO 7 : ? #3; INT(PEEK(UVW + OPQ) / 16); (PEEK(UVW + OPQ) - (INT(PEEK(UVW + OPQ) / 16)) * 16); 19230 NEXT OPQ
Oh yeah, I was hitting that shit hard as a kid. I had a conversation a while back with a girl who offhandedly said to me, “A guy on AOL once offered me $500 to grow my bush all the way out.” Well, one time on AOL, I offered a woman $400 — for a 1982 Volkswagen Quantum Coupe. At least I closed that deal; apparently my friend stayed closely groomed despite the financial incentive. Possibly because PayPal didn’t exist at the time. This, incidentally, is why the barter system was so injurious to economic growth during the Middle Ages: it led to situations where people were being offered VW Quantums to let their vaginas get all furry and they felt they were being shorted by 20% of market value. But I digress.
The point for which I was searching before we wandered off towards machine-language instructions in AtariBASIC is this: unless you’re twelve years old and you’re dating other twelve-year-olds who recently arrived here from Taliban-controlled regions of Pakistan and somehow missed walking through the RapiScan, anybody you date is going to have a past of some sort, and it will be sexual, and if you are emotionally delicate it will fuck with you a little bit. Some people develop a tolerance and some don’t. Others have a kind of one-way gate (I could describe that in terms of electronic components, but I think you’ve suffered enough today) where they are shocked, shocked by things you’ve done but are able to relate incidents that could double as stage directions for the worst parts of Behind The Green Door without so much as a smidgen of self-consciousness. And then, of course, you have the former or current strippers/call girls/hookers.
I’ve known a few women who were actively engaged as sex workers of some type for periods ranging from a week for fifteen years. As a consequence, I’ve learned a few things, summarized below:
- Take the story they tell you. And then take a “Max Hardcore” movie. The distance halfway between the two is the truth you’ll eventually get.
- Don’t expect them to be ashamed of what they’ve done. That’s your trip to take, my parochially-educated friend.
- Ask yourself if you could pick the stripper who danced for you five years ago out of a police lineup tomorrow morning. The answer you give yourself is also the answer to “How worried should I be about meeting a former customer when I’m on the rooftop of the Four Seasons with this woman?”
- The most important thing is this: They all view sex work about the same way you view working at Burger King when you were younger. You had some good times, but it was mostly lame and you were glad to go home at the end of the day. They don’t remember anybody or any particular story that doesn’t end in injury or great expense/hilarity, and they don’t think of it as being arousing or interesting or worth discussing.
That final point has all sorts of ramifications, good and bad. It means that if you are the kind of guy who wants to use that stuff as inspiration or a fire-up for sex, and I know these guys exist, because I just read all about them on Reddit yesterday, that you’re going to be disappointed. They don’t want to role-play prostitution with you any more than you want to role-play setting up new customer accounts in Salesforce. If you want a woman who will role-play being a prostitute with you, find a woman who fucked a lot of guys for free, because her hindbrain finds anonymous sex exciting. Here’s a list of women who don’t find anonymous sex exciting: women who have paid their mortgages with it.
On the positive side, that means that they don’t spend their time in bed with you dreaming about former customers, any more than you daydream about being at Burger King as a teenager when you’re cooking diner for your parents. It doesn’t even mean that they are “tired” of sex. If you want somebody who is tired of sex, find somebody who has been dating steadily as an adult for ten years.
Will you be the strongest, best-looking, biggest guy they’ve ever slept with? Probably not. But even when you’re dealing with an amateur, and you’re impressively-built, there’s always that chance that you’ll get the flat “no” anyway in a response to a question about your skills or endowment. I prefer to ask questions to which I know the answer ahead of time, like a savvy attorney does:
“Have you ever been with someone who owns so many guitars?”
“Admit it, you’ve never kissed a guy with eyelashes this thick.”
“Is this your first time at a BMX track?”
Aim low, as they say, and you can only hit the ground.
There’s a recurring theme in the manosphere concerning women who are “dead inside”. You’re dead inside if you’ve had more than the Chateau Heartiste-approved 2-3 sex partners. You’re dead inside if you’ve had sex with a black guy. You’re dead inside if you ever had a one-night stand. You’re dead inside if you’ve ever stripped or done sex work. I understand where they’re coming from, but let me share a secret with the (according to Alexa) under 35% of my readers who are women: a lot of us, the men out there, are dead inside as well. From working customer service, from too many personal disappointments, from recurring joint pain. From not getting the promotions we deserve, from humiliation at work, from failing just when we had a chance to succeed. From our divorces, from our unrequited childhood loves, from our inability to take care of our children properly, from a desire for someone that just won’t disappear no matter how many times you pickle it in Grey Goose or Vegas call girls.
If you look on the streets of New York or Miami or Columbus, Ohio, you’ll see that many of us, men and women, are dead inside. We’ve been that way for a while. What we are looking for is a clean slate, a chance to be the person we want to be, to no longer be defined by the worst trick we turned or the worst book we wrote or the most harm we ever did to someone. What we’re looking for, our enemy, our obstacle, all detailed by Pascal so many years ago:
The motions of Grace,
the hardness of the heart;