“Hey, you wanna go hang out and get some food,” the guy asked, leaning out of his car. I’d been sitting on a stair for quite a while by then, fairly frustrated at my inability to pay rent or buy food, too proud to go ask my grandparents for some cash. His offer was pretty nice, so I said yes to him.
We hung out and chatted in the parking lot, and when we were done with that he dropped some money on the floor. It wasn’t enough for rent, but it was surprisingly close.
I looked at the money, then back at him. Instead of quietly taking the money and leaving, I asked, bills in hand, “I thought we were getting food?”
The next time someone offered me a ride, to hang out, I learned I had specific qualities that were attractive to would-be customers: big feet, loud voice, pushy attitude. The result was a marketable resume of erotic services that were generally not on offer in a somewhat conservative city like my hometown. Thanks to the internet, I was able to advertise generally safely. My only dangerous experience being what I thought to be a genuine date, not even a meeting, that led to me being held captive for several days.
“I’m a foot dom”
A lot of sex workers will tell you that we don’t have sex for money; we merely provide companionship and services, and as a result, that can often lead to sex for some. In most cases, however, the goal is to share a part of yourself as a companion, friend, or in some cases, a teacher. I’ve never accepted money for sex, but I’ve been in the position of a giant for hire and a Sir.
While the popular image of sex work is of hooking on the streets, of police busts and hustlers in seedy bars, my experience has been far less scandalous. My approach involved asking—no, telling—guys online for a foot massage. Pictures of my feet, long-focus with my face behind. I was discreet and professional. Almost every situation quickly resulted in a guy lustily offering to massage my feet with his tongue.
Nobody got off, and I got paid.
One day, an email came in, and the sender said my photos made me look like a giant. He went on and on, asking me about what I would do if I were a giant, if I’d eat tinies, slang for normal-sized people or those that have been shrunk, and generally stroking my ego online. “So, are you a giant?” he asked, expectantly.
“No, I’m a foot dom.”
Undeterred, he asked me to come help him crush some boxes for pay. The job itself was clearly the easiest I’d been asked to do, but it was also exciting. I admitted to myself that I’d looked at a lot of photo edits of giants, so this guy didn’t seem so strange.
Walking into his home, I saw immediately three neat rows of boxes, each carefully drawn on to look like buildings. “Okay,” I told myself, “he wasn’t so strange, but he was still strange.”
“I want to be your prey—find me,” he said, ducking behind a box. “How tall are you, how big?”
“500 feet tall,” I said, feigning a roar that was more like a growly “rawr.”
Filming me, he crawled around the box buildings as I smashed them, kicking tiny cars that hurt to step on. At one point he threw a toy plane at me. It was a frenetic rampage through his small city, all the while he taunted me to catch him. When I finally caught him we hugged for a solid minute before he gave me a kiss on the cheek and grabbed his camera to review the footage. I never took off my clothes, although I did remove my shoes and socks.
Money was on the counter by his door.
It’s honest work
I would never in my life compare myself more approvingly to other sex workers, not knowing what I know now. Before I’d joke about being paid to crush boxes or step on guys’ faces, married dads with a secret love of the feet of other men, a guy who just wanted to buy my shoes and see me leave his hotel barefoot. Just for fun, I’d say, not for sex. Yet, my generation and those after mine are increasingly open to sex work, dancing at clubs, sending erotic photos, signing up for sites like OnlyFans or JustForFans.
If we own our bodies, have bodily autonomy, then sex work should be legal. When people are made into outlaws or criminals, sex work becomes a breeding ground for criminal activity. Those of us who do fetish work with no expectation of sex are always at risk of assault by ashamed men and those who prey on the ashamed, by cops who use strict laws as pretext for attacks.
When I was 21, a man met me online and asked to hang out. He was strange, waving me through at a porn theater by saying “he’s with me,” talking about how young I looked, before finally driving me to the middle of the desert outside of Phoenix to make a move. “How old are you,” he asked. I told him. “No, how old are you, really, kid.” I told him I wasn’t interested, but he still persisted. He finally said “we can always drop you off at your parents’ house and they can find out you’re a slut” before handing me $40.
We didn’t have sex, and in his frustration he said I was lucky I didn’t get turned in for going into a 21+ venue.
I pulled out my ID and showed him my age and his aggression died down. He made small talk and drove me home. He was right in assuming that I’d be ashamed, my face red for the next two days as my mother plied me for information with promises of going out for milkshakes or coffee to talk about what happened. She knew.
I’m no better than any other sex worker, even when I say I don’t have sex for money.
I honestly don’t. It’s not something I’ve done, and yet, if we acknowledge that erotic dancing is sex work, sending nudes for compensation is sex work, then stepping on guys or pretending I’m hundreds of feet tall is also sex work. I fulfill fantasies for men who long to be lost to a headspace that has them small, insignificant and overpowered. Others have fantasies of the swaying hips of the unattainable dancer or long for the person in the photo that was made just for them.
Sex work is still work, after all.
If you are a sex worker that is looking for support, local SWOP organizations are here to help. In Portland, Stroll PDX has resources for you at http://www.strollpdx.org/sex-worker-support-group.