No Such Thing As A Free Colonic

by andi on June 12, 2012 · 24 comments

in This Time, It's Personal

My favorite aunt almost died a few weeks ago due to a burst colon, and it got me thinking about my own colon health. It was my birthday week and I’ve been eating so many fried things and drinking too much and eating birthday cake off of girls’ titties. As a result, my body just feels NUTS. I could use a little digestive fresh start, so I decided to schedule a colonic.

I googled “colonics,” and didn’t read much about any of the places, just picked one that wasn’t too far from my house. I showed up a few minutes early and was greeted by an extremely friendly bulldagger, which I’ve always taken to be a good sign. She gave me an intake form to fill out. Under “occupation,” I just put “dancer.” Such a handy euphemism when you don’t feel the need to LIE, but would rather not write “stripper.” I finished the rest of the form, gave the clipboard back to the friendly dyke, and sat back down in the waiting room.

A few minutes later I was greeted by a different butch dyke, who led me back to the irrigation room. She went over my intake form. “What kind of dancer are you?”

“A stripper.”

She lowered her artsy eyeglasses and peered over them at me in a meaningful way, like someone on TV who has realized that their terrible suspicions have been proven true. After several seconds of silence, she announced, “Well. You’re not going to pay for your colonic today.”

I didn’t know what to say. I felt confused about what she was even SAYING. Did she think I didn’t have money? I blurted, “Huh? I have money. I can pay upfront if you want.”

“I’m not going to take your money,” she said.

“Oh, um…” I stammered, disoriented. It occurred to me that she was waiting for me to leave? I gathered my purse and stood up. “Do you want me to leave?”

She did not want me to leave. She said I should stay and have a free colonic. I felt like I was being punk’d. She told me she used to work with women in the sex industry, and that she didn’t want to perpetuate the violence and oppression against us, that not taking our money was her way of not participating in that economy. “It’s just something [girlfriend's name] and I decided all those years ago when we started the clinic.”

I couldn’t decide whether I should leave or not. I felt totally weirded out, but also like I should feel grateful for a free colonic. Often when I get overwhelmed like this, I become very sleepy and my impulses to fight or flee become dopey and hard to tell apart, and then I just end up sleepwalking through whatever the situation is and waiting for it to be over. Which is what happened.

She showed me the contraption I’d be sitting on, and gave me some lube and a butt nozzle. I put on a robe and got situated. When I walked in, I had felt ready to let loose. But after realizing I’d entered a sort of second-wave feminist lion’s den, I felt oddly nervous and I couldn’t let go of anything. I just had a lot of water swish around inside of me and then come out still looking like water. I felt very uncomfortable.

The woman made a few more comments, saying that I was probably having trouble submitting to the colonic because my job is so stressful. I told her, “Stripping’s not that stressful. I just show up. I used to do a lot sketchier sex work. THAT was stressful.” It’s weird when you want to defend yourself but only end up saying something that makes the person feel all the surer of your pitiful position. What I meant was stripping’s so much less stressful than going out on an outcall, or hoping someone’s not a killer or a cop. That stripping’s easy in comparison and I feel lucky to have found my niche in the sex industry.

She said, “Don’t worry. You won’t always be this constipated. I was a victim of prostitution myself and I suffered terribly. But now I poop all the time.”

The woman seemed truly kind-hearted, and I could see where she was coming from, kind of, and I LOVE when one human person gives a no-strings-attached free gift to another human person. But I dunno, I just felt too uncomfortable to enjoy it. I mean, here you are with a tube up my ass, I just don’t want any subtle proselytizing. It was actually pretty exhausting and awful, and when it was over I wasted no time at all putting my clothes on and getting the hell out of there, and then I went to my car and cried. I do store a lot of my stress and unresolved emotions in my digestive system and I’d hoped to leave some of that behind, but alas: no go.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Tizzy Wall Tizz June 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Ugh, the subtle condescension is the worst. It’s worse than the blatant nastiness, even. Hate it.

I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

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Luna June 13, 2012 at 8:17 am

That’s so weird and unprofessional, especially for someone who’s bein entrusted to stick something up in your nether-regions :( Ugh, sorry to hear about this

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Xeginy June 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I like that this is tagged as “unhelpful ‘allies’”. That says it all, doesn’t it?

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Lila June 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

OY. “Victim of prostitution”? That’s unfortunate, but it’s pretty gross to project onto your customers on such an institutional level that you give free service to any and all sex workers (here, just take this free condescension!). What’s sick is that if you’d said “burlesque,” my guess is that she would have been completely supportive.

Personally, eating birthday cake off of girls’ titties makes me disgustingly regular. Although that might be the wheatgrass bodyshots.

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Elle Elle June 15, 2012 at 2:33 am

Ugh, well…that’s a shame for her, but… doesn’t necessarily affect you. I’d rather pay the price and NOT have half assed counseling.

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Vy June 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Reminds of a client I used to see who would always live a big tip. Good, right? Like, 80% of the session fee. Awesome, right? Finally the subject of tipping came up in conversation one day, and he said “Well, you know, I just want to make sure *you* get the money. Because, you know. I just want to know that you’re at least getting that.” And I couldn’t decide which was worse–that all my talk about my dungeon being awesome and supportive had just gone right over his head, or that he thought I was being totally exploited and *kept coming back*.

None of this stopped me, however, from taking his money. :)

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Viola June 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Maybe all the imagined exploitation turned him on?

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andi andi June 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm

i dunno, i have a massage client who always leaves me a certain tip because he knows that’s what i have to pay the “house.” so he’s basically paying my house fee for me, which i hugely appreciate because then i get to keep the entire session fee. he’s not condescending about it, though, which is also really nice.

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jingly jang June 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This is completely fucked up! Akin to being two fingers into a pelvic exam and having the young doctor wiggle his fingers and ask, “so, do you have a boyfriend?”. Jesus Christ, I am just revolted by how weird and out of line that all is.

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andi andi June 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

OMIGOD! once i went in for an annual and when the doctor pulled her fingers out from examining my cervix, she goes, “thank you for letting me do that,” and smiled mischievously. I MEAN: WTF is up with people?

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Viola June 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Fucking creepy! I think one of the major points of feminism – at least, what I consider feminism – is that no one else gets to interpret your experience but you.

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Natasiarose June 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm

It sucks when someone trying to be nice actually makes you feel worse. She Probably can’t understand why someone would choose to strip after her bad experiences with sex work. I hope she chooses to find a different way to “give back”

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Robert June 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Man, I feel for both of you. Seems like this woman was trying to be kind and compassionate and was just on the wrong wavelength. Which is always a risk, when you try and reach out to another human being. Painfully awkward.

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Tizzy Wall Tizz June 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm

That’s the problem, though: The “help” was unwanted, and therefore not helpful. People like to give what they think someone else needs without actually listening to what they need, but disregarding the wishes of another person, whether well-intentioned or not, is not very kind or helpful at all.

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Sam June 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm

As a proud bulldagger myself (I’ve never heard that term before, but it’s my brand-new favorite word!), and as a nurse-in-training, everything that woman did was completely unprofessional. She should have done nothing to make you uncomfortable. She’s in a position of power in this situation, and she should’ve known better than to use it over you for any reason, including proselytizing.

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Bob June 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Isn’t this something one would simply do at home?

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Susie Bright June 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I can’t believe this SHIT! I mean, I’m laughing my head off at your rendition, but this is OUTRAGEOUS and no wonder you’re crying. What a complete and utter asshole. I think you should tell the whole story in a YELP review and name names. How dare they? And giving nice bulldaggers a bad name! ;-)

Reposting!

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andi andi June 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

SUSIE BRIGHT!!!!!!! HELLO!!!

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John the Drunkard June 25, 2012 at 1:43 am

When someone is selling a worthless service, based on medieval notions of the human body’s functions, you can almost expect them to subscribe to any number of thoughtless beliefs on the side.

She could have felt, and even expressed, real concern that your work situation might be less than ideal. But nooo, she has all her reactions, all the relevant ‘factoids’ pre-set and ready to discharge whenever the stimulus comes. Reality need not be consulted or acknowledged.

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tony June 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Could you not have simply told her that you’re not a victim, that you choose your line of work?

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Charlotte Shane Charlotte Shane June 27, 2012 at 1:22 am

The first time I had a direct run in with a prohibitionist, I cried afterwards. It’s easy, with some distance (and years of experience, at this point) to imagine reacting with panache and confidence instead. But in the moment, particularly if you’re not used to it, it can be very disorienting to have someone railroad over your reality and insist that you’re a victim.

I think it was probably for the best that Andi didn’t try to confront this woman. She doesn’t sound like someone who was open to hearing anything other than her own opinions given back to her. (Hence her conflating stripping and prostitution, and ignoring that Andi didn’t think stripping was particularly stressful.) Plus, this:

“Often when I get overwhelmed like this, I become very sleepy and my impulses to fight or flee become dopey and hard to tell apart, and then I just end up sleepwalking through whatever the situation is and waiting for it to be over.”

So, yeah, easy but not very helpful to pretend everything could have been avoided with “sorry lady, you’ve got it all wrong.” Like most people in the midst of their assumptions regularly react so well to being called out on them?

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Mercutia July 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Like people who have crappy dead-end jobs aren’t victims, too? Which is not to say that when sex workers get treated badly it isn’t that much worse because of the nature of the situation, but she made a lot of assumptions about you she really ought not to have. Supportiveness only works as long as you’re willing to let the other person tell their own story, not follow your script about how miserable they’re supposed to be.

I’d go back and tell her: “Yes, I strip for a living. Strangers pay me to wear fun glittery outfits, show my ladyparts, and eat cake off titties. Whereas YOU, madame, make money by having to stick hoses up people’s bums. I WIN. Thank you and good day.”

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Jenny Heineman jenny heineman July 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Like many well-meaning philanthropists, this woman assumed she was doing you a favor; a favor, of course, that makes her feel better and allows her to perpetuate stereotypes of sex workers. Her behavior seems like an extension of the white savior complex.

What a frustrating experience…

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