Caution- long post. This is a paper I wrote for one of my Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies courses. I published the piece under my dance name. I wanted to show the class that sex workers are people and the professor wanted us to write in the first person. So… I did it. I figured I’d share it here. Outing myself infront of my class was one of the most terrifying things I’ve done. I’m very greatful for the support my classmates showed me. That support is one of the reasons the paper exists.
The Violence in Our Silence
Violence in Silencing Sex Workers and the Rescue Industry
“Don’t ever for a fucking second forget that there are women, self proclaimed feminists who hate you because you are a sex worker and wouldn’t think twice about degrading you”
-Citrine8 via tumblr
My name is Delilah, I am a sex worker. This is something that’s terrifying to say at times. Saying I’m a sex worker, that I’m a dancer, invites violence- physical, economical and cultural. Who is most likely to be violent against me though? Not my customers, not my boss, not my co-workers although this can happen no doubt. No, the violence that comes with claiming the reality of my sex work comes instead from those who want to save me. The ones who decide to use me as their pity porn are the ones who harm me the most. Police, NGO’s and those who claim to know best silence my voice against the injustices that they themselves throw at me. They silence my sisters who are legally criminalized, my brothers who are ignored and they forget about my trans siblings in their search for a pat on the back. Their enforced silence is the most effective control against me and the greatest violence. Well I refuse to remain silent. Academia ignores me so I enter the academic ring myself.
“Sex workers want to be safe”
I don’t want to talk about the violence that can come from customers or bosses- at least not in depth. This is readily available for it is the only violence focused on by most acadamia. I want to talk about Corporate Captain Save-a-Ho or as Dr. Laura Maria Agustin coined the term “the rescue industry.” This industry is actually very lucrative for people to be involved in. The Ruhama Agency- an Irish anti-sex work organization- gets 14.4 million a year from one single government agency. In their busiest year they helped 241 women (Slutocracy). However their help must be question as the Ruhama Agency also ran the Magdalen Laundries where rescued sex workers were abused for years.
“I’ve “sold my body” to countless men yet I still have it right here on the couch with me. Odd that.”
—@AnarchaSxworker via Playing the Whore
In her blog The Naked Anthropologist Dr. Agustin comments on how anti-prostitution redderict oversimplifies the issue into a two sided narrative of the victim and the perpetrator. The sex worker is always the victim, the john is always the perpetrator. Sex work is always rape and a sex worker is never not a sex worker. For a moment let’s accept this simple narrative of rapist and victim. Who is the rapist? According to a 2002 study done in Chicago the rapist is a cop for 30% of exotic dancer and 24% of street based sex workers (Mogul et. Al, 63). In West Bengal the Dubar Mahalia Samanwaya Committee surveyed 21,000 sex workers about violence. They found 48,000 reports of violence from police and 4,00 reports of violence from police (Gira Grant, 6). This reality of police being the biggest threat to sex workers is often ignored.
“No one likes a stripper in the daylight- then they have to admit she’s real”
Police aren’t the only “helping” people who are violent against sex workers. Rescue programs around the world abuse and rape the women they hold. Molli Desi a sex worker who now works in the UK was kidnapped by a rescue program in India. She says this of part of her experience-
At the “rescue” centre (which we only thought of as a “detention” centre) we were told that the NGO had custody papers for us from a court, and that we could not leave. I think it is important to understand why we are held in custody rather than given our freedom after we are “rescued”.
-Molli Desi via The Honest Courtesan
In another interview with Slutocracy she says-
If we want anything from outside like sweets, chewing gum or magazines or phone credit we have to give hand job or blow job to security
-Molli Desi via Slutocracy
Desi was not even engaged in sex work when she was kidnapped. She was visiting a friend who also did sex work. The NGO took her saying that they had to protect her from her friend who might traffick her (The Honest Courtesan). In fact Desi says many of the women and girls at the center were not involved in sex work but were considered “at risk”. Some had been girls who were raped while working in domestic service. The women are not allowed to leave the detention centers- they are prisoners. Desi tells of how she and another woman fled the center- escaped from their “rescue”.
After another few more days of oral sex with the night guard and some of his friends (whom he was charging money for access to us), we arranged for two of our sisters to come to the centre in an auto-rickshaw, late at night (this was during a festival time). We then used a metal bar we got from the guard to prise open the metal cage on our window, lowered ourselves onto the annex roof, and got down to the garden. Unfortunately, the main gate was still
locked and we could not get to the street, so we rang our sisters outside and they convinced the auto-rickshaw driver to break the lock and let us out, whereupon we all ran to the auto-rickshaw and fled away into the night.
-Desi via The Honest Courtesan
I want to emphasize the voices of sex workers. We are so often left out of the discourse that is our lives and our labor. There is money in the rescue industry. NGO’s recieve more and more funding for the more and more women they “save”. It is a convenient way to further take away the voices of already marginalized women. In the UK any person who comes to the UK and does sex work is automatically considered trafficked. Autonomy is taken away and women become money in not a pimps pocket but in a rescuers. Desi is now based in the UK, she is a migrant sex worker- she is legally trafficked. This oversimplification of her narrative does far more damage than sex work ever could.
There are two stories that are told about rescue industries. There is the one the industry themselves tell you. That they save these women. That they rescue these women. The women are always cis and they are never spoken to. They are always young. Desi was 17 but the NGO told the courts and the public that she was 12. Then there are the stories sex workers themselves tell. In a twitter conversation between Molli Desi, Melissa Gira Grant and @wassailingirl the three discussed a sex worker version of #notyournarrative. From this conversations #notyourrescueproject was born. This is the other side of the rescue industry. This is where women tell their stories of what happened to them by the hands of their “rescuers.” This is where we find out about the violence and the rape that women face at the hands of police, NGO’s and other Helping Services.
In her book Playing the Whore Gira Grant shows the difference in these stories. She traveled to Cambodia to meet with several sex workers she had networked with outside of a brothel near Phnom Penh. They were invited to be there. She did not charge in with pomp and circumstance. She did not live tweet the event to breathless followers. She was invited in and did not bring camera crews. They talked. They talked about sex workers caught in brothel raids- after the camera’s go away locked 30-40 in a single cell (Gira Grant, 106-Kindle edition). They talked of women being illegally detained.
“So long as there are women who are called whores there will be women who are trained to believe it is next to death to be one or mistaken for one.”
-Gira Grant, Playing the Whore, 127
There is no forum for sex workers to discuss our lives. Not openly. Even in this paper I hide my identity. I use the anonymity of Delilah because I cannot speak in open forum. Sex workers anonymously blog, tweet, tumble but we do not have a recognized platform because to out ourselves would be to tell the world we are this thing that everyone loves to hate. Maybe that’s why I wanted to write this paper. I blog, I tweet and I tumble but in any academic environment I am silenced by the stigma assigned to me. Exposure means violence- physical violence, financial violence, emotional violence. I can be kept from jobs even though I’ve only done legal sex work and have never been arrested. I can be excluded from academia without a single question being raised. I can be ostracized by my support systems. I’ve been in therapy with my family for over a year. Once I claim the title of sex worker I am no longer a student, a feminist or any other identity I claim. I am a whore and a whore only even if I’ve never done full service sex work it is stated that to do one is to do all. All are condemnable. It doesn’t matter our motives or our reasons. We are now whores- broken and waiting to be saved.
I’m the girl you’ve been thinking about
the one thing you can’t live without
I’m the girl you’ve been waiting for
I’ll have you down on your knees
I’ll have you begging for more…
… But let me tell you something baby,
You love me for everything you hate me for
-Whore by In This Moment (Song)
Melissa Gira Grant talks about this phenomenon- whenever sex work is debated a single token whore will be found and paraded for the group. She might even speak but if she does she will be paid less than her counterparts (Gira Grant, 35- Kindle Edition). A carpenter is not reduced to his hands or his back, a doctor is not reduced to her stethoscope so why am I reduced to my vagina or my boobs? Why do the number of people who see my breasts or my vulva devalue my ideas as a student?
The obvious answer is that it doesn’t. My humanity is not an arbitrary topic for discussion. My humanity is not tied to the work I do. Maybe that’s why I wanted to write this paper. As a student sex work is so often discussed in my classes and stigma forces me to remain silent. I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to stand up in a class and scream that this is my life being debated. This is my safety. Why are you ignoring the people you talk about?
I can’t answer that question. I’m on the wrong side. I am the person that is ignored. Instead I can offer up a second narrative. For this paper I used the voices of sex workers. I turned to academia some but I turned to social media more. I looked at blogs, I looked at twitter, I looked at Tumblr. I looked at my life and the lives of my sex worker brothers and sisters and non binary siblings. I look at sex worker in the United States and in similar countries. I look at sex workers in countries where sex work is decriminalized. I look at the Nordic Model. I look at the violence that has been scripted as inherent to our lives.
Yet when I look at the violence that surrounds sex workers lives I see that the violence doesn’t come from the sex work itself but from the institutions that condemn it. From police raping sex workers to unsupervised “rescue” programs raping more to shows like “8 Minutes” (where an ex cop turned pastor connors sex workers in hotel rooms and tries to convince them to leave sex work in 8 minutes) that exploit sex workers stories for entertainment.
As we as a classed discussed with Feminism Without Borders it important to remember that we cannot define experiences that our not our own. Feminist discourse needs to remain vigilant of academia’s tendency to act paternalistically toward sex workers. Sex workers are capable of defining our own lives however, due to our stigmatization we need feminist discourse to not speak for us but offer us safe platforms to discuss our experiences and our lives.
Grant, Melissa Gira. Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work. Verso, 2014. 136. Print.
Mogul, Joey L., and Andrea J. Ritchie. Queer (in)justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States. Boston: Beacon, 2011. Print.
Agostin, Laura Maria. “The Naked Anthropologist.” The Naked Anthropologist. Web. 15 May 2015. .
“Sex Workers Are #notyourrescueproject: Rape by Anti-trafficking NGOs & Stigma by Feminists.” Slutocracy. 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 May 2015. https://slutocracy.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/sex-workers-are-notyourrescueproject-rape-by-anti-trafficking-ngos-stigma-by-feminists/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-2
“The Honest Courtesan.” The Honest Courtesan. Web. 15 May 2015. https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/
“Not The Only Story.” Delilah. Web. 15 May 2015
The stigma of sex work fucking sucks. I’ve been trying to volunteer with Child Protection in my city. I’m very qualified and have all the needed training for the position. I put what I do on the application due to the background checks. Before I did so I talked to a judge, a lawyer and a social worker I know. All three said it shouldn’t be a problem or something that would disqualify me from the position.
Now the coordinator knows and HR is giving her a rough time with it. Saying it might be a problem. I think it’s something along the lines of a parent might come in and see me.
Sad truth? I’m more likely to see the people from HR then I am to see a parent from the county I’ll be working in.
It is ok for them to consume the labor of a sex worker but not ok for a sex worker to provide the labor.
What a fucking crock of bull shit.
Here’s the deal. I and other sex workers provide a service- one that on some level MOST of the population will consume at one point or another. We provide a demanded labor. We create a labor that is consumed at a large scale.
So why the fuck can people consume it without punishment but god help you if you produce it.
Does this make sense to anyone else????
Because it’s not making sense to me. Actually to a level it does. Sex workers- especially female sex workers act out sexuality in a way that is outside the norm. On a large scale we symbolize what the patriarchy fears- women expressing our sexuality not for others but for ourselves. We create something that others are afraid of- both men and women.
I’ve said in a quasi-joking manner before that no one likes a stripper in the daylight but it’s true. At night men can want us and women can hate us but once the daylight happens we are real people, we have real wants and desires. We are willing to get them- to fight for them and that’s scary. We work outside the norm, we aren’t policed by niceties.
The fact remains though- I am a human. I am qualified for positions outside of sex work if I choose to apply for them. I am more than my tits. Fuck you to anyone who says otherwise.
Obviously I’m fighting HR. I’m working in my city to find a lawyer and other back up because this is bull shit and quite frankly harmful to the children in the system. My real world experience from sex work actually makes me exceptionally qualified to do this job. My area is desperate for volunteers. Saying I’m a conflict of interest is a great way to avoid the issue and I’m calling them on their bull shit.
Wish me luck.
I was reading a blog post on tumblr today about strip club rules aka how to have a good experience. It can be found here. The bit I want to talk about is the how to get a lap dance section. Point one- this is fucking gold and the truth. Seriously read it, memorize it, act on it and share it with all of your friends. And share it with a few more people just for fun.
Now what I want talk more about has to do with what the author says about lap dances and how if you break the rules the dance is worse. Guess what folks- THIS IS GODS HONEST TRUTH STRAIGHT FROM THE LIPS OF A STRIPPING ANGEL!!!!!
Seriously. Once you lick where you shouldn’t, put your mouth where you shouldn’t, grab anything your lap dance tanks. I’m no longer thinking about dancing for you or making sure you have a great time. I’m looking to avoid getting creepily assaulted and wondering what back water hell hole raised you and allowed you into the world with a complete lack of manners.
Point in proof. Last night I had two customers who had been in before. I recognized them but nothing but that. They were a woman and a man to clarify. Here’s how the interaction went…
It’s a slow Friday (winter stripping sucks) so I’m on my phone reading quietly by myself and chatting with my bartender. Money sucks but that’s what I get for choosing to take my cloths of when it’s negative 15 outside. She walks up to me looking for her friend. When I tell her I don’t know where he is she looks at me for a minute and says-
“That red lipstick really doesn’t work for you.”
Umm… ok…. (I feel like I say this a lot about my job) it’s not really her place to say unless she feels like going and buying me brand new lipstick and paying me a shit ton of money to wear it. I say something polite and noncommittal she tells me I can make some cash off her friend.
Fast forward 20 minutes and hey guess what I’m dancing I’m dancing for her friend… yay… fuck no.
So guy starts doing this weird breathing on my ear thing… not the slightly less weird stream of cool air blow but the super weird, hot, slightly damp, thick breathy thing. And then HE LICKS MY EAR! Like full on flat tongue LICK and it was gross!
What the hell??? EWE GROSS STOP NO!
Of course like amateur hour I didn’t have him pay me up front and he asked for three songs and he’s my second customer of the night. So… I kinda need his fucking money and tough it out for the next 1.5 songs. Of course at this point I’m now keeping any part of me the fuck away from his mouth. Because seriously LICKING is DISGUSTING!!!
Moral of this story, licking is gross and doing shit like that wrecks your lap dance and my time. Its assault and gross. We go from both of us having fun to neither of us having fun at all. See the problem? So like I said, read that article, memorize it and all that fun shit.
After a rough therapy session I’m at my parents’ house for the holidays. I’m finding it a bit awkward to say the least. It’s amazing how we can go from practically yelling at each other in a small private office to pretending everything is fine and dandy in order to keep the peace. Still I’m not blogging about that tonight. I’m blogging about an experience I’ve already had while at home.
I have a much younger sister. She is a decade younger than myself. I also have a younger brother- he’s also in college. My brother, my father, my uncle, my sister and myself all decided to watch a movie tonight. We picked Braveheart. It’s my brother’s favorite movie and one of mine also. However there was the question of how appropriate it was for my small sister.
Let me set the stage, my parents don’t want my sister to stay the night with me in my city because of what I might expose her too. Yep that’s right, my parents don’t trust me with my sister because of what I might expose her too but they decided to let her watch a movie where in the first three minutes there is a house full of hung men and children.
That bothers me. I feel that while Braveheart is an amazing movie it is not appropriate for anyone under fourteen or so. There is a lot of gore, a rape scene, sex and torture. I don’t think any of that is appropriate for a child her age.
Here’s the real kicker which I feel speaks to our society. Whenever we watch movies that might have inappropriate bits for her she leaves the room and I go with her. What is the one scene she left in? The consensual sex scene between a couple that had been shown to believe in love. We are more comfortable as a society with our children seeing blood and gore than consensual love.
Do I personally think explicit sex scenes are appropriate for kids my sister’s age? No I don’t. However if I had to pick for her to leave during the consensual loving sex scene or the attempted rape scene I’d sure as hell pick the first.
I admit this stung particularly after hearing my parents would never in the near future wont trust me to watch her because of what I might expose her too but they willingly and knowledgeably expose her to this.
I want to iterate that I feel it is equally inappropriate for my sister to know about my job. I would not have her see any of that at her age. When she’s older I will explain everything if I feel it is appropriate but not now. If she were to come visit me she would know nothing and see nothing. However apparently my parents can’t trust me with that.
This is a very frustrating start to my holiday home. I believe my parents are good parents, I’ve always thought so. However, I think they are seriously missing some key points right now.
The 22nd I have another therapy appointment with my parents. It’s a bigger one. Tomorrow I’m going to challenge them, see if we can move on or if family therapy is a waste of time. Sadly I strongly suspect it’s going to be the latter.
I can live with my parents hating my choices. It’s a sad side effect of what I do. Choosing your own happiness is never easy and is never super fun- somebody is always pissed. That’s just part of life. However most of those people can still respect you.
I don’t think my parents can. At least not right now. It’s a hard reality to deal with- those of you who follow my thoughts will have seen a continuing trend when I talk about my parents. Seesawing back and forth between how I want to handle it. My parent’s are good people but not necessarily good for me. That’s an important distinction. They have major flaws- are often problematic but they are good people.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy to keep them super involved in my life right now. They are no longer my emergency contact- they haven’t been for about two years. My roommate is. I’ve been planning to meet with a lawyer to set up a will and all that junk to insure that my wishes are written down and legally enforceable.
As some of you know I am a practicing Wiccan. My parents are Christian. That’s alright- they know I’ve changed my religious beliefs from what I grew up with. However say something were to happen to me, say I died, I don’t know if they would honor my beliefs. I plan on having my roommate be the executor of my will to make sure these are followed if anything happened.
The fact that I’m thinking of these things is proof enough to me to that something needs to drastically change. If they can somehow begin to change from where they are at now I want to continue therapy with them. However if they can’t I’m going to stop. It’s not helpful to me and I have much better things I can do with therapy than sit and have the same pointless conversation that gets us no where.
It’s better to be honest about our relationship- what there is of one. It’s ok to remember the past and be honest about the future. Even if that means less of a relationship than we had. At least it’ll be honest.
A Letter to my Body
Dear physical form I live in, thank you. I don’t tell you this enough. In fact often I tell you the exact opposite. I complain about you, I gripe about you and I’m not always kind to you. So I’d like to take a minute to say thank you.
To my hair, you are often like me. Neither one of us like to listen much. We’ll pretend to do what we’re told before going off and doing what we intended anyway. That’s ok. You’re healthy and when we decide we agree you give me that extra bit of confidence I need.
To my eyes, you are open and bright. You help me communicate with the help of my brows when my words cant. Or you add that extra little umph my words need with your expression. You help me show desire and want, anger and pain, joy and ecstasy. You connect me to the world around me.
To my lips, you form the words I speak sharp and pointed or caressing and gentle. You are both modest and sensual depending on what desire is shown. You help me taste a lovers kiss or a indulge in a perfectly cooked meal. You show case my laughter and explain my intentions. You help me smile and seduce.
To my face, you show the world how I feel, you provide the surface for my eyes, mouth, ears, nose. You help me draw in the world around me to be dissected and understood.
To my breasts, I complain about you, I say you’re too small, the wrong size. You’re not. You’re gentle rises that fit the rest of my body. You’re perky and beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with you and I can always find your size in the store.
To my stomach, you have a little extra that the world tells me I should shed. An inch or so of softness that I’m told should be sculpted away and hardened out of existence. That message is wrong, you are the gentle curve of my waist that flows to my hips. You are a soft place for a lover to rest their hand. You are the smooth skin for my hand to glaze over as I rest in bed. You are a place for a future to grow. You are just fine the way you are.
To my legs, my arms, you are strong, you lift me, carry things for me. You provide me a foundation and a reach. You are amazing.
To my hands, you are gentle enough to caress a lover and strong enough to do anything. You grasp the world and even more powerful a pen. You create and you learn.
To my feet, you dance. You bring me pleasure through movement. You glide me across a stage. You carry me on amazing journeys. You show me new places. You’ve taken steps Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.
Thank you body. You have your faults, you ache at times and at other times you decide not to work but your mine and I love you.
I posted this on my tumblr account a few days ago and thought I’d put it here also.
I need a Black Widow movie. I need it soon. I need a hero who isn’t always super heroic. I need a troubled hero, I need an anti-hero who does heroic stuff. I need a complicated hero.
I identify with Black Widow. 21 year old, college student, sex worker me identifies with the Russian assassin. Let me explain.
I grew up in a small town and in my small town I internalized a lot of really negative bullshit about myself and others. I was brainwashed by where I grew up. I internalized misogyny, racism, sexism and several other really bad things. I wasn’t actively a bad person but I wasn’t a good person. I was a product of what I was taught.
I look at Black Widow, I look at Natasha- her character and I see another person who was a product of what she was taught. The Red Room becomes a larger representation of my home town. I was taught to think and behave a certain way and so was she.
Her character, however, grew. She broke away from what she was taught- took the skills she learned and decided how to use them. She’s able to grow and develop healthy relationships. She creates and defines her own life.
I need to see this. I need to be reminded that I am not a product of my upbringing. That I have the power to take the negative bullshit and make it something better.
I need to see Natasha grow. I need to see her make mistakes. I need to see her being sexual because it’s part of a job and not feel guilty about it because she got her shit done. I need to see her having sex with someone she cares about and see that even someone with a bad past can have healthy relationships. I need to see her have sex because she needs to feel close to someone. I need her to know it’s probably unhealthy but right now it feels good and she needs to hold on to that.
I need to see Natasha human. I need to see her flawed. In Avengers Natasha showed her vulnerability and it was ok. She wasn’t weak for doing so. I need to see more of that.
See Natasha isn’t Steve- she isn’t doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. She knows who’s important to her and she protects them. It might be one tiny blip of good in a lot of bad but it’s something she can hold on to. I need to see this. I want to see this.
I need my flawed bad ass Russian assassin. I need to see this on a big screen. Marvel- I need a Black Widow movie.
The concept of putting down roots has always been important to me. I had very strong roots growing up- my mothers family was very close both emotionally and geographically. My dad’s family wasn’t close geographically but I knew my paternal grandpa and several of my uncles very well. Roots are important. They were the base for my support system and something that helped me identify myself.
When I moved to Chile my senior year of high school I ripped out my root system. I still had my connections to my family but geographically they were far away and emotionally harder to talk to. My life was taking different routes and I was beginning to learn different things. I could talk to my family once or twice a week but it was difficult. Not just emotionally but practically what with time differences and schedules.
When I moved back home after my time abroad things were different. I was starting to grow into the person I’m still growing into today. Sometimes this person was at odds with my family. Sometimes this person was at odds with myself. Sometimes I just felt tied in and stuck being back in my home town. This made it so I couldn’t put those original roots back in.
I moved away to college, I moved to Guatemala, I moved back to college. I would put down shallow roots- enough to soak up the stability I needed but not so deep that I couldn’t pull them back out if I needed to.
When I moved back to my city from Guatemala I still had roots here from before I left. When the ex and I started dating I’d go visit him in Chicago on a regular basis. If he wasn’t working up here (which he often was) I’d drive down to Chicago 1 a month or so. I got to know his friends and his family.
I really thought him and I would do the whole forever thing. I planned on going to law school in Chicago- hell I’m still looking at law schools in Chicago. I thought I’d be putting roots down there for the long term. I feel secure when I have roots, I feel safe in life and my position in it. I wanted to have those roots when I got to Chicago.
I took time to get to know the people in his life. They were apart of my life and would eventually be a part of my root system. That’s no longer the case for better or worse. Just as so many things happen in a break up I got the sheets he got his support system. Besides I’m still years away from Chicago, or New York, or DC or California.
I have roots here too- in my current city. For better and for worse most of my system here are not other students. They are people who already established themselves here. They are not transient people they are stable and solid. When I leave for law school they will still be here.
I could be satisfied in this city. I could finish my undergrad and find an advocacy job, find someone to share my life with, raise a family and hopefully do some good. I’d be satisfied. But not happy. Not necessarily. I’d feel that I’d be cutting myself away from many choices and many opportunities. I do want to get my law degree, I do want to leave but I’m more afraid of letting my roots tie me here without giving myself the opportunity to grow. Of settling for the choice of comfort over the fear of what might be.
I can always come back. However, I think in order to be happy staying I have to leave first. I have roots here and I don’t have to rip them out. I can put more down later I might find a better place for me to put them down.
Roots are important to me but they are not a reason for me give up or change my goals and dreams.
I wear my sexuality and sensuality as a cloak. Its a companion, and a friend. It’s something that is such a part of me that I can’t separate it from the other parts of me.
And I don’t want to.
I like that it’s hinted in the way I walk. I like how my voice trembles with seductive undertones when I need or want it to. I like the subtle power that radiates when I give some poor fool a side long glance and smile. I like that I have this power that I can call upon as needed, bring it to heel and use it.
I like that this power is dangerous.
I like that this power is challenging. Not everyone is seduced the same way.
Some people are seduced through their minds- I’m one of them. You want in my pants you get in my head first. Words are weapons, fired back and forth in a volley that preludes a wild ride. But if you hold on tight and scream as you spiral it can be a hell of a ride.
Some people are seduced by touch. A timed glance, a graze of fingers over collar bones, shoulders, thighs. Motion is what brings these people in. A hidden rhythm deep in the crevice of a more primal state. This is a dance you never want to end even though the finale is the best part.
We all play the game of seduction, whether it’s for sex, power, money, knowledge or some other sought after adventure. We all chase something. We all have that power.
I was a stripper long before I stepped on a stage. Even as an awkward teenager I understood that some things could be gained by using my words and motions. A hand trailed from hair to breast could convince a young officer I really didn’t mean to speed. In my first year of college a bit of well placed flattery coupled with a slight plea could buy me a much needed extension.
Am I a bad person? To take this power I have and bring it to heel? When it’s a power that every one truly has although some use it more than others.
I think not.
I’ve been single for almost a month now. I didn’t write about my breakup while it was happening because I needed time to process it. To feel it privately before I felt ok to share it. The break up with mutual- or as mutual as a break up can be. Luckily I was able to take sometime off, deal with it before the semester started again.
There are things about breakups that they don’t tell you. I haven’t been in many relationships- I don’t see the point in getting into one when it doesn’t have a chance working out in the long run. Therefore my bed partners are change quickly and my romantic partners are few and far between.
What they don’t tell you about a break up is how comfortable you were in your relationship. They don’t tell you about how your body memorizes the space your partner took up in bed next to you. How your brain remembers sounds and smells of your partner. They also don’t tell you about how much space your partner’s things took up. How you organized your lives around each other.
Once they leave- for what ever reason they leave for- your body roles over in bed looking for them only to find empty space and memories. A warmth is missing- you know you didn’t always have it but when you did look how quickly it became normal.
At times something seems missing, a smell, a presence a familiarity even if its been gone for a time- even when you knew it was leaving. You want it and you miss it.
Sometimes I turn to pick up the phone- tell him something before I remember that we’re not together anymore. After we ended things and he left I started to reorganize my room. I didn’t realize how much space he took up. How much space his things took up in my room. Not in a bad way- in the way two people share space together.
This break up is for the better- I know that. He knows that. That is something I’ve never questioned.
That is not to say it’s easy. I miss him. I miss having a partner. I miss coming home to someone at the end of the day. I miss having a partner to lean onto and I miss having a partner lean on me. I miss the familiarity of another person being there.
I was with my boyfriend for a year. By the time we ended things we could communicate without words. A glance told each other how the other felt about a situation. We might not have been suited for forever but during the time we were together we were pretty good. I miss having that.
I know that he wasn’t my last relationship. I’m glad he wasn’t. I’m also glad he was one of them. There are things I miss about him specifically and things I miss about having a partner in general. It’s nice being able to see the difference and work within them.