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Disembodied Undersider Sex

Dispatch #6
Escort Me To The Egress…
aka THE BIG SECRET

Julia Roberts and all the hookers with a heart of gold be damned. I am going to tell a very UN-fairytale-like story of being an escort, as a college student, and how the truth is so much worse than fiction.

Most girls of the 70's grew up with some kind of fucked up abuse and bizarre home life. In the confusion of this, the sexual revolution was waning and the ME generation (aka our parents) were finishing up their swinging parties and cocktails, espousing strange idioms from est, primal scream and other modes of "therapy". The dirty little secret was that the daughters of this era were getting mixed messages, often blending in with sexual abuse of some sort. Yeah, man, we were primed for sex - we wanted to fuck no matter what; it was our god given right. We were well groomed, the lot of us, for sex in the 80's and 90's that was sometimes destructive, and in that destruction was a strange sense of power.

Media feeds us the fantasy of the hooker with a heart of gold, rescued by a man in a shining armor, be it a badge, a limo or a gun-slinging stranger. In fact, the year I was born, "Two Mules for Sister Sara" came out, with Shirley Maclaine as the hooker in nun drag, Clint Eastwood as her savior the mercenary, and the story ends, of course, in love and redemption all around…the hooker can hang up her habit and ride off into the sunset with her prince charming.

Or there is "Blow Out", a really bad bastardization of the French classic "Blow Up", in which John Travolta saves a hooker in a car crash with a senator. So again, we have a tough waif, a sweet tart, as it were, in Nancy Allen, who somehow is saved by Travolta.

In the 80's, we had "Something Wild", with Melanie Griffiths as a loony - was she a hooker or just a hustler? She was sweet, underneath her manipulations, like a viper that says sorry after it attacks you, just before you pass out and die. How disarmingly cute!

Julia Roberts has to epitomize the princess whore fairytale. In "Pretty Woman", she whores without sleaze, performs sexual acts with loving eyes, saves everyone, in a Pollyanna meets Betty Boop way, and lands the man while still maintaining her suddenly regained dignity. The movie makes being a hooker glamorous, fun and an adventure that leads to love. The deeper tale mirrored here is Cinderella, the low class (but secretly noble) urchin who is saved by a prince, despite her shame. If looked at deep enough, one could see the sisters as fellow whores and the stepmother as Madame. The exchange of sex for money, position and power has been an age-old struggle, and dignity is bartered on both sides in the process.

So here's where my tale comes in. I am in my very early 20's, in college, in Toronto. The history that led me to the moment of decision = 50% emotional abuse + 30% sexual abuse + 20% self-loathing masked as bravado and rebellion. I didn't have a boyfriend, having broken up with my high school beau the summer before. I was having college sex and some of it wasn't it about pleasure - it was about quantity and a list of experiences I wanted to check off. And AIDS was around, creeping into my consciousness, so it seemed I wanted to get it all in before the party was totally over. Group sex, one nighters with men and women, strange places, strange people, all equally a litany of modern sexual acrobatics. It was the Melissa Sexual Circus and I was gonna try it all.

I started feeling crappy - sad, lonely, despite the sex. I started disliking men; disliking the bare need they had for sex and how I could control the situation and the outcome. It was all about punishment and humiliation - for whom, I'm not sure.

I had a job - at a fancy toiletries store, where soaps cost $10 a pop. I had school, mostly going well. I had college boys interested and suits bothering me at the store. I was bitter. I was petulant. I wanted to get back at them somehow. Mumblings at school one day were about escorts and how much they made. Strange conversations popped up around the campus fairly often for a while, about the ease one could slip into the field and how easy it was. I was mildly interested.

"Pretty Woman" on TV - the idea struck. I could make men pay for it. Hell, if I could live through my childhood, I could do anything. I would prove that I was stronger, tougher, a real cold hearted bitch. I even talked it over with an emotionally dependent fellow who latched onto me, despite the fact that I found him sort of repulsive. A platonic person I could barely hide my disdain for, who lapped it up, and I hated myself for letting the situation happen. Perhaps I could shock him away. I laid out my plan and he nodded, a rag doll, eager to please more than be truthful. I really disliked myself for acting out, but I really disliked his lack of spine and personality more. What can I say? I was a bitch.

The phone book was full of escort services. It didn't take long for me to pick one, and even shorter to get a call back. A nasally voice beckoned me to the other side of Toronto the next afternoon, and a short, pudgy fellow with an Art Garfunkel-esque 'fro answered the door. He sat me down, and we talked about the service.

His manner was all business - cold, direct and fast. He asked me why I wanted to be an escort. I said I liked sex a lot and I thought being an escort seemed like a classy way to make money. He smiled smugly and said it wouldn't always be for sex, but it would be often enough. And then he told me about the tryout.

Oh yeah, girls, let me tell you, the pimp gets your ass first. That is what he was, no matter how he sugarcoated it. He said he had to make sure I could do it, make sure the goods were as advertised. For free. Part of the training program. Think training shift at McDonalds. At least at McD's you get paid.

So he led me to his bedroom - a sparse carpeted cave with not much more than a huge unmade bed, smelling of cheap incense and sex long soured. He disrobed fast. His body was soft, undefined, slightly tanned and his penis was smaller than most of the men I had been with. He told me to undress, no emotion, no seduction. I did, and he laid me back on the bed. He didn't kiss me, thank god. He instead played with my nipples and my vagina. He wanted oral sex. I did it, no condom, no question. He stopped me, and gave me oral sex. I didn't cum. I lied and told him I was close, while inside I was a cold, gone and numb. He wanted to enter me - he said not to worry about a condom, because he had a vasectomy. I let him, while he went at it for a while. It seemed totally mechanical - there was an airless nature to the procedure. It seemed so clinical, and the whole time he kept looking at me, checking my responses, asking me if I was okay, but really not caring to hear the answer.

He finally stopped. We got dressed. He told me I was all right, but to make more noise. I had been silent the whole time, mute to his staccato of grunts and heavy breaths. He gave me the lowdown - I would keep the cash transactions and he would take his share - 40% of every transaction - out of the credit card receipts and give me the balance. He took my number, and told me to expect a call that night. I went home, and though to myself, I beat him, I won. What exactly did I win? A battle of wills or just a staring contest during sex?

That night, I paced around the phone, while my roommates watched my strange behavior. They had no idea what I was doing, and I was nervous, wanting to get the first "john" out of the way. I leaped at the phone each time it rang. Finally, at a little past 10:30 pm, the escort owner called. He gave me directions to a motel close to the airport. He gave me a name and a room number. He wanted me there by 11:30 and to call him once I arrived. It was for an hour - $100.00 - I was an expensive piece of ass.

I dressed - garters, skirt, heels, low cut blouse. I called the car service. I arrived, in the middle of winter, at the motel and met the "john" at his door. I came in, called the escort service and the clock was running.

The "john" was a very sad looking, shy man, who flitted around the room nervously. He offered me a drink - I asked for water. I sat on a chair facing the bed, and let him ramble on for half an hour, sipping my water slowly. I nodded politely, asked interested questions and he began to relax. Great for him, but I was shaking inside. The "john" wasn't very attractive and he seemed so lonely. Finally, he asked if we could get into the bed. I excused myself to the bathroom, and came out a few minutes later in just the lingerie. He was in bed, naked, under the covers. He put he arms around my shoulders awkwardly, looking like he might break into tears. He told me he was in town for a conference, something to do with kids. I froze. And then he asked me to touch his penis. I did it absently. He was hard, and shivering. This went on for a while, no progress, and he smiled at me dejectedly. The phone rang. It was time to go.

He asked if could stay longer. I apologized and said no. I was out of there. The cab driver gave me smug looks on the way home. I was full and empty at the same time - with nothing but black frost on the surface of my eyes.

The next night, the phone rang. I was given a businessman again near the airport. I paced, bit my nails, looked at the cash on my dresser and knew I couldn't do it again. I called back and told the pimp I couldn't do it. He yelled at me for his share of the first trick. I told him it was payment for his session. He threatened and I told him the police would LOVE to hear my story. He never called again. I did get some strange hang-ups. But nothing that really frightened me.

The money - I went out and got drunk with a gay friend of mine, Chris. He understood as I drank myself stupid and cried in his arms. He put me to bed and disconnected the phone. He barred people from bothering my two-day sleeping jag and finally woke me to get me to eat. I didn't want to and hated everything, most of all myself. Chris forced me into the bath, treating me like a small child, while I cried non-stop. I wanted to die. He wouldn't leave me alone and then other friends came by in shifts. No one knew but Chris and the repulsive guy, who lingered from time to time, pissing Chris off to the point of a screaming match. Chris won, and he took care of me for the next month. He somehow got a hold of sleeping pills and made me sleep every night, bathe every day and eat at least half a meal. I missed a lot of school.

Chris made me go out with him, he and his gay friends whooping it up at a dance club. A gay club seemed a safe place to have a good time. We danced, and I started feeling like I was living back in my body. I laughed a little. I slept without pills. I slowly got better. I was sleeping walking, waking bit by bit, as the pain became easier to bear.

I ended up leaving school. I couldn't handle much at the time and then I got the news my grandmother had cancer and my mother needed me in New York to help. I left Canada, running from my big mistake, but it lived under my skin as yet another big secret - perhaps the biggest.

I realized soon after how I had betrayed myself. It was bad enough when other people abused me, but to do such a hugely hostile and hateful thing to myself - I was devastated that I could do that. I ran the gamut of emotions - hating myself for hating myself that much, sadness that I could disregard my body so easily, shamed by the idea that I could take pleasure and make it disgusting. I couldn't face myself in the mirror for a long time and then one day I got the courage to look into my own eyes and crying, forgave myself. The sobs were from equal parts of my psyche - the betrayer and the betrayed. The relief was enormous and a weight lifted. I began my long journey to who I am today.

Secrets are toxic. The shame it forces a person to bear is Herculean. Secrets color the world and lies are an addictive out. Only when I began to be honest with myself did I start to change the way I live. The levels of self-awareness increase regularly, even though sometimes facing the truth is uncomfortable. Often it's so painful, it takes a long while for the reality of each new truth to be absorbed. It's worth it - the honesty. I face the mirror unashamed and proud.

Prostitution is not easy, fun or an adventure. Fuck the media and the "sexperts" who espouse different truths. I went there. Sure, it may get easier every time, but I died a bit the first two times, despite the ease of the second go round. I can't say enough what a bad idea it was. I hope to hell someone reads this article and thinks twice about trying it out or gets out, if they are involved in prostitution. I tried it over 10 years ago, and it can't be any easier or more glamorous now. Sex should be about pleasure, safe and consensual. Sex should ultimately be about love. But that's not always guaranteed. Sex must absolutely be about mutual respect - fer chrissakes, put yourself in the other person's shoes. DO NO HARM. And be safe.

By Melissa Ulto
© multo.com 2002


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[email protected] | August 2002 | Issue 29
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