I emailed Candy after I added her zine to The Softer Sex. She agreed to answer my “20 Questions” and here they are…
Is your attitude towards your work responsibilities and clients endemic to Amsterdam, considering that it has a longer history and acceptance of prostitution than many other places in the world (that is where you work, right?) or do you feel it is unique to your self?
I want to be clear from the outset in answering these questions that my experience of sex work is purely my own, I can’t speak for other sex workers. Although having said that, I don’t think there’s anything about me or the places I’ve worked that’s especially ‘unique’ or unusual. Ditto for Amsterdam – I actually started off working in Australia, and my experiences in terms of clients and work responsibilities were very similar in the two contexts, even though the legal framework for sex work is different.
In your experience with other women in your field would you say that the high majority have been exposed to the same kinds of rights and options as you have? There are so many stereotypes about your industry and the concept of “choice”. In general, in your knowledge, how much say do sex workers have when it comes to working hours, attire and services, etc? What is dictated by pimps/managers of the brothels/clubs?
Like I said before, in my experience I don’t think there’s anything that’s especially unusual about my experience as a sex worker. And I’ve worked in a whole bunch of different places, in different countries, with people from different backgrounds. In general I think how much say sex workers have over things like working hours, attire and services really depends what section of the industry they’re in, and who they’re working for. I figure that people that have no ‘boss’ probably have the most say, because they’re running their own business (which could mean sex workers who work privately, or in the windows of Amsterdam, or on the streets). But that’s not my experience as I’ve mostly worked for managers/owners in brothels or strip clubs. I’d say I had a lot of say in my working conditions. Firstly, I would choose a workplace with services that suited me (e.g. if I didn’t want to offer full service I could do stripping or massage instead), and also shop around for places to work that suited my style. Like, some bosses are stricter about what you wear – ‘high class’ places that I’ve worked at often insist on particular ‘classy’ looking dresses (whatever that means!), and that you wear stockings (for some unknown reason they think bare legs are ‘tacky’). I’ve worked in a whole bunch of different places, and the places I’ve had the most freedom to choose what to wear/when to work have actually been the more ‘seedy’/’low class’ joints. But really it all comes down to who’s in charge – like any workplaces, some bosses are jerks. The good thing about sex work is that I’ve found I’ve had a lot of choice in where I can work – so if I don’t like the boss or the conditions, I’ll just go to another brothel or strip club, and I can start working in another place that day.
I thought quite a bit about the customer to service provider relationship after reading your zine. There certainly are very warped ideas about this in retail which have always seemed bizarre to me as well; “The client is always right” … What else do you have to say about this?
Like I wrote in my zine, this was a HUGE difference between retail work and sex work – and also was completely the opposite to all my assumptions about the industry. I realize that before I started sex work myself, I’d bought into this idea that sex work was “selling your body” – that a booking would mean letting a client do whatever they wanted in the allocated time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, my interactions with clients are negotiated from the get-go, and there are clear limits on what can take place. Like for example, often I don’t kiss, though I might allow kissing for an extra payment (which I can decide based on the client – if they’re pushy, or have bad breath, I might decide not to offer that service). It’s actually really funny because this perception is out there, yet I feel so much more empowered in sex work than I have in any of the free sex I’ve had with men for fun. At work, and since working, I feel much more able to speak up about what I’m okay with, and what I don’t like, or do want. It’s really ironic because it took sex work to make me really understand (and get really good at) knowing how to advocate for myself sexually, how to stop putting up with mediocre (or bad) sex, and how to be really open and honest about what I’m into.
Coffee & a danish or Tea & a crumpet?
Can I take coffee and a crumpet? Or if I MUST choose in the given groupings, I’ll take coffee & a danish, even though I don’t like danishes (but coffee is my queen!)
On an off day what would you do in your city?
Hmm hard to say… I think I’d do something that was completely unrelated to the city I was in – but something bloody wonderful like going to see a movie in the afternoon, or taking my cute dog for a walk, or doing some sewing, baking or gardening.
On a Sunday afternoon I love to….
Same as above – although also hanging out with friends. And in summer, I love the beach and/or afternoon drinks at the pub or in the park.
Favorite hairstyle? (your interpretation of “hairstyle)
My favourite hairstyle is ever-changing. As exhibited by the fact that I change my hair about once every 3 months. I get bored so easily!
Cycling with a skirt or Jeans & sneakers?
Hmm I tend to cycle in jeans and sneakers, even thought cycling in a skirt looks hella sexy.
The piece of my body I love best is…..because….
My butt. I think it looks good.
Do you have savings and or financial plans for your future?
I’m saving at the moment which is really great. Not sure what I’m going to do with the money though? Maybe I’ll travel, although I really should pay off my student loan instead!
A great date night is…..
Whiskey and adventures – preferably in an abandoned building.
The book next to your bedside right now is…
“The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende
Current fav dance track?
This changes all the time, but right now it’s probably “Your Woman” by White Town. Yay 90s revival!
What is the best part of your day?
My morning ritual. Which is having a coffee and breakfast in bed while reading.
What is the favourite part of your job?
When I was stripping, my favourite part was definitely dancing. I fucking love to dance. Now that I’m mostly doing full service, I reckon it would be getting to meet lots of really sweet people that I probably would never come across outside of work.
Are there awkward moments in sex work?
Yes. There are definitely awkward moments! Sex can be awkward – especially when you’re having it with someone for the first time. But I find awkwardness a bit cute, so the awkward clients are often my favourite.
Strangest request you’ve had from a client?
I find this question difficult to answer, even though it’s one I get asked all the time as a sex worker! I find it hard to answer because I think it’s all about laughing at people’s “weird” kinks. Whereas I think there’s nothing wrong with any sexual practice that’s safe and consensual. And in all honesty, the most surprising thing about my job is how FEW strange requests I get – the majority of my clients want the same kind of ‘normal’ sex. I wish I had more kinky clients!
What is your grooming routine made up of?
Hmm not very much to be honest! I’m pretty lazy on the whole ‘grooming’ side of things. From doing sex work I’ve started to embrace this a bit more – often through learning about stuff by talking with other workers. But really I’m a rough ‘n tumble gaybo that prefers not to shave my legs or even brush my hair.
What items are always in your fridge?
Tomatoes. Soy milk (for coffee). Hot chili sauce (yum)