A John's Life


After his live-in girlfriend moved another man in with them, the libertarian cartoonist Chester Brown decided to pay for sex from then on. With Paying for It (Drawn & Quarterly), he has drawn a fascinating, though strangely affectless, graphic memoir of his years as a customer of prostitutes, showcasing every single one he has frequented.

The memoir includes dozens of pages of prose in which Brown presents his arguments for why prostitution should be unregulated. He is not afraid to make the experiences seem weird or creepy when they were, but in his years patronizing both in-call and out-call prostitutes they all seemed to be normal working women, not people trapped in hellish slavery. The scene where he defends decriminalization against fellow cartoonist Seth will resonate with libertarians, as Brown points out that attaching money to a fundamental right should not give the state the right to interfere: If unpaid sex is a free choice, then paid sex should be as well. —Brian Doherty