Who am I kidding? The number is much higher than that. I just don't want to come off as the utter curmudgeon that I am. Wait- yes I do.
Okay. So, I go to some sex worker events where published people get up and read their stories.
I'm standing there at an event, talking to a relatively well-known blogger who recently had some stories published, and she is pissed out of her mind. She asks me how my business is going, and I say it's pretty feast or famine right now, as all business seems to be. I tell her, no, I'm not a dungeon Domme, I'm an independent with my own place. Suddenly, her ears perk up, and I get her card and an, "Oh, we need to hang out some time!" Yeah, right. She used to be a Domme, and she liked it, but then she did some porn and won some award, and now she is a darling of the sex worker writing scene. She wants to get back into Domming. It was so much fun!
She got up to read and fumbled through her story- a giggly little, "tee hee, I did an infantalist scene! wasn't it funny and quirky, yet poignant and sad at the same time?" kind of piece. No one was laughing. She slurred through in an oblivious, cutesie sort of way anyway, revealing that she was actually a phone sex Domme, not a real one. A scattered round of applause followed.
Whenever I go to these events, I see a lot of people I am acquainted with, and we chat (but have nothing to talk about). I buy their comic book, their book of short stories, or their video (I want to show my support), but ultimately always leave thinking that I've just been to a big schmooze-a-thon, where everyone is desperately trying to become the next Tracy Quan. The events are usually quite crowded, which is great. There is a certain amount of solidarity.
But. I can't shake the feeling that many of these people "dabbled" in sex work in order to have something interesting to write about. Or to focus their "art" around. This blogger woman, at least while she was drunk, was so transparent about her reasons for wanting to Domme (hint: cha-ching). I have no problem with people wanting to make money- there is a market of clients out there for everyone. However, I do have a problem with people taking what I consider to be my chosen profession, and packaging it in such a way as to gain notoriety for their bad writing. Many of these people went to ivy league schools (or close), and use that as a way to legitimize their perspective on their little "stint" as a sex worker. Oooh, you went to Yale, majored in performance art, and can't pay back your loans, so you decided to give hand jobs for three months... So what???
There are, however, a few people who show up who completely blow me away. One woman, who was a stripper in the 80's, was basically like, "Hey, when I was a 'sex worker', that term didn't even exist, everyone was a junkie- myself included. No one was saving to go to college, and most of us who are still alive are surprised we made it this far." She told a story about a fifteen year old girl who worked at her club and couldn't dance, because she had been shooting heroin between her toes so much she couldn't wear her platforms anymore. That basically shut everyone the fuck up. It seems like a stereotype that everyone is trying very desperately nowadays to shake off. Which I understand. And can get behind. But stereotypes exist for a reason.
Sex worker fiction contains subject matter that the majority of the public finds scandalous- but that alone does not make you a good writer. Granted, most people are probably going to look twice in order to be titillated (which sells books), but it pisses me off that these floozies are getting signed essentially for exploiting the very same "scene" to which they claim to be a dedicated member.
Ah, but who said life was fair, right? I'm probably just jealous, anyway. Maybe in exchange for Domming experience, the blogger chick will give me a few lessons on being a shameless self-promoter.