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It's a Shame
now shut up and shake that money maker
Today I received a new year-long membership Substack supporter which made me giddy (shout out to Luc!)
I’m more excited to make $100 for my creative work than when I would make $100 in a day for upselling a bundle of selfies— quickly shot in my bathroom with unflattering angles, terrible light and fake expressions to be posted and marketed on OnlyFans for a hard sell, so to speak. When I created images for OnlyFans as a professional photographer and artist I felt ashamed— I never wanted my real name associated with the work I put into that world. I wasn’t ashamed of the subject matter (I like showing off my body and creating artistic images) but hated marketing and curating it for the male gaze. Essentially taking me out of the picture.
Like almost all sex workers I know, it was easier to stomach that world under a fake persona and create a character with sex appeal that your target audience would pay you to be, as long as it got them off and as fast and cheap as possible like a reliable fast food restaurant. I’ve had to bifurcate myself for this work, creating a persona to shield my authentic self from the stuff this other woman is doing. It was like working a shift at McDonalds, while in my head I imagined myself cooking an organic meal from scratch and sitting down to eat with my family.
So Luc, I want to address your message. I hope I didn’t mislead you to think I offered explicit content on Substack (for one, it’s against their TOS. Even the artistic nudes I have on here are censored to some extend do to the nature of this platform and rules.) Also, this is a place for me to get creative with my words and authentic self-expression. Yes, I occasionally have some scantily clad or artistic nude images here or on social media to entice followers to become subscribers, but my main focus is non-fiction story telling. Writing in an uncensored format about my inner life is like being naked on the internet— I’ve had backlash and fallout from friends and family members. I still fear judgement but also feel a sense of relief letting go of that shame baggage I’ve hauled around in my mind for years which has started to get lighter. I’ve started feeling sexier and more powerful in my authentic self, which has also meant having better boundaries and saying no to things I don’t want to do.
Now I’d like to address my friends who are making some serious coin at all the Micky D’s (online sex work/camming/porn or creating explicit content for OnlyFans.)
Girl, I am envious of you! No, really. You’ve got hundreds of guys lined in the drive-through and long lines at the door of your golden arches. You’ve got your regular customers who tip you well and you’ve got assholes that cut the line, insult you, criticize the food and run out the door with their combo meal without paying. You’re still polite and friendly to everyone, even the ones that call you fat bitch cunt whore who should die— without breaking a sweat. You are the manager, the line chef, head chef, wait staff, sanitation and security guard and you do it twelve hours a day, seven days a week with no holidays or break times as you must keep growing your franchise. You also have to put out the fires on Instagram and TikTok when followers and competitors burn your house to the ground, getting your account deleted overnight with no warning or justification. Then you have to spend more time re-building your house from scratch, not bat an eye or say an angry word publicly. You keep going because the name of the game is to not give up, to keep growing your followers, turning them into subscribers and turning it into gold. A customer coming in to your business each day for a $3 burger doesn’t seem like much money, but you know when you’ve got hundreds of these orders and then they upgrade to the combo meal it adds up to millions of dollars…
Congratulations on your success, you’ve earned it Queen! I really wish I had your tenacity and customer service skills to work in this lucrative industry (I’ve been fired from almost every food service/retail job I’ve ever had. I’m apparently not a “people person”). That said, I am not getting wealthy running a short-term rental (I spend way too much time obsessing about house cleaning and how to get pee stains out of rugs.) I’m not making a living (yet) as a writer and nearly all my photojournalism gigs these days are pro bono (pro boner?) And I just bought a modern home I absolutely love but it comes with a heavy mortgage that keeps me awake at night.
So Luc, if I have to go back to that other job—If I have to put on the little paper hat, turn on the red light, burn my hands in the fryer and work the drive-through serving up hot fresh noodz to the hangry dudes, I’ll be doing a little differently this time.
Welcome to McMermin’s. Fries are extra. I’ll be doing it my way, thank you and come again and again.