BY Hugh Ryan
October 14 2009 11:35 AM ET
On October 11 the Hustlaball returned to New York, the city where it began. Now in its 12th year, the Hustlaball, according to its organizers, "brings the world of porn stars, hustlers, hookers, pimps, streetwalkers, flesh-peddlers, and other scandalous sorts to the stage and dance floor under one roof.” As hundreds danced, talked, and worked the night away, The Advocate spoke to a number of sex workers about their careers, the economy, and life under the red light.
How much do you charge? $250
What do you like about your job?
I love my job. I love being inside the very private thoughts these
people have. They hire sex workers to get something they can’t get in
the real world, and the fact that I can attend to that is amazing. As
an artist it really feeds me. The stuff I see is so valuable and
personal. When people hire you they want a specific fantasy. They hire
you to make that happen for them. It’s made me love gay men -- hell,
humanity -- more in general. It’s also fun. I wouldn’t do a job I
didn’t want to do. If I don’t like someone, I leave. I don’t need this,
but I love it. I don’t condone degrading yourself or doing something
you don’t want to do, because it is your body. What we do is very
emotionally generous, because you feel things when you’re with clients.
You give a lot. It’s risky to be so open, so willing to be hurt, to put
yourself out there for sale. It’s very generous on the sex worker’s
part. That’s why it’s so fucking expensive.
How is sex work different in the different cities you’ve worked?
Los Angeles is awful because it’s saturated with sex workers and the
porn industry. People are all pains. It’s really gross. Miami is awful
because people are so cheap. I’ve had guys be like, “What can I get for
$150?” And I’m like, “You can go fuck yourself for $150. I’m not even
going to touch you.” In Boston people are great. In D.C. people are
fine. The West Coast? Not so good. The South? Awful. In New York
people are professional. They sense that it’s a business. They’re
paying for it, no questions. Whereas in places like L.A., they think
I’m some broke-ass hooker doing this for crack, and I’m not. I’m a
professional, just like they are.