Tuesday, 12 October 2010

For and against

Although the facts that I am British and have a good education strangely seem to be in my favour in this line of work, some of my conditions go against me. I don’t do in-calls and I’m not in central London. Coming into town from Stoke Newington takes a good while as there’s no tube here, so unless I’m all dressed and made up and ready to fly out the door, I need two hours: one to shower and get ready, and one to get there. Apparently clients often call up and want to go see a girl on their lunch break! And of course, this is where the young eastern European Britneys come in. They are located in cheap studios near tube stations, all central, where clients can visit them for half hour bookings. And apparently clients are also hesitant to have escorts visit them in their homes, and I suppose I can understand that as I’d feel the same way. But as I’ve pointed out to both Mike and Stella, I’m not prepared to go to a client’s house anyway. Hotels only for Kim. Unless, say, it’s someone I get to know, like a regular.

This leaves me with a select group of clients: the really rich who are happy to book a luxury hotel only to use the room for an hour or two, or those in town on business, the latter accounting for the vast majority. This majority, according to Mike, is made up in equal measures by business men from either America or Saudi Arabia.

Mike tells me these factors – location and only out-calls – will mean fewer bookings, but that’s something I’m willing to deal with. The idea of someone coming to my home or me going into someone else’s scares me too much. No way.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The interview

“Your ******** appointment is confirmed for 12.30. This is just an informal chat so do not dress up for it, casual is fine. Mike”.

This is the text message I receive to confirm my interview with Mike. We are to meet at the Hilton near Paddington station, and I make sure I am early in order to steady my nerves and relax once I get there. I have plenty of time given that Mike is running late.

So there I am, casually dressed and half hidden in a long cardigan, and despite having decided to sell my body I feel vulnerable and find myself wrapping my cardi tighter around me. I catch sight of myself in one of the many mirrors that cover the walls in the piano lounge and my body language tells the world that I am uncomfortable, on edge and frightened. I let my arms fall to my sides and relax my shoulders – now probably isn’t the time to be cute and coy, now is the time to be sexy and confident. Well, as sexy as you can be in a long cardi, I guess. I sit back in the chair and take a few deep breaths. I glance at myself in the mirror again. Much better – and once my body language better reflects sassy call girl (or at any rate what I believe reflects sassy call girl), I reckon I can pull this off. I’m a pretty girl, and today is a good hair day. Today is a good everything day. I look bright and perky, and my wavy locks fall gently on to my shoulders.

Yet I can’t totally shake the feeling of wanting to hide. Something about this makes me want to wrap my cardigan around me again, the idea of someone looking at me and even seeing my shape makes me cringe. That does not bode well for someone who is about to sign up for being naked and sold to various buyers on a very frequent basis. Get a grip!

I’ve got through two coffees by the time Mike turns up. How do you greet a pimp? On auto-pilot, I offer my hand. Clearly this isn’t escort interview protocol, as Mike takes my hand but instead of a handshake pulls me in for a kiss on both cheeks. He is all smiles and comes across as a very sweet guy. He is well dressed, friendly, articulate and very attractive, and were we to meet in any other circumstances I’d put him down as boyfriend material, if not marriage too. He has impeccable manners, manicured fingernails and is well spoken. His eyes are warm and his smile real, he is charming and jovial and even in a dress shirt and pullover I can tell that there is a muscular body underneath. Just the kind of boy you’d take home to meet your mother. He looks like Denzel Washington’s better looking younger brother. Boyfriend material indeed. But that’s not how it is. He is a pimp and I am about to become a hooker, is how it is.

“So let me tell you a bit about us,” Mike begins, “we’ve been going for 7 years and act as an advertising agency. It’s important that you understand that you’re not an ******** employee, you only advertise with us and pay a fee for us to field the calls and take the bookings. Like someone who’s self employed advertising in Yellow Pages.”

It’s amazing how the law works. Or laughable, rather. Clearly it’s all bullshit. Everyone knows the score, but by putting things in a certain way, everyone gets around it and quite easily too – I mean, it’s right there for anyone to see, right in anyone’s face. Yet there’s this pathetic charade that it’s about spending time and not selling sex. It’s so absurd I want to laugh out loud. Mike goes through how they let girls advertise and how they only act as an introduction service. Anything over and beyond is between the girl and the client and is a matter of coincidence. I can’t help but giggle when Mike goes over this bit, but clearly he takes this very seriously and is very careful to cover his back. Alrighty then. I play along, as ridiculous as this is. As far as they are concerned, my working girl alter ego “Kim” only charges for her time. Like there’ll be clients queuing up to just enjoy my company over drinks or dinner and nothing more. Sure thing.

Mike deems me worthy of £300 per hour, which he tells me is the top pay with the exception of a very select few ladies who command more. None of his ladies do however, it’s just me, Indian Neela and Arabic Leyla advertised at £300 and the rest of the Britneys go for anything between £100 and £250. I’m a little surprised, given that the Britneys are all much younger as well as thinner and more beautiful than I am. Surely they’d be commanding the top fee rather than I, with my stretch marks and all...

“Nah, it doesn’t work like that. You’re British. They speak no English beyond yes and no. Clients pay more for British girls,” Mike explains.
“Really? Does that really matter to them?”
“Sure it does. That’s why these girls can be booked for half an hour. After the initial, um, appointment, there isn’t anything else to do.”
“Right,” I smile.

The rules are explained to me and they are quite simple. If I agree to a booking I am to honour it or I’m fired, without exception. Don’t dare be late either. The agency’s cut is to be paid into the bank no matter what each Monday, and on this point Mike is very clear. “If you can’t get to the bank, I’ll come and collect. There are no excuses,” he says and the smile he’s been flashing for most of our little meeting has been replaced by a hard glint in his eyes. I am to dress smart, like for a job interview or a day in the office – elegant and feminine, sophisticated and discreet. Nothing slutty or provocative. I am to let him know when I get to the client’s place or hotel, and I am to let him know when I leave. I don’t want to have clients come and see me, so I am doing out-calls only and only hotels as I don’t like the idea of going to someone’s house. The fact that they check and make sure there’s a landline doesn’t seem like enough security to me, whereas I feel better about hotels. Less likely to meet an untimely demise in a nice hotel on Park Lane, I figure.

“Er, what about my personal safety,” I mumble and feel awkward, “I mean, how safe is this, have you ever had girls end up in trouble?”
“Not through this agency, but you hear about others and apparently there are gangs out there who target escorts,” Mike says but the smile is back so he’s obviously trying to make me think this isn’t an issue or anything to worry about, “eastern European gangs who book an escort, the guy turns up and the booking goes ahead and then in the middle of it another five turn up and rob the girl.”

I gasp. Chills slowly trace their way down my spine, rasping, scratching, dry cold, and I feel ill.

“But you don’t need to worry about that because you’re not doing in-calls,” Mike says and holds his hands out in an it-doesn’t-matter gesture, “so anything else you want to ask?”
“No, think that was it.”
“Alright, then I just need you to read through this, fill in a few details and sign,” he tells me and gives me a pile of print-outs, probably 10 pages or so, “it’s basically just the stuff we’ve talked through, but I need your signature and also a few other bits.”

I fill this in – it’s to acknowledge that I only advertise through ********, that I charge for my time only and understand the T&Cs. On the last page I fill in my personal details again, my vital statistics and services I offer. Mike looks very pleased and as well as a kiss on the cheek, he gives me a big hug when we part ways.

“Great to meet you darling,” his smile breaking his perfect features, “let’s make lots of money!”

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Not all roses...

I know I haven't got very far with this blog - I've only just got to the point where I had photos done and was about to meet with Mike, my would-be pimp. But I know that there are girls out there who may think that escorting is a quick and easy way of making a stack of cash. So I thought I'd share the text message I just received from one of the two agencies I am registered with. If you are romancing the idea of becoming a call girl, do bear in mind that there is a dark side to this business:

"Dear all, with the Russian, Oriental and Indian robbers around, please use the eye hole on your door or put the chain on your door to check the client before opening the door. We will be sending you information on Lone Worker Alarm with direct link to a security firm tomorrow. It is worth the investment to get this service. Xx"

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Professional photos

How exciting! Within 24 hours of me deciding that OWO is cool with me and that I’ll consider duos and/or couples, I get responses from both the agencies I have contacted. The first one is from someone who signs off as “Mike”, the other from a “Stella”. Mike wants to see me over a coffee, whereas Stella tells me that they are interested but I need to get professional photos done. She recommends someone, but I find the £400 price tag a little steep given that I don’t yet know for sure if they’ll take me on, so once again I turn to trusted ol’ Google which promptly reacts to my search criteria “escort photographers London”.

I figured this needed doing anyway, judging from the Britneys and their online photos on the agencies’ websites, but figured they’d at least see me first. Obviously Mike will, but Stella is more hesitant to accept the non-airbrushed Kim in her white bikini on a beach in Mexico (I’m even sucking my stomach in, but hey). I have to say I’m a little surprised as Mike’s agency seems to have the REALLY stunning girls on its books – Mike’s fillies really do have model looks, and their photos are very tasteful, considering what’s being advertised here. Stella’s troupe of harlots, on the other hand, are very obviously escorts and in most shots boobs are on display, and about a third of the girls are allegedly established porn actresses. I’m not saying I’m more of a Stella girl, I’m really not, but it’ll take some serious posing, a talented photographer and someone with some serious Photoshop skills to earn me a place among Mike’s girls.

But hey-ho. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and I book an appointment with a photographer. Escorts and glamour girls are his specialities, and he doesn’t cost the earth – £150 I can live with, and hey, this could be fun. A couple of days later, I invest in some more stockings and suspenders, a corset and a few matching sets of lingerie because the contents of my lingerie drawer aren’t really racy enough, then I grab my sluttiest pair of killer heels and off I go to meet Nigel the escort photographer.

I’d put Nigel in his early fifties, but he could either be younger and has had an unhealthy life or he’s older and has taken care of himself. Hard to say. As we walk in through some gates to a private garden off Bayswater Road, it suddenly dawns on me that no one knows where I am. I’ve covered all this when giving hooking all this thought and have amongst other things advertised on Saafe for a “buddy”, i.e. another escort to be my security and me doing the same for her, making sure someone knows where you are and will check up on you. For this, I simply didn’t think of that. Walking through the gardens, and then up a communal staircase in a residential block, is when it hits me that if Nigel is a psycho this could be the last few steps that I take.

Of course he isn’t. He’s fine. Harmless. He’s friendly, professional and kind. But this was still a very unnecessary risk to take and I’m cursing myself behind the smile I’m firing off at Nigel’s camera as I’m sprawled over a huge four poster bed, wearing a baby blue chemise and fish net stockings.

Included in the £150 is retouching of six shots, and when Nigel e-mails the final photos the following day, I’m really pleased. I send them off to both Mike and Stella, even though I’m seeing Mike in the flesh the next day. Can’t hurt to send the really good pics of Kim. The bikini photo is very nice, but these photos are scorching hot! In the first one I’m on my front on the huge bed in the blue chemise, that Nigel has arranged so that it’s revealing half of my buttocks. I look quite cute and coy, which is something I’m happy with. I can’t see myself pulling off that hardness and aggressive kind of sexiness that the Britneys seem to have perfected. I’m really pleased with the result, and once Nigel has airbrushed me so that my stomach is a little flatter, breasts a little fuller, skin tone even and my teeth several shades whiter, I suddenly look like I belong there on Mike’s website among all the Britneys.

Armed with my professional photos I’m looking forward to my chat with Mike and keen to hear Stella’s feedback.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Escort agency scams

Some more Google research has highlighted a scam! It makes perfect sense, of course, that wannabe hookers would be a prime target because let’s face it, most of us are going into it for one reason and one reason alone: we need money and we need it fast. When you’re desperate you’re more likely to make quick decisions without thinking them through. That’s clearly where these scammers come in. I have stumbled across three of them: Adorabelles, Moonlight Encounters and Diamond Companions.

Having looked at these other sites with stunning women being offered up at £2-300 per hour (sometimes less, very rarely more – not even the alleged porn stars with their amazing bodies and beautiful faces seem to smash the magic £300 top pay barrier), I was obviously surprised to see “£600 per booking” but went ahead anyway and contacted Adorabelles, the first one in the search results. Oh yes, they have clearly done some SEO for their sites, because they are right up there in the top results. So I submit the same stuff as before, but there are no references to services or my sexuality this time.

Within an hour, I get a call back from a woman who introduces herself as Lindsay. She asks about my availability and repeats basically what I’ve already read on their website: I can expect a couple of bookings a week and each booking pays me £600, of which I get to keep every penny. Why? I’ll tell you why: all “companions” are required to register with them and this costs £251, but because they don’t want anyone to be out of pocket they will only ask for the registration fee once they have a firm booking for you. Lindsay says she's sure they'll have clients queuing up in no time. 

Sure enough, less than an hour after the first phone call, there's Lindsay back on the phone again and she has a booking for me. It's confirmed and it's for Thursday evening. Of course, now I need to register. And part with £250. I humour her and tell her to e-mail the banking details to my Kim e-mail. She does. By this point I have of course done some more Googling and the search results are awash with reviews on this "agency" as well as the other two aforementioned. 

Yep, they are scams. They tempt wannabe whores with incredible earnings, then once you've paid their fee, you'll hear nothing more of them... And of course the "confirmed booking" never existed in the first place. I wonder how many desperate girls/women have parted with money they couldn't really afford on a promise they'd have it back several times over within the space of a few days.... 

It's obvious once you've looked at a few escort sites like I did. Sites like Adorabelles are aimed completely at the wannabe escort, listing the peaks, what to expect and how to register with them. For potential clients? You can't even see the "companions" like you can on the website of any escort agency worth its salt. And of course, WHY would someone part with £600 when they can get a girl with catwalk model looks for half of that price at these other agencies? It's funny, Lindsay even asked me if I had any food allergies! Hilarious. I couldn't help but play along for a while just to waste their time for a bit. 

So anyway, any fellow about-to-be courtesans out there - watch out for these sharks. 

The application

After a bit of research via Google in order to get a feel for the industry, I have trawled up numerous escort agencies, some classier than others. What I have immediately been able to ascertain is this: there is a seemingly endless supply of Eastern European girls in their late teens and early twenties, and each and every one of them could have walked straight out of a decent porno. The vast majority remind me of a young Britney Spears at the beginning of her career, straight out of her One More Time video, but instead of tracksuit bottoms they’ve poured their peachy and perky bodies into various raunchy outfits that show them off to perfection. I’m pretty sure a lot of them have been airbrushed. If that's not the case, I'm doomed. 

No way will anyone pick me over these young beauties. Even so, I approach two of the agencies, the two that seem to have the most professional websites, the prettiest girls and the highest price tags. I have decided that my lovin’ is worth at least as much as that of any little Britney lookalike.

The application requires I state my vital statistics and some photos. I’ve picked one of my Facebook profile photos where I’m smiling, and one from a recent holiday where I’m in a bikini. I have just assumed that no one expects me to give out my real name, so my naughty alter ego is now ‘Kim’ and she comes complete with a new e-mail address and mobile phone – I’ve decided to keep our lives as separate as I possibly can. Kim is a size 10, has a 34C chest, is 5’7. She has blond, shoulder length hair and green eyes. Services? I’m not dumber than I realise that I need something to set me aside from the Britney crowd. However, the Britneys all seem to “enjoy” what one of the agencies efficiently categorises as “all services”, which is worrying given that I can't see myself engaging in water sports. 

Underneath the main photo of each girl there is a list of abbreviations that mean very little to me, so I go back to Google and armed with what I assume is a fairly comprehensive list, I set about choosing the services Kim is “happy” to provide.

Yikes! It really does turn out that Kim, like me, is very, very vanilla. To keep my options open, I tell the agencies “when I am still new” and hint that I may very well want to expand my portfolio once I’ve got started. For the time being however, Kim will only do FK, GFE and OWO. I assume that full sex goes without saying just like using a condom goes without saying, right? My hooker CV really is quite measly, so I remove ‘straight’ and instead state that Kim is bisexual and willing to see couples. Bit better.

I click on ‘submit’, and as much as this whole thing has come about at my lowest point of desperation and despair, I feel strangely excited about it. Now all I can do is wait and see if one of these agencies believe their clients will think that parting with their cash to spend some time with Kim is worth it.

For someone who has yet to be taken on by an agency, I have already made a lot of preparations for my new life as a hooker. Beyond setting up my alter ego, I have also recruited a friend’s au-pair, E, to babysit M at short notice. She is keen to top up her au-pair earnings, is just around the corner and has pretty much guaranteed that she or one of her au-pair friends (all come with excellent references) can help out at next to no notice, so I am pretty well covered.

This might just work out, if I can bear the work itself. I’m not convinced, but now is not the time to get cold feet. I’ll give this a shot. 

Monday, 4 October 2010

So what brought me here?

This is where I found myself not so long ago:

A single mother to my two-yearold daughter M, lost my job and ended up on benefits. I had some savings that I lived off whilst benefits covered the rent and part of the essentials. After several months of searching for a new job my savings were gone and living off benefits alone just wasn't sustainable with my daughter's nursery fees and everything else. Taking her out wasn't an option, because whenever I do find a "regular" job I need the nursery place and chances are that there won't be any allowances for queuing up for a new place. 

So I was pretty much screwed. OK, not quite - I suppose there are people who DO live off benefits alone, but I happen to have two degrees with the obligatory pile of student debts to accompany those, as well as a personal loan and a couple of credit cards. I guess an IVA or a debt management scheme could sort all of that out, but I refuse to take that route - I want to clear those debts, not run off from them. Benefits help some people, but they can't help me. Keeping on like this would ensure my financial situation and my chance of ever getting a mortgage would be ruined for a long time. It's not an alternative. It's not something I'm prepared to do.

The option available at this junction is prostitution. Given that I can't live off benefits without ending up having to go down the route of personal bankruptcy, and the fact that I'm struggling to find a full time job that'll pay enough to keep a roof over our heads, let alone put food on the table and cover the bills - it does seem like the only option. 

We can dress it up as "escort", "call girl" or even something mysterious sounding like "courtesan" (that's my favourite), but we all know that these are just euphemisms for "whore". I am under no illusions on that score. Looking in the mirror, I reckon I can do it. I'm in my late twenties, looks still intact and with a reasonably nice figure. I'm no supermodel, but I'll do fine I'm sure.

So that's me - a single mother, I guess I'm middle class, with a good education and with a generally strong CV if you disregard these past six months of unemployment. This is the harsh reality: I'd be better off if I had no university education, never had a job and had spent my early twenties popping out babies instead of just having the one.  As it stands, I am turning to hooking to sort myself out and take care of my daughter. 

It's not a thought I relish, of that you can be sure. I played a little game with myself when I was in town yesterday, mostly because I do realise that not every client is going to be Richard Gere. I asked myself "what if it was him" with almost every man I passed in the street, making a mental note of how many I'd bed not getting paid. The ratio was about one in fifty or so. I am a very fussy lady, and this is something that won't do me any favours in this line of work, but I hear you get numb to it after a while. 

Now... Where to begin? It's a jungle out there.