“…you’re a dreamer and can’t handle a real job.” (From an e-mail I once received.)
I never sent a reply and I blocked his e-mail address, but that strange condemnation has always stuck in my head. (I’ve never seen anything wrong with being a dreamer. After all, we’re the idea people in this world.)
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 of having horny men just like them falling all over their feet just to hand us lots of cash. They don’t see this as a “real” job. Whatever a “real job” is supposed to be.
I wonder if that guy thought he had a real job.* Ever read Dilbert? Do you think he had a real job? Something definable, tangible; that he did something to produce results? 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 if you sit behind a desk all day, typing away, answering pointless e-mails, never quite sure of what you’re supposed to do and what exactly it is that your coworkers do? How real is it if you never see any result from the piles of paper you produce, other than a paycheck?
For instance, a lot of people think strippers are strippers because they can’t get work anywhere else. Stripping isn’t rocket science and neither is escort work, but you must know what you’re doing or you will fail in a really obvious way. There is no way to fake either of these “non-real” jobs. The whole adult industry is like that. It’s a very definite pass/fail world, no faking your way through it. 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 this a “real” job? Am I accomplishing more than the average corporate slave? What if to produce a regular number of client meetings per week I work 40+ hours some weeks and 5 hours other weeks? Does time spent working indicate the “realness” of a job?
A former client of mine once mentioned that people don’t think he does a real job either. He’s self-employed builder/contractor. He’s in demand, produces solid work and makes a good living. Yet because he’s self-employed many of his critics 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. I’ve read many job books which 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 did I feel working as an escort? Happy, satisfied, in control of my life, wealthy, healthy, at peace with myself, free, successful and I slept like a baby every night. How would I feel stuck in the office grind for a year? Probably much like the above list of negative effects. I had bad days every now and then, just like anyone, but I never had a long string of them.
The converse assumption of the “not a real job” argument is that escort work is 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.
- 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. Does that make the job more or less real? I think that makes it very real. The effects are immediate and personal. It doesn’t get more real than that. The meat of the job is my client and me. Nothing else.
For more reading on what the “real” job-world is like, try Franz Kafka. Escort work is very grounded by comparison.
*I don’t know what he did for a living. He didn’t bother to put that information in his e-mail and I wasn’t so concerned that I asked.