Dear LA Man, I’ve been thinking about your situation for few days. Some people have responded with some kind and respectful advice. I’ve pasted one at the end of this letter. We also had a phone conversation so, I am privy to some information that is not in the letter and may respond to some of that here.
On the phone we talked about trust. What I’ve learned about trust is that it’s a tender thing that takes time to build and when it’s damaged; it takes a very long time to repair it. Call me an optimist—maybe even a romantic—because I think that there is nothing that cannot be repaired with work, patience, and dedication. But that can only happen when we decide to stop lying to ourselves. The liar stops lying.
I used to be a big fat liar. Sometimes my elaborate schemes involved borrowing cars and costumes. But I grew so miserable and alone because no one really knew me. They only knew segments. I told selective truths to my loved ones because of my low self-regard and my selfish terror of being rejected. For instance, I had this couple—they were sort of regular clients of mine. I told my stoner boyfriend I was at a “catering gig” and disappeared for hours. I wasn’t passing out chicken skewers in peanut sauce on cocktail napkins, I was doing a show in a dusty santa suit for a man in a white terrycloth towel-skirt and his ejaculatory wife, with a lavender dolphin dildo, way too many scented candles and about $400. I had done it for years. While I was driving to the “catering gig” my boyfriend called. I told him I had to bartend a party. He said, “I’m in your house right now and I’m looking at your bar kit. Where are you really going?” I turned around and went home. So busted. What I’m getting at, LA Man, is you are not dating a big, fat liar. You are dating a beautiful, sexy, thirty-three year old liar.
That said, I relate to Zoe. I get her protective, defensive shellac. I see where she’s hiding. I smell what she’s stepping in. I understand the shame she’s deflecting from our culture about sex and the adult industry. The ugliness that inspires lying. I’ve heard the new age rhetoric nonsense she is eating up right now to make it all okay.
Because of all that, I got worried for both of you. It made my stomach lurch like riding a roller coaster that’s traveling straight up and then it shoots down and you can feel your eyes pop and you want to barf and then you’re in a dark tunnel and want to get off; you scream but it’s not over yet. Sure, I used to love roller coasters because the lurching and hurling part became the hysterical laughter part, but the last time I rode a roller coaster, I ended up with whiplash and 800-milligram ibuprofen. Zoe is your roller coaster.
Let’s call a spade a spade: There’s the person problem and the job issue.
- Antonia by Romy Suskin
Facts first: Zoe lied to you about being an escort after you had been dating for eight months. That’s a lot different than seeing someone for a few weeks. Eight months is a substantial amount of time. A baby is almost ready to burst from an expecting mama’s belly by eight months. In cat years, eight months is the equivalent to a fifteen-year old human. In lesbian years, eight months is cohabitation for five years. In stripper years, eight months is varicose veins and a hunchback.She only came clean when you caught her, which happened because you snooped.
You need to know right now that some people lie sometimes and go on to be in healthy, honest relationships.
Will Zoe change? Or are you really just in love with the fantasy of Zoe? Speaking of open relationships (which you say you are attempting to have with Zoe), friends of mine who are in an open relationships say the amount of work it takes to communicate openly and lovingly is huge. It takes a lot of time and patience to allow both partners room to express feelings and work through it together. I commend them for their bravery and generosity. Those friends of mine swear by “The Ethical Slut,” because it’s a blueprint for healthy poly relationships. If you’re emotionally mature enough to attempt that scenario and everything is on the table now, what difference does it make if she’s getting money? She has other sex partners. You have concerns about her job.Understandable. I encourage you to step outside of preconceived notions of jobs and talk to her. Ask her questions. Women have varied experiences in the adult industry. Have the talk about safe sex. Get tested. Ask her how the job is affecting her emotionally, physically and what you can expect, like, how will it bleed into your relationship? Then, mind your own business and enjoy her. If you cannot do that, be her friend and tell her you can’t handle it. Get off the roller coaster. Let her be.
As for her new job, it sounds like she’s in over her head. I’m wary of her circle of friends who recruited her into escort work and found her those clients. I’m worried that she got arrested after such a short period of time and how that will affect her future. I’m worried the fast money will eclipse her better judgment.I hope she will love herself enough to be honest about what she’s doing and get support. She sounds like an upbeat girl with lots of interests like travel, personal training and school. I hope she pursues those interests and saves her money.
I hope you can see your relationship with her more clearly and dive into your own twelve-step program and get support. One more thing, I spoke to a yoga instructor yesterday about a philosophy circulating in the sex worker community. Underlying the new age jargon is this idea that women are healing men by selling their bodies. Nonsense. This is a perversion of tantric texts that piqued the interest of the free love generation in the 60’s and 70’s and it’s a defensive posturing to justify the act and if prostitution were legalized and women in the industry were protected and valued, they wouldn’t be grasping at tantric texts. Some girls love sex work. They have a blessed synergy with their personality and ambition it works for them. I was blue collar about sex work. For me, it was more akin to being a circus monkey and therapist to being a priestess, which is to say, I enjoyed it until I felt stuck. I hope she doesn’t get stuck.
*In response to the man dating an escort. The keyword he used was ‘smart’. If he thinks she is smart then he should trust that she is smart to stay safe. If she is earning that kind of money then her clients are not off the streets and far less likely to be unhealthy. When I was a ‘high class call girl’ (my husband does NOT know), it was the sexiest time of my life, I knew my power, my body was in tune with it’s erotic power and I was a sexual and emotional therapist to many men. It is not a shameful profession however I was in a relationship at the time and it took it’s toll. He wasn’t really able to handle it but was passive aggressive because he was spending all the money. My two regrets; continuing through a bad breakup while my emotions were weak and his words caused me shame and not following my madam’s advice to save the money I earned.It’s a time of my life that I miss and wish I had experienced it as a single woman. My husband does not know that I was a professional, not because I think he would leave but because I think it would stigmatize our sex life. And he has a VERY good sex life, there’s something to be said for marrying a professional whether you know it or not. He is also very clear that if he feels the need to go somewhere else for sex that I want him to go to a ‘high class call girl’. They are there for a reason.