This person knew I was a sex worker. It says so, right in my Bumble profile: retired media whore, current actual whore.
He'd even commented on it, using the language every woman longs to know from a romantic interest:'Haha, nice
'. And yet I watched as his face contorted in to an expression of disgust, his upper lip curling as the truth of my profession came crashing down around him like a tonne of bricks.
"That is a lot," he said, and he then rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. I didn't hear from him again.
It sometimes surprises people to hear that sex workers do all sorts of normal people activities, like working other jobs, studying, taking the bins out. We exist in real life after our shifts end and the red light is flicked off; we've dinner with this families and shop at K-Mart and wait on hold with our websites providers for what feels as though hours.
It's not common that the physical and emotional experiences we have at work will be enough to make up for a potential insufficient intimate connection in our lives outside of work; so many of us also date, with varied levels of success.
A few months ago, I ended a connection with a man I had been seeing for nearly two years. In private, he was an enormous supporter of me working, but around his colleagues and friends his tune seemed to change. He'd introduce me, but hesitate in describing our relationship; when he said, "That is Kate..." the silence that hung in the area where, "...my girlfriend," should have been weighed a tonne.
I don't think that he personally had a problem with me being fully a sex worker, but I really do genuinely believe that the chance of other folks judging me – and then judging him if you are with me – was enough to produce him want to help keep me a secret.
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