The past month has been interesting since I’ve been stuck in San Francisco (thanks government shut down!). For the better part of October I was staying at a friend’s in the Tender/Nob district and got a close glimpse of the night time street life in the vicinity. In particular, one street corner held my curiosity because of the prevalence of prostitutes. I won’t be naming the corner or any names to protect these women. I would walk past these girls to and from the gym. One night I decided to just talk to them. Initially, the girls thought I was trying to procure their services, but after being adamant that I wasn’t a potential customer, they became suspicious of me. Who the hell was this guy trying to have a normal conversation? This definitely wasn’t something they were prepared for. It made me wonder how often they actually get to have authentic conversations with people who see them simply as fellow human beings. It took some time for me to persuade them that I was just a guy interested in finding out more about them and having casual conversation. Eventually, they let some of their guard down. Not completely. I suspected that their ‘handlers’ were somewhere close by and wouldn’t approve of them wasting time with me. I didn’t want to get them in trouble, so I kept the conversation short.
Again, I’m not going to disclose any information that I gained to protect their privacy. I will say that it was interesting to see their behavior shift once they knew I was just a normal guy and not a customer. They had adopted personas for their working selves. When I was able to catch a glimpse of their true selves I couldn’t help but notice signs of damaged psyche and sadness penetrate through. Only glimpses, but enough to strike me vividly.
These types of interactions enforce my opinion that we must stop viewing prostitution as something acceptable in society. To perpetuate this view lacks any notion of compassion or courage against a defeatist opinion. What we do to these women (and men) is unacceptable and incredibly damaging.
This is a direct call to my fellow men to start having a more healthy conversation between ourselves on how we view and treat women. In upcoming posts, I will be shaping this conversation. Stay tuned.