delve a little deeper....
In most excellent news Rhoda Grant's bill to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland has failed.
Here is SCOT-PEP's press release on the news.
and how The Daily Record reported it.
Of course I am thrilled for those who work in Scotland and thrilled for the wider implications of the failure of this bill.
Congratulations to those who have fought so hard to get their voices heard and continued to shout when the consultation resulted in a biased proposal with misinformation and missing responses.
And finally thank you to those of you who read my words about the proposed bill and were inspired to add their support in fighting this.
Anyone who knows this blog well enough will know of my loathing of the press and it has been at the front of my mind again because I was thinking about content for the wonderful Everyday Whorephobia website. I offered my blog post about tabloids and the outing of sex workers which was kindly accepted and posted (here if you're interested).
I'm reluctant to go into details about my own personal outing (Oh God, that sounds like I went to the seaside for the day; I mean in the press) because obviously I would prefer to protect my anonymity/.
What I haven't ever really written about is what happened when I was outed at work. I think it's time I got it down, firstly for my own cathartic reasons and secondly it is a perfect demonstration of whorephobia and the stigma sex workers face. I also feel a bit uncomfortable telling this story to other sex workers who also have other jobs because it scares the hell out of them. However, if this blog works as a reminder of why you should be really fucking careful then it's done some good. Some details are sketchy or have been altered to protect myself.
When I started escorting it was on a very part time basis. I had a full time job which was fairly demanding and meant working weekends, but this worked well because it meant I was able to work on week days when I was off work which tend to be the busier times. I didn't live with anyone I had to hide it from and my lover and best friend at the time were very supportive.
In a way escorting saved me. It sorted me out financially and I as I was started to feel disillusioned with one night stands and meaningless flings it gave me sex without the crap that went with it and despite what some people might think I found I didn't feel ‘used’ in the way I was starting to with men I would meet on civvie street. In fact I still say to people that most of my clients are nicer, kinder, more honest and more reliable than many of the non paying men I have had in my life!
Everything ticked along nicely, me being happier than I had been in a long time. Juggling work and clients was easy. I didn't have to see many clients because on top of a decent salary the extra £200 or so a week made a massive difference to me and I was getting debts paid off and able to enjoy life again. I was hardly out buying Louboutins and jetting off on luxury holidays, but able to do , you know, normal things like pay my bills on time, be able to afford to meet friends for dinner after spending so long having to turn down most social arrangements.
I'm going to skim over the story of who outed me and the background to that huge almighty fuck up of a relationship but I will say it was someone I had only known about six weeks, it was a bit intense and I felt I needed to tell him about my escorting work because at the time I thought it was a relationship going somewhere. Once I realised he was controlling, manipulative and a liar I got out. I ended it nicely (it's not you it's me type thing!) It was a fling, it was brief, it didn't work out, no harm done... you'd think.
Oh how right I was in my suspicions this man was a nutjob. He didn't take being ditched very well. After much pestering, begging, threats, anger, tears, accusations of STI's via text, voicemails and emails for two months he did finally go away.
However, four months after the end of the six week fling he reappeared. Well, actually he didn't reappear, what did appear was an email sent to several departments of the organisation I worked for. The email was written as if from a third party who knew that I was working for them and as an escort and how could they allow such a disgusting person be part of their organisation. There was a helpful link to my adultwork profile and a couple of personal bits of info thrown in such as my job title and where I lived.
The person who first picked up the email; someone I worked with a lot and got on well with came to see me with it. She assumed that it was all a made up lie and wanted to warn me that I obviously had an enemy. Incidentally, she got bollocked and taken down a disciplinary route for telling me first and not flagging it up to her manager first. She suggested I went to tell my manager and I felt I had to because she did have a responsibility to deal with it and I didn't want to have to make her feel disloyal by doing it. I'm glad I did because it would have come out anyway once other people had seen it (It went to the PR dept and the directorate too I discovered later).
So, I showed my manager and admitted that parts of it were true. He freaked the hell out and I ended up reassuring him that I was fine and I was happy doing it. Off he went to HR in a tizz. Seriously, for a senior manager he handled it appallingly and made it obvious he had no idea how to deal with me or seem to be able to cope with me as a sexual being. I was so the opposite end of his scale of the kind of woman he finds attractive! I also suspect he thought sex workers should look like Julia Roberts in Pretty woman or be heroin addled drug or some other stereotype.
Later that day I had to go to an informal meeting with him and HR where I was asked all manner of embarrassing questions. As much as I was proud of myself for getting my life together by escorting I couldn't help feeling excruciatingly embarrassed and shameful for having done it. I suppose in a way it was like discussing sex with your elderly granny which probably is a good analogy of the organisation I worked for. It wasn't a street wise teenager of a company, it was a prim, conventional, old fashioned stuck in the dark ages kind of place.
Fun questions included Why didn't you tell your manager you had a second job as per company policy? WHY DO YOU FUCKING THINK?!
Have you ever conducted business on company property? Now, if you knew where I worked you'd find this as hilarious as I did.
They asked me about the legality of what I did, who else knew, was I paying tax, where did I advertise, did I think it affected my ability to do my job properly. I mean seriously- I had been there ten years with a perfect record, little sick time and had been promoted in the last year, I hit targets, I ran a department and it's million quid budget, I was respected and frankly shit hot.
I reassured them that I would give up (ha!) and that my job wasn't effected, as surely my boss would have noticed. I only worked occasionally- maybe an hour or two a week and I was very discreet. There was nothing out there regarding my real identity or place of work and that it was only because of some insane, spurned dickhead it had been revealed.
Everyone who I told about this reassured me. It would be fine. Say you're sorry and you'll give up straight away. They can't fire you, you've done nothing wrong, it doesn't effect your work, it's not illegal, what you do in your own time isn't their business blah blah blah.
I was told they weren't going to suspend me whilst they 'investigated' further pending a formal disciplinary, but there were some limitations put on me and I know full bloody well they didn't suspend me because they needed me to cover over the Christmas period.... So I plodded on, more miserable than I ever had been, I was told not to tell anyone at all, so my team were confused at my behaviour and why I wasn't doing certain things and hiding in my office. My boss couldn't look me in the eye and actively avoided me. I was scared and upset about my job and bewildered as to what they were doing to 'investigate' and he was fucking useless. He was furious with me for 'being so stupid' and 'bringing shame on the organisation'.
So Christmas passed and then on New Years Eve I was hauled back to HR (who had come in specially) and told they had investigated and discovered 'incriminating evidence' on my computer. What they had actually found was a word document I had drafted, a Gumtree ad for a threesome, nothing to do with sex work at all but a private thing with a lover. They also had a couple of photos I had inadvertently downloaded (or uploaded, I don't know) wearing tarty clothes and one topless one. Again these were for the lover I had emailed (via hotmail, not the work email, I wasn't that stupid) but had somehow ended up on my hard drive.
Despite being comfortable with my body and taking my clothes off for strange men I was HUGELY embarrassed by this. It was mortifying. Despite quite liking men getting off on photos of me I was cringing like mad over the fact people in IT, HR and my boss had seen these photos. At this point I was suspended. I had the humiliation of being escorted to my office to collect my things, had my staff pass and keys taken away and escorted off the premises like some common thief.
As I walked to the train station I knew I would never go back.
A good friend had put me in touch with a lawyer who despite everyone else telling me that they couldn't sack me told me that yes, indeed they could sack me. Despite not using company property, assets or time to escort, the fact it isn't illegal I was still potentially bringing the company name into disrepute.
I had already decided that I couldn't face going back and never wanted to see my boss again and having discussed it with the HR woman (who was fantastic and kind in many ways) I realised by resigning prior to a disciplinary hearing I could go with an unblemished record and a good reference.
I think they would have sacked me if I had gone through the disciplinary process. I had worked for them long enough and with HR enough times on disciplinary hearings for both my own staff and as an independent manger for other departments to know how they operated and the things they kept raising such as policies regarding second jobs and using company equipment they were gunning to get me on something.
Ten days after I resigned the tabloid rag printed their story on me so even if I had got away with a slap on the wrist I'm pretty sure I would have been forced into leaving one way or another. Yeah, the psycho man was responsible for telling the paper too...
It's a shitty story I know, but it happened and I'm fine. Please don't feel sorry for me, these things make me a stronger person and quite likely I am much happier than where I was a few years ago.
The points I want to make are:
Be very careful if you escort and you work elsewhere.
The stigma of escorting sucks.
Can you imagine if I was bringing a company into disrepute for being a birdwatcher or into knitting or if I babysat the kids next door twice a week. What about firing someone for making a bit of cash on eBay or for staying up all night playing Candy Crush. Why is sex work a reason for forcing someone out of a job? Why does society think that this industry is akin with stabbing kittens or kicking old ladies in the street?
I have some theories but I'd love to know what others think.
I discovered the other week that I had received traffic to my website via Mumsnet. I had a look on their and did a search but could not find any link to me or this website at all. I thought it was probably something to do with this post which was my response to the Invisible Men Tumblr as I had quoted some thoughts from mumsnetters and linked to their thread about it.
Anyway, I found I had a few more hits whilst looking at my Google Analytics page today so thought I would investigate further and (after some faffing!) found that I was indeed linked on the Mumsnet thread. However, it appears whoever linked me had their post removed and possibly some comments were also removed as there was a swathe of deleted posts just before someone does mention my blog and then towards the end of the thread I am mentioned by name.
I am not inclined to join Mumsnet to give my own response so here is an letter to them. If anyone who is a member does want to link it or cut and paste it to the thread I don't mind.
I have no idea if whoever linked my blog piece on the website The Invisible Men did it because they found it a useful addition to the debate or if they wanted an excuse to be further outraged by it. Interestingly the post that linked it is not there anymore and of course I have no idea why.
I would like to clarify a couple of points.
1) I wrote the blog in an attempt to show that one needs to look further than a few lines of prose to get the whole picture. I also wanted to give my own personal view on reviews.
2) I have never thought that ALL sex work comes from a good place. I am aware my experiences in sex work are largely very positive, but I know not everyone's are. I am as appalled as any human is by abuse and suffering. I am not in denial that everything for all sex workers is hunky dory. Equally, I know not all clients are a respectful as mine.
One of the things that most annoys me is the RAGE against prostitution and the men who pay for sex from people with NO IDEA and those using flawed statistics and parroting from the anti prostitution lobby.
I don't expect everyone to share my opinions, and I can quite easily see why it would be hard for some women to comprehend how I do my job. However, my opinions made from my experiences in the industry and very valid and very real.
I could have joined mumsnet to defend myself, but I am not a mother and I don't feel it's my arena to join. Based on the comments directed at those who are clearly opposed to all forms of prostitution and the insults directed at those who have tried to put across their views there would be no point. These people have made their minds up and nothing I would say would make any difference. Besides I have better things to do with my time!
A new link to my original post has now been put up since I started writing this blog and someone is obviously 'spying' on me because I have been accused of lurking and a link to my twitter feed has been added.
In response to some of the things said about me:
Now she's lurking and insulting people publicly. Really vile. It's unbelievable someone can think like that.
I have a commercial interest in finding out where my website hits are coming from and I was of course intrigued why I was appearing on Mumsnet. Hardly my target audience. Also, who have I insulted? OK on Twitter I said: And no wonder men pay for sex if they are married to moralistic, sex is yucky, narrow minded old bags!
OK, a bit unfair I admit, but yeah, men do pay for sex when they are in a relationship with women who don't give their partners affection, kindness and time. Yes, and sex too, but it might surprise many people that it's not all about sex.
Other than that I have not insulted anyone personally (unlike a couple of Mumsnetters!) or any more than that one tweet shown above.
It's interesting that whenever pro-pimp/punter apologists post something they think exculpates them, they simply demonstrate their revolting beliefs and lack of intelligent thought. They make the case against themselves better than anyone else.
Seriously? My beliefs are revolting? Which ones exactly? Lack of intelligent thought? OK, fine you think that without knowing anything about me! So it's OK for you to insult me but not me you?!
Apparently we are just bitter, ugly and no good in bed. She'll be claiming our husbands all wish they could pay for her services next.
Again, you have no grounds for this accusation. I have never said that. Lying is a particularly unattractive trait sweetie.
It would be of course very easy to insult those who don't agree with me, I could easily say "Ha ha, some of your husbands pay for sex!", but I won't.
I know many many husbands pay for sex and statistically some of those on that thread do have partners who cheat or see escorts. I don't actually condone cheating myself and I think it's a shame so many people are in long term relationships that aren't open and honest enough for intimate issues to be discussed. I don't laugh or sneer at the wives whose husbands I see. I don't feel anything. It's not my place to judge someone else's relationship.
Let me summarise again the point I was trying to make regarding the Invisible Men tumblr. I'll try and be clear so the hard of thinking can comprehend:
Ultimately, many women enjoy sex work. I am not rude about monogamous, sex free relationships so why should anyone feel they can be judgmental about my choices?
I also do not feel I can discuss a job that I have never worked in and pretend that I know just what it is like and how someone doing it must feel. Therefore kindly fuck off with your half baked, inaccurate, mythical fairy tales borne out of your own insecurity and sexual suppression.
Things I am happy about today:
Happy Thursday all!
Discovered today I have a new Punternet Field Report! Here it is if you're interested!
You may or may not be aware of THIS webpage. The point it is trying to prove is a little vague. The site says:
Before I start with this blog I need to say I know I am coming from this as a privileged escort. I choose who I see, I don't have to see everyone who calls me, noone controls me and I genuinely love my job. I am fully aware many women do not have this and whenever I write about how fortunate I am or about issues regarding criminalisation I try to be mindful of this. So, before I continue, I AM aware that some men are twats and some women are unhappy and abused. I am just putting an alternative view on the Invisible Men project.
Each day on this website there is a picture of a mask with words taken from the Punternet review section.
Now reviews, they can really help with establishing an escorts reputation and certainly increase hits to a website. My reviews have always been pretty kind and complimentary. They usually give me a warm fuzzy glow and I am not offended by them or feel objectified by them. Again, I am lucky I get to see lovely respectful clients.
However, I must admit sometimes I read reviews and I do feel for the woman. They can be brusque, demeaning and personally insulting to a woman. On the other hand, like in any service industry there will be good and bad and views are subjective. The point of 'bad' reviews is to let people know what to expect in the same way that we might research a new laptop, restaurant or tattooist.
Choosing an escort can be tricky. I have heard many stories of men finding it hard to get a reply from women on Adultwork. There are tales aplenty of bad service and of men being ripped off or threatened by heavies as as well as a concern from many men that they might pick someone who is trafficked, forced or really doesn't want to do the job. Trust me, most men are not abusers and most men want no part in using the services of an unwilling woman. They also have to look out for themselves. They are parting with a lot of hard earned money, they often nervous about discretion and might have a limited time slot. As a minimum they need an escort who will be where she says she is at the agreed time, provide the services he requires and make him feel she is enjoying it too. On top of that he might desire a safe area to park his car, a woman who is able to converse in good English or who has natural boobs.
It's not uncommon to hear of women stretching the truth about their age or dress size. Whilst I believe sexiness goes deeper than how old you are or how much of a tummy a customer has a right to make these choices. If you really fancied a steak and chose a restaurant which promoted it's wonderful aged Scottish steak then showed up to find that they were only serving vegan food that night, however yummy the bean and lentil stew might be you're going to be pissed off.
Review sites exist to help men choose the right escort for them and to check out if she is what she says she is.
The Invisible men project has clearly cherry picked quotes to shock and outrage. The graphics help create an image of faceless women with no features and are nothing more than a price tag. There has been much applauding of the project and from the responses on this Mumsnet thread it's clear the aim and result was to shock and disgust people. Comments include:
"certainly gives the reality of prostitution. so sad."
"Well, yes - because they are using women as objects - they might as well be toasters for all they care."
"Really sad - this is the reality of prostitution. None of that happy hooker nonsense."
"You can't respect men like this. There is no way the women they pay to be with respect them or think anything much of them, regardless of what these deluded freaks might think."
"Nooo, the basis of the argument is that men who use prostitutes are utter cunts."
And before I get accused of cherry picking, there were a couple of attempts by posters to question the project, but they were quickly shouted down and 90% of the comments were expressing disgust and supporting the project.
This New Statesman article by Helen Lewis attempts to be unbiased but clearly is supportive of the project and only looks as far as the words written and without any context.
And what of lovely things men say? No examples of them at all. Here are a few quotes from my own Punternet reviews:
Thanks Lydia for reminding me how good sex can be.
We had a chat about this and that and Lydia gave me another blowjob, however, I decided to wank myself over her tits, a brilliant end to a great great first punt!
To say that Lydia specialises in this (anal play) would risk ignoring all her other lovely skills, but she was careful, gentle and considerate as she introduced me to some new experiences.
Beautiful sparkly eyes with the naughtiest glint in them, a wonderful smile and a cracking figure: curves in *all* the right places and the *most* fantastic boobs it has been my pleasure to come across...
Treat her with the utmost respect gents, Lydia is one in a million.
with great natural boobs and a friendly, intelligent face.
Hardly insulting or objectifying are they?! Do they sound like monsters who hate women? No.
So let's look at some examples used on the project and see them from a different stance..
"She expertly began oral on my bare cock slowly at first then with a little help at a faster pace occasionally holding her head down impaled on my cock while she gagged and choked but never wavered - extremely professional young lady!"
You know, there are women who enjoy gagging and choking (not me though, but I know some who do!). Who is to say whether she enjoyed it or not. I have found the original review and it ends:
"Very nice friendly & willing young girl thoroughly recommended!"
Doesn't sound like she was miserable and unwilling to have this done to her does it? Those who are appalled by this review are judging it on their own personal sexual preferences. Here is another...
"Disappointing started with OWO which she reluctantly performed"...."she wouldn't kiss nor would she let me touch her fanny"
Yes, this does sound as if the woman was unhappy in her job. The writer of the review ends with a question over whether she does the job by choice or not. The tone of the words doesn't suggest he relished the booking, for all we know he went home and felt like shit about it and vowed to research harder next time. His review, if it is a true reflection on what happened is a fair warning to other men, whether on a harsh 'Don't waste your money lads' level or a saddened 'Don't be part of this poor woman's unhappy life' level we don't know.
One more- Look at this:
Sounds pretty horrible when reading doesn't it? Sounds as if she was abused and used. Here is the full report
The reviewer says:
Nicha is very attentive. I was undressed, caressed, kissed and made to feel at home
Many WGs have said the head of my cock is quite large and Nicha certainly had problems getting it into herself. Once in though, she rode me like the Pony Express.
whenever I pulled my cock out and thrust it back in, she cried out in pain, but never asked me to stop. Fake of course but done so well that it was fantastic.
Nicha is quite lovely, has a fantastic body and good tats if that turns you on. She fucks like an animal, got soaking wet from all the cunt juice and will take a bit of rough. The woman is practically perfect.
Doesn't that full review make it sound like a two way street? The reviewer sounds Ok doesn't he? Yes, the language is graphic but I don't think he is the sadistic, rapist brute he comes across in the few words The invisible Men project chose to use. I'm fairly confident Nicha enjoys this kind of sex or at least is highly professional.
The anti prostitution movement will do anything to try and further their cause. I have written enough about my personal feelings of the job and have always made it clear that I am not blinkered to the suffering and abuse of others and I feel that help should be given to those who are abused and desperately want out. I don't deny their are some nasty men who pay for sex, but will always make the point that many are lovely and 'normal'.
Why can't everyone see there are many sides to the industry and those who use dirty tactics such as The Invisible Men Project use their time more productively?
Hello! Apologies for lack of blog lately, but have been a busy bunny and then away for a long weekend. Am having a writers block moment too- Anything you'd like me to blog about? Send in ideas, suggestions or challenges!
Am currently waiting for a man to come and mend my window who appears unable to give me any idea of what time so am unable to take bookings until I know (Yes, this is very fucking annoying) but I am about most of the week and taking advance bookings!