Archive for March 4th, 2021

Where Are They Now?

In my early essay “Marilyn“, I explained that “because of the use of stage names, the discretion inherent in our profession, the mania for privacy forced upon us by its suppression and the fact that we’re all independent contractors, it is essentially impossible to keep in touch with working girls once the business relationship has been severed.”  In the 15 years since I closed my escort service, that has been less noticeable to me for the simple reason that as an independent, I don’t have close, regular contact with as many girls as I did when I was a madam.  But it still happens from time to time; I become fond of some young woman I meet through work, and then she moves on to a new career or a new city and I never hear from her again.  It occasionally happens with clients, too; I’ll see a guy only once or twice and we talk about some difficulty he’s going through, then I never see him again and I’m left wondering whatever happened to him, and whether he managed to resolve his problem.  But lately, in the process of preparing and editing the two Ask Maggie volumes, I was struck by how many of the people I gave advice to never wrote back to let me know if things were better, or if my advice had helped at all.  Now, obviously, they don’t owe me that; in fact, one of the reasons people write me is that I’m not a part of their lives, so they needn’t be ashamed of sharing very intimate details.  If I were someone they had to interact with on a regular basis they might never have been able to confide in me in the first place, so it’s not surprising that they don’t reach out again after I’ve answered them.  But part of empathy, at least in my psychological makeup, requires caring enough about others, even strangers, to want to understand and help them; while some letters merely require information or the sharing of wisdom, others tug at my heartstrings, and I can’t help wondering what became of them afterward.  So please, do me a little favor:  if you’re one of the several hundred people whose letters I’ve answered over the past decade, and my advice was helpful to you, please take a moment to reach out to me when you get a few moments to tell me how it went.  You certainly don’t have to, and I won”t think any less of those who don’t.  But there is a soft spot under my battle-hardened exterior that would appreciate knowing I helped.

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