A client once told me about his son’s frustration with his senior prom date. Apparently, the boy spent a lot of money on renting a nice tux, a limo, flowers and dinner. The lucky young lady didn’t even have the courtesy to give the boy a blowjob for all this effort, much less sex (presumably in the back of the limo or a cheap hotel). Both the boy and his father were flabbergasted by the lack of sexual remuneration from the girl – especially after all that money had been spent on her!

You can probably guess what I was thinking, even though I didn’t say it. That’s right — if the boy wanted to pay for sex, why the hell did he ask a high school classmate on a romantic date? Why didn’t he just hire someone? There are women who do that sort of thing, you know. (Although I don’t know how many would want to attend prom with an 18-year-old.)

What would have happened to the girl if she had given in and had sex with her prom date? A boy with this kind of mentality probably wouldn’t have been discreet about it. He would think of her as a slut, as easy. If he’d connected his spending of money with her sexual availability, he’d call her a whore. Since he was pissed about spending money and not getting any, I’m sure this would be an easy connection for him to have made. And, I’m betting, if she’d enjoyed their sex and actively participated, he probably would call her a whore anyway. All teenage boys know that a woman’s level of whoreishness is linked in direct proportion to her sexual pleasure.

Many men never lose this perspective.

I was called a slut and whore in high school for various reasons, partly because the words did not make me ashamed as they were intended to. Those slurs failed to bother me mostly because I knew full well I was a virgin (and not the Catholic/Christian Right kind either), but also because I wondered why an easy woman was such a bad thing to be when it was obvious teenage boys obsessed about sex. Why verbally beat the hand that feeds you? (Or any other body part that does anything else for you.)

In college, I gleefully put notches on my belt, yet I don’t recall hearing those words said to my face (except by an angry boyfriend). Maybe because there were girls more promiscuous than I? Maybe no one cared? Maybe guys matured a bit?

I heard slut and whore a lot while stripping, sometimes in reference to my co-workers, sometimes in reference to myself, sometimes in bitter reference to women in general. I got offended, but only because I was getting sick and tired of hearing the words. I may’ve acted wanton, and not so well as other girls, but at the end of the night I went home to the same man. Most of my co-workers did too. The wild, whorish, easy women of Dallas strip clubs at the end of a long night – worn makeup, tired feet and aching backs, persistent coughs, blue jeans/t-shirts, never satisfied with the wad of bills in our pockets, hoping to avoid being followed by someone from the club.

One would expect being an escort would invite these sort of responses. I’m still amused and confused by the number of e-mails (and a few phone calls) in which I was called slut. I always resisted the urge to write these men back and tell them that if they were going to call names, they should use a dictionary first. Technically speaking, I was not a slut as an escort. I had one boyfriend at a time (and only two of them during that time).

I was occasionally called whore. It never upset me because it was truth (that’s not how I refer to myself, but it was more appropriate than calling me a slut). What upset me was the reasoning behind its use. All that anger toward half the population of the planet. It is a sad and upsetting thing to witness.

At this point in my life, I’m truly tired of those two words. Men who use them have no creativity, no understanding and have not really spent time with a woman. Or maybe they’ve only spent time with women in very limited settings — situations in which they’ve expected something in return – perhaps starting with their first date or their prom?

Perhaps I’m delusional, but few of my clients ever seemed to view me as anything other than Amanda. They may’ve had their own impressions before they met me, but once met, I was a person to them and they to me.

Are the men who pay for female company the only ones who are set free from having to use the words slut and whore in a pejorative sense? Is there no bitterness because a whore is really the great equalizer, not money?

9 thoughts on “misused terminology (those two words)

  1. I work in an industry that approaches 100% male (construction, although I’m on the supply end). One of my coworkers delights in greeting me (or anyone else – he’s not choosy) as whore or slut or just the standard shut the fuck up. We usually play along. I’ll correct anyone calling me a whore, because I’d give it away for free, making me (I presume) a slut.

    The funny thing is that with one or two exceptions, most of the men where I work would never dream of uttering either of those words to a woman. I think it must fall into the same category where black folks can call each other nigga and it’s a term of friendship or affection, but if I was to utter the same word they’d be ready to feed me to the crackheads on East Colfax. I’ve got no problem calling another guy (who I know) a slut, a whore, a bitch, cocksucker, or any permutation of fucker you like. But I could never say the same thing to a woman, because then it’s offensive.

    Maybe more guys think along these lines than we might expect.

    Ian

  2. Ian,

    I’m all for men respecting women and not using derogatory terms in speaking with us. Based on my experiences, and I’m betting I’ve talked with more men than you have, it’s not yet the norm. Maybe soon. (But I am really surprised that men use these “female” terms with one another.)

    Women will affectionately use whore, slut and hooker among themselves as well. Or at least the women I know. I have no problem wtih a man saying it to me — if it’s done in the same spirit. That rarely happens (a couple of boyfriends have playfully called me a slut and that didn’t bother me).

    XX

  3. BTW, I’ve added you to my blogroll. Hope it generates some traffic (and sales). Your book is on my “to-buy” list..

    Ian

  4. some men call other men names that they use to degrade women as a way to make that man feel even worse: Look, I can call you by this word, so you must be a (stupid etc) woman too! Usually these men may not have a great opinion of women, even if (like Ian…) they wouldn’t call women these names to their faces

    they use it like it’s worse to call a man a bitch..

  5. Don’t be so literal… While in the service a guy once threatened me with sodomy (he used a much more colorful language, however). More than insulted or scared, I was shocked that he’d admit in public to such homosexual tendencies!

    When mad, people throw at you the weirdest things, like in a Tourette’s attack, and mixing genders just seems to give insults wings.

    I tend to like the word whore myself, in a rather affectionate way. Words can mean different things to different people sometimes, and it’s not always from ignorance.

  6. Hobbyist,

    Ha!

    I do take offense when guys try to insult other men by likening them to women — implying that being female is bad or icky. Threatening bodily harm is a bit different from insulting someone through gender. 🙂

    Using the words “whore” or “slut” among friends/lovers is quite different from the way I was discussing their use in this post. Everyone understands context the moment something is happening, though it doesn’t always translate well to the page.

    XX

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