I dressed like a prostitute for Halloween.
Because what better costume to don for that festive night.
I mean, you can get creative with any career and turn it into a slut look. It’s funny, it’s cute, and you can totally get away with it on this one night of the year.
Nurse-whore, barista-slut, receptionist-ho.
It’s sexy, super funny, show stopper, and the center of attention at the party.
I would have laughed too. Perhaps a little eye roll and smirk, “That’s ridiculous.”
But last night I went out late for a different reason. We drove the dark, freezing cold streets of the very windy West Chicago. I saw the women on the corners. And, like every other night of their lives, they declared, “I dressed like a prostitute for Halloween.”
Except they had no parties, just the ones they were soliciting men to, for a price ($30? $40?), hosted in a dirty hotel or car. Instead of being numb from the fun of a house party with too much drinking and dancing, they were numb from drug injections. Because thinking clearly is not something you can do before selling your body. Numb and unfeeling is the best way to go.
I didn’t know what to expect, but it was an eye-opening night. It was like a dose of cold water to my face, saying, “Wake up you evader. Look at this duplicity, what lies you allow yourself to believe and how harsh reality is.”
Let me explain a coupe of ironies I observed. Cold, harsh ironies.
The women were not in tight mini-skirts and fish-net tights. They were pretty covered up and, actually, normal-looking. This made sense for several reasons. It was freezing out. They work all night. As I came to realize, street prostitution is not necessarily about the clothing, but about the location and mannerism of the girl. Sexy, busty women in skin-tight clothing in stilettos seems to be a very Hollywood-ized stereotype dream in comparison to what I saw in street prostitution.
Prostitution is not a job or career. It’s a way to support a habit. It’s also a way to support and pay a man. Or, in another terminology, a pimp. Who, by the way, will get her hooked on drugs so that she needs to support her habit anyway. But hey, let’s keep singing about the glories of pimp-life.
You don’t go home with a prostitute. Does she even have a home? Who knows. The hotel is simplest. I mean, who’d want to live with a prostitute anyway?
These girls are making money from sex. Their bodies are commodities. Because of their vulnerability from poverty or abuse, they are now viewed to be used as simply transactions.
Oh the glamour of prostitution, of buying and selling sex! Because I can’t think of a better way to spend my evenings than approaching a man with the look of, “I have something I know you’d want to pay for” (the supply), because he is momentarily unsatisfied and thinks he’ll get that satisfaction from sex (the demand). So I sell my body for a dollar amount (the transaction).
Oh what a dream, living a life that believes the mantra that I am only as valuable as my body. Because in this occupation I also sell my mind and intellect and worth at a price of zero.
Think you’ve faced rejection before? Try spending your evenings pitching your body to buyers and then after they look you up and down, or even invite you in their car, they say, “Nah, go away whore.”
Or after you make a “sale” and walk to the nearby hotel (brothel), you walk steps ahead of this man and notice a couple across the street walking hand-in-hand. Laughable. That would never happen in your occupation. This work is not about affection.
Oh and don’t forget that after you make a “sale,” you are at the disposal of the man. Sure, get in his car. You know it’s a risk, that they are killing prostitutes in this area. Because who needs a woman after she’s served her purpose. But, you need the money…
Why the hell is the life of prostitutes and whores and “pimp-life” so worshipped? It’s hell. A living hell. I’m so angry. Angry at our culture, at myself, at my ignorance, at Hollywood, at commercials, at Halloween costumes. We talk and joke and laugh and sing about the laudable beauties that keep our blood running red. It’s so hilarious it’s killing me.
Why the hell are prostitutes and whores and sluts so despised? We separate and seclude ourselves from dirty ones who “I-can’t-believe-they-sell-their-bodies” and “I-would-never-do-that” and “Let’s-pray-about-their-terrible-problems-and-God-change-this-city” while we turn our backs and plug-in or upload or click or browse for fulfillment of our sex desires, using other virtual prostitutes and trafficked victims in the comfort of our homes because, you know, that’s not hurting anyone. Because an image or a video of a women I don’t know (or care about) who gives me the same high of sex is totally cool. I mean, it’s just a body, not a real person or story. It’s her choice; I just get to take advantage of the benefits of her bad choices.
There were so many questions that came up last night. I’ve been involved with women in drug addiction, strip clubs, and domestic violence, but this was my first experience in street prostitution.
Where does she go after the agreement?
Who are these men?
Where does she live?
What do they typically charge?
Do they also sell porn of themselves?
Do the women or men have families?
What are their stories?
Is she a minor?
In our van was a 14 year old girl that drove with us to learn and pray. One of the ladies turned around and said, “Last time I was out here there was a girl your age on the street we talked to. She was scared and shaking, but couldn’t go back home.”
People, this is real.
What’s even more real though? The truth about who they really are, which is the truth about who we all really are: worthy, valuable, accepted, loved, beautiful and wanted.
I went last night somewhat on a whim because yesterday Bob Goff shared a story at our conference how he went to Somalia to help abused children. While driving there his vehicle went under gun-fire. He challenged us about living on the edge of “YIKES!” So I figured I could go out and have some fun, but I knew that my “YIKES” moment looked much more like broken women where there were no Halloween parties. I think I made the right choice.
At the end of the day, I honestly couldn’t give a rip about what you wear for Halloween. You live your life, I’ll live mine, but I’m actually going to do something about this because it’s my world and my city. If you were ignorant about this before, well, you’re not now. So now you’re responsible to do something about it using what you’ve been given. It might start with how you view yourself and from there taking a message of meaning and purpose to your culture around you.
Let’s take some serious time to rethink this whole transaction of sex deal. Because you can’t hide from it forever. It affects every city and community, including mine and yours.
And yes, there’s a little bit of anger and irritation in this post. But sometimes it takes getting really upset about the realities of injustice to get real about really changing and really loving.
I have so much to learn, but I’m on this path now. The story to be continued.
Open to comments, thoughts, stories, experiences, discussions. But I please ask you to not make judgments or state “facts” based off your opinions. Let’s start conversations about issues that we have actually stepped into ourselves and made relationships instead of sincere perspectives based off articles and here-say. Let’s honor the broken ones, because we are all broken, so in reality, we’re simply serving everyone, including ourselves.