Once a month, I get together with several friends who are also in the sex industry for what we refer to as "The Bad Girl Review." We meet for dinner someplace swanky, have a few cocktails, and compare work notes. It's a bitch session--albeit a good-natured one, because we all basically like our jobs. But whenever you're in a customer-service profession, you're going to run into people who drive you nuts... and certain crazy-making things only another sex worker will understand.
We're in different arms of the industry--Chloe and Laura are call girls, Nadine is a stripper, Jessica is a porn model, and there's me, the pro dom. But when Chloe rolls her eyes and says, "Okay, can I tell you about this freak who called me last week and wanted to know if I would see him with his dog?"... well, we can all sympathize because we've all had the experience of having someone ask for something way out of our comfort zone. And I laugh every time I hear Jessica's hilarious story about doing a video shoot for the guy who had a balloons-and-chocolate-syrup fetish. She perfectly captures that "just when I thought I'd seen everything..." feeling that all five of us have had at one time or another.
The same quality that lets us be supportive of each other's annoyances--and laugh at each other's stories--is what makes us successful as sex workers. It's empathy, the ability to understand and respond to another person's feelings. To stay healthy and happy as a sex worker, you must be able to be emotionally present with each client. That may sound scary, but being real is what will keep you sane over the long run. Trying to be numb and feel nothing will just fuck you up in the head. Plus, it will blunt your awareness of how you use your emotional resources. You're going to give your clients some energy, but we all have our limits, and you need to stay aware of yours.
And to give positive energy, you must first have it yourself. That's the other thing all the Bad Girls have in common--happy and fulfilling personal lives, with people who care about them. I have a lot of amazing people around me, but the women of the Bad Girl Review put a unique stream of support and understanding into my emotional reservoir. Thanks, Bad Girls.