Girl Behaving Badly

Ideas sometimes take a scratch before they precipitate and so it was with this one: What would a sex worker’s Union look like?

I got a glimpse of it earlier this week.

I was made aware that there were formal complaints from providers about me. Namely, my tendency to wag my jaw and take my clients past our session deadline. I’ve gotten much better over the last few years but better than awful still isn’t good. When I first started, in my naïve enthusiasm, my clients routinely received two to three hours for the price of one. After I switched to massage and got a place I took that down but still struggled to stick to the clock. Eventually I took the easy way out and just gave up trying to stay on time. I imagined I wasn’t doing anything wrong if I just sat around talking, it was my problem and no one else’s.

Unfortunately, it’s become other people’s problem and instead of risking confrontation, the grieved parties wisely designated someone I’m reasonably close to as their representative. She took me to task, and not gently, either. She outlined exactly what the problem was, how it was effecting people, and what would be done if it didn’t change.

It took me a full day to cool off and several more to work through my feelings. My idea of myself as a supportive community member and consummate professional was shattered; I felt angry, ashamed, sad, defensive, all peppered with a certain amount of self recrimination. I felt like a child who had just been disciplined by her mother for something I should have had figured out years ago and I determined to change immediately. Over the last few days I’ve written, thought, and talked about it almost nonstop and I am now excited moving forward.

So this is what a sex worker’s Union looks like: Several folks getting together and formally complaining to the ‘union rep’ and that rep acting as skilled and passionate intermediary to protect the community from physical, emotional, and financial harm. Not too bad, huh?

I fell into burnout recently, as many of you already know, and took time off. Reflecting on my recent disciplinary action and the reasons I had given myself for my burnout several things suddenly clicked. I’d been far busier than I thought! Fifteen minutes doesn’t feel like a big deal at the time but a weeks worth of ‘just 15 minutes’ is a LOT of time. Talking with a meditation teacher helped me realize just how valuable 15 minutes can be. How valuable one minute can be. By failing to protect my time, I also failed to protect my joy and enthusiasm for my work and for myself. And so I burned out.

I’d like to make a formal apology to the conscientious clients who foresaw this and have protected my time for me; that burden will be much easier moving forward. I’d like to apologize to my colleagues who have experienced bad behavior inspired by my own. I’d like to apologize to my friends who have been advising me of my errors for several years now and have been brushed off. And I’d like to apologize to those who have gotten used to free overtime for setting a precedent that caused discomfort and bad feelings with other providers. Moving forward I pledge to hold our time together sacred; to protect you, myself, and my community as best I can.

To my beloveds who’ve gotten used to long, luxurious get togethers: Good news! We can still have them! But we’ll have to arrange them that way beforehand and stick to the plan. Social time doesn’t have to be limited to only one half hour and doesn’t have to happen inside. A nice long snuggle session is a lovely compromise.

Thank you to my friends who support me, my clients who patronize me, and my Union Rep who Certainly has my respect.