12132017Headline:

Working Girl: Your Mom Doesn’t Need to Know Everything

Just a Regular Working Girl: Moralistic Values Gleaned from My Time in Chicago’s Seedy Underworld

Moral 58: Your Mom Doesn’t Need to Know Everything

 

Should I tell them I'm an escort?Image by dwhartwig at Flickr Commons.

“Should I tell them I’m an escort?”
Image by dwhartwig at Flickr Commons.

“Does your family know what you do?” I asked my boss Caroline. “I mean, when you go home for family reunions, do they awkwardly say, ‘How’s the escort business coming, Caroline?’”

Caroline laughed. “No way! Most of them have no idea I’m an escort. And my family doesn’t do reunions. If they did, I wouldn’t go. That stuff is such a load of crap.”

“What is?” I said. “Family?”

I simply didn’t believe that Caroline didn’t care about her family. Her mantle was full of pictures of her with her mom and her brother, among others. They lived in southern Illinois, so she didn’t see them that often, which probably made things a lot easier. She talked with her mom every week, though.

“No, family’s important,” Caroline said. “But really, just the ones who are there for you. Most of them just gossip about each other and pretend to be excited to have everyone over for occasions. Nobody wants to cook all that food. Nobody wants to let all those out of town aunts and uncles stay at their house. And if they gossip about each other you can be damn sure they’re gossiping about you too. Then there’s all that family drama and old stories . . . it’s mostly not worth it. But the ones who are there for you? Never let them go. And always try to be there for them, too.”

 

Moral 57: Family is what you make of it.

 

As for my family, they were just thrilled I had a job that I seemed to like and which seemed to pay well. I talked to them every week. When my mom asked what I was doing, I told the truth. Kind of.

“I’m a personal assistant for this woman,” I said. “I do her shopping, her laundry, her cleaning. All the stuff she doesn’t have time for.” Because she’s too busy having sex for money.

“Wow, that’s just great,” my mom said. “What does she do, that she needs a personal assistant, and can afford one?” In my family’s eyes, anyone with a personal assistant was clearly a VIP.

Now I couldn’t tell the truth. In addition to being my mother and wanting to protect me, my mom was, and is, a strong Catholic. She would have had a panic attack if she knew I was going to a sex worker’s apartment every day. The sin factor was one thing, but the shady and dangerous people who populated the industry would have made her get on a plane, fly to Chicago, and drag me back to Kentucky with a rosary around my neck.

Five years later, when she found out the truth, she still had a minor freak out session.

So when she asked what Caroline did for a living, I lied. “She’s . . . a therapist,” I said. “She sees clients in her apartment.” I picked a profession that would allow me to tell the most truth. Because I’ve always been terrible at lying, and because lying to my mom especially made me feel like scum. Jesus saw that shit.

“Really?” my mom asked over the phone, her pride in me transferring all the way from Kentucky across the radio waves or mobile waves or micro waves or whatever the hell kind of waves cell phone conversations ride. “So clients come to see her?”

“All the time,” I said.

“What kind of therapist is she?”

Oh crap. There were different kinds of therapists. I hadn’t even thought about that. “She’s . . . a couples counselor.” Crap! The moment I said it, I remembered that sex therapists were a thing, and I should have told my mom that. Even though it would be weird saying the word “sex” to my mom.

“Oh, how cool,” said my mom. “So she helps people save their relationships?”

“Well . . . she does her best.” I wouldn’t have said Caroline actually harmed her clients’ relationships. They did that themselves by visiting prostitutes. But I couldn’t imagine her saving marriages either.

“How many clients does she see a day?”

“Oh, like four or five.”

“That’s a lot,” my mom said. “She can’t possibly send you out shopping every time. Are you ever there when she’s with a client?”

“. . . Sometimes,” I said, which was the plain truth.

“That’s gotta be weird,” my mom said.

“It really, really is,” I said.

 

Moral 58: Your mom doesn’t need to know everything.

 

Back to the conversation with Caroline. “Some of my family know what I do. My mom knows, and my brother knows.”

“Your mom knows?”

“Yeah, I’m really close with my mom.”

“Is she . . . okay with it?”

“No,” Caroline said. “Would yours be? My mom isn’t thrilled with my career choice. But she still loves me, you know. She tried everything she could to get me to change my mind, especially during the first few years. But eventually she realized I wouldn’t change my mind. And then she came to visit one time, and saw how well I was doing for myself–I finally had a nice place and enough food, and I wasn’t asking her for money for the first time in my life. She just . . . accepted it, I guess.”

 

Moral 59: Your mom doesn’t need to know everything. But if you can tell her everything, she’s one in a million moms.

 

“What about kids?” I said. “Or a family of your own?”

“Kids? Are you crazy? I can’t have kids! I never wanted them anyway.”

 

***

Quick—What’s the second most profitable criminal industry in the US? First guess, then click.

***
L. Marrick is a historical fantasy writer and freelance copywriter. She waxes poetic about swords and the Renaissance Faire at her author blog. She looks all professional-like at her copywriting site. She eats too much chocolate and still doesn’t believe downward dog is supposed to be a restful yoga pose. You can connect with her at either of her websites, and follow her on Twitter @LMarrick.


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