my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi 

The 3rd book of the Wayfares series, ‘Record of a Spaceborn Few’, describes a socialist spaceship community, fully moneyless, not bountiful but sustainable. It’s good sci-fi, has a lot of blind spots (like ‘adolescence’ is portrayed pretty much the way it is rn, as if it would exist without coercive power given to parents). But it’s rewarding as eutopian writing: discusses what a different society could be, without romanticising it, tries to investigate what problems, what conflicts it would have, how they could be addressed.

But ever since reading it, I can’t stop thinking of the tryst clubs.

> They provided a service, not goods, and their hosts fell into the same broad vocational category she did: ‘Health and Wellness’. The clubs were an old tradition, a part of the Fleet practically since launch, one of many ways to keep everybody sane during a lifelong voyage. Hosts took that tradition seriously, as seriously as Eyas did her own. Plus, they were often some of the loveliest folks she’d ever met. It went without saying that to work in a club, you had to *really* like people.

I see people talking online about this book and mentioning how nice it is that sex work is just another job, no stigma. But what’s being portrayed here goes so beyond pure sex.

> ‘All right. Are you looking to take a chance, or for a sure thing?’ This was the option always given at the entrance. Were you interested in meeting a fellow visiting stranger and seeing where the night took you, or …
> ‘The latter,’ Eyas said. Not that it was a _sure thing_. The host could decline service, for any reason, and she could leave at any time. Neither party was pressured to do anything, and mutual comfort was paramount. But being matched with another walk-in would’ve defeated the entire purpose of her being there.
> A polite nod, a bit of gesturing. > ‘Are you interested in a single partner, or multiples?’
> ‘Single.’
> ‘Any changes to your usual preferences?’
> ‘No.’
> ‘And how long of a visit would you like? Overnight, a few hours . . . ?’

In a socialist society, each person is given according to their needs. Needs for intimacy, sex, companionship, emotional support, touch, conversation, a drink and laughs and playing a game, weird kinky cravings – these are as important to human realisation as the need for meaningful work, for feeling safe and accepted. It’s very nice when you can meet those needs by interacting with your peers directly, by being sociable, helping them fulfil their own in happy exchange.

Some people aren’t sociable, can’t relate to others well. The hosts are there for everybody. No matter what kind of body or personality or sensitivities you have, you don’t have to be alone, any needs on that direction can be filled as easy as going to the food stores to get food. Some ppl visit the clubs occasion for a fun night, others make it a regular part of their lives.

Eyas is a ‘caretaker’: she handles the ceremonies that returns dead bodies to the closed ecosystem, comforts people in death, helps them find meaning in it. She enjoys intimate, loving sex; but, because of the unbalanced dynamics of her priest-like role, she much prefers to have it from the clubs, regularly, no strings attached (‘people get weird around caretakers’).

> She saw so many similarities between this kind of work and her own, polar opposites of the life experiences spectrum though they were. She, too, had strangers’ bodies placed in her care. They couldn’t speak, but they’d been assured their whole lives that when the time came, they’d be treated with gentleness and respect. Nobody would find them odd or ugly. Nobody would do anything unkind. They’d be handled by someone who understood what a body was, how important, how singular. Eyas undressed those bodies. She washed them. She saw their flaws, their folds, the spots they kept hidden. For the short time they had together, she gave them the whole of her training, the whole of her self. It was an intimate thing, preparing a body. An intimacy matched only by one other. So when she placed her own body in someone else’s hands, she wanted to know that her respect would be matched. You couldn’t make guarantees like that with a stranger at a bar. You couldn’t know from a bit of conversation and a drink or two whether they understood in their heart of hearts that bodies should always be left in a better way than when you found them. With a professional, you could.

You don’t have wealth, a prestige job, you’re middle-age, doesn’t matter, this place is here _for_ you—

> The tenday hadn’t been bad, but it had been long, and she’d grown weary of decisions. ‘Surprise me,’ she said. She paused in thought. ‘Whoever you think the nicest of them is.’
‘Ha! You’re going to get me in trouble.’ […] She gave Eyas an amused smile. ‘Do *not* tell him how I picked him, or I will never hear the end of it.’

re: my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi 

> The host chuckled as he set his scrib on the table. ‘Hey, if it’s any consolation, I don’t like my given name, either.’
‘You mean it’s not Sunny?’ Eyas said with a smirk.
The host winked. ‘So, I heard you’ve had a long day.’
Eyas raised her eyebrows. ‘Did you?’
‘That was Iana’s guess, at least. Did she get that wrong?’
Assuming Iana was the blue-haired woman, Eyas mentally gave her a few points for perception. ‘No. It has been a long day.’
Sunny held up the bottle. ‘Do you like sintalin?’

If you have no friends, this is a place where people will pay attention. It doesn’t matter that they never met you, they’ll care, really care. Some people are just like that. I know. I am.

> Sunny looked at her seriously. ‘Eyas, I’m here to give you a good night, and that can be whatever you need it to be. If you need to just talk, have some drinks, chill out – that’s fine. I’m happy with that.’
> Eyas was sure he’d said those words before, but she also got the sense that he meant them.

Sex worker, social worker, therapist, entertainer all into one – plus things we don’t have names for, easy friend u know is easy, publicly available caregiver.

> She studied his face. His lips looked soft. His beard was perfect, almost annoyingly so. ‘No,’ she said. She put her hand on his chest. She set her glass down, ran her palm up his throat, over his neck, into his hair. Stars, it felt good in her fingers. ‘If it’s okay by you,’ she said, as his hand greeted her thigh, ‘I’d rather not talk much at all.’

I know tons of sex workers already do this, tired husband crying his woes at the brothel is basically a cliché, but – encoded as such, recognised, a healthy respected part of a functioning community?

I’m thinking of the Japanese hostesses. Have any of you ever interacted with a host? Maybe seen them in anime, talked to a simulation in Ryū ga Gotoku/Yakuza? It has no comparison with the real thing, you can’t even imagine. The sheer warmth, the immediate intimacy. They are so good at this. Western media usually portrays them as some bizarre oddity of weird, broken Japan, a prostitute you can just talk to? What’s even the point of talking to women?? And they’re milking you for gifts, overpriced drinks, it’s true, capitalism ruins everything, always.

I’m enjoying conversation with my hostess, so much, I don’t think I ever felt or will feel so comfortable speaking Japanese to anyone, the bar is tiny and black, I’ve been dragged here by a bunch of soldiers I didn’t even know so they’re paying for everything, J men do that to you. I’m in boymode for fieldwork, both jealous and admiring of how perfect and fem she looked singing Cutie Honey on karaoke. She almost flirts but never quite, she’s so skilled at this, she probes me on my boring-ass research and listens, really _listens_, you can’t fake interest like that, one learns how to find anything interesting, wills oneself into it.

I can’t mask forever, I care too much, can’t resist the question: ‘your job, it must be hard’. Sad eyes, no reply. Resolution flashes in her face, this isn’t the place or time to talk about herself, she starts talking about Tōhoku life, dialects, things that will subtly, gently bring the conversation back to me, to uplifting topics.

Is she forced to this job? J people aren’t exactly starving, but that’s not how capitalism works, you always have to work and every job is bad, all of them, because you’re forced to do them to have your basic needs met, and anything that _has_ to be done _for_ another thing quickly becomes shackles. But personal work like this, it feels especially dehumanising somehow, to be forced to act nice. To sell your body, to sell your feelings.

I can’t imagine she has no taste for this whatsoever. She’s incredibly cute and has clearly worked hard at it, at being rewarding to be with, she’s Japanese so I bet she has read conversation manuals, body language guides, she has to be proud of how she looks on stage, she’s like an angel cos she made herself one. But then she has to sell it. If she didn’t have to sell anything, would she want to give?

Maybe absolutely not, I don’t know what the rest of her life is like, maybe she’d rather spend the days caring for plants than lonely people. I know I wish I could spend my days listening to lonely people, giving attention to ppl who want attention, sex for the horny, to cook for the too tired to cook, come to your place and help you order your room, tell you supportive things…

Carework, broadly, feels like so much more of a valuable contribution I could give than programming fucking computers. I don’t feel like there’s any space for me to do that, sex work is too limited, and anyway all jobs are bad. The only way we could be fulfilled at our jobs would be if they were decoupled from our needs, without the threat of poverty hanging over our heads. According to our abilities.

"To work in a club, you had to *really* like people."

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carework, sex work, pol-adj, silly 

feels weird to realise that your dream profession is kinda basically 'communist tradwife' 🤔​

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re: carework, kink silly, sex work, pol-adj, 

except avowed tradwives are usually submissives – I mean it, the way they speak of the satisfaction and glory of serving a person’s will, it sounds literally exactly the same way subs talk about you, only these rightwing couples don’t know how to flow between frames, negotiate, control the dynamic consciously – while I am exceedingly the other type of wifey :blobcoffee:

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re: my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi 

@elilla that's really interesting and it's making me.. rethink my outlook on sex work entirely. i always took it as necessary and important work but made awful due to capitalism, like other kinds of work, but i never thought of it as part of a broader service catagory that included taking care of people's emotional and social, as well as sexual needs,

re: my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi 

@elilla that all kinds of people could avail themselves without any stigma if the world was a better place. makes me a bit sad that we can't have that.

my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi 

@elilla I'm listening to this book now, it's very good!

my dream profession, sex work, carework, eutopias, sci-fi 

@RadiantEmber yeah I read all 3 as audiobooks too, was a great time ☺️

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