Turning Off the Red Light

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Question

I'm a fulltime MA student cut off from loans and bursaries situation. I do work, but I've gone through my nest egg and it's no longer enough to cover expenses. If I take on another job, I can't do school full time.

I've been an escort in the past but I'm trying to stay 'clean,' if you know what I mean. It's been hard to shut that thought out, though—I've already started building a blog. It's not accessible to the public but it's just a matter of receiving the next bill that will make the glass overflow.

As I've been writing my blog entries, I've been surprised at how good the writing actually is. It's basically a courtesan's journal—numerous short entries where fantasies of mine are described. The thought popped into my mind: maybe I could sell this as erotica. My question: is becoming an erotica writer something even feasible?

Fancy Girl

Answer

You may have noticed my absence from the Venus Envy site for a brief spell. This is because I was in Europe for the first time in 25 years, spending one week in England then Holland (my family's country of origin) for another three. Admittedly it was a bit of an impetuous decision—I'd had an absolutely bonkers summer and fall and I thought, "I have got to get the hell out of Toronto before I perde ma shit completely." So I threw some clothes in a suitcase, grabbed a handful of Ativans and jumped on a plane. I'd actually never been to the homeland and I have always felt somewhat negligent that as a sex columnist, I hadn't ever paid a visit to its capital Amsterdam—a city known internationally as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.

I stayed with my cousin, just your average Dutch left wing radical, who also happens to live in one of the city's most famous ex squats. This place was truly amazing, a veritable museum highlighting 20 years of anarchic political activism. I loved that she had riot gear on a shelf above her bed—the possibility of immediate action is so damn sexy—and I spent a lot of time admiring the hallway of stolen Mercedes Benz hood ornaments (a great testament to old school fuck-the-rich hooliganism) as well as the many years of radical actions depicted on posters throughout the space.

But, as for Amsterdam's famous Red Light District? Yeah, not so much.

In a city famous for its sex trade, the trade itself often seems little more than a condescending statement on the sexual appetites of foreigners. What "foreigner" seems to denote in this particular case is some sort of uncouth, marauding North American.

There is often a weary maliciousness to our attempts to ape what we imagine other cultures crave sexually and this definitely comes across in Amsterdam's Red Light District.

The girls stand in blacklit windows wearing neon lingerie, glowering at potential clients, yacking into bejeweled cell phones and dancing around lethargically to music piped in from little ghetto blasters. The tourists, knowing they are being ridiculed, act accordingly. It's an odd, antagonistic exchange.

No doubt it takes a thick skin to pose in a window at street level all day in an ill-fitting fluorescent bikini but I for one was not tempted to part with my money even for solidarity's sake.

I did hand over 5 euros to a sex museum in the district, which in the end was basically just a sex shop with a couple of floors of French postcards, oriental vases with people fucking on them and some wacka wacka Snow White porn.

It was as if they'd gone to the contents sale of Plato's Retreat, purchased everything in sight and crammed it higgledy-piggledy into a bunch of glass showcases.

A live sex show was beyond my budget but I really couldn't imagine it would have lifted my spirits anyway.

What I realized is that by legalizing the sex trade, thereby having the state establish many basic parameters, you don't necessarily risk turning a city into an unrestrained den of iniquity. You simply make it mundane, without variety or distinctive appeal. The Red Light District was dull. Dull as maple syrup in a bottle shaped like a maple leaf, dull as a Canada, Eh! T-shirt, dull as anything geared towards the presumed taste of tourists that doesn't really speak to a city's true nature.

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