As we put our clothes back on, I wondered how exactly I was going to leave. I was buttoning my skirt when Jeff turned to me and asked if I could stay, at least for the remaining half hour of the appointment. I asked what he wanted to do, and was surprised when he told me he just wanted to talk.
Jeff and I sat on his balcony and talked for almost another hour. He asked me why someone so seemingly well-adjusted would choose to be an escort and I explained how the “damaged whore” is just a terrible stereotype. We talked about whether we thought Obama would really win, and if he did, whether he’d really keep all his shining promises of hope and change. I was suddenly able to see this man as a human being rather than a penis-controlled ATM and it came as a shock. Jeff may have come to me seeking sex, but when that didn’t work out he didn’t just settle for conversation, he chose it.
Until that night I had looked at my job as a fairly frivolous way to make money. Sure, I knew I helped lonely people, and yes, part of helping those people was talking or even just listening to them, but I had no idea how important it really was.
Jeff never hired me again. I don’t know if he decided whoremongering wasn’t his cup of tea or if he simply found it too humiliating. Still, even though I never saw him again, Jeff made me a better sex worker: while I taught him that we aren’t all stupid, cruel, or damaged, he unwittingly taught me that the men who hired me weren’t either.
Cathryn Berarovich is a bit of a renaissance sex worker; she’s currently employed as a stripper (and writer) but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
(Still from Pretty Women by Touchstone Pictures)