Personal and Professional Stories of A Working Human

Dublin, briefly

I lived in Dublin briefly.  I have never had my life threatened or been assaulted more than when I lived in Dublin.  I would say it was almost a nightly thing that someone would attack me or assault me in some way.  So my view of Dublin is this view from a dark and depressed place where I was lonely, cold and scared.

I should start out and say that I love Ireland.  I even used to love Dublin..  My partner and I would go visit Dublin from Galway (where we were living) and have a great time.  He knew the city and had friends there from when he lived there.  So I decided to move there after living in London for a while and getting sick of that, after I lost all of my friends in London (this was after being a sex worker there and then having to leave because of an abusive relationship – which I’ve written about previously).  I had worked in London for a few months after I lost contact with the people I knew there, and I didn’t really make any friends after that, none that I could actually go out with, so I thought I would go somewhere that I had been happy.

I arrived in Dublin with too many bags and found a hostel where I could stay while I looked for a place to live.  The hostel had too many stairs and I had to take three trips to bring all of my bags up to the room.  There was no where to lock my valuable things so I had to choose which things I was going to carry around with me all of the time and which things I would leave in the room,with the knowledge that it could get stolen by any number of guests, or even people sneaking into the hostel from the street to rob people.  So I had to carry around my computer, which was massive, and my writing books and pens (I love pens!  I have a major addiction to pens) and sometimes a book or two.  I spent a little money trying to buy bags that would fit everything and not screw up my back too badly (or neck, or shoulder or anything ) and really nothing ever was truly comfortable.  I was so happy when I found a place though, even though it had taken me almost three weeks.

The room that I had found to rent was not too far from the hostel, which was handy for moving, but also in that sort of shitty part of town, but actually perfectly located because it was only a 5 minute walk to Temple Bar.  Now I would never buy a drink there for myself, in fact I think I have not paid for a drink there in my life, but it’s a great place to find clients.  There was a decent amount of competition, but I didn’t really care because most of the men were sleazy as fuck.

I wasn’t doing the best to screen clients at this point, in fact I never really was good at that, I first had a pimp, then was with an agency who screened for me, and at this point was in Dublin where I was trying to be picky but also not really in touch with any other sex workers or even aware of any groups or organizations that could help me out at least with telling me who was bad news.  My memories of Dublin are pretty much all at night, at least during this period, so I think the feeling of the city is different as well.  When I visited with my partner before when I was younger, most of my memories are daytime memories and things looked green and brilliantly colored and everything just changes from day to night.  This was actually like a different city.  I don’t even think we went to the part of the city I was living in, although we did visit Temple Bar once while we were there, just so he could show it to me as it’s supposedly famous for tourists.

My security was basically me saying yes or no based on what a man who wanted to pick me up “felt” like after speaking to him for only a few minutes.  That’s pretty stupid on my part and I look back and feel bad that I had so little self concern.  I mean I was scared but I still did things that scared me back then, and the situations I allowed myself to be in were very dangerous.  I feel lucky that I’m even alive, and mournful that some women feel like they don’t deserve more respect, and even more mournful that our society as a whole is set up so that women are treated horribly, no matter what profession, and if they are meeting with people they do no know, they can be the victim of rape or other assaults.  You don’t have to be a sex worker for this to be true.  Think about statistically most women are raped by someone they know, which shows how little respect there is for women that people think this is ok enough to do to someone they know. Sorry that was a bit of a tangent.  I would like to say, I don’t think there is anything wrong with standing on a street corner selling sex, I think there is something wrong with the fact that this is more dangerous than other types of work.  I certainly don’t want to say that this hierarchy of sex workers is ok.  My sex work now is no better or worse than when I was standing on a street corner, it’s only safer because the level of disrespect our society generally has for women makes women into targets.  We don’t make ourselves into targets, patriarchy does that.

I mostly did the back ally fucking, and sometimes I would go to hotels or take them to my room, but one security peace I learned as a child, never get into a car with a stranger.  I also never went to private residences.  But I did do a lot of other stupid things.

There were a group of people, I guess they were called travelers (here I must apologize to all Irish people for never truly understanding this bit of your culture) who would hang around pick pocketing people in Temple Bar.  [I would like someone to explain the traveler thing to me because I feel like even using that word I’m somehow being racist or something, all I know is what people told me, and the people who did speak to me called them travelers.  They were Irish, I do know the difference between the Irish pickpockets and the ones not from Ireland, I just don’t know why there was this attitude towards them.  I don’t believe for one second that any group of people are all one way or are all pickpockets or whatever.  Sorry about all the disclaimery type stuff.  I want to tell these stories but I don’t want to be offensive or racist even by accident.  Someone please explain this bit to me.  I’m embarrassed even to ask but if I don’t ask I’ll continue to be ignorant.]

I remember one time this couple came up to me, a man and a woman.  They walked right up to me and asked for a cigarette.  I said no and the woman put her hand in my purse and grabbed my pack of cigarettes along with my cash, and walked away.  I mean she actually walked away like I could go catch her, but I did not want to start shit with her and her guy because they scared me.  I was also just in shock because they acted like I had done something to them, like they were entitled to my things simply by me existing within their eyesight.  I learned my lesson from that though, and in a weird way I felt almost bad for not just giving them a cigarette.  I don’t know what it is but I feel like in a way, I should have been nicer to them, even though they basically robbed me, I should have just given them the last of my cigarettes.  Maybe it was karma or something.  I was just so shocked by the whole thing, the girls I was were shocked as well, so I guess this wasn’t entirely typical, or maybe they were just so aggressive people knew not to fuck with them, but didn’t feel the same about me.  I didn’t really know these girls but we got along well.

I only stayed in Dublin for 3 months, but it was not a great time.  I was physically assaulted, men would say disgusting shit to me all the time, whether I was working or not.  I think part of it, or maybe even a lot of it, was where I was personally.  I would like to go back again and have someone show me the lovely side of that city again because it used to be one of my favorite cities.  I wish I didn’t have the dark nighttime memories of being hit, raped, abused.  It wasn’t like it was all bad, but it was bad enough that I can honestly say I don’t think there were many days that went by where I wasn’t somehow abused.  I don’t want to act like I’m a victim, I think survivor is more appropriate.  I was trying to find my own way after getting out of a horrible situation with a pimp.  I had learned a lot from the agency, but they kept me somewhat sheltered in certain areas as well.  I didn’t always know how they had booked someone or how safe they were, and I also didn’t really say now to clients.  It was better than before them, but in a lot of ways I felt pressured to take any booking they gave me.  I should say, they would actually say that.  They would say that I really needed to take bookings if they had gone through the trouble of making them.  Which was better because they were safer and generally nicer men, but still not what I wanted.

I guess Dublin was like a terrible test run before I had really got things in order.  Although, I should repeat that it wasn’t all horrible.  A lot of the abuse I got, wasn’t really anything different than when I was a teenager just riding the bus to school.  Just disgusting sexist men thinking it’s ok to grab my ass or my breast or say disgusting shit under their breath to me, or even out loud to my face.  It may have been more aggressive  and there were a lot more drunk people doing it (which even adds more to the aggressive factor) but overall it was sort of just a part of our sexist society.  When I say our, I mean western culture.  And that’s not to say other cultures aren’t equally or more so sexist, but it’s what I know, so I feel somewhat justified in making these judgements.

I eventually moved back to London where I things got a lot better.  I’ll write about that soon, that’s what I consider my life’s “romantic period”, in the artistic sense, not actually in the romantic love sense.

4 comments on “Dublin, briefly

  1. bigbuttbitch
    February 6, 2013

    Hmm, thank you for sharing your story. I hope you do go back to Dublin and see the good side, or maybe some city next to it…:)

    • respectsexwork
      February 7, 2013

      I’m sure I will. I’ve applied to do a program in Cork and one in Galway and (fingers crossed) I’ll end up there. I will make a point of having someone fun show me around Dublin even if I don’t get to live nearby.

  2. saoili
    February 9, 2013

    ‘Traveler’, as far as I know, is not an offensive term, though I believe ‘member of the traveling community’ is the most PC term.

    The traveling community are an ethnically and socially distinct group who have been in Ireland for long enough that there has been a lot of mixing between their genes and society and ours*. However, there are still huge differences, particularly culturally. Most of us know very little about their culture that doesn’t come from negative stereotypes. My only direct experience of any duration or significance with them was negative, but that was three teenage girls when I was a teenage girl, so I try not to generalise from it.

    They are nomadic (hence the name travelers). They move around a lot and don’t tend to own land or buildings. They often end up stopping in places where they are not welcome, which obviously increases tensions.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    • respectsexwork
      February 9, 2013

      Thank you, I think that makes me a little less uncomfortable talking about it. I like to be able to talk about my experiences but of course when I don’t know the PC term for something, I don’t want to go around being an ass about it just for the sake of story telling.

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