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COLUMN

Savage Love

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I’m a gay man in a happy and open marriage. I routinely seek the services of an erotic masseur, a man with whom I have a great client/service-provider relationship. I found out when booking my next massage with him that he was recently in a car accident with his long-term partner, who died in the hospital. Normally, I’d send flowers and a card. However, due to the nature of our working relationship, I don’t want to extend myself in ways that could be uncomfortable for him. I wouldn’t want to put him in the position of having to explain who I am if the card I sent was read by someone else. Any advice would be appreciated.
Wants To Be Respectful

He’s a sex worker, not a moron.
Backing up: If we were talking about your lawyer or hairstylist or housekeeper – anyone else with whom you had a client/service-provider relationship – you wouldn’t hesitate to send flowers and a card. The only reason you’re hesitating in this case is because you fear outing your masseur as a sex worker. And here’s what’s fucked up about that: You’re assuming that he isn’t already out about doing sex work. You’re assuming that being outed as a sex worker is the worst possible thing that could happen to him. And you’re assuming that your masseur is too stupid to cover for himself if he isn’t out about doing sex work. Trust me, should a nosy relative ask him who you are – which is highly unlikely – your masseur has lots of options before he gets around to “a decent and kind guy I sometimes jack off for money.” He can say you’re a friend or an acquaintance or coworker.
Better to risk a moment of awkwardness with a nosy relative than to fail to acknowledge your masseur’s humanity at a time like this. And that’s what failing to acknowledge his grief amounts to, WTBR: a failure to acknowledge his humanity. Sex workers are subjected to far too much of that by people who don’t see them as fully human. Don’t participate in the dehumanization of sex workers. Send the flowers.

The new magnum Savage Lovecast season starts on Oct. 22 at savagelovecast.com.

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