• Mon, Jul 15 - 10:10 am ET

Harlotry: What I Learned In Hooker Rehab

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Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker; she’s currently employed as a pro-domme at a fetish house but has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry. 

As you all know, I was arrested about two months ago for “presence in a house of ill fame.”
I spent several hours at the police station, three of which were in a holding cell. I was released on bond and assigned a court date. My boss provided me with excellent legal representation, and I appeared at court confident that I would have to face the most minimal of consequences, if any.

In Chicago, a first arrest for prostitution or any similar offense is dealt with by assigning a class to the fallen woman. They do their best to make it cute–the class is called “UnHooked” and is paid for mainly by the fines levied on men who are caught patronizing or soliciting sex workers.

I was fairly certain I was never going to experience hooker school. Presence in a house of ill fame is not the same as prostitution and I felt there was a good case for me just being, say, a cleaning lady who wandered about in lingerie and recreationally hit guys with riding crops at my place of work.

When they called my name, my lawyer went to the front of the courtroom, some words I didn’t catch were exchanged, and he motioned for me to follow him out of the courtroom.

“They want you to take a class,” he explained. “We’d be crazy not to take it.”

“Seriously?!” I asked, “I wasn’t even doing anything illegal! This is ridiculous!”

My lawyer explained that it really didn’t matter. My charge was such that there was pretty much no way the city would let me walk away with no consequences. I could accept the class immediately, or try to fight it and end up having to take it anyway. I agreed to take the class.

When they called my name, I walked up to the front of the courtroom with my lawyer, and was given a piece of paper with the name of the program and a number to call.

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  • http://SommelierinSneakers.blogspot.com/ SomminSneakers

    Oh lovely, this was awesome. I can’t wait for next week! xoxo

  • Sean

    Ugh. I was pretty sure this would end with a bait-and-switch. I’m with Sneakers on this one…can’t wait for next Monday.

  • Alicia Brooke

    I love these, really I do, but I don’t like the repeated “You so don’t look like a sex worker!” I swear that every article or book I’ve ever read about sex work (or about addicts/alcoholics for that matter) has included that line. At this point, I’m just assuming that every single sex worker in the world looks like grown-up Winnie Cooper. You say dominatrix, I think Winnie Cooper.

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cate

      It’s in every sex work narrative because so many of us hear it CONSTANTLY. People have a very set view of what a sex worker looks like. They assume we all adopt a uniform of either fishnets, tiny leather miniskirts, teeny-tiny shirts, and hoop earrings, or designer labels and fur. Anyone who doesn’t fit this idea, who looks like a “normal” person, or dresses like a weirdo time traveler (me) or looks like anything other than the generally accepted sex worker stereotype gets told over and over and over again by civilians, by other sex workers, by friends, and basically everyone who finds out what we do that we “don’t look like a stripper/escort/pro-domme/phone sex operator/porn star/whatever.”
      I’m sure some of us look like Winnie Cooper, but some of us look like Hatchetface from Cry Baby, and others look like Nurse Ratchet, the sad thing is, very few people seem to realize this.

  • Pam

    I logged in today and was ready to riot if your column wasn’t running this week – we missed you last week! (Unless I’m a dope and I’m the only one who didn’t see it, but I promise I looked!) I’m also very interested to hear how the “after-lunch” session went. I totally wish that this was an every day column!

  • LynnKell

    Oh, stereotypes. I’ve always liked to dress preppy because I just like it and everybody freaks out when they found out I love rock, metal, beer, tobacco, tatoos, i’m liberal and am not looking for a husband so I can bear two children and have a couple dogs.

    Probably many people think that whores look like Julia Roberts in Pretty woman, so if a hooker isn’t wearing that kind of boots, she just doesn’t fit the profile. My jaw dropped when you said the morning went fine and they were all understanding and caring… Suspicious as hell. I’m really eager to read the second part.

  • Calamity_Jean

    It would be nice if you added a link to the second half of this.

    • Calamity_Jean

      Sorry, I found the link after I posted my first comment, but can’t get it to delete.