Having a blog about working in the sex industry often results in all kinds of emails. There are precious nuggets from wonderful like-minded people with whom you otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to connect, people whose comments and emails make you feel less alone in the world. There are the cool fans who anonymously buy out-of-print books and ice cream makers from your Amazon wish list. Next come well-meaning grad students, photojournalists and documentarians, and other bloggers looking for free content and traffic. There is also no shortage of helpless wannabe sex workers and men who aspire to see sex workers seeking advice because they have nowhere else to turn (can’t/won’t use Google).
And then there is a special breed of men who write fan mail to sex worker bloggers. Receiving one of these emails is like getting a compliment wrapped in an insult stuffed inside a cry for help and sprinkled with emoticons. Though their authors may think themselves unique grains of sand, the emails have such striking similarities that they can be broken into (not mutually exclusive) archetypes that any sex worker with a blog knows all too well. Men of the Internet, do you see yourself in here? If so, think before you hit send; self-deprecation and double-entendres do not a witty email make. You’re not just shouting into the darkness. You’re writing to a human being who has feelings, problems of her own, and limited free time. She also has the capability to make her blog private, so just express yourself with an ice cream maker or consider LiveJournal. (Fun game: where do you think Richard Connelly belongs?)
The Serial Emailer: Though you may never have answered a single email, this guy writes as though you two are gaining more rapport with every unanswered letter. He seems to be unaware of the comments feature, and instead leaves his reaction to every blog post in your inbox. He drops notes to let you know about things that made him think of you: a song on the radio, an ovulation study, a video of a woman crushing a watermelon with her thighs (the fuck?!). The way that he is able to carry on with no reciprocity makes you wonder if he also has lengthy conversations with Budweiser girl standees at the bar.
The Wordsmith/Best Guy You’ve Never Met: You may not know him, but he knows you. In fact, he knows you better than yourself and you shall love him back by the time you reach the end of his carefully crafted letter. Alas, it may not be possible to make a woman fall in love with you with a single perfect email, but that won’t stop this guy from getting the ol’ thesaurus out and trying. Receiving one of these feels a lot like having your hand scooped up and slobbered on before you’ve even realized what’s happening. As if following instructions on how to talk to women, he will reference specific details you’ve blogged so awkwardly that you’ll feel like replying with an invoice. Did he mention that he’s not a creep, haha? The nice thing about these emails is that they usually don’t have any typos because their authors have reread them too many times to count. The weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day are these guys’ high season.
I See How You Are Special: This specimen is a relative of The Wordsmith. Every funny thing you’ve ever written has been an inside joke between only you two. He sees that you are a diamond in the rough and is convinced your self-esteem is nonexistent. It doesn’t matter how wildly successful your writing career/blog/etc may be because he is the only one who can recognize your talent and appreciates you beyond your amazing rack. This is confusing, because he mansplains as if trying to get through to a chimpanzee banging on a typewriter. Maybe it’s because he can see the potential you have, but you’re not there yet. The good news is that he’s willing to help, regardless of not being in possession of the credentials (beyond a penis and no hobbies) for doing so.
Yeah, You’re Special, But Not That Special: This over the hill cyber-bully wants to take your huge ego down a few notches and give you a reality check. And if you don’t like the mirror he’s holding up to you, it’s only because he’s right and you deep down you know it. Having a blog means you are begging for any and all emails you receive because you’re clearly an attention whore in addition to being a whore-whore. More than anything, he doesn’t like your big words and your exploiting men and laughing about it with your mean lesbian whore friends. But he can’t stay mad at you because he pities you for hating your job and hating all men. Oh yeah, and he probably jerks off to your tiny avatar photo even more than The Wordsmith.
I’m Not A Stalker: “…but if I was, I would have done this. Aren’t you lucky I’m NORMAL?” One of the worst cases I know of is a man looked up a porn performer’s entire family on Facebook. This good Samaritan then messaged her and reported his findings, lest someone look up her entire family on Facebook.
This brings us to The Blackmailer/The Baiter: Watch out, because this guy has a degree in armchair psychology and wants an email correspondence by any means necessary. Not to mention that he knows something about you and/or has something to tell you. He might use your work name but email your blog address, or use your blog identity but email your work address. Or maybe even reference the Amazon wish list associated with your blog, but in an email to your work identity. Oh hey, did you realize that every item on your wish list is an equally weighted clue to your inner workings? Anyway, if you return his email, he promises to tell you more/not tell others more/buy the single cheapest item on your wish list.
You Remind Me of Someone I Used To Know: This guy found your blog by googling his sex worker “ex” who is a lot like you. He won’t shut up about this other lady and you start to fear the day he abducts you, dresses you in her old clothes and calls you by her name. Sometimes these types are convinced that you are that other lady and this is really all just a simple case of mistaken identity and they totally meant to creep out somebody else. Phew!
lol that you used an SVU image for illustrative purposes
This sort of behavior dries up when people have to register their real IDs online, as in South Korea [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resident_registration_number]. But a policy like that seems as if it would be more detrimental to sex workers than internet creepsters.
I’ve gotten plenty of insulting and/or salacious messages from people using their real names—even professors using their .edu email addresses. Men this delusional don’t think they have anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed by, and I’m sure many of them even think their careers will impress the person they’re writing to, and legitimize all the shitty things they’re saying.
I think I’m guilty of fan mailing sex worker blogs, and also for advice on getting into it myself. Part-fascination, part-genuine interest for my own personal investments into the industry.
I could see myself getting reeled in by the Blackmailer. The fear of being outed is omnipresent & serious, and review boards clamour for that kind of bloodsport. Plus, my twitter account makes so much reference to my bowels I doubt anyone would book with me again.
Thanks for the heads up. I’ll keep my fingers away from the reply button.
Fine, whatever. I guess I’ll just go back to writing exquisitely crafted, handwritten, postage-paid updates/manifestos to my close friend of thirty four years, Kristy McNichol.
Back in’78, when she sent me an 8 by 10 glossy of herself (with a personal note, mind you), she was the biggest teenage actress in the world! The World!
She doesn’t need all these fancy-schmancy interweb skills to keep in touch with her. Just send out a letter and wait a few decades for a reply.
In response to the game, I’d say he’s the blackmailer.
I have dealt with almost all of these types without even having a blog, just from my work site. The worst one was “I’m not a stalker” but I found out all this personal information about your real name and job online and maybe you should fix that?