I recently started seeing a wonderful boy.
I have know him for years and years and suddenly he asked me out. It’s been truly blissful and I may have accidentally fallen a bit, sort of, kind of… well, you know.
In an honest conversation, he remarked that I could ask him anything and he would never lie. I giggled that there was nothing I felt I needed to know that would bother me, unless he had done something hideous like slept with a prostitute (something I know a male friend has done on a trip to “the dam”).
With an expression that can only be described as a man about to commit harikari he blurted out he had.
I took a few days to think about it and in the end we had a lengthy, upsetting, painful conversation-come-lecture where I expressed the deep level of horror I felt about what he had done. I chose to take the role of educator – figuring men just aren’t taught to see prostitution the way I and many other women have taught themselves to think about it.
I outlined for him:
- the objectification of women.
- the abuse of women in the sex industry.
- consensual/non-consensual intercourse and the idea that prostitution is almost rape.
- the actual women and their lives, histories, families, lack of opportunities and education that would lead them into doing it.
- the crimes surrounding an industry he has now paid into: drugs, trafficking, etc.
- what this means about his integrity. Saying no to his stupid mates when they suggest something as vile as that on a lad’s holiday.
- the culture of the privileged: see, want, take.
Anyway, he cried, I cried, and in the end I decided I didn’t want to let his past ruin his or my future and we are trying to move on. He was 18 and then 24 (excuse me while I gag at how sick this makes me feel) and now at 30 he is devastated about it. Friends told me the only person who could ruin this relationship is me, because he didn’t know me when he did this, there’s nothing he can do to undo it and he hasn’t done anything TO ME.
I guess I am just not quite over it yet.
I am not sure the respect can come back.
He has since traveled the world and grown into a grounded, sensitive and incredible guy, but I somehow feel as though we aren’t moral equals anymore. A lot of my friends brush this off and say I am being OTT, but unfortunately this is something that makes me want to move to an island and live with Kirsty Young where it’s safe.
Obviously I don’t want to use my name here. And I don’t wish to paint my other half as a baddie because he is quite literally devastated about his decisions and I am really proud of him for telling me the truth – although he probably didn’t realise who he was messing with when he opened his mouth to confess.
I think there’s a lot more I could unpack re. lad culture, etc. but I honestly feel sick if I think about it too much, so I think I’ll leave it there instead.