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The Happy Hooker (1975)

Aside from having one of the best theme songs in the world, Willie Dynamite being the film with the best so far, The Happy Hooker was also one of the cutest films I’ve watched in a long time.

We’ve been here before, so I don’t need to stress how much I love 70s fashion. I mean, it’s garish sometimes, but so is the austere minimalist stuff Phoebe Philo was selling us a couple of seasons ago, so… I also adore Xaveria Hollander for riding a bike to sessions, because I am a bike-riding sex worker myself.

I suppose this story is pretty normal, right? Lady has a taste for independence and uses sex work to better her life. Lady sees a hole in the market and uses her ability to fill it. This story is cute, even if it’s not groundbreaking. Actually, she’s charming. I think we are supposed to understand that she’s kind of irresistible. I doubted her appeal at the beginning, but afterward I was in love!

The Road From Sugarbaby To Escort

My SA profile
My SA profile

When you’re 23 and getting divorced after 5 years of staying home, the only logical thing to do is to look for a sugar daddy, no? It made perfect sense to me; I wasn’t interested in a serious relationship, but being taken out on nice dates and having help with the bills seemed like a win-win situation. I truly believed there were these handsome 30- and 40-something year old men who were just happily fluttering $100 bills in pretty girl’s faces; that they deemed it their responsibility to financially support young women.  My career in sex work started this naively.

Those illusions clashed with the reality of being a sugar baby as soon as I met “Jim,” who convinced me that he was a generous sponsor after a dinner at Beni Hana and an offer of a winter coat. I spent our dates high out of my mind, so my perception of things was undoubtedly flawed, and my memories of him confuse me to this day. But as I recall, we would go to his house where we had Thai delivered every time I came over. He was in such a rush to get upstairs that he would hurry me through dinner. His “son’s room” was like no child’s room I have ever seen – it looked to be straight out of a Pottery Barn catalogue with not one thing out of place. At the time, I didn’t think he really had a son, and looking back it makes me wonder what else he could have been lying about.

Each time we saw each other he gave me a couple hundred dollars, except for once. The last time we spent together, he slapped me across the face while we were in the middle of sex and began what he believed was dirty talk. “You like that, don’t you?  You like being my dirty little whore?” I was so shocked I didn’t respond at all, and when he dropped me off, he gave me $60 “for gas money this week.” Based on the agreement that he would give my girlfriend $40 each time for babysitting, this meant I ended up with $20 for being smacked around. I could discuss how much my sitter needed to be paid, but talking about my own compensation, for whatever reason, was too uncomfortable. For the first and last time, I had wrongly assumed that a man “just knew” what the magic number was.

Ask Ms. Harm Reduction: I’m Dopesick

Photo taken by Silvia Escario
Visual approximation of Ms. Harm Reduction back in the day. (Photo taken by Silvia Escario.)

Dear Ms. Harm Reduction,
I’m an escort with an Oxycontin habit. For the most part I can plan ahead and maintain, but sometimes supply runs out and I have to go to work when I’m in withdrawal. I serve a middle class clientele, and I’d lose clients if they found out I was a drug user. I’m also afraid some of them might even become violent if they discovered I was a “junkie.” How do I hide the tell tale signs of dopesickness while working?

Best,
Sniffling Isn’t Cute y’Know

What The Rentboy Raid Tells Us About The Gendered Rhetoric Of Trafficking

A recent Renboy.com screenshot, before the raid.
A recent Rentboy.com screenshot, before the raid.

Tuesday morning, Homeland Security and Brooklyn police raided the offices of Rentboy.com, arresting its CEO and several current and former workers, seizing six bank accounts, and freezing the website in what the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release bragged was a raid on the “largest online male escort service.”

Coming right on the heels of Amnesty International’s controversial and much talked about decriminalization policy, the raid was a shock to many in the sex work world. Law enforcement agencies appear to be turning their eyes on sex work advertising services in North America, from the crackdowns on Backpage and Redbook, to Canada’s new anti-sex work law—the Protecting Communities and Exploited Persons Act—which includes provisions banning the advertisement of sexual services.

According to the release, it took a crack team of detectives and the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Field Office to work out that despite Rentboy.com’s claim that the site only facilitated companionship, it was actually advertising sex. “As alleged, Rentboy.com profited from the promotion of prostitution despite their claim that their advertisements were not for sexual services,” said New York Police Commissioner Wiliam Bratton in the press release.

Reading the press release, I was immediately struck by its use of rhetoric. Unlike official statements around the crackdowns on Backpage and similar services that are known primarily for advertising cis women sex workers, no mention is made of Rentboy aiding the nefarious work of sex traffickers. As well, unlike in most sex work raids, no mention is made of anti-trafficking organizations reaching out to supposed “victims.” It is a loud and curious omission given that police find it impossible to talk about sex work at all these days without discussing trafficking.

Bad Advice From “Ask A Dude”

by smcgee on flickr

At The Hairpin they have this thing where they “Ask a Dude” to give advice on matters of all sorts. Most fall along the lines of “Should I leave this relationship?” or “What does it mean when a guy does this?” type of questions. Last week, though, the featured Dude told a girl that turning a friend into a client by sleeping with him for money was a good idea—forward-thinking, even—and it was horrible advice.

There’s a reason most of us use pseudonyms, screen, and even blur our faces: We don’t want to have relationships with our clients beyond the actual transactional one we will already have. Clients can’t be friends, and friends can’t really be clients in the long run. When you actually know someone and they know you, they anticipate feelings (or you do), but somebody is doing a lot more thinking on the experience than “This is amazing, it feels so good!” In this girl’s case, that would be what her Mom might think and how he can use this as leverage to get more attention from her.