One day I was at the post office. Posting a pair of my underwear to a customer in the UK (my own country) when, to my surprise, I was asked “What are you sending?” as the woman mauled my neatly packaged item. I was a little taken aback. I am used to being asked this when sending internationally, but not a domestic large letter. My first response was to blush and stutter.
“Umm….a gift item.”
When I realized this was not enough information for the lady behind the desk I offered “textiles.” At that point, I think she noted my awkwardness and appeared satisfied with my answer.
I left the post office, bemused, wondering what the response would have been had I answered plainly and said ‘a pair of knickers’. It probably would have been a bit embarrassing, but it would have been honest and unambiguous. Perhaps a little empowering too.
Though I like to think of myself as forward-thinking and proud of my small involvement in adult entertainment, when it comes down to it, I choke. Here's another example. I was involved in some voluntary work a couple of days per week. The subject of fetishes came up in conversation at tea break. I said that I found fetishes fascinating and “Did you know that there is a fetish for being wrapped in clingfilm?”
This piqued further interest and I was asked suspiciously. “How on earth do you know that?”
Oops! I now had to decide whether to give the honest answer or quickly find a believable lie. I went for the lie. How can we begin to live in a world where adult work is socially acceptable when we can’t even admit to being a part of it. The people in question probably wouldn’t think less of me but I didn’t want to risk making them feel uncomfortable.
How would it be received if asked in a job interview to ‘Tell me about a time where you had to develop a rapport with a customer.’ or ‘What experience do you have taking phone calls/ keeping records/working to deadlines?’ Would you draw on your experience in adult entertainment? I have been in this situation and fortunately, I have other experiences I could talk about. Would you include cam-girl/porn actress/phone sex operator etc on your CV? Or try to explain a feasible reason for a gap in your employment history spanning many months or years? Talking about working in adult entertainment under these sort of circumstances could be a great way to inform people about what it actually involves. It could be a great way to begin shattering stereotypes and prejudice. Or, it could be a great way to talk yourself out of a job.
I ask because I am genuinely curious and, much as I love adult work, there are other kinds of work I want to do too. I want to know how other people answer similar questions. I would love to be able to talk openly with friends and strangers about what I do. For one thing, I don’t like people thinking I sit around doing nothing all day. But also, I LIKE talking about it. Fetishes are interesting, so is the infinite diversity of sexual desire.
Many people I know will happily have giggle-some tea-break conversations about sex and fetishes but squirm if the conversation gets personal and you ask them ‘do you watch porn?’ I hope one day this will change. One of many reasons I am hopeful for this change is it will make my trips to the post office much less awkward.