A fragmented reflection of the beautiful highlights and intense lowlights of her experience over the years as a sex worker, Rita Therese’s 2020 memoir, Come genuinely had me lolling one second and with a lump in my throat the next.
Two selves intertwine and it leaves you, in the dance room, making a decision that winged eyeliner is just for work. Because you don’t know which self you are looking at right now, which person you are. The song stops and you break out of your trance and ask if he’d like to extend…
When I first purchased the book, I was half-expecting another upper class sex worker who was in high enough places to publish her seductive sex tales that didn’t represent the reality of the majority of sex worker’s lives. I found myself very pleasantly surprised. To me, Rita and her book are as real as it gets.
As a mere sugar baby, I know many escorts may hate me for saying this but I truly related to so many of the feelings and experiences described in Come. I want to share some of the most poignant and hilarious passages.
Sex work opens your mind
‘There was a raw, earthy sensuality to go naked in the ocean, one I believe that fucking on camera gave us permission to do. We had stepped so far outside of the norm that we could see norms for what they are — restrictive, stifling. Why did we need clothes to swim in? I lay back in the water and gazed up at the sky. Again, I felt I had found my people.’
You don’t become ‘desensitised to the horrors of the industry.’ Instead, ‘you’ve realised that it just isn’t a big deal to get your coochie out for money. Walking around a group of strangers butt naked did wonders for my social anxiety.’
The good whore/bad whore complex
‘I was so impressed by the strip shows, but this was also the point at which I realised that the men had less respect for you the further you were willing to go. As the show would start, I’d be sitting front and centre with the guys. Usually at some point, one of them would turn to me and make a comment. It could be about the shape of slippers pussy, or that the Chupa Chup trick was gross, or that ‘the show’s fun and all, but I’m glad you don’t do them.’
I could tell that some of the girls I worked with felt superior too, seduced by this distinction of ‘good whore’ and ‘bad whore’…As an eighteen year old who wanted approval and acceptance, I initially fell for this, but quickly realised it was the men and their slut-measuring system that were the fucking problem.’
I knock on the door, and a small, bespectacled man appears. I love to pretend I expected something else, but stereotypes exist for a reason.
I count the cash he gives me and put it in my handbag, next to the tube of butt laxatives. We sit down on the bed awkwardly, and I take off my dress. He leans in and I pucker up, expecting a kiss, but instead I feel his tongue slurp up and down my face like an enthusiastic golden retriever.
I go to pull away but then something inside me clicks. This guy wants me to shit on him, what was I expecting? Regular foreplay? I decide to get with his vibe and return the golden retriever face lick. He’s ecstatic and we lick each other’s faces for a while. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow of the wackiness.
He pounces on me and paws at my boobs. There’s a bit of fumbling, some terrible sex that I give a Meryl Streep-grade performance of enjoying and then, we get to the grand finale.
Because I’m not a fucking monster, if somebody wants me to piss or shit on them, I take it to the bathroom where the surfaces are easy to wipe down with a wet hand towel and some baby wipes…I decide on the bathtub. ‘The bath is a giant toilet bowl’, I say to myself under my breath. My client settles himself into the bath, butt naked with a raging boner. He folds his arms over his chest like a mummy in a sarcophagus.
I squeeze the Microlax up my butthole and turn on all the taps in the bathroom…I wiggle my butt in the dude’s face, the worlds weirdest lap dance. I’ve got one leg up on the side of the tub, the other on the floor. Suddenly I feel my gut clench and seize up…I take a shit on him.
‘You kept your eyes open, didn’t you?’
He nods at me, his eyes going pink around the retina. They look like a magician’s rabbit’s already. Should I have gotten him to sign a disclaimer?
He stand up and poop falls off him into the bath. I stand there awkwardly, and then cough and say, ‘Want some help with that?’ He shakes his head, takes the detachable showered and begins to clean up. My poop floats down the bath and into the drain where it gets stuck and he has to push it down.
What struck me most about this was not the absurdity of this man stuffing my shit down a drain but the look of melancholy that passed over his face while he did it. It wasn’t the clean-up job, but the fact that the fantasy had happened for him. This guy getting to watch a woman take a shit on him was his wedding day moment, where you look over at the $30,000 you’ve spent and are like, is this it? He did the thing that thought was the missing piece and he still felt empty after.’
Dealing with the Thrush/BV cycle
‘Try not to make a salad in your pussy. Shoving garlic or coconut oil or yoghurt might soothe it for a minute but then it stops working. The candida eats the sugars in the coconut oil and multiplies. The yoghurt (natural, no sugar) works better if you just eat it. The garlic…well, I never quite understood that one. It just left my vagina smelling like a warm souvlaki.
Go to the chemist. Get the oral tablet, generic brand. Get the Canesten cream or tablets you insert up in your pussy. When they say, have you had this before? Just lie. ‘Only once or twice,’ you say, quietly, so you don’t have to tell the queue your slutty medical history.
Sit at home, in your big cotton undies, with a sanitary pad on and your pussy smeared in the cream that stops you from scratching it raw. The sanitary pad is there because in the morning when you wake up, the pellet of Canister will have dissolved and your vagina is expelling it. Not fun to clean off your sheets, trust me.’
‘You bare-backed your boyfriend, didn’t you? I don’t blame you; it feels good. I’ve spent eight years fucking with condoms on and now I’ve developed a cream pie fetish…But you pay a price for that cream pie when the acidity of your lover’s cum throws off your pH balance…Somewhere between a piece of salmon left out in the sun and vinegar, a wet pussy but not the kind you like. See, if you were smart you’d already have a packet of Flagyl in the cupboard. My favourite is the pack of five which you take in one fell swoop and kills every speck of bacteria but will also make you vomit if you have a glass of wine before your booking.
No time? Buy a bottle of Pump water and some apple cider vinegar. Take off the lid, tip out a bit of the water and add a capful of vinegar tot the water. Put the lid back on, and douche with that.’
Having a real connection with a client
‘I find myself making involuntary noises of pleasure, find myself meeting his kisses with unexpected desire…It’s at this point that I realise he will be fucking me today and not the other way round…I give myself over to the experience of having somebody else choreograph the routine I usually piece together.
I know this person likes me because he could have bent me over the bed, fucked me hard and fast and pushed me out the door. I know he finds me attractive because he’s telling me so…I don’t question it. He doesn’t need to lie, I suppose.
Theres something sad too, about a stranger caring more about my body, caring more about pleasuring me, than somebody I voluntarily give my time to. He shows me tenderness and the person I like is treating me like a whore.
When I get downstairs, it’s raining outside, so I sit in the foyer as I wait for my taxi. I sit on the stairs and I wonder when I’ll feel that way again, with somebody who isn’t paying me to be there.’
When a client rapes you
‘Sit at the bottom of your shower and let the water pound down your back. Try to imagine the night washing off you and going down the drain like your friend said. You can still feel it, the weight of that body bearing down on you, holding you in place. The memory shifts, you second-guess yourself. Was I raped, you think, or am I imagining things? A memory of something you read, about the further you are away from the woman dragged down the alley by a stranger, the less credible you become.
Sit at the bottom of the shower and wrap your arms around your naked thighs and curl into a tight little ball and try to come back into your body. Sit at the bottom of the shower until you can stand again.’
Forgetting how to have ‘normal’ sex
‘My boyfriend asks me if I’m going to come.
‘You can just use me if you want, like a fuck doll, you know?
I feel like a failure, a professional at fucking who doesn’t know how to.
‘I am not your client,’ he says, holding me. ‘I’m not a horny idiot who needs you to fuck me when you don’t want to. You don’t need to do anything.’
I crave my whore life. The anonymous, meaningless, and pounding sex where I can be outside my body and it doesn’t matter. It just feels good. My feet stuffed into thousand dollar high heels instead of barefoot on the kitchen tiles. Falling for married men, their wife the barrier preventing us ever doing anything besides hook up…I can’t tell him it’s easier for me to come with strangers. I don’t want to submit to this ordeal of being known, of being understood, of being seen. I’m scared to be myself…I’m furious the veneer is being lifted and ashamed to be seen as human.’
Being a sex worker with an abusive boyfriend
‘I kept doing topless waitressing and bucks parties, but when I got home, he’d be waiting up for me. I would go to hug him, and his body would stiffen. He’d wait for me to shower and I’d stand there, washing the glitter and fake tan off ,me. I’d look at myself in the mirror, skin pink from scrubbing so hard. Watching the pink foam go down the drain from where my mouth spat it from scrubbing the night off. Putting on the pink little girl pyjamas he liked on me. That’s when he would touch me again, when I was clean.’
The love/hate relationship with the whore life
‘I love being a whore. I love cheese plates, French champagne and oysters. I like hotel sheets and wiping my lubed-up pussy clean on Egyptian cotton hand towels.
I love fucking. I like fucking old men, younger guys, big guys, small guys. I like to look at myself in the mirror above the bathroom sink as some stranger does me from behind and I like to position my head on the pillow just so, in front of the brothel mirrors and watch myself.
I look like a fucking porn star, I think, running my tongue over my lips. I like to fuck strangers because strangers fall in love with me and shower me with compliments, they make me feel desired and special and wanted and they even give me money to be in my presence. I think, I’,m worth something.
I know how to love, don’t I?’ I understand the physicality of it, the body language. The way to cock your head, the act of withstanding and enduring. Love is a marathon sprint; love is being hit from every angle and standing steadfast…I’m exhausted. I catch myself in the reflection of hotel doors, my mouth downturned. I breathe in, and force myself to smile, shake my head and I keep that smile there. Even when they are rude, even when I’m not good enough.’