The Guys Who Pay For It: A Sex Worker Diary
The Guys Who Pay For It: A Sex Worker Diary
He asked me to stand in front and take off my clothes for him. We’d been sitting on the bed while I tried to make small talk. He was not very interested. It was summer 2013 and I was not sure how to conduct myself. It was my very first call.
“Turn around, please.”
Awkwardly, I did, attempting to maintain graceful balance in my pumps. The man was tall and quiet. He stood up from the edge of the bed, hand on his hips and asked me to undress and get on my knees.
“Slower,” he said. “Not so deep.”
I did that too.
“Do you want to go shower?” he asked me.
Relieved there would be no intercourse, I told him yes, as is customary. The visitor showers after the business, or they should, asserting at least a semblance of basic hygiene, and putting both minds at ease. I couldn’t wait for it. I felt gross, confused, bewildered. I took my time in the bath, took my time brushing my teeth, my tongue, my whole mouth. When I went back to the room he was sitting in the armchair, fully clothed. We still had almost 20 minutes left, but he handed me an envelope. That was my cue.
“Shouldn’t you have asked for this before?”
I’d been briefed to wait until the end, to not ask unless it was clear they weren’t handing over “the donation.” Legal reasons.
“This is my first date.”
That was all he said. It said enough, I knew I was awkward. He wouldn’t look at me and bee-lined for the door while I scrambled to put on my stilettos. They were a half size too big.
“It was nice to meet you,” I said, forcing a smile. “Have a nice night.”
“Thanks,” he said, closing the door.
I skulked to the elevator in a silly black dress that my mother had bought me in New York. I tucked the smooth bills into an interior purse pocket, caressed them and smirked to myself. I’d done it. I could do it. I was going to get away with it: $300 for small talk, some groping, and a 15 minute blow job. Of course, when I got in the car, I was immediately asked to turn over nearly half.
They were not all going to be so easy.
There’s no such thing as a regular call, a typical client, but there are probably types, categories, sub-categories. You could roughly break it down to this: Nice /Peculiar/Crass /Mean. There are newbies, bored travellers, lonely husbands, randy party boys. There are men that want to save you, who will tell you on the first date that they love you, that they want to give you a better life.
There are also many “hobbyists,” an actual term, like a sommelier for hookers: they enjoy sampling different bodies and making recommendations to colleagues. The nice guys are plenty; perhaps my agency attracts them, perhaps they’re attracted to me -- I’m not the porn star-looking, busty, collagen lipped blonde that barrels into a room with brash confidence. I’m actually pretty shy. My most typical clients are decent married men with jobs in law, medicine, finance. But I’ve also seen wealthy college kids, young entrepreneurs, flamboyant designers, a millionaire artist (the freakiest client of all), an alleged mafioso (we spent an extra hour looking at cat GIFS), and several voracious construction workers that all told me “I don’t have time to date.”
But on the whole, my clients are usually average Joes looking for the “Girlfriend Experience,” a girl-next-door who will provide attentive service. Often they want to talk about their hobbies, travels, careers and sometimes even families. There are times I feel like a sex-worker-therapist. I’ve seen a few “wham, bam, thank yous”, but I think they tend to prefer the porny gals. So my first call was not really indicative of any future trajectory.
Because I am paid for sex, and not roleplaying with a lover who will later kiss my forehead, it is kind of a depressing thing to acknowledge. But it comes with the territory, and there’s little room for complaining. There are many guys that see prostitutes because they have atypical proclivities or kinks and hookers tend to do what they’re told. And there are definitely mean clients that want to be sure you recognize you’re of zero value to them.
So while there are many different types of clients, with differing needs and varying desires, it pretty much boils down to one thing: control. In my experience, the common denominator is typically a need to dominate sexual agency; which is not to suggest domination in a BDSM way (necessarily), but the sense of being in charge.
While escorts set their boundaries from the get-go (usually these things are listed on a website profile), saying “no” to someone puts you at risk of getting a formal complaint, or a bad review on a web forum, or maybe even stiffed on the job; saying “no” might get you fired. An escort is never exactly forced -- many clients stay on good behavior to avoid blacklisting -- but she’s gonna have to find a creative way around servicing a herpes-encrusted member (which, thankfully, has never happened to me, but indeed there are people with the audacity to hire a service provider in the middle of an outbreak).
For every type of client, there’s a hooker to satisfy his needs. There are agencies that hire only young girls -- no one over 21; there are agencies that open at 6 p.m. and close at noon -- the ‘party’ escorts; there are agencies that specialize in specific ethnicities or races. I’m pretty vanilla and chose to work with an upscale, quiet agency.
And as far as prostitutes go, there are different types of us as well: trafficked women, street workers, craigslist and backpage girls, independent solicitors, upmarket ‘yacht girls’ -- and there must be more I don’t even know about. Which is what baffles me about this industry and the pervasive taboo -- it’s everywhere and it’s BIG. Perpetuating this stigma also perpetuates dangerous, unmonitored work environments.
When women tell me they think it’s empowering, I silently scoff. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in my own, I believe that unless you’re in total control of your sexual agency (and most of the time I don’t even know where I’m being driven until I get there) the power just isn’t in your hands.