national geographic: sex for sale

Some of you are aware that I appeared on a National Geographic documentary that first aired in February. Now the rest of you are aware. Once again, my brush with mainstream media is generally negative. Eventually I’ll learn.

natgeo 2009

NatGeo spoke to me in April 2009 about appearing on their Taboo series. One of their episodes was going to cover sex work. Though I spoke for 90 minutes on the phone with Kate Witchard and emailed with her, they decided not to use me. This was right before I was beginning my travels and I pitched the idea to her, but she told me National Geographic wasn’t interested in following a working escort around the world.

Utter waste of time. I don’t take kindly to having my brain picked for free. (Shortly after, someone whom I suspect was producing the Belle de Jour series wanted to do that too so I quoted a price and never heard back.)

natgeo 2012

Last summer I was approached by NatGeo again. I was not interested. Daniele Anastasion, the producer, assured me this was a stand-alone documentary focusing on the US and the legal issues surrounding prostitution. After back and forth emails, I agreed to a 5 minute phone call that turned into 45. It seemed okay and I agreed to it. Of course they weren’t going to pay me a dime. (It’s a documentary! They wouldn’t do something so icky as pay for interviews!) No makeup provided either. But it seemed like it would be intelligent. It’s National Geographic, after all.

We settled on a shooting date. They weren’t thrilled about having to come to Dallas but since they weren’t paying me to show up anywhere else, Dallas was it. They wanted to shoot an interview — which was the point. They also wanted to shoot “B-roll,” which is silent footage that shows up in the background with interviewed voiceovers. This is where it started getting to be a bit much.

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disappointed readers?

One side effect from all the slanted attention lately could be disappointed readers and bad Amazon reviews.

Depending on where they heard of the book, if their hands aren’t burned when they touch it, will they be disappointed? Or if I don’t start out telling them how to be a whore and how much to charge and where to find good pimps, are they going to be disappointed? Will my serious discussion on STDs lack the bimbo quality they were hoping for? Will they not appreciate the dearth of “sex with clients” tips? Or my lack of discussing the good strolls in major cities? Are they going to be mad I don’t tell them which brand of stiletto is most comfortable for standing on concrete? Are they hoping to be brainwashed into selling their bodies for money and think the book sucks if they don’t decide to put an ad on CraigsList?

Just an idle thought…

an agency offer

An interesting side-effect of winning an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards was that I got an e-mail from a literary agency. More properly, an intern at the agency. Still, a literary agency contacted me. Pretty nice and something I was very secretly wishing for. It was a heady moment.

Since she contacted me about two weeks before the Spitzer scandal broke, I knew it was genuine interest. Anything else I would’ve dismissed. And it was an agency I had considering querying (eons ago when I was querying agencies). So that was very good.

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writing diversity

Proof that I’ve been hanging around sex worker activists way too long — I complain about a book’s lack of “diversity” in an Amazon review.

PS: This is said with much love and the most gentle irony. I’m mostly amazed I’m using the word in various contexts. Obviously something from all those listserv debates and conference calls has sunk in.