Flutterby™! : Sex Work in perspective

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Sex Work in perspective

2009-05-27 16:49:53.969893+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

The Rumpus.net: The Girlfriend Experience, Sex Work in Perspective, a look at Steven Soderbergh's new film from the perspective of a sex worker, mentioning Sex, Lies and Videotape[Wiki] and Before Sunset[Wiki]. I now totally want to see this film, but the essay is well worth a read on its own:

... Two hours later, my friend is trying to describe why the film was so empty. He talks about the cheap metaphor. How he hates when movies about prostitutes try to make the point that all relationships are transactional. He thinks that’s bullshit. There’s an anger in his voice. He’s with his girlfriend. She doesn’t know if he’s ever been with a prostitute, and neither do I. But if I was a gambler, and I am, I would bet he has. ...


[ related topics: Sexual Culture Psychology, Psychiatry and Personality Movies Sociology Writing ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-28 14:23:58.043868+00 by: topspin [edit history]

This, and the previous thread about sex/prostitution, are reminding me of stuff I've written/journalled and often wondered if they'd make decent theater. I've not seen this film, but I will, and I believe it does delve somewhat into the lives of those touched by the touching of the principals: the wives, kids, boyfriends, etc. I see parallels to Tennessee Williams and Maggie's desperation facing Brick's desperation over his feelings for his friend.... and I hope a writer or director sees fit to more sharply focus on that angle.

Also, the theme that no one wants the wife experience intrigues me greatly, both as a literary theme and personal theme. I recall reading Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes and thinking of similar things. I also recall discussions here about the "stigma" of marriage and the changes it can produce on relationships.

I think Ebert's review of the movie is remarkable also:

Once she allows her mask to slip: a surprising moment when she reveals what she may feel. Grey perfectly conveys both her hope and her disappointment, keeping both within boundaries. You wonder how a person could look another in the eye and conceal everything about themselves. But the financial traders who are her clients do it every day. Their business is not money, but making their clients feel better about themselves.

It seems marriage ISN'T about making the partner (client) feel better about themselves usually and we ALL can do this very well and often at work, but we often fail miserably at doing it at home.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 16:01:44.02919+00 by: Dan Lyke

"...the theme that no one wants the wife experience intrigues me greatly...": Yeah, me too. But then I'm one of those people who looks at the "gay marriage" struggle and asks "why do you want that?" (And I'm married, go figure...)

Perhaps it's that in looking at marriage as the default its not news, but I also think that your observation that "...marriage ISN'T about making the partner (client) feel better about themselves usually..." nails it.

I have long been intrigued by ritual, by the ways that ceremony and pomp can make us feel. Fantastic powerful tool. I'm also aware that quite often people start to look at ritual from a practical standpoint and ask "why are we setting the table, we're just eating sandwiches", and reduce, for instance, the meal to an ingestion of calories. Sometimes this simplification is appropriate, sometimes although it still accomplishes the nominal function of the process it loses all the significance and power of the ceremony.

I think that the default for marriage is just that: We've had the ceremony, we've performed the ritual, now can we just get on with what needs to be done? In the process of reducing the relationship to its functions we throw out the meaning.

The girlfriend experience is fun, there's challenge, there's dodge and weave and so forth. The wife experience is that same process reduced to an assembly line. Building a hot rod is fun, slapping quarter panels on for a few decades less so. Too many people think the meaning is the end result.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 20:30:02.344436+00 by: Larry Burton

I'm not understanding this conversation. I enjoy having a wife and I think I can speak for her in saying that she enjoys having a husband. We are family and we support each other and try to make each other feel good about ourselves. The relationship just seems a natural to me. I can't imagine ever wanting the relationship to end and we are going up against 32 years this July.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 21:04:03.677376+00 by: Dan Lyke

So to draw you into the conversation, Larry, why doesn't the cultural narrative and the dominant mythology tell stories which reinforce that?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 21:31:32.262596+00 by: Larry Burton

I don't know. Maybe "happy" relationships just don't make good stories anymore. With the divorce rate at 50% or there abouts and the number of people seeing marriage as "not for them" may be my relationship is just too odd to be considered normal any more. Of course it could also be that mine and Gerri's relationship is our relationship and the only real semblance it has to any other "successful" marriages is that we live together, have had children together, are monogamous and plan on keeping things that way forever. The real workings of our relationship are probably unique just as every successful relationship is probably unique.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-29 23:57:01.393642+00 by: Dan Lyke

To be fair, good stories come from conflict, but I think that maybe what we're seeing is that, from much the same source as the controversy over "Love and Marriage", marriage is only peripherally correlated with a good relationship. You can be best friends and have a long enduring relationship, even spend those decades making your partner feel better about theirself, but that may or may not have anything to do with marriage.