The week before the health department shut down all bars was a brutal one at my club. The upside was that there were so few customers and so little cash changed hands that it didn’t feel like we were getting exposed to much of anything besides boredom. The owner was berating dancers for not working more amid this virus hysteria, and getting their names wrong while he did so. Nobody was jumping to pick up dead shifts, and most of his dancers had abandoned their work ethic and any sense of duty to attend a Tool concert.
Around the same time, it was apparent that Fox News had begun to acknowledge that a pandemic was indeed occurring. This meant that the owner, in turn, had started to take it seriously. Now he was even more proactive than the health department, and we had to come in at 10:30 a.m. and empty our lockers because he urgently needed to eradicate the viruses thriving inside them.
We left with our trash bags full of mangled, body-spray-doused spandex. Like the rest of the country, some of us adopted the sleep schedules of koalas. Some of us obsessively consumed the news like we were trying to crack a code. Some of us measured time only by examining our pubes. Some of us took advantage of liquor stores being deemed essential. All of us watched Tiger King. After getting past the initial shock and unorthodox food cravings, many of us joined the masses of Royally Fucked sex workers everywhere in creating OnlyFans accounts.
I haven’t done the OnlyFans thing partially because I am on pandemic unemployment assistance as an independent contractor. It took multiple applications and waiting for the state to to wait on the federal government, but it’s been a godsend. I can stop panicking until July 31st. I’m also not on OnlyFans because it’s a lot of hard work and that’s only exacerbated by this whole end-of-days thing.
I’ve watched my friends navigate OnlyFans and discover that there’s all kinds of paraphernalia to research and buy, like glitchy Bluetooth selfie clickers. One friend ordered an interactive phone-app controlled vibrator, and was devastated when it malfunctioned during her first live show. Another friend has been making content in her microscopic studio apartment. She assembled and installed a Murphy bed and has done an impressive job of taking hot photos that don’t give away the limited space in which she’s working (shit, I’m impressed just by the bed itself).
A third friend was completely thwarted from pursuing an OnlyFans hustle when her driver’s license was rejected for being too beat up and the DMV couldn’t get her in until May 16th. She’s been discreetly selling videos on an app that is not sex-worker friendly (LOL, like any are) and crossing her fingers that she doesn’t get busted.
A fourth friend recently couldn’t deliver on the type of video a subscriber was requesting, because she’s quarantined with her ex and he was in the next room. And like many strippers who went from physically demanding jobs to staying home, she’s gained weight. It’s not easy to shoot, edit, and post nude photos and videos when you’re struggling with your body image.
A fifth friend isn’t comfortable working online because she’s pursuing a career in a male-dominated field where she doesn’t want to be outed as having been a sex worker. Instead, she’s putting all her stuff in storage and moving into a yurt.
If so many people I care dearly about weren’t using OnlyFans as a way to make ends meet while bracing for a depression and worrying about dying, it would be at least slightly comical that “minor influencer” Caroline Calloway bragged on Sunday that she was “currently looking at a $223,800 annual salary from OnlyFans.”
Who exactly is Caroline Calloway? The short answer is that she’s one of those famous-for-being-famous people, except she doesn’t even have a pink Corvette or a sex tape with Ray J. The long answer is the type of Internet rabbit hole that appeals to my appetite for the messy and bizarre in the same way as the poop cult or the Ukrainian adult child orphan, so here’s a medium one: Caroline Calloway first got some publicity in 2015 for securing a $375,000 Instagram-to-book deal about her life as an American student at Cambridge. She never wrote the book. Then she went viral for her poorly planned “creativity workshops” that were kinda scammy. She went more viral when her former best friend/ghostwriter/maid penned an essay on their weird-ass friendship for The Cut (NB: this is the most essential reading of all these links). She allegedly has no kneecaps. She makes and sells Matisse rip offs. She is kind of an anti-Semitic troll. She threw herself a ball with no dancing for her birthday. She lies about Playboy. She peed in a teapot at an Airbnb? She’s had a string of personal assistants and has them wear Outdoor Voices sweatsuits. Starting in March, she posted a three-part blog/manifesto in response to her ex-friend’s essay—behind a paywall, with the money going to Direct Relief (the paywall is now down). She stopped at two and a half parts but continues to shamelessly tout her altruism while also harassing the editor-in-chief of The Cut.
We’ve all watched how well it ends for the girl who does amateur night once, lucks out with a $300 set, and makes calculations on just how rich she’s about to become based on that number. And we’ve seen boring wannabe writers go for a stripper phase when attempting to make up for what they lack in personality, life experience, and/or talent. They’re annoying, but eventually they see themselves out. Having a group of grown men screaming that they need to see your butthole at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday is not exactly what these types envision when studying Cardi B videos. They “retire” and get to feel edgy for owning a pair of Pleasers, and we get to go back to doing our jobs without them in the way. That is, until the next baby stripper comes along to teach her ex-boyfriend a lesson, and then she leaves and we get a horse girl who is thrilled to have a venue to express her sexuality, ad infinitum. Sex work tourism (as well as shock value patronage) used to really personally offend me when I was younger, but I’ve seen it enough now to accept this majestic cycle.
The thought of unpacking all the many and varied reasons why Caroline Calloway’s OnlyFans bullshit is not cool hurts my head. Thankfully, sex work Twitter already has that handled. I can go back to following her shitshow to feel better about myself and avoid thinking about murder hornets.
When she tweeted “Show me my competition? For someone offering emotionally poignant, softcore cerebral porn I’m basically unchallenged,” she got ratio’d by sex workers in a way that only the Beyhive could top. She messed with a population of workers who are, not coincidentally, incredibly resilient, intelligent, and hilarious. We organize. We look out for each other because no one else will. We have mutual aid and relief funds because we’re not going to leave our most vulnerable members behind. We talk. Real recognize real. Real also recognize that a newbie flopping around in a wet dress on the carpet of her grandma’s condo with some $200 paper flowers (or who thinks men give a shit about her $244 cardigan and $350 skirt when they’re masturbating) ain’t it.
Please share in the joy I got from this sampling of the many, many great replies. Keep up the good work everyone, we’re in this together.
lolllll you couldn’t compete with SWers if you tried. run your mousy store-brand Cheerios ass tf home and leave the hustling to the real hustlers. (PS: since we’re not your competition i’m sure you won’t mind if we promote our pages here, thanks babe!) https://t.co/alKlNYTjyw pic.twitter.com/gSiY04lXEA
— diet choke (@bustybruiser) May 4, 2020
Don’t worry guys, I’m not a *whore*. Come see my cerebral porn that I can only assume is grainy phone nudes in a dimly lit room with a caption like “do u ever just think about society” https://t.co/agwqXM31bd
— ✨Jessica Starling✨ (@J3ssicaStarling) May 4, 2020
WE LIVE… excuse me while I slob this knob… IN A SOCIETY
— ∞ whit maxwell ∞ (@vivid_whit) May 4, 2020
Is it me or do my shitty nudes remind u of the innate cruelty of the existence of God
— ✨Jessica Starling✨ (@J3ssicaStarling) May 4, 2020
Ok ♀️ https://t.co/mJnplLT08L
⚡️Promo for new fans!⚡️ DM me on OF and say Caroline sent you for an exclusive welcome video pic.twitter.com/zGQBvp4DHa
— Aurora✨ (@MissAuroraNoor) May 4, 2020
This is the only funny thing you’ve ever written
— Sydney Leathers (@sydneyelainexo) May 5, 2020
This is like the Goop of OnlyFans.
— Sҽɾα EʅԃιThe Bitcher (@th3b1tcher) May 5, 2020
You came to OF at a time when in person SWers saw their regular income disappear. It is your right, but you are being a dick about it and ignoring the fact that not all of us have your platform or the same opportunities as you.
— Clumsy Stripper – $5 OnlyFans (@TsarinaAlinaMay) May 4, 2020
We’re ACTUAL for-pay dick suckers doing ACTUAL work to strengthen our community and surrounding communities and have never (WOULD NEVER) spend $2k on a cat. Unless it was in vet bills
Our brand is better than yours, Caro, we’re just worse at promotion
— in tooth and claw (@TilPickles) May 4, 2020
have you, like, ever even looked at porn? you have no idea who’s shoulders you’re standing on right now and its embarrassing for you
— Lysistrata Lux (@luxatrix) May 4, 2020
This is like… aggressively tone deaf in a way that only a white woman can be.
— a pink bb angel (@fiercenaked) May 4, 2020
I GOT THIS.
I did a whole interview segment called Between Two Cocks wearing a turtleneck and platform stiletto ankle boots.
Hope it’s brainy enough!https://t.co/M5Z6QnPc3a
Sign up and let me know Caroline’s coffee sucks and I’ll send you exclusives. pic.twitter.com/Gu8WU3zuoH
— Erin Black’s Online, Fulfilling Fantasies! (@The_Erin_Black) May 4, 2020
— Saya Song (@savagesaya) May 4, 2020
Hmmm cerebral. Is that like suckin dck?? Cuz I know it has to do with head…
Guess I wouldn’t know cuz I just make regular porn. ♀️ /s
— Your Digital Muse Delphine (@MsDelphineX) May 4, 2020
Cerebral porn? So like, I crawl into your brain and mindfuck you silly.
— Mistress Maya Odelle (@MxMayaOdelle) May 4, 2020
— ♥️ Matilda Martell ♥️ (@matilda_martell) May 4, 2020
It is not enough to do the work of the sex worker AND writer. To truly be cerebal also must also do the technical work of Onlyfans by creating a paywall for their own website, thereby forgoing the 20% cut. Then and only then can one call themselves cerebal & be a true competitor
— Estelle Lucas / VIP MEMBERSHIP (@Estelle_Lucas) May 4, 2020
super cool cool that she’ll always be able to go back to her safe,♀️middle class life when she gets bored of LARPing as a sex worker and never actually be affected by any of the stigma the rest of us face when seeking housing, accessing social services, etc
— omw 2 grill a cheese (@itshoneyli) May 4, 2020
Not going to lie… kind of hoping she learns that stigma is real when she loses her PayPal, etc and gets rejected from her next job opportunity because of a morality clause. Welcome to being a whore!
— GoddessMachaDominatrix (@GoddessMacha) May 4, 2020
Preface: I want every single sex worker in my life to amass as much $ as is humanly possible/ethical!
But here’s my hot take. If you come from money and your net worth is *millions,* youre not a sex worker. You’re a vulture trying on personalities without ever risking anything.
— JUNIPER “MIDWEST NICE” FITZGERALD (@juniperfitz) May 4, 2020
Is ’emotionally poignant porn’ (btw @carolinecaloway the ’emotionally’ here is entirely redundant since ‘poignant’ alone carries the meaning of ’emotionally’ – just FYI for next time) where everyone cries after they finish?
— Serena Lang | Virtual | OnlyFans | SF+NY (@LoveSerenaLang) May 4, 2020
— Kat (@katsnacks) May 5, 2020
What you said was super insulting to us real SWers! Don’t hop on our bandwagon only in search of clout and then brag about your 6 figure job…
BTW guys .. real SwEr here of 19 years.
Buy my contenthttps://t.co/J1h0cNIHYZhttps://t.co/XLTF1GWttZ pic.twitter.com/tCxgJJRH9Z
— Seductive Storm ONLYFANS.COM/SUPERGIRLSTORM (@supergirlstorm) May 6, 2020
Softcore cerebral makes me think shes going to give me a guided scalp self-massage and read me Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in ASMR while I try to fall asleep.
— (@limaXcharlie) May 6, 2020
Quit acting like you’re the only whore with epicurean taste and has read a book, cunt bag.
— gia jordan (@giajordan) May 4, 2020