Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond 1977-1981 [Liz Worth, Gary Pig Gold] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This is an uncensored oral history of the 1977 Toronto punk explosion as told by the bands who were there (in the style of <b>Please Kill Me</b>). This is a limited edition book of 500 copies. It is the ONLY book on the 1977 Toronto punk scene; an indispensable reference work. There is a wealth of previously unpublished photographs (The Dead Boys
Your dumpy body
Put your hands on my dumpy body
They found her in a dump
They buried her in trash
Said that’s where you belong
You slack jawed gash
You gutter rat
You’re like a rash
An itch I can’t scratch
I just want all of you,
you’re trailer trash
You’re good enough to buy
Fresh enough to eat
Honey you’re so sweet
I’ll grind you till you’re meat
That’s some sweet kush
That’s some lush fuck
That’s some hush cunny hunny
Oh baby don’t get funny
If I had a baby/id hide her in my closet/id stuff her in a locket/ just like a Polly pocket/ all safe and sealed away
my people love their guts over their heads/know the body is where meaning makes it bed
Sometimes doctor is doctor
Sometimes doctor is monster
Susie knows a monster named doctor
who calls her at 4 in the morning
should he spring the xtra 2 dollars
for a box of tampax pearl compacts
or just go store brand?
Doctor is always bleeding
Doctor is always dry heaving
Susie presses a wet tampax to
She keeps his swollen eye
above her bed
Says if you want that
you gotta want this, too-
When he reaches for it
She reaches for him
Unfolds the waist of her skirt
Underneath is all just smoked ham
Prosciutto? he asks
He is a woman of luxury
He knows the right stuff
He knows he’s dying and should
rejoice rejoice rejoice
The ol’ “prostitution is the oldest profession” meme is a mutation of the opening line from this Rudyard Kipling story about, what else, a prostitute.
I really hate that lines cause it wipes away the specificity of socio-economic circumstances that create, maintain and define what sex work is and how people experience it.
trigger-warning. I wrote this awhile ago and have since had time and distance away from the experience but I think sex workers having complicated, messy feelings around the work we do is important and a good thing to talk about so I’m posting it.
I was raped and I became a poet. I am a poet because I was raped. That is my origin story. That is my knighthood. It’s where I was born. I was not raped because I was an empowered woman or a disempowered woman. I was raped because I am a woman and that is fact.
Maybe the first time was when I took my top off on stage. At a burlesque show in Montreal. Or the time I put my wig on for the fetish porn in Toronto. Or the first time I met a guy in a coffee shop. Dean & Deluca. About a block away from where I now go to school. I was wearing a bright orange wig. A worker at Dean & Deluca came over and told me I looked like Rihanna. I’m white but ok. He was not who I was there for.
An older man, wrinkled skin in a pressed suit and thick, white arm hairs that twisted around his gold watch and ran up his tanned, freckled skin came up to me.
Betty, he asked.
Betty. When I first started whoring I didn’t know I was supposed to pick girl-nextdoor names. I picked names that I could make jokes with. Betty Whipcreamer. Gloria Gloryhole. As if I was playing a roller derby tournament. But, you know, sex work was kind of a joke to me then.
He had a cramped wholesale jewelry shop in a dusty corner of midtown. His business partner had already gone home for the day. We sat on a plastic, folding table underneath fluorescent lights. He took off his pants. I took off my blue American Apparel jumper. He ran his hand through my wig and asked me about school. I asked him if he wanted a spanking. I spanked his soft, old flesh. He gave me two hundred American dollars in twenties. I escorted myself out.
I called my ex-girlfriend. I’m giving hand jobs in high rises, I said.
Later I got a steady gig in a dimly lit apartment in Gramercy. When I met the Madam she asked me to strip. She said some bush was okay but not like jungle bush. Some guys are really into bush, she said. It’s exotic. If I was willing to invest in a good wig, I was hired.
I went down to Fifth Avenue and bought some cheap, red platform heels. I bought a thong and a leather harness and a dildo. I bought make-up. I got my wig cut at the place the Hasidic women go. I got my legs waxed. I got my nails done. I became a woman.
The handjob room at the place in Gramercy had a massage table, a shelf full of towels, a candle, a small radio, windows with thick curtains, two dingy chairs, and a stripe of mirrors positioned at the height of the massage table so the guy could watch.
When a guy comes in you lead them down a dark hall to the room with the massage table. You tell them to make themselves comfortable. You’ grab the money. Then you leave the room and mess around with the answering machine. By the time you come back he’s supposed to be naked.
If he’s not naked it means he want something weird. Sometimes he wants to hug. Hugging is a bad sign in this industry. It means he want a real Girlfriend Experience.
He’d hug and run his hands up and down you. His calluses catching on the fabric of your dress. Hug and breathe all down your neck. Then you giggle and tilt your head and say ‘no kissing’ all playful. Like it’s a joke. You ask him if he wants a massage. You tell them he wants a massage. You wrestle him down on the table. You rub lotion all over his back, tease and tease his balls, try to make him crazy so when you finally flip him over he comes real quick.
Sometimes he wants to undress you. Sometimes he wants something weird, like a foot job or an enema or for you to pee on him and those times are mostly okay because it involves a lot of talking and not a lot of touching and you charge extra for that
You talk about school and family and the news and the movie of the week.
When I first started working I was really ticklish and would squirm under their hands and giggle and say, breathlessly, I’m really ticklish
This isn’t an argument against sex work or for sex work. Sometimes sex work really works for people. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works and doesn’t work for the same person at the same time.
When I first started doing sex work I just thought it was kind of a fun, dumb punk rock thing to do. I mean, no. I thought about it. I worried I had fallen down some strange feminist morality hole and what I was doing was very wrong and sometimes it felt very wrong. Sometimes it felt really good, too. Walking out of a 6-hour shift with a thousand and five hundred dollars - that felt really good. It still does.
Sometimes the job was fun and sometimes the job was disgusting. Sometimes guys came on me without warning. Sometimes dudes stuck their fingers in me without asking. Once, a sweaty, older Jewish man flipped me over and started eating me out. I told him no.
For the most part a sharp no was enough for something that had started to stop. Sometimes it took a lot of no’s. Sometimes it took me holding down his hands and telling him if he didn’t stop I would kick him out.
One time a john came in. He asked me if I wanted to have sex with him. I told him I don’t do that. Hand jobs or bust, buddy. He said, think about it. I’ll give you two thousand dollars plus the session fee. Just in and out in five minutes. That’s all I need.
He lay the cash down on the massage table.
Five minutes? I said.
I’d just gotten back from Iowa. I’d just broken up with my boyfriend. I was flat broke.
Five minutes. In and out.
You’d have to use a condom, I said.
He pulled a condom out of his wallet and put it with the money.
How would you do it?
Over the table. From behind.
No kissing or touching or anything?
No kissing. It’ll be real quick.
We don’t do this here. You can’t tell anyone. I’d get in big trouble. This is a one time only thing.
I counted the money. I hid it. I made him take a shower. I leaned against the massage table. When he entered me my knuckles turned bright white and the flesh around the knuckles a rough red. Fuck. I hadn’t had sex with a man in five years. The massage table bucked forward. A switch went off inside me that said no. But what could I do? I’d already taken the money.
He shuddered and slumped on top of me after about five minutes. Just like he said. He stripped the condom off his dick and threw it in the garbage.
Did I hurt you? He asked.
No, I said.
He got dressed and left.
That night I woke up from a dream. I woke up crying. Like sobbing. Like something deep and strange was coming out of me. In the dream I had been feeling around my clavicle and upper rib cage for bruises. When I woke up there was no bruise but my lungs felt swollen.
In university I worked at a sexual assault centre. One of the first things we learned on staff is that consent can be revoked at any time.
I continued to work and I still work. I took a long break and fell down a waterfall. I tried to have sex with people and it felt mechanical. I tried to have intimacy with people and it felt wooden. For a year I was squeezed between two flat surfaces. No emotions, no nothing. It’s okay now. Kind of. I named it. I called it rape. It wasn’t just that moment but all the other ones too - all the creeping hands, lips and fingers - I took it out and looked at it and told it what it was. I did not mean to be a woman with strange skin. But I can’t really take it back, can I.
Of course you will read this and think that is not rape. That is not the definition of rape that I know. Rape requires a no. And to that I say, fuck you. I was reluctant to call it rape, too, but when I did the wound healed and that’s all I know.
Look. A female orgasm is not
nor a revolution.
I cannot pretend
lying here with my legs spread
A thousand dollars
by the bed
to be picking out God
essess among men
If I could, I would
run to the woods—
use my feminine wiles
to lure Hansel
&Gretel in to some
Red Women’s Army
but Alice doesn’t
live there no more.
&there’s a landmine
at the bottom
of my spine —
hold on, I’m coming home,