Guns have been in the news a lot lately. Instead of taking up the political discussion — I do have lots of opinions on the subject — I thought I’d share an experience that, although it happened while I worked as a sex worker, applies to all women.
During my first year of working the phones I had a caller try to scare me. I didn’t realize this at first. We talked about his fantasy for awhile and it seemed like a typical call. But he slowly navigated the conversation to questions about my personal life.
While I didn’t tell him anything too private, I did tell him some things — the town I lived in, the kind of car I drove, what I looked like.
Then it turned dark. He told me he knew my real name because the caller ID wasn’t blocked. (I block it now but in those days I was new and naïve.)
His tone shifted and became creepy. He said that he could track me down and find me. During the fantasy call he talked on and on about how he wanted to come to my house and fuck me. He asked what would I do if he did show up at my house one day. How could I possibly stop him?
Sometimes callers like to play out non-consensual fantasies. This was definitely not the case here. I don’t know if I can convey how I knew he was trying to scare me. I just knew. Call it a sex worker vibe.
My answer was simple. “If you tried to attack me I’d shoot you.” This startled the man.
“You’d what?” he asked.
“If you attacked me I’d take one of my guns and shoot you.”
The plural of “gun” unnerved him more. He tried to laugh it off like he didn’t believe me. The creepiness came back to his voice but it wasn’t as confident. He tried to replay the fantasy of tracking me down. He told me I really didn’t have any guns.
This made me laugh because one of them, a handgun, was within arm’s length of where I took calls at the time.
He asked “If you really do have guns what do you have?”
While I didn’t own my beloved Kent (the AK47), hubby and I did own several guns back then. I started rattling them off. I scribbled a note to my husband to get the technical names because I often remember only their nicknames. I described every gun and then went on to describe the last time we went target shooting.
The man was shaken. I had taken away his power to frighten me. And honestly, I was frightened at first. Again, it was the sex worker vibe. The way he talked made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I sensed danger. After telling him I was armed that sense of danger went away.
He backed down. “I’ll never come see you!” he spat as if I had asked him to come visit in the first place. He never called me again.
After I hung up with that man I was grateful for owning guns. I’m not foolish enough to think they’ll protect me from every danger but that night I felt safe.
All sex workers should be armed.