It may take Rob Ford years before the layers of advantage that encircle him – the white, straight male privilege that facilitates his working-class saviour complex – fall away for real.
It may never happen. People who are heavily invested in these types of plebeian heroics have the hardest time fessing up to their unmerited advantages.
Even when guys like Ford do face some truths about themselves, it’s within the framework of the very persona-making machine that put them where they are. Bad boys can always find a therapeutic model that allows for quasi-self-examination, fallen Everyman anecdotes, pseudo-humility and chuckles galore when the worst of the worst is revealed.
Admitting to crack use is the easy part it paves the way for the Everyman credibility that rehab bestows. Admitting he’s an entitled asshole? That’ll be the day.
As a sex worker, I work with untidy, clueless white men like this all the time. I am almost inured to their lack of self-awareness I sometimes facilitate their obliviousness for profit.
But to be honest, my strongest feeling about the Ford debacle is optimism.
I know half a dozen hookers and some clients who would make better mayors than he. While not necessarily waiting in the wings for their opportunity, they are certainly aware that their career paths and sexual interests disqualify them from ever entering the political arena – really smart, conscious people intimidated for good reason by a hegemonic moral code.
They’ve all seen what a sex scandal can do to a man or woman with public opinions. They’ve all seen the binary machine at work.
I have always known that my past and present as a sex worker would prevent me from even considering entering the public realm. So I suppose I want to thank Ford for his witlessness. Is it possible he’s making it more acceptable for people with ethically nuanced histories to feel a little more at ease throwing their hat in the ring?
Fleur de Lit is the pseudonym of a Toronto-based sex worker.