Written by Lotte Latham.
Does anyone else find the term Human Resources jarring? It’s a naked reminder that we’re all proverbial meat cogs at some level. As someone who “sells their body”, I find the casual use of this term ironic in the face of so much stigma about the topic. Sex work is something that I do alongside freelancing in a creative industry, it’s been that way for the last 8 years. I don’t see this as an interim, but rather a coping mechanism for diluting the intensities of both jobs.
My civvy job isn’t just for the money. It’s the decoy, the kudos, the hope that it’s going somewhere slowly. It’s to be considered a person within society in a way that I don’t feel when I’m completely side-lined as a sex worker. Likewise, I escort – and it’s not just for the money either. Sometimes it’s a kick, a release, a fetish, as well as a safety net. All I know for sure is that being able to “dip in” when I need to, is very much about gleaning autonomy. What is my civvy job, and why has it “driven” me to sex work?
We’re all proverbial meat cogs at some level.
Like many millennials, I can’t fully answer this question because I’ve had so many job titles. Here goes; If you’ve ever walked through a thriving cosmopolitan centre and seen a well-oiled hunk handing out coconut flavoured cans of low-calorie hard seltzer, under a palm tree, on a pink sand dune. And if you’ve ever thought; “Who the fuck dreams this shit up?”. Yep, that’s me. It’s my job to design it. The nexus where design meets crass capital.
Written in my 21st birthday card was the adage; “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” … Naively following this sentiment; I, as a middle-class, white arts grad began pursuing my sex in the city dreams. I knocked on doors until I found a freelance job at a bona fide creative agency. I can see with hindsight, that this is upon the merit of having been white, middle-class, and outwardly fitting into the studio landscape behind the door.
I’ve worked precariously under the gig economy for a decade and hated the futility of it since almost week one.
I learnt fast that the notion of having “a job you love” is a fallacy. It’s an opportunity for exploitation at every turn, the unpaid overtime that you’re commanded to do “for the love of the work”, the reminder there’s always someone to replace you lest you forget your job is “desirable”, last minute cancellations, working from home with no colleagues to bitch at. Time off feels like unemployment. Time on feels entirely overwhelming. I let go of the parameters of a job description in the crusade to be flexible, but this allowance has led to other less-savoury sacrifices along the road.
No sick pay, pension, or contracts.
On rainy afternoons I reflect on my life choices and concede that because I have a “cute job” I may never get to choose if I have a family. This has come more harshly into focus now that I’m in my thirties. If it was just for the money, this would not be the most efficient way of making it.
Either way, I’m not going to use the trite phrase “Sex work empowers me” but by comparison my “Creative” job makes me feel like a wrung-out dishcloth. The cash from “hocking my box” has supported my freelancing when it’s been precarious. “Girl got options” – She says, flashing her snatch to the camera. There has been the odd sticky situation and I don’t discount this but generally, sex work gives me the breathing room I need to be a nicer person on the daily.
“If you don’t like your job then leave.” – Right?
Well, I’ve decided to exit the creative industry about as many times as I’ve decided to stop prostituting myself. Something always lures me back.
The novelty? The lack of drudgery? Maybe because it’s my profession and the job itself isn’t the issue. To hop ship is also easier said than done because on paper, I don’t really exist. A lack of formal employment makes me look like a tumbleweed to the average recruitment agency.
Leading a double life does have its confusions; Notably, I don’t know where to draw a line because for me, the line doesn’t exist. If they asked me to get on all fours and bark like a dog, I probably would. The boundaries between my jobs are less than they seem: both have a people-pleasing element. Although, with escorting I draw harder parameters (‘cos if you give’em an inch, they’ll take the mile).
There is, of course, a larger picture to sex work and I’d be doing it a disservice not to acknowledge that. Prostitution is, and always will be a mirror of society. A grotesque amplification of the racist, classist, ableist, capitalist world in which we live. There’s also a wider discussion when I’m pulling an all-nighter to increase sales of a low-calorie alcopop. But that’s not something I get to pop off about because “work is work”. And yet, you’re telling me “Sex work isn’t work” – because it accesses a part of my body that ought to be sacred. I believe my sleep ought to be sacred but here I am ranting about my day job at 3am on a Monday morning, having woken up in a cold sweat and dreading the week ahead.
A hybrid existence works for me. All I’d really like to say is – to the next person I hear query how someone could deign to “sell their body”. I’d like to remind them that we’re all a human resource in the face of capitalism. I’d ask them to think about their contract, their holiday request forms, and their cost of living and tell me just who isn’t a “body for hire”.
About the Author
Lotte Latham is a professional Hedonist; Artist, Sex Worker and Author of upcoming memoir “Dear Mr Andrews”, a tale about my unlikely friendship with a John who didn’t pay.
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