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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sebastian Horsley on whores



You know how sometimes you read something and it just catches your brain's attention and never really leaves? You don't think about it every day, or even every month or anything, but when the topic comes up, you go back to it and just think, Wow. That's how I feel about Sebastian Horsley's "The Brother Creeper." He's now got a memoir out, Dandy in the Underworld, which he'll be reading from next Thursday March 20th at In The Flesh.

You know what's refreshing about his piece? You almost never publicly hear johns using their real names owning up to liking hookers. Sure, there are blogs, sure, we all know people who've done it, but I think there's something horrifying yet riveting about what he's written. And then I have to ask myself, why is it horrifying? And I realize it's not, it's just the very opposite of how I personally want to live. But parts of it I get, totally. And I think he's one of the rare few who can go there so boldly. Obviously, Eliot Spitzer can't, and we will likely never know the whole story from his end. It's all, "I'm so sorry." But for what? Getting caught?

My friend said she felt bad for him, and I guess I just feel like if you're a politician, especially one with an anti-prostitution track record, there's something profoundly either stupid, or secretly wanting-to-be-caught, about doing what he did. Bottom line. I may not have aced my way through political science, but I think in an age where we're all under scrutiny to some extent, politicians who fail to realize that secrets, well, don't really exist, are politically foolish. Save that till you're out of office. I feel the same way about Bill Clinton. And my real point is that whatever buttons Horsley may push, with me or with you, I give him more credit for his honesty than the pseudo-remorse-see-I-have-a-well-dressed-proper-wife-by-my-side inanity of the politicians who maybe wish they could say something like this. Or maybe they don't; maybe it's the very secrecy they get off on. I don't know, but I am curious. In my world, at least, I know plenty of sex workers, and I hear and read their stories (though I realize mainstream media only tells one very heavily slanted side). I think hearing from the other side, not necessarily the hooker connoisseur like Horsley, but the "average" (if there is an average?) john would be nice once in a while.

Just so it's clear, I don't admire Horsley's essay because I agree with it; I admire it precisely because I don't. Because what I want out of sex and what he wants seem to be so completely opposite as to make me wonder how we even co-exist in the same world. I look forward to meeting him and maybe he'll talk about this more next week. I don't aspire to be like him, but I do admire his honesty. I have trouble writing so honestly lately. The more you think about who might read x or y, the more you just keep it all to yourself. I know it's a leap, but I think writing honestly about sx is as important as writing honestly about anything else, something we're clearly confused about as a culture. Check out Evan Handler (crazy hot "Harry" from Sex and the City, "Charlie Runkle" - David Duchovny's agent - on Californication and memoirist) on why "Truth Matters."

The great thing about sex with whores is the excitement and variety. If you say you're enjoying sex with the same person after a couple of years you're either a liar or on something. Of all the sexual perversions, monogamy is the most unnatural. Most of our affairs run the usual course. Fever. Boredom. Trapped. This explains much of the friction in our lives - love being the delusion that one woman differs from another. But with brothels there is always the exhilaration of not knowing what you're going to get.

The problem with normal sex is that it leads to kissing and pretty soon you've got to talk to them. Once you know someone well the last thing you want to do is screw them. I like to give, never to receive; to have the power of the host, not the obligation of the guest. I can stop writing this and within two minutes I can be chained, in the arms of a whore. I know I am going to score and I know they don't really want me. And within 10 minutes I am back writing. What I hate are meaningless and heartless one-night stands where you tell all sorts of lies to get into bed with a woman you don't care for.

The worst things in life are free. Value seems to need a price tag. How can we respect a woman who doesn't value herself? When I was young I used to think it wasn't who you wanted to have sex with that was important, but who you were comfortable with socially and spiritually. Now I know that's rubbish. It's who you want to have sex with that's important. In the past I have deceived the women I have been with. You lie to two people in your life; your partner and the police. Everyone else gets the truth...

Hookers and drunks instinctively understand that common sense is the enemy of romance. Will the bureaucrats and politicians please leave us some unreality. I know what you are thinking. That it's all very well for people like me to idealise whores and thieves; to think that the street is somehow noble and picturesque; I have never had to live there. But so what? One day I will. Until such time, I have to pay for it. How else would someone young, rich and handsome get sex in this city? Yes, yes, I know. Prostitution is obscene, debasing and disgraceful. The point is, so am I.

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