Sunday, January 29, 2017

LET THEM GO!

Everyday in America seems to top the day before with another unbelieveable fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promise for making America stink again. As I write this there are about 1-200 people held in airport detention centers in every airport, numbering in the thousands across the U.S. Activists and armed police have filled the International terminals of major airports chanting “Let them Go!” It’s the first time I’ve ever seen crowds of activists inside of a building, and a clear reminder to all of us how easy it is to enforce martial law for a select population using blockage of entry ports controlled by the state, now 8 days under the control of a fascist commander in chief.

Crossing through ANY immigration system can be frightening, even if you think you have privileges. Officials have ONE NARROW LENS in the name of protecting their country and the right to search your body, car, baggage, read your love letters and your journal without a warrant, make fun of you, rip off your hijab, grab your pussy, yell, detain you for hours, move you to an immigration facility which will turn into days, months or decades as in Guantamo Bay... and even if you aren't found guilty, if you got this far in their punishment process every time you try to pass through or visit it will be the same hell...5, 10, 15 yrs later! Immigration never forgets. Always, always have a timed screen lock on your smartphone or it is open season search of all your emails and social media.

Oh Canada asks me,"Have you ever been in trouble with us before?" and I wanted to say,"No." and just catch my connecting flight but I reluctantly tell the truth and missed my flight to Japan. The white guy waiting next to me said he had an incident 15 years ago. We both watched the woman from Canadian immigration yell at the wife to "answer for herself!" instead of having her husband answer/interpret for her.

Luckily, I’ve never been convicted of a DUI, because having a DUI, among other crimes, such as drug addiction or possession of a controlled substance convictions for sure will render you inadmissable to the Great Land of the Beaver. If you have an addiction but never went to a mandated treatment program (another good reason to seek non conventional solutions to addiction like ayahuasca) and never got arrested for it, then you can try your luck at the border.

I did try to drive across the border with a weed pipe in my car thinking that is was not a big deal. It was one of the biggest deals of my life. They searched my car, my person, detained me for close to 10 hours, read my journal out loud to me while laughing, and scrolled through my Facebook posts. It was pretty horrifying. I made it through the ordeal but the next day the PTSD kicked in and I could not stop crying. It was New Year’s Eve and I had made it back to Seattle, having to find strength to “celebrate.” The very first thing I did of course was drive to a dealer’s house to medicate my instability and pain. I am a white American female. NO exceptions were made for little supposedly privileged me. I don’t even need to imagine the pain that these 1000s of detainees, i can take myself back to that place quite easily. But for me, I was just on a little road trip, thinking it would be cool to drive from Seattle to Canada for just a night and visit a friend. I’d get some weed when I got across the border but I didn’t want to spend the extra money for a pipe.

The stakes are much higher for most of the people being held. They are fearing instant deportations, life ruin, family separation, life shattering consequences. Syrian refugees seeking peace in America after escaping war, losing their families, after months upon YEARS of waiting though the current vetting process that is already in place, will be turned away after all that waiting and hoping. "We don't want 'em here." One of the Iranian born victims of Trumps policy had her flight rerouted to a different country and was stranded. “I am broken, I never thought I could cry for so long.” The reason that the ban is on all Muslim majority countries, according to a CNN clip i just saw, was that he was seeking to create a “religious test” for 90 days. It is not related to “the lessons from 9/11” as Trump states because the countries where the terrorists of the WTC were from Egypt, U.A.E, and Saudi Arabia which are not listed on the banned countries list. This is the disgusting version 2017 Executive Order 9066.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

a tv portrayal of running partners



Breaking Bad, episode 12. Of course, it's doomed love, and one of them is shown as being manipulative to everyone else around her, and then of course one of them dies as fate's punishment for her junkie sins, but the relationship is depicted as very real and very sweet, making a little of the point I was making about trust in a criminalized world in this post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a call winding down as seen from the ceiling



Watch this space. After I get out of sheer survival mentality, I will try to do something here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

drug users, civil rights, and A&E's "The Cleaner"


I haven't written in this blog in so long, that instead of writing an extended essay, I'll warm myself up by going over several short items in the next week or so.

1) A&E's "The Cleaner", currently the most offensive show on television re: the drug war. The main character, William Banks, played by Benjamin Bratt, is heroicized for "extreme intervention" on drug users which includes a) breaking and entering into their homes, b) kidnapping them, c) hacking into freezing their financial accounts, to name just a few of the invasive crimes the character is shown committing, actions paid for by their families or friends. The vast majority of these users are adults, which means their families have no legal power over them. If a character committed crimes like these against any other group of people, the audience could hardly be expected to have sympathy for them, but somehow the fact that these people are drug users justifies these acts to most viewers.

Note to A&E--not since fanatical first drug czar Harry J Anslinger of the 40s and 50s has the state of simply *being* a drug user been a crime. (Anslinger instituted an extralegal edict that allowed people to be stopped and searched for track marks and detained indefinitely if any were found. A lot of creative body parts used to inject at this time in order to evade the arm search, ha...(If you'd like a vivid description of this era, you can find it in Burroughs' _Junky_..) Anslinger, ironically and hypocritically enough, became a user of illegally procured morphine later in his life to treat pain from angina and an enlarged prostate gland, and distributed this drug to his friends. We also have Anslinger to blame for most of
the hysteria and misinformation about marijuana in the middle of the last century and its criminalization in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, through the use of racism and lies about its supposed violent effects.

What's most chilling is that "The Cleaner" is based on a real life "extreme interventionist", Warren Boyd,whose methods were similar and who also avoided prosecution for them--beyond that, he's lionized in the special A&E does on him and admired by many law enforcement officials. He's actually co-producer of the show, so one can't argue that the station is misrepresenting him--it obviously has his stamp of approval. In the interview I link, he claims he doesn't break the law, yet in A&E's special on him--which I didn't have the stomach to watch to completion, but even a few minutes of watching revealed this much--he himself proudly relates that he held a heroin user hostage in his house by threat of physical violence. And even in the interview, though I doubt he realizes what he's admitting, he says he's not beyond the use of fraud. He also claims he participates in "The Cleaner" to lend it authenticity--so I can't quite believe his methods are drastically different from what the show portrays Banks doing.

A dramatic and totally unrealistic gimmick that the show uses in almost every episode is to have the drug user Banks is "helping" overdose right in front of him, so he can resuscitate them. Not only is this an instance of laughably overly convenient timing, it doesn't make any sense--these are habituated users with high tolerance, so why is it that they suddenly miscalculate their doses as soon as Banks is around? Of course, this perpetuates the fiction that any drug user is one step away from death at any time, regardless of any harm reduction methods used or the user's experience,justifying any violation of their person because the drug user's situation is an immediate life or death one. It also glosses over the fact that so many of the dangers of drug abuse are born from criminalization itself--such as the fact that overdose is often due to the unreliable and changeable purity of black market product.

This is doubly disappointing to me because Benjamin Bratt is one of the few mixed race actors successfully working in TV and film today--and actually a very accomplished actor in all the other roles I've seen him in. In fact, according to Wikipedia, "Bratt has been a strong supporter and board member of San Francisco Bay Area's Friendship House Association of American Indians and Native American Health Center for years". Doubtless the fact that he's playing a character who oppresses another marginalized group is totally lost on him.

The show perpetuates the idea that drug users are somehow a special category of human being, whose rights are null and void. Despite the fact that the show purports to be about redemption and compassion, in reality it is an example of the same attitude that has allowed ultra right wing drug warriors such as Newt Gingrich and others, to suggest the death penalty for drug dealers. "People who are dealing crack and dealing heroin have zero social value and should be put to death," said one politician, expressing the core of this attitude quite well. Dealers and users have no social value like other people do, so why bother with going through the pretense of pretending we have rights? This without any consideration of the extenuating circumstances, the poverty, that has so many people depend on the black market to survive--that poverty which is itself often a result of right wing policies.

Warren Boyd praises "Intervention", another A&E show, and I'm looking forward to dissecting that show for you as well--a reality show where real life addicts are manipulated and violated.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

well, at least my interview on feministe has me interested in writing in this thing again

I was, no surprise,<pilloried on the drug stuff, though the pimp question went off okay. But now I'm into reviving this blog, which is marvelous. Look out this week for a post on how the A&E show the Cleaner manages to glorify breaking& entering, kidnapping, & freezing other people's financial assets if they happen to use drugs. It's a shame, b/c that actor smolders with Filipino butch sexiness--sad he had to waste himself on a role that not only is sentimental ponderous shit, but is also simply politically revolting.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"mothers, tell your children not to do as I have done": sex work through the viewpoint of parents


So, this country music video, affiliated with this organization, tries to get those slavering, sick, depraved men who are into porn and strip clubs to "maintain their self-control" by reminding them that the stripper or porn starlet they are watching is "somebody's daughter/somebody's child/somebody's pride and joy/somebody loves her for who she is inside/she has a mother and father/she's somebody's daughter.../ when her beauty is defiled I demean us both.."

Bitch offers some weak second waveish criticism here:
This is actually only one of several music videos made for SomebodysDaughter.org, offering “freedom from the crushing grip of porn.” Are strip clubs and pornography frequently problematic? Yes. If it’s ruining your family life should you seek counsel and remedy? Well yeah. Are there better ways to address it than imagining her mom and dad at her college graduation/birthday party/dance recital? And reinforcing images of all women as “our little girls all grown up?” Oh yeah! This video adds to some recent conversations on the prevalence of porn in society, and while I'm pretty uncomfortable with most porn and strip clubs, if the Somebody's Daughter campaign is all about casting men as sexual perverts for liking porn and women in the sex industry as a dependent innocents, then I doubt it's adding anything new or progressive as far as curbing the more harmful aspects of pornography and "gentleman's clubs"....though I have to give them some credit, this is by far one of the unsexiest videos I’ve ever watched.


(But thanks for the bit about how casting women in the sex industry as dependent innocents isn't progressive, Bitch magazine.)

What I really think we need to talk about in reference to this video is the question it raises, a question that opponents of sex worker's rights & decriminalization of sex work often ask, a question they ask as if it's the ultimate question and all debate can be defused by it:

"What if your daughter wanted to be a prostitute too?"

[Or stripper, or porn actress, or phone sex operator, sex cam worker, etc etc etc, insert relevant branch of sex work in the right spot...]

I think it's important to face the melodrama and taboo evoked by this question head on. Though perhaps my opinion might not matter that much, because I'm not planning on having children, I say, "If my daughter wanted to work in the same profession I do, I hope I could be proud of her and respect her choices."

The question posits workers in the sex industry as passive victims of objectification, rather than skilled artisans controlling the way they are viewed. It implies that any work that has to do with sex is shameful and victimizing, not a part of "who she[you] is [are] inside", as the country video puts it. That no mother *could* be proud of a skillful sex worker daughter, or be anything but horrified, ashamed, and deeply concerned. That sex work could never be seen as a respectable profession. And that has much more to do with this society's view of sex than with what actually takes place in the sex industry.

(Furthermore, it is not a universal view, but culturally specific, as demonstrated by the fact that geishas, Japanese sex workers/entertainers/artists, were honored and mothers put their daughters through a several year apprenticeship in the exacting art so that they could continue the family name within the trade--which was obviously viewed as a positive outcome.)

The fact that my mother isn't proud of all the work I do, not just the more wholesome activism, but my escorting, does disappoint me. I understand the cultural context, the prejudices that have been passed down to her, behind her view of my working as being a horrible fate that's befallen me, and I don't blame her entirely, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. As I write in my interview in Alexa of The Real Princess Diaries' My First Professional Sex project:
They know. My mother prays for me. She thinks it’s a symptom of a mental disorder, as does my father. The one time I was arrested, my father wrote a letter to the DA calling me a heroin addicted mentally ill prostitute who should not be allowed to leave the court room, who should be sent to jail or drug treatment immediately. He wrote a pathos ridden paragraph about how every day they worry I might contract HIV (although I practice safer sex than the vast majority of the general population–I practice safer sex than *he* does.) I always wondered why he was dumb enough to send that letter to the DA–not my lawyer or the judge–why he was dumb enough to think the DA could possibly have my interests, rather than the goal of a conviction in mind.

I know my father did it because he thought it would help, but with good intentions like that, who needs malevolence? I haven’t spoken to him since. I don’t *blame* my parents–there’s a huge cultural divide there, they are Russian and come from a culture with totally different values. But sometimes I do long for a mother who would be proud of me, like the depictions I see of Carol Leigh/Scarlot Harlot’s relationship with her mom.


So, yes, as Carol Leigh/Scarlet Harlot's mother's support attests--her mother appears in many of her video documentaries about her sex work and sex worker's rights activism, standing firm in her approval of what her daughter does in interviews--there is a way for parents to move beyond prejudice in their view of their child's sex work. But that's not the reality for the vast majority of us. In fact, most of us don't even bother to come out to their parents b/c of the overwhelming disapproval, pity, and anguish we're (justifiably) sure we'll experience--most of the time I wish I hadn't been dumb enough to come out to my mother and brother, who then told my father. Some of us internalize our parents' and this culture's whorophobia and sadly, are even ashamed of ourselves sometimes.

I'd love to hear any comments about this touchy subject I've brought up. The less silence there is around it, the less prostitution abolitionists can use the question of parents and children to silence debate about sex work in general.

Monday, June 8, 2009

just watched The Girlfriend Experience on Comcast

Everyone's said something, if not exactly IT, better before, so here are a few scattered impressions just in case you wanted to hear yet ANOTHER sex worker chime in:


*First off, I don't think I could ever fuck a chasid as a client. All that Ortho Jew upbringing, it'd be like a Catholic ho fucking a priest. The scene where he stripped to his tzitzit might be the most personally shocking bit of film I've ever viewed. But something about how he held her & shook in such an Ashkenazi unrestrained sort of way rang true somehow. Soderbergh knows his Jews, I guess.

*I can't really emphasize with an empty headed, apolitical, high femme capitalist, even if she is in ostensibly the same profession I am. & I GET that half the film was a muted recession era American Psycho showing us affluent Manhattanites scrambling to maintain their standard of living in new economic circumstances, but still. I thought the whole point of the black market, and being in a recession resistant, if not recession proof business was--you get paid for taking more risk so you don't have to talk and think that way ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Improve and grow your business, and gag me with a spoon.

* High end escorts, how do you not sleep in your own beds at night? I shudder. The *displacement*.

*I found myself agreeing with her boyfriend a lot when he spoke to her. Serpent Libertine said, yeah, of course the escort got it in the end, but why did they make an escort that acted so selfishly and childishly to begin with?

*So is there something wrong with me that I look down slightly on women who consider dating clients, who think about a relationship after just a few (or ONE) meeting in a commercial context? Is it that I'm just not heterosexual enough in the right way? Should every cis male, no matter how you meet them, be a prospect? Okay, now I guess I'm just being cruel. At least they did have a character voice this critique, her older less traditionally pretty escort friend foil (whom she, of course, ignores.) Seriously, though, I have never seen this work in the history of hookerdom. One can feel close to clients within the boundaries established, sure, and it's even important to feel close to them in some sense or another. But you can't turn a *transaction* into such a fundamentally different kind of interaction.

*Though I disagreed with the journalist's facile differentiation of the "real you" from how one behaves in a call. G does not do and say everything Caty does, but G does behave in a way that is authentic to Caty towards her clients.Abridged and appropriate behavior for a situation is not the same thing as a false front.

*I did find myself actually agreeing with the asshole hobbyist reviewer (a thinly veiled portrayal of that asshole who owned Big Doggie or something?) How does this girl keep clients? "Flat affect" indeed! Sasha Gray was robotic, and anything but a Girlfriend Experience. If I was her client, I would have felt like I was sitting with my absentminded, sullen teenage daughter, who wanted to finish eating dinner with me and issuing polite, programmed responses so she can watch "Gossip Girl". It was dissapointing, b/c Sasha Grey looked like she had great presence, & I was really looking forward to her performance, and came in with no expectations b/c I'd never seen any of her pornos. And I'm not gonna be sexworkerphobic about another branch of the business and say porn actors can't actually act, b/c the 70s porn I like certainly has people with a little something to them even in the most moronic scenes. Nina Hartley exudes sassy authority everywhere she goes, and could fill a role made for her as easily as breathing.

*So are we not supposed to sympathize with her? And even high femmes are not that vapid about conversations and obsessive about clothes in their journals, I guarantee you.

*Though the one time I did find myself emphasizing with her was as she cried (while confiding to a client, ughhh) about the hobbyist's awful treatment of her. I'm so glad I have never found myself on a review board--maybe I've stayed in a print medium too long, seen too many blue collar guys who are good earners but internet illiterate, or maybe no one can spell my nomme de whore on the net, but thankfully, I've never had to read such poison about my performance.

*Doofus, most clients will never have a specific compliment to make about your outfit, no matter how expensive and perfect it is, unless they have a fetish for some accessory or other.

Friday, June 5, 2009

keep tuning in




I wanna write something about the new drug czar, though so many already have, beginning with my first impressions of him and his bravery in taking a stand disciplining an officer in a "controversial jaywalking incident" (I just love saying that), to his rebranding of the drug war (keeping prohibition on the books and coercively shuttling us into treatment centers isn't the end of the drug war, it's just better PR for it), and then his comments on how legalization isn't in his vocabulary, as indeed by law in terms of his job description it shouldn't be, but how I don't see his recent statements as a coded plea for us to change those laws as drugwarrant's Peter optimistically does.

Couldn't Obama have chosen anyone but a former cop for this position? Of course, this shouldn't surprise, after the broken campaign promises about lifting the federal funding ban on needle exchange. But so it goes.

Be careful, I might drag out my old co-authored paper with Will Hall on how forced treatment goes against harm reduction principles. If I can find it. (I hear a collective sigh of relief, with the sound of fingers crossing in hopes I won't find that boring little number in my files.)

In the meantime, check out Alexa's of the Real Princess Diaries new project,My First Professional Sex.My interview is here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

telling encounters with clients, IV drug use, class assumptions,good ole hypocrisy, hobbyists, & a blast from the past



Watch this space for a post on how drug use is negatively associated with street workers, inspired by an encounter I had with a client, a jittery, nerdy Asian accountant who liked to hear himself talk, who said he wouldn't go near a street worker b/c of the needles who then went on to tell me, without any consciousness of the irony, about all the Adderal and coke he snorted and all the Valium and Adderal (amphetamines) his doctor brother overprescribed him.

I asked, "Don't you think escorts might have drug habits too?"

And he said, "Not needles!"

I nodded and smiled--obviously he didn't know track marks when he saw them.

Then he went on paternalistically about how he "saved" his best friend,a woman,from heroin addiction,by paying for her treatment. (Not that this isn't great if she wanted to get rid of her physical addiction. But the way he put it--oh, Superman!)

This was far from the first time I've had an encounter like that with a client.

So it'll be about assumptions about drug use that are erroneous,based on class,
and how those assumptions are magnified when it comes to sex work. How the way upper middle class people's use of scheduled drugs is legitimized, and how upper middle cclass people--even if the are very sexually active, or use many addictive drugs themselves, assume that prostitutes, especially street prostitutes, and IV drug users are disease ridden, though both groups, especially the former, are usually more educated when it comes to harm reduction techniques like condoms and clean needles and works.

I also want to talk about the ideological ghetto heroin, esp. IV heroin, is put in when compared to all other drugs, its reputation as "the worst drug", when actually, it's relatively nontoxic and plagued by the many apocalyptic myths surrounding it. Especially when a legal drug like alcohol causes the most organ damage and long term health damage, and is the only drug firmly statistically correlated to violence, and both legally prescribed benzodiazipines and alcohol can cause death during withdrawal.

I am an IV heroin using sex worker. I get tested regularly, and have never used a dirty needle. I haven't had unsafe sex in ten years--not even an uncovered blowjob. There are many like me.

That was the other thing about this client-- he was a "hobbyist". For the non-sex workers among us, a hobbyist is a man whose avocation is to see many escorts and go online to sites like The Erotic Review and Big Doggie and review their encounters with them. Some escorts do value the reviews, because when they get good reviews, they can refer prospective clients to them. But in some big city escort scenes, reviews can make you or break you, and so can these sites in general. That means you have to spend more time on your job, unpaid, interacting with clients and prospective clients on these sites, pretending you just happen to like spending your online social time with them. Also, some manipulative hobbyists use the fact that reviews are so vital to the workers they call "providers" that they pressure them to do unsafe acts or acts they're uncomfortable with under the threat of bad reviews. I'm not partial to hobbyists, and very rarely encounter them--they tend to cluster in bigger cities. In fact, I think this was the second time I encountered someone who identified that way. (Though in a way I do admire someone who can own being a person who unashamedly buys sexual services.)

So it was with this guy. He wanted me to do a bbbj, in their parlance--a "bareback blowjob." Keep in mind I haven't performed fellatio without a condom for seven or eight years. "My brother's a doctor, an epdiemologist, he says it's fine." "I'll stick with my own research, thanks." Then he offered to show me his clean bill of health--but all his test results mentioned were HIV and Hep C, which weren't even the STDs I'd be worried about catching from giving uncovered head! What about HERPES, I asked. He didn't get it. The clear light of ignorance and total self-assurance and certainty shone in his eyes. To be fair, he wasn't all bad. I randomly mentioned I was having trouble sleeping, and he just *gave* me a bunch of his nepotistically prescribed Valium and Soma.

Anyway, I've learned to keep my mouth shut around clients like this when it comes to the topics of needles and sex work, drugs and sex work, etc. But I didn't always know best. Here's an old livejournal piece from a few years back about confronting these prejudices during a call (a caveat--I was really burned out then, and not so much from the job as other circumstances in my life--I feel *much* better about my clients now, enjoy interacting with them):

It happens more and more often these days. He tells me on the phone that he's seen me, he gives me the details he couldn't possibly know otherwise--my parents from Russia, the blue birthmark on my left breast.

And I think, it's just the monotony of male voices--they fall into a few
subspecies, the duuuuh-ed out cokehead drunk Valley boy voice, the salt-of-the-earth-honest-man blue collar guy, the refined and pretentious professional--they fall into a few subcategories, these staticky bassos and baritones, but that's about it. I think, it's the monotony of white male names, the monosyllables--Kyle Dave John Chris Tod Tom Pete Jake. But as soon as he walks through the door, I think, I am fervently certain---as soon as he walks through the door--*I never forget a face*, another tired phrase, but it has to be true, it has to be true. I see him b/c he's seen me--I'm leery these days, I've been arrested once, and that was enough, and I
only had my stupidity to blame. The frisson is gone, the adventure gone, any motivation for risk taking gone. It's just a living and I'm just doing security. It's so fucking normal and that's what would be most shocking
to everyone, maybe.He walks through the door and I draw a blank. Can't tell him, he'd be insulted, he doesn't want to think about all the men I've slept with just like him and how hard it is to keep track, though maintaining the lie is
so irritating b/c what does he think? He thinks I materialize in this air conditioned motel room purely for his pleasure, and so it should be, so,"Oh, I remember *you*," I smile and say.

But it scares me, it's as if they're interchangeable. It's so sordid sordid sordid just like everybody thinks, and I sound almost self-pitying, just like they think I really should be. I'm not, not at all. I love being sex embodied without even being turned on. I love being the most beautiful woman in the world for that one hour. I love the performance art, I love the anonymity. I love the world beginning again in the confines of that room populated only by two strangers. And besides, go too far over to the other extreme, away from interchangeability to the human service worker with a big fat load of concern and understanding for each and every client and it just boils down to that heart of gold bullshit anyway.

But I'm so sick of thinking of what everybody thinks. Image and image and image. I *must* be the political posterchild, not the sad stereotype, I must. I must be a perfectly wholesome all American girl who just happens to have sex for money. The movement depends on it, right? All the other callgirls were so angry at me when I started doing heroin. It wasn't just concern--I was giving them a bad name. Not that most of my regulars knew.They couldn't; I have bills to pay. But last week, at 7:30 PM on a Wednesday night, with some man in publishing who was en route from New York back to Vermont, I got my revenge.

Putting on his clothes while I wipe up the results of my pleading with him breathily to come all over my tits--they think it's something slutty and
fantastic, but it's all just about speed and safe sex. I have this down
to a science, to an art form--it's my art, after all. Our half hour almost up, we banter while I massage his back with an aloe lotion on clearance for a dollar at Walgreens(I ripped off the price tag.) He puts on his serious face for a second
and tries to compliment me in a way I've been insulted before, "You know,
your vocabulary is so impressive. I knew immediately you were different, just
talking on the phone with you."I think of Samuel Johnson as I always do, the dog standing on its hind legs, "not that it is done well but that it is done at all." A ho mustering some intelligence. He goes on: "Some of these girls...you get on the phone and you know immediately--gee, I'm supporting someone's crack habit."

I'll never see this man, this publisher from Vermont, again. Now that I have his $150 for his half hour in my purse, I have nothing to gain telling him what he wants to hear, If he'd been looking at my arms instead of my ass, he would have seen them--but they never do. I don't bother putting on makeup anymore b/c since I can't find the right shade of foundation, the weird orange cream only serves to highlight them. Methadone clinic this past year or not, this man needs to know something, and I need to show him. I turn my Jewish middle class face towards him. I bare my arms to the light and show him my track marks.

"How do you know you're not supporting my habit?"

Monday, May 4, 2009

vindication



Natalie Dylan wrote an article for the Daily Beast, and it turns out my interpretation of her motives weren't far off the mark:
Like most little girls, I was raised to believe that virginity is a sacred gift a woman should reserve for just the right man. But college taught me that this concept is just a tool to keep the status quo intact. Deflowering is historically oppressive—early European marriages began with a dowry, in which a father would sell his virginal daughter to the man whose family could offer the most agricultural wealth. Dads were basically their daughters’ pimps.

When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place. But then I realized something else: if virginity is considered that valuable, what’s to stop me from benefiting from that? It is mine, after all. And the value of my chastity is one level on which men cannot compete with me. I decided to flip the equation, and turn my virginity into something that allows me to gain power and opportunity from men. I took the ancient notion that a woman’s virginity is priceless and used it as a vehicle for capitalism.

Are you rolling your eyes? I knew this experiment would bring me condemnation. But I'm not saying every forward-thinking person has to agree with what I’m doing. You should develop your own personal belief system—that’s exactly my point! For me, valuing virginity as sacred is simply not a concept I could embrace. But valuing virginity monetarily—now that’s a concept I could definitely get behind. I no longer view the selling of sex as wrong or immoral—my time at college showed me that I had too blindly accepted such arbitrary norms. And for what it’s worth, the winning bid won’t necessarily be the highest—I get to choose.