I’ve been thinking more about prostitution–in general, not as a potential career path for myself. Why is it illegal? I’m not playing dumb or anything. I’m serious. Is that a leftover law of a religious society? Even that doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, there are concubines mentioned in the Bible. Wouldn’t it be more shameful for a woman to be some dude’s secret second (or third, or fourth) spouse and have to take care of the family he loves less than his main family than to have sex with him and make money off of it?
The only conclusion I can come to is that prostitution is illegal in order to keep women down. Historically, men have held the power. Money and power are closely tied. What is a really quick and easy way to make some cash if you’re a woman with very little power? Sell some sex. How to stop that transfer of power? Guilt and shame women who pursue it. Push them into the underground economy where they have no rights and are routinely abused or taken advantage of.
Making prostitution into such a “bad,” hush-hush shameful thing in our society also reinforces men’s power in another way–by making a woman’s sexuality the most important thing she’s got. Why isn’t it shameful for me to whore out my mind by writing meaningless blog posts for a small wage? Why would whoring out my body be unspeakable and potentially cause me to lose friends and family from my life, while whoring out my mind is expected and rewarded? Because society still says that my body–more specifically, my sexuality–matters more than my mind. Whoring out my mind doesn’t make me “used up,” “dirty,” or in any other way of less value to a man. Men seem to like vaginas as fresh as possible, right? Even in 2012 I hear people make comments indicating they don’t want a woman who has slept with “too many” guys. Yep, whoring out my body would be considered shameful because, under the current set of societal standards, it would lower my value in the eyes of men.
I don’t think I could ever prostitute, but I admire those who can and do out of a conscious decision. I am too squeamish, too shy, too easily grossed out by other people’s bodies. There’s a reason I’ve never worked in food service. The thought of touching a bunch of strangers’ dirty plates and having to continually walk through a room where they’re all chomping with their mouths open and making saliva noises makes me literally shudder right now just thinking about it. Since I’ve been modeling I’ve thought about how I could never be a makeup artist. If someone sat in my chair and had zits that looked like they were ready to pop, or crust in the corners of their eyes, I’d have to just say, “No, I can’t do it. Sorry.” I couldn’t be a masseuse because I’d gag if I had to touch warts or skin flaps. I couldn’t be a dentist or even hygienist, wearing a mask so plaque doesn’t splash onto my face? No thanks. I couldn’t be a garbage truck driver. A couple of weeks ago I got stuck behind a garbage truck while driving home and it only took about two minutes before I had to pull over and get some fresh air in order to avoid vomiting. I doubt I’d survive in a coal mine and anything with needles is definitely out of the question. I worked with kids for years and I’ll probably never do that again, at least not on a more than a once-in-a-while volunteer basis. Too much snot everywhere plus they just randomly spit and their hands are mysteriously sticky.
Basically, I’ll never be a prostitute, but I’m not writing that with pride. I don’t think I’m better because of it. It’s not a moral decision. It’s just not for me. I’ll also never be a doctor.
I’m sure prostitution is a difficult job and only doable for certain types people. If I were forced into it against my will that would be terrifying and awful. If prostitution were legal, however, wouldn’t fewer people be forced into it against their wills? The difference between prostitution and being a dental hygienist or a garbage truck driver or a masseuse or any of those other jobs I find off-putting is that what those jobs pay in one year, a prostitute could make in a month or less.
I like dogs and had no problem being a dog trainer and then groomer. I had to pick up dog shit all the time. I mopped up dog urine every night and wasn’t grossed out by it. A dog had a seizure right in front of me. I cut a dog and had to carry it to the vet as it bled on me. One dog came in covered in these weird bumpy zits and I popped them all. None of this got to me. There are people who are the same way about prostitution, I guess. I’d puke if some guy pulled out his dick expecting me to suck it and it looked gross to me, or if he had an off-putting smell. There are women who would think that’s no big deal and, although unpleasant, it wouldn’t be hard for them. Many women would probably rather spend a couple hours in bed with an unpleasant man each week than forty hours dealing with unpleasant dogs. There are people who’d puke if they had to shave some of the tick- and flea-infested dogs I had to shave. Dogs soaked in urine, with feces embedded in dreadlocks tight against their skin. Dogs trying to bite me. Dogs getting nervous and having diarrhea right on the table.
Different strokes for different folks.
What if society looked down on working with dogs as the most shameful thing a woman could do? It’d probably pay a lot more, then.
Is prostitution the most shameful thing a woman can do?
Is a sugar daddy relationship prostitution?
What is the most shameful profession a man can hold?
I might be open to a sugar daddy relationship, but only if I was already interested in the guy. I guess it’d be more of a financially beneficial relationship rather than a business transaction. Like if I started dating a guy and he was annoyed that I was busy all the time and couldn’t hang out with him and he offered to pay my rent if I’d quit that pesky blogging job. That wouldn’t be prostitution, per se, nor would it be illegal, but if he stopped paying my rent I might stop having so much sex with him and vice versa–if I stopped having sex with him he might stop paying my rent. Isn’t prostitution just one degree away from that rather common scenario?
I think that’s what the dude at the virtual fitting room gig was trying to do. He asked me to go out for a drink. I said no, I have to work for another hour. He said I’ll give you $100 to come with me. I posted about it on Facebook and my friends thought it was super sleazy. I still have mixed feelings. Yes, it felt a little insulting to have someone try to “buy” me, but at the same time, it was also a compliment. He wanted to hang out with me and didn’t want me to lose out on the money I would’ve made working so he offered me a number that he knew was higher than what I would’ve made. I don’t believe he was trying to degrade me.
I could see myself doing something similar if the roles were reversed. I don’t know. I’ve never had a lot of money. If I did though, and I really liked a guy and he was like, “Sorry, can’t spend time with you because I need to slave away for $10/hour,” and $10 was like 25 cents to me I could see offering to pay him money without meaning it in a degrading way.
I can understand why people would pay for sex, too. Maybe you just want the release and aren’t trying to start a relationship or go through the motions of hitting on someone. Maybe you’re busy, or depressed, or otherwise unavailable and don’t have time for a real relationship and don’t want to pick up someone and hurt them by never calling again. Maybe you’re inexperienced and just want to try things out so you feel like you know what the fuck you’re doing and then can have more confidence when you’re in bed with someone you actually like. Maybe you’re shy and don’t want to face rejection and just want to feel some intimacy, even if it’s fleeting. Maybe you’re famous and are willing to pay in order to keep your sexual exploits out of the tabloids.
I’m know I’m jumping around here (hey, this is my background blog), but while I’m on the topic, why is prostitution illegal, but pornography not? You know that porn actors are prostitutes, right? They are being paid for sex. That is the dictionary definition of prostitution. So prostitution is illegal only if you don’t record it and then sell those recordings? So backwards.
Our laws are such a mess. I’m trying to pay more attention and be more politically involved, but I’m a little nervous to see how that plays out. Oddly enough, a lot of the issues I care about don’t directly affect me–i.e., legalization of prostitution, legalization of drugs, separation of marriage and state.
I’ve been spending more time in silence everyday, which helps with mental clarity. (Sometimes it feels like a “time out” though, and that’s when I know I need even more time in silence.) Anyway, ever since moving from Elgin to Chicago two years ago I’ve felt pretty isolated and helpless when it comes to political issues and society at large. In Elgin I was very involved–I could see how what I did was “making a difference.” I sat on the library board, I sat on a local non-profit board and took part in their volunteer events. My day job as bicycle planner had clear, visible results in the form of bike lanes, bike maps, the hiring of bicycle ambassadors, etc. I planted a garden, I composted, I had a rain barrel in my yard, I bought organic or from the farmers market. I felt connected.
Over the past two years I haven’t volunteered once. I don’t feel like I’m part of any community of sorts. I feel helpless and frustrated and often choose to ignore the world at large rather than deal with the anxiety I feel when I think about all of the horrible things going on out there. I’m thrilled that I “followed my dreams” and left a career that didn’t suit me. I have no regrets about what I’ve done over the past two years. That said, it’s about time I dig back in and find my place. The more time I spend in silence, the more aware I become of the issues that are “mine” to get involved with. I care a lot about issues related to power, sex, and food, it seems. Go figure.
I’m starting a new blog that has been an idea for a while. (I believe I bought the URL over 6 months ago, maybe longer.) I’ve probably mentioned it before. It will be more polished, more edited, less rough and rambling. This will still be my scratch pad. I hope you’ll read both. Speaking of rambling, this is enough for today. I hope you are well and, as always, I’d love to hear your comments.