This guy had been emailing me nonstop for months, until I finally asked him to contact me when he was ready to meet and not before. We set up our meeting for last night, and tbh if it weren’t for the fact that he asked for 90 minutes I’m not sure I would have agreed, his extreme neediness before even meeting me was setting me on edge. But he was recommended by two friends of mine who already saw him, and he said they’d recommended me to him very highly in all his emails. I’ve posted a few of them before, “if you want me to go away and stop messaging you just let me know, I just want to talk to you, you sound so amazing,” &c&c&c.
He opened the door and my heart sank a little. He REEKED of needy Authentic Pleasure Man, but even more, he LOOKED the part of a desperately insecure sad little clover, but worse, one with bad fashion that states clearly he thinks we’re both counter culture and will spiritually connect. You think it’s not possible to read all that by appearances, but any sex worker will tell you you’re wrong.
He had rockabilly side burns that stopped just before connecting with a chin beard; his receding hair was kept quite short except for the middle which was allowed into a slightly longer fauxhawk. My interior cringe, begin with his hair and facial hair, deepened when I took in his bow tie. “90 minutes,” I reminded myself. That’s a lot of money.
“I’m so nervous and so glad to meet you!” he babbled on. “I just want to talk to you, I’ve been wanting to talk to you for so long.”
And he did. Boy did he. He talked and talked, and after a few tries I got that he’s not exactly interested in talking with me, he really is just interested in talking TO me. AT me.
He’s a union organiser and he told me a lot about unions. Not much I didn’t know, but it was fun to listen to someone with a lot more experience talk about tactics and people’s fear around employment and rights and losing employment.
Every now and then he acknowledged that he might be telling me something I already know, as when he said, “I guess you could even say marriage is a kind of sex work,” but it was immediately apparent that while HE may get to tell me things I already know, I didn’t have that privilege.
I laughed, “a lot of people do say that,” I offered.
“I KNOW that,” he snapped, going red and annoyed.
That whole time he was talking about how cool sex workers are and how he wants to organize sex workers bc he respects us so much. He doesn’t know anything about sex work, he’s never been to a strip club, and I guess that’s part of why I was there, to tell him. To initiate him into our world. He just wants to organise sex workers, it’s been his whole life goal, sex workers and prisoners, “not that I’ve been either.”
And like, that set me on edge. He wants to organize sex workers. Not “help organise” or “support.”
Apparently he once had a conversation with some activist group he was part of where they talked about how to work with communities they aren’t a part of, and how to approach them and whether to wear signifiers of the community or not. “Don’t wear Mohawks,” a woman said. “Except _[his name]___, because it’s spiritual.”
“That’s silly. Are you Mohawk?”
“Brown people don’t all have the same oppression,” he told me, like that was what I asked.
“No, I know,” I tried to explain. He got annoyed that I wasn’t listening.
He was super mansplainy and condescending, but I figured, he’s paying me. I can take it for 90 minutes.
So after our hour and a half is up, at eight, HE looked at the clock and went “oh, it’s 8 do you have to go?”
I had my back to the clock the whole time, the better to not be accused of clock watching, but since he looked–but he continued:
Our time is up, he understands if I have to go, and he wants to respect my boundaries but he’s had such a great time talking to me… He drifted off to leave me an opening to enthusiastically offer to stay longer for free.
I rolled my eyes internally, tried to put it into language he, as a socialist union organiser, would understand. “Well, I gotta respect other workers. I can’t go over time, that’s like undercutting their work and value, you know?”
“But we didn’t,” his face kind of convulses and I can tell he’s thinking of how to suddenly demand sex. “I guess talking is kind of emotional work. But we didn’t really, maybe you can decide what’s a fair amount then, since,” and I could see he’s suddenly regretted all that talking he told me he was so excited about, he wishes he’d initiated some saucy time, and I thought, okay, listening to him talk about his work and organising is interesting so what the heck, I’ll stay a little later but he is DEFINITELY NOT getting sex now. “I guess talking is emotional work” indeed.
–and this is why I’m angry, this is why. I violates my own boundaries and ethics because I let some little shithead guilt trip me into spending more time with him than we agreed on, even when he CLEARLY does not respect or understand my work. That’s not–“talking is emotional work” is so disrespectful and clueless. Being in that room is work. Listening to him and clucking and nodding and asking questions and letting him talk over me and snap at me IS WORK. That’s part of what you pay me for, my aggreeability.
I know this and believe in this at a gut level but I still allowed him to make me feel guilty.
So I stayed. We talked for what turned into another hour, and I could tell he was working up to try to put the moves on me, he took off his shoes after like 40 minutes and said “the shoes are off! All bets are off!”
I laughed, “that’s like when my bra comes off. ‘The bra is off, definitely not leaving the house again’.”
“You like vintage dresses though.” He gestured at my dress. “We’re the same. We both like looking good.”
“I love sweatpants. I love staying in pajamas. I don’t like that Portland is trying to overcome it’s frumpiness with all these out of towners.”
“You can blame people like me for upping the ante,” he gestured at his bow tie, then referenced something I’d said earlier about how being a sex worker is like being a spy. Constantly in disguise and underrated. “It’s my disguise.”
I rolled my eyes again internally. Your fucking bow tie and rockabilly getup are not corporate drag, they aren’t fooling anyone, and they don’t inherently express an affiliation with a common proletariat or ANYTHING.
He moved to flop back on the bed, which have me another excuse and urgent need to look at the clock. “Oh, it’s 9, I have to go walk my dog!”
He gaped at me. Got up, said
“well the money is in with the chocolate in the bathroom, and you should take whatever… Chocolate… you feel is fair, I mean I guess TALKING is kind of emotional work, and you did drive here” and I started to get like this weird feeling, like what a stupid thing to say–but maybe there’s A THOUSAND DOLLARS in the bathroom. I mean I stayed an extra HOUR OVER so why would he even talk about me giving him money back otherwise?
–I was so stupid–
I opened up the chocolate bar, wriggled the cash out from its box, I felt something wrong with my brain. Counted, recounted, only five bills. One of them’s a ______. Wrong this is wrong there must be more, this is wrong. I wondered if I totally read his emails wrong. Even factoring in the free hour it was wrong. I ran through possible scenarios in my head and none of them ended well for me. Frog marching him to the atm? Nope. Hitting him? Nope. Explaining to a man who already clearly didn’t understand labour? Who thought that I would fuck with him after TWO AND A HALF HOURS of conversation when we agreed upon an hour and a half? Nope.
“How much more free time do I want want to give this fucking asshole who deliberately ripped me off?”
No matter how I counted and counted it it still only came to ___, so I took it all, put it in my purse, and said thank you.
He was VISIBLY crushed and angry.
“Bye,” he whined, looking after me like I was going to turn around and tuck a bill into his bowtie.
And then I left! Shaking with anger.
He emailed me later, after I’d done my warnings about him, to say he couldn’t wait to see me again but he’s confused about my boundaries. I haven’t replied yet.