Saturday, 14 September 2013
A letter from a school friend - part one
In the past week I've had two emails from school chums, both on completely different topics, but both worthy of discussion, the first is below.
As you may have noticed, I enjoy the odd robust debate, especially when the subject is the sex industry. Where it becomes difficult though, is when the debate is taking place on Facebook and involves one, if not more of my old school chums. I came 'out' quite a while ago in the UK but for some reason, I have found it harder to let my old friends in Ireland know, and I'm not sure why that is. In the vast majority of cases, they don't need to know, in that I'll probably never see them again. Facebook just isn't the place for discussing your deepest and darkest, it's for pretending to like some members of your family and cooing at cat pictures. I think it's a fear of their reaction, like a very good pal in Dublin when I told her. "You know there are people who can help you exit, like Ruhama." What followed was a ninety minute lecture on the realities of Ruhama and one very repentant and newly supportive friend.
The more media I do, one by one my friends are finding out regardless. Take 'L', who went to primary school with me and is now a doctor in Scotland. I opened my messages late one night having come home from an interview and there it was, "Oh my God, you're on the news, and YOU'RE TALKING SENSE !!" Yes, thank you for that L.
The most challenging of all came the night I logged on and to my great surprise my childhood pal 'M' had posted a picture - 'REAL MEN DON'T BUY GIRLS'. I was quite surprised at that because she is very socially aware and super intelligent, so surely she would have seen through the propaganda and reached the conclusion, 'REAL MEN INFORM THEMSELVES OF THE FACTS'. The debate (which I don't think she planned, to be fair) went on into the night with various people contributing to the thread and yours truly sitting on her hands. Eventually I could stand it no longer and offered several pieces of evidence to show that the statistics as presented were at best, problematic, but I was met with a very fiesty and vocal mansplainer, who told me why I was wrong on several levels. I offered some further evidence and left it at that because it was getting late, he was getting offensive and there just wasn't any point. The following morning I had a pm from M, saying "I'm so sorry about him last night, no need for it". I replied saying it wasn't a problem and I wouldn't enter into any debate with an expectation of not being challenged on several levels. That, I thought, was that. Nothing could have prepared me for the message I got from M yesterday, it blew my mind and cost the taxpayer quite a lot of Kleenex.
Hi, I had to message you because I'm mortified about the debate we had on FB a while ago about prostitution, remember when we talked about whether the men should be prosecuted for solicitation? I'm mortified because I 'thought' I knew what I was talking about but I have since seen the documentary on Channel 4 that you featured in (and while I was shocked and believe me I was shocked that you featured in the documentary), I can't believe I argued with you on the subject when I clearly wasn't as clued in as you! I have since done a lot of research on the subject and now agree that I may have been a little narrow minded. I want you to know that I now know what you do for a living (and I don't make any judgements on what you do) but I also think you are still a fabulous, wonderful woman that not only provides a service for some men that 'really, really' need it but also stand up for women everywhere and are an advocate for women's choice. I think you're very brave (I've Googled you, and seen all you've done), so I think you're incredible the way you stand up for what you believe in, and if you follow my FB page you know I am all about workers rights, human rights, animal rights etc...(but workers rights being the operative word here), I stand by you and believe in you...that's all, M. xxx