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Whore Next Door: Bus Stop Rom-Com Material - By - December 2, 2015 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Whore Next Door: Bus Stop Rom-Com Material

One sunny San Francisco afternoon back in 2010, I was waiting for the 1-California bus to North Beach to dance my closing shift at the (late, great) Lusty Lady peep show. My seven-inch Lucite heels made carrying my bag cumbersome, so I tucked it underneath my seat at the bus stop, hoping not to draw attention to it. Nearby, also waiting for Muni, stood a fair-skinned boy in a white T-shirt with tattooed arms and sweet eyes. I'd been sleeping alone since I moved to the city several months prior, save for the occasional one-night stand, so I swooned easily. (Spoiler alert: I always do.)

I let my gaze linger for a moment on his forearm, where it said “Grace” in bold script. He was eating a fancy European chocolate bar, snapping the dark squares apart and placing them on his tongue when suddenly, his eyes turned and met mine.

“I like your tattoo,” I stammered, as he simultaneously asked, “Do you want some chocolate?” Then we both laughed. When the bus came, we sat next to each other, our elbows touching.

“This is it,” I thought, “My perfect, romantic comedy meet-cute. My offbeat love story begins now. He must be the one!”

But of course, he wasn't.

Within the first five minutes I outed myself as a sex worker who preferred non-monogamy, still too naive to imagine that information might count against me on my journey towards love with this little hipster. He did end up asking me out, but he never considered me girlfriend material. Our relationship mainly consisted of him calling me the middle of the night for the occasional hand job, because he didn't think I was “in a place for anything serious.”

In a culture that criminalizes and devalues people who work the sex trade, it's not surprising that it's also hard to find suitors who value what a girl like me brings to the table. It's certainly not the most tragic side effect of sex-worker stigma, but it's definitely one of my least favorites.

Sadly, there are plenty of guys out there who would also disqualify me — and my fellow sluts and whores — from the pool of women they'd want to take home to Mom. I'm an old-fashioned romantic, and I love the idea of a chance encounter with a happy ending, but I've found that the reality of meeting someone I'll actually be compatible with on the street or in a bar is an unrealistic expectation.

Online dating is the natural solution; it's how most people are courting these days, anyway. Some bemoan and begrudge our culture's attachment to connecting through technology, but now that I've been a sex professional for more than half a decade, spending a great deal of time catering to male egos, I am no longer as keen on passively waiting for men to approach, hoping to be swept off my feet.

Because I can walk in my heels just fine. That's why I wore them.

When I need compliments from strangers, I look to my Instagram followers, not to men on the street.

The rules of “old-fashioned” courtships are just that, taking their cues from old-fashioned patriarchal traditions rooted in rape culture. Dating, hookups, and bar culture condone and encourage men to interrupt, interject, and engage with women even when they've been given no invitation. It's considered desirable, even suave, to approach a woman on the street, at a cafe, the library, the grocery store — anywhere.

But online dating allows women to flip the script. Instead of waiting to be approached by men in public, where they must navigate their own safety, we can choose from a long list of petitioners based on their online merits and manners. Just as the internet has afforded me the opportunity to screen and vet the clients I see for work, online dating has allowed me to vet dates in my personal life. Although it can be tedious to wade through a flooded inbox of dick pics and creeps, at least I can do so from the comfort of my own home, in my robe and slippers, if I choose. There's nothing more disappointing than getting all dressed up only to wade through a bar full of douchebags trying to grab your ass, as club culture encourages us to do in order to find our soulmates.

I'd rather cruise for dudes on my iPhone app while waiting for the bus, than waste my time with muggles who are almost certain to disappoint!