From the mailbag: This is an edited-down version of the letter, mainly because the original is very long and includes a lot of unnecessary detail.
And actually, I don’t think this letter is real. There are a lot of little things about it that set off my bullshit alarm. All of them could just be explained away, but my gut just says: fake. I don’t believe this girlfriend exists, I think the writer made this story up. It’s possible she does exist, and that she is the one making up the story and feeding it to her lover, but I’d bet money that someone is lying here.
But what the heck, I’ll answer it anyway. Because maybe it’ll be useful for someone else who’s contemplating a bad idea.
I'm male, 24, my girlfriend is the same age.… She has problems: Child abuse, substance abuse, alcoholism in her family and herself, huge eating disorder problems, rape. Now she's been raped a second time, and this time I feel like an accomplice. She told me that she'd been getting offers from a guy she'd met who ran a high-class prostitution agency. She has money problems, and it was incredibly tempting despite her revulsion for it.
I’m wondering where, exactly, the girlfriend met this guy? It’s not the usual bar-pickup line. But here’s the short answer: Anyone who says “Hey baby, I run a high-class prostitution agency, and have I got a deal for you!” is a lying idiot, or worse. Run, run, run away from anyone who tells you that.
Also, if you feel revulsion at the idea of sex work, you should NOT do it. We all do things we’re not crazy about doing in life. But, revulsion? That’s a no. This seems really simple and obvious to me, and yet I do see people acting like deep emotional responses are things they can just dismiss, without consequences, if they’re inconvenient.
Because, in my platonic dreamworld, I believe prostitution should be legal, I told her that I would support whatever decision she made. So, finally, there's an offer of one long night for 12,000 dollars. She decides to do it, torturing herself about it for almost two weeks, going through a whole process (STD screens, photos, waxing) that makes her feel like an animal. He says she needs to sleep with him, that it's standard "quality-control" procedure. He takes her to a hugely fancy hotel, buys dinner, and they do it. She hates it.
Okay, see, here’s where the story goes sideways to me. Twelve thousand dollars? And she didn’t smell a rat? Really? Because a quick search on Google will pull up escort rates for any city, and if one is going to spend two weeks torturing oneself, I’d think that would include a little internet research.
But, more advice, on the off chance it’s real: do not fuck people to get a job - even if that job is fucking people. If anyone tells you that you have to audition for a job as an escort, walk away. Only sleazeball pimps want freebies, and there are some of them around, which is why I always worked for female agency owners. (They weren’t all straight, but they never hit on me.)
Here’s how quality-control works in a good escort service: The first couple of clients they send a girl to will be regulars who’ll give the boss a report. They’re always guys who dig seeing the brand-new girls. They don’t expect smooth patter and practiced moves. If the girl messes up in some truly spectacular way, and the client is angry, the boss sends another lady for free and eats the lost money. But that doesn’t happen too often, because agency owners get good at knowing who’s going to work out, and who’s too crazy. If the girlfriend in this story exists, she is broadcasting “crazy” on every channel. No good agency is going to send a brand-new crazy-acting girl on a 12K-for-one-night date. Even if there were 12K-for-one-night dates to be had, which there are not.
The next day, she goes back to her apartment and finds a 1200 dollar dress. Goes to the hotel, but the client doesn't show. Calls the guy: his phone's been disconnected. This whole thing was a con. He's just a rich FUCK who saw someone he wanted and invented this entire thing. There was even a call from another one of his "girls" saying not to do it, that prostitution was the worst decision she'd ever made. I can't figure that out...maybe sometimes he actually is a pimp and the call was genuine, or maybe it was part of the scheme just to test her, or make her feel worse because that's what get's him the fuck off.
Well, stranger things have happened, I suppose. That seems like a lot of effort, and when I add up the costs of what he presumably spent, this guy could have just hired a lady for the night. But some people do get off on playing games. I can’t figure out the phone call from the other woman, either. But whatever it was, it was a red flag that your partner unfortunately ignored.
So basically she got paid with this dress, is what it sounds like. That's not cool, but everyone gets stiffed for a fee at one time or another in the business. You just have to handle it and move on, and not make the same mistake again.
She can't go to the police because of the humiliation if it got out, because she has no evidence of any kind, because he's covered his tracks too well anyway. Now who knows if he has an STD that maybe she has now. He has pictures of her.
Yeah - no, sweetie, you do not go to the police if you do something illegal and you get ripped off for the fee. That would not be swift.
But wait, wait, wait – STD? Did she have bareback sex with this man? Yes, I know condoms don’t prevent everything. If you decide to be an escort, you’re deciding that you’re willing to take some risks. But not using condoms is extremely stupid.
I could have stopped this at any point; I could have told her no like she clearly wanted me too. I knew how much it was hurting her, but I kept saying it was her decision because I wanted the money for her, because I wanted to be true to my bullshit theories, because secretly it turned me on. I was supposed to protect her, to turn her life around, to make everything better. I used to have daymares about her being raped again and being powerless to stop it...but this is worse. Not only was I not powerless, I helped by being so fucking logical and always talking about "cost-benefit analysis." I was conned just like her, and it was the perfect fucking con: it didn't seem too good to be true because the huge amount of money was balanced by the fucking pain she was feeling!
The last sentence of this paragraph is from Bizarro World to me, I can’t even parse that. But for the rest of it: no, you’re not supposed to “turn her life around, make everything better.” She has to do that. See my previous posts about this: You can’t love troubled people all better. And sometimes help is just the nice word for "control". It’s sweet to be loving and protective to some degree towards your partner, but you are not her parent. For whatever reasons, you thought and hoped this would be okay, so you said you were cool with it. Turns out you were wrong. I hate being wrong, too, but no one is right all the time.
And you’re definitely going to hate this part: I don’t think your girlfriend was raped. I think she was ripped off, but that’s different. She’s a grown person and she consented to the sex. Even if she hated it, he did not force her, correct? No violence, no threats, she wasn’t afraid not to? Yeah – that’s not rape, to me. It’s a lousy situation, and she’s justified in being mad. But I don’t agree that if a guy promises you X if you have sex, and you do, and he breaks that promise, then you were raped. If you retroactively withdraw sexual consent, after the sex is over, because you're angry at your sexual partner, then you render your word meaningless. That’s a dangerous precedent. If yes doesn’t really mean yes, why would anyone bother to get consent in the first place?