Whores at the End of the World

Sonya Aragon in n+1:

ONE OF THE LAST TIMES I saw a client in person, before New York City’s now-hardened shelter-in-place order, we met in an oddly decorated hotel room in downtown Brooklyn. It was our second meeting, but I had the keen sense that he would become a regular. This, because following our first meeting, we had begun the complicated dance of declaring our feelings—our “connection”—as being out of the ordinary for the transactional circumstances that brought us together. And this was true, to a degree, for me. At our first meeting, I’d earnestly wanted him, something I had never felt with a client prior. He was young and tattooed, a former anarchist punk. He still went to shows sometimes, he said; based on his description of a new DIY space, it seemed like we had attended the same benefit a couple months back. (My boyfriend had been convinced that the bottle of tequila he passed around that show, a bottle that, unimaginably now, twenty people must have sipped from, was ground zero for the flu we all caught in December—the one everyone retroactively seems to think was Covid, despite the improbability.) I liked the idea that someone I could have met as me—a me without the pretense of a different, more appealing me—was paying me, and I liked tracing the skulls and knives on his chest with my fingers, and I liked his implied antipathy toward authority, even if it seemed like he was probably aging into a quieter liberalism.

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