Monday, February 18, 2008

I Felt Like Being Destructive

Just out of college and mad about my loans, I moved in with my sister and her fiancé and started looking for a job. It took me about a week to land three part-time jobs that I hated and did not pay enough. The “bad boy” I had fallen in love with had just stepped out of my life, and I had replaced him by dating an “Average Joe” that I was sure would bore me to death.

In my post-college slump, I felt like my life was in the drain. I had three crappy part-time jobs, my checking account was overdrawn, so I started browsing for “exotic dancer” want ads. In college, I had worked as a stripper in a sort of rinky-dink club for about two months and loved the dancing. The money was great for a part-time job, and it catered to my love for being the center of attention.

Now that I was in a new city, the area strip clubs were more plentiful. I went to one “audition” (which, for a stripper, means taking off all of your clothes on stage and dancing in front of customers so the management can see if you are for real and that you can bring in some cash). The club was so low-brow I was shocked. The girls were snorting coke in the dressing room, and the bouncers seemed more malicious and oversexed than the customers. I did not go back to the place. Instead, I went home and surfed the web in the hopes I would find the job of my dreams: something that required a B.A. in English, did not take up all my time, was fun and paid well.

I remembered a roommate I had in college who signed up as an escort through an online service. She was a pale, mousy thing who often concocted wild schemes but never followed them through. She had set up a date with a guy, got a cash advance and charged him a hundred dollars an hour. She wimped out at the last minute, though, and never showed up to meet him. Remembering this episode, I decided I could and would go through with it.

Quietly, so as not to wake up my sister, in my bedroom in the middle of the night I set up my digital camera and used the timer to take photos of myself in my underwear. I posted them up on an escort website along with my prices (a whopping $200/hour, which I figured was worth asking, since I have real red hair) and called myself Kitty. The next day, I was shocked to get an email from a guy who wanted to meet me at a hotel, then a voice mail from another guy who wanted me to come to his condo. They kept calling me. Apparently, asking $200 an hour was not outrageous. They were figuratively knocking down my door.

My first escort “date” was with a guy who called himself Tim, and I led him to believe that I had done this before. I drove two hours to his house in a snowstorm. I was driving white-knuckled in anticipation of what I was about to do, but I managed to play it pretty cool once I got to his place. He was middle-aged, divorced and had a daughter that he never saw. He was pretty average looking--balding, in OK shape. We didn’t talk for too long and really just got down to it.

I don’t want to seem flippant when I talk about the sex. There was nothing special about it except for the fact that it was the first time in my young life that I was actually literally prostituting myself. In my head, I was constantly waffling between being overly dramatic about the way I was compromising myself, and being blasé about the fact that everyone in the world sluts themselves out for money in some way, shape, or form--therefore, what I was doing was just fine. It was as terrifying an act as it was thrilling and rebellious. I could imagine myself continuing to work in this business just to “get off” on the danger. There are many unknowns, so there is no way that you can feel assured of your safety. In retrospect, my opinion of prostitution is that it is fine if you have straightened it out in your head as to why you are doing it and what you get out of it, but you are risking your safety and your health. Can you charge a price high enough to compensate for that?

And the sex was nothing I remember anything about. He left his television muted on CNN the whole time. I was shocked when he asked me if he could fuck me without using a condom. How can someone even consider not using a condom with a woman who does it for a living? Once we got that issue... covered, we finally got down to having sex. My biggest concern was that I had very little experience and that it would show (I had only had sex a couple other times in my life). It turns out that most men don’t notice. Faking the big orgasm is a must--easy enough; you don’t need to be a prostitute to be good at that. My next worry was that I would not be able to fill in a full two hours of time with sexual entertainment. It was not that hard. Most people are easy enough to talk to, and once the sex is over it is just pillow talk and back rubs. Two hours went by, he actually handed me $400 in cash, and I was on my way.

My first experience not a bad one. Aside from an almost overwhelming sense of danger the whole time, it went well. I got paid and the guy was decently nice. So, I did it again.

The next guy I met with was Bob, who lived just around the corner from the minimum wage job I was working. It was a dumb risk, but at this point I was on my second escort job and feeling confident enough (though still terrified) to consider just quitting my shitty job and selling my snatch to make a living. I could work for two hours and make more money than I could make in a week slinging coffee. Bob was at least four inches shorter than me and had a thing for tall women. Dominatrix sort of stuff. I didn’t really bring any props, but I acted the part and he loved it--a little too much. He came all over his bed only fifteen minutes into our scheduled hour. So, I filled up the rest of the time sitting on his back, giving him a half-assed back rub while I told him fictional tales of my life. Easiest $200 ever! I didn’t even have to have sex with him.

This job being even easier than the first just paved the way, and I continued to land jobs that month. The list of new numbers in my cell phone was getting confusing, so I started organizing all my clients by preceding their names with Jon: JonBrian, JonTim, JonRob... I did not meet with half of the dozens of men who contacted me, but enough jobs panned out that I was doing very well. Most of my clients lived at least an hour away from me, many were divorced, and some were still married. JonPete was a machinist who could not stand his wife and kids. JonTim liked women who acted childlike and naïve and wore black lacy underwear.

After two months of this, I started scheduling dates with men and then not showing up for them. My relationship with Average Joe was getting more serious, and I was really starting to like him. Naturally, I was beginning to feel really bad about fucking men for money while dating a really nice guy who deserved to be treated better. I also was starting to get real about why I was fucking men for money. I had been feeling rejected by a former lover, and I was angry for being in debt and was discovering that my college degree was essentially worthless. I felt like being destructive.

My last job scared me out of it for good. It was something set up with a guy named Carl, who I was meeting in a motel. We first started talking over email, and he spent a lot of time haggling over the price of an hour. He wanted to just get 45 minutes. He wanted me to give him a discount for gas since he had to drive so far to meet me. I should have dropped it as soon as he began to try and get me for a bargain. But, we arranged to meet. We settled on a full hour and I would charge him $175 (to make up for the room he had to rent).

He was a short bald man with a big spare tire around his middle and smelled like cigarettes. I showed up at the door of his motel room in jeans and a tank top and dark sunglasses. It is hard not to imagine myself in a movie scene: a tall beautiful redhead strides up to room number 16 in four-inch black stilettos. A seedy looking Jon opened the door a crack and then let her in...

We started off our meeting by playing a little strip poker. His idea was that since I did not know how to play poker, I would quickly be down to my laceys and we would be on our way to sex. Somehow, though, I managed to kick his butt at Texas Hold ‘Em, and he ended up sitting at the table in his boxers and socks while I had only removed my top. The sight of him sitting there with his belly hanging over his boxers and his hairy chest was less than appealing. After twenty minutes of cards, we decided that it might be a good idea to quit playing poker and just get busy. I pulled off my jeans and left my heels on while he got all heated up watching me while he was touching himself.

There really wasn’t anything odd about what he was doing, but I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable (this was a first for me). I continued to play along, though. He asked if he needed to wear a condom. (I have since discovered that about half of the men I was with would ask this.) I put the rubber on him, and then he spun me around and pushed me up against the dresser. The force of this maneuver was unexpected, but as I was pressed up against the motel mirror, I continued to play along, all the while feeling more freaked out. He tried to get me to let him fuck me in the ass, and I had to struggle to avoid it. It was starting to feel more like a violation than a situation that I was in control of. I was thrown across the bed and he fucked me doggy-style (but at least not in the ass). I was scared, but I didn’t let on, and I continued to play the seductive hooker right up until I left his hotel room with my envelope of cash.

I did not get hurt, I did not get any diseases, and I came out of that experience a little bit shaken, but intact. It was a wake-up call, though. I have always had confidence in my physical strength and my wits to keep myself safe, but just a small taste of how quickly I might get overcome if I wasn’t on my guard was what made me decide to quit. Now it is three years later, and I live with the guy I was dating when I started working as an escort. I did eventually tell him that I had been sleeping with men for money, and our relationship survived that revelation.