"You’re a dreamer and can’t handle a real job.”
Some guy once responded to my escort ad with that email. I never replied but his strange condemnation has always stuck in my head.
He was one of many, many men who look at escorts, desire us and can’t afford us. They get jealous, imagining the easy life we lead where horny men fall all at our feet just to hand us lots of cash. They don’t see my work as a “real” job.
Ever read Dilbert? Do you think he had a real job? What about trash collectors or migrant farm workers? I think they have very real jobs. I’m sure a lot of times they wish their jobs weren’t so damn real.
How real is it, sitting behind a desk all day, typing away, answering pointless e-mails, never quite sure of what you’re supposed to do or what exactly your coworkers do? How real is it if you never see any result from the piles of paper you produce, other than a paycheck?
Many people think sex workers do sex work because they can’t get work anywhere else. No, most sex work isn't rocket science, but you must know what you’re doing or you will fail in a really obvious way.
There is no way to fake these “non-real” job. It’s a very definite pass/fail world. Results are seen in dollars and it’s very easy to track the effects of your work.
So how real is a job where I am well paid, I set my own hours and parameters, I meet with clients, get instant feedback and when my clients leave my meetings, they are happy enough that the majority come back? Is that a real job? Am I accomplishing more than the average corporate slave? Or does time spent slaving indicate the realness?
A former client of mine once mentioned that people don’t think he does a real job either. He’s a self-employed builder/contractor. He’s in demand, produces solid work and makes a good living. Yet many think he’s not working a real job. Apparently anyone in America who doesn’t have corporate backing isn’t in a real job.
One might argue that real jobs are real only by how they affect the worker. Many job books list the symptoms to look for when a job is going bad: depression, stress, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, anger, ulcers, hair loss, hatred, suicidal thoughts and feeling trapped.
These are pretty serious consequences of employment. (If employment were sold in stores, it would have a warning label on it.) And these books were merely discussing office work (i.e., “real” work), not adult work.
How do I feel working as an escort? Happy, satisfied, in control of my life, wealthy, healthy, at peace with myself, free, successful and I sleep soundly at night. How would I feel stuck in the office grind for a year? Probably much like the above list of negative effects. Yes, I’ve had bad days every now and then, just like anyone, but I never had a long string of them.
If escort work isn't "real," then is it a “fake” job? Let’s examine that for a moment. What might be the characteristics of a fake job?
* Not showing up for work? As an escort, if you miss an appointment, you don’t get paid. (If you require a deposit you must return it.)
* Accepting cash payments? So apparently, waitresses, hairdressers, defense attorneys and all sorts of service-people are in fake jobs. And every retailer in this country is apparently a “fake” store if they accept cash.
* Enjoying your work? Does this mean a real job must be one that makes you miserable?
* Not paying taxes? Just because someone doesn’t have taxes automatically removed from their paychecks doesn’t mean their job isn’t real. Plenty of non-escorts avoid taxes and plenty of escorts religiously pay taxes.
* Not having a boss? That’s a major perk of being an independent escort!
* Working on your own schedule? Ditto.
No matter what, escort work affects the escort — positively or negatively. The effects are immediate and personal. The core of my job is the interaction between my client and I. Nothing else. It doesn’t get more real than that.
For more reading on what the real job is like, try Franz Kafka. Escort work is very grounded in comparison.