How does it feel to be a sex worker

“How do you feel” is a question that enrages sex workers

I have talked to a lot of women in Honolulu

I don’t ask specific questions. I simply mention that I have a blog where I want to feature the experiences and humanity of addicted women on the streets of Honolulu. They are not all sex workers. They are not exclusively sex workers. Most women have a patchwork method of supporting themselves and sex work is just one part. So when I ask about their experiences they do not always talk about trading favors with men.

When they do find themselves trading favors there is one thing they steadfastly refuse to do:

The women I have spoken to reported that they refused to show emotion.

I get paid to do something. I do not get paid to act as though I like it.

According to one veteran of downtown Honolulu’s streets

I hate when they ask me what I like. If they want to please me, just give me the money and leave me alone!

A part time sex worker, expressing skepticism about men who claim to be interested in her.

These women articulate a complex, and seemingly contradictory set of emotions they feel towards the men they need to survive. Certainly the women take pride in getting dates, having regulars. Some of the guys they come to know and like. But it appears almost unanimous that the women hated doing the actual work. One could say that biologically, in terms of evolution, one night stands do not contribute to women’s reproductive success bc women need the support of committed relationships to succeed in raising children. Therefore women are hard wired to dislike meaningless sex. Men, many of them, can enjoy meaningless sex, while having a full-time relationship. Women in the sex industry are trying to act like men in a way. But they cannot really pull off sex without emotion. The women can do it, but they hate it. And by extension sometimes hate the very men they need. That’s why, I believe, they can steal from their dates (talking about those women who do.).

I have yet to find a woman who enjoys the work. Now that I think about it, I have never asked the transgender women. Men always speculate that they would enjoy being sex workers. I will go to the closest people to make sex workers to see if they enjoy their work. The women do not. Surprising or not?

My Background Reasons to blog

From elite to Honolulu’s streets-who am I and why do I write?

I have been part of an elite sector of society–during my days as an undergrad at Harvard. My graduation from the college with high honors (Magna cum laude) will always be an accomplishment I can appreciate–as do most people in regular society.

But there is an “irregular sector of society and I belong there too. The world of the outcast is the existence defined by lack of acceptance by the mainstream bc you are considered inferior. You might be an outcast bc of who you are, like being the wrong race in the wrong place. Or you could be an outcast bc of what you do, like people looked down upon bc of drug addiction.

I know what it is like to travel the road from professional to pariah when shortly after my graduation from Harvard I was amazed to find myself dependent on something I had never physically seen before–illegal drugs. Things became even more unbelievable when I changed from a person who never missed an in time payment for anything, ever, became jobless and homeless in Honolulu, where I survived by hustling money to get drugs to gain entry into the apartments of addicted men. I went between 10 or 15 different residences. Leaving personal possessions here, stealing stuff belonging to another similarly situated woman, there, I managed to get through life without a job, a residence, or a bank account. I was totally off the grid. How did I pull off this feat?

Men. I made use of men. It was easy to do in Honolulu at the turn of the 21st century when there was a street well known to locals, where people, men and women, traded sexual favors for money. Or if a guy did not want favors but companionship, these people would provide their time in exchange for money. Some of these men I saw on a regular basis for years and a few became friends, the kind not acknowledged in public. I met the guys in the area with apartments who had addictions but also a steady source of income not dependant on current achievements. The majority of them were retired military, many were Vietnam vets who only hung out with other vets. I formed deeper relationships with them because I spent more time with them. I was usually one of several women who dropped by bearing gifts in order to be allowed in to shower, change clothes, sleep, dye their hair. The things normal people do not do when they visit friends bc they do them at home, those were the necessities that motivated me to find indoor locations.

For years it was easy. It took under 10 minutes for a guy driving by to stop for me. Ten minutes or so later ,I would have a sum that ideally was around $100 but honestly, often fell quite short. I would be dropped off close to the person selling what I needed. Once the purchase was made I had to decide where I could go. Which guys had I alienated with my difficult personality and incessant tendency to tell the truth? Which guys endlessly harassed me, demanding more of everything even after I had paid the entry fee? Those were but a few of the considerations when choosing where to go for sleep and hygiene and even companionship.

I was in my 20’s, many considered me beautiful. I did not know enough to use my looks to secure a husband and a future–pre-feminist style, I know. I used my looks to secure adventures. Meeting new guys every day, going to their places in far flung parts of the island of Oahu, well, you can imagine the good and bad times I experiences. These experiences took my mind off of my lack of family and various heartbreaks. I was busy but not productive. I thought I could go on like this forever.

Nothing is constant but change. The guys with the apartments died or became homeless. Honolulu responded to community pressure to clean up downtown by interrupting the demand side of the street trade. Female undercover cops posed as working girls and men were arrested. That was not the deterrent. The deterrent was the possibility that if a guy got arrested for solicitation his picture might appear on the news. Guys turned to a tool rapidly increasing in popularity–the internet. There was no longer guaranteed money in minutes when a woman walked to a certain street. Another factor contributing to change was incarceration. I went to a place where more women were younger than me than older. I was aging without even a stable address on record to show for it.

Circumstances allowed me to get a place. Cutting off downtown people enabled me to keep the place. If I never did anything adventurous (or stupid) again, I would still have thousands of stories rattling around in my head. Maybe I had something to teach. I knew I had tales to entertain. Thus, out if a sense of not wanting all that time spent on the street to be for absolutely nothing, I began to record my experiences in this blog. This is the short version of how I came to know what I know and why I have written the words you now read.

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

Honolulu’s Downtown Homeless–Surprising Facts Untold by linked article

Links to my blog, Honolulu Homeless news, paradigm shift

Incomplete story about downtown Honolulu Homeless:

Oahu’s Homeless On the Move

One person can ruin things for everyone. That is most true regarding what people know about the homeless. I know a few people who stayed outside on River Street. One person might leave a mess but here is something people do not know. The reason people can stay in front of the same businesses, for years sometimes, is bc they guard the place. There are people who have verbal agreements to take care, and they do. Almost everyone I have seen makes it a point to clean up. They know what will happen if they do not. So do not blame homeless people with addictions for creating the public nuisance problems. By and large it is not them.

Now and then I make it a point to check on a lady who is much kinder than I am. Her life is far more difficult but her attitude is better and she does not at all have my misanthropic tendencies. Just bc you live inside does not mean you are happier or more together than everyone who is homeless. When I find myself getting too bitter, as is my habit, I seek out this more balanced person. I’m especially sensitive to racism and misogyny. What others overlook infuriates me. I know, I know, I’m working on it. This woman who feels comfortable with outcasts like me, she helps.

This is the kind of balance I would like to see in the news. I don’t think the news is fake. It is incomplete. There’s a way to say only the truth to create a false impression. Emphasis and omission are journalistic tools that allow them to feel they are reporting the news and not editorializing. I change my mind. I guess the news is fake but not bc they lie. My goal in this blog is to bring not only humanity to the outcasts but to show the gifts within a population people do not see as fully human.

Criminal Justice system Criminal Records Honolulu jail Links to my blog, shared Pocket Story, Author Comments prison in hawaii Quora Link

Lessons from Journey: Harvard to Handcuffs, A Big Hit

Tens of thousands of readers

I always believed if I could get the right platform people would read my writing. Here is a sample of the offshoot of this blog:

If you go to and search within the site for my content. You’ll agree with the thousands of others who like the content.

Financial assistance

Occasionally a working girl gets a sponsor

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

Working girls and $ from certain men

Relationship based financial assistance is wonderful. So much better than favor based financial assistance. When you receive payment for doing something, well, that is necessarily limited to the action–and how long the person wants to receive the favor from you. In my experience people never pay for favors ahead of time. After all, who is to say the person will want you, out of everyone, to do the job. I have relationship based financial assistance. Every working girl I have spoken to on the subject has told me she has had one or more guys who helped her out with money. Because she needed it. Not because she had done a specific thing for which she was receiving a specific amount of money. I would never have thought such a thing was possible. It is not even like Pretty Woman, the movie, because if you recall, in the beginning she was paid for favors. No, this is better bc this is closer to…affection. I have had two guys help me like that. The first I met when I first rescued a tiny baby kitten. He was a cat lover and offered to give me and the wee kitten a ride to the Humane Society to have the kitten’s rash examined. When we arrived we were summarily ordered to get out bc the kitten was obviously infested with parasites and we were not to return unless the kitten had vet treatment. Embarrassed, the guy said “I will pay for it,” as I bundled the kitten and fled. From then on he showed up every week to drop $200 for the kitten’s upkeep. Even after her scabies were cured he kept delivering money, sometimes more if I asked. This went on for over a year until one day he said he was getting out of the hobby and wouldn’t be coming by. I was not too surprised bc sometimes when he dropped off money he looked like he wanted to get away fast. That was the thing about this kind of support, the relationship kind. People move on. True for everyone but especially true with a man who cannot acknowledge you in public. The second guy, that was emergency based requests. Not many, but he was definitely there and he gave without hedging or guilt tripping. Technically, I suppose he would still be there. But better not to ask and assume the answer would be yes. Like the cat in a box with a vial of poison. As long as you do not open the box to limit yourself to the knowledge of what is, you can always believe the cat is alive though you know it could be dead. In some cases it is best not to know what is while you enjoy the possibility of what could be. That’s what it is like depending on relationships when such dependence is scary bc you have mostly been ineligible (apparently) for commitment. Tenuous hope best maintained by not pushing it. While being grateful you have even that much.

Biased journalism Critical thinking Fake News

Anti Vax Conspiracy Theorists Can’t Answer One Question

You Must Know I Am a Cynic

I have seen enough to know, specifically, some ways the “system” works against the poor, for example. I witnessed the clearly biased reporting of the media that hated Trump. I am by nature a doubter. But the conclusions I reach are based on things I know, like I know that the FDA we count on to keep our meds safe also made decisions that are killing us. Trans fats. High fructose corn syrup. The obesity epidemic. I know that I would not put all my faith in the FDA for a real reason.

The essence of critical thinking is understanding what you know and how you know it. People say the news is fake. I know why I have my doubts. When I ask people how they know the mainstream news is fake they cannot articulate a reason.

Caroleena, applying the same doubting spirit to the claims of doubters.

The unanswered question: how do you know the alternative news is accurate but mainstream news is fake?

No one has a factual basis for believing one source over another. People go with what feels right. But not what they know. Not facts. It worries me because I do not want our society to go from the obsession with political correctness to censoring “inappropriate” words, to grasping at superstition that appeals to our feelings. There’s a bad trend shaping here.

What do you KNOW and HOW do you know it.

unlikely relationships

From Trick to Friend, loneliness motivates me to make the change

Attraction not Promotion

AA does not advertise. Meetings don’t recruit members. People look for meetings. I have always maintained that philosophy with clients. I shouldn’t say always. I experimented with reaching out to people who had posted about me on a discussion site. I was instantly branded a weirdo and people told each other they had blocked me

I never reached out to strangers again. But as for the people I have known for years, I do contact them first. When something good or new or exciting happens you want to tell someone and I have no friends or family. I have a couple of people I call. How pitiful is it that the only people I can turn to as friends could never admit to knowing me. It is sad. But having no one at all is worse. I have learned when it comes to relationships I need to be grateful for what I get.

Social difficulties, diversity

Hawaii tops the United States in Diversity , see link, but that does not help me

It is official Hawaii is one of the most diverse places in the United States. We have many different Asians. Unlike the New York of my childhood, people here know there is a difference between Chinese and Japanese.

During my youth I was the one black kid in the gifted and talented class and it was awkward and uncomfortable. My inability to be anything but awkward and uncomfortable in social situations made my one of a kind status more difficult. Irony of ironies is that in Honolulu I am still one of a kind far too often. There are no black areas here in Hawaii. It is not unusual for people who have never travelled to never meet a black person. All people know about black people are what they have heard and evidently they have not heard good things. In the most diverse county I am still by myself in terms of the census. But if I were Asian or white I would fit right in, on a surface level. My personal life would still suffer from my poor social skills but at least strangers wouldn’t do a discreet double take when I walk in. The only reason you think I am exaggerating is you’ve never been me.

A new look at felons

We need a felon’s perspective on juries, and I’m not going to say what you expect

Felons on juries–probably will never happen bc people think the way I used to

I always figured a felon is a bad person. Of course I will point out that there’s felonies and there’s felonies. I heard a hostile teacher who knew my background say to my class: we don’t want murderers, rapists, prostitutes. The class agreed. I would have at one time. But this time I thought “how did I get on a list with Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy?” Consenting adults engaged in a private matter? Not the same! I do agree that when the private becomes public and people are on the street for all to see whether they like it or not, that can be objectionable. But that is not why I think felons, even me, should be on juries.

I got my car back and only experience allowed me to see through the con–like a jury member should

Yes, I was a fool and allowed someone to take my car without me to have a mechanic friend repair the window. This someone is a senior citizen but I know age might slow a person down so he cannot do what he used to. But people rarely change. This person was a career criminal who once got angry with me when I broached the subject of him taking car off my hands–but I did not mean for free. I did not know that this grudge had been held for months. He was either waiting for a chance to take the car from me and the friendship was an act, or he had been a friend but he sucked at friendship so when he saw a chance to take what he wanted he grabbed it. The first possibility is very personal but the second is not personal. Just him being who he is. I guess that’s a false dichotomy bc both reflect his nature apart from anything I could do.

The reason I got the car back is bc I cop out of the five I spoke to cared to help me. You see if you give someone the key you gave consent. I guess there’s no such thing as withdrawing consent. Unless the cops took one look at me, checked my record, and decided to turn a blind eye. It has happened before. You might get different treatment. One officer went the extra mile. He called the person so that HOD showed up on his caller id. The effect was predictable. The guy obeyed the instruction to return the car. He did not know there was no police report and I had been told by the others to go to small claims court.

Experience taught me to see through the excuses

Have you ever read my life hacks? Go to the search engine within this site and look them up. A biggie: the best time to look honest is when you are lying. The guy was very convincing as he spoke of my trust issues and his thwarted desire to make me happy. But if this was true why refuse my phone calls, why hide the location of my car, why ignore my frantic texts saying I consider the car stolen, and why tell me you will return it when you want. Con men are convincing. See the similarity in the words? Con is short for confidence. That’s what they win to get away with their scams. In retrospect you think you should have known but you forget how it felt to hear what you want. There is no betray. Only love. Experience allows a person to fight the strong urge to give in. And set yourself up for next time.

How can a jury judge what they know nothing about. A jury of your peers should be made up of peers in age, race, but faaar more importantly inexperience. People from your world. And if you think felons are more likely to doubt cops that non felons you are probably right. We know the police. No one improves under scrutiny. If you think we would be more lenient towards criminals you are wrong. We are a world weary bunch unlikely to have sympathy to spare. Especially if we can see through the con.

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

These women get punched on tv (w/link to YouTube video)

Once you make an observation, whatever you noticed will be so obvious it will seem like a caricature

You will ask yourself how you failed to notice these patently obvious observations before. Obvious observations–those words must be related. Read on to find out the women you will see taking a beating on tv, should the story call for violence against women. Same holds true for Netflix programs. Ever see:

Pay attention to something when you listen to the narration in documentaries about drug use. When white drug users are discussed, there is a mention of their trauma, their psychological issues, how anyone can empathize with them. There will be at least a mention of one or more if these factors. When black drug users are described there will be at least a mention of black criminality, community problems, how they are an example of the hopelessness that is the only way reasonable people can feel when contemplating black humanity. Think I am exaggerating? If you doubt me scan some videos on YouTube and you will hear it. You won’t hear these points hammered home. Just a mention. Subtle, very subtle, indoctrination. The subtle is only subtle until you spot it. Then it is blaring.

Another thing,, while we are on the subject of black actors departing movies at the outset… Yes, black actors are the first to exit from horror movies, and I have seen early exits from other genres. For example, many of you have seen the movie Coyote Ugly, I am sure. Did you know Tyra Banks is in the movie. She makes an early exit from the group of dancers to go to law school. Similarly, the late great Bernie Mac is in Ocean’s 11, but not for long!

The last frequent observation I want to share: I noticed this year is that whenever the movie calls for a woman to be killed, hurt, hit, etc…that violence happens to black actresses. Once you see it, you will wonder how you missed it.

Would it matter to viewers if the unseen victim in linked YouTube video was black, white, or whatever?

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

I Am in a Crisis. I KNOW the words that Do NOT Comfort

Who needs a gun when new liberals like me go overboard and demonstrate how much we trust career criminals by handing over our possessions and waiting for them to be returned. Yes, ex cons are human. I know. I am one. But do not forget people’s basic ugly nature, as described by the Bible, us uglier in some and their past tells the tale.. Photo by KoolShooters on
#Addict Behavior: Deflection

I Am in a Crisis. I KNOW the words that Do NOT Comfort

“You Brought it on Yourself”

People tell us this tired phrase when we have issues. We tell ourselves the same thing. “I have no one to blame but myself,” is another version of the same idea. These words are common “go-to’s” when we seek advice, consolation, another way to look at a situation that disturbs us. Why? If we think we could have done something different will that empower us in the future? I guess..but I am here to tell you there is no comfort in repetitive self-recrimination.

“You’ve got a lot going on.”

A couple of people told me this when I let it be known I was desperately upset over my car not being returned. Ok, it was stolen. I gave the keys to the thieves. The robbers had spent months tricking me by disguising themselves as my friends who also had professional car repair skills. What do you call that..? Mechanics? See how little I know. They might be skilled but they were not friends. People offered not to disturb me since I was obviously busy. In truth the problem was that I did NOT have a lot going on. Except empty hours of analysis while holding my silent phone. Here is what I journaled and texted to myself for use in this here post:

I’m in a crisis right now and I will tell you that the thing people always say, as if to offer consolation, is no help. “You brought it on yourself. No help. Yes, I loaned the car. Yes, I promised myself never again. Yes, I know the kind of people I know are not generally considered trustworthy. Yes, I did it anyway. No, they won’t answer the phone. I know I brought this on myself. Not helpful. I’m still enraged. My only hope of getting the car back is to pretend I am fine. Don’t even think of saying that phrase to me!

Long term readers know that my circumstances of getting addicted and then incarcerated motivated me to write for the simple reason that I want to present myself in a way that shatters stereotypes, like the preconceived notions I myself had about addicts, felons, street people, homeless people, streetwalkers, thieves. Once I had a chance to wear all of these hats I was like, “oh, those are real people, and amazing ones at that.” True. But I must warn you and myself that there are people who spent their lives behind bars bc they belong there. While I am not going to automatically exclude someone from my life bc of a prison background, I need to consider it. And not hand over my keys.

Photo by Kindel Media on Maybe there are people who need to remain handcuffed.

The car is supposed to be returned to me tomorrow, August 22, 2021. I am not holding my breath.

Do not throw out your common sense while discarding stereotypes you once used to judge others. Stereotypes had a basis in truth.

Caroleena, just a bit more jaded after this crushing blow inflicted by someone she did not want to label as “bad.” He is bad.
Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

Sex workers know not to expect commitment but still…

Photo by Flora Westbrook on
Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

Sex workers know not to expect commitment but still…

Regular Customers

Repeat customers. People who come back again and again. I have no formal business training but I imagine they are the life blood of many businesses. This is certainly the case in sex work. It is better to have people you know with whom you have developed trust than to meet strangers who could be any kind of crazy. If you have regulars you can feel closer to normal, and I have heard people kind of in denial, who said, “I have friends who help me out. They are just friends. I would never do that. What you do.” Maybe my life would be easier if I did not insist upon being rigorously honest with myself. I knew what they did, what I did, was considered prostitution. But after awhile was it really? Over the years, yes, these relationships can last for years, interactions are not strictly transactional. Ok, there are no sexual favors without payment. However, women call their regulars, who have become friends, for help. I have seen men who started off as basic tricks show up at prison to visit. I have seen them bring diapers for a baby that is not their baby but belongs to the provider’s boyfriend. The boyfriend was never around when these drop offs happened. He was either away for the moment doing whatever or away for awhile doing time. One rule that holds firm is that the only people who meet the client/friend are other working girls who might be present when he drops off some item. He does not meet other men in her life and he does not introduce her to the people in his official life. But the working girls see everything.

One of the upsides of being someone who has seen it all is that people feel a combination of feelings–safe, bc you understand, superior, bc who are you to judge them? In my humble opinion, professional people spend a considerable amount of time making sure they appear to be what people think they are. Their identities are wrapped up in other people’s opinion. I think a lot of white collar embezzlement and thefts from businesses happens bc people are trying to maintain a”lifestyle” which is visible to all. That lifestyle does not include knowing people like us, from the back streets of downtown Honolulu. Little does the public know that these professional men, wearing their dress aloha shirts and shoes (not slippers like the street guts downtown) are “regulars.” They have clandestine relationships with women they met when they were cruising Kukui Street looking for a woman to pay for sex. Well, to amend that, they were not just looking but had found one or more women they favored.

You know not to get attached but what we know and what we do…

Every woman on the street had one or more regulars. It was pretty common for these guys to get pulled in to the scene and only reluctantly go to work. A guy could easily be a regular for more than one woman. There were a handful of guys who had dated several women for years. They did not always want sex. These guys were into the gossip. They wanted to know the news in the women’s lives. The women want to keep their regulars and not just from a financial standpoint. Women get attached. They do not expect him to leave his wife or only date her but they start to expect to see him every week, or month, whatever the usual interval. They know the should not count on money from him but it is hard not to. Some basic math shows you how valuable it is to receive money from which the government has not taken its entitlement. You figure out how much you would have to make at a regular job just to end up with $500 in your hand at the end of the month. You would have to make $750 from which the government would take its third. If you could have three or four regulars who pay you as little as a hundred whenever they see you each week, you would be making more money than any job you could get in Honolulu’s job pool.

But the deeper Truth is you do something most people do not do but you have emotions and concerns typical of everyone. You want to be able to remain indifferent about his absence or presence but that is impossible. When the person does not contact you on the timeline you have come to expect, you worry. How in the world would you find out if anything had happened to him. You are not listed as one of his emergency contacts. Even if you know where he works after years of conversation, it is not like you can call there. Who would you claim to be? One thing about the men who call themselves “hobbyists” is that they can keep their secrets. Absolutely no one in their public life will ever hear them say anything that would raise a smidgen of suspicion. It is rather extraordinary that such a large part of their lives can be kept secret. However, I have seen that men can make the most out of tacking an hour onto the workday schedule they give their wives. Certainly you cannot check with his wife.

You know better than to check with him. He already has obligations he must fulfill and you are a break from everything he has to do. If he starts to feel like he has to see you, you have worked against what he is looking for by seeing you. No strings attached is kind of a myth . You worry about each other and want to see each other but when he needs to be free of ties that bind you have to let him.

Is everything a double standard with men and women? So it seems. In an upcoming post I will talk about how he wants to be the only man. He would never, absolutely never, accept his wife having a man on the side. And he would rather believe he is the only man in his hooker’s life. That’s what you present to him, that he is your one and only while you never call to ask where he is.


Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

How did it feel to stand on the street waiting for a date?

My feelings surprised even me

I know that the way I felt is not what people would expect. I would imagine that people would feel humiliated and ashamed, even to be seen by strangers. That’s what I would think but it was not this way for me. When I came to Hawaii after I graduated from college and got addicted to cocaine in New York, I did not know anyone. The newness of the place was what excited me. I had grown up with people who had adopted me but always indicated that they made a mistake. I was either ignored, or denied opportunities to leave the house for simple social events. Not that I was invited anywhere because I really did not have any friends until junior year of high school. Many summers and weekend nights I would sit alone in my room, without options, never having any new experiences. To be out at night, with no place I had to be, no one knowing where I was, no one to answer to, and no one looking to hold me back–it was everything I dreamed of and so very different from my previous life. When I was growing up I was perfectly responsible. I planned for the long term so I could escape that house to go to college. Everything mattered. I did not cut class, skip homework, ditch school. I never did anything one might expect of an adolescent because I was so laser focussed on my escape. I did not know that once I made that escape I would have a giant void in my life because there was no terribly important mission to accomplish. I had mental space to contemplate my social status, or lack thereof. When I saw that I was alone in college, and similarly friendless in my teaching job I felt ashamed that people would see that I had no family, nowhere to go on holidays, and they would look down at me. I was no longer stuck in a room. I went out and did things but I did them alone and sometimes people noticed. Then I came to Hawaii and discovered a subculture where people cared only for themselves. They were not looking at me and what I had or did not have unless it benefitted them. They conformed to the basic animal nature that I imagined existed within all people who really are out for themselves. Addicts do not sugar coat that reality. I could fit in and be welcome in the apartments of other users if I had drugs. And when I was out on the street I felt like I was on a grand adventure. An hour after I walked to the corner of A’ala Street and Kukui Street I could be on my way to the North Shore with a guy, or I could be in one of the empty offices downtown where daytime workers would never guess what goes on at night. Anything could happen. There was an endless parade of strangers and I never failed in my mission to have someone pick me up, that was how steady the traffic of men looking for street sex workers was in the late 1990’s. Instead of never meeting anyone or not being able to hold the interest of people I did meet, I met knew people every day and some of them came back and looked for me again. No one had ever, in my short life, ever, looked for me, sought me out. I felt special and important. In my young adulthood I did not know that men are not in the least bit picky when it comes to anonymous encounters and I was under the impression that I must be beautiful and desirable to always be desired. I did not know that the simple fact that I was available and willing was good enough for anyone. Finally, I did not know anyone and I was never an expert at relating to the people I did know. I had no worries about being seen by someone in a passing car since the majority of people looking at me were people who were probably looking for me or someone like me. It might be terrible to say it, but I enjoyed that life. Of course being in a place without gangs or gun violence probably was a big contributing factor. Nevertheless, I was happy, and I never thought beyond the next fix.

In a way it is strange to think of someone with my background being in that position but that is just looking at it from an education point of view. People of privilege end up doing what I did or doing it differently because they have money. In terms of past emotional issues, I had a lot in common with the people I met in addiction–everyone had their deep issues.

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

Capital Punishment for Everyday Women? A popular show indicates it happens often

Forensic Files

One of my interests is true crime stories, either watching or reading. One of my favorites is Forensic Files, a show that uses interviews with victims and their families, law enforcement, and scientists to tell stories of crime by explaining what appeared to happen, the clues that emerged, and how science was applied to understand what the clues meant in order to solve the case. For example they explain how a suspect left DNA at the scene and the DNA was evaluated and linked to one person. There is no use of eye witness testimony or confessions to solve cases, though these might get mentioned. In other words, no one tells the audience why something happened unless evidence revealed something like the sudden existence of life insurance that would benefit the victim’s husband.

Speculation by the show reveals something disturbing

These people are experts in murder. They have seen so many murders their speculations are based on real history. Since there is no one to tell us the motive for the cases they show they make one up a motive that fits based upon everything they know to be true. That is why it troubles me that every time they do not know why a man killed a woman the narrator says “she probably rejected his sexual advances.” This is not a speculation they use often. I am talking about every single time they do not know a man’s motive. That tells me that a significant number of men have killed women for denying them sex. Once I realized it, I cannot believe I missed something so obvious. Just think about the men who do not kill the women but punish them or believe she should be punished for saying *no.” I bet you have heard guys complain about taking a woman out, spending money on her and getting mad there is no reciprocity from her because she refused him. That is how men who would say they do not support prostitution show me they are ok with exchanging something of value for sex though people might disagree with me. Imagine how many men do not retaliate over a refusal but they understand men who do. All of the men who embrace each of these positions must comprise an awfully large percentage of the men out there. Wow. How dangerous is it to tell a guy “no,” ?

I have heard men laugh at the idea that they would ever say “no means no”

Even the slogan *no means no* tells me a lot. It tells me women can repeat themselves ad nauseam and men do not naturally tune in. Women’s words are disregarded automatically if the words translate to no sex. You never hear men insisting their “no” matters. Men expect to be heard without having to fight for it. When I think about the danger men pose to women I wonder how we get together all.

There are messages about appropriate gender roles in society but you have to evaluate words to know what you are really hearing

Caroleena, examining what Forensic Files tells us about how often mean condemn women to death for denying them sex.

#addiction, #Rippleeffect, #Consequences, #China, #Health

Taboo Honolulu–why do I really write about the forbidden?

I have the truth and the really real truth

I think about what I am trying to do with this blog, this writing project. Since 2017, I have shared my story in an admittedly disjointed way that one reader likened to “stream of consciousness.” My story–what is that? If I am asked to give an elevator pitch describing my story, how would I define myself? Of course I could not tell the absolute truth since I would be talking to someone so I would automatically create the most positive image of myself and when that is done you know you cannot be cringingly honest. Can you? Could I? Could I share the vulnerability that makes me who I am and think you will want to read it? My superficial, appealing (I hope) elevator pitch of my story, this blog you are reading, would be: “People have told me I should write a book that is different from the tourist brochures of Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist track. Downtown Honolulu is a few short miles but a world away from the wealth of Waikiki. It is one of the centers of street life powered by drug addiction and maintained by street prostitution, theft from stores, and drug dealing. As a Harvard grad I started off in Hawaii as a researcher studying a subculture. But I surprised myself when something I knew nothing about called “addiction,” carried me into the streets where I lived a life that was at one time unimaginable. I did things, saw things, and got to know people I never would have met in my former existence.

I learned that everything I thought I knew about sex, gender, taboos…that list is too long.! Everything I thought I knew about everything needed adjusting. What I can tell you about the forbidden world of sex and drugs is endlessly educational for the scholars and entertaining for the voyeurs.”
That’s my too-long elevator pitch. It is all true but not exactly honest. Let’s try for more honest. See below.

My Vulnerable Truth in an honest elevator pitch about my story

I write to harvest the wisdom from my experience because I am still seeking success as defined by society to validate me. After a childhood enduring racism, foster care, and no friends, I thought Harvard would prove my worth to everyone, including me. But the problems I thought a high status accomplishment would solve were still with me. After graduation I was still alone, without family, invited for Christmas dinner by a kind person who included lonely people for the holidays. I felt betrayed that success had not healed my heart or changed my isolated reality. I was offered drugs in a Manhattan bar. I said yes to I knew not what, other than drug use was a rejection of the conventional values that did not heal me. A move to Hawaii resulted in me taking my problems from New York to paradise. Then came full time addiction, joblessness, homelessness, prison. I had become everything I used to separate myself from with scorn, everything that was like my family of origin. I found freedom from judging people bc I understood how a person can fail and still be human. Yet the knowledge that the world still judges me motivates me to use what I have in search of success. All I have is fascinating stories of taboo street life, hidden sexual realities, and secrets people share with hookers bc who could we tell? I hope these stories will reach a broad enough audience to generate income and justify my life choices so I won’t be ashamed to be in touch with people from high school. Success still pending.

I can be more vulnerable and in time, as we get to know each other I will give more of me. Since 2017 I have shared events but not myself. Change is coming.

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

I interviewed pimps, curious about what they had to offer

For those who know what to look for it is easy to spot a working girl

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s there was prostitution in downtown Honolulu, which was pretty much women, and men who identified as women, who were supporting their addictions through sex work. They might have been addicted to drugs or they might have been addicted to someone who was addicted to drugs. The money was a means to an end and did not actually profit anyone in terms of getting ahead in life. There was also street prostitution in Waikiki. Unlike downtown, this street sex work was not 24/7 but was confined to the wee hours. The women dressed like hookers, while downtown the women dressed like anyone and it was only the fact that they were standing on Kukui Street, the downtown Honolulu “ho stroll” that a person knew they were working. Waikiki women in those days wore 4 inch platform heels that looked like they were made of glass and had fish swimming in them. They never charged less than $200 and they all had pimps who watched them from the “mauka” (or mountain) side of the street while the women strolled the “makai” (ocean) side of Kuhio Avenue. Waikiki women were seldom addicted to drugs. I have been told by women and by pimps that the women gave all the money they earned to these men (who were always black for reasons I never discovered). Sometimes they had a quota or goal but that was not standard. What was standard was for the women to “break themselves” or give every dime to the pimp. Ideally, the pimp took care of everything else. He had housing for all the women, provided them with their needs, bought the one allowable drug–weed, and most importantly, he bailed them out of jail when, not if, they were arrested. There was one woman who was understood to be most important to him, maybe the mother of his children and she was known as the “bottom b***h” and she had something of a leadership or mentoring role for the other women in the “Stable” since she usually had been there the longest.

Reciprocity seems to have gotten lost

I believe that the pimp, sex worker relationship ideally was one of working together. Certainly the women needed someone to handle all of the things outside of work. In a way, now that I think of it, the pimp was similar to the housewife who received her husband’s paycheck and handled the household budget. I bet a lot of guys would not like that comparison simply because they never want to be compared to women, but the similarity is obvious to me. Housewives are similar to prostitutes in that they are often looked down upon as being dependent on men and subservient. These relationships were never meant to be about domination but about working together, but I suppose when there are humans involved interdependence does not naturally rise to the #1 most important element in relationships. Or maybe that is an American phenomenon, I cannot say.

Today the stereotype of the pimp is someone who does not partner with women who choose to work with the men, but as someone who trafficks in women who have no choice in what they are doing, takes all of their money and gives them nothing but what their sick natures demand–abuse and deprivation. I bought into the stereotype because as a young woman I knew no other way to conceptualize the relationship other than the script my society had provided me. I looked down upon women with pimps and thought I was so very independent because I choose to spend my money on drugs, never seeing the irony of my slavery to a substance that far exceeded the dependence I imagined hookers with pimps wanted. I always said I did not have the temperament to have a pimp and I was right. I was not one to endure abuse, nor did I know how to work cooperatively with someone.

When pimps saw me slowly walking Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, and watched me trying to make eye contact with every man that slowly drove by, they knew I was trying to work the area without representation. I was often approached by these men and for some reason they were never abusive to me, although I had seen pimps chase down women and stalk them all night long because the rule on the street is that if a woman speaks to a man who is a pimp but is not her pimp, he has the right to harass her. Maybe this harassment happened, but not always, and certainly not to me. I thought it was because I put out a vibe that I could not be abused. It is only as I write this post that I consider that maybe the preconceived notion that these men were always violent was wrong. (And I think I am so enlightened! Ha! Let me issue this caveat–be careful of my “wisdom” because there is a lot I do not know!).

I joined society in the contempt for the pimp, not knowing until this moment that I had bought into the racist attitude that regards black men as disrespectful to women. I used to interview them as a joke. “What do you have to offer me?” or “What can you do for me that I cannot do for myself?” Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, many guys, especially the young ones, liked the notion of women giving them money for nothing and they never had anything to offer me other that the joy of having someone to answer to instead of being out there alone. Now that years have gone by and I understand the difficulty of being alone I understand that having someone care about you is worth something and it actually is understandable that someone would pay for that privilege. I am not looking for a pimp now but I would pay someone if I thought I could buy someone’s concern for me. I finally get the attraction of a pimp! And to think I started this post thinking I would tell you about the young man who offered to be my pimp and then rode off on his sputtering moped. Yes, that was funny considering the pimp is supposed to be a man of means. But as I wrote these words you are reading, I learned my own mind and found out what I really thought, how I really felt as a lonely person. I understand why I write this blog now and it is for you, my beloved reader, but it is also for me because I never knew I felt a yearning to have a partner even if that partner had been a pimp. But I was ever the loner and never allowed myself to reach out or to be reached. Maybe if I had been open I would have someone in my life now.



#how I really feel

#truth telling

#cringing honesty

#vulnerability in writing

A List of Prostitution Surprises

Are you going to be an old gray haired hooker on the street?

Are you going to be an old gray haired hooker on the street?

press the link or if that is problematic cut and paste it into your browser for an intellectual discourse on the stereotypes about the undesirability of older sex workers that are simply untrue.

Addiction and Prostitution in Hawaii

Are you going to be an old gray haired hooker on the street?

That is the question a prison official asked an associate of mine who was in the women’s prison outside of Honolulu. I was not there but I am sure he was mocking her. People are more likely to mock prostitutes than any other offender..People are fascinated, yet contemptuous. They want to ask questions but they do not want anyone to know they are curious. That is one of the reasons I write this blog–I know people want to know and I want to control the representation of people society loves to hate. I almost did not admit I wanted control but really, what do I care what anonymous readers who have contempt for me, think? Anyway, she was hurt because she was already dying her hair. She knew she already was what would be considered an old, gray haired hooker. I will tell you something that will surprise you: not every guy wants a young woman. Yes young women are beautiful even when they are not. I was young once I know. But youth is not everything. Guys want someone who knows what she is doing and only experience gives expertise. Guys do not want the indifferent attitude of someone who feels he should be grateful just to be in the room with her and she does not have to do anything. I was accused of this lack of motivation back in the day. Guys want to benefit from the gratitude of someone with something to prove. Plus, guys do not want to look and feel old when he looks from himself to her, and back. Young guys are curious about women in their forties who are still beautiful and, they imagine, skilled like no one their age. Maybe that is true, maybe not. Young guys want to find out. As long as no one knows–but that is the way it is whenever someone deals with a prostitute. That’s a bit of stereotyping out the window for you.