Love letter to my colleagues

Dear fellow courtesan,

I see you. With your long flowing hair, blonde, brown or black, and the twinkle in your eyes. I’m used to working with pretty girls, but you all are so much more than just that.

In my late teens, before I started my studies, I worked as a model. I did some catwalks, lookbooks and an odd TV commercial here and there. However, I was never particularly successful – not tall enough – but it paid the bills and I liked the travelling. The excitement and the opportunity to mingle with creative people like designers and photographers was another good side of it. The part that I didn’t like was the rivalry.

The clichés about the fashion industry are true. I sincerely wish they weren’t. Castings were usually held in hallways or grey and depressing conference rooms. All too often these were tense afternoons with two or three casting directors and twenty other models. I remember a full day on set, from 8AM to 8PM. One of the models I was working with accused me of sabotaging her diet just for bringing croissants. I remember the stares, the brags about previous bookings and the stifled laughter whenever a girl stumbled in her heels.

Oh, how different my current courtesan colleagues are! I don’t know all of you, but the ones I’ve met, wow. I’m in awe of your power and your kindness. Sure, I like kissing your soft lips, but I also like listening to what you have to say. You’ve made me feel so welcome. Thank you for lending me your lingerie, for helping me with my make-up and for hyping me up. Thanks a mil for grabbing me when I try to run in high heels and trip over myself. But most of all thank you for checking to find out whether I got home safe late at night.

I’ve been thinking about it, and maybe the sex work stigma is partly responsible. Plenty of people judge us for what we do. So maybe there’s a natural mutual understanding, a solidarity. Last week I was laughing with some of you. We talked about the cover stories we come up with for our neighbors or hairdressers or “day job” colleagues. Some of us make up a fake, multifaceted boyfriend who lives in another city. A few of us are supposedly “hostesses”. There were so many similarities between our cover stories, so much recognition.

Of course, I still wish these cover stories wouldn’t be necessary. I still hope that one day, neighbors will stop caring about our wardrobe or sleep schedule, and hotel employees will stop side-eyeing the pretty women in the lobby.

But until that day, dear colleagues, I am glad we’re in this together. Keep on being you!

Love,
Lucy

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