The prospect of getting out
So, here I am, about four weeks out into my UK tour. Four weeks since the last time I took a call. Before this summer, six weeks is the longest I’ve gone without being on call. Now I’m basically tripling that. It still feels strange to not have to drag my eyelids open in the morning to sign in, to not have to drop everything to pick up a call, to make lunch plans. With other people. OUTSIDE THE HOUSE.
My boss told me back in April that I could have my job back when I return, right before Labor Day. She added, “if we’re still operating when you get back,” which I immediately recognized as a half-joking attempt to make me feel guilty for taking the time off, and a half-serious compliment about some of my regulars maybe not wanting to stick around if I’m not there. I hate when she pulls that shit. It’s flattering to be someone they’ve grown to rely on, but c’mon, that’s basic business strategy, right? Don’t put all your eggs in my basket.
In one of our earlier conversations about this hiatus, my boss said, “But what if you make it big while you’re over there?” I laughed that off and told her “not likely,” but in my secret performer soul, I was, like, PLEASE. Let it be so.
The prospect feels a little confusing and unmooring, I’ll admit. I don’t know what full-time playwright/performers do in their day-to-day lives, anymore than I knew what PSOs do with their lives before I started doing it. I suppose it’s the same things I already do—writing, networking, emailing, dicking around on the Internet—minus the frequent interruptions to help the next wanker, and without this particular form of fallback income. It’s not an earth-shaking transition, in other words, but change is still scary. I’ve been living this way for over five years. I hope that I can be honest enough with myself to not let my fears get in the way of me getting out.
I mean, because it would be amazing if I successfully transitioned all the way into theatre. PSO work was always just a job, something enabling me to stay afloat while I figured out what I wanted to do next. Now that I’ve figured that out—playwright/performer all the way, baby!—I’ve gotta be brave while I figure out how to move on that. This is the part about transitioning out of sex work that is not so easy, because it’s not like I hate the work. I just know it’s not the main thing that I want to do with my energy, and I’m still grappling with how to move around in the outside world without phone sex as my ballast, my constant tagline, a funny little part of my calling card.
Will I miss doing phone sex, when the time comes? Some of it. Will I miss a ready excuse to talk down and dirty with other people about sex? Yeah, well, I’ll just have to find some other excuses, like my plays, or Sidewalk Smut. Or getting into advice territory or podcasting or sex-ed. Will I miss being tied to the house by the range of my cordless phone? Not a bit. I’m ready to return to the work if I have to. I’m more than ready to move on if I don’t.