Shortly before I became a full-fledged prostitute, my mother found out I was a sex worker. While not quite an abolitionist, my mother–who grew up during the 1960s and came of age in the 1970s–has always taken a dim view of the sex industry.
During my teen years, even during my first month as a sex worker, I didn’t own a cell phone. I arranged all appointments either exclusively through email or by calling prospective clients from my mother’s house phone after blocking the number. Not owning a cell phone was so natural that it honestly didn’t occur to me to buy a prepaid phone. Besides that, I had gotten along fine up until I started seeing a man named Grant.
Grant was the ultimate submissive cliché. He had a high-powered job that trod the fine line between exploitation and economic necessity, had a beautiful office downtown, and enjoyed being degraded by young women. After two appointments, I decided Grant was sufficiently trustworthy and could be given my phone number, so long as I told him that I shared the line with a fictional roommate and told him to call only at specific times of day.
Unfortunately my estimation of Grant was absolutely incorrect, and he would prove himself to be not only untrustworthy, but also legitimately creepy. And, of course, entirely disrespectful of the discretion he valued so much from me, his sex worker.
Although we already had an appointment set for later in the week, Grant began to call me as soon as he had my phone number. Rather than calling in the afternoon–as I’d instructed him–he would call repeatedly in the morning, starting at eleven, and then trying earlier and earlier with each day as I ignored the calls. I began to be concerned about his stability and my safety, but more than that, I became terrified he would call me at an early enough hour that my mother would answer the phone and learn exactly where my money was coming from. I started keeping the phone beside my bed every night, just in case I had to get to it before she did.