Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker; she’s currently employed as a pro-domme at a fetish house but has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
Longtime readers will remember “Grant,” the client who outed me as a sex worker to my mother at the very start of my career. Grant was a creep, plain and simple, and his borderline stalker behavior was one of the two most terrifying moments of my career.
What I didn’t know at the time is that Grant is what’s known in the industry as a hobbyist.
I’m a smart girl, but I wasn’t always the smartest hooker. When I started out working independently, I didn’t even think to get client references from other girls. I looked to my hooker friends for emotional support, but that network didn’t really extend to my profession. If I’d asked around I probably would have discovered that Grant has patronized pretty much everyone in the Chicago pro-fetish scene, and a lot of vanilla escorts besides. You’d be hard pressed to find a lady who hasn’t seen him.
When I started working at Dolorous Delights in February, it didn’t even occur to me that I might encounter Grant again. My experience with him was so far in the past that it might as well have happened a lifetime ago. I’d seen countless other clients, and had nearly five years of on again, off again sex work experience under my belt. It took me completely by surprise when my boss, “Cecilia” put the phone on hold and informed me that “Grant Caroll” was calling for me. The tone of her voice and the fact that she used his full name was enough to tell me this was the same person.
My first instinct was to bug out my eyes and make a rapid swiping gesture across my throat.
“No no no,” I said, “he’s a creep. He outed me to my fucking mother when I was eighteen. I can’t see him.”
“But he isn’t on your will not see list,” Cecilia pointed out.
“I had no idea he came here! He would be if I’d known!” I replied.
I’m not sure if Cecilia sensed my curiosity or if she just didn’t want me to turn down a client who would mean money for the dungeon, but she persevered.
“So, will you see him or won’t you?” She asked.
I started to say “no.” I was worried he might recognize me by my tattoos, that he might start calling my mother’s house again, that he might go so far as to find my house–but suddenly I remembered that I have a column to write, and more than that, I could never, ever forgive myself if I didn’t indulge such morbid curiosity.
“Fuck it,” I replied, “I’ll see him.”
Cecilia gave me the phone. As I reached out to press the mute button and take him off hold, I realized my hand was shaking. What if he did remember me?
I hoped my voice wouldn’t shake as I greeted him. Luckily, it didn’t.
“Hello,” I said, “this is Mistress Lillian. I hear you’re interested in seeing me?”
“Yes,” he replied in that voice I had grown to hate, “today, if possible.”
“That sounds good,” I said, “what are your interests?”
“Wait,” he said, “I have a few questions first.”
This, I thought, was what I’d been dreading. He was going to ask me if I’d ever worked under a different name or tell me I looked familiar or something. He totally knew exactly what was going on! He had deduced that I was that same dumb girl from all those years ago! I was screwed!
Fortunately, I know better than to let fear get in the way of money. I asked him what he wanted to know.
“First,” he asked, “is your hair red or brown?”
This was easy. I explained to him that although my hair appears to be dark brown when I’m indoors or in low light, the minute the sun or any other bright light hits it I become an instant redhead. The explanation seemed to satisfy him, and he moved on to the next question.
“I see you have some interesting tattoos,” he remarked, and suddenly I was sure it was all over. Despite the fact that I no longer had the piercings and choppy black hair I’d been sporting when he met me, he’d found me out, I just knew it. My stupid fucking stick-and-poke tattoos had given me away.
Once again, though, I kept my cool.
I laughed, “yes,” I said, “yes I do. Anything catch your eye?”
“The tattoo on your hand,” he said, “’Dresden was Firebombed.’ Are you a Kurt Vonnegut fan?”
I breathed a partial sigh of relief. Long ago I’d told Grant that I had that tattoo because of my love of Slaughterhouse Five, but questions about my love of absurdist science fiction are a fairly common response to my hand tattoo. It was possible that he’d forgotten all about Miranda, the baby hooker he’d seen so long ago. I confirmed that yes, my tattoo was indeed a reference to Vonnegut, exchanged a few pleasantries, and booked him an appointment at noon.
I had an hour and a half before Grant was set to arrive. As the minutes ticked away I grew more and more nervous. He was a cagey bastard, I knew, what if he was waiting until his arrival to make the big reveal? I smoked cigarette after cigarette on the back porch.
About twenty minutes before his arrival, I confided to “Sadie” that I was growing increasingly nervous.
“So why are you seeing him?” She asked.
“Curiosity,” I replied, “morbid curiosity that’s going to get me killed one day. Also, I want to tell my mother about it.”
When Grant arrived, I tried my very best to remain cool and unruffled. He walked straight up to the door, rather than calling and asking if it was clear–the way he and all other clients were instructed to. I opened it and ushered him inside. He was shorter than I remembered, and uglier. I had forgotten that he actually looked like a scumbag, rather than just being one. He had wrapped the money in a piece of newspaper, and as he handed her the money, my boss, ever the diplomat, joked that it was kind of him to have brought her something to read. She briefly made eye contact with me and gave me the faintest of all eye-rolls, as if to say, “what a douche.”
Our session was blessedly unremarkable. Grant fancies himself an intellectual, and mostly wanted to talk about Vonnegut (of whose work he’s read very little) and explain to me how he’s very intuitive, how I seem so masculine despite my hyperfeminine appearance, how he’s a “sapiosexual”, and how I must have grown up Catholic. If he remembered me at all, he never showed it or gave any sign of recognition.
I was almost disappointed. I had hoped for some kind of epic tale to regale my mother and sister with, possibly something that ended with me throwing a dildo at Grant’s head and making sure he was blacklisted from our building, but all that happened was… he lied about never eating his own semen as he licked my feet clean.
I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or irritated. How dare he deprive me of a potentially epic story? All I had now was a tale of nervousness in the face of, well, nothing.
Perhaps it was my frustration that allowed me to put professional behavior aside the next time Grant called to make an appointment with me. As I’d learned from the other girls at my dungeon, he goes on runs where he’ll see one girl for a few months before he stops abruptly, having imagined some slight.
It was almost a month after our first appointment at my new place of work that Grant called to see me again.
Secure in my anonymity, I was no longer nervous–simply irritated that I’d have to put up with his pseudointellectual mumbo-jumbo for an entire hour. I was out on the porch painting my toenails and smoking a cigarette with Sadie as I griped about having to see him again, when she made a brilliant suggestion.
“Do you want me to like, piss on your feet?” She asked.
Did I? Oh my god, suddenly I had an opportunity for secret revenge.
“Yes!” I responded, kicking my feet in a mixture of glee and a desire to dry my nail polish,
We were in high spirits as we pranced indoors. We revealed our plans to “Daphne” and “Severine” who not only rejoiced with us but suggested that they–as they were both on their periods–bleed on my toenails. The red nail polish, we decided, was dark enough to hide the bloodstains. Grant would be treated to a disgusting cocktail of bodily fluids and would never, ever know.
I washed the outdoor dirt off my feet. Next, I took my place in the shower, negligee hitched up, as Sadie squatted over my feet and soaked them with disgusting whiskey piss.
Every so often I find myself observing my life and the things I do, and wondering how the hell a nice girl from a nice family ended up being such a fucking weirdo. This was one of those times. Here I was, standing in a shower as one of my co-workers peed on my feet and two other co-workers waited to rub menstrual blood on my toenails and somehow this was our idea of an hilarious prank? I was and am aware, on some level, that this is not a typical example of a good prank.
Once Sadie was done bathing my feet, I dried them off a bit, rubbed Daphne and Severine’s tampons on my toenails, and put my shoes back on just in time to greet Grant at the door.
It wasn’t hard to pretend I was glad to see him, I could barely contain my smiles, so happy was I when I thought of how disgusting my feet were. I was glad they didn’t obviously smell like piss, and hoped they would still taste bad.
I couldn’t wait to get Grant into the room we were sessioning in. He stripped, as was his custom, and went straight for my feet. As he took off my shoes I could hardly contain my amusement; I was beyond tempted to stick my tongue out and waggle my fingers in my ears like a bratty child, but I suppressed the urge. After deeply inhaling the scent of my shoes, Grant finally, finally brought his mouth down to my toes and took the first three toes of my right foot in his mouth.
I smiled broadly, “Oh,” I purred, “your tongue feels so good on my toes. Do you like the way they taste?”
Grant took my foot out of his mouth to enthusiastically reply that yes, they were delicious, and just like that I had my revenge. The hour flew by. I didn’t care that Grant was being particularly pretentious, he had licked menstrual blood off my toes! I didn’t care that he was asking exceptionally nosy questions about my personal sex life, he was sucking piss off my feet while I lied about the answers! Everything was perfect and Grant was a creepy little scumbag who’d just been had and didn’t even know it.
I know it’s wrong and unprofessional and all those other things to have played such a childish prank on a client. My enjoyment of his unwitting consumption of bodily waste is petty and stupid, and this is something that, were I writing under my real name or even my other professional name, I would never admit to anyone. I want to feel guilty for this stupid prank, but I can’t bring myself to.
There is a code in sex work, we have an unspoken understanding with our clients. On some level, they know we don’t use our real names, they know we aren’t flawless fantasy creatures, and they know we have lives and families that are entirely removed from our work personae. We know, though we never talk about it unless they initiate the conversation, that most of them are married and have children our age or sometimes even older.
There is etiquette in place, you do not cross the line between fantasy and reality. Grant crossed the line, he violated the etiquette, and because of that he is fair game for whatever we want to do to him, so long as we ourselves do not violate our own etiquette by messing with the money he pays us. It’s unprofessional and petty, yes, but he deserved it and I can and will do something similar the next time I see him.
In fact, Grant will be sucking piss off my feet until he gets sick of seeing me.