The Unsheltered Life

Generally speaking, girls who grow up unsheltered develop an alternate morality. Such is why many of my female acquaintances have been sex workers of one sort or another. When mom and dad can’t be bothered with protecting their girls from predators, the girls learn how to work with predators, which, in the case of a classic prostitute, the “predator” is the pimp not the client, unless the client is a psychopath. Furthermore, a smart predator pimp not only doesn’t kill the golden goose but prevents competing predators from doing so. Competing predators consist of other pimps, prostitutes, the law, government, and “rescue” volunteers, as well as psychopathic clients. I’m speaking in generalities, however it is clear why pimps are so demonized by their competitors whereas it isn’t exactly a cakewalk to be one.

How many feminists who insist that “johns” are somehow predating on prostitutes have in fact married one and predated on him?

In my case, however, growing up, I seemed to have some sort of an invisible force field. Such, at times, made me behave in a foolhardy manner. Having hitchhiked up and down, back and forth, the continental U.S. several times with barely an incident, I hope that some of my sense of invincibility can be excused. I suppose I have a certain magnetism or aura as well as a necessarily highly developed intuition about people such as to generally bring out the best in them. This is perhaps a product of being from a family of educators, lecturers, artists, performers, a reverend, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. I know how to work a small or large room and most people it would seem welcome my good will, gratitude, and approval. Those that don’t (usually women) don’t stop for hitchhikers.

All that said, I have had some close encounters with pimps that have given me the willies. The more dramatic encounter of the bunch was in a jazz club in The Haight in San Francisco, over 30 years ago.

I was sitting at a table, grooving to the music, when I was joined by a Black gentleman decked out in lavender including his hat. He politely asked to join me and I acceded. ‘This should be interesting,” I thought.

He bought me a drink, and then another one, and we proceeded to have a long and winding conversation about all sorts of things. He offered to give me a ride home. I declined. He insisted. I relented.

First “we have to make a stop” at a walk-up apartment on Market Street. He invited me upstairs. Right then I realized that I was in serious trouble and announced that I had to use the bathroom. There were three other men in the apartment. The bathroom, thankfully, was right at the top of the stairs. I heard them talking about getting a girl for some party and then their voices dropped dramatically. I flushed the toilet and then ran the water in the sink. While the water was running, I opened the bathroom door quietly, and ran out of the apartment and down the stairs. Fortunately the front door was not locked. If it had been, this would be a different story.

I’m a pretty good runner but I heard several sets of feet coming down those stairs after me, and decided to duck into a retail store’s set back display window doorway rather than tear down the relatively deserted Market Street at that hour. I saw them pass, three of them, and then I heard them returning. Just then, a [edit: trolley] went by, probably the last of the evening.

I tore out of the doorway, right past them, and caught up to the trolley, waving frantically at the driver, who stopped, and I boarded.

I sat by the window and in a moment or two noticed that a car full of Black men was dogging the trolley. It was the same car that I had ridden in. There was no question now that I would not be taking the trolley to the end of the line.

I disembarked at Market and Castro, and ran into an all night gay diner. I suppose the look on my face must have said it all, because the maître d’ took one look at me and demanded:

“You, go stand in the kitchen.”

I complied. In the kitchen was a short-order cook. The maître d’ followed me and announced to the short-order cook:

“She’s just going to stand here for a while.”

I was about 18. Yes. I had been served alcohol illegally at the jazz club. Get over it.

The short-order cook then proceeded to casually engage me in conversation as he flipped eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, etc. We talked for over an hour. He gave me his work and home telephone numbers and asked me to call him so that he knew that I had made it home safely. A conversation between the maître d’ and the waiter resulted in an announcement when the Owl line bus arrived at Market and Castro. I ran out and caught it and made it home to my apartment. I called the short-order cook at the restaurant and he invited me to come visit him at his apartment the following day (it was already morning).

I did so. He turned out to be a closet bisexual. I moved in with him and we remained together for about two years. He was my first Dominant. I suppose he decided that someone needed to look after me to ensure that I would not be getting myself into further scrapes like the one which had initiated our meeting. Interestingly enough, after we finally broke up, on good terms, he decided to become entirely heterosexual. I suppose I can take some credit for that. No. I am not HIV positive. One more demonstration of my lucky invisible force-field.

The reason that we broke up is that while I was both working and attending computer school and otherwise advancing my professional star, he decided he wanted to work in after hours clubs, be a “Punk Rocker”, and date girls who wore their hair in Mohawks. In other words, our relationship had the effect of taming me more than it tamed him.

My next Dominant was a popular Blues musician. I didn’t much care for Punk Rock.

One of the possible consequences of leading an unsheltered life is to become a bit of an adrenaline addict. As far as I know, such an addiction is not illegal. Fortunately, that addiction in me of late has become significantly subdued.

One thought on “The Unsheltered Life

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