Why the “I am an Accountant” meme is the right OnlyFans cowl story
Let’s say you dipped your toe in the world’s oldest gig economy during the 2020 quarantine. Maybe you’ve found a virtual sugar daddy at Seeking Arrangements, dusted off your phone sex skills for niteflirting, or started selling nudes to Only Fans. You would not be alone: Sex workers, including many young professionals, went to online content creation platforms in record numbers after losing other jobs or needing a more socially detached form of entertainment from customers. For example, in January 2021, the New York Times reported that Only Fans had more than a million content creators, up from 120,000 in 2019.
This is where things get tricky. It’s early summer 2021 and you’re fully vaccinated. You start going public again. And you experience something that experienced pornographers have been managing for years: explaining your job at social events. What may seem like tame dining for dinner parties to those with conventional careers can be complicated, invasive, and sometimes even dangerous for sex workers. How are adult content creators responding to this small talk standard: “What are you doing?”
Although not a sex worker, actor / musician Rocky Paterra can identify with this fight. Because of this, he wrote a now viral song about his strategy to avoid awkward conversations about work: just say, “I’m an accountant”. In a TikTok video that has been viewed over 2 million times since it was released in July 2020, Paterra speaks Pet Shop Boys-style about his exhaustion explaining what he does for a living as a creative professional.
The song’s simple joke works so well because finance is a generally respectable and unquestionably boring profession. “I’m an accountant” stops unwanted chatter. Paterra’s song is evolving at the meme speed of 2021 and has reached # 2 on the iTunes Comedy Chart. And it is now a punchline for TikTok users who either want to create content about life in the sex industry or who want to use social media platforms as a marketing tool.
Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube reveal a treasure trove of Gen Zers lip-syncing to Paterra’s song alongside captions, including; “Me, if my whole life is financed by a 70-year-old man” and “When you bank by being n @ key on Instagram and have to explain to the family how you can afford rent as a teenage mom.”
Dressed in a conservative suit, @simonleecowell posts: “When you created an OnlyFans page for a little more $$$, now you have to explain your new six-figure salary to your family.”
Along with a feed of botox injections and bikini pictures, @tanamongeauolol jokes about “speaking to the IRS if they ask about OnlyFans money”.
@Strippercomic recently tweeted, “Off to a family reunion like …” as she spun around a pole in her living room.
However, interviews with sex workers reveal the more complex reality behind the meme. First, you need to maintain two separate identities. Larissa (@LarissaSiriani) is a writer who started selling “adult and fetish content online” in November 2020. “For most people, I’m either one or the other: Lara, the sex worker, or Larissa, the author,” she says. When people ask what she does for a living, it is easier for her to hide a part of herself, “as if they were two separate people, as if I had created a character.”
The question also arises as to which occupation to choose. Ben Dylan (@BenDylanXXX) formed Only Fans (@NYCBiSexCouple) in April 2020 after being a personal sex worker for a decade. He says his cover story is that he is a “drug dealer” because the stigma is “more acceptable”. Meanwhile, other sex workers have a job that is more in line with what they’re doing – just a legal version. A California-based NeoTantra practitioner and pro domme known by the name Priestess Ava says she is a life coach and hopes “one day sex work will be honored for the deep healing profession that it is.”