Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she was until recently employed as a stripper but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry (and she’s currently an excellent columnist on this very website). Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
Originally I was going to tell at least one funny story this week. I could have written about the co-worker who had taken her plastic surgery to such extreme lengths that she resembled a life-sized Bratz doll, the customer who tipped his favorite girls not with money, but with gifts of cheese, beef jerky, and chocolate, or the man who bought a whole hour in the champagne room and only wanted to talk about Iron Man. These are all pretty great stories, and I will tell them one day, but that day is not today.
The week before last, a couple of people asked that I write about the emotional partitioning that sex work requires and I realized I’d barely touched on this very specific type of work life balance in all the months of Harlotry. Why this is I don’t know, as it now occurs to me that this is really, really important, and is therefore something I should have covered.
Without at least some kind of partitioning, sex work will kill you. It probably won’t literally bring about your death, but it absolutely will turn you into the dead-eyed, dead-souled kind of sex worker that Tina Fey seems to think makes up the majority population of all strip clubs, brothels, and other palaces of adult entertainment. While obviously the methods of partitioning are as unique and varied as the men and women who work in this industry, we all have our methods of staying sane.
Some of the methods are better than others.