What I Learned Working In A Sex Shop
I once worked as a ‘marketeer’ in brothels (placing cards in phone boxes, mostly). They were flats in London’s West End, rented out for the day by owner’s who’d gone to work. The prostitutes were bright and making a choice. They had not been trafficked and were, as such, the victims of repeated rapes.
They offered me ‘freebies’ instead of cash. No thanks. I wanted the money.
None of the women were on hard drugs. But what I noticed – what any one would notice – was that Class A drugs and other criminality followed them. These women were forced into a world of crime.
That prostitution is illegal is iliberal. Shouldn’t consenting adults be allowed to buy and sell their own bodies? Plans are afoot to make the buying of sex but not the selling a crime. You might not like prostitution, but it exists. Turning consenting adults into criminals is unhelpful.
Laws that should apply to commercial sex are those that apply to non-commercial sex: consent, age, rights.
That preamble leads us to Russell Dean Stone, who shares the “enduring truths” he’s learned about working in a sex shop:
First, lesbians are the nicest customers. Without exception. Second, the last people you’d imagine buying a particular item will, without question, always be the first ones to buy that item. Tiny leather thongs bought by hugely overweight men, for example, or adult diapers snapped up by tall, hot, ripped biker men who you really, really wish didn’t have a fetish for shitting themselves. Third—and finally—that you must accept that a large portion of your day will be spent fielding prank phone calls and voicemails.
Just to lay down an immediate disclaimer here: I am far from prudish. Obviously. I work in a fetish store. I’m very happy for everyone to do whatever they like as long as it’s consensual. But you know what? I really don’t need to hear about the time you ruptured your asshole, or the moment you unplugged your butt and ruined the carpet. None of that is going to help me find you what you’re looking for. Be specific. Make it easier for the both of us.
Mind you, when those specifics are questions like, “I want to get fisted but have my hands free—do you have any harnesses that can accommodate a plastic fist?” you do sometimes have to reconsider the professional choices you’ve made.
Ha. If you ask me nicely I’ll tell you about the time I hid in a cupbaord whilst a man on his lunch hour strapped on his parachute harness…
Spotter: Andrew Sullivan