Meet H., a 28-year-old independent Las Vegas escort who thinks Sydney Leathers should reconsider her business model — and that the rest of us should stop attacking her for blabbing while she figures out her next move.
I didn't realize I was so pro-Sydney Leathers until I spent a substantive amount of time defending her to my coworkers yesterday. Sure, the 23-year-old aspiring paralegal is an unabashed famewhore who'd rather model lingerie and dole out sexting tips than stay quiet for the sake of Anthony Weiner's family. But why shouldn't she capitalize on her newfound notoriety? I don't care if she's "confused" or exploitative; she's not the one running for public office on a "reformed family man" platform. Her transparency is pretty gauche, but it's also refreshing. Anthony Weiner got a second chance to remake his career because his previous sexting partners laid low, but thanks to Leathers' refusal to hush up, the champion dolt won't get a third — she's tweaking the traditional political sex scandal narrative.
"Maybe Leathers is a 'famewhore' in that she caught a buzz when she realized Weiner was into her but that doesn't make her a bad person — just a typical one," H. wrote to me in an email interview. "If she wants to ride this 15 minutes into the ground, that's her prerogative. I love that she didn't come across as ashamed or defensive at all in her piece, which is typically how women are supposed to react when the details of their sex lives are made public. She didn't assign blame or whine that she was being taken advantage of...she's simply sharing her story about what happened with a liberal dose of humor and taking care to remind us that if it hadn't been her it definitely would've been someone else. Weiner never paid her for her silence (like you would with a professional) so she's under absolutely no obligation whatsoever to keep her mouth shut."
H. wrote that she hates how "men are allowed to write off their indiscretions as a byproduct of their animalistic nature, like they simply couldn't control themselves when confronted by these all-powerful jezebels with magic pussies who tricked them into getting their dicks sucked," while women like Leathers are depicted as amoral creatures who "should've considered how their actions affected the man's wife/children/family."
"I think the underlying problem (besides people's private bedroom activities being burned as fuel by 24hr news cycles) is that the media always talks about sex like it's the ultimate barometer of someone's worth as an individual," she wrote. "Just because someone enjoys having lots of sex or sending sexy pictures that doesn't make them an inherently bad person."
Weiner's isn't a shithead because he sent racy texts and pics to a fawning groupie, but because "he repeatedly lied about it, tried to make the case that he was some kind of reformed addict, and wasn't very smart about how he operated," H. wrote. That's why he should've gone to the pros (and, in my opinion, told his wife he wanted to screw around — trust based on honesty should be key in the personal and political arena!).
"If you're a horndog in a high-powered position you should be keeping your extra-curricular activities as hush-hush as possible and one of the best ways to ensure your secrets stay secrets is to see a professional who has a vested interest in preserving secrecy," she wrote. "You're not just paying us to laugh at your jokes and give you orgasms, you are purchasing an insurance policy that we'll keep our mouths shut and won't race to the internet with your cock-shots eager to pawn them off to the highest bidder. "Because Weiner chose to get involved with a civilian who admitted straight up that she was in it for the attention and 'the thrill of it all' he shouldn't have been the least bit surprised that she sold him out so quickly and is now refusing to shut up."
What if Leathers was actually a professional sex worker? The media would've "outed her to the public and made her personal information readily available, putting her safety in imminent danger," H. wrote. "Her reputation would be tarred forever and it would make it extremely unlikely that she'd ever be able to secure gainful employment in a non-adult related profession." (See: history.)
"The ultimate irony is that being outed like this (ie: Ashley Dupree-style) means that it will be almost impossible for her to go back to her job as an escort because she can no longer guarantee discretion and confidentiality," she wrote. "So then she is forced to seriously consider all of the strange and degrading job offers that get thrown her way in the wake of the scandal (ie: posing for Playboy, reality shows, writing a terrible advice column for the NY Post) because her ability to support herself has been compromised so greatly that she's forced to consider these gigs so she can pay her rent that month."
I asked H. what she meant when she said hooking up with married guys for free isn't wrong — just a terrible business model. She went long (and hilarious):
simply put, lots of married guys cheat on their wives. (and vice-versa, obv. i happen to think monogamy is kind of a sham concept, but that's another conversation for another day.) the thing is, yes, lots of married guys cheat on their wives YET STILL LOVE THEM AT THE SAME TIME and want to preserve the life and home that they've built together. these guys aren't looking to return to bachelor-life: they love their kids, they don't want to disrupt their family dynamic, they generally like things the way they are. but they get restless. they yearn for attention. they want to know that they're still desirable to the average 20-something. (all of this is amplified x1000 for politicians, who wouldn't get into politics if they didn't, on some level, want to be adored.) i actually saw a client this week who LITERALLY referred to his trysts with escorts as "his Dexter shit" and "his dark passenger" - a need that exists deep within him that society doesn't accept so he has to take care of it in total secrecy.
okay, so we know that lots of men cheat but they also want to feel adored: that's where i come in. i exploit that desire and profit greatly from it. maybe some people find that attitude morally bankrupt, but i think it's just a simple byproduct of capitalism. i identified a need in the marketplace for a particular kind of sexual service so i filled it. my reasoning is that if a man wants to engage in a purely sexual relationship with me that will not lead to a romantic relationship and he also wants me to keep my mouth shut about our affair then i am entitled to something in return. one could make the argument that "i'm getting sex in return!" which is all fine and dandy, but honestly, i have a Hitachi Magic Wand so i'm more than capable of handling my own sexual urges when they arise so long as there's a power-outlet somewhere close by.
girls like Leathers who sleep with married men for free are exchanging their sexual services and getting nothing in return other than attention. if attention is their ultimate goal then that's cool i guess, but attention doesn't pay the rent. married guys like Weiner are desperate and grateful creatures: if you're not capitalizing on that golden opportunity then you're just a dummy, not a monster.
Lots of people thought Leathers' xoJane article was poorly written, but H. (who has a masters in an "English-related field" but says sex work "pays a lot more than waiting tables") thought it was hilarious "and spoke to a lot of truth about dealing with a (certain kind of) man's fragile ego."
"I especially loved all the parts where she said she basically rolled her eyes and laughed at him while he drooled all over his phone," she wrote. "I'm pretty shocked she isn't an honest-to-god sex worker because her attitude seems to be one of amused detachment, not necessarily someone who was actually into this guy. I guess maybe for her the rush of getting attention from a very famous philanderer was prize enough in itself."
Here's her bottom line on Weiner:
A client of mine summed it up best, "stick with a pro, or take your chances." Weiner took his chances and it blew up in his face. as far as his political career goes, well, i personally don't care if my local representative sends naughty pics to the cute brunette in the mail room so long as it's consensual and the legislation he enacts has a positive impact on the community. what i DO care about is whether or not that politician is smart enough to do all that shit without getting caught, which Weiner has proven time and time again he is completely incapable of doing. bottom line is that if you're not smart enough to handle your sex life discreetly then you're probably not smart enough to run a city. at this point he's fucked up so many times that someone should just walk behind him at all times with a boom-box blasting yakity sax wherever he goes.
Weiner: I'll send you H.'s contact information if you ask nicely.