Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ask a Bougie Chick: Will my past come back to haunt me?


Today's letter comes from a young lady with an unorthodox past who wonders how it will affect her future. Without further ado...

Hello Michele,

I'm a big fan of your blog and have been reading for almost two years. I have a question I was hoping you and everyone else could weigh-in on. I'm a 25 year old woman, college educated, well traveled, well adjusted,employed and all that jazz. I used to be a sex worker(escort mainly, though I dabbled in stripping and domme-ing). It was something that I did for about nine months while in undergrad. Do I regret it? Sometimes. Mainly no because financially it was beneficial but it was emotionally taxing at times. I haven't had much dating experience but have had a relationship since I got out of that biz. My ex knew about it pretty early in and was cool with it, though he's European so I don't know if that factored into it. Lately I've been wondering if my past will dramatically affect my future romantic relationships. I was very safe as a sex worker so no problems health wise. Should I tell potential significant others about my past? If so, when? Also, do you think that my past will be a deal breaker with most men? Any words you have would be appreciated. 

Thanks, 

"Scarlet" in New York

Scarlet,
I know you've written in before about this and I hesitated to post/answer because it's not the bougiest of topics. However if I step back from the sexual aspect of it and think of this as "there's something in my past that not everyone will be on board with" then I can answer the same way. You should tell when the relationship starts getting serious. Far better to hear it from you then someone else and let's be clear, as my Aunt Violet used to say: the truth will out. It always rears it's head in one way or the other.

As for whether most men will have a problem with it? I'll have to put it to the brethren. I would have some reflection and thinking to do if I found out my boyfriend has a similar past. Let's put this to BougieLand, do you think Scarlet should tell her s/o's? Fellas, would have issues dating a woman with her past? Ladies, thought? Do share. But keep it bougie...

133 comments:

thinklikeRiley said...

*reads*
*reads again*
She wrote this into da Bougie blog? A-ight den.

Scarlet - you gotta know just saying "skrippa" is gonna have one kinda guy saying hell no and another kinda guy saying hell yeah. Depend on what you want. But it's gonna be an issue.

Jason P said...

I might could get past the stripper part but the escort/domme thing? I'm not that evolved yet. I'd have a problem with it, I have to admit. 

GrownAzzMan said...

I agree that this needs to be disclosed with that caveat that only the serious need to know. It is easy to type on a blog but I believe I could deal with it. Everyone has a past and as long as she doesn't plan to return to her former line of work it would not impact how I felt about her. The one potential problem I see is if we lived in a place where I would have to encounter some of her former clients but that is not in the letter. All that said the GrownAzz, mature me is typing this. Not sure the 25 year old me would have seen it the same. I will be interested to hear what some of the younger bougie bruhs have to say.

march charm said...

what is the difference in being an "escort" and having boo-koo partners during your undergrad years b/c you were "loose'? other than the money not much (imo). sounds as if you did it to pay for school, h*** i know women who have participated in the escort business to get a purse so i'm would guess any man who would judge you may not be worth your time.

i like to tell my own business so i would, like michele suggests, be the one to tell your own business if you believe the relationship is turning serious.

did lisa raye ever finish school in player club?....

MsJamie14 said...

Yikes. Hey, Supahead and Kim Kardashian find love despite their pasts (however briefly) so anything's possible. Pray on it. I think you know it will be an issue for some, but I can't see it being an issue for everyone. Everyone deserves true love.  

CaliGirlED said...

 Just wondering, how far back in her past would it have to be for you to be ok with it?

CCDreamz said...

Knowing how men like to be one of only two men you ever ever ever ever EVER had ANY type of sex with, I'd keep that under my weave and keep it moving. If it comes up, you shrug and say: Sweety,  it was LONG before I met you. Besides, don't tell me you don't have skeletons waiting to fall out of your closet with the stuff you try to talk me into in the bedroom. Notice I never say 'no'. 

Then you smile pretty, pull out the stops and do all the things he likes until he forgets/forgives the skeleton bone that fell out of your closet.

Most men cannot handle a woman's sexual past. Though we women are supposed to be able to shrug off their past hoe-tivities.  Keep it to yourself.

CaliGirlED said...

I agree that disclosure of this needs to be given to someone you may get serious with (and not be "found out"). I would add that you NOT wait until that very moment that he makes that move. To drop the bomb at that point could be devastating and he may feel that you held it back from him. This will definitely "taint" the confession. I would say around about the time that you taking a liking to someone, might be the green light to share.

Another thing, as GAM pointed out, do you still live in the area where this took place? Last thing a man wants to happen is that someone he's feeling gets pointed out to him as someone else's previous "service provider". This might say tell a little sooner than later.

march charm said...

Most men cannot handle a woman's sexual past. Though we women are supposed to be able to shrug off their past hoe-tivities. <<--church says amen after we stopping laughing at "hoe-tivities"...

march charm said...

umm make that after we stop laughing....

Chree Carr said...

Good question!  For me there is a major difference between a year removed and 10 years removed. 

Jubi The Great said...

I think its gonna end up being a case by case situation. I wouldn't share something like this unless I knew that the guy wasn't the judgemental type, and that he's someone I'm going to be longterm with. Otherwise, I'd keep it to myself.

GrownAzzMan said...

I don't know. First reaction is time would help. Not sure how much.

GrownAzzMan said...

Nice try but that turn the tables thing will not work on a real man. He may stay for the good good but he will never see her the same way. If she wants something real it is best to disclose up front and the one who is ok with it is the one she wants.

SingLikeSassy said...

I think you will be fine. Soon this will be so far behind you it won't matter.

Also, my Grandma says, tell your story FIRST so everything after that has to rebutt your version. You don't want to be explaining to somebody how what they heard isn't the truth and see let me tell you what the truth is and all that. And, too, if someone tries to do a gotcha bish! and tell your man your business, he's already prepared with the information YOU have provided him with and won't feel blindsided.

ishtar_79 said...

"you gotta know just saying "skrippa" is gonna have one kinda guy saying hell no and another kinda guy saying hell yeah."

It's funny that I shrugged at the escort thing, but nearly threw up in my mouth at the stripper simply because of the type of men I typically associate with them.  Then again, I have a general bias against strippers that I do not have against escorts.  Maybe because I think "escort service" and think, probably incorrectly,  that the clientele tends to be more John Edwards than Lawrence Taylor.

Lady4Real said...

Diamond get her degree, a man and a nice house in the end. Her cousin on the other hand didn't fare as well.

tishatweets said...

I agree with this. I don't like the whole smoke and mirrors approach she detailed. Besides, at that point, y'all aren't talking about him, you're talking about you. That whole "Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Well what about YOU? Huh? Huh?" is counterproductive at best and quite juvenile.

Be a grown up. Tell him.

tishatweets said...

Eh. I think the mature man realizes that if you aren't a virgin he's not your first. There have been others. And he can be okay with that.

tishatweets said...

Yeah. Shoe store check out girl. Dang shame what they did to that dog.

ClayJones said...

What I don't know is what kind of woman you are now. How you carry and conduct yourself. That would have significant impact on my thinking. Everybody has a past, I don't believe in holding it over their heads. But if this is a situation where you might go back to stripping etc when times get tight, I'm not okay with that.

tishatweets said...

Interesting. So it's the actual sex act that makes the difference?

ShawnSoze said...

It's seriously going to depend and when, where and how I find out. If I'm already into you, that's a plus. If I find out from someone else, that's a minus. If you tell me matter of factly, that's a plus. If you tell me apologetically before we met my fam for dinner, that's a minus. It's all conditional. I wouldn't call it a dealbreaker from jump though.

FreeBlackMan said...

Okay, I have to be blunt - when I hear sex worker - I think paid hoe. I don't think of a stripper as someone who has sex with people for money, I consider her an uninhibited entertainer. Maybe I'm naive but I don't think dominatrices (xes?) have sex for money either, it's a power thing. The escort part gives me pause. My hang up (clearly) is the sex for money part. I'm not throwing shade, just saying it would take some getting over if I could.  

GuessImJay said...

I'm going to throw a flag on the play. You grilled the hell outta me when you found out that in addition to classical dance, Joy danced in videos. As if dancing in videos immediately put her on SupaHoe (Head?) level. T'aint NO way you are taking an ex-stripper to the corporate Christmas party.

CaliGirlED said...

 I think time is definitely important. I would also think that a few other factors like, (what got her out of it, what is she doing now, and how likely is she to return back to it) would be considered as well.

ShawnSoze said...

Sure I would. If no one knew she was an ex-stripper. It's not like she's gonna pole dance by the eggnog fountain.

Slim Jackson said...

Yikes. This is a tough one. If I heard this from a chick I was dating, it'd be a wrap. Not because I think she's a bad person, but because I know I won't be able to get past her past. My imagination is too active not to have unpleasant thoughts end up in my dreams. 

My thoughts: She should tell, but just be prepared to deal with the potential consequences. That is not something you want a dude to find out a week before the wedding. 

Still yikes. 

tishatweets said...

*closes piano* LOL

GuessImJay said...

 She could be an ex-stripper if nobody knew about it? Oh. Okay.

CaliGirlED said...

 "Also, my Grandma says, tell your story FIRST so everything after that has to rebutt your version."...That's a pearl right there!

"And, too, if someone tries to do a gotcha bish! and tell your man your business,..."<----THIS!!!

ShawnSoze said...

 Bruh - are we really gonna start listing "under-the-covers lovers" round here? Cuz er, uh...

CaliGirlED said...

 *notices the response from Clay and GAM*...maturity speaks.

I agree Clay about going back to it. But not just when times get tough (mama trying to save the family and what not :-/), but when she's gotta have those Loubotins or that Louie bag! If it's not in the budget or you say Dear let's use that money for something more sensible....

OneChele said...

Hey now! Hol' up. Not up in here. NOT. UP. IN. HERE! You boys go play outside. *puts purple foot in Shawn and Jay's behinds*

tishatweets said...

Right. Don't wanna have to worry about her tippin' out after she puts it on you and knocks you out one night. You wake up and she's at the shake junt, earnin' those Loubies.....LOL

Jason P said...

For me anyway.

Mr. Skyywalker said...

I've dated many a stripper/sex worker in my day. But I married a "good girl" - who knows?

CaliGirlED said...

 *dies* You gots not a sense!!! Not ONE!!!

CaliGirlED said...

 *grabs old brown suitcase*

CaliGirlED said...

 Ruh roh!

CaliGirlED said...

 Hot damn!!! Is it roll call time?

CaliGirlED said...

And once again Chele comes in, shuts down the hilarity and keeps it all kinds of classy! Gotta love her! *whispers* Dangit!!! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

 ^^^THIS

CaliGirlED said...

 ^^^THAT

Trey Charles said...

*looks around*
*tiptoes out slowly*

Trey Charles said...

Jesus isn't through with me yet. I cannot. 

Lei930 said...

If you have been in a relationship after you stopped escorting and you were successful with disclosing your past to your ex s/o....
what made you start wondering about all this now?

Should you tell your potential s/o about your past? Yes, like Chele said if it starts getting serious. If you hide it and he finds out then it becomes an issue trust and honesty. Everyone has a past, own it or else it will own you.

CaliGirlED said...

If I met a guy, started liking him and then he told me he used to be a stripper, I'd have to ask when. Like back in the day when I occasioned a particular spot, or within the last decade? It would definitely give me pause.

But if I met a guy, started liking him and then he told me he used to be a gigolo/male prostitute (whatever you call it), I'd more than likely stop it there.  (I'm not that liberal.)

Earthangel172 said...

My advice to Scarlet is to share this information early on, so long as it's with a man you're seriously "liking". Don't let the man fall in love with and then drop all of this information in his lap. Also, don't be cavalier about it either because this is a lot to digest.  My next piece of advice to you is that you don't need to share this with every man you're dating. I'm sure we've all done some things we're not proud of and as my granny would say "some thangs need to go to the grave and stay there!" LOL

Best of luck to you in the future!

tishatweets said...

Welllllll....*Church mother rock*

Andrea M said...

Let me play devil's advocate - guys - what if she never told you, you married her and you found out later. What would you do?

The_A said...

Um, wow okay then.

I actually want to thank Michele for posting this & thanks to Scarlet for writing. 

I spent my formative years in a mecca of higher education for the bougie that is ALSO home to a wide range of sexually uninhibited lifestyles &/or occupations. Anyone vaguely familiar with said metropolis already knows Scarlet is not alone in having a sexually adventurous past. Lord knows I done seent some things in my lifetime (yes, I said done seent because not all of it was bougie). My parents circle included university professors & administrators. I'll never forget one dinner guest who swore off attending any further on campus events because he was tired of being put in the awkward position of recognizing buttoned up coeds- some from families with means- from their not so buttoned up adventurous after hours life. Some girls claimed to be formally employed for "book money" and yet everyone knows that chick down the hall who's extracurricular was just the campus afterparty norm & she wasn't getting compensated financially. It is what it is. I attended a PWI so I also got to see how Becky gets down. Seent some thangs...

I say all of that to say, grown ups learn to live & let live.

Scarlet, perhaps you might want to put aside what other people think about your past and deal with how YOU feel about it. You are using your past to disqualify yourself from being worthy of the relationship before it even begins. What others think about you is none of your business. Clearly your past is not something that you are okay with so how could you expect others to accept you if you can't accept yourself? 

Go talk to someone if you must but please forgive yourself for the things you are clearly uncomfortable about & deal with all of those emotional taxes. If you can move past it, you will find that the man you attract into your life will be able to deal with it too. 
 
I suspect Scarlett is not the only bougie reader who needed to read her post & begin to let go of some things from their past.

La said...

I think how well this goes over is going to depend on two things; the type of men you're dating, and how you present it. If you're going to be dating super conservative, looking for a stepford wife type men, this is going to fail spectacularly every single time. If you are dating someone who is non judgemental, perhaps more evolved on sexuality and/or feminist issues, you will likely be ok. And secondly, if you present it as something to be ashamed of, he will be. If you treat it as just 1 chapter of the entirety of your life that does not define you, that is how he will treat it too. But honestly, it sounds a bit like you still judge yourself for it. Your partners can only be as ok with it as you are.

SouthernWes said...

This is a whole other issue. I am married and if I found out that my wife kept a major part of her life from me, it would be a problem. Sex-related or not.

Only1DivaC said...

I know right! Girl I had the snacks ready too!

tishatweets said...

I can dig it. No judgment. Just trynna get a lil clarity. :)

SouthernWes said...

I seem to recall three guys who were once told they needed to quit man-hoeing their way from Macon to Marietta. Glass houses, gentlemen.

OneChele said...

Whelp!!!
*jots down Man-Hoes of Marietta for future reference*

tishatweets said...

Girl, it would give me pause and likely stop, too. I just feel a WAY about that. I'd have to be really diggin' dude to get over that.

I couldn't with the male prostitute, either. I guess the argument could be made that many men sleep with a lot of women for free, though.....LOL

NY2VA said...

*Passes popcorn and Pepsi*

MsJamie14 said...

*screaming!*

Pure Choco said...

*sends side-eye and keeps it moving*

CaliGirlED said...

 *opens door* Come back Trey don't be scurred! LMAO!!!

CaliGirlED said...

 The truth SHALL set you free! LOL

tishatweets said...

Well I say gotdog!

Oscruickshank said...

I don't think  it's any of his business. Whose going to tell him ? it's not like you have dinner with your old clients .....

CaliGirlED said...

That argument is ALWAYS made, for men and women. I guess we just have to chalk it up to a double standard that will probably always be with us. (Giving it up for free vs. putting a price tag on it.)...I guess it just depends on where you stand morally and ethically.

Mo said...

City High  had a song that the girl claimed she stripped because the baby needed diapers. I guess that will  not be acceptable. LOL

Page Bartlett said...

How is it NOT his business? He doesn't need details but...
Why take the chance that it could come out? 

CaliGirlED said...

 The_A goes deep today! Way to lead her to some healing! *applauds*

tishatweets said...

Not his business? Oooooookay.

Mo said...

I'm of the school of thought; give  me the option and let me decide if it is something I can  deal with or not. And, I have the worst heart, you break this type of  news during the baby  graduation, I might end up in the E.R.

Reads4Pleasure said...

I have a friend that was an engineer for years before deciding to become a pastor.  He stripped his way through college.  I don't see him any differently as a friend, but I would have a hard time taking him seriously in the pulpit. I don't doubt he loves the Lord & what not, but the image of him doing the Long Duck Dong while preaching the word won't go away (though I must admit it didn't bother me when he was just an engineer).  I would think it might be the same for any man or woman imagining their partner working the hoe stroll in a former life.  You may be able to move past it, but a flashback of their former life may pass before your eyes.

Mo said...

Listen Loubies are not cheap:-)

Natasha said...

Loving THIS!!!!

CaliGirlED said...

 LOL!!! For most men, it wouldn't be.

CaliGirlED said...

 Who's going to tell him??? Man listen, all it takes is for someone who knows to deem her unworthy of a good relationship to tell all; someone who knows and knows him and deems her unworthy; someone who knows and does not like either of the two and jumps at the opportunity to throw a monkey wrench; someone who knows and unknowingly shares something that could lead him to put two and two together.

Are those enough examples for you?

CaliGirlED said...

*dies a 1,000 deaths at Long Duck Dong*
 
Good points!

blackprofessor said...

I think you should tell men on a need to know basis.  You decide who needs to know and tell them at the appropriate time so they can make a decision.  You have to learn to respect their decisions even if you don't agree with them.  

Please, please, please don't think that all is lost!  I have a friend who has an incurable STD and believed that she would never meet a man.  She  met a man who wasn't turned off by that fact and today they are married with children.  When you meet the one for you, this probably won't be a deal breaker.

Leon X said...

Four words: been there done that. I'll see my way out.

BB Waite said...

A friend of mine was "in the industry" as she calls it over 20 years ago. She tells the people that are closest to her, allows them to ask questions about it and then she's done. She's been married for 15 years. 

jake said...

Dated a stripper. Sweet girl, lots of unresolved issues. I'm not stereotyping or judging but I've found (in my limited experience) that women in these industries tend to have some baggage of the serious kind. My concern in getting involved would be how much baggage and how will it manifest.

M Dot said...

*turns on house lights, ushers women and chil'ren into to chef's kitchen*

AppleBerryMIA said...

I remember dating a guy who shared that he paid his way through college and law school by being an escort. I asked him if he ever had sex with them and he said "of course" like it was nothing. I was brought up in a very traditional household and though I understand sex is a commodity to many, I wasn't comfortable being in a relationship with someone who thought about it that way. For me it's intimate and it's not a bargaining tool or a currency. My advice to Scarlett is to share your past only with those you trust and love and plan to have around you for the long haul. 

AppleBerryMIA said...

Yes, I think it's naive to think your past stays in your past.

CaliGirlED said...

 *hollers*

Brenda Kay said...

^^^Rushes to block the door. Ohhh no Sir, you need to share a bit more of this story. :-)

Brenda Kay said...

*Dies right along with CaliGirlED*

tishatweets said...

what is wrong with you? LOL

CaliGirlED said...

 Get your tail back in here! Lucy you got some splainin to do!

CaliGirlED said...

 Jake you stay hiding in the cut, but when you come out it's usually with something really good!

Jubi The Great said...

I could see if its just a random dude. But someone she's gonna be with longterm? He needs to know from her, and not from someone else.

SingLikeSassy said...

 Waymint............................

SingLikeSassy said...

But what is the eggnog is spiked though....

SingLikeSassy said...

 Why can't we get ashy today though, why we always gotta be classy?!!!

*wonders if I should have had that muddled berry Caipirinha at lunch*

M Dot said...

somebody gotta be black Henry Kissinger 'round here

M Dot said...

y'all will NOT tear up Ray's Boom-Boom Room TA-DAY

GrownAzzMan said...

"My thoughts: She should tell, but just be prepared to deal with the potential consequences. That is not something you want a dude to find out a week before the wedding."
This all day.

GrownAzzMan said...

Exactly!

GrownAzzMan said...

It would probably lead to divorce. Which would be best for both of us because if I stayed I would always wonder what else she lied about.

Bryan Anthony said...

 Man, listen. Once you find one skeleton you just assume there's a bag of bones hidden somewhere.

Bryan Anthony said...

 Get 'em Wes. All out in public telling business. What happens in Georgia stays in Georgia. Lawd!

Bryan Anthony said...

 WTH is an eggnog fountain?

JoycelynC said...

 Not Macon to Marietta!  Absolutely Dead!

CaliGirlED said...

Then all bets will probably be off! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

 *hollers* Y'all are killing me this here day!!!

CaliGirlED said...

 You'd be crossed eyed from giving her so many side-eyes! "Who in the hell are you anyway???"

CaliGirlED said...

 A trunk even?

CaliGirlED said...

 And I still can't the picture of some pastor standing in the pulpit and certain members having flashbacks of seeing him swanging it! LMAO

Jeannette said...

***off topic** 

So ladies since we are in the swing of Spring and Summer is approaching... what should we name our "Knitting" club?.  Gardening? Sewing? 2012 is already doing the most and I think we can get a lot done!? What say you? LOL.

Jubi The Great said...

Hey I knit in the spring & summer! Grab a park bench, knit & people watch! LOL

tishatweets said...

Jesus saves? Yeah, I've got nothing.

CaliGirlED said...

 How about the Sittin & Sippin Club? You know since we can sit outside and enjoy...no?

Only1DivaC said...

I was going to suggest the Sip and See club. LOL!!

JaymeC said...

I saw some sub (and not so sub) tweets by people saying what is the difference between this and someone giving it up for concert tickets and the electric bill. The answer is nothing and we'd give them the exact same advice. If your past can be construed as "unorthodox" or in some manner you feel must be explained, you're going to have to own up to it and recognize that there may be consequences. Whether you traded sex acts for kicks or cash, it's always going to be something that polarizes people. 

JaymeC said...

You hit the nail on the head.

JaymeC said...

When he preaches about "choosing a path" he knows of what he speaks.

JaymeC said...

And we all have at least that one person who will never let you forget it.

JaymeC said...

Well said.

JaymeC said...

premarital counseling fail.

JaymeC said...

entire graveyard?

JaymeC said...

It's Easter weekend so I'm going to let this lie there Trey.

JaymeC said...

entire crew doing the most dot com today.

Brenda Kay said...

I'm a gardener and I'm honing up on my sewing skills, but I have no idea for a good name for the club. Sorry. LoL!

Brenda Kay said...

^^^Dead again! :-)

Lethal Interjection said...

It all depends on how you roll it out. If you act like it's something to be ashamed of, people tend to treat you as such. If you treat it like it was something that happened, and you move on, it's much harder for people to bludgeon you with it. 

CaliGirlED said...

SO WRONG!!! *tries to push image out of my head once again* Thanks Dr. C!!! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

Reminds me of when Eminem (in 8 Mile) was in that rap contest and he talked about himself and left the other dude with nothing to rap about. Just me? Oh ok! LOL

tiffanyinhouston said...

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPTsmswQVwg

That's all I gotta say.

And Joy gone kick your ass.

GammasWorld said...

Well I'm going to agree with our hostess here and lump this particular issue in the "I've got something in my past" bucket.     You need to have this discussion as the relationship gets serious.  You owe it to him and to yourself.  If you can't be honest with him about your past, what else are going to hide?  I'm not saying blurt it out whenever you give a dude your number but if the relationship is really heading somewhere, then yeah tell him.   As one who's spent a good chunk of time and emotional energy trying to deny my past (no I wasn't in the biz), I finally had to own it and deal with it.    I only shared the whole sordid tale with one man in my life and it wasn't my ex-husband.  Looking back, I can say I didn't trust my ex-hubby enough to go there with him.  It wasn't a lack of trust in his fidelity or anything like that, it was I didn't trust him enough with my most vulnerable feelings and that set us for failure from "I Do". 

Going into serious relationship status, to me means telling it all ... the good and not so good.  Now with that said, that doesn't mean love conquers all.  Sometimes it doesn't and you'll have to learn to accept that;  but you owe it to a prospective partner to let him make the decision if he can deal with it or not. 

CaliGirlED said...

"...it was I didn't trust him enough with my most vulnerable feelings and that set us for failure from "I Do"

Y'all don't understand how much I love GammasWorld  and have never laid eyes on her!!!...You have spoken to my soul with this!!! That's a very important thing that I will be looking for and will need in the man I will commit my life to. I need to be able to share with you ALL that is me and trust that you will not misuse that information, including sharing it with someone else or using it against me. *rocks back and forth meditating on this*

GammasWorld said...

And I love me some CaliGirlED too!  

paulford483 said...

I want to share also my confession to you Michele. How can I send my letter to you?

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