insider's view of street life

Clients were normal, not weirdos–one of the biggest surprises according to sex workers

Unsavory characters is the expectation

I was watching one of my beloved forensics shows and the narrator intoned that when a call girl gets murdered there’s a huge pool of degenerate clients who were potential suspects. According to interviews I have done and my own memory, I would have said there’s a huge pool of regular guys who were potential suspects. I always imagined men who hired hookers were no good types, just as I imagined hookers were. Then I discovered hookers were people, and even, at one time–me (and I am close to divinity in my own mind!). I also learned that lots of men have the desire to have sex with strangers or if not strangers, women they know but to whom they are not exclusively attached. I don’t just mean ordinary guys on occasion see hookers. I’m talking about regulars. Regular clients were regular men. Yes, these ordinary guys might be a little less ordinary behind closed doors. Certainly they do not advertise their activities to their peers. Nevertheless in Honolulu, if you are looking for weirdos, you won’t find them in high concentrations among the clients if sex workers.

Every day men saw hookers, the much maligned streetwalkers, so much that they were part of the downtown Honolulu subculture and known by many of the working women. I never would have guessed that and I bet you wouldn’t have either!

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?

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.


Prostitutes List Tricks as Their Emergency Contacts

Relationships are Complex

I had preconceived notions about people engaged in off track behavior when I first entered the world of drug users. These ideas were shattered to hell by realities I could never have guessed. The process of replacing wrong, long held and immutable stereotypes with new information that differs from person to person, situation to situation. It is ready to dehumanize people we think are beneath us and part of dehumanizing people is removing their individuality. Hen e we see prostitutes as one monolithic type, their clients, or tricks, as another monolith. Inpictured hookers as indifferent people looking for the quick buck without needing or wanting to know the gut’s name. Same with tricks though they weren’t looking for the quick buck but a word that rhymes with buck. Every now and again it is absolutely true that long term contact is nothing more than intermittent and impersonal interaction. That’s not the whole story of what these men and women can mean to each other. Some regular customers can see the same woman or women for years, forming relationships so deep that the trick becomes the emergency contact or vice versa. When one if them gets arrested it us commonplace for them to use their one phone call from cell block to reach the other half of the sex worker relationship. One “hobbyist” had been “dating” women in downtown Honolulu for 30 years until the present. He mentioned to one of his girls that he might have a friend who could watch her cat when she went on vacation. “She is like you. She calls me when she gets in trouble.” The reference to “trouble was about a time the first girl accidentally forgot her money for the cab when she took the cat to the vet. The cab driver threatened to call the cops and the win an had to decide on the person she knew that would be able to cover the ever mounting fare AND who would arrive on the scene before the Honolulu police department mosied to the site of the dispute. Who else had enough money, a reliable enough vehicle and the motivation to come right now to rescue her from a situation she could have averted by taking careful inventory of her bag? The guy flew in his truck from the suburbs of Kamala to the outskirts of Waikiki. Our hero was indicating that there was another woman who had it like that with him and on the strength of past favors she might be willing to help out by catsitting for the first woman. There’s remarkably little jealousy between women when neither is trying to take ownership if the guy. When our hero found out the cat lover was driving around without a license (but in a legal car) he warned her that he might not be so willing to bail her out if she got caught. The cat lover was mildly surprised BC she had never asked him if he would bail her out should the not so unlikely event of her arrest take place. How flattering! But after thinking about it, he was the emergency contact who would both have the money and the willingness to use it for bail. Keep in mind that the first 10% of any bail over $1000 is kept by bail bondsman. Bail that is under $1000 must be paid in full but it is all returned when the defendant goes to court. It is kind of a big favor. The working girl was quite surprised it would be offered in advance. That’s the complexity of hooker and trick relationships. For some of these women the long term regulars care more about the women than anyone the women had ever known. It is nit just drugs that tie women to prostitution. The need for companionship that is easy the way things are between people who have been together a long time–that is extremely hard to give up with no replacement in sight.

clients Double Standards Escort Life Hacks Lifestyle relationships Selfishness

Working girls fit into Male fantasy of model woman

Married men who rendezvous with girlfriends, hookers, and friends-with- benefits often want the women on their list to be faithful to them. These polygamous men do not contemplate the double standard in a serious way, other than to acknowledge their feelings are illogical, but what’re you gonna do? One working girl expressed to her long term regular client that she wants to find a husband, improbable though it may be. The guy, a married client, told her he wanted a relationship for her bc she deserved it. But he admitted he wanted her to remain single due to his attachment to her. No, this was not the beginning of a speech about how he wanted to start a life with her. Come to think of it, it was more of a speech about how he did not want her to start a life of her own. It is important to note he wanted to keep her to himself all the time but his interactions would only be part time and under cover. When he did not want her, bc he was with one of his other women, he put her on the shelf, available to be taken down at his convenience.

The best course of action for a working girl is to never talk to a client about her other clients. If he says he wants to know it is BC he is framing her time with others as something in which he can take pleasure. Never, ever does a guy want to think of her as with anyone else unless he can see that guy as inferior compared to him and less important to her.

Caroleena, elaborating on the desire of “hobbyists” to be the only guy in their hooker’s life.

Ideal traits of a fantasy woman: attractive to look at, always immediately available, out of sight when he is busy elsewhere, no life outside of pleasing him. Hiring someone gets a guy this dream come true for a minute.

prison relationships

A Secret: Prison Can Give A Heart’s Desire, Unbeknownst to the World


People want to be loved and values by the people who matter to them. When someone goes to prison of course there is a physical separation. But on an emotional level you will have the best intimacy during incarceration, whether you are waiting inside or out. Shocking but true. Visiting hours, phone time, rare special events, those are lifelines for people experiencing incarceration. There’s no competition during these times. The only focus is the other person. No distractions, no television, no phone. Just the people visiting and their conversation. There is not even the distraction if touching. What’s more, these times are greatly anticipated. At no other time in your life is someone so glad to see you, so focussed on you with a singleness of purpose. You do not have to doubt that at the next possible time you will experience everything quality time is meant to give. It does not matter if you are in or out.

Release puts an end to all that. There are others to see, things to do, and a pressing feeling that lost time can somehow be made up by cramming experiences into tight time periods. No more exclusivity, no more being not just the only person in your person’s life, gone are the days of being the only focus of attention. Here again are the days when the person you love is physically present but mentally elsewhere

Little wonder that I have heard both inmates and their families say prison was the best time for their relationships.