I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. For a long time, so few people read it that weeks would go by without a single comment. Slowly at first, but then all of a sudden they picked up speed. And logic told me that the loss of my real name was a small concession for the ability to be able to support my family and ensure their financial security for years to come. I took care of myself and my family, and I’ve given the best of my creativity and knowledge to each of my clients and my readers. I know better than most how quickly and profoundly revealing just a tiny bit of personal information can affect (and even destroy) people’s lives. I’m not interested in making myself vulnerable in that way.
One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn’t want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. The blog I’d started to get some clients and show off my skills? Well, I never really wanted that revealed, totally apart from the gender issue.
There were fewer requests for revisions — often none at all. I really didn’t think any of this would ever happen, to be honest.
Clients hired me quickly, and when they received their work, they liked it just as quickly. I want them to go to university and have good opportunities in life.
I signed up with the company, thinking I was so lucky to have this chance to pull myself out of the mess. I even began hiring people to work with me as a team. I worked hard and built the business, putting in long hours and reinvesting a lot of the money I made. The flood of people who came to visit was overwhelming.
And sure enough, there was writing work for me on the ‘net, work I could do from home that paid quickly. I hustled and I delivered on my promises, every single time. I was being turned down for gigs I should’ve gotten, for reasons I couldn’t put a finger on. Then my blog hit Michael Stelzner’s list of the Top Ten Blogs for Writers. (Someone who, incidentally, was using a male pseudonym and identity too.
No one at school would ever tease my kids about being poor. And yet apparently we haven’t gotten past those 19th century stigmas. I never wanted to be an activist, or to fight the world.
Using a male pseudonym when you’re a woman isn’t anything new. Their work had a much better chance if their audience didn’t have to get over initial skepticism that a woman could write at all, much less do it well. We have the right to vote, to own property, to be members of Parliament and Congress, to get a job, and to be the main breadwinner of the family.
Dan and Marty, also Alex’s roommates in a shiny high-rise apartment building near Wall Street, can vouch for that. “She works at—” He says the name of a high-end art auction house. And yet a lack of an intimate knowledge of his potential sex partners never presents him with an obstacle to physical intimacy, Alex says.
In fact, they can remember whom Alex has slept with in the past week more readily than he can.“Brittany, Morgan, Amber,” Marty says, counting on his fingers. Alex, his friends agree, is a Tinder King, a young man of such deft “text game”—“That’s the ability to actually convince someone to do something over text,” Marty explains—that he is able to entice young women into his bed on the basis of a few text exchanges, while letting them know up front he is not interested in having a relationship.“How does he ”But Marty, who prefers Hinge to Tinder (“Hinge is my thing”), is no slouch at “racking up girls.” He says he’s slept with 30 to 40 women in the last year: “I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy,” in order to win them over, “but then they start wanting me to more …
I was single and alone, having left an unhealthy relationship, and I was living in a crappy, tiny apartment. I struggled to get gigs — there was tough competition from more experienced hustlers. Bossed around, degraded, condescended to, with jibes made about my having to work from home. I quickly learned not to mention I worked from my kitchen table. So I started looking for better gigs and clients, now that I knew there was writing work to be had.
And I couldn’t get a full-time job anyway — I was still on the waiting list for a spot in daycare. I’d once had a respectable, safe job in a corporate office.
The tables are filled with young women and men who’ve been chasing money and deals on Wall Street all day, and now they’re out looking for hookups.