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"For the rest of the evening my name will be Violetta."
September 7, 2008 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Radar magazine: Secrets of a hipster hooker.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (168 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The non-print, multiple-page version has the comments.

Excerpt:
"You've got a great ass, but your tits are too small, frankly," [the madam] observes. "I mean, I'm sure you have no trouble getting dates, but the girls will tell you, men love breasts." Then she adds decisively, "I'm thinking $950 an hour."

[...]

Before I know it I'm dashing home to put on some makeup for a two-hour appointment with one of her clients. For the rest of the evening my name will be Violetta.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:24 PM on September 7, 2008


Oh good lord. What in the world does 'hipster hooker' mean? Is she blowing dirty old men 'ironically?'
posted by jonmc at 1:26 PM on September 7, 2008 [50 favorites]


American Jouralism meets American Apparel®.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:30 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, they correctly guessed that adding the word "hipster" on to anything would get them linked all across the interwebs.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:30 PM on September 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


I call bullshit. Nothing in this story rings true - it reads like a rejected script for an episode of Sex and the City.
posted by kanewai at 1:32 PM on September 7, 2008 [6 favorites]


Does anyone actually describe themselves as hipsters? They seem to be universally reviled.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on September 7, 2008


Hookers! I say it louder.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bet you anything this article was written by a man. A man who dearly wants to be a hipster hooker. Whatever that is.
posted by jokeefe at 1:38 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


To be honest, I'm amazed that hookers stay in business. Is it that hard to get laid these days? Plus, wouldn't paying someone to alleviate your loneliness make you feel even lonelier? I'm just saying.
posted by jonmc at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


$950 seems such a not ready for primetime and I know it number.
posted by krautland at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2008


Hipster hookers blow ironic old men dirt-ily.
posted by Science! at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2008


I don't care what kind of t-shirt you wear, if you're blowing i-bankers for coin, you're not a hipster.
posted by felix betachat at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Whatever that is.

$2000, which may in fact be slightly greater than the amount you would expect in town, from what I have heard about these things, which is admitedly very little.
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Schoolgirl outfit? *laugh* Yeah, I guess the girls are doin that now.

Let me strap on my clown suit.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't care what kind of t-shirt you wear, if you're blowing i-bankers for coin, you're not a hipster.

Well, Threadless tees are really absorbent.
posted by jonmc at 1:43 PM on September 7, 2008 [12 favorites]


Is it that hard to get laid these days?
It ain't hard to cook a meal, either, but you don't see McDonald's struggling to hang on.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:45 PM on September 7, 2008 [36 favorites]


Wolfdog: sex isn't a burger. Getting a Quarter Pounder dosen't make feel bad for not wanting to cook.
posted by jonmc at 1:47 PM on September 7, 2008


This chick (if she even exists, which I doubt) needs to grow a pair. She actually paid the woman $2000? What an idiot.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:49 PM on September 7, 2008


Getting a hooker doesn't make me have to feel bad about not wanting a 'relationship', whatever one of those is.
posted by nowonmai at 1:55 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lets hope writing pseudo-pr0n for Radar magazine pays well.
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on September 7, 2008


Getting for a hooker doesn't make me have to feel bad about not wanting a 'relationship', whatever one of those is.
posted by nowonmai at 1:55 PM on September 7, 2008


nowonomai: relationships don't enter into it. I just rather be fucking a girl who wants to be fucking me, not one who's laying back and thinking of Benjamin Franklin.
posted by jonmc at 1:58 PM on September 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


i just looked at the pictures.
posted by klanawa at 1:59 PM on September 7, 2008


she paid 2000 bucks? no, i don't believe it
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on September 7, 2008


I need to re-read "The Whore of Mensa."
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:05 PM on September 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


"I'm thinking $950 an hour."

She was actually thinking $9.50/hour but the writer-hipster-hooker-wannabe overvalues herself.
posted by grounded at 2:05 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can totally see why someone would make this stuff up, but I can't see why it's unbelievable. There are prostitutes out there, right? I'm assured that's true even though I have zero direct experience with this. What's wrong with the idea that they are as described/quoted in the article?
posted by namespan at 2:08 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just rather be fucking a girl who wants to be fucking me, not one who's laying back and thinking of Benjamin Franklin.

At $1000 an hour, she's not going to be just laying back. Being a very convincing lay probably gets you references for more work.

However, getting a Quarter Ponder does make me feel bad for not cooking, because I could have prepared something myself just as quickly and more nutritious. However, when I want a really good meal -- the sort that's beyond my ability to cook -- I'll go and pay for it. I'll even pay a lot for it if it comes with extras like a really nice place to eat it in. I don't feel bad about that at all.

So maybe sex is a burger. Or food at least.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 2:10 PM on September 7, 2008


Dear Penthouse Forum,

I never thought I'd be writing this letter, but...
posted by Optamystic at 2:18 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have to say, the title alone made me heave a deep sigh. Having just recently watched Shattered Glass has made me eye all pieces of this ilk suspiciously. But assuming it is factual, what does this piece tell us? That being a prostitute has its funny moments? Eesh.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:19 PM on September 7, 2008


The article is believable enough, particularly since everyone in the story is insufferably self-absorbed and absolutely loathsome.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


I hear that high-end prostitution is the next Belle & Sebastian.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2008 [13 favorites]


Yikes, this article is too close for comfort. I live disturbingly close to all the vegan restaurants in th East Village (including one directly below). Thank god it's fiction. It would be believable if the hipster hookers lived in Williamsburg or Fort Greene, at least. Hipsters don't hang at the Beatrice Inn/Members-Only/what-have-you velvet-roped doucherama--that's strictly for the social climbing female versions of the I-bankers.
posted by nikitabot at 2:24 PM on September 7, 2008


However, when I want a really good meal -- the sort that's beyond my ability to cook -- I'll go and pay for it. I'll even pay a lot for it if it comes with extras like a really nice place to eat it in. I don't feel bad about that at all.

Well, good sex (even good casual sex) to me, is about more than just looks and parlor tricks. The idea that a girl is doing it with me because she wants to (for whatever reason, and I realize those reasons may have precious little to do with me as an individual) makes for more fun than just some girl who's doing it for money. call me sentimental.
posted by jonmc at 2:34 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "hipster" label is just on there for web-hits. There's nothing "hipster" about anything described in the article, except a Village vegan restaurant. Unless the word has become meaningless to the point of applying to the women of Sex in the City, the women described aren't hipsters.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:42 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


It realy is time to retire the word "hipster". As this article so clearly illustrates, it means noth...or everything. You could have substituted just about any of the following buzzwords for hipster in the title, and not changed the article one bit. Preppy, ivy-league, 21st century, trust-fund, post-modern, millenial, Gen Y, and so on, and so on...
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2008


I'm really getting sick of hooker memoirs and hooker autobiographies and hooker slices-of-life and people who become or, indeed, visit hookers for the lulz because they want to write an article about it for some dripshitty magazine or blog. Prostitutes are people too, I get it. I now officially possess sufficient data on hookers. Wearing Chucks and casually distressed denims from 7 For All Mankind when you're not sucking cock provides me with no further insight.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:45 PM on September 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


Oh, and starting an article acting like you're going to try prostitution first-hand just to end the article with "but I didn't" is shitty cliffhanger bullshit.

"In this article I am going to shoot heroin to tell you what it's like ... no I'm not."

"I went behind enemy lines to report, but I ran back here really quickly before anything happened."
posted by Bookhouse at 2:46 PM on September 7, 2008 [11 favorites]


Yes, but for many men it's about getting it in, getting it off, and getting it out. It's a mechanical thing, and the other person involved only barely needs to have a pulse.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:46 PM on September 7, 2008


I'd expect a hipster prostitute to look more like this or this, be sarcastic in bed, and then steal your credit cards on the way out.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:47 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just rather be fucking a girl who wants to be fucking me, not one who's laying back and thinking of Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman and diplomat. As a scientist he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and a musical instrument. He formed both the first public lending library in America and first fire department in Pennsylvania. He was an early proponent of colonial unity and as a political writer and activist he, more than anyone, invented the idea of an American nation and as a diplomat during the American Revolution, he secured the French alliance that helped to make independence possible.

They were all thinking about Benjamin Franklin, jonmc. Every last one of them.
posted by Simon! at 2:48 PM on September 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


Steampunk hookers, that's where it's at.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on September 7, 2008 [6 favorites]


Men often make passes
At thick-framed girl glasses
And bikes with fixed gears
And PBR beers
And bang-cut hairstyles
And white lipsticked smiles
And workboots with gowns
and ironic put downs
From Jezebel and Bust;
They inspire such lust
For girls who arouse
You as they casually browse
Your MP3 playlist
Then they doggedly insist
To see your collection of books
And with a few expert looks
They tell you their price
For an evening of vice.
The cost is expensive,
And reasons extensive:
Your Ivy education,
Your hedge fund vocation,
Your shirt with popped collar
All add dollar after dollar;
Your Ayn Rand collection
Nearly inspired rejection
But your stack of rare vinyl
Made the decision less final.
If you were a drummer in Kings
It wouldn't cost you a thing;
It's an inexpensive all-nighter
For an Rockaway writer;
But you, with your teeth capped
And your Abercrombie knapsack
And your life in the fast track
And your American flag tie tack?

She offers you bohemia
And pleasure without end
But if you want to be with her
Get ready to spend.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:49 PM on September 7, 2008 [70 favorites]


I could have prepared something myself just as quickly and more nutritious.

In the time it takes to order and get a Quarter Pounder. I think not. I too can cook better than McD - can't anyone? - but to say 'as quickly'? Hmmmm. Surely not. That's the whole point of McD.

Besides, keep your heresy about 'nutrition being good' to yourself. Hippy.
posted by Brockles at 2:49 PM on September 7, 2008


Yes, but for many men it's about getting it in, getting it off, and getting it out. It's a mechanical thing, and the other person involved only barely needs to have a pulse.

Those people are sad creatures. If all you want is an orgasm, you can do that with your hand and it'll be a whole lot cheaper. Even purely recreational sex should involve some interpersonal attrction.
posted by jonmc at 2:51 PM on September 7, 2008


What in the world does 'hipster hooker' mean? Is she blowing dirty old men 'ironically?'

More importantly, are there hipster pimps? And if there are, do they use amusing portmanteau like pimpsters or himps to describe themselves? Do they wear fedoras, and if so, how do they reconcile that perfect storm of conflicting sincerity, cliche, industry tradition and douchebaggery? Inquiring minds need to know!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:51 PM on September 7, 2008 [6 favorites]


And if there are, do they use amusing portmanteau like pimpsters or himps to describe themselves?

Loooove Brokers!
posted by jonmc at 2:53 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Simon! They were all thinking about Benjamin Franklin
He was quite the guy, good ol' Ben, but he wasn't renowned for being hot.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:55 PM on September 7, 2008


wait, what rubbers do hipsters use?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:56 PM on September 7, 2008


i suspect that benjamin macked with the best of them
posted by pyramid termite at 2:59 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like how, when the girls hadn't been on a date in a while, they felt depressed. That's about where I stopped reading. Frankly I'm disappointed she did not go through with it. She might not be a 'whore' but that does not mean she is not complicit.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:03 PM on September 7, 2008


wait, what rubbers do hipsters use?

Lambskins, because, ironically, they dont work!
posted by jonmc at 3:04 PM on September 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


also:jonmc...paying for sex is not about ease. It's about paying for sex.

This is something that appeals to some people. I'm not one of those people, but I know people who fall into that category, and most of them are guys who have no problem getting it for free. Not to go into too many specifics, but let's just say I know dotcom guys who made millions, I know musicians who have had videos on MTV and have groupies waiting for them in every city they tour, I know A few guys who have played professional sports. And with a few exceptions, pretty much every guy I've known with a certain amount of money to toss around ends up paying for sex.

I'm not saying "all guys want hookers" I'm just saying if you have the money, and a certain disposition, supply does not affect demand.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:07 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


He was quite the guy, good ol' Ben, but he wasn't renowned for being hot.

Hot? Hot's a weird thing. I was just at my corner store. As I walked up*, the cute cashier with the glasses was schmoozing with the dwarf cashier from the Key Food** who was drinking from a cup of Starbucks coffee almost as big as him. She saw me and said "Beer or cigarettes?" "Beer," I said. "You can take your time picking it out,'" she said, not unkindly, as if she wanted some quality time with the dude. I guess they're dating. Good for them, they're both nice people.

*there were also a shitload of firetrucks including a HazMat van on 28th Street a block up, but that's a whole other story

**He's checked me and the Mrs. out a bunch of times. he's a handsome guy, actually. I didn't even realize he was a little person until I went to the other side of the register and realized he was standing on a milk crate
posted by jonmc at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2008


This is something that appeals to some people. I'm not one of those people, but I know people who fall into that category, and most of them are guys who have no problem getting it for free. Not to go into too many specifics, but let's just say I know dotcom guys who made millions, I know musicians who have had videos on MTV and have groupies waiting for them in every city they tour, I know A few guys who have played professional sports. And with a few exceptions, pretty much every guy I've known with a certain amount of money to toss around ends up paying for sex.

In that scenario, it's just like spending $50k on a diamond encrusted iPod. They do it because they can, which is equally depressing, if you ask me.
posted by jonmc at 3:12 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


First mind-control superMadam uses the force of her will to get the author to take off her clothes, but conveniently not her underwear for an inspection of her goodies. Then mind-control superMadam gets her to pay $2K for the blowing her first trick? That doesn't even make sense. Never call again sure, but demanding payment? The author does not seem to understand who was in a position to be blackmailing who.
posted by localroger at 3:15 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just rather be fucking a girl who wants to be fucking me, not one who's laying back and thinking of Benjamin Franklin.

you really should have some actually good sex some time...
posted by krautland at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2008


Wow... hipster and scenester in one story.
posted by Marky at 3:23 PM on September 7, 2008


You can leave your (ironic trucker) hat on.
posted by tommasz at 3:26 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


The hooking, I don't have a problem with. Smoking in a NYC bar, however, should be punished by public flogging.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:32 PM on September 7, 2008


Smoking in a NYC bar, however, should be punished by public flogging.

*glares*
posted by jonmc at 3:33 PM on September 7, 2008


Mayflower Madam for the noughties, or Belle du Jour in NYC. Another middle-class hooker story but nothing new, claims to hipness notwithstanding.
posted by goo at 3:37 PM on September 7, 2008


Oh good lord - Belle de Jour, of course.

The article lightly touches on the class aspect, the further I read, but it's still only an interesting story because it's not your everyday working girl, struggling to survive by any means possible. The 'romantic' element of prostitution is difficult to put your finger on unless you're Julia Roberts or have a fall-back.
posted by goo at 3:54 PM on September 7, 2008


What in the world does 'hipster hooker' mean?

I think it refers to the fact that she chickened out, angered her client, angered the madam, and owed people a good sum of money.
posted by boo_radley at 3:56 PM on September 7, 2008


Merely titillating, and hardly best of the web
posted by bluesky43 at 3:56 PM on September 7, 2008


Dear Penthouse Forum,

I never thought I'd be writing this letter, but,
as Baudrillard postulates...

Amended that for you.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:07 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


pretty much every guy I've known with a certain amount of money to toss around ends up paying for sex.

They are paying for sex, but mainly they are paying for the girl to go away afterward. Hookers make getting off [the bus] painless - other than a small amount of money - instead of half the dog, house and children on the weekends. I don't personally agree with the mindset, but have seen it and understand.
posted by stbalbach at 4:08 PM on September 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


The author's friends are stylish, well-educated, and professionally successful young women in New York City. They also turn tricks on the side for $2,000 an hour. One day she decided to follow in their footsteps
By Jessica Pilot


I am very glad that I am not a stylish, well-educated, and professionally successful friend of Jessica Pilot's, because that second sentence doesn't even lead with "Some of them..." and the intimation is killing me.
posted by cirocco at 4:13 PM on September 7, 2008


I'm thinking I'm going to track down the author's contact information, call her up, yell at her, and tell her that she owes me $2,000. If it's that easy, why not?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:13 PM on September 7, 2008


I know an anecdote from high school who did a similar thing. Started by dancing at the local nudie bar and ended up doing outcall in the city for $2000 a night.
posted by The White Hat at 4:18 PM on September 7, 2008


They are paying for sex, but mainly they are paying for the girl to go away afterward.

'I need a lover that won't drive me crazy/some girl that knows the meaning of/"hey, hit the highway...'"
posted by jonmc at 4:20 PM on September 7, 2008


The article is believable enough.

You think? There are a whole load of active sex workers commenting underneath that article who say otherwise.

Either way, I'm guessing that she'd make a better hooker than she would journalist. I mean, what kind of dumbass begins researching a story on the History of Prostitution by interviewing a couple of girls in their early twenties, and a part-time madame of 28? What the hell would they know about it? Unless she meant a history of sex work in the 21st century.

My money is on it being total fiction.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:29 PM on September 7, 2008


They are paying for sex, but mainly they are paying for the girl to go away afterward.

I think they're paying for other stuff, too, as is clear when you RTFA. Casual sex is easy to find... but girls who'll let you paste ejaculate-tacky bills all over their bodies and mouths? Somewhat less common.
posted by moxiedoll at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2008


I think the misspelled phrase "quarter ponder" sums up the MetaFilter experience quite nicely.

The story didn't ring true to me, but maybe if the author is dumb enough to pay some one $2000 for not having sex, then she might lack the imagination to actually make the rest of it up, too. Who knows?

I do think that the clear money maker in "hipster" or "girl friend experience" prostitution is writing semi- or pseudo-autobiographical books and blogs about it. It's been a staple of erotic writing since the dawn of time. I'm sure that if you went back to the furthest red-light cavern in a neolithic cave complex, you'd find sexy cave paintings of some Clan of the Cave Bears hipster prostitute providing an ironic and empowered sexy good time.

It may be that no one is actually doing such a thing, but we are all pretty eager to read about it. The intersection of sex work and sexy young women having erotic adventures is really, really titillating, and has sold an awful lot of books since at least Fanny Hill, if not well before.
posted by Forktine at 4:34 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The idea that a girl is doing it with me because she wants to (for whatever reason, and I realize those reasons may have precious little to do with me as an individual) makes for more fun than just some girl who's doing it for money. call me sentimental.

Meh.

While I've never had sex with a hooker, I've had plenty of sex with women who wanted to do it with me for free that wasn't much fun at all. So I don't see any intrinsic reason why payment would make the sex less fun. I'm pretty sure that it would absolutely depend on the person that you were having sex with.

Of course, if you've got a deep rooted objection to the idea of paying for sex then it probably wouldn't be much fun for you. I should say that I've long held such an objection too, but when you reach your fifties and realize that the *only* way that you'll ever get to sleep with women of a certain age ever again is if you pay to do so, then I can assure you that those objections begin to seem rather less insurmountable.

By my current reckoning, by the time I've reached sixty or seventy, I'm gonna be all over those hipster hookers like a nasty rash.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:44 PM on September 7, 2008


Reactions.

I called bullshit as soon as the magical madam convinced women making 300k with regular, trusted clients to give her half of their earnings for no good reason.
posted by prefpara at 4:44 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


They are paying for sex, but mainly they are paying for the girl to go away afterward.

Didn't James Taylor take that fact and turn it into a song?
posted by AccordionGuy at 4:44 PM on September 7, 2008


I'm just going to assume that the mysterious "celebrity magician" who's a regular is James Randi.
posted by the bricabrac man at 4:45 PM on September 7, 2008


So I don't see any intrinsic reason why payment would make the sex less fun.

One Word: Ego.

The girl who is fucking your for money sees you as a customer. The girl fucking you because she wants to is doing it because she wants to.
posted by jonmc at 4:52 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, if you are even entertaining the possibility that this is true, you need your bullshit detector recalibrated.
posted by the bricabrac man at 4:55 PM on September 7, 2008


Those people are sad creatures. If all you want is an orgasm, you can do that with your hand and it'll be a whole lot cheaper.

OK, let's say you're missing both your arms. Then what? Let's face it, there's an obvious place for prostitution in our society. There's no reason it should illegal. If you want to stop human trafficking, focus on actual human trafficking, not some poor woman or man trying to squeeze enough money from the throbbing cock (or gaping pussy) of American capitalism to rent an apartment or buy food. /rant

I still can't imagine the author actually paying someone $2,000, unless there was some sort of implicit threat (of physical violence) involved. I'd probably say "I got my story; go fuck yourself."

...but I don't know all the details. I only skimmed the article (but read all the comments, of course). It seems a little like SEO chum.

on preview: jonmc, I swear we've gone through this before. The only way to reach bodhi is to give up your ego completely. C'mon. You know that. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:57 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I stopped reading after the part about the "aging punk rock pioneer" who "wanted [to have her] force-feed him dog food" and "complained for an hour about how much money he was wasting and how easy it could have been for me to do it".
posted by milkrate at 4:57 PM on September 7, 2008


mrgrimm: I'm not saying it should be illegal. as a social libertarian, I'm in favor of it being decriminalized. I'm just saying why I won't participate.
posted by jonmc at 5:00 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Radar magazine: Secrets of a hipster hooker.
posted by OrangeDrink at 5:06 PM on September 7, 2008


I'm having a really, really hard time believing that this story isn't mostly or completely made up.
posted by meta_eli at 5:08 PM on September 7, 2008


Reactions.

Oh wow. That's some startling shit right there. Jessica Pilot, meet Stephen Glass.

Of course the whole thing reeked of fiction from the start. It's an article that includes sex and hipness as its primary elements, as well as what one commenter pointed out was the added spice of the author attempting to boost her own fuckability ("People will pay money to have sex with me!"). And the best part is? None of her sources need verification. Maybe the editor at Radar will ask for her notes, or even be bold enough to ask to meet the people in question, but we pretty much just have to take Jessica's word for it. The barrage of comments from actual sex workers seem to point to more than a few inconsistencies in her stated facts as well.

What depresses me most about this isn't just that we have another ambitious journalist shitting on the whole concept of journalism, but also, she just had to do it while flogging the Pretty Woman meme. Can we get over this shit already? For the vast majority of women, sex work is not some edgy, quirky, hilarious affair ("Oh, he wanted me to feed him dog food! Now how about that?"). It's a fucking living nightmare. As Susan Breslin is quoted as saying in the above-linked article, "It’s become increasingly hip to trumpet the “empowering” virtues of sex work, but the fact of the matter is that the realities of sex work are far too hardcore for most aspiring “hipster hookers” to handle."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:09 PM on September 7, 2008


I'm so sick of this wave of ivy-league callgirl stories. Whether or not this is true (highly doubt it) it should have no bearing on any discussion of prostitution. If a bunch of wealthy Manhattanites decided to work in an asbestos mine because they loved the independence, and like, totally hated safety regulations, they shouldn' be able to impact policy discussions. Every time I read an article like this I feel like a dozen or so discussions on trafficking are silenced by statistical misrepresentation and the illusion of universal agency and choice.

Maybe people like the author and her friends should get their kicks in some way that doesn't constantly resemble modern-day slavery.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:09 PM on September 7, 2008 [15 favorites]


The only way to reach bodhi is to give up your ego completely.

Hell, even Buddha never gave up his ego completely. Homeboy got a whole religion named after him, for crying out loud. Bet he scored a few babes behind that, too.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 PM on September 7, 2008


Boinking dudes for money/exotic dancing is the new hitchhiking across the United States. Since 1987, at every top tier liberal arts college in the country, at least one student has become an exotic dancer/streetwalker/high class call girl in the name of a senior project in womens studies or a creative thesis. Folks who want a book deal but don't have a strong idea of what they'd actually ever write about are getting Brazilian waxes and turning themselves on out.

And every good girl who wants the quick money that the sex trade provides, but can't quite admit it to themselves turns into an X-rated Dishwasher Pete.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 5:18 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I stopped reading after the part about the "aging punk rock pioneer" who "wanted [to have her] force-feed him dog food" and "complained for an hour about how much money he was wasting and how easy it could have been for me to do it".
*cough* Iggy.
posted by SPUTNIK at 5:19 PM on September 7, 2008


*rolls eyes, strips naked, rubs favorites on on breasts, moaning softly*

hey, it keeps me off the streets.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:21 PM on September 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


"These sleazy banker types came up to us and asked if they could join our table," Heather recalls. At first she told them to get lost, but she relented after the men ordered a cheese plate and some nice wine. One of the guys took a seat next to Heather and, after some small talk, disclosed that he had just left his wife. "I'm looking to spend my money," he said. He was fiddling with a cash clip stuffed with $100 bills. She accepted his business card and later Googled him. The man turned out to be a honcho at a major investment firm; the New York Times had profiled a charity he had started.

Holden Karnofsky?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:21 PM on September 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


*rolls eyes, strips naked, rubs favorites on on breasts, moaning softly*

hey, it keeps me off the streets.


This thread is worthless without pictures.
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on September 7, 2008


P.S.: 100% bullshit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:35 PM on September 7, 2008


Her boyfriend thinks she's an event planner. "I feel guilty sometimes when I come home and he's asleep and I'm still wired from my night, but I always climb into bed next to him and try to fall asleep. When he wakes up he likes to touch me and make love, and that's when it hits me."

Either it's complete bullshit, or this person is real and she should feel guilty. If her boyfriend knows and is okay with it, great. If not, even ignoring the infidelity aspect, she's exposing her boyfriend to dangerous health risks without him getting any say at all in the matter.

But it sounds like bullshit to me.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:37 PM on September 7, 2008


Of course she skipped the actual having-sex part of the story. You really think Radar Magazine would allow her to pursue a story that required her to have sex (or even get naked)? As an employer, that's just completely, comically insane. That's not a $2,000 fuck, that's a $2,000,000 lawsuit. You're not going to talk your way out of that one with a line about investigative journalism.
posted by ryanrs at 6:10 PM on September 7, 2008


Single link Radar post, who gives a fuck, seriously.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2008


It's true, Stonestock Relentless, I've always liked your posts better.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:19 PM on September 7, 2008


They are paying for sex, but mainly they are paying for the girl to go away afterward.

Sometimes he's paying to have sex with a girl much younger than he is, or sex with someone who isn't going to tell his wife, and sometimes he's paying for someone he can call "Mommy" while she changes his diaper, or for someone to crap on his face, or for someone he can piss on when he's finished.

There are lots of reasons men pay for sex. It's not just to make the woman go away, or because they can't get it otherwise. A lot of those reasons are not glamorous, sexy, "empowering," or hip.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:21 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


100 comments on this tripe because she's a "hipster" hooker.

If the title had been "Secrets of a Hooker" someone would have deleted this before the third or fourth post.
posted by Zambrano at 6:31 PM on September 7, 2008


If the title had been "Secrets of a Hooker" someone would have deleted this before the third or fourth post.

Duh, of course; it would've been a double.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:34 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


And that MBA from a university whose very name makes peoples' hearts beat a little bit faster

Which one is that, exactly?
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:37 PM on September 7, 2008


Hepcat > Hophead> Hippie > Hipster.

Next up: Hoopy Frood Hookers!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:40 PM on September 7, 2008


Iceberg Slinky is my hipster pimp name.
posted by Artw at 6:42 PM on September 7, 2008


Metafilter: Paying $2000 $5 for not having sex.
posted by lukemeister at 6:43 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Radar magazine: Secrets of a hipster hooker. liar liar pants on fire.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:43 PM on September 7, 2008


So you pimp downstairs, alone or in pairs?
posted by jonmc at 6:43 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is it that hard to get laid these days?

It ain't hard to cook a meal, either, but you don't see McDonald's struggling to hang on.


There could be another explanation for that.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:45 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I only read the first page and speed read the comments because I’m tired and have a lot to do, and its old news to me. Back in the day I had a good friend whose father played for the Baltimore Colts. Big John was in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and he ate a lot of LSD after he got back to Baltimore. His sister, Claire, at least when I knew her thru him, was a whore.

She was maybe 6' 2 and not a peach, but some people can’t get enough of that stuff... except for some people like me... specifically the time that John and I went to see her and she was beaten black and blue and showed us the revolver she had in her purse and asked me if I wanted to be her man.

Women got to love em.

I don’t know.... it rings true to me.
posted by Huplescat at 6:56 PM on September 7, 2008


Those people are sad creatures. If all you want is an orgasm, you can do that with your hand and it'll be a whole lot cheaper.

I've never understood that point of view. Whilst I have an aversion to paying for sex (never have, hope to never have to) I really don't understand the "your hand is just as good" horseshit - especially for a man. Wanking off is a release, nothing more. A sexual encounter with a woman is an experience. The two are so enormously different in scope and enjoyment (certainly to me, and I can't imagine how it wouldn't be for others) that they defy comparison. But even if the end result is all you are after, there's orgasms and orgasms for everyone, right?

Or maybe other people's sexual activities are as (comparatively) dull as chastising my crotch-monkey is. God, what a depressing thought.
posted by Brockles at 6:58 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I really don't understand the "your hand is just as good" horseshit - especially for a man.

Woody Allen (admittedly not the best advisor on these matters) once said that masturbation was healthy because it was sex with someone you love. So, in that sense, jerking off is better, at least from a mental health point of veiw than humping some woman who's just doing it for the money. at least to me. (and I've never availed myself of a prostitute although I've gotten a few lap dances).
posted by jonmc at 7:10 PM on September 7, 2008


Well, Woody Allen also showed that he considered having sex with his underage stepdaughter to be better than masturbation, so I suggest you pick a much more sensible metric...

Whether it is healthy or not is not the issue. I was refuting that it is in any way an acceptable/comparable substitute for sex with a woman/other. Being 'nowhere near as good as' doesn't make something 'not worth doing', necessarily.
posted by Brockles at 7:20 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, Woody Allen also showed that he considered having sex with his underage stepdaughter to be better than masturbation, so I suggest you pick a much more sensible metric...

Gee, is there an echo in here?

I was refuting that it is in any way an acceptable/comparable substitute for sex with a woman/other.

We're getting into murky territory here. I'm saying that I'd rather jerk off than have sex with a prostitute. This is not the same thing as comparing masturbation to sex with a willing/eager female participant. We're agruing past eachother here, sir.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 PM on September 7, 2008


As long as we are arguing past each other, and not masturbating past each other, then I think hygiene is being maintained.
posted by Brockles at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2008


Well, as long as you put newspapers down.
posted by jonmc at 7:38 PM on September 7, 2008


I hear Jack Ryan had a bird cage fetish.
posted by ryanrs at 7:45 PM on September 7, 2008


When it comes down to it, having sex with another person is just disgusting. When I was younger, hornier, and less crazy, I could make myself do it, but those days are thankfully long gone.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:46 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think I speak for the world when I say we're glad to hear it.
posted by jonmc at 7:48 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


When it comes down to it, having sex with another person is just disgusting.

you should try it somewhere else besides under a bridge
posted by pyramid termite at 7:58 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really? Why?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:58 PM on September 7, 2008


you talking about the billy goat incident? Hey, some people like Gruff sex.
posted by jonmc at 7:59 PM on September 7, 2008


*is about to order hookers for jonmc, picks up phone*
*reads thread*
*puts phone back down*
posted by stinkycheese at 7:59 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Really? Why?" was for jonmc.

you should try it somewhere else besides under a bridge

I've never actually had sex under a bridge. It's just when you think about it, people are revolting and loathsome.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:59 PM on September 7, 2008


I've never actually had sex under a bridge.

Really? The shade is refreshing and the support pillars are great for leverage.

people are revolting and loathsome.

Sure. and sometimes they're friendly and terrific. Just like you and me. Nobody's special, my man.
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on September 7, 2008


no, steve, they just live up to your expectations
posted by pyramid termite at 8:04 PM on September 7, 2008


no, steve, they just live up to your expectations

I mean physically.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:12 PM on September 7, 2008


Metafilter: Really, really hates people having sex for money.
posted by Artw at 8:15 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sometimes he's paying to have sex with a girl much younger than he is, or sex with someone who isn't going to tell his wife, and sometimes he's paying for someone he can call "Mommy" while she changes his diaper, or for someone to crap on his face, or for someone he can piss on when he's finished.

And so the agent says, "That's a helluva'n act. What do you call it?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:18 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


And so the agent says, "That's a helluva'n act. What do you call it?"

The Hipster Hookers!
posted by Songdog at 8:51 PM on September 7, 2008


The Hooksters!
posted by Songdog at 8:52 PM on September 7, 2008


The Hipstocrats
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:59 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


i suspect that benjamin macked with the best of them

indeed.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:16 PM on September 7, 2008


"That's a helluva'n act. What do you call it?"

the republican national convention
posted by pyramid termite at 9:21 PM on September 7, 2008 [9 favorites]


I've always felt uncomfortable being served by wait staff.. Something about the whole relationship feels like a real burden to me, as a customer. Getting their attention. The balance between ordering what I want (that is cheap), and affording them a good tip. The guilt over deciding you have had a bad experience, but knowing they need the money.

Some hgh end restraunts have the most remarkable wait staff though. They make it seem like it is their absolute pleasure to serve you. You are the centre of their world for the period of time that you are under their care. You want to talk, they'll make small talk. You ask directions to the washroom, they lead you to it. You accidentally step out of their way while you are walking somewhere (in most restraunts you'll be run down if you don't), they say "oh thank you, but after you please." The few times I've had experiences like that, it felt very good indeed. Professionalism, you know.

Still, I think this is fake :P
posted by Chuckles at 10:02 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


allen.spaulding: Whether or not this is true (highly doubt it) it should have no bearing on any discussion of prostitution. If a bunch of wealthy Manhattanites decided to work in an asbestos mine because they loved the independence, and like, totally hated safety regulations, they shouldn' be able to impact policy discussions. [...] Maybe people like the author and her friends should get their kicks in some way that doesn't constantly resemble modern-day slavery.

This analogy would make more sense to me were prostitution a legal but under-regulated service, rather than a tabboo, criminalized activity. The cases of modern-day slavery you allude to are largely a consequence of torch and pitchforking sex work into a black market, outside our public sphere of laws, regulated labor, and unions; they are the eternal backfire of zero-tolerance thinking, whether it come from the left second-wave or the right moral-majority, whether it be intended to protect sex workers (by nullifying their existence) or to uphold public decency. It fails workers. It fails public decency.

And equating an individual who consciously chooses sex work with someone getting their kicks in an asbestos mine is, if I may, just playing one more of the same suit of cards that got us here. It's only underground because we put it there.

Thus, I don't see how normalized "Ivy League" images of prostitution could ever poison our present discourse. Quite the contrary - anything that cures the topic of its repellence and direct association with crime, anything that encourages normalizing the trade from the dark alley and into the open agora, can only lead to improvements in the lives and rights of its workers.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:19 PM on September 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I just rather be fucking a girl who wants to be fucking me, not one who's laying back and thinking of Benjamin Franklin.

You have your kinks, I have mine, lets just agree to disagree...
posted by pupdog at 10:20 PM on September 7, 2008


kid ichorous, the analogy holds whether it kills your erection or not. The widespread abuses of sex workers and the extreme indignities suffered both by women who are trafficked and by other women who find themselves in sex work have nothing to do with zero-tolerance thinking and everything to do with the fact that we live in a patriarchy that chews up and spits out these women. Blaming second-wave feminists is just laughable and a pretty rough defense mechanism; similar to blaming abolitionists for making some slave owners mad. Look, I'm pretty comfortable banning child labor and I don't care if a bunch of wealthy Manhattanites lose something to blog about. The evils of child labor have nothing to do with social approbation. You may think this is just another job tainted only by puritanical thinking, but sex work does not occur in a vacuum any more than picking cotton did in the 1860s.

These articles do poison the discourse. They privilege the viewpoint of those who want to be sex workers but could leave whenever they want. They slowly silence the voices of the vast majority of sex workers; women who do not want to be there and cannot leave. By misrepresenting the reality of sex work in America in 2008, they provide yet another justification for the millions of Johns who convince themselves that the women they fuck for money want to be there. Enough already; this is no different than ministrel shows during slavery and the myth of the happy slave.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:35 PM on September 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


They slowly silence the voices of the vast majority of sex workers; women who do not want to be there and cannot leave.

Where exactly do you get the idea that these women constitute the majority of sex workers? Only last Wednesday, I was talking to a woman who has research interests in both sex work *and* in socially and economically marginalized migrant workers and she was complaining, yet again, about the way that the media and various other moral entrepeneurs massively overexaggerate the numbers of women who are coerced into sex work.

According to her, the overwhelming majority of migrant sex workers in London -- including those from both the far east, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe -- are there because they've made a rational economic choice to do so. Rather than choosing to work for buttons at some shitwork back in their home country, they come to the UK and make a couple of thousand a week for two or three days work. Often, they do 'tours of duty', in which they'll come, make a shitload and go back home for a while.

The woman that I was talking to was pissed off because moral entrepeneurs and their dupes are actually silencing the voices and contributing to the ongoing criminalization and stigmatization of the real majority of women working in sex work with their spurious claims about this very tiny minority while purporting to be 'concerned' about them.

None of which shouldn't undermine concern about their plight, or reduce efforts to address the problem of sex slavery. It's simply a desire to be accurate about the extent of the problem and to refuse to use it to validate sanctions against the rest of the women working in that industry.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


allen.spaulding: kid ichorous, the analogy holds whether it kills your erection or not.

I'm guessing you intended that as a joke, but if not, it rhymes with:

- Critics of the eighteenth amendment are just itching for a drink! (minted a century ago, good condition)
- Critics of the drug war are just jonesing for a hit!


the extreme indignities suffered both by women who are trafficked and by other women who find themselves in sex work have nothing to do with zero-tolerance thinking and everything to do with the fact that we live in a patriarchy

I disagree. While I won't sit here and argue that every case of abuse stems from criminalization, an opaque criminal market provides an ideal cover for abuses and trafficking.

My position on this, like yours, was not something thrown together yesterday. But I am starting with the assumption that sex work is not by its nature unalterably coercive. It sounds like you may be working from an entirely different point of origin; if so, I don't think your argument is with me.

The argument I am interested in is whether legalized prostitution necessarily coincides with increases in crime and human trafficking, or whether it lifts a curtain off the black market and allows social institutions that already serve the rest of society to address the problems of sex work - trafficking, health risks and safety, wages, etc. There's actually a lot written around this particular question, though (surprise) the US.gov tends to back the efficacy of total prohibition.

Blaming second-wave feminists is just laughable and a pretty rough defense mechanism; similar to blaming abolitionists for making some slave owners mad.

You're reaching for a parallel, and finding a strange tangent. Assigning some blame to the second-wave is more like apportioning some blame to the left for its (continuing) support of the war on drugs. It's criticizing advocates of a zero-tolerance policy for directly harming the communities they (ostensibly) intend to protect. Abolitionists never directly arrested slaves for practicing slavery, whatever the chaotically remote and Lorenz-effected consequences of their movement were.

These articles do poison the discourse. [...] They slowly silence the voices of the vast majority of sex workers;

I don't think it's ever fair to equate posing a contrary view with silencing speech. But if anything keeps the majority of sex work hidden from view, I think it's that big red letter pinioned to the chest.

...and it's working all night that's killing my happy.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:12 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Even if there's just one who doesn't want to be there, I think that's too many. And there's definitely more than one.
posted by batmonkey at 1:12 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Y'all need to watch "Everything". Scrogging for money might *start out* well, but it never ends well... or wendells or whatever.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:57 AM on September 8, 2008


Even if there's just one who doesn't want to be there, I think that's too many.

Sure. But the same arguments apply to indentured labour and other modern forms of slavery. Should we abolish housework because some of these modern slaves work in domestic settings?

Also:


*rolls eyes, strips naked, rubs favorites on on breasts, moaning softly*

*Spreads a bunch of favourites on the night stand. Ejaculates onto favourites. Begins slowly pinning them onto Ambrosia Voyeur's comments, one by one by one....*

You love it, don't you, you dirty attention slut! You'd even defend Paris Paramus if you thought it would get more clicks on your hot little favourites icon.

Mmmm. I love that tight, hot, wet little favourites icon, AV.

Wiggle it for daddy again...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:26 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll start reading the articles when metafilter sex work threads stop reading like a high school ethics class. "My daddy says" and "Its wrong because it is [earnestly]" and "walk a mile in [insert group of "other" here] shoes" ad double nauseum. If you spend too much time on the slippery slopes of sin, minimum wage labor, or professions involving touching, I'm telling you... your are going to throw your backs out.
posted by ewkpates at 4:14 AM on September 8, 2008


I had sex in San Francisco with a part-time hooker. Her name was (she said) Bobbie, and I was but a short time out of high school and in the army. She was, she said, a secretary full-time but did the sex thing for money she needed. She was sweet, rather good looking, and pleasant. I don't recall the charge for her services but it was not overly much but then that was years ago.

I had then and have now no regrests.
posted by Postroad at 4:19 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's actually a lot written around this particular question, though (surprise) the US.gov tends to back the efficacy of total prohibition.

Back it how? Other than transporting for purposes of illegal sex acts, and crimes involving children, there are no federal laws on prostitution. It is a state matter, and Rhode Island and Nevada allow prostitution.

I'm going to chime in that I can't romanticize the disgusting reality of prostitution in the US, but I totally agree that regulating a legal act would limit abuse of sex workers a lot more effectively than a completely ineffective and arbitrarily enforced ban. It would also dramatically limit the spread of STDs including HIV among that population.

As for slavery, I don't want to trivialize the true horror of international human sex trafficking, but I'm under the impression that in the US more often the fetters of human misery are drug addiction, economic imperative, or both. I'm not sure those fetters don't apply to all employment, legal or illegal that junkies and wage slaves are engaged in. Basically I feel like outlawing prostitution makes about as much sense as making it illegal for people with large debt to work for minimum wage. That's absurd, but I merely mean to point out that there are right and wrong ways to tackle the problem.

I suspect that Benjamin macked with the best of them

I've always wondered if macked, mack daddy, and the word macaroni in Yankee Doodle Dandy all derive from maquereau, which is supposedly French slang for pimp.

I was shocked (and saddened/disgusted) some years ago when a friend told me he hired a prostitute while travelling outside of the US. It's a secret that sometimes sits on me like a weight, because I know no one of our mutual acquaintance who wouldn't think less of him if they knew. I can't even tell my wife about it.

I feel like in a perfect world there would be a way for prostitution to exist without humiliation, degradation, blackmail, and disease, but we live in a world that is far from perfect.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:49 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Batmonkey, thanks for the links. I'm going to read them carefully later.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:57 AM on September 8, 2008


Where exactly do you get the idea that these women constitute the majority of sex workers?

Numbers are numbers. The vast majority of women in prostitution were abused as children. The overwhelming majority of prostitutes want to leave the job (The Elizabeth Fry Society found that over 90% of women in street prostitution want to leave but cannot). Finally, data exist that 60-80 percent of prostitutes are raped while on the job. Doesn't sound like something most people would want to continute.

But I am starting with the assumption that sex work is not by its nature unalterably coercive

Right, and I'm saying that in America in 2008, given the state of gender relations in which this behavior occurs, the entire enterprise is tainted with exploitation and subordination. Paraphrasing an old yarn, I'll be willing to be pro-prostitution in the post-patriarchy but we're a long ways away. The day there are no young girls abused at home and running onto the street, I'll reconsider. So long as these material conditions occur, they provide the background bargaining which sets the price structure of the market, undermines the ability of other women to have security in their bodies, blurs the line between consent and coercion, etc.

I don't think it's ever fair to equate posing a contrary view with silencing speech

But that's just silly. This viewpoint is the viewpoint of the extremely privileged, of those who are dallying for fun and who have easy access to various forms of media. It drowns out the voices of the powerless when it is incessantly repeated without a counterpoint. Look around. You don't see a marketplace of ideas on this issue, you see a country club of ideas where some people get to speak based on an accident of birth and predictable groups of disadvantaged people are kept outside of the gates of discourse.

If people wanted to cut down on abuses of women, look into the Swedish model, which decriminalizes the sex workers and views the Johns and Pimps as traffickers. It works far better than any other model (if the goal is to reduce harm, not to increase the sexuasl availability of women).
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:08 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is there a support network in the Swedish model for checkups / AIDS prevention, and how to work safely? Those dubious plusses are the only things that have made me favor Nevada's regulated brothel concept as policy.

Also, from a sociological study viewpoint, how do you seperate the exploitist occupation from the exploitable people? If prostitution is effectively eliminated does it improve the lives of people who became prostitutes because they were damaged by molestation and drugs, or do they drift into other niches where they are exploited? I know a lot of pimps probably recruit people into the lifestyle (with drugs), but is that a function of prostitution or poor regulation?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:17 AM on September 8, 2008


Metafilter: Wiggle it for daddy again...
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM on September 8, 2008


This article runs every ten years or so. I remember reading all about these same hip young hookers when I myself was young and hip and it sounded like an excellent career choice. Alas, it turned out that becoming a high priced call girl, at least in Charleston, SC, entailed more than sitting in a fancy bar in my best dress, because all my roommate and I got for this tentative venture was a glass of wine and some avuncular advice from a friendly man about the wonders of a career in dental hygiene. Then, ten years later, I read the same article. By then I was too busy taking care of kids to contemplate a career shift into the wonderful world of over educated sex workers, even though it would have been calmer and more lucrative. Now, here it is again and I'm old and cynical enough to recognize it. The names change and the tech gets higher, from your very own 1-800 line all the way to Blackberries, but it's pretty much just exactly the same. Here they are, the Trendy Girls With Degrees who Still Want to Fuck for Money, 2008 Edition! Yeah! It sells magazines, I guess.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:31 AM on September 8, 2008 [6 favorites]


BrotherCaine wrote: I've always wondered if macked, mack daddy, and the word macaroni in Yankee Doodle Dandy all derive from maquereau, which is supposedly French slang for pimp.

"Mack" and "mack daddy" do derive from "maquereau", which is French for "pimp".

"Mack" has been used for "pimp" in the US for at least 30 years; like "pimp", it went from a descriptor of a procurer to an all-around synonym for a cool Casanova over the last ten or fifteen years.


"Macaroni" has nothing to do with this: it's a piece of English-language slang that predates "maquereau" by at least 100 years.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:09 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had then and have now no regrests.

Careful, Postroad. You think you got lucky, but regrests can be transmitted even by asymptomatic carriers, and you yourself can be infected and remain entirely asymptomatic for years, only to wake up one morning to an absolutely nightmarish outbreak.
posted by skwt at 10:28 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


PeterMcDermott:
Strawman. Also, flagged.

BrotherCaine:
As a side note (full disclosure), I do support efforts by elective sex-workers to find ways to legalise what they do and ensure their health and safety, including their mental health. Banking their money, not allowing others to reap profit off their work, arranging laws to protect them from assault and abuse so they can report them without being punished, and making sure they have all they need to prevent pregnancy and disease.

It is my opinion that there are many cases of sexual abuse/assault that could be prevented if there were a shame-free way for both men and women to get their rocks off and satisfy kinks harmlessly.

I also think it would get (and this is possibly offensive to some) a few of those who value income more than relationships out of the relationship-seekers pool and limit some pain there for guys and gals who think they're getting into a lovematch but are really getting into a financial agreement.

Additionally, there's no way to know what the true impact of willing prostitution is, because it's so tangled up and obscured, and I think taking out the middlemen, suffering, and shame is the only way to get a clear picture.

Not that I think any of that will happen. At least not in my lifetime. But it would sure be nice to see some progress in the world's oldest profession.
posted by batmonkey at 10:28 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


The vast majority of women in prostitution were abused as children.

We're talking street prostitutes here, because those are the women that are accessible when it comes to this kind of study. They're a significant proportion of the sex industry, but not it's totality. They're the one's that are most accessible to police activity, most accessible to rapists and most accessible to researchers.

Besides the high prevalence of abuse, at least as many here in the UK grew up in the care of the local authority, and similar numbers are dependent on heroin and/or crack cocaine.

But correlation is not causation. Many women are sexually abused as children who don't become prostitutes. Many women grew up in the care of the state and don't become prostitutes. Those who do take it up as a career option do so because it's a fast way to make large sums of money.

The overwhelming majority of prostitutes want to leave the job (The Elizabeth Fry Society found that over 90% of women in street prostitution want to leave but cannot).

Questions/statistics like this are extremely misleading without more context. If you ask a street sex worker 'would you like to stop working in street prostitution at some point in the future', 90% will answer 'Yes'. However, if you ask them, 'will you trade sex work and the money that you make from it for a regular working class job, forty hours a week, two weeks leave a year', then most of them will laugh in your face.

Because the reality is, very few women *are* coerced into sex work. They have the same economic opportunities as other women in their class, but they happen to choose sex work because its easy money. In my city, we really don't have many pimps. Most of the women work for themselves. But even where women are working for pimps, they've generally already started working in prostitution before meeting their pimps.

The biggest factor involved in keeping women in prostitution is almost certainly drug dependency. However, here in the UK, we have free drug treatment throughout the UK, with waiting times no longer than two weeks. I have friends who work in services that facilitate rapid access to drug treatment for these women. In my city, at least, for anyone who wants to leave sex work, there is excellent support and retraining, and yet the number of women who do so each week is actually tiny.

Not because they're being coerced into staying in sex work, but because they're choosing to continue to do so. Yes, their choices are more constrained than those of most people, and when we're talking about street prostitutes, they've been subjected to a high degree of emotional trauma that makes change more difficult than it might be for a well educated, middle class person. Nevertheless, it remains a choice. Refusing to acknowledge that fact strips these women of what little agency and ability for self determination they actually *do* have.

And again, these are just a proportion of the trade here -- albeit the most vulnerable and marginalized segment of the industry. The women who work the streets tend to be too young, too old, or too dependent on hard drugs to get a job with one of the agencies, where conditions are safer and the money is better.

Most of the women who work in that setting see it *exactly* like a job. A job that pays very well, for very little time, with women who usually lack the training or qualifications to earn that kind of money in any other industry. How anyone can see that as anything other than a rational economic choice is a mystery to me.

Finally, data exist that 60-80 percent of prostitutes are raped while on the job.

Most of the sex workers that I've talked to believe that the reason this happens is precisely because they are socially marginalized and subject to criminal sanctions. This strips them of police protection by forcing them to work in isolated and vulnerable areas.

If I were a woman, I certainly wouldn't want to do it, and I wouldn't want my daughters to do it either. But if they'd made the decision that that's what they were going to do, I'd want them doing it within a regulated and effectively managed and policed environment.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:30 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Strawman.

What is?

Also, flagged.

You objected to my asking Ambrosia Voyeur to wiggle her favourites icon, after *she* came in here and started rubbing favourites all over her breasts?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:36 AM on September 8, 2008


Also, also: If you're flagging *me* as offensive, you probably need to be flagging the article as offensive as well, as my response to AV was nothing more than a satirical reference to this:
"Olivia recounts the time she was hired by a prominent hedge fund millionaire. "He took out all these large bills and placed them on the bed and said, 'Don't touch.' I was instructed to take my clothes off, everything. No foreplay. So I got on the bed, and he just stood at the edge of the mattress and stared. He told me that all the money was going to be mine by the end of the night. They were all hundreds—maybe 50 of them. Once I got naked, he got on the bed and unzipped his pants and told me to start playing with myself. I kind of just laid there and faked an orgasm. He started jerking off, and he shot all over the money." She smiles and hesitates for a moment before continuing.

"So then he grabs all of it in a bundle and throws it at me! I think he called me a dirty whore. Then he separated every bill and stuck them to my body. After he puts the last one across my mouth he looks at me and goes, 'I told you it would be yours.'" As the client watched, Olivia peeled off the bills and put them in a plastic bag. When she got home she let the money soak in the kitchen sink overnight, blow-dried it, and used it to pay her landlady. "I couldn't keep a straight face," she recalls. But didn't she find the experience upsetting? "You know, it was degrading, for sure. But so was cold-calling," she says, referring to a job she briefly held as a fundraiser for a local political advocacy group."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:41 AM on September 8, 2008


The indentured servant/home worker thing = strawman.

As to the flagging - maybe separate out your replies or indicate to whom you're replying?
posted by batmonkey at 11:03 AM on September 8, 2008


what
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:30 AM on September 8, 2008


Well, speaking as a 27 year old white American woman with an advanced education, who has earnestly fantasized about and considered sex work since an early age, and was not sexually abused, I'd just like to claim this territory for us ridiculously privileged women. WOO. jk. It makes me a little queasy to think what mitigating factors might have precluded me from enjoying the very same kinds of glamorized visions of sex-work this article represents. Needing the money being first and foremost. Having student loans isn't need, not to the degree that would drive a person to get a bruised soft palate or anal fissures.

So, you can lead a whore to culture, but then you can't make her think twice about opting for self-degredation, and, being a smarty hot pants, in her defense, she'll probably cite John Locke, on top of Dorothy Parker. (The way Dorothy would have liked him to be, amirite?)

And Peter, fuck you, pay me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:44 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: fuck you, pay me.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


RE: the human trafficking discussion.

I think it's pretty naive to downplay the reality of a lot of sex workers, in particular with regards to Europe. There is no disputing the fact that a great number of these women are abducted, live in a state of house arrest, and have to endure violence at the hands of their captors. A strong enough focus isn't being placed on the traffickers, but rather, the women themselves, who face deportation and absolutely no protection should they even find their way to the authorities for help. Even in the Netherlands, where the sex industry has arguably little social stigma, 79% of prostitutes surveyed said they were in the sex industry due to some degree of force. This is why Sweden might have the most viable solution yet.
In 1999, after years of research and study, Sweden passed legislation that a) criminalizes the buying of sex, and b) decriminalizes the selling of sex. The novel rationale behind this legislation is clearly stated in the government's literature on the law:

"In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem... gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them."

In addition to the two pronged legal strategy, a third and essential element of Sweden's prostitution legislation provides for ample and comprehensive social service funds aimed at helping any prostitute who wants to get out, and additional funds to educate the public.
In this way, the base for prostitution is targetted while at the same time offering social and legal services for women who want to escape. This has helped make the number of prostitutes in Sweden drop by 40% from 1998 to 2003.

In other words, I don't think there's just one type of prostitute, nor do I think there's just one solution to human trafficking.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:49 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, anything goes when it come to posts, cuz postin' ain't easy...
posted by jonmc at 12:01 PM on September 8, 2008


allen.spaulding: Right, and I'm saying that in America in 2008, given the state of gender relations in which this behavior occurs, the entire enterprise is tainted with exploitation and subordination.

As I said, I won't try to disabuse you of this. If you are convinced that consensual sex work is impossible so long as a state of patriarchy is declared by some cultural weatherman, your argument is not with me but with Sex-positive feminism.

allen.spaulding: Look around. You don't see a marketplace of ideas on this issue, you see a country club of ideas where some people get to speak based on an accident of birth and predictable groups of disadvantaged people are kept outside of the gates of discourse.

I've looked around. There are country clubs, academic orthodoxies, NGOs, and fast-fact dispensaries parked all over this topic; but my choice of privileged establishment viewpoint is a rare astrological conjunction of second wave canon, right-wing politics, and evangelical Christianity. Two decades ago, this very alignment produced Reagan's Meese Report.

Their new thesis appears to be the conflation of (legal) sex work with international White Slavery, their strategy to attack the latter by proxy of the former. And, waging war in all the wrong places aside, it wouldn't be a signature Bush administration move were we not to project our fallout abroad. As a summary example of this argument and of its political trinity of backers, I can hardly do better than the National fucking Review making nice with women's studies [NfR], can I?

Donna M Hughes, Women's Studies, RIU: By the way, Kathryn, I should mention that National Review Online played an important role in shifting the focus of the trafficking and prostitution debates. In October 2002, NRO published my article entitled "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing," which exposed the agenda of some of the liberal feminist, leftist anti-trafficking activists. They were using the anti-trafficking debate to advance their efforts to legalize prostitution. [...] The TVPRA, especially Title II, will have a tremendous impact on the illegal sex trade in the U.S., and it will have a ripple effect internationally.

From Wolves

If the listed keynote speakers, which includes Hillary Clinton, remain true to past form, they will passionately denounce the trafficking of women as a modern form of slavery, but steadfastly avoid mentioning prostitution as the demand that drives the trafficking. [...] They carefully "delink" trafficking from prostitution, which is like disconnecting the 18th century transatlantic slave trade from chattel slavery in the U.S. [...] This means re-linking trafficking and prostitution, and combating the commercial sex trade as a whole.

Be sure to give Wolves a good read - it identifies dissenters from this monolithic strategy as upstarts and slavery apologists, complete with unsourced, unattributed charges of baby selling shotgunned at her peers. I guess they're not invited to the country club.

I assume some of you are familiar with the work of Melissa Farley, since some of the numbers appearing in this thread originated in her work. But are you equally familiar with Weitzer's critiques?

Farley's numbers conveniently find their way into the State Department's official press; Weitzer's rebuttals do not. From 2004's promisingly-titled "The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking[state.gov]"

State attempts to regulate prostitution by introducing medical check-ups or licenses don’t address the core problem: the routine abuse and violence that form the prostitution experience and brutally victimize those caught in its netherworld. Prostitution leaves women and children physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually devastated. Recovery takes years, even decades—often, the damage can never be undone.

This is just unsourced anti-prostitution grandstanding. Moving on...

Grant-making implications of the U.S. government policy: As a result of the prostitution-trafficking link, the U.S. government concluded that no U.S. grant funds should be awarded to foreign non-governmental organizations that support legal state-regulated prostitution. Prostitution is not the oldest profession, but the oldest form of oppression.

Code: no funds for condom distribution, clinics, or safe-sex education. Projection of US laws abroad. Unsurprising parallels with Africa AIDS relief. Check. Yes, but wherefore? Where's that promised link between legal sex work and slave trafficking?

To fight human trafficking and promote equality for women, Sweden has aggressively prosecuted customers, pimps, and brothel owners since 1999. As a result, two years after the new policy, there was a 50 percent decrease in women prostituting and a 75 percent decrease in men buying sex. Trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation decreased as well. Where prostitution has been legalized or tolerated, there is an increase in the demand for sex slaves and the number of victimized foreign women—many likely victims of human trafficking.

Unfortunately, the Sweden cites aren't linked online, but I'll get to that subject shortly. However, the third claim states that many women are likely the victims of trafficking. Not exactly the logical cornerstone on which I'd build a national policy, flush with wolf-at-the-door imagery and all, but who's the scholar cited?

[8] Hughes, Donna M. 2002. Foreign Government Complicity in Human Trafficking: A Review of the State Department’s 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report. Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on International Relations. Washington, DC, June 19, 2002.

Why it's Donna M Hughes.

A thorough criticism of the State Department's "Link" article is presented by Ann Jordan of Global Rights et al, as an open letter to Director John Miller:

We also wonder about the basis for the assertions that “[w]here prostitution is legalized or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and nearly always an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sex slavery.” The fact sheet provides no support for this assertion. [...] the use of Hughes’ testimony to support this position is questionable, given the fact that her conclusions are based upon various sources using different methodologies and definitions of trafficking, which we have already pointed out can lead to inaccurate and non-comparable data.

Further, a State Department veteran weighs in:

The first person appointed to head [the U.S. Federal Trafficking in Persons Office] seven years ago, Ambassador Nancy Elly Raphel, was forced out because she disagreed. "It was so ideological," she told me. "Prostitution, that's what was driving the whole program. They kept saying, 'If you didn't have prostitution, you wouldn't have trafficking.' I was happy to leave."

allen.spaulding: (The Swedish model) works far better than any other model.

I'm not sure from whence you're drawing such an exceptional claim. However, Jordan's letter devotes a laden paragraph to the Swedish experiment as fulcrum of US policy:

You may be interested in research reaching different conclusions about the new Swedish law. The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Police Affairs commissioned a Working Group that
reviewed the Swedish law and found that the Swedish government could not demonstrate that
prostitution had decreased overall, that a decrease in the number of prostitutes on the streets was related to the legislation or other factors, or that any cases of trafficking into prostitution had been uncovered in Stockholm as a result of the law. [...] Additionally, the International Organization for Migration [...] conducted field research among employers of domestic workers and clients of sex workers in four countries and found a causal link between labor protections and trafficking.


Here's the prosandcons summary of both sides:

Maria De Santis (pro): In just five years Sweden has dramatically reduced the number of its women in prostitution. In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds (66%), and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%. [...] The Swedish government estimates that in the last few years only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually sex trafficked into Sweden, a figure that's negligible compared to the 15,000 to 17,000 females yearly sex trafficked into neighboring Finland. No other country, nor any other social experiment, has come anywhere near Sweden's promising results."

Petra Östergren (con): The National Police Board writes that [...] because customers are fewer, prices are lower and competition harder for the women. This leads to the sex workers selling sex without protection of condoms for a higher rate, and it leads to them having to accept more customers than before. [...] The buyers are 'worse' and more dangerous [...] According to the National Police Board, the healthcare system has worries about declining health among sex workers and spreading sexually transmitted disease."

David A. Feingold (con): Sweden, for example, is much praised by antiprostitution activists for a 1998 law that aimed to protect sex workers by criminalizing their customers. But several independent studies, including one conducted by the Swedish police, showed that it exposed prostitutes to more dangerous clients and less safe-sex practices."

Back to work.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:12 PM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Btw, BrotherCaine - my cites for the US government supporting the prohibitionist stance are haphazardly worked into the above textual moneyshot.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:19 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, you can lead a whore to culture, but then you can't make her think twice about opting for self-degredation, and, being a smarty hot pants, in her defense, she'll probably cite John Locke, on top of Dorothy Parker.

which will make her pimp slap her twice as hard. See where I'm going here?
posted by jonmc at 3:04 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is no disputing the fact that a great number of these women are abducted, live in a state of house arrest, and have to endure violence at the hands of their captors.

on that topic, and if you want to be plunged into bleak despair over the state of humanity, you really can't go past the film, Lilya 4-ever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:10 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Before I duck out I thought I might compress the enormity of that last post into Powerpoint-compliant dimensions. In case Colin Powell is reading this.

Bush State Department: The legalization of sex work increases slave trafficking. Prohibition curtails it. Donna M Hughes has shown this through analysis of our 2002 trafficking report, and has stumped this platform to our base at the National Review. [ here, here]

Nancy Raphel: I used to write those trafficking reports for you guys. Hell, I ran the whole department, but I resigned because of constant pressure to frame the data around this prostitution angle... [here]

Bush State Department: Our war on trafficking will proceed as follows. We'll start by selectively supplying aid to ideologically friendly NGOs around the world that expressly oppose legalized prostitution... [ibid]

Ann Jordan et al to State Department: Hey, you know that research Donna Hughes did for you? The methodology is shot. There's not even proof of the basic claim that decriminalization feeds trafficking. In fact, we have these independent studies that show the opposite - that trafficking in the sex industry is just like trafficking in every other, and is responsive to labor regulation. [pdf]

Weitzer: I called this in my article in the Criminologist, and rebutted Hughes in the National Review. [here]

Bush State Department: Did we mention Sweden? Post 1998, Sweden has become a miraculous success story and model of prohibition. [ibid]

Ann Jordan et al to State Department: We noticed that Sweden was part of your grand picture. Unfortunately, and as our letter indicates, there were some problems with methodology there too. It tends to happen with these big, politicized government programs. Hint, hint. [ibid]
posted by kid ichorous at 6:44 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I bet more or less the same conversation happens about pot* too.

* Which turns you into an insane maniac and is a gateway drug to terrorism.
posted by Artw at 6:49 PM on September 8, 2008


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