"Quickly !! Take the motorcycle and find Antoine! He is talking suicide."
Soon the roaring of the bike burst through the open window into the Paris loft as the boy reacted with action. He was a small boy with tousled hair, but he was resourceful and loved a challenge. As well, he loved Antoine who was one of the Cinematheque boys and he had a good idea where the self-punishing boy had gone.
Everyone is at risk, but boys who do or have done sexwork are the most at risk of many categories. Sexwork is another of the kinds of writing that have been "Orientalized," which is to say that favorable writing about them is unreal with all humiliation, weariness, despair removed or resolved -- that's the category that might be called "eroticism." This can be approved by society. Or tales that are the most transgressive, shocking and violent material that can be imagined. Sometimes that's porn. But porn is so various, so personal, that it is as inventive as human beings, mild or catastrophic. What can be porn in the age of dismemberment?
Few think about sexwork in terms of fatigue, dispassion, weighted down with the foibles of others. To be skin-to-skin with someone who cannot find a lover or doesn't care to get involved with one -- it takes so much time quite apart from having to negotiate a time and place. Actors know about "transfer of emotion," how being with someone needy and incompetent can infect a person, corrupting the facade a boy has made to protect him from danger, killer relatives, cops, and disappointment. Empathy can be both a skill and a curse.
Teenaged boys get erections all the time. It is because their blood flows hot and swift. Erections can be marketed. But they take energy and resourcefulness in summoning up arousing thoughts. Alternatively, if the penis won't respond, one must use ways of arousing someone else without penetration. That means discovering what their fantasies and aspirations are all about and playing into them. Find the right images and words to make a customer cum and come back. The second time might be less work and more money,
Suicide, among all the known risks for boys, is riskier because it is also Orientalized, made romantic and "fail-safe". When I was clergy a man committed suicide with a book on his chest and an upturned wineglass beside him. "This poetry became widely known to the English-reading world in a translation by Edward FitzGerald (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, 1859), which enjoyed great success in the Orientalism of the fin de siècle." His reason was criminal perversion -- not sexwork -- and it was performed in a garage via carbon monoxide. This reality was not romantic.
When I was a ward clerk in a local hospital, there were two boys slowly dying because their faces were shot off in botched suicide attempts.
Combining the long killer forces that press a living boy into the necessity of sexwork -- literal starvation among them as well as the emotional chaos of maturation against a backdrop of rejection and punishment -- with the humiliation of accommodating some random person in a voluntary but not personally desired way -- and suicide may seem like a relief. Add constant pain, an uncertain future, and the realization that the world cares not whether any human exists, and suicide can seem reasonable.
But it might hurt. And it will hurt people who unexpectedly care and add your death to their own burden.
Middle class educated suburban people would react with therapy, a literary sort of silliness that recreates childhood in hopes of getting it better this time. More directly, some people would go to voodoo, perhaps in a cathedral with an enrobed witch.
Some boys just live through it and escape out the top. When I was in the world of Western art, there was an artist friend who was born in a brothel to a whore. His grandmother owned the brothel which was whitewashed into being a café in all bio accounts. I have CD's he made describing the reality which in old age he distributed as a way of coming to terms with his origin and the many ways his life and body had been invaded since infancy. Literally. He was a successful artist, because art is one way to grab hold of a life, make it an extraction, sell it without touching anyone.
The rescuer knew where to find his friend and brought Antoine embracing from the back the boy who came to find him. Back, returning, The rescuer took the boy to his room, lay down beside him, and held him a long time. Body to body can be a curse or a business, but it can also draw out the pain, the desperation, the longing, until it relaxes and passes back into the inner cave where it always lurks. He could do this because the loft had become a safe place with a group like a family, invested in each other, loving each other. Sexwork or simple intimacy can be merciful.
Because sexwork does not necessarily wall out love if love can be recognized. Sometimes it is a brawny, brawling, reckless love that passes judgement but not about sex. There's not enough writing about these youths -- garcons, since in Paris -- that is not about sex at all, but about their resourcefulness. Many kinds of creation exist besides babies. Ideas, awareness, inventions, all the panoply possible by human mind and flesh. These boys should write, should make art. They do.
Anthros suggest that gay men exist in ancient tribes (which they do) because they can help to fight off enemies (anthros love to think about war) which is about as informative as the idea that grannies exist in order to take care of babies and keep the fire going. The relationships among people who are individual rather than categorical are dense and delicate, stroking and smacking, putting a bit of food into a mouth, embracing and rocking, and always laughing -- the laughing. The anthros remark on the laughing.
Listen for the laughing and the laughers. Boys in pillow fights. Boys wrestling on the lawn. Boys sprawled in a boy-pile on a broken down old sofa in a loft.