Wednesday, March 07, 2012

An independent prostitute

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A new independent-prostitute story. I have a tendency to pick the sad stories. Wasn't my ultimate goal to search for voluntarily prostitutes? Anyway, I read a story in the weekly magazine ‘Intens – verhalen uit jouw leven’ (from the makers of ‘Mijn Geheim’). The NR. 07/11 issue contains a story about a prostitute, ‘Lana werkte als prostituee – Ik ga voor een nieuw leven’ [Lana worked as a prostitute - I aim for a new life]. It tells a story about a young woman that has worked in a so-called 'privéhuis', that is a type of brothel where clients are led into a separate room where they meet the prostitutes, make a choice, and go to another room with a prostitute of their liking. This story makes clear how prostitutes really think about clients, like me. And it makes clear how dangerous working in prostitution is. Don't believe the happy hooker stories. Prostitutes don't mean it when they say that they love their clients. As a matter of fact, don't believe any happy story. Mother Earth didn't create hell to be a nice place to live in. I'm still wondering why I actually still post messages on my blog, now that I have slowly realised that it's not only prostitution per se that's bad, but it is sexuality and work in general that's bad. It's not only prostitutes who are abused, but all workers and people who have sex are abused. The world is a bad place. The solution: minimise consumption and don't visit prostitutes, and don't have sex. Minimising consumption will relieve mother Earth from the environmental strain we put on her, and it will lessen the workload, stress and injuries of all workers. Having no sex with prostitutes will stop the awful things happening in the sex industry, like sex trafficking. Having no sex will prevent all rapes. It will make the world a better place. BTW: don’t buy and consume products originating from animals, and castrate/sterilize your cat or dog.

As you might have expected, I translated a very small segment of the Dutch article into English:

I haven't had an easy childhood. My father was manic depressive, addicted to alcohol and drugs, and he was regularly imprisoned for violent acts. In the past, my mother, my little brother and I have also often ended up in a blijf-van-mijn-lijfhuis [a shelter for battered women]. My father molested and threatened us under the influence of alcohol and drugs. He threatened among other things that he would murder us. Or that he would kidnap me and my little brother to abroad. My parents ultimately divorced. Since then, me and my father rarely have contact.

I have a good bond with my mother. Especially after all that we have been through together. But because she got many different boyfriends after the divorce, and we often had to move house from pillar to post, it was no stable situation at home. I had a need for rest, for my own place and I couldn't wait to start my own little life.

Approximately two years ago, I started to live on my own in a student house. It was a cosy house with nice girls and I felt comfortable. I followed an mbo-study [intermediate vocational education] in social work. But the problems started soon already. I worked very hard with my study, two days of practical training and a job on the side. I simply didn't manage to earn enough. I did receive a grant, but I couldn't even pay my rent with that. Let alone the rest of my fixed expenses and purchases. And when I felt sad, I have the tendency to buy things, that makes me happy. I ultimately spent more and more on things like going out, clothes and cigarettes.

Added to all this, since the moment I lived alone, suddenly everything from my past came to the surface. Because of my study, where the same kind of problems were taught, but also because there was such a big difference between my classmates, housemates and me. I had already experienced so much misery, have seen so much more pain and sadness than the girls among my acquaintances. My housemates were all on the University and came from decent, rich families. They have never experienced something radical in their life. Even the rent was paid by their parents!
I realised more and more that I was an outsider. It all became too much for me and within two months I was completely worn out. I became depressed and I had to cry whole day long. I had a constant headache and I was super-tired. I was really a wreckage.
So the school advised me to take a break and referred me with urgency to a psychologist. It turned out there, that psychologically many things were wrong. I can't remember it exactly anymore, it was quite a list. But at least I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, an attachment disorder and there were more things like that. I went to a psychologist once every two weeks, but I didn't feel understood. After a couple of months I stopped with it. In the meantime I did resign from my little job. Which resulted in the situation that I probably had to live at home again. But despite the financial problems, I didn't feel comfortable about that. My mother and I could get on well with each other, but I preferred to be independent and live my own life.

When I explained my situation to a girlfriend, she had a different solution for me... She proposed to work together with her in a light erotic club. When she told that she earned large amounts of money, my interest was awakened. It so happened that I needed money dearly. My rent had to be paid and I had to go shopping, I didn't have anything to eat anymore.
When I accompanied my girlfriend during one evening, I quickly discovered that it was actually a little bit more than a light erotic club. It simply was a privéhuis [brothel] where women sold their body! I found it shocking and I felt very uncomfortable. At that moment, I preferred to run away with high speed, but something obstructed me. And that was money. If I didn't manage to get money quickly, I had to leave my house and stop with my study. I felt I had no choice and decided to try it anyway.

I started in November 2009. I'll never forget that first evening. I didn't look forward to it, I was very nervous. I found my first client – an untidy man in his forties - very scary and rancid.
That first evening I had sex with as many as five or six men. I worried about everything. I was afraid that the condom would tear, afraid that I would become pregnant. I felt terribly guilty towards the families of those men. I then briefly thought: what am I doing here for goodness' sake?
I did also cry the first evening, because I realised that I crossed many of my boundaries. I had had sex with multiple men. And I have done things in the sexual area that I have never done before, such as certain positions and oral sex. And I immediately had to have sex with somebody who was twice as old as I am. For me that was all a big deal, but it didn't interest these clients. You are worth nothing for them. They even didn't know my name. I found that awful. I got over it by thinking about the money.

After that evening, I felt proud on the one hand. I went home with more than six hundred euro, I have never had so much money! Now I know that many bosses give you an extra lot of money the first evening, so you will think that you will always earn so much, and want to keep on working because of that... But I didn't see that at that time. I was happy that I had enough money to pay my rent and to shop. On the other hand , I also felt very dirty and strange, as if somebody else had lived in my place that evening. It was very unreal. It shocked me how easy it was to turn the switch and to play whore. But I have always had a fairly low threshold concerning sex. Perhaps it is actually caused by my past.

I was abused as a child by a family member whom I loved a lot. Because of this, I have learned very early on, that through sex I could receive 'positive' attention, that you could get men to do a lot of things for you. Once that is inside your head, the step to sell your body is perhaps smaller.
Before I started to do this work, I never had a boyfriend. I only knew sex without emotion, and I didn't know better. Perhaps that worked to my advantage.
I also found myself rather clever. Other girls of my age had sex as often as I had, but they didn't become richer by doing it. I did.
For my own peace of mind, I didn't think too much about all the things I had to do for the money... After that first evening, I also never again showed my emotions. Because when men see that you are vulnerable or sensitive, then they will abuse that. I cut myself off of my feelings and out of self protection I adopted a different role at my work.

Initially I thought that the work in the club would be temporary, so I could at least pay my rent. It wasn't my plan to do this for a longer time. But it turned out differently. I was completely in cloud nine about the money that streamed in. For a girl like me - who never had much money - it was addictive. Within a couple of months already, I could only think about my work. Within a short period, I had a clientele with whom I could make ends meet just fine. I got things well fixed. But the money wasn't the only matter. At last I had found something which I was 'good' at, the men found me wonderful. Each evening, I dolled myself up and I played the role of a spontaneous, beautiful, bright, young and sexy girl.

In the spring of 2010, I also stopped with school, so I could fully focus on my work. Going to school and working became more and more difficult to combine. It often became very late during the evenings that I worked. I couldn't cope anymore with getting up early and to go to school or my practical training. In the meantime, I began to lag behind more and more at school, and ultimately I also wasn't motivated anymore.

During that period, I met my current boyfriend Ben. He knew from the start what kind of work I did. He didn't like it. Not because he was jealous, but because he often worried when I was working. He also preferred that I would stop. But he accepted it, because he knew that I found it difficult to do 'normal' work, and he realised that I also had to make ends meet. The only thing he wanted, was to see me happy. But I did notice that this work wasn't really good for our relationship. In itself I could see it separately from each other. What I did at my work, were routine jobs as it were. There were no feelings attached to that. He was the only one who received love. Still it was difficult.
It happened for example sometimes, that after working in the evening, I didn't feel like having sex. Or that I was distant towards Ben, because I found myself dirty, even when I had a shower for three times already.
When I got to know him, I was regularly depressed. He pulled me out of that by being there for me, to listen to me, and to do nice things together. With Ben I have the certainty for the first time, that a man really likes me for who I am and really cares about me. Now that I have found somebody whom I trust, I have learned to open myself for my feelings and to love somebody.

Except for my boyfriend and one girlfriend, nobody knew that I did this work. I kept it for myself, because I felt ashamed. I was afraid that people would find me dirty and cheap. Even my mother didn't know it. She thought that I worked in a bar. It hurt that I had to lie. But I knew that the truth would hurt her even more. She has gone through a lot already in her life, and I didn't want her to worry about me.

For two years I became completely absorbed into that little world. In the beginning, I still had a lot of beautiful plans. If I would do this for a couple of months, then I could pass my driving test, buy a house, go pleasantly on vacation and pay for my study. But nothing came of it. I mostly worked between three and four evenings per week, and I earned on average two hundred euro during one evening. But often the money was used up within no time because of taxes, clothes, fitness centre, rent, shopping and the interior of the new little house where Ben and I lived for a short time now. And lots of money was used up because of going out, alcohol and drugs.
Because of this work I could make ends meet very well for a short while. But if I look back, I feel sick about the fact that I didn't succeed to save money. But I found it very difficult then. I thought: this money is what I have earned, now I'm also going to spend it the way I want it. I have earned a lot. But if I ascertain what I had to do for it, and how little I made out of it, then it wasn't worth it.

Looking back I feel regret that I started to do this work. If I would have known what kind of impact it would have on my life, I would have never started it. But I didn't realise at that time, that selling my body would only psychologically wreck me even more. I was completely sucked empty because of all the bad energy which surrounds this work. Without noticing it, I am empty, hard and shallow. My emotions have been smoothed enormously. Because of this work, my emotions came standing miles away from me. I can't even cry anymore about sad things such as films or music. And because of the fact that drugs and alcohol use in that world are the most natural thing in the world, I also started to use. After taking a little pill or a little drink, it all was somewhat more pleasant. At that moment it did help me, at least I could hide away my feeling this way.

It is a rock-hard world, full of alcohol and drugs, jealousy between the girls, and annoying clients. Old, dirty men for example who could have been my grandfather. Because when sex didn't work because of drugs, then it was my fault. And that often resulted in violence or threats. I have experienced many awful things during the last two years. Rapes, threats, violence. When I think back about that, it makes me angry that men treated me like old garbage, as a sort of blowup doll. The worst thing that I have experienced, was that a client has tried to strangle me and he even took off the condom during sex. That was terribly frightening. I then threatened that my boss would come upstairs with a pistol when I wouldn't come downstairs when time had run out. He then quickly left. But therefore you actually have little protection. Safety is far to seek. I immediately went to the hospital for a morning-after pill. I couldn't bear thinking about becoming pregnant of such a man.

Ultimately I began to realise more and more that I didn't want to keep on with this work for forty years longer. But I was very insecure. Because of everything that I have experienced, I have the feeling that I am never good enough and that a normal life is not granted to me. I clamped frenetically to my work, the money, the clients, the drugs. I had the idea that I was only worth something when I played whore. That's what I heard day in day out you see, from colleagues, clients and my boss. I was very good in talking clients into going upstairs, flirting and to get drinks out of them. And I received compliments for that. When I was chosen by the clients instead of another girl, that gave me an enormous ego boost. But I now do realise that it is not good to derive your self confidence from that. Because the fact that somebody wants to go to bed with you for money, is not something to be proud of! The last months, I became more and more reluctant to do this work. The last straw was for me, when more and more nasty things happened, and my boyfriend began to worry more and more. A couple of weeks earlier, when I was attacked by another crazy client, it was enough. Since then, I sit at home.

I am determined to turn my life upside down. I don't want to be a prostitute for the rest of my life. The violence, the stress, the alcohol and drugs. It demolishes you. Since I have stopped, I did actually fall into a hole a bit. Only now I realise how many things I have experienced, which risks I have taken, and in what life-threatening situations I have been. It often enough could have gone wrong with violent clients, alcohol or drugs. When I think back to it now, I am happy that I am still there and that I haven't become addicted to anything.

In the meantime I use drugs far less, I only blow dope every now and then to calm down. Looking back, I also do find it awful that I have had sex with hundreds of men during the past years, while I am still so young. Furthermore I absolutely don't like the idea of doing 'normal' work. I am bothered by fear of failure. I am afraid that I am not good at anything, that I am unable to do it, and that my boss isn't satisfied.
When I think about being assessed on what I can do instead of my appearance, I get stomach ache.

But I worry the most about the question if I can make ends meet with a 'normal' salary. I have recently applied for a job in a clothes shop. Nothing came of it. But when I look what I would earn there, I become scared out of my wits. Because despite all the awful sides of the work in the club, it also pampered me. I could work whenever I wanted, and I earned well. And when you earn a lot, you also adapt your life to that. I had my nails done every week, I regularly went to the solarium, and every couple of months I had my hair extensions placed. I never had money in the past. That's why it was pleasant that I finally could do and buy whatever I liked. I am so used to spending lots of money. I rationally know that I could survive with less quite well, together with Ben's income we can manage quite well. But still it is a big changeover. Now that I have no income, the financial problems surface again. And I find it hard to accept that.

Sometimes I'm afraid every now and then that this work will always keep on haunting me. Difficult moments are when I walk with Ben in the city and I encounter a former client. Then I really cringe. Because I know I can’t do it alone, I have also sought help again via my psychologist. I hope that she can help me further again. Because I still struggle with psychological problems. It strongly varies how I feel. One day it goes better than the other. I have a depression in bursts. Especially because it is uncertain what my future will look like. Luckily my boyfriend is always there for me. We are together half a year in the meantime, and he means everything to me. Ben pulls me through everything. It won't become easy, but I am convinced of it that I can leave this behind together with Ben.

After the last incident at my work, Ben and I have talked extensively. We have decided to move to a different house in the future, and to start a new life somewhere else.
For the time being, I will do temporary work. Our plan is to look carefully what kind of work I really want to do. I want to do a home study at least, and to get my mbo-diploma. Perhaps something in the direction of marketing and communication. Furthermore I happily want to do something with writing. That has always been my wish. A column in a magazine for example. Or write a book about my life.
And I would like to be a mother. At this moment my life isn't stable enough and I find myself still too young. But my wish to have a child does give me an extra drive to turn my life around. As a little girl, I already dreamt of suburban bliss. Together with my boyfriend, building up a 'normal' little life, starting a little family, and become happy. That's where I aim for!

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