Damnit, I knew this was going to come and bite me in the ass one day [figuratively, that is]. I ended up putting my foot in my mouth tonight with someone near and dear to me and revealing a part of me that I *thought* I’d already revealed.
See normally I live my life pretty transparently and don’t bother with secrets. At my core, I’m generally too lazy to remember who I’ve told what do. Honesty really is easier.
This bit though; this one doesn’t get shared so openly.
What is it, you ask?
I’m a sex worker.
Yes, let me say that again, I’m a sex worker. I exchange sexual favours for money.
If you saw me at the mall, you’d have no idea. I look like your average, everyday guy just living life.
Oh yeah, that’s the other half of this interesting bit. I’m a dude doing this. You see, I’m a single dad and occasionally money gets really tight. I vowed to myself that my child would never go hungry or wanting for anything. So when my child is at school or over at my ex’s house, I will occasionally exchange favours for money.
One of the reasons I don’t talk about this in public is my child. I’m deathly afraid I’ll be reported to The Authorities and I’ll be judged unfit to parent. The thing is, I’m super strict about when and where I will ply my trade. When my child is home, it’s a complete no go. Doesn’t matter if my child is in bed, just no. I will not potentially expose my child to the things I do.
Also, really, how can you just casually drop this into conversation? Oh, what’s that, yes I’m a sex worker in my spare time. Oh no, it’s a lovely job, I set my own hours and everything.
Yeah….that is just not a conversation I could ever picture myself having.
There’s also such a large amount of shame that I carry on a day to day basis. Some days it threatens to overwhelm me and I just want to curl up in a corner and rock until I fall asleep. I’m dying for people to know and to say to me “It’s ok, you’re doing what needs to be done and we don’t think any less of you”
Some of my friends know, and we talk relatively openly about the risks, the payoffs and how to minimize the former while maximizing the latter. I have really great friends.
Why I’m telling all of you folks is simple, I want you to really think about the image that sex workers have. I want you to know that they really *can* be the guy [or girl] next door. We have lives, and fears, and loves and all the day to day stuff, just like you.
But we also live with shame, self hatred, fear and isolation. This isn’t a plea for clemency. I want this to be the start of a discussion.