Introducing Charlie ‘MILFy’ Swinton! Mum of two and full service sex worker based in Melbourne, Australia. Charlie talks to Holly & Jenna about how she got into the industry, why she chose to be open about having kids, and how much she tells them. Our patrons quiz her about expectations, her favourite restaurant & Monty Python cast member, and raising kids to be sex positive. Plus she tells the story of a client she literally had to kiss to get him to shut up!
Scarlet Alliance Emergency Relief Fund: https://chuffed.org/project/sex-worker-support
1:20 Main Segment: a sex worker with kids
26:26 Question of the Week: Advertising platforms, favourite types of bookings, restaurants, and stigma
42:29 Shit People Say: “I’ve read all of Mein Kampf and think he’s amazing”
Patreon (from $3AUD/month): http://www.patreon.com/somebodyyoupod
Somebody You Love is sponsored by Assembly Four, empowering sex workers through technology: https://assemblyfour.com/
For more info on sex work in Australia, please check out the following organisations:
ACT (SWOP ACT): https://meridianact.org.au/swop/
NSW (SWOP NSW): https://swop.org.au/
NT (SWOP NT): https://www.ntahc.org.au/swopnt
Qld (Respect Inc): https://respectqld.org.au/
SA (SIN): http://www.sin.org.au/sindex.html
Tas (Scarlet Alliance): https://scarletalliance.org.au/links/
Vic (Vixen Collective): https://www.vixencollective.org/vc
WA (Magenta): http://magenta.org.au
Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/somebodyyoupod
Jenna Love 0:00
Welcome to Somebody You Love or The Sale of Two Titties. I'm Jenna Love.
Holly Harte 0:07
And I'm Holly Harte,
Jenna Love 0:09
and we're experts in disappointing our parents, breaching community guidelines, and banging the people who vote against our rights. Hello everyone. I'm Jenna and I am on Darug and Gundungurra land. Holly is on Ngunawal land. And we have Charlie calling in today from the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. We recognise the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to the land and waters across this beautiful place. We pay our respects to elders past and present and we extend that respect to any First Nations people who may be listening.
Holly Harte 0:45
It's important for us to make it clear that anyone who appears on the podcast can only speak from their own experience. All of us on the show today are cis white women and we acknowledge the privilege that comes with that both within the sex industry and outside of it.
Jenna Love 0:58
As usual, because this podcast is about the adult industry, it really isn't suitable for those who are not adults. Just a warning also that during Shit People Say we talk about Nazism, which is really not something that I was expecting to come up on the show. But that is the world that we live in.
Holly Harte 1:20
Today, we have Charlie Swinton on the show. Charlie is a full service sex worker by night and mum of two by day known as MILFy. She is based in Melbourne, but when not in lockdown she tours the country as well.
Jenna Love 1:33
Hi Charlie, welcome to the podcast.
Holly Harte 1:35
Charlie Swinton 1:36
Hey, guys, so good to be here.
Jenna Love 1:39
Fabulous. We're very excited to have you here. You're our second guest. We're starting to maybe know what it's like to have guests on.
Charlie Swinton 1:46
Oh, I'm fangirling because I've been listening to you since the first episode. Amazing work.
Jenna Love 1:51
Aw fabulous. Thank you so much.
Jenna Love 1:54
So we've got a bunch of questions for you, things that Holly and I were thinking about that we wanted to ask you about. And we've also got quite a few questions actually from our patrons. So we'll start off with our questions.
Charlie Swinton 2:07
Holly Harte 2:08
Okay, so can you tell us how you got into the industry?
Charlie Swinton 2:12
The creation myth, Charlie style?
Holly Harte 2:14
Charlie Swinton 2:18
I am an accidental sex worker and a very late starter. I had a marriage breakdown and started to sort of look around at what a lady with children who's a little older might do in her love life and was hooking up with a few people. And I don't know, I started rejecting people, because that's what you do. And they started offering me money. And I thought that's ridiculous, who would want to pay money to have sex with me. But then one day, you know, single mom and all that I thought, oh, well, maybe I could give that a go. And it wasn't--it was a lovely guy who made that first offer, it just wasn't my type. So I went and I gave it a go. And it turned out, I really loved it. The guy was obviously on the spectrum, and didn't have a lot of social contact and stuff. And I made him so happy. And I walked out of that appointment with $300. And that was enough to put petrol in my car, buy all my groceries, you know, and pay a bill that was desperately needing payment. And so from there, I just sort of went, oh, I don't know, how do I do this? And I put an ad on Craigslist, right before they shut it down. I was just inundated with queries, and it sort of all went on from there.
Holly Harte 3:25
Pretty cool. So it sparked a fire this initial, you know, sort of wading into it and you went, this is something I can definitely commit to.
Charlie Swinton 3:33
Well, it turned out--I was one of those girls that grew up with that fairytale, you know, that I was going to find the perfect man, and it was all going to be gorgeous. And we were going to be, you know,
Holly Harte 3:44
I can relate
Charlie Swinton 3:44
together forever, and everything was gonna be fine.
Jenna Love 3:46
Holly still has that fairy tale.
Jenna Love 3:48
Yeah, I'm--my dream is to be a wife, like that is my life goals.
Charlie Swinton 3:52
Look it can happen. It can, but for a lot of people, I think it's a big lie. And when you when you find yourself sort of at the end of what you thought was gonna last forever, you have to really dig deep to sort of find a new way of being in the world and, and all that. And I have a few personal kind of circumstances that mean that this work works really well for me, which meant that when I did accidentally fall into it, I just found that it suited everything I needed. I have a few little health issues, not major ones, but ones that make it difficult to work full time. And I have a little fellow who's got autism. So it's really great to be able to be home as often as I can be, and still make enough money to support him in his education and his therapy and all the rest of it. So I had no way to do that. And this, this has saved my family.
Holly Harte 4:37
Oh, that's massive. I don't know I'm sorry to ask maybe a really basic question. How long have you been in the industry?
Charlie Swinton 4:44
Four and a bit years? Not very long. Really.
Jenna Love 4:48
I think you're a veteran.
Charlie Swinton 4:49
And I know that I think there are some people who are listening who will have a very different experience to me and it's not empowering and it doesn't have to be empowering, but for me it is, for me it's lifted me out of a poverty treadmill that I was looking down the barrel of for the rest of my life, and has done the same for my children and the next generation of my family. So I'm really conscious that not everyone has that experience, that it can be traumatic for some and everything but for me, it has saved me.
Jenna Love 5:16
Absolutely. Look, everyone's story is valid and needs to be heard. And thank you so much for sharing so honestly, and yeah, I think that's it's really wonderful to hear
Charlie Swinton 5:27
I am a heart on sleeve kind of girl.
Jenna Love 5:29
Yeah. You are. Very true. Yeah. Hookers with hearts of gold? So speaking of your kids, you I mean, you proudly advertise as a MILF, you are Charlie MILFy Swinton.
Charlie Swinton 5:43
Jenna Love 5:44
So do you get many clients who are really seeing--like seeking you out because that's, that's a fetish? They're looking to do an older woman fantasy? Or have you had people that are sort of uncomfortable with it?
Charlie Swinton 5:57
I've had both. Vastly more on the on the pro side of things than the con side of things. But there is a bit of a myth about young men wanting MILFs. I'm not saying that doesn't happen. I do have a lot of young clients who love the older woman thing. But the vast majority of people who find MILFy really appealing are dads, it's dads.
Holly Harte 6:18
That doesn't surprise me at all. Because I find, you know, a lot of men want to relate to someone on their own age or, you know, in that sort of age group where they just they feel safe and connected, and that they can relate to not that they have to
Charlie Swinton 6:31
there's a bit of shared life experience.
Holly Harte 6:33
Charlie Swinton 6:33
And a lot of people are, I don't know if this might be politically incorrect, but I do see quite a lot of men that are married. And I don't think they don't love and want to be with their wives. There are circumstances in everyone's life that I don't know of, and I don't judge. But I can see that for a lot of people. I think there's a real wish there that they could have that. And so MILFy can sort of fill a little gap, you know, for that compassionate, wifely type person, although I can be very naughty and fun too, I'm not horribly boring wife!
Jenna Love 7:02
Not at all!
Holly Harte 7:03
And often people--younger guys will come to see me. And they really have a great time and they love the MILFy thing. But you can see that for them it's a little bit more confronting, like it's some perhaps not the sort of sex they used to - older women really know what they want. They don't hesitate in asking for it or saying no, not like that. Whereas--
Jenna Love 7:25
I've been told off by Charlie before!
Holly Harte 7:27
Charlie Swinton 7:29
You have not.
Jenna Love 7:30
I got a tiny bit teethy
Charlie Swinton 7:32
Oh, I remember that.
Holly Harte 7:36
I like direct though
Jenna Love 7:38
It was all very amicable. Yeah, no, she's fantastic. It's great.
Charlie Swinton 7:42
Oh, my doubles partners do know too that, you know, if they need--if they've got a client that needs bossing, I'm a good choice.
Jenna Love 7:50
Very very true. So one of our patrons, as a bit of a follow up to this, one of our patrons, is a sex worker who is 35 years old, and a mom of two kids. And she asked about this sort of question. She said, "Why did you decide to be open about having kids about being a MILF on your ads?" she asked, "Does it help to get more bookings? And what kind of clients are attracted?", which you have kind of answered. She's asking because she's sort of, I think questioning whether or not she should be open about that in her advertising.
Charlie Swinton 8:20
Look, if this comes with a big caveat of course, that anything I say may or may not work for other people. So I am no expert in any way. I also am really cognizant of security issues and things when it comes to family and children in this industry. So you will find that my children have got a moniker, "the tiny terrorists". And other than that no one knows anything about them. I have revealed the special needs situation today. But you do need to be very careful about advertising that you have children, because there are people out there that will target you because of that. But so outside of the little disclaimer and warning, I decided to own it because I come from a different background. I did not come from a sex work background. I came from a swinging background. And the online hookups and all the rest of it and in that market MILFs where it's at?
Jenna Love 9:13
Ah, okay, interesting.
Holly Harte 9:15
Jenna Love 9:16
Everybody wants to bonk the MILF, right. All the unicorns in the older swinging groups are MILFs. That's what it's all about. So I didn't have a negative connotation associated with the word and when I came and joined the sex industry, I saw several other workers in my vague age kind of group who hated the word and actively told people off if they used it, really, really didn't want to be associated with that. And I'm not sure why. But when I had positive reactions from clients about that I just went oh bugger it, okay, MILF! Yes, I am. And someone who I saw regularly for a very long time actually called me MILFy. And it stuck.
Holly Harte 9:57
That's how I've always known you Yeah, and I suppose a lot of people do. You've always been MILFy.
Holly Harte 10:02
I know. But I wasn't. I was just Charlie, I was actually Charliegirl for a long time, because I was an online kind of person for a while. And yeah, Charliegirl was my name. Older workers, they often enter the industry under this impression that they won't do as well as young whippersnappers. Because you know, doesn't matter how pretty you are, your body does age. And as you head into your late 30s, (and 40s around the corner), you don't look the same as everyone else. But it's not true. And I thought that too, I thought I wasn't going to be able to really make a go of it, I just--see how it went. But I didn't have a lot of hope. And it turns out, there's a massive market for mature workers, perhaps even more so than some of the other segments, not the really young ones, the 18 to 22 year olds, or the 20 to 24 year olds, whatever it is, always do really, really well. But there is something that comes once you hit a certain age or a certain level of maturity, I don't think there's a number attached to it necessarily, your dates or your bookings change and people, I don't know, there's a real personal kind of care element to the whole thing, as well as the sexy nasty, you know, "spank my ass like a drum" stuff. So it's, yeah, I don't know, I think that older workers often feel like they're coming to the end of things. And it's not necessarily the case, you can be just as successful with kids, without kids, old, young, there is a way to make it work. You just got to be creative about it, and embrace who you are. MILFy has done me a great service. And one day I will graduate and become a cougar of some sort with a new name and you know, a new approach. And that'll be just fine, too.
Jenna Love 11:36
Maybe one day, you'll be G-MILFy
Holly Harte 11:38
Jenna Love 11:39
Oh yeah, GILFy!
Charlie Swinton 11:41
I have, I have a few jokes about the GILFy thing. I don't think I'm going to be GILFy. That's gonna appeal in quite the same way. But a Mrs Robinson, the same kind of character, not that name, but you know, something like that. I think that might work for the next stage.
Holly Harte 11:55
Jenna Love 11:55
I look forward to the new Charlie, the next stage of Charlie
Charlie Swinton 11:59
I have my last name already. You want to know my last name will be?
Jenna Love 12:03
Charlie Swinton 12:04
So I don't know--you guys are a little bit younger than me, but the person who played Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate movie was Anne Bancroft. And she was hot. And older. And so I'm going to be something Bangcroft with a 'g'.
Holly Harte 12:18
I love that.
Jenna Love 12:22
Charlie Swinton 12:23
So I'm putting that out there, it's mine, keep your hands off it.
Jenna Love 12:28
Holly Harte 12:30
So here's another really typical question for a MILF. What do your kids think that you do? And do you ever plan to tell them about the work as they get older?
Charlie Swinton 12:41
So I'm out to everyone in my circles, my friends, my family, the only people that don't know are my children, and my grandmother, who's 94. And let's not upset 94 year old nanna.
Jenna Love 12:52
Na, she doesn't need that
Charlie Swinton 12:54
There's no need at this stage to tell her. But as far as my kids go, I tell them I'm an event manager and I do hospitality work, because it helps me cover the nighttime type nature of my work or the interstate travel that I need to do. And it actually does align a little bit vaguely with what I used to do. I've got a corporate background, I've had a couple of careers. Now this is my third one. And by far and away the best. I don't have a plan to tell them, I am going to play that as it comes. But we have a lot of open conversations in our house about sex, in age appropriate ways obviously. My oldest is just now getting to an age where these sorts of things are very interesting. He read something in the newspaper a little while ago, or online, how old am I? About about a stripper, and we--that led to a conversation about how it was just a job. And it was no big deal, really. And you know, he was quite open to that way of thinking of things. So generally, my plan is to educate them really well in a sexually positive way, in a feminist kind of way, so that when they do come to the point where they either find out or I feel comfortable telling them, the ground's sort of been prepped a little bit so that the reception won't be too bad. The other thing to say is that my mother was a sex worker. And, and I--
Holly Harte 14:14
Charlie Swinton 14:15
I know right? And I didn't know that growing up. I had no idea. She didn't do it throughout my whole childhood, when I was quite young. But she told me about it.
Holly Harte 14:23
How did you find out?
Charlie Swinton 14:23
So she sat me down and told me about it when I was about 19. And I didn't react well to the idea of my mother having sex at all. But I didn't think less of her because it was work. I didn't want to talk to her about it any further after she told me about it. And I never really did until I became a sex worker. But I didn't think less of her. I didn't lose respect for her. And I'm hoping that I'll have the same experience with my kids.
Jenna Love 14:49
Can I ask what her reaction was and how that conversation went down between the two of you when you told her about your career change?
Charlie Swinton 14:57
Yeah , well look, I mean, when my mom worked in this industry, obviously things were really different. Yellow Pages was the go to and my mom worked for an agency. But again, I think in her day, the arrangements with agencies and that were quite different too, so it was reliable for her and she was paid well, and she was sent to safe places. That was her experience, not suggesting that's everyone's experience. So when I talked to her about it, she was quite worried that I would have someone else in control of who I saw and that sort of stuff. And once she came to the realisation that I was thoroughly independent, and treating it as a proper business, as I would have done with any other work I might have taken on, she was really supportive, really supportive. And I did at one stage, sit her down and said, "Mom, I think this is actually like a calling, I'm really good at this, I not just making the money, I'm actually making people's lives better. And I feel like I'm doing something useful in the world". And from that point onwards she's just been really, really supportive. My brothers had a little bit of "ew" kind of reaction. Because I'm a lot older than they are. And I sort of like a second mom,
Charlie Swinton 15:00
and they're brothers, you know, you're their Sister, I think that's understandable
Jenna Love 15:52
and they've always been very protective and all that sort of stuff. But they have not in any way shunned me or suggested that I should, you know, do something different. They've been concerned for my safety. And they've been concerned not to be told any details about my sex life in any way whatsoever.
Jenna Love 16:23
As it should be.
Charlie Swinton 16:23
Jenna Love 16:25
So you've said that you are out to everyone, except for your kids and your grandma. So how does that go in terms of like school mums? Are you afraid of the other mums finding out?
Charlie Swinton 16:35
So obviously, yes, not being out to my kids means that I'm not out to the communities that they're in either. My kids go to a religious school. So there is a little bit of concern about what would happen if they find out although I've accepted the inevitability of that happening at some point, I'm mostly face-in, but there is enough face-out stuff of me that it could possibly be picked up by a friend at school in high school once we we're there. And as I said, my plan is to just deal with it as it comes. I just--I try to be honest and open about these things. And I'm just hoping it will get me through
Jenna Love 17:04
sounds like as good a plan as any to me. I mean, you can't you can't really plan for it.
Charlie Swinton 17:07
Well, I mean, you know, you cannot have preconceptions about other people's reactions to things. My very brief jaunt into the world of SWERFs has taught me that there is some nastiness out there waiting for me. But there's no point worrying about it, because I can't control it.
Jenna Love 17:23
Yeah. Spoken like a true mum. I'm sure my mum's given me that advice before
Charlie Swinton 17:31
Much easier to give it out than to adhere to it, tell you what.
Holly Harte 17:36
So you are someone who does tour. How do you deal with that with the kids? And how do they handle it when you're away for a while?
Charlie Swinton 17:44
I have a lot of support. The kids father is fully aware of what I do and really supportive, and when I'm away they're with him. So I'm lucky that we have a good relationship that way. My mother and my mother in law are also both really supportive. Oh, my mother in law doesn't know what I do either. There we go. So they all step in to take care of the childcare stuff. My littlest one when I come home is always very emotional and clingy. So I do try to limit the amount of touring I do. Probably people haven't noticed but I tend to do it in blocks. So I'll do two or three tours in a row with a couple of weeks in between. And then I won't tour for several months. And then I do that again. And that was my rhythm. Although obviously at the moment, I mean, I have cancelled seven tours running. I'm not going anywhere. And my kids are very happy.
Jenna Love 18:34
I have to say like I have met up with you while you were on tour. And I have to say that I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, there's an element of perhaps freedom that comes with your time spent away from the home?
Charlie Swinton 18:49
Absolutely, yes, it is different for someone who is a mum and having to do all the housework and the cooking and the, you know, running children around and stuff in normal life. So when you do go away, it is a bit like a holiday, in a way. So there's a work element, obviously. And when I'm touring and away from my children, I feel like I should be making the most of that time, financially. But I'm away, and I can sleep in and I don't have to cook and you know, lovely men show up and want to spend nice times with me and bring me presents. And yeah, it is a bit of a fairy tale kind of existence. But you have to be really careful because it's so easy to get lost in that fantasy world. And I have to come back to earth because there are people waiting for me.
Jenna Love 19:34
Yeah, absolutely. And as you said, there is always that overarching pressure of "I'm here to make money". So that's--
Charlie Swinton 19:43
Jenna Love 19:43
--You've got to do that because of those people who when you come back who are depending on you.
Charlie Swinton 19:47
Yeah, look and because time away from home is difficult, given the circumstances at home with my kids - there are special arrangements we need to have in place and things. I really hold myself to that. So y ou'll very rarely find Charlie on tour going sightseeing, or anything. That's not what it's about.
Jenna Love 20:05
Of course. So obviously, lock downs are difficult for most people. All of us here on the call are stuck in our respective states. But I can imagine that the combination of not being able to do your job and everything that comes with that, and having to suddenly pivot to becoming essentially a homeschool teacher, that sounds like expert level lockdown into me. So how has COVID been for your family? And I guess hopefully, have there been any positives that have come out of it?
Charlie Swinton 20:32
Yeah, lockdowns are hard. I think they're hard whether you've got kids or not - just in different ways. For us, yes, I've become homeschool extraordinaire person. It is really, really becoming a slog. I think at first there was a great novelty that we all enjoyed having extra time together. And we did lovely things. And I sort of thought to myself, "Oh, this is okay, my kids will grow up and they'll look back and remember this time, it we'll be a close family" and all that sort of stuff. But as it's dragged on, the impact on them, emotionally and things has become really severe as it would be if we unlocked and everyone got sick. I'm not advocating either way. But I can see what's happening to them. And I can't stop it. And it's quite difficult to to live with, really, no matter how many, you know, dog walks and treats and movie nights and things I do, I can't stop what's happening. And it's a little bit heartbreaking. And then on top of that, yes, we've got financial problems, like a lot of workers I'm not eligible for several different sorts of support. So I found myself in a bit of a limbo position. And it's only with the very, very lovely support of clients that I'm actually still able to have a house to live in. And food on my table. So this lockdown in particular has been the hardest one, and I will not make any secret of the fact that I'm not coping all that well. I mean, I am. The daily stuff is happening. But the emotional trauma of it is starting to really add up,
Jenna Love 21:58
What number is this for you guys?
Charlie Swinton 22:00
Number six, but we have had four, five, and six back to back with only a few weeks in between
Jenna Love 22:05
Charlie Swinton 22:06
And I am a good little saver.
Jenna Love 22:08
And number number two was very long as well.
Charlie Swinton 22:10
Number two was huge, right. And then we got out of number two, and we cruised along it was okay, there were a few little shorter, sharper ones, or, you know, some restrictions brought in. All of that was okay, although work dies off every time there is a short, sharp lockdown for about a month to six weeks afterwards, takes a little while for it to come back. And then because we had these ones back to back, then one of our unlocking periods was also over the school holidays, which is always a quiet time in our industry for everyone. I think no matter how good you are at saving, it's just not enough time to rekindle that little nest egg that you need. So it's just yeah, it is getting harder and harder and harder. And I'm in Melbourne, I think most people know that. But Victoria is looking less and less like they're going to come out anytime soon. And yeah, look, it's just heartbreaking. But not just for workers. It's heartbreaking for everybody.
Jenna Love 22:58
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for for sharing, as you said, it's tough for everyone. Yeah, I think it's helpful to hear other's experiences in some way. I know Holly and I chat a lot about how we're coping, or not coping, as the days go. And the one tiny thing that helps me is knowing that other people feel the same way. And that it's not that it's me--
Holly Harte 23:21
She loves to know that I feel awful
Charlie Swinton 23:26
That's cos she's in New South Wales, right? I'm teasing you Jenna
Jenna Love 23:33
Somewhat comforting. I know, it's somewhat comforting to know that it's the situation not myself, if that makes sense.
Charlie Swinton 23:39
That's right. And look I think that the country is full of very angry and unhappy, severely stressed people for very good reason. And it's really difficult not to blame people for it. And there are some people that deserve blame, I know. But it generally--this is a pandemic. It's a naturally occurring phenomena that is ruining our lives. And there's no one really to blame. I mean no one person has a perfect answer for what this is or how we get out of it. And it's just awful. And I was thinking that our generation just isn't used to this level of suffering and you know, fiscal bum fucking. We're just not. But I look back, I think about my grandmother, who is still kicking, as I mentioned earlier, and she lived through the depression, the war, a polio epidemic, a flu epidemic for her children as a mother, all that sort of stuff. And it's not--it was something that they came to accept - the death, ups and downs, financial ruin, all of those things are part of life. And our generation is not used to that. We are used to "I'm making these plans. This is what my life's gonna look like. I shall now execute the plan. Here is my life". That's not the way the world really works. And I think it's been really hard to come to terms with that.
Holly Harte 23:39
Jenna Love 23:39
I think you're right. Shit's been pretty good for us, you know?
Charlie Swinton 23:40
Look, it might be in the long term. And it's probably really good for our kids in the long term, not right this moment, because they will be able to deal with whatever life throws at them. And I have a feeling life has a few things left to throw.
Jenna Love 25:14
Yeah, look, things things don't seem to be on the upward slant at the moment
Holly Harte 25:19
the climate change is on it's way.
Charlie Swinton 25:20
And that's what I was thinking. Yeah, exactly.
Jenna Love 25:23
Jenna Love 25:28
Do you miss the free and affordable ads and social networks without all of the anti sex rhetoric?
Holly Harte 25:33
Assembly Four is a team of sex workers and technologists from Melbourne, Australia, aiming to bring back free and fair advertising and social spaces to the sex working community,
Jenna Love 25:42
stepping away from the clunky design of traditional platforms, their two products tryst.link and switter.at are refreshing and well needed changes in both presentation and mission.
Holly Harte 25:54
And both are free to join and open to all
Jenna Love 25:56
You can find both of our profiles on Tryst. And I love how it is so clearly designed by sex workers.
Holly Harte 26:03
Yep. And I love how straightforward and easy it is to use and how much they clearly support the sex working community.
Jenna Love 26:09
And also how responsive they are when it comes to feedback and customer service.
Holly Harte 26:13
Check out their website assemblyfour.com (four the word not the number) for more info.
Holly Harte 26:26
We have some wonderful patron questions this week with some really insightful and possibly challenging questions. So good luck, MILFy
Jenna Love 26:33
also some silly ones.
Holly Harte 26:34
Yeah, and a few fun ones. Yeah. Okay. We have our first question. I know you advertise on multiple platforms, how do you think that expectations vary depending on the platform through which the client approaches you?
Charlie Swinton 26:47
What I would say is that there are genuine and beautiful clients hiding in all of the different mediums where I advertise, which includes directories and things and also Twitter, the differenc is in the volume of crap you have to wade through to find them. So there's that. If you were to look at it from the other perspective, you've got your quotation marks, high end, quotation marks, directories, I think those clients are expecting, you know, a certain level of professionalism. And if they don't get that they're not happy. Whereas some of the other sites, they're a little more casual, they're approaching it with a more casual attitude overall, usually, although that said, there are exceptions. You know, some of my biggest spending clients have come from places you might not have thought to find them, like Escorts and Babes or something. But I did have to wade through a whole lot of, you know, "u available babe?" stuff to find them.
Jenna Love 27:42
Yeah, look, there are certain websites that are sort of known as, you know, that if you advertise on there, you are going to have to wade through a bunch of time wasters, trolls, etc, right?
Charlie Swinton 27:53
And I think that to make the most of those sorts of environments, you have to have a, an approach or a demeanour, that means that they're not going to make you angry. So I have a rule, I answer all of the queries that I get that have content in them, not necessarily the ones that just say, "Hey, you there?", or "babe?" or whatever, I don't necessarily answer those ones. But even the ones where it's this stilted sentences, or they can't spell or whatever, or they may be even a tiny bit rude, I answer all of them. And I wait for the response to see whether I'll progress from there or not. And if they give me a response that I don't like, I don't berate them, or tell them off, either. Just stop answering. Or I politely say, "Look, I'm not interested dah dah dah wish you luck". And off they go. I think it's really important not to lose my cool, not because of them, but because of me. Because then I start to get bitter, and start to expect my clients to be taking advantage or to be coming from a certain mindset. And a lot of the time, they're not - a lot of the time, they just don't have any contact with our industry. And they don't know how to make an inquiry in the way that we want them to. So often, I'm not talking about hand holding. But often if you read between the terrible sentence structure, there's a lovely person there, you know?
Jenna Love 29:13
Yeah, my rule is three messages. I think sometimes giving them a little bit more of an opportunity, maybe their nerves, the initial nerves go away a little bit or you can give a bit more space for the real person to come through
Charlie Swinton 29:28
There's a lot of people that maybe they don't like--so I require deposits for every single person that comes to see me and a lot of people they don't like that. But if I deal with them really politely and explain, you know, very clearly that my reasons are because of the risk to me and the risk to my income, and that it's not a reflection on me trusting them or not trusting them. It's an act of faith. And so that we can start our relationship in a good fashion from both sides. I politely explain that to everybody who objects and most of them I never hear from again, but A lot of them I do, a lot of them will send a query a few weeks later and say, "Oh, look, I had to think about it, you really do seem genuine. I'd really like to go ahead with the booking". So I think losing your stuff at people is sort of shooting yourself in the foot, even though it's really frustrating to have to keep doing it.
Holly Harte 30:16
Jenna Love 30:17
So okay, another question about expectations. How have client expectations changed over your experience in the industry?
Charlie Swinton 30:26
My expectation of clients when I started, I had no contact with sex work either. And I had the same stigmatising perceptions of clients as everyone else. I thought, "who am I going to meet? Who are these weirdos and creeps" and dadadadada and then I met them. And it turns out, they're actually really lovely, normal people with normal lives who have, you know, good jobs, bad jobs, in between jobs, who have manners, no manners, in between manners, it's the full gamut. And so I actually had my faith restored somewhat in men by becoming a sex worker, not because of the idiots on the phone who say nasty things, but because almost everyone who appears in my room or who I go to visit is lovely. And it may not be my version of lovely, everyone is trying their best from where they are coming from. So their version of being nice to someone might be offering you a glass of water, right? That's lovely. They're trying to make you feel comfortable. Someone else's version is giving you a bottle of, you know, $500 champagne. But whichever one it is, as long as they're making some effort to create a level of comfort for the two of you, then that's pretty cool. And, um, I had lost a little bit of faith because of the relationship stuff and everything before I came. And this has been restoring
Holly Harte 31:39
What is your favourite type and/or length of booking?
Charlie Swinton 31:43
Well, you know, we're here to make money. "I love all the bookings!" That said, I love a dinner date, obviously, not just because it's a longer booking, but because it's so nice to sit and have the anticipation build and have a little glass of wine and a bit of banter. I'm reasonably good at talking to all sorts of different people I have dinner dates in pubs in in like takeaway fish and chips on the beach, or in a fancy restaurant or a hotel, it doesn't really matter to me where we are, it's spending that little bit of time to get to know each other just a little bit and like each other - because liking each other leads to really awesome sex. Outside of the dinner date, my favourite is two hours. I like to have you come see me, I've got 15 minutes or so to sit to have a drink with you or talk to you or whatever, throw you in the shower, get you in bed, there's time to have more than one go, there's time to have a little chat in between sessions, and when you leave, I feel like I actually know someone I've got to get to know someone again. Whereas the one hour one, I do love, but it is much more functional.
Jenna Love 32:49
It is quite-- like an hour does go by quite quickly doesn't it?
Charlie Swinton 32:51
It really does. And I'm happy to do more than one go in an hour. That's not a problem for me. But there's not a lot of talking, which is fine. But it does mean I don't know much about you. And you know, you've been inside me and I don't know anything about you. It is a weird feeling.
Jenna Love 33:07
I think you were one of the first sex workers I saw, in my sort of circles at least, that started offering 'Netflix and Chill' packages.
Charlie Swinton 33:15
I wasn't the first, I do remember that I got the idea from somewhere else. But yes, it was early on. And they're really popular. Really, really popular. Because the social element spent in the room too. I think some workers struggle to know how to structure that price wise and behaviour wise and all the rest of it. I'm a bit casual about my approach to some things and not others. So in Netflix and chill, I don't mind if we sit on the couch and have a bit of a smooch. You know, but the actual business end of things doesn't start till after the Netflix.
Jenna Love 33:47
Yeah, cool. I've never done that sort of booking myself and I know Holly does offer them too. So I find it interesting, I think I'd enjoy
Holly Harte 33:54
But I split mine. I don't really like to do Netflix and chill. I don't like to mix it because that's that whole thing about you either book a session with me for sex. And that's a four hour booking of full priced, you know, or you book the snuggle session because otherwise I feel like people take advantage and like you said it's really about being able to assert your own boundaries. And for me I feel like people who would usually book four hours and pay the full price will book the Netflix and chill and then just push boundaries the whole Netflix time. So I prefer to delineate those really clearly and say you either book if you're gonna have sex with me in the booking we need to do like a proper booking and if you want to just snuggle on the couch and have no sex then we do that. So I'm really strict on on that. So yeah.
Charlie Swinton 34:40
Yeah, look and I don't I don't blame you for that. I I know that people do try to take advantage if you give an inch and all that, you know.
Holly Harte 34:47
Charlie Swinton 34:48
I'm very clear with people that the first half of the booking if they book that will be social time. I keep my clothes on during the social time. So there's, you know, limited amounts of access that they have anyway.
Jenna Love 35:00
That's why I can't - I can't keep my clothes on.
Holly Harte 35:03
Well, this is the problem
Jenna Love 35:04
This is why I can't do bookings like that
Holly Harte 35:04
Yeah I can't control myself. Yeah. I don't know if I'm as worried about them.
Charlie Swinton 35:08
But I will reveal a very large secret for you if you like,
Jenna Love 35:12
Holly Harte 35:12
Charlie Swinton 35:13
For three years, I think I've had my Netflix and chill package in play. And I have watched Netflix twice. Yeah. Twice. In all of that time. People just want to sit and chat. And they're looking for a booking structure where there's some time before the business end of things, to have some, you know, nice banter. And, look, I have a sense of humour. I'm good at making people laugh and feel comfortable. And I think it really helps them.
Jenna Love 35:38
Yeah, so it's an indoor social date.
Charlie Swinton 35:40
Exactly. And I have the Netflix and chill. And I also do a shorter version, which is just drinks and dessert, which we can do in a bar or we can do in the room doesn't matter to me. And it really seems to help people feel at ease, especially newbies, or people coming out of relationships, because coming out of a relationship to have sex with new people is really overwhelming. And really overwhelming. I mean, even even cuddling someone they feel the wrong size and shape and stuff. It takes ages to get used to. And I'm very happy to provide some nice space for that.
Jenna Love 36:09
Our next patron question, they said, If you happen to ask this, it'll be interesting to see if she gives the correct answer, so no pressure, but who is your favourite member of Monty Python?
Charlie Swinton 36:22
Oh the correct answer? I see. Someone my dad's age has asked the question.
Jenna Love 36:30
I don't think they are actually!
Holly Harte 36:31
Charlie Swinton 36:33
Holly Harte 36:36
That is funny.
Charlie Swinton 36:38
John Cleese is my favourite, but that's not the correct answer and I'm aware of that.
Holly Harte 36:44
Why is that not correct?
Jenna Love 36:45
I don't know what any of this means.
Jenna Love 36:46
So John Cleese is an arsehole of a person. But he is an amazing comedian and performer and has a lot of redemptive qualities in the way he views the world and things. I think Michael Palin and is supposed to be the correct answer, because he's supposed to be the most talented one who writes most of the good songs and stuff.
Jenna Love 37:04
Well, I don't know who any of those people are. I cannot stand Monty Python. I'm sorry.
Charlie Swinton 37:10
Jenna Love 37:11
I've just lost a bunch of clients, haven't I?
Charlie Swinton 37:14
No they'll forgive you, though. As long as you know, there's always The Goons
Holly Harte 37:18
Jenna Love 37:19
Charlie Swinton 37:20
The Goon Show. I'm just throwing a bit of marketing in, don't worry. The Goon Show was before Monty Python and inspired Monty Python.
Jenna Love 37:31
So I would probably also hate that too.
Charlie Swinton 37:34
Most likely, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sort of like back Dudley Moore kind of time, like way back?
Holly Harte 37:40
Oh yeah. What is the best restaurant in Melbourne?
Charlie Swinton 37:43
I have no answer for this question.
Holly Harte 37:46
What's your favourite?
Charlie Swinton 37:47
There's a couple of really great restaurants in Melbourne. Obviously, we're renowned for our amazing dining. I love one that a client introduced me to called Sezar, which is an Armenian restaurant. It's so beautiful. It's just you can dine banquet style, or you can do the a la carte thing. But the banquet style is the way to go. Because then you can try a little bit of everything. And it's this really strange blend, I'd never tried Armenian food before.
Jenna Love 38:11
Yeah I don't think I have
Charlie Swinton 38:12
N o, it's a great blend of like European, Southern European and Middle Eastern food. And it's just like, it's stunning. So you can have zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and also have hummus.
Jenna Love 38:25
It sounds fantastic.
Charlie Swinton 38:26
Yeah, it's really good. Or, you know, rice with currants and things in it, but also roasted lamb shoulder, or it's a strange combination, and it's really yum. And the best, best best best steak in Melbourne is at Pascale, which is that part of the QT hotel. Their restaurant is amazing. Service is amazing. And then for like casual sort of dining, I really love The Waiters Club, or the Waiters Restaurant, I think it's called sorry, which just does really simple pasta and risotto. And if you order a glass of wine, it comes in a kitchen glass, you know, like the old Vegemite glasses. And they're open till like three in the morning. So they're a great place to go for a late night snack.
Charlie Swinton 38:32
This is amazing. This is like Charlie's food tour of Melbourne.
Charlie Swinton 39:14
Oh I can keep going, it's just crazy. I am so lucky to get to try so many restaurants because that's the mother of young children, there was a time where I thought I would never eat out again ever. So it's been such a lovely treat to be able to go and try all these places.
Jenna Love 39:32
Hopefully some of them are able to make it through the current situation and come out the other end.
Charlie Swinton 39:36
Look, I've lost my local Thai takeaway, which is the only one that didn't like coriander and they've gone now I have to eat coriander
Jenna Love 39:49
That's not fair. Okay, I think I could be wrong because I've copied this across from our Patreon but I think that the next question is actually being asked by somebody who is a parent themselves as well, and we have sort of touched on it, but the question is, one of the ways to remove the stigma of sex work and indeed of sex positivity as a whole, is to raise children to view the full spectrum of sexuality as healthy and sex work as a legitimate career. And yet we know that at the moment, that is not exactly the prevailing view of society. So how do you balance the need to de stigmatise sex work with the importance of protecting your children from avoidable social backlash?
Charlie Swinton 40:31
I mentioned earlier that my mum was a sex worker. And so I was brought up in an environment where all things to do with sex were viewed as able to be spoken about openly. And you know, there wasn't a lot of ick factor except for the parents having sex of course. And you know being gay was normal, being bisexual was normal, being of a different gender, or changing gender was just fine. None of those things were unusual in my life. And so I've brought my children up the same way. Well before I became Charlie, we had discussions in our house about sexuality, and transgender stuff, and all that sort of thing, because it comes up, it comes up in the news, it comes up in family members making announcements. We do have one cousin who is transgender, and my children had questions about that when they were little, you know, and I just answered them honestly, that's the best I can do. And then as I mentioned earlier, so there was a conversation that came up about a stripper, and I was really careful to sort of make it clear that, you know, whatever she did with her body, she was making money and doing a good job. And it was her choice. And we have, we have conversations about consent all the time, about, you know, not touching your brother, keep your hands off your brother, even that sort of level for small children is really important, knowing that they get to control who touches them and when, not forcing hugs on people, all that sort of stuff. So it kind of runs the gamut. It's not just about stigma. It's about having a healthy attitude towards sex and consent across the board, and also having a really good handle on the fact that what--the choices that other people make are none of your business, they're just not.
Holly Harte 42:14
Gosh, I wish you were my mother.
Charlie Swinton 42:18
Unless you're cheering someone on, just keep your mouth shut. You don't have to agree. Like it's not actually a prerequisite.
Jenna Love 42:25
Yeah, bang on. For Shit People Say this week, it's a little bit tricky to come up with content, because Charlie is just such a bloody lovely person. And hopefully, people are generally quite nice to her. They better bloody be or I'll get onto them. But, but she does, she says she's got a story for us. So let's hear it.
Charlie Swinton 42:47
So well back when Charlie was just starting out, it was my very first tour in Melbourne. I would like to say a lovely gentleman showed up, but he was not lovely. A gentleman showed up with his own crystal glassware so that we could drink some champagne together because my glassware was bound to be inferior. And then he spent most of the hour and a half, I think it was that he booked for, talking to me about Hitler, and all of the wonderful things Hitler had done for the world, including pointing out you know, which races were not as good as others, and all of that sort of stuff. And then we moved from Hitler to Trump and how wonderful Trump was and how he would bring Hitler's vision to fruition. And wasn't that amazing. And I mean, I'm fairly left wing, I'm sure people have noticed. And I had to find a way to get through that booking without like, trying to kill him.
Jenna Love 43:39
So we're not just talking somebody who says, "look, Hitler had some redeeming qualities" or--
Charlie Swinton 43:44
No, no, no!
Jenna Love 43:46
It was full in support.
Jenna Love 43:47
It was full "I've read all of Mein Kampf, and I think he's amazing. And I know all of his life story and I have to tell you about every single thing Hitler has ever done or said". And it was soul destroying.
Holly Harte 43:59
So how did you manage that? Were you like, "Okay..."
Charlie Swinton 44:04
I pivoted to the Trump conversation and blew me out of the water
Jenna Love 44:08
How was that any better?
Holly Harte 44:09
That sounds pretty bad as well! Just to make sure the time--keep checking the clock like are we nearly there?
Charlie Swinton 44:17
What I actually had to do, which was my only choice, was to jump on and shut him up.
Jenna Love 44:21
But how gross is that?
Charlie Swinton 44:23
Well, yeah, it was hard to do. But I did it. You know, so like, yes, "come here, give me a kiss. You can't talk when my tongues in your mouth", thank you.
Holly Harte 44:32
You know, when people ask us about you know, are your clients unattractive or whatever, and it's like, dude, there's nothing physical that's gonna put me off but if you start telling me you love Hitler, that's gonna like--I'm not--doesn't make me horny.
Jenna Love 44:44
That'll do it.
Charlie Swinton 44:46
It is difficult if you are a fan of genocide to get excited, about sleeping with you, yes.
Holly Harte 44:54
Definitely not your kink, hey?
Charlie Swinton 44:56
No, I don't want people to think that I take those sort of issues lightly, I don't, which is why it upset me so much and why I had to find a way through and just the--I just had to get to the other side of this book in and do it in a way that kept me safe. Because sometimes when you call people on their beliefs, they can get quite irrational and things can change very quickly, and also made the time go as fast as possible. So I worked really hard so that the time would just be gone.
Jenna Love 45:23
It fascinates me how comfortable people are sharing opinions that are quite extreme or inflammatory to sex workers - I don't know if other people had this experience, but I think that, obviously, we're very good at creating safe spaces. And so people can feel comfortable, which is wonderful. But I have to wonder if there's this element of thinking that we don't maybe have our own views, or, you know, our reactions to those sorts of views don't matter or something like that.
Charlie Swinton 45:53
I think that's it, Jenna, and it can be quite upsetting because I think what it is, is that if someone's willing to reveal an opinion, they know to be abhorent, they don't really care what the other person thinks. So it's actually a problem in terms of my screening and security, for those sort of things to happen, because it means that person's not holding me in particularly high regard. And I would definitely never see anyone again after I'd had that experience. And that's not to say that if we have a political disagreement, I'm not going to see you that's very different from you want to wipe out a whole section of the world?
Jenna Love 46:26
Yeah, absolutely. There's levels here.
Charlie Swinton 46:28
I see a lot of people who are very right wing, and that's not a problem. I am actually able to not talk about politics, believe it or not, if they tell me extreme things, and it does happen quite a lot, particularly in Melbourne, because we've had all the lockdown. So we've got this really big growth in Qanon stuff happening. And I'm sure it will get happening in Sydney too and everywhere else. But it is a reaction to the distress that people are going through. So I try to see through that to what the where the suffering is coming from. And if I can't see that element, then it's sort of I'm left with "Well, you're just a crunt."
Jenna Love 47:04
Yeah, well, I had an overnight booking which obviously, we're different people, we often we have a lot of clients who are very different to us. And the first portion of it, the night portion, was absolutely fine. And then the next morning, we had a discussion where he revealed some stuff that I found to be incredibly racist. And then after we'd had that conversation, which is quite tense, because I'm not good at biting my tongue as anyone who's listened knows. And you know, I was still I was polite, but it was tense.
Charlie Swinton 47:33
Jenna Love 47:34
And then he was like, "anyway, like, one last go before we finish?" And I felt sick. I just I think that that's something that a lot of people don't realise is that, yeah, as Holly said, it's not about whether we find someone attractive, or if they're too too big or too small or too, whatever. But that was a real situation where I felt like a whore.
Charlie Swinton 47:56
Jenna Love 47:57
I had these moments. I was like, I don't want to be having sex with this person now. And I did it because it was coming to the end of the booking and I wanted it to be over. But it was not a nice feeling. And I think that's those nuances are perhaps lost by people who haven't been in those situations that we have like that.
Charlie Swinton 48:13
Yeah, no, I totally agree with that, you know, it's, um, it's difficult. There's no physical thing that would make me feel repulsed or turned off a client, I see people of all physical abilities and intellectual abilities and everything. So that's not a problem for me. And as I said before, if you if you think differently to me on the political spectrum, that's also okay. I have a lot of respect for people who are proper, you know, small l liberals and that sort of stuff, because there's a rationality to what they put forward and consistency to their beliefs. But if you're wackadoodle, that makes life really hard.
Jenna Love 48:49
Yes it does! Thank you so much for being here with us today, Charlie. It's been awesome to get to know a little bit more about you. Thanks for sharing your story.
Holly Harte 48:58
Bye. Thanks Charlie!
Charlie Swinton 48:59
See you guys. Thanks again.
Jenna Love 49:01
Charlie Swinton 49:01
Jenna Love 49:06
It's time for us to give a big shout out to all of our patrons. We are so grateful for your support, both financial and just emotional and it's just very nice. So this week, we have some new Giving Somebodies they are Helsing, Natalia Velour, and my mate Annie. We have new Generous Somebodies, Colin, Jamie and Indy. And our new Very Generous somebodies are Lola Hunt from Assembly Four, Justin, and Diane.
Holly Harte 49:39
Our Even More Generous Somebodies are Timmy, Andrew, Adam Smith, Leo, Lachlan, Cass, Sub London and Miss Billy. Our Extremely Generous Somebodies are Aaron, Samuel, Andrew, Pete, and Theodore Betts the First Esquire.
Jenna Love 49:58
Thanks so much for listening. We'll catch you next week. Please look out for us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Patreon. Our name everywhere is somebodyyoupod as in podcast. Our Patreon starts at just $3 a month, and you can get all of our episodes ad-free and a day early, plus bonus episodes, behind the scenes action, bloopers and more. Thank you for taking the time to listen to the voices of sex workers. And remember, Somebody You Love might just be a sex worker. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the sex industry. And snap lockdowns and travel restrictions mean that there are times when sex workers require emergency financial relief in order for them and their dependents to stay safe, housed and fed.
Holly Harte 50:48
Sex workers don't get sick or holiday pay and many have no savings to fall back on. The stigma and discrimination that we face means that some have no proof of earnings to access government support. And of course migrant workers are often forgotten
Jenna Love 51:01
Scarlet Alliance and their state and territory member organisations joined together to create an ongoing fund that is hosted on the website chuffed (that's CHUFFED)
Holly Harte 51:11
Donations are tax deductible. 100% of funds raised go directly to sex workers in need. And most weeks the amount of people apply outweigh the amount of funds raised and sadly people have to be turned away. The link to this fund is in our show notes.