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A while ago I stumbled across this wikiHow article on dating strippers. It gives nine easy “steps” for snagging the showgirl of your dreams—which are actually useless, demeaning and stereotype-laced suggestions for how to be one of those obnoxious time wasters that we all talk shit about in the dressing room.

Like this, for example, Step Number Six: “Tip her on stage, but don’t get a lap dance from anyone. If you pay for a lap dance from her, she will consider you a ‘regular’ …  She will never date you once that business relationship with her is established.”

Pretty please, just stay home if you are going to be that guy.

Stacks & Cats

ashleystacks

Dear Tits and Sass,

Your response to my email in June was so kind, thank you.  I’ve been meaning to send this photo for a few weeks…Champagne and a hotel room have made me miss home, I guess!

I wrote about Barney a few months ago, and his too-short time in my life.  He made a lasting impression, and his legacy was reminding us how much we liked having a feline presence in our home. These sweet siblings joined us recently, and we are so. in. love. Their little kitten faces change by the day, and we hope for many years of cuddling, playing and posing as they grow.  Here’s my girl De Luna and brother Half-stache at approx. seven weeks.  They were not impressed with my shiny new Canadian money, but a gum wrapper was fascinating….

Love from Toronto!
xxo
Ashley

Sex workers, submit pictures of your furballs and funds here.

Who Makes Your Money: WePay and Eden Alexander

eden01Eden Alexander’s current fundraiser is live here.

This weekend, a Twitterstorm erupted when payment processor WePay shut down a medical fundraiser for porn performer Eden Alexander. Alexander found herself in an unforgiving position after the complications she experienced from an allergic reaction to a prescription drug were misdiagnosed when a doctor assumed that since she was in the sex industry, her symptoms were those of drug use. The delay of proper care meant her condition worsened, and she couldn’t work. Like other self-employed Americans, Alexander doesn’t have sick days, and friends who were helping care for her set up a fundraising page on GiveForward to raise money for her.

GiveForward is a WePay-powered site where people can set up medical fundraisers. WePay came across tweets from Alexander’s friends offering adult materials in exchange for donations to Alexander’s fundraiser (yes, a payment processor was monitoring a user’s social media). They decided that this qualified as accepting payments for prohibited pornographic materials and shut down the fundraiser. Kitty Stryker, one of Alexander’s friends who set up the initial fundraiser, wrote about it here.

And then they experienced the wrath of Sex Worker Twitter and that of some allies with large follower bases. Coverage of the incident showed up on Gawker and The Rumpus, in blog posts by feminists and sociologists. Thanks to Molly Crabapple’s strong influence across Geek Twitter, Patton Oswalt tweeted about it. By Saturday afternoon, WePay had issued an official statement about the Alexander fundraiser, giving as their reason the offering of adult materials as rewards, and offering to help her restart her campaign. They did not mention if they would shut it down again if, say, a friend of Alexander’s, maybe another adult performer, offered a video or a photograph to someone who donated. This is something out of the control of a person who starts a fundraiser, although the founder of WePay said just the fact that Alexander retweeted those unasked-for incentives implicated her in a hypothetical exchange of funds for porn.

If I Can’t Sell It, I’ll Keep Sittin’ On It: On Never Running Specials

We’ve survived August, which for many escorts is the slowest month of the year. Wealthy clients all seem to be either on family vacations, or else catching up with everything they missed at work because they just got back from family vacations. Clients on a budget are trying to get the kids to the beach and back to school or are cutting large tuition checks. Summer specials are popping up everywhere to help girls compete. Time to pull out the laptop and drop your rates til September.

Or, you know. Don’t.

Running a special can backfire and weaken your brand. Clients who usually see you at $300 an hour may begin waiting for your specials if you routinely drop to $250 any time your week looks slow. Clients who begin seeing you under a special rate may feel mistakenly entitled to continue seeing you at that rate for all of eternity. Clients who jump on specials tend to be bargain hunters looking to get the most bang out of their buck, and don’t stick around to become loyal, long term clients. And, perhaps most discouragingly, good clients who would see you at your full rate may wonder why you’re dropping it, and whether they should reconsider. Besides, who wants to do the same job, but for less money?

Of course, there are other options, and you don’t have to decide between moonlighting at Starbucks or jumping into The Race To The Cheapest Blow Job with every other girl in town. Before dropping your rates, consider trying to enhance your business instead.

Holy Shit: Adventures In Survival Sex Work And Stimulus Checks

(Image by Jared Rodriguez)

by Jackie and Alex

Jackie’s story, like that of so many, begins with domestic violence, violence she weathers with the help of her sex work. Her son’s father continuously uses abusive financial tactics, severing any ability she’s ever had to gain ground in her life. Her ten-year-long saga has kept her working under the table, which in turn has constantly disqualified her from government perks, benefits, and safety nets, most recently The 2020 Economic Impact Payments, aka the stimulus checks.

In California Family Law, child support is often awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, and Jackie’s ex demanded an amount that he knew she could not pay. As a young mother with no representation, she had no ability to fight back, and thus began her downward spiral out of mainstream existence. She tried to make her child support payments, but she was caring for her son almost half the week, working, and going to school. Then came garnished wages. She couldn’t afford to live, so she moved her job underground.

She’s not alone; low-income sex workers have complicated financial lives. We often arrive at sex work in the first place because the gray or black markets were our only options. We wake up every day with debt collectors, past convictions, or neglected forms hanging over our heads, but it’s impossible to coherently state exactly how we ended up here. Our individual stories become so dizzying that we had to focus this article on Jackie to keep it digestible; our lives are filled with the type of bureaucratic adventures that enrage and derail us while boring readers.

Sometimes, our entire households or extended families have stories too complicated to relate, even if it all began with a single misstep. For Ana, a young Chicana woman with disabled migrant parents who don’t speak English, the bureaucratic nightmares target multiple generations. She thinks the trouble started with a car accident years ago. Nobody in her house is getting a stimulus check. She says: “It’s not helpful. We used to collect recycling, but we aren’t supposed to anymore. I’d get a panic attack explaining this all to you and it still wouldn’t make sense.”

In Jackie’s situation, her driver’s license was suspended after continued non-payment, further affecting her ability to work and care for her child. Of course, with no license, you cannot insure your vehicle; with no insurance, it’s impossible to register your car. A client added her to his insurance for one month and paid for the registration, which of course expired when the DMV received notice that the insurance was canceled. She had to hope that the tags were enough and that the cops wouldn’t scan her plate. Eventually, she was pulled over.

No credit, no license, no insurance, no registration—the court doesn’t care that it’s nearly impossible to find work under those conditions. Just pay the child support!

Many sex workers face similar spirals, where one situation becomes a multi-year financial disaster. This precludes us from living normal lives while compounding our other vulnerabilities. For example, the stimulus checks are sent out based either on recent tax reports or on receiving specific government benefits such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income), unless you actively choose the option meant for non-tax filers who make under $12,200 a year. Sex worker media written from the perspective of more privileged workers makes it seem so simple for us to pay our taxes! But it should be no surprise that structurally oppressed people, including the multiply marginalized in our community such as transgender and Black sex workers, often can’t or don’t prioritize organizing our financial lives in socially acceptable ways.