Newcastle

The first stop of my long October tour was Newcastle for a day. This day was spent with the Mariner. The original Master Plan was a tour of Geordieland in the afternoon, but when I arrived it was raining and somehow we just ended up staying in my hotel room. We left in the early evening for a dinner and then to see “Oliver!” and not only because a visit to the theatre is always nice but because I needed something fresh after my overdose of The Phantom of the Opera.

Food, glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard!

is nowhere as sexy as

Darkness stirs and wakes imagination

but by then I was so tired of humming the Phantom’s tunes I was ready to hum anything. A food theme is an additional bonus: how can you not love food?

The show was everything I expected and even more considering Brian Conley as Fagin – what an utterly loveable mean old Jew! Moreover, I suddenly saw his “Reviewing the Situation” in a new light: if you listen to it closely, it can easily be a sex worker’s song. Fagin ponders over all those questions that sooner or later come to those who choose sex work as a career. Is it possible to do sex work “all your life” or is settling down with a spouse a better option? For reasons Fagin describes so eloquently, marriage isn’t a good idea (and even worse for a prostitute: why do I want to give away something that I’m used to be paid for?) Then there is the option of performing “an honest job” and again, the arguments against it are totally true – an honest job is a dismal flop next to prostitution. So what happens when you’re seventy? Like thieves, prostitutes have no-one to rely on: throughout the song, family is hard to keep, friends are hard to make, colleagues are hard to trust, society is indifferent when not hostile. If you listen carefully, Fagin finds no solution: he’d love to not have to be a thief anymore, but it’s his best option since he has to fend for himself. “I’m a bad ‘un and a bad ‘un I shall stay” is what he arrives to. It’s a rather sad song, taken as comic if you don’t concern yourself with the character’s troubles. Mind you, the character of Fagin in the musical is very different to the one in the book.

Yes, I loved the thief, but I deeply resented the prostitute – Nancy. Clearly not because of competition. This “tart with a heart” archetype is so insulting to common sense that it’s not even ironic. Writers and other “creative” people around the world, from bible to the most recent TV series, have been dehumanising, objectifying and pimping (i.e. getting a profit from using) prostitutes by creating this one rare whore who is occasionally capable of showing some humanity (as opposed to the mainstream whore who has never even heard the term). She is usually there to highlight the purity and morality of a “real” woman in the story and to make the reader go “aww, look at this hooker, she’s trying to be human! How sweet, poor silly thing!” So when at the start of the show the Mariner leaned to me and whispered: “Remember what happened to Nancy?” I said I didn’t. First of all, it’s a really creepy question to ask someone in Nancy’s occupation, and secondly, you don’t need to remember. Nancy’s a hooker. Hookers get murdered, especially the ones with a heart. This most likely comes from the contradiction between her job and her human nature: tart with a heart’s existence upsets the balance of society by showing that prostitutes are actually women (yes, I know sex workers can be male and transgender, but the society prefers to stay unaware). The society can’t possibly be forced to choose between

  • prostitutes are human like other women and are therefore equal members of society and deserve rights like others, and
  • all women aren’t human.

And so, the hooker has to die.

Yes, prostitution can be rather isolating. Which is where me and the Mariner found each other, because being a sailor is also very isolating, although for different reasons. Society never considers prostitutes’ feelings, but it doesn’t bother much with seamen’s either. It hadn’t occurred to me until I met the Mariner. As a seafarer, you spend most of your life on a ship in the tight company of people (mostly men with an occasional woman here and there nowadays) who often don’t even speak your language. So you either make friends with them or with Facebook profiles – if you’re in luck and your ship provides you with Internet connection. If you have friends or family “ashore”, being with them comes down to looking at their photo when calling them. So even though for different reasons, it’s the same social isolation as with sex workers, with the same outcome: family is hard to keep, friends are hard to make. To top it all, you live at work (kinda like living in a brothel. Shudder) so while you’re on the ship, you work. As in, no 9 to 5, no week-ends, no bank holidays, no going to the local with your mates. You actually work most of the time you’re at work. I’d kill myself.

Seduction, Act 2

Continued from Act 1.

I meet Walter in an Indian restaurant across the road from the theatre. At the table, we discuss the pleasures of oral sex. If right now you suddenly have doubts about having recently decided to get in touch with me to take me out for a meal, you are wrong but I understand. My aloo sag arrives and I try to tempt Walter with a little piece of it. He doesn’t like sharing food but he doesn’t like saying no to me either so the lesser of evils is chosen and I generously cover a little piece of potato with the spicy sauce and send it down his oesophagus. He says it tastes great. As I continue my lecture on cunnilingus, I have to use the stuff on the table (plates and utensils) to explain what the internal part of clitoris looks like. This draws Walter’s attention to my plate and he sees

– Cauliflower! This is cauliflower!

– Yes, it is, why?

– How can you eat it, it’s disgusting!

– You had a bit of it off my fork 5 minutes ago and you said you liked it. You did, didn’t you?

– It was cauliflower?! (some shock, doubt and mental turmoil) Yes, I did.

– Would you like some more?

– HELL NO!

– But you liked it the first time. Why say no to a bit of something you liked? Please?

So I generously cover another bit of potato with the spicy sauce and he swallows it.

– So? Is this cauliflower disgusting?

– No, but it doesn’t mean I’ll ever eat it again!

Just as any other reader, this is the first time Walter reads about my dirty tasty lies. Oh well. He wasn’t going to eat cauliflower anyway, whether I tell him the truth or not.

At 7.30 we make our way to the Playhouse and for the second time in a span of a week I enjoy “The Phantom of the Opera”. Walter, believe it or not, enjoys it, too! I wasn’t sure about it really until during the break when he turned to me excitedly and said: “Incredible! Did you see how they use the light!” Men will be men, I suppose, until they invest into becoming a woman. I have to admit, however, that everything about this new production (including the use of light) was quite impressive indeed.

It’s about 10pm when he sex trafficks me in his car to his hotel where he exercises even more violence against women by presenting me with a very thick envelope. I run the bath and we fool around a little, running around the room until he catches me, throws me on the bed and rips my lingerie off. This is the most playful I’ve seen him in years and if I’m honest, it was very endearing. The bathtub is now full and we dive in.

The can of whipped cream that Walter hid by the bathtub was not much of a surprise: Walter and sweet edible things go hand in hand. The real surprise was the fact that it worked! Almost 3 years ago a client wanted to play with cream so I got a can. It was the first time for him (and for me) and he was very curious. We tried very hard for about 20 seconds and then silently but mutually agreed to forget about it. I never saw him again and never used cream after that. Pity, because as I now know, that first time we didn’t use it the right way. The cream isn’t for eating! I mean, you can eat (lick, slurp, etc) it, too, but it’s not its main use! And it’s far better used in the bathroom than in the bedroom where we end up when we run out of cream. It’s quite early in the morning when I finally leave Walter alone and move into my separate bed.

A few hours later we stop pretending that we’re both sleeping. I rarely sleep during overnights because of unfamiliar surroundings, don’t know what was Walter’s problem. It’s still dark so we try talking to each other across the room from our separate beds. Does anyone know why and how being in the dark makes mature adults turn to whisper even when no-one around is asleep? It feels like little girls in the dormitory at night so I give up on sleep and sneak back into his bed.

At 10 I finally switch off. I don’t notice him getting up, making tea, pottering around, packing his suitcase, opening his laptop to send me a thank you mail and getting back under the duvet with me. He wakes me up eventually and cuddles some more, until the absolutely last minute when we totally have to get up if he is to be on time for his plane.

Walter gets off at the airport and I wave my hand as the cab rides off. Within seconds, a text from him arrives: “Miss you”. I get his present – “Maskerade”, Terry Pratchett’s spoof of “The Phantom of the Opera” – out of my handbag and open the book, hoping to divert my mind from the sudden feeling of loneliness. This ride home feels much longer than the actual 20 minutes.

Seduction, Act 1

If you remember, last time you heard about H(ugh), he owed me one. Or, at least, I made him feel like he owed me. Big time. So by the end of that dinner, still rubbing his shin, he said that next time there’s a show I’d like to see, I just need to e-mail him the link to it. It sounded like a very fair offer to me. So one would assume that when 2 weeks later “The Phantom of the Opera” came to town, I wouldn’t have to think. Yet I did. Here’s why.

I love this musical. I saw it a couple of times in London a few years ago. The book isn’t bad either. People can argue all they want about the score, to me personally all this is irrelevant. What matters is that it’s a story with a point, and the show the performers put up is only slightly short of sensational. The catchy tunes are a great help. What attracts me most is that the main character, the Phantom, is your typical disabled client. Well, I’ll take the “typical” back because not all my disabled clients go round murdering people, and he’s not in the least a client, but this is exactly the point. While the Phantom might have been evil from the start, I do believe that the inability to express himself sexually (especially with the woman he was in love with) did play a part there. Sexual frustration can be a powerful thing, especially in someone who has never had any physical contact with anyone. The Phantom’s genius, charisma and refinement were all limited by his disfigurement. Apart from his music he had no life outside his body. In my opinion, however, if he were a little less refined and a little more confident, he could go and find une (deux?) fille do joie and feel much more joyeux about himself and the world around, and then maybe other characters wouldn’t have to die. But then there would have been no story and no musical, which I love and wanted to see again, so what was I waiting for?

You see, going there with H(ugh) was easy. I e-mail him the link, he buys the tickets, we meet at the theatre and hold hands. Where’s the fun? Not until after the musical (and yes, it was). H(ugh) would be happy to see the Phantom. What I really wanted was to make Walter want to see it. Walter’s problem is his taste in music, which makes him dislike musicals. I can try and explain that regardless of its name, a musical isn’t about music, there’s more to it than that, but someone who’s never seen one isn’t likely to take my word for it. So…

So I played dirty. I e-mailed H(ugh) with 2 links, giving him a little choice just in case; he chose the Phantom. I also e-mailed Walter giving him 5 options for what we could do during our coming date, with the instructions below to choose option number 1.  To my surprise (and probably his, too), he acted like a clever man should: he chose what the woman said he should choose. That’s right, you’ll hear about my second Edinburgh viewing of the Phantom in the next post!

As for the first time, we met at another fancy restaurant to start with (H(ugh) clearly likes them), where he first accused me of having a brass neck and then was forced to acknowledge it’s the most adorable art item in brass that he’d ever seen. Turns out, he forgot about his show offer. So guess what – he still owes me big time. I’m also getting a feeling here that he quite enjoys this. I was surprised to discover that H(ugh) isn’t actually as confident when it comes to seducing women as I first thought he was!

Seduction. My favourite aria is “The Point of No Return”. It’s dark, sultry, heady, slow at first, gradually speeding up to reach its climax… and stopping just a breath away to put it off until later in the musical. Just think through the lyrics: it’s Victorian sex book undiluted. Pornaria, if you please. It is also double-layered: the musical characters, Christine and the Phantom, are on stage playing a couple who are just about to fornicate. Not much there: two people get together willingly with a shared goal in mind. However, both Christine and the Phantom have their own motives while playing the bland couple – now this is seduction as nature intended! Make the other person see the world through your eyes for a short while, gently persuade them that your goal is their goal, that they would enjoy working towards that goal together with you. Somehow seduction is usually seen as deception, the victim of seduction being fooled. But it seems to me that the best way to seduce is to be honest: how can you make someone believe something you don’t believe yourself?

Act 2 is here.

Farewell, September

It was a lovely enough (for Scotland) Saturday morning. Oh alright, make it early afternoon. Week-end is the time to care for work-related clothing, so I had just done the laundry: silk and lace knickers were hanging off the door knobs while the airer was full of… anyway, it was full. I just sat down to look again at the gift card I got the previous day – a voucher for a couple of hours worth of body treatments at one of the top (read “ridiculously expensive and even more appealing for that”) spas in Edinburgh – and to figure out when I can spare half a day for this trip to heaven when my personal phone started ringing.

My friend on the other line (let’s call her MSH, and yes, it does stand for something) was somewhere very noisy but she didn’t say where and I didn’t care to ask. The beginning was innocent enough, we both happened to be fine thank you, and both seemed to be enjoying the week-end so far. She then went on to ask what my plans were. My plans were to call the spa to book the treatments and then to update my blog and look into advertising for my tour, so I told her I was thinking of doing some grocery shopping and then packing my bag for the visit to Glasgow on Monday. I really don’t know why I mentioned Glasgow. It just came out of my mouth as a better alternative to selling sex in Oxford.

– Oh, – said MSH, – I didn’t realise you were going away! I’m just at Waverley and I was hoping to spend a few days with you.

I didn’t drop my mobile in surprise but I was very close to it. I looked around my flat, my mind registering all those things that my friend should not see under any circumstances. The 37 pairs of shoes by the door. The array of Thank You cards from clients on the mantelpiece. A few dozens of condoms on the sofa: they have just arrived in the mail, I needed to sort them out by size, type and material they are made of and re-stock the condom bag that I take to work. The stack of books by my bed – research on sex work that I had just received and needed to go through. The lingerie and other work clothing that I had just put to dry. And don’t even start me on the bathroom and browsing history on my laptop. And now I only had about half an hour to somehow hide it all. I also had to find a place to hide it all: these things are part of my everyday life, they aren’t meant to be hidden so it’s not like I have an extra wardrobe where they usually go.

25 minutes later, when MSH rang the bell, I was slightly out of breath but happy with the results of my clean-up. As she walked in and gave me a hug, everything seemed normal. She opened her luggage to take a few things out and thankfully she didn’t have anything that would need to go in the wardrobe: I’m sure things would come pouring out of it cartoon-style if I attempted to open it now. I made her a cup of tea and she sat down so we could discuss our plans for the week-end together. This is when it happened.

We noticed the beautiful cream and gold card on top of the papers on my desk at the same time. I mentally bit my own bum as she reached for it.

– So beautiful, what is it?

The most expensive gift MSH ever got from her husband was a blender (he can be incredibly romantic for a Brit) but from the look of the gift card even she could tell it was worth more than a tenner. She opened it.

– Oh how lovely! And it says “With thanks” here! Who is it from?

– Erm… it’s…

– It must be from a man! Come on, tell me! I didn’t realise you were seeing someone! Why do your friends always find out last?

– You don’t… See, the thing is…

– Wait, is this what you’re going to Glasgow for? I’m sure it is, why else would you go to Glasgow but for a man!

– Yes! Yes, that’s right! I’m going to Glasgow to see the man who gave me this gift card!

Why am I telling you all this? Because people don’t always realise that living 2 lives is not easy, especially when you have to hide the one that you prefer. In a month or so I’ll have to think up a reason why things didn’t work out with “the man in Glasgow” (his accent should be reason enough, I’m thinking) and for a few months after that I’ll be subject to lengthy talks about how I’m not getting younger, how it’s impossible to find a decent man, how all men are bastards and how difficult it must be for a woman on her own.

Which leads us up nicely to this charming video:

Christian’s blog is now in my Blogroll, hope you enjoy it. Could you also please take part in the new Poll, it would take you less than a minute and would help me a lot. Other than that, there’s an entry out of sequence and please remember that I’m down south for 10 days in October.

The cost of a blow job

It looks like people actually read my blog! Literally the next day after I announced the new photos coming, I got this e-mail:

Pro Edinburgh photographer. Will shoot location or studio for a blow job or two. All the photos will be edited and are yours.
Interested?

This isn’t new and I’m sure my colleagues all over the world enjoyed these e-mails ever since the invention of Internet (the guy was a genius!). What was fresh is the self-view of the author. He starts with defining himself as a pro (don’t even start me on whether it stands for someone who practices an occupation as a means of livelihood or someone who sells his sexual services as he clearly does) and goes on to propose his preferred process of payment for the proffered professional portfolio: a blow job or two. This is the first time the words blow job appear on my blog next to each other. Oh alright, forth if you count the quote above and the entry title. Please excuse my English: I can’t avoid a blow job in this post.

Now, a professional photoshoot in a studio costs £500-600. On location it’s usually from £800. Which means that a blow job delivered by me is seen to be worth at least £250, but possibly even above £400. I’ll take it as a compliment. Moreover, I will now spread the word! Next time I get a caller saying that he doesn’t want to pay for the hour because he only wants a blow job, I’ll be able to say that actually an hour with me is a cheaper option.

That’s seven blow jobs (oops, eight now) in one entry. I think it about covers the past 3 years of the blog and 5 more to come.

Independent Edinburgh Escorts

Guess where!

Over the years my clients took me to many different places. There was, however, one which I have never been invited to. Nor was it a place that I ever hoped to be invited to.

In early July a new gentleman joined my tight circle of benefactors – a tall and quiet seafarer (another tick in my uniform list) who comes to Edinburgh every time he’s back in UK. So I’ll see him 2-3 times in the span of 10 days or so and then he’s gone seafaring for a month or however long. If ever I get into a relationship, it’ll have to be with a sailor: a partner who’s never there is the perfect catch.

Anyway, he comes to Edinburgh, we spend a day together and after dinner we go to Waverley where I kiss him good-bye and he takes the last train to… Newcastle. In case you don’t know, I worked there for a year. Why he had to wait until I move to Edinburgh is a mystery. There will be more posts about him, so I need to come up with a good code name for him to go by. The obvious “The Geordie” is already taken. Calling him Popeye is not fair on Popeye. And naturally I’m not calling him by his name. Not here. Let’s settle for “The Mariner” for now, and if anyone has other suggestions (the Mariner included) – I’m happy to consider them.

The first few dates were rather difficult, with him keeping quiet and me trying to figure out how to get him talking (it’s still not easy but we’re doing much better now). Gradually I got to know about him and his interests, and guess what, he quite fancies pandas! Not exactly in the way he fancies me but it’s a start and an idea for the next date.

So this is where we go – to the zoo. It may not sound like the most romantic place in Edinburgh but by now I (and hopefully you, too) have learnt that it’s not the place that makes your date great, it’s who you’re there with. We arrive in time for our appointment with pandas (yeah, did you know you need to book an audience with them?), it lasts about 10 minutes. The first 2 minutes are enough for me to understand that no matter what else we see in the zoo today, nothing can be more boring than pandas. Funny they are thought of as bears. Crashing boars would suit them much better.

These fluffies sleep 16 hours a day. If you are lucky to catch them awake, they are busy looking at a wall – this is what the female panda was doing. Well, at least she was up, unlike her mate. No style, no fun, no personality. Don’t waste your time on pandas. Out of all things overrated, very few are as high as them.

But then we left the pandarium and the fun started together with the rain. We saw penguins (these are full of personality but it seems to be a b!tchy one), koalas (these were also asleep but even the way they sleep is fun, just look!),Independent Edinburgh escorts pigmy hippos, llamas (when it’s raining, there’s no difference between a wet sheep and a wet llama), a tiger and a black leopard, pink flamingos (I was supremely disappointed. They may look exotic and graceful from a distance, but up close they are just medium-sized chickens on awkwardly long legs. Not to mention that they smell funny), sea eagle and sea lion. The meerkats stayed in because of the rain so we didn’t get to see them. Nor kune kune pigs: they were too far to walk to for a rainy day. And yes, the image of these little cuties is not what I would usually go for, but I’m a woman, and sometimes a woman is allowed to be girlie.Edinburgh escorts

Most of our zoo time was spent next to the cages with monkeys, and yes, it was only because of me. The Mariner, I think, got rather bored (or tired?) with them. But how is this possible? They are so full of life, energy and cheek! I could stand and watch them all day! They are so different to how they are usually shown in cartoons! They can professionally peel and eat a banana in 7 seconds: they don’t even chew it. Also, I somehow always thought monkeys were vegetarian. I mean, they are not predators and therefore have to be vegetarian (“bad hunter” is the definition of “a vegetarian”), right? Not exactly: some of them eat locusts and every second of it is as revolting as you can imagine it to be. You’d think locusts are dry and crunchy – wrong again! They are surprisingly stretchy and chewy. And juicy. I’ll stop right here.

I know you want to know, so no, he didn’t buy me an ice-cream. And yes, it was my first ever visit to the zoo. And it was fun!

Friends with a prostitute

I was touched by Walter‘s e-mail where he said he was sad for me that Mr French had left as I obviously liked him a lot. I think the first thing I learnt in prostitution is that men come and go while my savings account stays (which, frankly, would be good for all women to learn) but it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate these men while they are around – this is the second thing I’ve learnt. The client – prostitute relationship may be paid for, but it’s still a relationship.

The night was rather cold for 2 September. The fact that I stood motionless wasn’t helping. The noisy crowd around me smelt of beer and cigarettes. The fireworks were totally worth it.

Independent Edinburgh escorts

The following day, 3 September, was beautiful: sky so clear and blue I suddenly realised that I hadn’t seen sky for a very long while now. And it was hot. Really hot. I’d say hotter than any other day this year. I went for a very long walk, keeping my camera eye on the sky. The walk took me past H(ugh)‘s home, not on purpose but simply because there are lovely views in that part of Edinburgh and he just happens to live there. Of course I thought of him.

Last time I saw him we had dinner at a Spanish restaurant, watched a film cuddled up together on his sofa and then I, abiding by the international rules and regulations of romantic dating, asked him for a pair of scissors and, in his words, invaded his (now former) privacy. The way I see it, just because his privacy hasn’t been invaded in the last 70 years, it doesn’t mean he should die not having seen what his privacy actually looks like. And the fact that his privacy harbours more hair than his scalp, face and ears together is the last straw. Anyway, that was mid-July, and I haven’t heard from him since except for an e-mail a few days ago, the subject line screaming “Hot balls!!!” Apparently, if you remove a thick and long natural covering, it gets hotter, not cooler. I’m not a physicist, so I’m not going to occupy my pretty little head with this nonsense.

About 20 minutes later as I’m walking home, my phone rings and – that’s right! – it’s H(ugh). Well, if he noticed the slight change in his balls’ temperature after my professional help (free of charge, by the way!), it’s only natural that now his balls will sniff me out within a mile and cower in fear. Yet he’s still willing to see me, yes, tonight if I’ve no other plans. He calls to book a table at a fancy restaurant close by and even checks with them that they have gluten-free stuff on the menu. Aww.

During the dinner he tells me how much he enjoyed the festival, the shows he went to see, such a pity he had to do it on his own. Under the table, I pretend to try to kick him and he moves his legs out of my reach quickly. The conversation moves to the end of the festival and the fireworks the night before. He tells me he had 2 tickets but couldn’t get anyone to go with him so went on his own.

This time I really kick him. Twice. And I make sure it’s hard. He winces and reaches to his shin under the table. Good. Now, if he gets 2 tickets somewhere, he’ll think of me, at least for as long as his shin hurts. The e-mail I receive after this date says that apart from the bruised shin and ego he’s now absolutely fine and it may seem daft, but he thinks of us as friends.

Whatever the society thinks of my profession, it’s far more honest than a lot of marriages out there. A client can have sex with his wife – for free. He can pick up someone at a bar – for very little. He can even go to see another lady (and if it’s in Edinburgh, chances are she’ll be charging less than me. I’ve looked around recently and it seems that I’m the most expensive prostitute here, which is sad, but hey, my parents can be proud!). Yet with all these choices he prefers to pay up to see me. I’d say it looks like he really wants my company. Likewise, when I agree to see him, he knows it’s because I really want to see him, not because he’s paying. After all, everyone pays. It’s up to me whom I choose to accept payment from and you can guess I’m rather picky. In marriages people can (and do) manipulate each other through finances, sex, feelings and kids. When my clients and I get together, it’s because we really want to see each other.

Farewell, August

Please excuse the 2 weeks of silence. There were good political reasons for that. No, the political reasons were actually bad, but they make for a good excuse.

The poll results

The festival poll was nowhere as popular as the weather one. Oh, the britishness of it! They’d rather talk about the weather than about the things that are fun. There were 13 votes altogether, exactly half of the weather poll results.

In case you forgot (as it’s been over 2 weeks now), the question was You and the festival time in Edinburgh are like…

  • Fish and water – you may try living without it, but you’ll fail. 0 votes. Pity.
  • Fish and fins – you can live without it but who wants such a life? 3 votes. One of them mine.
  • Fish and chips – you often go together but it doesn’t make your life longer. 1 voteI guess some people are just born enthusiasm-free.
  • Fish and the shore – you know it exists but you’re not remotely interested in it. 2 votes. Spoilsports!
  • Fish and umbrella – some find it useful but not you. 0 votes. I’m glad it was 0!
  • Fish and the critical period hypothesis in linguistics – what? where? 1 vote. The Fringe HQ need to invest more in their advertising campaign.
  • Why am I always the fish? 1 vote. A fair question which I don’t have a ready answer to. It just happened this way. Could have been anything really, from prostaglandin to an ingot, a fish just has more idioms and connections already available.

And the 5 “other” replies which are the real fun (in order of appearance): 

  1. Love the atmosphere, but trying to go anywhere on foot… Tourist Rage! Funny. I thought it was driving that gave people the tourist rage during the festival, as tram works on their own are bad enough, add the increase of traffic and… I went (as I always do) everywhere (work unrelated) on foot and didn’t have any problems, only fun. I mean, isn’t it fun when out of the blue you’ve got 10 people rubbing against you at the same time? And for free!
  2. Fish and strawberry sauce. We don’t mix well. Pity to hear this but great to see that the fish caught on.
  3. A fish who loves the festival but dislikes the shoal. Beautiful. Just beautiful.
  4. No! I don’t want one of your fucking flyers – and relax… Very cathartic, thanks. How often does it happen nowadays that a SMILING person comes up to you and GIVES you something? For FREE? In Edinburgh it’s only one month a year. I find it refreshing. 
  5. Fish and the bicycle – I’m in the USA so I miss the festival. You poor fish! Now you know where to spend next August.

And other news. Jewel’s news:

  • I’ve arranged a new photoshoot in October so new photos are coming! Probably not till early November, but you can start salivating right now: I don’t charge for anticipation.
  • Another big tour, not just a night in London, details here
Blog news:
  • I’ve shuffled and updated my Blogroll a little and as a result there are now 5 categories there, feel free to explore. Oh, and Blogroll is the thing in the column on the right, where I have links to other blogs and sites which I find either useful or amusing.
  • In view of the political changes mentioned above, there is a new page coming on this blog very-very soon. The sooner the better so I’m working hard in this direction.
  • And a new blog entry (dedicated to touring) out of sequence here.
Client news:
  • Do you remember my first Belgian experience? He was back to Edinburgh for the festival this year and although I didn’t get to see him again, he gave me his ticket for the show he couldn’t attend. How sweet is that! Thank you so much!
  • The ex-old nutter texted to apologise for his behaviour. “Diffidence in the presence of a beautiful woman comes easily”, apparently.

Still speechless so no title

So I’m cooking, and you know how I feel about cooking – it’s all here. You can imagine I’m already stressed. My phone beeps: I have 2 Twitter messages from 2 colleagues asking where we’re meeting in 2 hours (I won’t go into details of why they’re asking about it 2 hours before the meeting that was agreed on a week in advance because that story ain’t pretty either). I turn the fire down a little, go to the living room and open Google on my laptop to look up some bars. I’m in a hurry because

  1. I’ve a pot on the stove and it’s spitting water around and
  2. We now have 119 minutes left till the meeting, 118, 117, and some of us have a really long way to go.

Just when I find a place that looks good and is in a suitable location, my phone (the curse of the human kind!) rings. It’s a regular client who has been mentioned here, asking if he can see me. Unfortunately, I already have other plans for the time he initially has in mind, so we look at other days. He’s in a good mood, chats a lot, we go through possible places to go to for lunch and meanwhile it’s 109, 108, 107… I can’t text the address of the place to my colleagues because my shoulder is pressing my mobile to my ear, but my laptop screen is right in front of my eyes, so I copy the address line of the bar from the Google page and paste it into a tweet window while the client describes South Queensferry to me. Something is not exactly right here, but I’m not sure whether it’s the bar’s address, the funny smell coming from my kitchen or the idea of a Scottish village as this micro-paradise by the sea. I hit “Tweet” button on the bar address message to get rid of at least one stress factor, and run to the kitchen with my mobile still pressed to my ear.

We agree on the date and time for lunch, and I’m standing in my kitchen, thinking if I should keep the pot or throw it out together with the now well-fried rice that I most probably won’t be able to scrub off the pot bottom. Besides, all this lunch talk made me really hungry. At this moment my mobile beeps again, announcing another tweet message. It’s a reply to the address of the bar that I sent to my colleagues, but it’s not from my colleagues. Another second passes by before I swear loudly in my best French, turn to run to the living room to my laptop, half way there turn back to pick up my mobile from the kitchen table and hit it hard against my forehead as I reach my laptop at last. Here’s what we have in the all-public world of Twitter:

Prostitute #1: Are we still meeting at 4?

Prostitute #2: Sure, I can just about make it to Edinburgh on time. What’s the address of the place?

Prostitute #3: Bar Name, Full Address, Postcode, Edinburgh.

Wanker: Hello sweet ladies of pleasure!

I delete the address tweet and, wishing I could do something about the tweeting twit of a twat that I feel myself to be at the moment, I hysterically text my colleagues with apologies and the new address. As one of my favourite Johns on this blog says, there’s a limit to how much self-harm I can inflict.

Whoever said that women can multi-task has obviously not met that many women.

Now, having had the lunch at South Queensferry, I can testify that if South Queensferry had been warmer, sunnier and indeed in the South, it would have been exactly the paradise my client described to me on the phone.

Also, 2 new posts out of time line but in sequence: Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.

Safety-in-numbers syndrome

It’s about 7.30 when I come out of X hotel, turn round the corner, cross the road and go to the taxi rank at the bottom of the street. On the way I pass a restaurant where I once had dinner, also on my way from X hotel. Establishing a bit of a tradition is always nice, besides, I’m tired and hungry, so I open the restaurant door.

The waiter who takes me to the table smiles and says it’s great to see me again. Well, it’s one good waiter because I can’t recall seeing him here last time. He leaves me with the menu; I get my diary out of my handbag and look up the previous date at X hotel. About 40 days since I was here first time. Yes, a good waiter indeed. I then place my order, he smiles again and says:

– The same as last time, eh?

– Do you remember all your customers so well?

– No, not all of them, – he winks at me, turns round and goes to the bar, leaving me sitting motionlessly at the table, looking intently at the pattern on the table cloth. His wink reminded me of what happened here last time – which I totally forgot about. Men only have 2 faults: all they say and all they do. About 40 days ago…

…I entered that restaurant for the first time. I sat down, studied the menu, ordered something which the waiter remembers and I don’t, got up and went to the bathroom. In the cubicle, I took off my dress, opened my handbag, fished out my bra, put it on (yes, sometimes I leave hotels in a bit of a hurry), then the dress, and went out. On the way back to my seat I had to pass a group of men – all in their 40s, professionals in smart casual, loud, animated and in high spirits – sitting at a long table. As I was passing by, one of them, who was sitting with his back to me, turned around and looked at me. Not just a casual quick look, but an invasive long eye contact. I gave the same back. As I passed their table, all the men laughed loudly. I ignored them. Kids will be kids.

An hour later, I asked for the bill and went to the bathroom again, this time to actually use it. The men were still there, and on my way back to the main room the man did the same: went out of his way to turn round and stare me in the eye. As I pass them, they laugh again. And again other customers look at me with curiosity.

My problem is that I really don’t bear fools easily. They only act this way because I’m on my own (can you imagine them laughing at me if I were accompanied by a man?) and because there are 12 of them. I pay the bill and instead of heading for the doors I go in the opposite direction.

As I come up to the man who gave me the look, the whole group goes quiet. The man understands that something’s going on and turns round. The twelve of them are now looking at me in complete silence. He is sitting, so if I am to stand straight, I get the dominant position. But if I go down to his level (literally, not metaphorically), I get an advantage. So I smile, make one last step to the back of his chair and bend down slightly. Now my lips are close to his left ear and his nose is almost touching my cleavage. I regret having bothered to put on that bra, but too late now. “Hi,” – I say in his ear.

There was a number of things I thought he might do, but I would never have predicted this: he audibly swallowed, like they do in cartoons. Did you know it was possible at all in real life? He didn’t say hi. He just nodded. So I went on:

– I’ve a feeling there’s something you may want to tell me.

– I… er… Maybe… Could we go outside for this?

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

– You mean you can make fun of a woman in front of your friends, but you can’t give your apologies to her in front of them?

Suddenly all his friends, who have been listening attentively, turn away and start talking to each other. Whether that was to give us privacy or to avoid embarrassment – I don’t know. He keeps on stammering, his eyes running from my cleavage to his hands and back:

– Apologies? I… I didn’t mean to… It’s your dress!

– My dress?

– Yes, your dress! It’s a very beautiful dress!

– So you saw me passing by and you turned to your friends to tell them that you liked my dress?

– Er… Yes, I’m sorry.

I’m not at all sure he’s feeling sorry about making fun of a woman, but I can tell he’s sorry he came to this place, and he’s sorry he tried so hard to show off in front of his friends who have now deserted him completely. That’s good enough for me: if he doesn’t do it again when with his friends, he’s highly unlikely to do it when on his own. I can tell he’d make a very good client: a man with his mates and the same man alone with a woman are often entirely different people. I straighten up and head for the door. No-one’s laughing this time. Outside, I get a cab and go home, and the following day the waiter is the only one to remember the incident: the man, I’m sure, is trying hard to forget it.