I recently came across the blog of a freelance writer and photographer named Susannah Breslin who started two projects in 2008. One was a blog where she requested that working girls (meaning anything from the masseuse who provides a happy ending to the street walking hooker to the high priced escort) write to her about their experiences so that she can publish their letters (with some editing to protect people’s privacy) on her site. The other was a blog that basically did the same thing, but it was letters from men (or maybe I should say people, since I can remember at least two letter on that blog from women who had hired someone for sex) who hired working girls. The blogs were called Letters from Working Girls and Letters from Johns respectively. But projects have ended, unfortunately, but the letters are still available for viewing.
These letters, all of them, are fascinating. There might be a built in bias to these projects due to the way the letters are being submitted, since I doubt many working girls in truly desperate situations are going to be all that interested in writing in to a blog. But still, the stories of these people are all a little different, all truly interesting, and all related by the common thread of prostitution. And the letters from the johns give such insight into their side of the whole thing. There are so many reasons people use adult services. There was one letter from a man who had been wheelchair bound his entire life, and it was heartbreaking. Most of the letters on both sides seemed to be written by relatively intelligent, self aware people.
For me, reading these wasn’t exactly an eye opener. I have always been interested in this sort of thing and had an optimistic view of prostitution. I have toyed with the idea of trying it out when I haven’t been in relationships. So for me, these letters were more like an affirmation of what I already believed- that the people in the sex industry, both providers and customers, are real people with real emotions. That there are people who do it because they enjoy it, people who were not beaten and abused as children who have been drawn to this kind of lifestyle and career choice. That there is something of worth to be found in these sort of interactions.
I think for many people though, it would be a huge revelation if they really sat down and read these letters, or talked to these people or others like them. I think that many people would find it much harder to harshly judge the working girls and the johns.
And I think that I want to hear more of these stories. So, if anyone reading this has any experiences they’d like to share, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to share your stories here on the blog, but if you’d rather I don’t then that’s fine too. I’m not interested in changing my blog into a big prostitution awareness project, I just want to hear the stories. Though, I might also post some ads on Craig’s List to see if I can get any to post here, since I think it’s definitely a fascinating enough topic to share.