We all need to get out and about in the world to buy stuff and whatever, and sometimes we are with our families, work colleagues, friends or partners when a sex worker bumps into one of her clients.
So what is the correct thing to do if you bump into a sex worker that you have engaged with professionally in the past?
Firstly, obviously don’t be shocked that she is not walking around in lingerie and high heels. Chances are if you see her in public, she will just look like any other attractive woman and probably be dressed quite casually (but may have a bit of a twinkle in her eye!) If you make eye contact, just react like you would making eye contact with anyone else you have occasionally seen at their place of work: the lady who works at the bank, supermarket or whatever.
Secondly, if she is with other people, don’t greet her or even acknowledge her in any way. Definitely don’t greet her. And try not to stare. She will not want her children to ask, “Why is that man staring at you, Mummy?”
If you are both alone, (ie not accompanied by other people) you could possibly smile or say hi, but not “Hi, Amber.” (Amber is my working name, out in the real world I go by a name my parents chose for me) and definitely don’t yell anything out to her from across the road or the room, make any reference to sex work or say anything like – “Hey, that was a great time we had the other day, let’s do it again sometime!” Obviously, you’d have to be a complete moron to say that to a sex worker in public and luckily complete morons are rare.
Thirdly, if it is an issue for you and you think you are about to be sprung, just relax. It would be highly unlikely that a sex worker will come up to you and initiate a conversation or indicate in any way that she knows you. She will not even give you a second glance if you are with someone.
Finally, if it sparks a pleasant memory and you decide you would like to make another booking, feel free to mention it when you send her a text so that she can put a name to the face. Something like, “Hi this is John, I saw you in the supermarket the other day and it reminded me that it would be nice to see you again. Are you free on Friday for an hour at 5.30?”
It can be a strange thing seeing a sex worker in public because nothing is in context. She is most certainly not made up or dressed the same way, and obviously the mall, supermarket, bank or wherever is a completely different environment from the ambient atmosphere of her boudoir. In fact you may not even register who she was until afterwards.
I had an experience a few years ago when a young man came into a brothel I worked at in Sydney one Saturday evening after a night out with his friends. I thought he was about 20. The following week I was waiting at my bus stop and he came along – in his school uniform!! Clearly I had underestimated his age and in reality, he was probably about 16, although he was quite tall for his age. Imagine my surprise. We smiled at each other without a word and that was that.
Image of Bob Hoskins and Cathy Tyson from the film, Mona Lisa (1986)