“Nice Guys” and a Dead Woman

I haven’t written in a while.  I’ve had a lot going on, financially and emotionally.  Something would come into my head, and I’d want to write, but I just couldn’t make myself do it.  However, I finally felt like I had to write today.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to women I used to know.  Women who “worked” in the sex trade.  Women who died there.  There’s one particular woman who has been on my mind a lot lately, because the anniversary of her murder just passed.

My friend was a mom.  She had two sons.  She was also a hardcore coke freak.  I mean constant use of cocaine.  She felt like she had it “under control”, though, because she just snorted it.  She supported her use through sex, trading either for drugs or money to buy drugs.  I knew a couple of her johns.  One was a beautiful young African-American man who dealt a lot of drugs.  He seemed super nice.  He was polite and friendly.  He was physically extremely attractive.  She called him “Daddy”.  Another was a younger white man who often bragged about all the girls he “turned out”.  He loved to talk about being a pimp.  He wasn’t as charming as “Daddy”, but he wasn’t someone who would have been thought of as untrustworthy or dangerous in our world.  Both were considered nice guys.  Lots of the women trusted them.  She certainly did.

After I quit using, I stayed friends with her.  I would visit her on a fairly regular basis.  I visited her on the day she was murdered, in fact.  I had taken a phone cord to her house.  Her boyfriend had just left her, and she was terrified.  She needed a way to stay in touch with her mom that night.  These two “nice guys” she did business with had been saying some stuff that had started to scare her.  She meant to run the next morning.  It would be the last night for her and her sons in that apartment.  Yet, she was going to let one or both of them come over that night, and try to talk things out and maybe do some business.  I left that night, thinking that they were no real danger to her.  It would all get worked out.  After all, I had never felt threatened by either of them.

The next evening, I sat watching TV.  A news break came on.  A body bag coming out of her apartment.  Her brother screaming in the parking lot.  Talk of her sons being there when she was shot to death.  I don’t know which of her “nice guys” was there, or if both of them came over for business that night, so I’m not certain who pulled the trigger.  I know at least one of them was definitely supposed to be there, though.

So, was her killer(s) one of the “nice guys” we’re told sometimes buy sex?  Well, she would have thought they were.  She talked about how much she loved them.  She talked about how great they treated her.  As a woman and a “whore”, she didn’t mean much to them, though.  When they were done with her, and she held no more use for them, they got rid of her.  After all, she was just one of the faceless many, right?  I guess they were nice guys until they weren’t.

Of course, I’ve heard other stories about “nice guys” who buy sex.  There were the ones who would buy sex from a couple of friends who were later diagnosed with HIV.  They would often talk about their families, the wives and children.  I wonder how many of those nice guys might have taken that home to wives and girlfriends before my friends’ HIV statuses were known?  When you’re buying from someone on the street, someone who’s desperate and addicted, you have to know that’s a possibility, right?  Are you still a “nice guy”, since you didn’t commit legal rape or beat anyone, but just endangered others?

In the clubs, the “nice guys” are a bit different.  They are the ones who get a dancer fired because they become obsessive and weird.  They then track her down at the next club and do the same there.  People say they’re just lonely, and you shouldn’t hold it against them.  They’re actually really nice guys when you get to know them.

They are the ones who won’t take no for an answer when you say you won’t have sex with them, following you home in the dark and confronting you.  People ask you why you’re so upset.  After all, the fact that they know where you live and are willing to track you down shouldn’t be of any concern, right?  They just didn’t understand because of the language and cultural barriers.

They are the ones who demand you engage in illegal acts in order to get paid, even though it would mean you get fired.  They are the ones who spend time in the club, then talk shit about “strippers” and “whores”.  That’s just boys being boys, right?  What do you expect?

They are also the owners, who don’t pay you any salary, but require you to give part of your tips to the bartender and DJ, whom they do pay.  They are the bartenders who get pissed if you won’t drink with customers, even though it will get you fired if you do.  They are the bouncers who think it’s perfectly acceptable to perform strip searches on the dancers when some asshole loses his money.  They are the managers who are just fine with hiring women with track marks, as long as they cover them before work.

I have lived in a dangerous world.  I have seen dangerous men.  Most of them are considered “nice guys” by those they know.  Even by the women they exploit.  Even by the women they end up stalking.  Even by the women they end up killing.  I have worked in a lot of shitty industries in my life.  I have hated most of my jobs.  But there’s only one that would strike terror in my heart if my daughter followed me into it…and “nice guys” are the reason why.