Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker and has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry. For this week’s installment, Cate interviewed her mother on what it is like to be the parent of a sex worker.
Cate: Everyone will remember how I was outed to you by a client. What were your feelings when that happened? Did you already suspect something was up?
Mom: Well, I remembered you said you were going to enter the sex industry when you turned 18 because you could get better rates if you were “barely legal.” I figured you had followed through with this plan because you were so adamant that this was what you wanted to do. When I had the truth coming right from a client, I was totally exasperated and could not for the life of me figure out why you would want to waste your life this way. To me, it seemed you could do so much better for yourself than sex work and I was sad you were selling yourself short. It just seemed so stupid and short-sighted. On the other hand, I fully recognized that the more I said about it, the worse the situation was going to be. So we had our conversation on the matter, then I tried to shut up.
Maintaining the relationship with you was more important than pushing my values, and I was concerned that if I said anything or acted in any way that severed our relationship, your new career was sufficiently dangerous that I could well end up attending your funeral sooner than expected. This would have been a terrible blow to your sister as well as me. Therefore, the only course of action was to try to maintain some vestige of rapport and hope that the situation improved.
I was very sad. Part of this was related to the fact I was recovering from my second round of breast cancer and had just had reconstructive surgery. To my mind, I was struggling so hard to put my own life together while you were hell-bent on ripping your own apart. It was not at all even cheerful–let alone happy.