A true story about sex work
PROS BEFORE BROS is a 114-page erotic memoir by Seattle author and publisher Ariel Meadow Stallings. A true story about sex work and grabbing your own healing by the balls, the narrative explores identity, feminism, shame, surrender, gender roles, bdsm, empowerment, embodiment, and trying to get out of your own damn head.
The book is intended as a talismanic object, designed to be held and felt deeply. A compact 4"x6" luxe hardback, it fits in your back pocket (in part because it really wants to touch your butt). The gold-embossed canvas cover feels good under your fingers, and the cover illustration by Seatac artist Stasia Burrington stands on its own as a work of art.
This is not a book to be hidden in a drawer, or slid into a stack. It wants to be out and proud, inviting the eyes and hands of beloveds. It's a book to be whispered into your partners' ears, a book to invite contemplation, a book to open conversations.
The book is only available in print, sold as a pairing with jewelry.
As seen in The Stranger
"In the beginning, when the pain was most acute, Stallings dove into therapies of all kinds. Some of them were effective, some of them not, but Stallings says there were two things that really helped. The first was dance, which makes sense: Exercise is a standard get-out-of-depression tactic.
The second thing Stallings did was less common and a lot more radical: This divorced, fortysomething mom hired a sex worker..."
One-of-a-kind hand-stamped raw brass wearable art
Each copy of PROS BEFORE BROS is sold as a pairing with one of two jewelry options, exclusive wearable art pieces designed by the author in collaboration with Tacoma, WA-based wearable art and jewelry designer, Squirrel vs Coyote.
Ariel and artist Alexis Devine worked closely to design the two pieces of jewelry: a gender-neutral wrist cuff, and a quartz crystal lariat that convert to handcuffs. Alexis handcrafted the jewelry, free-hand stamping the raw brass of each piece of wearable art with the book's title, letter by letter. Each is truly one of a kind.
This jewelry acts as an invitation to carry the book's themes on your body. The impact of the book's work is meant to be felt against your skin, bringing the book's ideas into your daily experience. Allow the metal, stone, and letters to combine with your body and create its own kind of magic… if you want, it's a form of spell-casting and intention setting. Or it's just gorgeous, uniquely raw jewelry. Up to you.
Each book is numbered and signed by the author, and then loving assembled into a luxe package. The jewelry is wrapped with intent, topped with a green gift from the season, and then slid into a matte black foil-embossed gift box that stands as art in its own right.
A note from the author
Yeah, hey. I'm Ariel. I'm an author mostly known for writing about weddings, so the fact that I wrote a first-person memoir about hiring a sex worker to help me recover from my divorce might seem like, uh, a little bit of a departure. But that's just one of the ways that PROS BEFORE BROS is unlike anything I've ever done before...
What readers are saying about PROS BEFORE BROS
Kirsten J. Sollee
As a lover of magical objects, kink-as-healing modality, and panty-soaking, one-handed reads that traverse psychic and physical transformation I am just so smitten with #ProsBeforeBros. This mini-grimoire of sorts comes complete with a velvety soft keepsake box and jewelry, but it's Stallings' writing about her own experiences with what she calls "play therapy" and engaging the services of an SF dom who helps her undress post-divorce trauma and re-train her to embody her personal power in new ways that is so rewarding to read about.
It’s been years since I purchased a physical book, but I knew that I had to make an exception for PROS BEFORE BROS. Ariel’s decision to create something tangible definitely paid off – opening the package was a tiny ritual, with the untying of strings and each small piece demanding to be touched and admired like literary foreplay. I was left feeling inspired to be more present in my body and to make a more conscious effort to understand the underlying factors that drive my desires and impulses – so, the book is both one-handed read and personal development.
Order your PROS BEFORE BROS pairing now
The first print run was 100 copies and less than 40 books remain. If you're in Seattle, the sets can be purchased at Ada's Technical Books on Capitol Hill. Or you can order online...
Is there an ebook?
No. after 20 years of writing online, and 12 years of running a digital media company, I'm tired of the intangible. I wanted this work to be a physical object, touched, and felt not just in your mind, but also in your hand.
Can I get the hardback book without the jewelry?
Nope. For this project, I wanted there to be a way to make it so that, even after you put the book down, the experience stays with you in your daily life, on your body and against your skin. Sometimes I feel bad about all the years of online writing I've done, and the ways that it's pulled people away from their bodies. I wanted to make this story a more tangible, sensory experience.
How are you shipping?
For shipping within the domestic US, packages will be shipped USPS Priority Mail with tracking and insurance. Shipping is included in the package cost.
Do you accept returns?
Nope. Because of the intimate nature of both the material and the wearable art, I'm not able to accept returns. If you're unhappy with the product, get in touch and I'll do my best to make it right.
Is this a novel or how-to or what?
It's a first-person recounting of a therapeutic bdsm experience with a sex worker. It is graphic and sexual and many folks who've read it reporte having physical reactions to it, but it's not specifically written to be masturbation material. It doesn't have a narrative arc that's like, "And now you climax!" It's pretty dense, emotional writing... basically, it's my favorite combo of porn and processing.
Why didn't you write this under a pen name?
Because I believe in the work -- and when I say work, I mean that in terms of this writing as a work of literature, the book as a work of art, and the personal work I did to get to the place where I can share it. I also believe the work that consensual sex workers do with their clients. I believe in all these different kinds of work, and I believe in standing behind it with my fullest, truest self. Also, writing this under my real name is vulnerable and terrifying, and that's where real growth happens. I don't want to hide or encourage others to hide. I want more stories like this out there, so I figured I needed to go first.
...But aren't you worried about what will people think?
Some people will probably be weirded out by it, but I'm not sure anyone's gonna be shocked... "Wait, the Offbeat Bride lady is into other offbeat stuff, too?!" Whodathunk! I mean, I get that it's a shift to go from writing nontraditional wedding planning advice to erotic memoir, but it's not like it's a huge stretch that a writer dedicated to nontraditional weddings and relationships would write about a different kind of nontraditional relationship. As for my friends and family, no one is surprised. My father (an old perv himself) heard me talking about the book and was just like, "Lordy, you're a chip off the ol' block."
Why is it so fucking expensive?
Because it's art. Because I don't want a million people to read it. Because I'm exploring valuation. Because I've given 20 years of my writing away for free on the internet. Because I want readers who are willing to invested in me and my work, in the hopes that the investment empowers them to pursue their own best work. Because I'm an entrepreneur. For more about this, you can deep dive into my project motivations.