The name of the magazine is suggestive. Note the dollar sign. Are they referring to the juicy spread of their pages or the delectable surprise found ensconced between a pair of legs? $pread is a quarterly written by and for sex workers as well as other curious readers. Unlike a lot of other publications out there, it’s survived, even thrived, since it began four years ago even though it’s staffed entirely by volunteers and the writers are unpaid.
I’ve perfected the art of arriving late over the years and so I made my entrance to $pread’s “Dance Party on the Downturn” party well after 1 a.m. Held upstairs at SinSin in the Leopard Lounge, me and my posse could barely push our way through the sardine can of a bar.
“Are you a sex worker,” I asked the handsome 6’4” gent next to me at the bar. He smiled enigmatically so I asked him what his price was. “I never pay more than $20 and I never accept less than a thousand,” I told him, half hoping he’d give it a whirl.
Sarah Jenny, the magazine’s bodacious new media director, introduced me to the editor. Around us there were a sprinkling of semi-nude go-go dancers, a few noted burlesque artists and the usual males and females, gay, straight and somewhere–in-between. One gay dude I spoke to told me he’d only had sex twice during the past year and nothing whatsoever turned him on. “I don’t believe you,” I snorted. “Maybe you’re in a low phase. Or maybe you’re lying,” I joked. “I’ve never had sex with a woman and I don’t know if I could,” he confessed, unexpectedly. Things were heating up. “Sex is only fun when it’s dirty and forbidden,” I told him. “And gay men are afraid to do it with women, so that’s the next barrier.” I was surprised when he agreed. Was the world going topsy-turvy? Meanwhile, one of the dancers had her head stuck in a bag where she was vomiting. “It’s all over my bag!” one of my friends complained. Luckily the purse was waterproof.
Then, a rather studly twenty-something bought me an ice-cold beer. “My last name is Eagan and I’m Black Irish,” he smiled. “Half my relatives are in the Irish Mafia and the rest are priests but they don’t fuck with me!” he boasted. “The guy’s a serial killer,” my friend told me under her breath. Damon, one of my rent boy chaperones, stood near the guy threateningly. The bright lights came on and my friends insisted on putting me safely into a cab. They’d seen that old flick I Dismember Mama too many times.
What good is a night on the town without at least one failed pick up, some barfing, a bit of inane conversation, and a few bruises? We couldn’t complain. Those sex workers sure knew how to party.