• Mon, Jul 12 2010

Bitch, Please: No Conversation About Sex Work Comes Out Of Nowhere

Image via Feministe.us

Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.

What do I do when my friend tells me she used to be a high class prostitute? I mean, I’m glad she told me and trusts me as a friend, but I also don’t think it matters what she used to do.

I think it’s important to consider why your friend told you that she used to be a well-paid sex worker, seemingly out of no where. There are two basic reasons: either she feels conflicted about it and was looking for an ear (in which case, it would be part of a larger conversation rather than something put as an aside); or she believes that you feel a certain way about other sex workers and is trying to counteract what she perceives as your biases. If it really came out of nowhere and the conversation didn’t really continue, I’m guessing it is sort of the latter.

I mean, everyone has an opinion about sex work and sex workers, and the people who engage in sex work aren’t unaware that their choices aren’t respected by society at large. But, for many sex workers, hearing friends and family buy into the stereotypes about sex workers and sex work — from the idea that all sex workers are coerced, trafficked, on drugs or were abused to the idea that they’re all dumb, amoral or taking other women’s men — can be the final straw. It’s entirely possible that you said something, however well-meaning, about sex work or sex workers that made her unhappy or exasperated enough to want to put a face — hers — on what she felt for you was an amorphous group of people to whom you were ascribing motives or histories that she felt at odds with her experience.

But, whatever the reason, she has told you, and you feel like there’s something missing to that conversation — her motivation for telling you, and where to go from here. So, start a conversation: ask her what inspired her revelation (perhaps over drinks in a quiet bar), and whether it was something you said, or something that she wanted to say. Ask her if she wants to talk about it more, and, if she does, ask why she started and why she stopped. And then listen, with as little judgment as possible, and just let her talk. Telling someone you used to be a sex workers is never the end of a conversation (unless it’s the end of a friendship): it’s almost always the start of one.

My boss was recently demoted and he has given up on caring about work. He comes in late, misses our required conference calls (which we can’t do without him), checks out early, and does little work. I wouldn’t really care, but it is demoralizing to know your boss doesn’t care and when he doesn’t do his required tasks it puts more work on the rest of us. Is there anything my co-workers and I can do to save us from going insane?

Your boss is going to get his ass fired. If he was ridiculously talented or was bringing in ridiculous business, then he wouldn’t have been demoted in the first place: in all likelihood, he’s short-timing it because he knows that the door is, indeed, about to hit his ass on the way out. He’s a dead man walking.

It sucks that he’s still your boss, but the more he acts like an immature shit, the less likely he is to remain so for very long. So, between now and then, document how he’s fucking up the job that you’re supposed to be doing, work around him as much as possible and bitch about him as quietly as possible. And, just to cover your own ass, make sure your resume is updated and your eye is on the job market. If he does stay for much longer, you work for a bunch of idiots or he’s successfully blaming his failures on you guys. Plus, it always feels good to have options before you have to leave, rather than after you have already gone.

If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at advice@thegloss.com. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.

From Our Partners

Share This Post:
  • really?

    It’s not possible that a former sex worker tells someone about sex work the same way I might tell someone how I worked at a grocery store when I was 15? Just to tell them, because they are my friend, and I feel like telling them stuff about my life?