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An Interview With... Old and Nerdy - Being an Ally to Sex Workers

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Hey everyone! This week we are interviewing another established Lyla Client who has been active on here for quite some time - @OldandNerdy. I was honoured to hear his thoughts on the industry, feminism and calling other men out on misogyny. Enjoy this one and please remember to like and comment. ❤️ 

Q: Hey Old and Nerdy! Thanks so much for agreeing to let me pick your brains. So, other than being old and nerdy 😉 … Can you tell me a bit more about yourself?

A: Well let's see, what would people like to know..  I started off as a child, wait maybe that's getting into too much detail...

I'm generally fairly introverted in my personal life, which for most of my life has been seen as "shy", " low self confidence " or "weird" , but in my professional life I'm fairly extroverted. It takes awhile for me to let someone "in" but once they're in, they can see the real me.  For better or worse.

Q: How long have you been seeing Companions for? How did you first get into it?

A: I first thought about it about 10 years ago.  But took the plunge about 5 or 6 years ago.  Obviously there is a lot of stigma about the industry so I was somewhat embarrassed at the beginning, and always cautious about who I choose to spend my time with.  My first few experiences were not great.  I was nervous, wasn't sure what I actually wanted, and that caused me to take a break. 

I first got into it because after a very long term relationship ended, I found myself feeling lonely, 40 years old, not "tall dark and handsome" and living in an area where most of the single women were either 18-22 and looking for something I wasn't, or were age appropriate and saw me as a means to an end. So seeing a companion is a way for me to feel a connection with someone else.

Q: Have your thoughts on the industry changed much throughout this time?

A: I think the industry has changed a lot in the last 10 years.  The definition of "sex work" has expanded to include a lot of other forms to varying degrees, and that is both "good" and "bad" IMHO.

Good in that something a number of people were doing is starting to move away from the deep dank margins of society, and starting to become more normalized in this country.

Bad in that as a lot of "online" services become more prevalent, things are beginning to get more diluted, and there seems to be a lot of "tourists" opening accounts on various platforms as they see it as "quick and easy money" , which the real pros that have been putting the time and effort can probably attest to, is not the case.

I think this will have the same sort of impact that all the free porn sites have had on the porn industry.   It devalues the "product" which ends up hurting everyone in the long run.

Q: What are some things you wish you knew when you first started spending time with Companions?

A: Be confident enough to know what you are actually looking for, have a real discussion with the provider you want to spend time with about what you are looking for, and discover what you are both comfortable with.

This is mostly what led to me having some bad experiences in the beginning.

Q: What do you think are some big mistakes some new and inexperienced Clients make?

A: Everyone needs to start thinking of this as an experience that you are looking to have. At the other end of the conversation is a real person with real feelings, who has most of the power in the relationship, not the other way around. 

A client is never "owed" anything. The provider doesn't have to see you or do what you want. They can change their mind about something.  

Also, the providers are screening you before you make first contact, especially if you are using some sort of semi public forum to present yourself. Everything you say and do can and will be used to determine if they want to see you.

Be kind. Be honest. And for goodness sake, do your research and don't waste anyone's time.

Q: Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

A: Oh gosh that's such a loaded word.  I've been watching a show called "Mrs America" recently and was surprised to learn that as recently as the 1970s this word was being used as both a shield and a sword across the entire gender spectrum. I guess it still kind of is.

Is it totally avoiding the question if I say I see myself as a humanist?  I think we are starting to get to a place in Canada anyway where people are waking up to the reality that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and I think this is a good direction to be heading in.

That being said, we still have a long way to go, but I see some hope on the horizon.

Q: What words of wisdom would you give to someone just joining a board such as Lyla?

A: This goes for joining any community, especially online.

Sit back and get a lay of the land for a bit. See what is considered as normal behaviour and what people see as annoying.

Do the things that are normalized and avoid the annoying things to be a positive influence on the overall community.

Q: Unfortunately not all people are respectful of workers in this industry. Have there ever been times when you’ve called other men out on their toxicity?

A: I'd like to think that I've called out a few people on the forum for being idiots and not treating people with respect.  But I tend to do so with a hint of positivity / comedy / sarcasm, so maybe I haven't done enough.  I think we can all do more.

But overall, I'm not overly confrontational. 

Q: Do you think that enough men call each other out on sexism/misogyny? How do you think we can change that?

A: I think in western society, it's been engrained in men to be MEN.  By this I mean that we are taught at a young age that we should MAN UP!  REAL MEN DONT CRY! MEN ARE IN CHARGE! MEN ARE STRONG!

This leads us to be a bit wary when trying to step on someone else's manliness.

But how do we change this?  I'm not sure, but we need to start normalizing men being able to not be MEN.  This has nothing to do with masculinity which in my mind is a completely different thing.

In the end we are all here on this world for a relatively short time.  We spend way too much time as a society being terrible to each other both in person and online. This definitely needs to stop but it's going to take the majority of us and a lot of time to make such a big change.

Q: Are there any Providers you can think of who have inspired you/educated you on how to be a good ally?

A: Without a doubt, @SarahAlexxx

She's the person I've gotten to know the most locally in the industry. 

I'd like to think I was a pretty good ally already, but getting to know her and what she goes through on a regular basis while trying to make a living has definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things on the provider side of the equation.

But hey, no matter how good we think we are, we can always strive to do better, in all things.

Q: Thanks so much for your time. Have you got anything else you would like to say?

A: I guess the only thing left to say is, let's just all try and be better people in general.  We never know what someone else is going through, so we should by default treat others with respect until they have proven they don't deserve it.

 

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Terrific interview @OldandNerdy.  I can certainly relate to a lot of your comments.  The ideas of what it is to be a man have changed and are in a state of flux.  Hopefully we’ll see continuing progress on this.  
I think the best comments in this forum are a combination of positivity/humour and sometimes a bit of sarcasm to make a point.

Thanks as always @lydiahardwood

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Many thoughtful, excellent points made here @OldandNerdy and this one rang very true to me:

4 hours ago, lydiahardwood said:

"At the other end of the conversation is a real person with real feelings, who has most of the power in the relationship, not the other way around." 

I find this is stated with understanding and respect. I also want to add that the final banner, which I'm assuming @lydiahardwood provided, "STAND UP FOR EQUALITY" identifies an opportunity for clients.

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Great interview, thanks @OldandNerdy! And as always to @lydiahardwood. Like any interaction, clients and SPs meet needs with arrangements. Being open and clear on the bounds and norms of those helps stabilize them. In the end we are all people, and I’m thankful for all the good people here.

 

-cbs

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Great interview oldandnerdy a lot of good points were brought up.

i totally agree with treating people with respect and being sensitive to ones feelings, and treating someone the same as you want to be treated.

Personally I think a lot off men are not, and as you mentioned this was possibly engrained in them at an early age.

Hopefully this can change.

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