If You’ve Ever Been Curious About Sex Work In Australia, Then This Book’s Got Your Name On It

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses heavy topics including rape and suicide.

A new book from Aussie sex worker Rita Therese might not be the book you’re expecting, but it’s the one you should probably read. Come: A Memoir isn’t the glamorous tale of rich clients, jetting off overseas, and being paid $1000s to just listen to a man talk (although it includes that, too); it’s dark, brutally honest, and a book you won’t be able to put down.

Rita doesn’t leave anything out. In parts, Come is like a big sister guide to the sex industry, explaining the difference between “t0ppies” and “strippers”, how to control a boozed out Buck’s Party, why having sex on camera is different to fucking a client in a hotel room (which may or may not be haunted), and the unique social rules in a strip club.

In others, it’s a deeply personal account of a woman who has experienced trauma, addiction, violence and death – and come out the other side.

“I wanted to do right by my peers,” Rita told PEDESTRIAN.TV, when asked why it was important not to glamorise or gloss over the sex industry.

“I really wanted the reader to decide how they felt and try to not lead them in a direction. I just wanted it to be relatable for workers – I hope it is! It has made me feel much less alone having other SWs [sex workers] read my book, and say. “I’ve felt that.” I don’t think the book is unbiased but I tried my best to give it balance, and show the spectrum of experience.”

Rita, 25, entered the sex industry at age 18 on a whim, answering an ad for topless waitresses. It wasn’t long before she happy to go a step further and do fully nude waitressing at bookings – for more money, of course.

“It was the snowball effect,” Rita writes in Come. “Academics and anti-sex work feminists like to attribute these kinds of things to sex workers becoming desensitised to the horrors of the industry, but all that’s happening is you’ve realised it just isn’t a big deal to get your coochie out for money.”

From there, Rita worked as an escort (both privately and in brothels), a stripper, and for a time, in porn.

In her professional life she was (is) Gia, the glamorous, heterosexual babe of every man’s fantasy, who doesn’t have a worry in the world and exists to give men the hour of their lives.

In private, she’s Rita, a bisexual woman who’s survived abusive relationships, tackled substance abuse, navigated mental illness and yet still manages to make you laugh with her no-holds-barred sense of humour. Come is about grief as much as it is about sex work; Rita lost two of her older brothers to suicide within eight months of each other. Her pain seeps through every page.

“It wasn’t until I finished my book, and during the process as I shifted through my grief and into myself, I realised how much I had buried,” Rita said.

“It’s an ongoing process, and one I would like to write about. But at that time, last June, I wasn’t there yet. I don’t even think I realised what else was going on after I was done speaking about sex work, what else existed.”

 

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One in seven young Australians say rape justified if women change their mind, study finds

Appalling!

Almost one in seven young Australians believe a man would be justified in raping a woman if she initiated sex but changed her mind, while almost one-quarter of young men think women find it flattering to be persistently pursued, even if they are not interested.

The findings from the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) youth report released on Wednesday reveal that while young people increasingly believe in equality in the workplace and in leadership, they are less likely to recognise sexism, coercion or other problematic behaviours in their own relationships.

Of 1,761 people aged between 16 and 24 surveyed, 43% supported the statement: “I think it’s natural for a man to want to appear in control of his partner in front of his male friends.”

The survey, commissioned by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women and Safety (Anrows) and VicHealth, is conducted every four years. The latest analysis comes from data collected in 2017.

While the proportion of young people agreeing that men make better political leaders than women declined from 24% in 2013 to 13% in 2017, almost one in three young people still believe that women prefer a man to be in charge of a relationship. Young men (36%) were more likely to support this statement than young women (26%).

More than one in five young people (22%) believe there is no harm in making sexist jokes about women when among their male friends, and young men (30%) are more than two times as likely than young women to agree with this statement (14%). While attitudes towards women in leadership had improved, young men (17%) were more likely than young women (8%) to say men make more capable bosses than women.

“A large proportion of young people support attitudes that deny gender inequality is a problem,” the report found. “Young men are substantially more likely to express these attitudes than young women across all questions in this theme.” For example, 45% of young people believe that many women exaggerate gender inequality in Australia, with young men (52%) more likely to hold this belief than young women (37%).

Nearly three in five young men believe that many women mistakenly interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist. Meanwhile, 37% agreed that women make up or exaggerate claims of violence to secure advantage in custody battles. The same proportion agreed with the statement “It is common for sexual assault accusations to be used as a way of getting back at men”, with young men (45%) more likely to agree than young women (29%).

Lead researcher Dr Anastasia Powell from RMIT University said the good news was that young people’s understanding of the nature of violence against women had improved over time, and so had their support for gender equality.

But an area where understanding has backtracked was around the unequal nature of domestic and family violence, she said.

“A lot of young people believe it’s a gender-neutral issue where men and women are equally using violence, but we know from police statistics and surveys this is largely a problem of men’s violence against women.”

Also concerning was that 20% of young men did not understand that repeatedly keeping track of a partner’s location was a form of violence against women, she said, while 11% did not think stalking is a form of violence.

“We must continue to invest in prevention strategies to continue to make ground on these attitudes and to make this the generation that ends violence against women,” Powell said.

The principal program officer for mental wellbeing at VicHealth, Renee Imbesi, said: “We can’t sit back just because women’s role in public life has improved.

“Many people still hold outdated views of women in the home, and it is clear that many young men and women are going into relationships with different expectations around things like gender roles and consent.

“We need to get the message out there that control in relationships can be a precursor to violence. The other aspect is if young people see more respect and equality in their own families and workplaces, then they will start to see that as the norm.

“If we don’t change our world to make it more gender equal, we can’t expect young people to be on board with equality.”

 

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Tales of Rock – Bon Scott

Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was a Scottish-Australian singer and songwriter, best known for being the primary lead vocalist and lyricist of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980.[1]

Scott was born in Forfar, Scotland, and raised in Kirriemuir, before moving to Melbourne with his family in 1952 at the age of six. They lived in the suburb of Sunshine for four years before moving to Fremantle.[1] Scott formed his first band, The Spektors, in 1964 and became the band’s drummer and occasional lead vocalist. He performed in several other bands including The Valentines and Fraternity before replacing Dave Evans as the lead singer of AC/DC in 1974.[1]

AC/DC’s popularity grew throughout the 1970s, initially in Australia, and then internationally. Their 1979 album Highway to Hell reached the top twenty in the United States, and the band seemed on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. However, on 19 February 1980, Scott died after a night out in London. AC/DC briefly considered disbanding, but the group recruited vocalist Brian Johnson of the British glam rock band Geordie. AC/DC’s subsequent album, Back in Black, was released only five months later, and was a tribute to Scott. It went on to become the second best-selling album in history.[1]

In the July 2004 issue of Classic Rock, Scott was rated as number one in a list of the “100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time” ahead of Freddie Mercury and Robert PlantHit Parader ranked Scott as fifth on their 2006 list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalists of all time.[3]

 

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Sarika – Song of the Black Widow

God, she’s beautiful. I couldn’t find a stock picture on the internet to capture the delightful beauty of this girl. She is so pretty. Indian. Exotic. The type of beauty you’d almost pay for to be seen with at an event. She is probably one of the most beautiful women I know in Philly. But she recently reached out to me to come hang at a happy hour and a brand new place in Rittenhouse, called Scarpetta. Smith and Wolensky’s is gone and now that place is here. It’s in the Rittenhouse Hotel. She also mentioned that she wants me to come up to her apartment and check out her new place at the Dorchester. I am so glad I have reconnected with her. This vacuous she-devil is such a good character for this work. I am a huge fan of lovely Sarika.

I got to Scarpetta around 5:30. They’ve done a nice job with the place. It’s dark and intimate. The bar looks the same but they’ve opened up the place a bit. There’s only the one bar, but they have a lounge in the back and there is a dining room upstairs. I look around for Sarika but I don’t see her. I’m chatting with the manager and then I look out the window and see her walking towards the building.

Sarika looks amazing as always. We grab a couple of drinks at the bar and sit in this cool little area by ourselves near the window. Rittenhouse Square looks beautiful. It’s all decorated for the holidays.There are strings of bulbs in the trees and the whole park twinkle with light. She is having some sort of light pink beverage that I didn’t catch the name of, and I’m having the old-fashioned. Normally, cocktails are around fifteen dollars, but during happy hour they’re half price. So that’s something I can live with for now.

I ask her what she’s been up to and she says she’s been going on a lot of dates. Turns out that weasel she wanted to bring to my eighty dollar a plate New Years party last year has been gone for a while. I remember she was so into that guy. Apparently they were together off and on for two years. She says she wasted her best years on him and now she’s old. She’s 28! Come on Sarika, you are still but a child. She said he was a jerk to her and probably never loved her. I get her laughing, and start thinking that the black widow isn’t so bad after all. She may be smart as a whip, but she’s still a young woman navigating her way through love and life. I even joke that she probably has a blood-red hour-glass tattooed on her belly.

I do love pretty things, and she is no exception.

I tell her she looks great as always. She has been in some sunny destinations lately, so her skin is a darker brown than normal. I like it. It makes her look even more mysterious and exotic. I mention it and she immediately asks if I think it looks ugly. She always says things like that. She is so smart but so immature at the same time. She’s also a bit of a chatterbox. I think most men can’t handle that and don’t like a girl who talks too much. I don’t mind it. I like a girl who has things to say and experiences to share. I love to talk and entertain a woman, so it’s nice when I have a chatty girl so I don’t have to do all of the work. Women like a good listener and I grew up with three sisters. But what I can’t stand is what Carol used to do. Just babbling on nonstop like a tire spinning in the snow. (See: Carol 5/2014 to 8/2016 – There’s No Fun In Dysfunction)

I once read that women speak up to 20,000 words a day, compared to men, who speak only 12,000. So when we get home…We’re done!

It is puzzling how a woman this strikingly beautiful can’t keep a man. But the more you’re around her the more it makes sense. She says she’s been finding men on an app called J Swipe. It’s like Tinder for Jews. I asked her why that app? She said Jewish men normally appreciate women more, have good jobs, and have money. Sounds like she’s hunting for a husband. I think one of the challenges Sarika is facing is that she may be viewed more as a conquest. A creature to be captured and checked off of some list, because she’s so beautifully exotic.

She said she went out with a guy on Monday and even had a date with a pilot after our happy hour. So I assume I won’t be getting a tour of that gorgeous apartment in her building tonight. Sarika has a very busy life. She travels a great deal for her job as a scientist. I know she was formerly an engineer, but now I guess she’s a scientist. She makes great money and spends her other free time hopping on planes and taking little trips. It sounds like a fun life with all of the dating, and jet setting vacations, but it almost seems like she doesn’t want to be alone in her apartment. She’s crazy dating now. It’s good that she’s getting out there and meeting people after two years wasted with weasel man. But again, I can see men wanting her because she’s so beautiful, but she’s kind of annoying to talk to for any length of time. So if they get the opportunity to sleep with her they may not stick around.

Sarika is very intelligent and a nerd. I have taken her to Science after Hours at the Franklin Institute in the past. She loved it like a child. We went to see Jurassic World last summer, and Guardians of the Galaxy is her favorite movie. If my friend Duncan finds that up he’ll probably move up here from North Carolina. You would think guys would find that hot. A pretty girl who likes guy stuff and sci-fi, but it hasn’t worked. Maybe one of these many men that she is meeting for dates, will be rich and just marry her as a trophy wife. But sadly, people are funny about race in this country. They may want to sleep with a hot girl, but they may not want to bring and Indian woman back home to meet the family. I personally I have nothing against it. If you have been reading this blog, you know I love all different kinds of women. As Hank Moody says in the show Californication, “I got all your albums. I love you all and you and you included, Sarika.”

My buddy Church shows up at Scarpetta. I’m happy to see him. Once Sarika  goes on her date at One Tippling Place up the street, he and I can go to Square 1682 and have a drink. Church knows everybody in the restaurant and bar business in this town, so when he orders a drink and the server brings it over, she says, “This one is on Nathan.” He’s the GM there so Church got the hook up. I get another drink, but Sarika is only having the one so she doesn’t show up drunk for her date at 7:00.

While I was waiting at the bar to get my drink, Church chatted with Sarika. I was a little glad that it took the bartender a little time to get to me and make my drink. Normally I don’t like that, but I thought it would give Church a chance to talk to Sarika.

I get back to our little area by the window. We all chat a bit more. Sarika has to go soon, so she heads back to the ladies room. Church tells me she wouldn’t stop talking and it was driving him crazy. He’s been on edge lately, and listening to Sarika go on about something was annoying him. He said something to the effect, “I wanted to put a gun in my mouth.” He said she is so vacuous and self-absorbed and all she talked about was herself.

He once said that about another attractive girl who talked a lot. He was in a car with her and she was talking non stop and he said, “I wanted to leap right out of the car while it was going 70 miles per hour down the highway.”

Sarika returns, and I put her coat on for her. I tell her I will pay for the one drink she had. She tells me she’ll get me next time. I give her a kiss on the cheek good-bye and she’s off. I get the bill for my two old-fashioneds and her dainty drink. It should come to over $22 plus tax. I look at it and it’s only $15. So I got the hookup because I was with Church.

Dude certainly has the power.

I think next we’ll do a happy hour with my friend Carly.  So the night went well and again without incident.

So maybe my pretty little arachnid is finally growing up.

I love Sarika. She is beautiful, and I enjoy her company, if nobody else does, and I can’t wait to see her again.

(Oh… and if you’ve somehow found this and other stories Sarika, I’ll understand if you cut me off. The truth always hurts more than fiction)

 

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Sun Stories: Charlie & Christine – Love in Bali

Here’s an interesting short little story. This couple comes in the salon and both sign up for memberships. We get chatting with them. He’s from London. Charlie is 24, tall and blonde and good-looking. He works as a broker in the financial industry there. I don’t know if he got laid off or just decided to quit his job.

Christine is attractive and works as a bartender at a P.J Wellihans out in the suburbs of Philly. I would say in my opinion he is more attractive for the male than she is for the female. But they are still a hot couple.

He went on holiday for a few weeks in Bali. Then he was going to go to Australia and look for a job in the same field there.

She was on a long vacation in Bali with some of her friends. They met three days into Charlie’s trip. He was staying at his friend’s hotel one evening. They saw each other at the pool. It was around 2pm in the afternoon, and he was speaking to Christine’s elder cousin who was ten years older than Charlie. She actually called dibs on Charlie! Christine was chatting to a family from Australia.

Christine’s cousin asked if Charlie and Christine wanted to grab drinks with her that evening. Their first proper conversation came when Charlie opened a bottle of beer using a lighter. Some one took a photo at that moment and that is the first picture of them together.

They fell in love, and he cancelled his trip to Australia. He instead returned with her to Philadelphia. I assume he is looking for work here.

I will write more about them as the story develops.

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