Last week, we introduced you to Cate, a writer and former sex worker. This week, she shares the story of her first time with a client.
Despite all my fears and mistakes, my first time as an actual prostitute went very smoothly. While I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be horrific, I also wasn’t expecting the charmingly awkward experience it turned out to be.
I started off with the mistake of riding my bike to the call. It was late June in Chicago and was therefore hot enough that it was nearly impossible to ride a bike for more than a few blocks while remaining fresh as a daisy. By the time I got to my first client’s apartment, I was a sweaty mess. I sat down on the steps of his nice building and tried to fan myself with the book that I’d brought for some reason. Perhaps as a security blanket.
There wasn’t anyone around, but I felt incredibly conspicuous sitting on a tattered messenger bag in front of this nice apartment building in my ripped fishnets, ragged miniskirt, and steel toed boots smoking cigarettes and fanning myself with a copy of whatever Russian novel I was reading at the time. I knew I didn’t look like most people’s idea of a prostitute, but I also knew that it was painfully obvious I didn’t live there. I tried to focus on my imminent work, but that only sent me into a panic: I was about to go upstairs and have sex with a man whose name I had already forgotten but this wasn’t a party, I wasn’t even slightly drunk, it was the middle of the afternoon, and I was going to get paid for it. The very idea was absurd.
When I finally gave up on fanning myself and stood, I was shocked that I was able to walk. My legs felt like Jell-O and I sort of floated into the lobby. Before I punched in the code the guy had emailed me, I tried looking up his name in the directory, hoping that perhaps his first name would be listed. It wasn’t, there was only a last name that was as bland and average as I was sure his first name had been, Chris or Ted or John or something. I decided that I would avoid the subject of a name unless explicitly asked, and dialed the number.