It happened suddenly. It happened without warning. One day I woke up and I was an old ho.
Talk show topics such as “Who is the Baby Daddy?” and “Surprise Honey, I’m Really a Lesbian!” are bigger components of ho lifestyle than blowjobs.
Let’s say there are two kinds of hos. The turn-outs: girls in their early twenties or younger. They pull into the massage parlour parking lot, late for their shift, in their dented sports coops with a nonfat triple caramel macchiato in one hand while they text message their turn-out girlfriends with the other.
Then there are old hos, like me, pushing thirty. Old hos knit booties for their next baby, read distance ed. textbooks and braid one another’s hair weaves in between clients.
Turn-outs sleep off their martini and ecstasy hangovers in the staff room. They doze off in impossible positions: their young necks kinked over a sofa’s arm, their scrawny legs akimbo.
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Mary Shelley, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Monique Wittig, Roquia Sakhawat Hussain, Joanna Russ, Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy, Octavia Butler.
I am constantly creating lists of women’s names in my head. It is a practice I was introduced to early, by my mother, who taught me to take particular note of the work of women artists found at my hometown’s art gallery, the Albright Knox in Buffalo, NY. In retrospect, my overloaded single mom probably devised this activity to keep me occupied while she worked her part-time job at the gallery bookstore. I could easily spend an hour or two scavenger hunting for Georgia O’Keefe, Louise Bourgeois, Tamara De Lempicka; Louise Nevelson’s Royal Game 1 held my eight-year old attention for twenty minutes at a time with its towering golden crates and moody wooden shapes.
Now seeking out women is well-rooted habit, and one that easily transfers to the literary world. For instance, whenever one of the university press literary journals that I subscribe to arrives in the mail, I scan the contributors for women’s names before cracking the spine.
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