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My Date With SF’s Douchebag PUA With A Rape Van

This could have been mine.
This could have been mine.

So, by now many of you have probably seen last Friday’s article on Jezebel about “Jeffy,” AKA jlaix, Captain_Derp on OkCupid (although he seems to have deleted his account), or Jeffrey Allen. Jezebel was inspired by a post on Mission Mission, concerning spottings of his “rape van,” emblazoned with hand-painted portraits of Tupac and Pedo-bear. Katie J. M. Baker found a local woman, “Amanda,” willing to go public about her ultimately fruitless correspondance with Jeffy on OkC. Well, I’d already gone a bit further.

Being an adventurous and somewhat awkward internet dater in the SF Bay Area, I went on a date with this fine specimen of manhood in December. And yes, it was all that you would expect—and more. Upom leaving the house, I told my roommate that it was either going to be the best date ever or the worst experience of my single life. It turned out to be both, and also an excellent insight into the psyche of the so-called pickup artist (PUA, in their terminology).

I’ve been a sex worker for about four years now. Having been a nude model, peepshow dancer, stripper, porn performer, sensual massage provider, and dabbler in pro-domming, I now make my living mostly as an independent escort. While working in strip clubs, a friend introduced me to Neil Strauss and his book The Game, and told me that the techniques described inside worked even better on male customers and would open wallets like nothing else. I devoured the book (and also the Vh1 reality series starring Mystery, a man famous for his love of furry hats and success at leveraging drunk girls’ low self-esteem for blowjobs). Turns out, she was right. Drunk, entitled men really respond to “negging” (backhanded compliments made to prey on insecurities), “peacocking” (wearing bright or outlandish clothes to attract attention, something strippers have been excelling at for years), and other PUA tricks.

So when I wound up sitting at a Mission bar next to a self-proclaimed master PUA, I was armed and ready.

I’m Katha Pollitt’s “Highly Educated” Leftist—And A Sex Trafficking Victim

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If you can read this, you’re too fancy to matter. (image courtesy of The New Inquiry)

Earlier this year, The New Inquiry published this quiz, “Are You Being Sex Trafficked?” which appeared in an earlier form here on Tits and Sass. Katha Pollitt hinged part of her “Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?” essay on the imagined qualities of TNI’s writers and audience:

Of course, if you are reading the New Inquiry, chances are you’re not being sex trafficked; if you’re a sex worker, chances are you’re a grad student or a writer or maybe an activist—a highly educated woman who has other options and prefers this one. And that is where things get tricky. Because in what other area of labor would leftists look to the elite craftsman to speak for the rank and file? You might as well ask a pastry chef what it’s like to ladle out mashed potatoes in a school cafeteria. In the discourse of sex work, it seems, the subaltern does not get to speak.

The problem is not that the subaltern was not getting to speak, but that Pollitt was unable to listen because of her own ideas about how trafficking victims should present. We asked Tara, the author of the quiz, to respond.

On April 2nd I was at the Freedom Network’s Human Trafficking Conference in San Francisco speaking to a group of law enforcement and service providers about how to do outreach to people who are trafficked in to the commercial sex trade. I was there as part of a federal program designed to offer the experience and expertise of sex trafficking victims like myself with the goal of improving services to other sex trafficking victims. The other survivor presenting and I both had extensive experience as youth involved in the sex trade, as adult sex workers, and as social service providers. We spoke of our experiences with law enforcement and service providers and made recommendations to those present about how they could best provide outreach to sex trafficking victims.

At the end, the facilitator flipped through our feedback forms and laughingly told us that one person thought that our presentation hadn’t been about sex trafficking at all. Apparently there are rules for being a good victim: 1. Victims should cry 2. They should talk about horrible things done to them by criminals, but not by the police 3. They should not have opinions, and 4. If they do have opinions, they should present themselves as traumatized enough so that those opinions are easily discountable. If victims don’t behave this way, their status as victims can be called into question.

“Some People Won’t Want It”: Cameryn Moore on Telling Sex Work Stories Onstage

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Photo by Caleb Cole

Cameryn Moore is an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, and, oh yeah, a phone sex operator. Her work in theater, literature, and activism/advocacy is both a challenge and invitation to adventurous audiences everywhere. She is the creator and performer of a trilogy of sex- and kink-positive solo shows: “Phone Whore “(2010), “slut (r)evolution” (2011), and “for | play “(2012). These shows have toured to 34 cities around North America so far. She is premiering her next solo show in Montréal in April 2013, and working up a fifth show for touring in 2014. Her screen adaptation of Phone Whore is scheduled for release in July 2013.

In addition to her work in solo theater and film, Cameryn is the creator and producer of Smut Slam (“where erotica and storytelling collide”), a first-person, real-life sex-story open mic that is spreading across the US and Canada like a puddle of cum on a cheap mattress. She writes a weekly column for the Charlebois Post, an online Canadian theater magazine, and frequently posts NSFW status updates to Facebook.

What are some things to think about as a potential stage performer?

Don’t go onstage if you’re not comfortable there. Maybe you’re more comfortable writing and having someone else perform it, although I like to see everyone speaking with their own voice. Think about whether you want to be a solo performer or work with a cast. If you want to make it good, you have to write and rewrite, rehearse, memorize. Join a community writer’s group, take community theatre lessons, learn from fundraising experts about where you can find money. Basically, get as much help as you can, as soon as you can.

On Surviving Sex Work

This post was removed at the author’s request.

“Getting Away” With Hating It: Consent in the Context of Sex Work

doorwaydogI’ve been selling sex in one form or another for nine years, which is a long time. Most people in the sex trade pop in and out as their financial situation warrants, and few think of it as their career. For me, however, among the straight work I’ve pursued concurrently, prostitution is my profession and I’m comfortable with that. I’ve engineered that. My various privileges mean I operate in a way that is about as low-risk and comfy as one can get: I screen extensively, I am my own boss, I request a very high hourly rate, and I don’t see people who are violent or rude. If you asked me if I like it, I would say, “yes, I like it.” I like the people I meet, I like the freedom of schedule, and I like the money I make.

A big part of thinking about escorting as my career means evaluating my work and trying to improve the quality of service I’m offering in the interest of maintaing current clients and attracting new ones. Because it’s my profession, I think about it professionally and seriously, as a business person. It’s during these performance reviews that I might chastise myself for making my unhappiness with the physical interaction transparent, if/when I struggle to hide it. “He can tell I don’t like it,” I’ve thought to myself before, about clients with whom the physical aspect is more challenging, “but he lets me get away with it.” The “it” here means my inability to pretend I enjoy the sex. That’s what he “lets me get away with,” by not demanding his money back, I guess, and by continuing to see me and pay me for my time.

In other words, this man allows me to not to disguise my fundamental lack of desire to have sex with him. I think this feeling of being granted some type of permission to not fake enjoyment isn’t unique to me and isn’t unique to sex workers. I think a lot of women’s heterosexual sex is or has been characterized by negotiating their own lack of  “enthusiastic consent,” a relatively new concept aiming to educate in a more nuanced way than “no means no” and “yes means yes.” It’s rare that I give authentic “enthusiastic consent” while I’m working. And that’s how I prefer it.