This is the far more spectacular story I once promised to tell.
I began this history in mid-May, when Jill received her terminal diagnosis. Jill has read this fully and contributed. To the disappointment of many, she hasn’t yet dropped dead. But we have both decided it is time to make public the true story of why and how she is dying. This story started as something else. Not a eulogy, not a memorial, a written memento mori of incidents and echoes.
If there is purpose in all of this, I leave it to someone else to find.
This is what Jill wants to be said, what I want to say, for now, so that it is said.
This is a very quick post. I’m sure I’ll think of better things to say this weekend.
a little background
After Craigslist fell, everyone’s attention turned to Backpage. The attention cranked up but Backpage wasn’t saying much, however it instituted new advertising policies that just got in the way of adult sex workers advertising there.
The point of intersection came with the Superbowl in Dallas and the hordes of underage girls being trafficked into the city. Like, so many of them every single hotel in the metroplex would’ve been booked solid with working girls under the age of 18. The Dallas Observer, part of Village Voice Media, made much of the non-event that was the Superbowl (not including the ice storm — which was an event).
Meanwhile, over on the West Coast, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, along with assorted other female celebrities, have been braying about the problem of child sex trafficking in the US. They’ve been raising millions, attempting to influence legislation and are making a lot of noise about this huge “problem” that even they admit has no solid numbers.
The Village Voice ran a story making fun of Ashton’s “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign and questioning the numbers of underage trafficking victims. Ashton took offense and started a Twitter war. He has a scary number of followers who are not sex workers yet consider themselves experts on underage trafficking because they follow his Tweets. Um, yeah.
My sister is an LMT (licensed massage therapist). As I’ve stated here before, she has never had a desire to enter the adult industry in any capacity, though she too is drawn to service-industry work. (My feeling is that sex work straddles the entertainment and service industries, depending on what aspect of sex work we’re talking about.) She is happy doing fully-legal and non- wink wink nudge nudge massages. She offers a new perspective on the wisdom of criminalization. Okay, not totally new, but the way she put it was new to me.
Recently, an Asian massage parlour in her small city was busted. Of course the community crowed about getting rid of “those women” and naturally — since the women were “gone” then so were the men; who, of course, are members of the community and live right next door. Since the men seeking Happy Endings suddenly had nowhere to find women who consensually offered those services, they started haunting the local LMTs in hopes they would find a much-cheaper substitute.
All this does is annoy the LMTs or perhaps makes them feel threatened. LMTs do not want to fear permanently losing their license or dealing with an irate man in a small room. It certainly doesn’t make them happy to have to deal with a situation they do not want, time and time again. My sister prefers for a Happy Ending massage parlour to exist in her city because the men who wish to have that experience know exactly where to find it. The women who wish to offer it know where to go to make their living. Everyone does exactly what they wish and no one is forced into situations with very unhappy endings. The stupid laws making such consensual activities illegal just made her life a bit more difficult.
We talked extensively about advertising and the psychology of rates. Though she wishes to raise her rates comparable to the basic massage rates of a large city, her main fear is that her male clients will suddenly assume the higher-than-local rates mean there’s something “extra,” even though her wished-for higher rates don’t compare to Happy Ending rates.
Of course another Happy Ending parlour will open up eventually, and the men who wish to have that will drift back over. Until then, she’s stuck dealing with situations she does not want. I almost suggested she get a good riding crop to quell their enthusiasm, but too many would like it and pester her to provide yet another service she has no interest in.
Not sure how many of you follow the comments, but recently Lailah commented on a couple of my posts about her arrest. I encouraged her to write her story down to share with the general public over at Bound, not Gagged. I’m very proud to say that she did.
For anyone who is curious about what an arrest feels like to a consenting adult sex worker, please read her well-written story. She’s doing very well for such a recent shock. I like intelligent, angry, uppity women. Feel free to comment there to offer her support. And do question if you feel your tax dollars are really working to keep you safe at night.