You know how we were talking about the way that telling a person to relax is a quick way to make them angry? That telling an already-calm person to calm down is a very successful strategy for making sure they stop being calm and then you have an excuse to kick them out?
This is not exactly the same thing but it’s the same feeling. How would you deal with it if people approached you like that, every day, often multiple times a day? What if instead of using that as a strategy to make a customer leave your bar, the customer used it on you? What if your ability to deal with that, and keep a smile on your face (the presence of which will cause the customer to keep escalating things), and act interested in him like you totally want to be friends even though he’s being an asshole, what if that directly determined whether you got paid for doing your job or whether you went home broke?
I don’t want to insult you, Sixteen, I don’t want to complain about something that guys might experience too. I know that everyone in the service industry, and maybe in every industry, has to deal with meeting people’s needs. But I can’t think of any other industry where payment is optional depending not only on how good you are at keeping a straight face while your customers endlessly fuck with you (this might be the case in other industries), but also how good you are at discerning the ever-moving target of exactly which type of fucking-with it is that they want. I got into the sex industry so I could give those people exactly what they wanted and so that I could get paid for it, and all I want to do is get paid to be taunted and criticized by men who I’m sure do this to a lot of people in passing just because they can but set out specifically to do it to girls. But if you don’t let me settle on one type of fucking-with then you can’t be unsatisfied when I don’t figure out what you want and you certainly are not allowed to withhold my money after I sat there and chased around your impossible target for most of an hour. Do they set it up so that I’ll fail and then they don’t have to pay?
Maybe it’s the chase they want. My job is to meet customers’ needs but their needs are a paradox. Whatever they want is whatever I don’t want, and if I give them what they want then they want a different thing. They want to see me squirm and see how much I hate it, and then they want me to love them, too. How can I convincingly feign two contradictory things? Which is to say that people who walk into the club think I should be their free sex object. These people have money, you know, these are the people everyone thinks are nice guys. I wouldn’t even care about their status or mine if it didn’t end up meaning I have to beg for their money. They do not think this is a real job and they think they are doing me a favor, that if I buy a meal they fed me, if I pay my rent it’s like my apartment is theirs, maybe they like to think they can barge in the door at any time. Do anyone else’s customers hold that over them like this? I’m seriously asking. Do they hold it over your head like this.
Today a customer gave me a silly political lecture about how terrorists have a lot of money and if he had that much money he would give it to children and to hospitals. (“What if the moon was your car, and Jupiter was your hairbrush?”) But not before he told me and another girl that he thinks women are smarter than men, a comment which when said by a man trips a subtle and dark fear in me. I don’t think either sex is smarter than the other biologically. I think we start out the same. But I do think that experience, especially negative experience, makes people smarter and I think women have a lot more of that.