false consciousness, friends and family, money, personal stories, queers, Sex Work, south australia, stigma
Back to the story so far. We were up to the bit where I start sex work and escorting at Pity Girls. At the time I was living in a share house with a bunch of students and queer folks. I wasn’t the first in my group of friends to experiment with sex work as an income option, and I wasn’t the last (and I’m not just talking about the women). I wasn’t shy about telling my friends what I did at the time as I had no shame, no hang ups and no guilt about my new job.
In fact the opposite. I was proud of myself. Here i was, 18 years old, just quit my check out chick job, spent my life thinking I was fat and unattractive, nowhere near as cool as my friends, broke, lots of dreams but not of lot of motivation, and within a week I making lots of disposable income, going shopping, buying new clothes, being sexually active, getting loads of compliments, experimenting, partying and i loved it.
And it’s not like my friends were conservative or negative about sex, i hung out with gay boys and lesbians, whores and hippies. My friends were artists and dole bludgers and uni students and other sex workers. And i had cash. Ofcourse everyone loves you when you have cash. And everyone loves to be loved, right? Well i certainly lapped up my new-found confidence, independence and POWER that having money and adoring followers (clients and unfinancial friends) gave me.
I was the epitome of the ‘happy hooker’. I remember telling one of my friends what I did for a job and he replied with a very queer and high-pitched “ooooooohhh you’re a lady of the night!”. Everyone loved me, my money, my stories, my clothes, my my my my everything.
Oh except my closest friend. A gay guy I have been friends with since I was a child. Dont get me wrong, he loved it when I ordered us pizza and payed for it all. But he hated my new bigger and bolder attitude. I wasn’t his first friend to give sex work a go. And I wasn’t the last to come down with what he coined ‘hooker syndrome’.
Hooker syndrome. It isn’t describing a syndrome affecting a poor wilting victim with no choices. Nor an abused girl with a false consciousness. Nor is it a scary looking disease. It’s not a sex addiction. Hooker syndrome is not anything bad. Unless you’re the oldest friends of the person afflicted with this curious ailment.
According to my friend, hooker syndrome effected all new sex workers. It was a passing syndrome that usually started in the first few shifts of someone starting sex work and lasted at least 3 months, usually up to 6 months. Hooker Syndrome refers to the annoying attitude that new hookers get, what – with our new-found confidence, cash, sexiness ‘take me or leave me just as i am cos i got plenty other options right here right now’ attitude.
Apparently, me and my hooker syndrome was unbearable. Which was fine by me, cos frankly I found their lack of disposable income and increasing debt they owed me to be unbearable also.
I decided to move out from the share house because, all of a sudden, stable housing, rent payed on time, furniture owned outright and food in my cupboard became a reality for me, and I was becoming a growd up. While my friends were still complaining about cold fries in order to scam free McDonald’s and fleeing rental accommodations in the night.
Presumably my hooker syndrome was more bearable when I was flashing round the cash buying drinks for my friends at Mars (Adelaide’s only gay nightclub with ridiculously overpriced drinks) than it was when I was bitchily demanding they grow up and pay the rent, because I moved out into my own little place, but still partied all the time with my pals.
We have all grown up now (well mostly) and they are all still my friends (well mostly), and my hooker syndrome did settle down (well mostly) (you be the judge)
How I told my mother that her little girl is a sex worker, and what she said back to me, is a story for another time.