delve a little deeper....
Further to the Love For Sale documentary there has been some discussion on the choice of title. The main argument being that that you can't actually buy love and in any case that's not what most sex workers are selling anyway.
To be fair I'd rather be selling love than my body, which is the other thing people assume I am selling. I'm not. I am still intact, with all limbs after I see a client.
Of course the title comes from Cole Porter's Love For Sale, a song written for the Broadway musical The New Yorkers. This is Billie Holiday's version:
So, is love for sale a stupid title for a show about prostitution? Some could say that Everett's presentation made sex work seem romantic, exciting and glamorous. He reconciled his distaste for religion and his Catholic upbringing by telling the story of Jesus on the night before his execution in The Garden of Gethsemane being cared for by a "stripling in loose attire" , a male escort and that after all Mary Magdalene was his best mate (although I don't think there has been any consensus that she was a prostitute!). He also openly admitted that he romanticised prostitution and clearly has a deep fascination with it.
Whilst love never really came into the argument on this programme the trailer for the next show had Russell Brand declaring he loved the first prostitute he slept with. “I loved her. She was beautiful, elegant and sweet and ...and to be with a beautiful Filipino woman was magical.”
A typical comment from Brand who is well known to be flowery, poetic and lavish with both his language and outlook on life! He certainly won't be the first man to have claimed he was in love with a prostitute.
Books, films and songs have told of romance and heart break with ladies of the night and punting forums never go more than a few weeks without someone with their tale of falling for an escort. Some stories have happy endings (more realistic than Pretty Woman) but by and large the rule of thumb is not to fall in love with an escort and not falling in love with a client is also high on the list of rules they teach you at whore school and nearly every escort I know has broken it at some point.
...who's prepared to pay the price for a trip to paradise...
But love isn't what prostitutes advertise as offering. The closest is probably The GFE (The Girlfriend Experience) a marketing term which has come about to differentiate the experience from a wham bam, thank you mam experience that sex work used to be or that you might get in a Soho walk up.
The old adage that prostitutes never kiss a client is not true any more, kissing is essential to many men and to be fair many women who need a bit of something to get in the mood! The GFE doesn't mean sitting around watching telly and bickering or nagging the client to take the bins out then feigning a headache to avoid shagging. It's more about the whole experience of chatting, cuddling, kissing as well as having sex. It's different from the PSE (porn Star Experience) because its less likely to include fetishes, anal sex, BDSM and writhing around making stupid pretend sex noises.
Love can mean many things, we love our parents, children, siblings, friends, chocolate, kittens or a football team. I can say I love someone's dress or I love the colour of their nail varnish. Some men would say they love their regular escort, but in a safe way, with the boundary of cash exchanging hands and limited (if any) contact between bookings.
A GFE is all the good bits about having a girlfriend. And that's what clients get. Not actual love, but being made to feel they are loved, cared and wanted. It's not just about getting their end away (although of course it is in some cases and most times there is a happy ending). Sometimes friendships form. You get to know regular clients and dare I say it, even build up a fondness for them.
For some men, seeing an escort isn't just about sex. It might be about spending time with a woman, just being able to chat and touch them. It could be about fulfilling a sexual fantasy they they can't ask anyone else to do or simply having sex because their partner is unwilling or unable. Men who struggle in social situations or find it hard to meet women pay for sex. There has been much documented about disabled men meeting sex workers (Link to blog about Sex on Wheels documentary) and for many this is their only form of sexual, or even sensual contact. For some this might be a form of receiving love.
Of course, the polite term for sex is 'making love'. Personally, I reserve this term for when I am actually in love with someone and even then I find it a bit icky. Even if it's not said (I'm fine with 'I want to fuck you' as a come on!) When you're in love with someone sex is an expression of love, even if it's at 1am, after 4 bottles of wine and you're doing something really fucking kinky there's still love there. I guess the difference also is I wouldn't be that pissed with a client doing crazy stuff!
...Let the poets pipe of love, in their childish ways.
I know every type of love, better far than they...
Sex in the paid-for sense isn't the same as sex between two people who love each other, (far from it in most cases!) and 'Love for sale' as a documentary title does feel on immediate reflection a way of sanitising the sex industry. However, There's a long way between the love of your life and your favourite crisp flavour but we say we love them both.
Love is complicated and comes in many many forms. And so does sex work. And that's why I like the title.