That’s a pretty good answer to a joke about sex work

I guess I’m going to have to think about my price now. I think the clash for me (and everyone) is over what I think I’m worth, and what the market will pay.


  1. Matt G says

    The “joke” works just as well if the genders are reversed, so it’s a shame we don’t hear it the other way around more often.

  2. microraptor says

    Even after having been totally obliterated, he still feels the need to post the stupid-ass punchline that stopped being funny some time in the 19th Century.

  3. Jake Harban says

    If you’re a halfway decent person, I’d be willing to literally sleep with you for $500.

    No refunds for people who take me up on the offer because they don’t know what the word “literally” means.

  4. brett says


    Tells you how much he actually cares about what she’s saying. It’s like sexual harassment in that way.

  5. says

    People who feel the need to tell such “jokes” are those who are insistent on pointing out that all women are whores, full stop.

  6. devnll says

    So, we’ve established what sort of man you are, now we’re just haggling about levels of desperation.

  7. Sili says

    Why can anyone be clueless enough to put themselves in that joke? One’s supposed to fob it off on Churchill or Shaw.

  8. Siobhan says

    Advantages of being a pro Domme versus an escort:

    1) Part of the fantasy your clients are purchasing is the “my way or the highway” attitude they expect from their idea of a Domme.
    2) You can tell your clients their objective in a session is to please you, not the other way around. You can even order them to do what you actually like!
    3) Most of your clients are some combination of blindfolded, gagged, or tied up, so you’re in greater control.

    And my personal favourite:

    4) You can establish that haggling over your rate is a sign of intense disrespect which will result in you being blacklisted from the entire pro Domme network.

    Yes, pro dominatrices talk.

    Just think about it PZ. I’ll coach you for $240/hour. I’m sure you’d look great in a PVC corset. :P

  9. Jake Harban says

    The “joke” works just as well if the genders are reversed, so it’s a shame we don’t hear it the other way around more often.

    Except that a joke usually requires a subversion of expectation, and this “joke” subverts an expectation that very few non-misogynistic people have.

  10. Excluded Layman says

    But the structure of the joke doesn’t work! Any answer given is going to be a cost-benefit analysis, which means you look like a fool when you try to rebuke it with plainly canned, insinuated name calling. (Delivered late, for that matter.) The supposedly insulted party will furl her brow, shake her head in confusion and ask, “What kind of woman..? You mean like, ‘entrepreneurial’?”

    It may as well read like this:

    “Would you accept a life-changing amount of money for a momentary indignity?”
    “Would you accept an insultingly trivial amount for same?”
    “Why is that?”
    “Well, because—”
    “YOU’RE A WHORE!!!!” *runs away*

    At least then it’s passing over an opportunity for rudeness to create an expectation of civility, which sets up an unambiguous break from it.

    This is just more conservative checklists-as-comedy. Write a person’s name at the top of a page, draw a box on the left side, write a pejorative epithet next to it, and then put a check mark in it. “So we’ve established you = whore, INSULT COMPLETE; DEPENDENT CLAUSE TERMINATED. END TRANSMISSION.”

  11. Sastra says

    Jake Harban #4 had the same thought I did. Hell, I have such trouble with chronic insomnia that if you can guarantee I’d actually sleep I’d pay you.

    Though to be honest, if someone tried this old joke on me I’d probably just respond with “Okay, paint my garage!” One tired punchline deserves another. And mine is from a funnier joke.

  12. leftwingfox says

    There’s an odd whistling sound at the end there. Not sure if it’s the point sailing over his head or the wind whistling between his ears.

  13. microraptor says

    While we’re on the subject of sex-work, that reminds me of something I heard last year regarding prostitution laws in the US: it’s illegal to pay someone to have sex with you throughout most of the country- unless you record the act with the intent to distribute said recording, at which point it becomes pornography.

  14. cnocspeireag says

    I have heard the joke attributed to George Bernard Shaw and, less likely, to Winston Churchill. Whichever, it might have been funny then, it sure as hell isn’t now.

  15. gijoel says

    I wonder how many times a woman has said, “I wouldn’t sleep with you even if it your penis was the fountain of youth.”

  16. jongoldman says

    The real crime here is that she didn’t stop him at the beginning with a few options (and probably many more I can’t think of):

    1. Before we go any farther, show me the money so I can adequately immerse myself in your real life question.

    2. Really? I’m sorry your self esteem is so low that you think a million dollars is necessary for you to have sex.

    3. I had no idea you frequented prostitutes, but at least you pay them well.

  17. numerobis says

    I “love” that he just goes on ahead with the punchline as if she hadn’t actually answered.

  18. Ryan Cunningham says

    When someone says, “I’m going to tell a joke. Promise you won’t get offended,” it’s like saying, “I’m going to pour gasoline all over you and light this match. Promise you won’t catch on fire.”

  19. karpad says

    As a humor-related aside, I just want to say what she did there, taking a serious answer to an obvious old played out joke, is by a wide margin one of my favorite bits of meta-humor.
    For example: What’s worst than finding a worm in your apple? cancer.

  20. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    I always find it so weird when people “require you not get offended” by a joke. I did once tell a joke that resulted in someone threatening to kill me (which is quite funny, because it was, unless I vastly misunderstand these things, one of the least offensive jokes imaginable) but it’s never occurred to me either that anyone would get offended by my jokes (I only have two remembered things that count as jokes, and they are both about as offensive as a glass of milk (that one guy was obviously lactose intolerant)) or that it was reasonable for me to tell them, “you mustn’t be offended by this joke!” It’s basically just a way of saying, “hey! I’m about to make a joke predicated on belittling or demonising you, and if you don’t appreciate it, I’ve already established that you’re just too sensitive and humourless.”

  21. Intaglio says

    The alternative response is to say (after the $1 line) So women will only sleep with you for money – that’s so creepy

  22. Marc Abian says

    So women will only sleep with you for money – that’s so creepy

    Is it?

  23. dianne says

    What’s worst than finding a worm in your apple? cancer.

    Eh, depends on the apple, the worm, and the cancer. For example, if the apple is your computer from Apple which contains important and unbacked up information and the worm is currently destroying the Apple’s memory…well, you might be better off with an itty bitty stage I basal cell carcinoma in a non-cosmetically sensitive area.

  24. tkreacher says

    Excluded Layman #13

    It may as well read like this:
    “Would you accept a life-changing amount of money for a momentary indignity?”

    This seems to necessarily equate sex work to a loss of dignity.

  25. Matt G says

    Or: Is this more than adequate sum of money to compensate for something that’s less than adequate?

  26. anbheal says

    @31 tkreacher — I suspect the loss of dignity implied would be more closely related to sleeping with the sort of twit who’d pose the question. (But your larger point is well taken).

    @16 microraptor — I had a girlfriend who actually explored the business opportunity of creating a brothel where you would film the participants “with intent to distribute” but never distribute, or perhaps not even have film in the cameras…..and the clientele would pay $250 for their “porn auditions”. So it would be a plain old brothel, but you’d pretend to be making porn, and the johns could indulge themselves in the additional fantasy of being a momentary pornstar. She determined that 1) there were pretty significant legal hurdles outside of California and Nevada, and 2) johns don’t like the concept of being filmed, even if its a fake camera with no tape…..evidently it’s not socially acceptable behavior, so far as the wife and the vicar are concerned.

  27. woozy says

    What I never understood about this joke is that it requires an indignant shocked “No, what sort of woman do you think I am” to the one dollar question. However the only people who would say “Yes” to the million dollar question are practical, honest, pragmatic types. These people wouldn’t feign shock and indignation at the dollar question. Conversely those who express shock and indignation (feigned or sincere) would be never answer “yes” to the million dollar question. After all it’s obviously not a serious offer (neither is the one dollar for that matter) so one doesn’t have to answer honestly.

  28. says

    Intaglio @ 34:

    @ Marc Abian – the important word is “only” because that is creepy.

    I think you’re in the wrong here, and there’s some splash damage in your surety. Many people, for various reasons, have a love life which only involves sex workers. There’s nothing inherently creepy in that.

    In the case of the person in the OP, just about dying to tell that “joke”, they’re creepy, because it’s more than obvious the only point they had was “all women are whores, haw haw haw”.

  29. says


    What I never understood about this joke is that it requires an indignant shocked “No, what sort of woman do you think I am” to the one dollar question.

    It’s required because “you’re a whore! You’re still a whore, an expensive one!”

  30. microraptor says

    anbheal @33:

    I’m not pretending that I understand the legality of the situation very well. I just saw the quote in an article advocating the decriminalization of prostitution in the US, which is something I support. Keeping it illegal isn’t helping anyone.

  31. inquisitiveraven says

    IMHO, the real insult is making such a high offer, and then when it’s accepted attempting to renegotiate downward, and to such an extreme level. To which the only appropriate response is, “That’s not how you handle a price negotiation, ASSHOLE!”

  32. Menyambal says

    I have seen the same joke as just a non-sexual work offer. It describes a bad working situation, with loss of dignity, which is declined. Then the high salary is offered, and accepted. The wage is then lowered, et c.

    So it can be a non-sex joke, but it depends on the job being a bad one. Which says something about the joker’s idea of sex work.

    It really comes down to money, and to some sort of idea that uncompromisable principles are a thing. Which makes it a religious conservative idea. It’s the old slippery-slope things the Christians so fear.

    I say balls. There are sexual things that I have never done, for various reasons. But for one million dollars, I’d do them, and not feel traumatized after. I’d do them for free, if we both wanted.

    I’d not do them for a dollar, though. What kind of person do you think I am?

  33. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I feel like “sure, in the spirit that I’d eat a bug for a million dollars” would also be a good response to this canard. >.>

  34. says

    No, I won’t sleep with anybody for a million dollars. Because stigma against sex workers is still so high I might become unemployable as a teacher. Since I can reasonably expect to earn more in the course of my professional life and in form of pensions, 1 million doesn’t sound too sweet. Make it three and we’re talking.

  35. mbrysonb says

    For me the nub of this is the underlying idea of ‘kinds’ of people (women). It’s about taboo, the ‘unclean’ and simplistic, absolute, misogynistic ideas about who counts and who is unclean… We impose obsessive ideas about purity (cf. Leviticus) that somehow don’t apply to us, as a means to control others.

  36. Menyambal says

    I agree that this is about the idea that sex is dirtying, if done by women outside of marriage, or for money or pleasure. I remind that such a concept has to be taught, usually in irrational ways that can’t be remedied with reason. It also is not nearly as strong when applied to guys, so as the woman in the OP says, it’s misogyny. (As is the idea that sex for money once makes a woman always a whore.)

    The onus in the “joke” is on the woman for having sex for money. The guy isn’t catching shit for paying for sex or for haggling after closing or for insulting someone. I forget the movie, but there was one with a new sex worker feeling horrible because she had just had sex for money, and the guy was sneering at her. The other sex worker pointed out that the guy had to buy sex, so she was the winner.

  37. says


    The other sex worker pointed out that the guy had to buy sex, so she was the winner.

    That’s just as problematic in stigmatizing sex workers, and those who employ them.

  38. mbrysonb says

    I’m not sure about ‘just as problematic’– maybe so on a level playing field, but that’s not where we are…

  39. Menyambal says

    Caine @ 45, I agree fully. I just wrote what the woman in the movie said, and was going to discuss, but stuff happened. Thanks.

  40. Meg Thornton says

    Assuming that Dear John up there is offering minimum wage for an Australian worker ($16.75 per hour), he’s offering to either keep it up for over 59,000 hours straight (6 years plus… I think by that time I’d be really bored with looking at the same old ceiling, thanks – not to mention definitely wanting to get up for a pee!) or a little under 4 minutes (less than satisfactory, sorry). Either way, it isn’t a reasonable bargain on my end (or for it!).