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Monday, August 19, 2013

"Whores have more interesting backstories"

A young man mentioned to me recently that whores almost always have more interesting life histories than did the regular girls he met. I'd never thought about it before, but it's probably true.

Who is more interesting:

Girl A: Was brought up in a nice middle class home, father was a middle manager at a Fortune 500 company, mother was a homemaker. She studied hard, played field hockey, went to the University of Connecticut, and is now as an assistant product manager at Proctor & Gamble. She stays in touch with her circle of friends from college and has recently taken up triathlons. Occasionally goes clubbing.

Girl B: Was brought up on the outskirts of the Everglades. Her father was a fisherman and part time alligator poacher. (She helped him skin the alligators.) When she was 11, her father was killed by a water moccasin bite. Her mother later spent time in jail for transporting a controlled substance, which she did at the behest of her meth dealer boyfriend. While the mother was in jail, the boyfriend raped the girl, then 17. It didn't occur to the girl to press charges, but she did later steal some meth from him and sold it herself. With the money she got from that, she moved to Miami and got a job as a cocktail waitress, then soon discovered she could earn more by hooking on the side.

I realize that this sounds as if I'm romanticizing poverty in a particularly elitist way, making the poor girl's life sound almost appealing, when there's really nothing good about it. Any sane person given a choice would obviously choose to lead Girl A's life.

And to anybody who grew up in poverty, Girl A actually had the more exotic, intriguing background.

Still, most of us would probably be more impressed by the resourcefulness and toughness of Girl B than of Girl A.

I suppose that making this comparison is a little like pointing out that Ted Bundy has a more interesting backstory than the average well loved middle class child. The average child did not have a grandfather who swung a cat around by its tail and bashed its brains out against a wall. And the average child is not told that his unmarried mother is merely his older sister. Such a background is, of course, more interesting, but unfortunately the end result can be Ted Bundy.

Likewise, most prostitutes are hardly role models for well-adjusted, healthy lives either. Many are dysfunctional because of their abused backgrounds, and many are just plain too dumb to do much of anything else. (And this is ignoring those who were tricked or coerced into prostitution.)

All this said, the young man still had a good point: people who've had to scramble to survive have usually led far more interesting -- and often, admirable -- lives than those whose biggest worry in life has been their GPA.


Bob Wallace said...

Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

I drove a taxi and met a lot of hookers. They were all sick in the head and most had pretty normal backgrounds.

John Craig said...

Bob --
Well you've had more personal experience than me.

I think a lot of the "sick in the head" probably stemmed from drug use. I think a lot of addicts become prostitutes. Which, I admit, does not make them interesting.

Anonymous said...

You say that many sex workers do that line of work because they're too dumb to do much of anything else. Whilst that's possibly true for some, it does make me wonder why some very intelligent people have become sex workers. For example, Brooke Magnanti has a PhD in forensic science and now writes for The Telegraph. Another one I know of is an Oxford University graduate and has had 16 books of hers published. I wonder why they would follow that career track when they evidently have other skills?

John Craig said...

Anon --
I certainly wouldn't suggest that there are no intelligent prostitutes. And, actually, those are the ones I'm impressed by, which was the point of the post. They simply made a calculated decision about where they could make the most money, and did it.

I've heard that in the Czech Republic, where it's legal, some college girls will work their way through school by hooking. Honestly, I think that's sort of admirable.

All that said, I think the smart ones are definitely in the minority.

Anonymous said...

Is it really appropriate to call them "sex workers"? I mean, they pretty much just lay there. If I showed up to work and just laid around in bed for 8 hours, I wouldn't expect anyone to describe me as any type of "worker", other than a shitty one.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I think that term encompasses women who work as strippers, as (non-therapeutic) masseuses, and as porn actresses, and those occupations do require some expenditure of calories.

(I may be wrong about strippers, not sure if they're included in that category, although I've heard a fair number of them hook on the side.)

Anonymous said...

The term "sex worker" is appropriate because they *are* at work. They don't just lie there - they are requested to do many things they probably don't actually want to, and often have to sleep with people who are too ugly/horrible to get a partner. The sex worker I mentioned earlier (the Oxford graduate) explained that much of prostitution isn't about sex; she had to spend hours simply talking to her clients because they were clearly lonely. They often told her extremely personal things about their lives, almost as though they thought her a therapist - and it was her job to pretend she cared. Sex work isn't conventional work, but it's work nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

This isn't 2013 B.C., when there were only three occupations: hunter, gatherer, and prostitute. Anyone doing that type of "work", without wanting to do it, is not a Rhodes Scholar. The economy is not that lousy, that they could not find something less loathsome than rimming a fat guy with hemmorhoids, to put food on the table. Almost anyone who holds a job, is asked everyday to do something they'd rather not do, such as mopping a floor or writing a TPS report, but they do it because it's their chosen profession.
As for the talking, I suspect much of it is instigated by the "diligent worker" in question. On the HBO reality show about a whorehouse, the hookers routinely take the guy upstairs to their "work room" -- or as an Oxford grad might call it, their laboratory -- and immediately engage the guy in chitchat. Seeing that made me want to scream at the TV, "Bitch, you're on the clock and you're charging that guy hundreds of $$ per hour! Stop talking and use that mouth for what he's paying you to do," but then I remembered it wasn't my money or my dick, so why do I care.
In case you couldn't tell, I wasn't seriously asking about the appropriateness of the new PC term "sex worker", when the old standard, "whore", has worked so well for so many centuries at describing such individuals. "Whoremonger" is also an adequate label for the other participant in the transaction. You wonder above, "why they would follow that career track when they evidently have other skills?" The obvious answer is, because they are whores.