While I wasn’t prepared to prostitute myself, I “rented” my body out as a lapdancer. Working at a London strip joint, I found that pole dances are given away for free, but nude lapdances start at £20. The sales pitch to prospective dancers is that you can earn £1,000 a night – but it turns out this kind of money is a rarity. Lapdancers only make such amounts if get a customer to hire them by the hour. For that you earn £500 – but the club takes 20%. On top of that, they’ll take a £100 fee from dancers just for showing up.
So I tried to sell my hair. I was quoted £50 by a hairdresser in London that specialises in harvesting human hair to make wigs for chemotherapy patients. I was hoping they’d offer me considerably more, given that wigs can sell for £1,000.
The British pharmaceutical industry uses many bodily fluids to test new drugs, and I was hopeful for a decent sale upon learning they pay up to £1,750 for 1ml of blister fluid, £1,000 for a cup of saliva and £1,600 for a gram of earwax. But the prices are paid to intermediaries, “virtual tissuebanks” who source samples from around the world. Strictly speaking, the money isn’t for the tissue itself, it’s for refrigeration, licence fees and research, but given companies are for-profit I was sure some money should go to donors. The best offer I got was £30 for some blood. Another clinic would have paid me £50 for some skin – if I had psoriasis. However, every clinic told me that officially money is only “compensation for my time” because the law in the UK is so strict about selling any body parts. In Britain, it’s not donors who are making the money.
A decent earner turned out to be an auction website for people who buy bodily fluids for sexual purposes: imagine eBay, but for fetishists. Here, one can sell anything. Human urine is about £30 a pot, breast milk £5, even fingernails and faeces do their own roaring trade. One man offered me £1,000 a year for manicure videos.
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