All of my immediate family members know that I am a companion. Many of my vanilla colleagues do as well. My mother goes out of her way to check Phryne’s Twitter account if I haven’t texted her in a few days. My graduate advisor asks after my safety and points out typos on my website.
Despite being out to the majority of my family and friends, I did not enter this world aiming to be so open about my choice of career; rather I came out gradually as I grew tired of bending the truth for the (perceived) comfort of the people closest to me. There have certainly been some emotionally charged conversations, but by and large I am glad that I have the privilege to be out to my family, because it gives me a valuable opportunity to extend a nuanced view of sex work to people outside of this community.
My mom is my #1 cheerleader. My father prefers not to talk about this aspect of my life. Between these extremes there is a vast range of discomfort, fascination, and confusion. As an educator, I embrace these reactions as a chance to counteract the often harmful and vitriolic rhetoric surrounding sex work. Where a close friend might once have taken such rhetoric as fact, I can provide an alternative narrative that highlights the many benefits of paid companionship. It may take several conversations, but when I teach my already sympathetic friends about my choice to become Phryne, they can in turn share that knowledge and spread awareness even further.