Heavy petting in Glasgow

On the morning of my birthday I wake up in Glasgow. Not the place where I would usually want to spend such a day, but this time it’s worth it. I don’t remember the morning. Most probably it passed by in the shadow of the great expectations I had for the evening.

I meet Walter at 5pm in Buchanan Street, outside House of Fraser. We are going shopping! At least he thinks we are.

Shopping was his idea. The e-mail detailing the Master Plan for the day mentioned shoes, handbags, shoes, clothes, shoes, jewellery, shoes, books, shoes, and oh, did he forget shoes? And while he was being very generous, it can be difficult for a man to guess a woman’s needs, so I had to hint that a pair of shoes would be really nice.

This isn’t the first time I go shopping with Walter. We also went shopping for lingerie once, but this doesn’t count because it was a new experience for both of us. Shoe shopping, on the other hand, is quite ordinary. I don’t know how he usually does it, here’s how I do it. I need a pair of winter boots. I go online. Find the website of the shop I have in mind. Look at all the boots they have. Do they have something in black, with a round toe, 3 inch heel, leather, below ankle and with a concealed zip? No? Next website then! So when we meet and walk into a shop, all I need is to find the shoes I chose the night before and try them on. Walter, do you like them? Great, we’re done then! Now let’s go do something fun! If it’s not clear, shopping is an action, not a pastime. I think Walter was disappointed.

We have a drink at the bar of my hotel. I puzzle the bartender with my request for a non-alcoholic cocktail (come on, I’m allowed to let my hair down on my birthday! It can’t be sparkling water every day of the year)  – they don’t have these on the menu.

‘Would you like Safe Sex on the Beach?’

‘Oh yes, I’m all for safe sex!’

Walter chuckles quietly.

And then, with pleasantries out of the way, it’s time to do what we’ve been looking forward to for a while. Walter pays quickly, we make for the lifts, I pinch his bum impatiently as we wait, doors open, we rush in, kiss passionately until the doors open again and we are in the swimming pool. It’s an ordinary hotel swimming pool: small, simple, mostly empty. When I come out of the change room, Walter is already there. The first thing he says is that my swim suit is classy. Not the sort of word you usually apply to a swim suit, and not the sort of word I’ve heard from Walter before, so I take it as a compliment. He gives my swimming attire another good look and points at the sign with the pool rules:

No running

No diving

No pushing

No screaming

No smoking

No heavy petting

Walter is a very law abiding citizen. During our multiple adventures I couldn’t make him climb a fence with me, and he wouldn’t stay in an empty ladies bathroom to wait for me. So I’m glad I made him break at least this one rule. Oh alright, so he didn’t need to be forced into it, but he still wouldn’t have engaged in this prohibited activity without me: heavy petting on your own is called something else. I am also glad I got to see him swim. It was almost as good as watching him drive. Most people do different things in the same manner. Walter has a separate personality for a lot of activities. Driving Walter (especially in his road-rage mode) never fails to amuse me, same as disgusted Walter; swimming Walter is a joy to watch, loving Walter is a pleasure to do, and filming Walter is someone I haven’t figured out yet. And now you probably wonder which one of us in on medication.

We then have a lovely dinner at a place called Kama Sutra, and spend some time practicing – not at the place. We practice some more in the morning, and then he has to go. Glasgow immediately loses whatever appeal it had the day before. A wonderful birthday nevertheless.

Sticky (and icky) business

There’s this restaurant on the corner from my home, where Walter and I often end up when he comes to pick me up or drop me off. It’s a cosy, very intimate place with great food. The waiters haven’t changed in the few years that we’ve visited it. The manager (who, I believe, is also the owner) is a short plump man in his forties, with dark curly hair, a moustache and an accent, always in a fluffy cardigan.

I remember the first time I was there without Walter. I was welcomed, given a table, and asked where my partner was.

“Whooahhhhe’s away on business!”

So after that I would only go there on my own as an exception to the rule. When together with Walter, the manager just lets us be.

On one of those exceptional days I spent a delightful afternoon in bed with Nicole, with Prince somewhere in the background, hovering above us like the Ghost of Hamlet’s father now and again. As is his habit, there were chocolates, presents and flowers. In the evening, on my way home, I was tired, hungry, and laden with beautifully wrapped boxes. The idea of cooking was a turn off and I asked the cabbie to drop me at the restaurant.

It’s a small place so it was only when I walked in that I noticed something was wrong. It was empty except for an elderly couple at a table in the corner and the manager standing by them. I clearly interrupted their conversation. The manager welcomed me heartily and explained that X-factor and football nights were always quiet. He offered me a table next to the couple. Leaving at this point would be plain rude (Of course it’s the football night, what was I thinking about! Bye!) Asking for another table would be even ruder.

I arranged the presents and the flowers on the adjacent chairs and hid my face in the menu. Didn’t help.

“So what are the presents about?”

“Oh, these are all… you know… birthday presents.”

“Your birthday! Isn’t it brilliant! Happy birthday! Give me a second, we’ll get a cake for you! Anna! Where do we keep cake candles?”

“Don’t worry about it, please! PLEASE! You know I don’t do gluten anyway!”

“Ah, true! Pity! But wait, where’s your partner? You had a birthday party and he wasn’t there with you? Don’t tell me he is away on business on such a day!”

The elderly couple were looking at me expectantly.

“Er… He’s… Ok, here’s what… happened. My birthday was some time ago… and erm… the party tonight was… at work (looking down at my own business outfit – on Prince’s request). Yes, in the office. They… (turning to the elderly couple) they threw a party for me tonight because I was away on my actual birthday. With my partner… of course.”

“Aw, he organised a little trip for you?”

Sometimes people want a story. Sometimes people think they are being friendly, when in reality they are being bored with what’s going on around. Sometimes you happen to be the only prey available to them. And most of the time – in my experience – the least painful way of getting them off your back is to give them what they want. Even when I’m not paid for it.

We have twins, Nicky and Vicky. They started school this year and we’ve never had so much headache before. Yes, they are identical. Vicky is quite a tomboy, but it’s Nicky who is the real pain in the patella. Yes, you are right, he spoils them rotten, it’s all his fault. Anyway, for my birthday… No, Vicky is half an hour older. So on my birthday my partner took me away for a few days, so we could have some time to ourselves. Oh, grandparents love them, they would have the kids every weekend if I allowed!

And so on.

Needless to say, Walter laughed. Needless to say, he immediately called our children Icky and Sticky. Needless to say, now and again he still asks how they are doing at school. Needless to say, we will never go to this restaurant again. Ever.

I hate friendly people.

Blackness kiss

Not sure if you remember, but Walter won a kiss in the Limerick Competition. And in case you don’t know, he had big plans for that kiss. Big Plans. We went through a few of them, mostly by location, and having ruled out North Berwick, Queensferry and Portobello, we decided to go with Blackness. To Blackness. What a strange, gothic name for a location which has nothing strange or gothic in it.

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We drove for a while. First highways, then roads, then wooded lanes. In one of them, we passed a hen party – a dozen of pheasant girls talking loudly on a stone wall covered in moss and ivy by the side of the path. With each turn the journey was getting more and more surreal.

Walter parked behind some god forsaken church in the middle of a forest, got a backpack out of the boot and we went down a steep forest path. It was dry, still and unexpectedly warm for a September afternoon. The forest was very quiet. We came across a bridge over a little stream, followed the river, passed by a little shady bog and then suddenly there it was. I knew we were going to a beach but it was still a surprise.

Blackness beach is as wild as they come. Not a single soul there if you don’t count two thousand seagulls, and we had no desire to count them. We walked along the forest line for a while until we came to a spot which was less rocky, more sunny and decorated with bunches of cheerfully bright daisies. There Walter threw a plaid over the thin grass (in the true spirit of a non-Scot in Scotland), I took off my shoes, we snuggled up and the kiss started.

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What shall I say about the kiss? The ground was too rocky, the plaid too thin, the wind too strong, the seagulls – the seagulls were being seagulls, I can hate them for it but not blame. Even two can be bad enough, and multiplied by a thousand… Yet it was the most romantic kiss I’ve had so far. A couple of hours later the sun went down, I got cold and hungry and the kiss had to stop.

It was quite dark when we got to Queensferry. We stopped there for a dinner which, for reasons I will not disclose (in this sentence), Walter now considers unforgettable. Apparently, a certain dish they serve there gives one erection of a lifetime – yes, it lasts that long, I can attest this myself. Before that, however, Walter left the table to pay the bill and came back with a single red rose. I still don’t know where he got it, he wouldn’t say. I’ve never been there so have to ask – are men’s toilets decorated with flower arrangements? In Queensferry?

We made it to the hotel eventually. In the morning, after a very short night (I told you it was erection of a lifetime) Walter kindly took a few (more) pictures of me. This involves another man, I’m afraid. A gentleman I’d never met generously supplied me with lovely lingerie and no, he didn’t ask for the photos in return. I suggested it myself. In case you’re in doubt – no, I don’t usually send out my photos left, right and centre. I don’t need to, you can copy them from my website. If it’s not there, then it’s not for everyone. Which is why you get to see this.

 Edinburgh escorts photos

Look closely. It must have been a very good meal if you can have this in bed and still attribute your erection to food. And no, I’m not telling you what restaurant it was.

You know what? I’m glad I ran that Limerick Competition. Some wonderful things came out of it.

Dauphins, divine heroes and decorations

There aren’t enough letters in the English alphabet. Well, enough for the language but not for me. It’s not that I ran out of letters to mark clients by (which, in turn, is not because I have had fewer clients than there are letters in the English alphabet), the problem here is that there aren’t many male names that would start with Z or X or Q. On the other hand, the amount of Daniels, Deans, Donalds, Darrens, Dominics, Douglases… Don’t even start me on Davids and dicks. So this one will be called Prince, and not just because of his princely name. His features, his figure, his bearing, his manners, his voice, his words – everything about him exudes composed and dignified refinement. Not the affected sort, but the one that shows breeding and innate elegance. Composed and dignified refinement comes off him in generous waves and engulfs you until you feel you’re soaking it in through your pores. Yet he’s so light-hearted, easy and romantic that, regardless of his age and royal mien, king is not his title. If there were a stereotype of a retired dauphin, this man would be its embodiment.

On our first date he impressed me with a line of presents. The biggest surprise was not in the presents but in how they were presented. The flowers, the box, the envelope were all done in the same colour scheme and were accompanied with a hard copy of a poem dedicated to me. I love clients with good taste. I always take them as a compliment.

The second date we started at the National Gallery. It was enjoyable because we soon agreed that most classical figure painting can be divided into 2 categories: religious motifs and wanking material. Sometimes these categories overlap.

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Look at this painting. What purpose does it serve? It’s clearly not there to remind you of the pain Jesus went through to save the human kind. So it’s for decoration purposes only. And since throughout most of history women were decorative objects rather than agents, what image is better placed to be decorative than that of a woman? However, if all you really wanted was to decorate a wall, does the woman have to be naked? Probably not.

And in case it’s not obvious, these aren’t just objective images of nude women. They didn’t have Playboy in those days, they had something better: a bunch of tireless blokes who instead of photoshop used their imagination to create something iconic yet ubersexy. Because from an aesthetic point of view that booty ain’t no accident. And if you still feel it doesn’t inspire any wanking in you, consider this. From the Middle Ages till fin de siècle (and even nowadays in case or Ireland) most married men of middle class never saw a naked woman live. Everything to do with procreation happened in the dark, under the sheets, and a good wife would still have at least 6 items of clothing on. If I were one of those men and I got to put this on one of my walls, I’d wank like there’s no tomorrow. Because what we miss in porn nowadays is its user’s imagination.

Edinburgh escortsLook at this beauty. You can choose to be her lover, or one of the young voyeurs, or join them for a threesome, or you could prefer to go for the bloke. And whatever point of view you take, from there on your imagination will provide you with everything you need, including the finer details of your imaginary lover’s body that are not visible on the painting. In case you’re interested, this is Heracles and Omphale, or just another proof that even mythology in art was a cover up for high quality porn. I mean, think of everything Heracles is famous for. Of course, mostly it’s his farming labours (Cretan bull, mares of Thrace, Erymanthian boar, the Hesperides’ apples, Geryon’s cattle, Augean stables) but he also had a brief career as a sperm donor for the 50 children he fathered with 50 sisters. And of all these deeds you choose to paint the moment when he makes out with his wife?

And the apotheosis of wanking material: all sorts of genders in all sorts of races and all sorts of sizes. By a Scottish painter. You can tells Scots have little to do on those long winter nights.

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You can also tell the second date was quite successful after we left the Gallery.

J or The Fortunes of Vice

In some inexplicable way our demonstration on Friday reminded me of her. She had the name of one of the infamous sisters from Marquis de Sade’s writings. I’ll call her J. Edinburgh escorts

I met J in the early summer of 200X. I had just joined a little agency run by an old gentleman. That evening I was sent to Savoy. I was told there would be 2 clients and one other lady. A man opened the door of a little suite and I joined the company in the sitting room.

My client went to sit down on a sofa, I sat next to him. The other man was sitting on a chair opposite us and she was on another chair, three quarters to him, I couldn’t see her face. She was wearing a plain black shift dress and low-heeled square-toed black shoes. Her hair was dark, very short and curly – the hair that I would have if I ever allowed myself to have it cut above my shoulders. She turned to me and stretched her hand.

‘I’m J,’ she said, and smiled.

‘I’m J,’ I replied and touched her hand.

I showed off my new shoes; I bought them the day before, they were made of fabric that was identical in colour and pattern to the bright summer dress I was wearing. My client, the host, served drinks, there were snacks, the men were talkative and funny and soon the conversation was flowing. J spoke little and always very softly; to hear her, everyone had to go silent. I thought it was a great trick.

After a while, the clients went to another room for a quick chat and we were left alone. J turned to me. Her eyes were blue. This is the closest I’ve ever been to falling in love. I looked at her.

‘I love your hair,’ I said and my throat went dry.

‘I love your shoes,’ she replied. And smiled.

The men came back and she left with her client. I ended up staying with mine for the whole night and didn’t get to see J for almost 2 weeks.

Next time it was a little hotel in Park Lane. I had met that client before, when he went on and on about how he would like to see me with a woman. This time I expected to hear it again because this talk seemed to be his favourite fantasy, but it turned out he decided to put his money where his mouth was (erm, yes, both puns). I walked into the room and J was sitting there on the bed, in her black shift dress and square-toed shoes. A couple of months later the old man who ran the agency would tell me that J asked him for that. Her lips and skin were soft and cool. She did everything slowly and quietly, concentrating fully on what she was doing.

She was kneeling between my legs as I stretched out on the bed. With her finger she traced the outline of my thigh. Then she squeezed it.

‘This is amazing. You’re thin and at the same time so fleshy. So succulent.’

Charles, the client, first got bored, then jealous. Men with this fantasy sometime don’t realise that watching 2 women together means you’re left on your own. He asked J to leave and I stayed for another half an hour. When I walked out of the hotel, J was waiting outside in a cab. I came up and opened the cab door.

J shared a squat in Baker Street with half a dozen other people. When she wasn’t working, she was up all night smoking hash and drawing horoscope charts for political events or daydreaming of the Vestals dancing around the sacred fire. Hedonism wasn’t her hobby, it was her way of living. She liked that I was so determined, she said I added structure to her life. She brought chaos into mine. Her company was a pleasure but I could never know when I would have it again. Eventually I left the agency and soon after that I moved to Newcastle. J was unwilling to keep in touch. Or incapable of it.

When I moved to Edinburgh, I came across her photos on a website of a little parlour in south west London. The rota said she was there every Saturday. A year later her photos were removed.

Last summer, walking along Princes Street, Violet and I passed a girl dressed up as air hostess giving out leaflets. She was about my height, slim, with blue eyes and fair skin. I came up and asked for a leaflet.

‘What do you need it for?’ asked Violet when I caught up with her.

‘I don’t need it. The girl was pretty.’

Violet laughed.

Ye gods and little fishes

The limerick of the day:

When money is buying affection,

there’s no guarantee of erection.

But Jewel, we know,

will set us aglow,

and without any chance of dejection.

As you probably know, last week there was a debate on prostitution. The leaflet said it was Rhoda Grant (MSP) and Richard Lucas (some obscure personage of some obscure christian movement in Scotland) VS Laura Lee (sex workers’ rights campaigner) and Douglas Fox (IUSW representative).

The debate was held in a hotel across the road from the Parliament; one has to wonder if this location was chosen intentionally. I was a little late, sat there for about an hour and left early when Rhoda was speaking. Outside the meeting room, I got the mobile out of my handbag and dialled a number.

– Are you done? – asked H(ugh).

– I left early, – I said. – Shall I come round then?

– Sure, see you in a minute.

I put the phone back into my handbag and go to the lifts. 30 seconds later he opens the door, I step in and he gives me a kiss. I get home really late.

The following afternoon Walter comes to pick me up for lunch. At the restaurant, our drinks served, he asks:

– So, how was it?

– Boring. I left early.

– Not the feedback I expected! And what’s this Rhoda like?

– Well, she’s like… How do I put it into words? She’s a little… A lot, actually… I don’t know… She’s like a fish.

– Out of water?

No, it’s not that. It took me a while to figure out why it was exactly a fish that came to mind, but now I know. When you look at a pretty little gold fish in a tank, opening its mouth and making little air bubbles, you get the same level of passion and interest. And the same amount of information. The only time she came up with something fresh was when Douglas asked how the legislation will be enforced and what sort of evidence the police will look for. She admitted that the women would have to be tracked down (all hail decriminalisation a la Grant!) and as for evidence, well, the police would come up with something. That was the point where I got bored.

Walter went to pay the bill and, waiting for him, I looked around the restaurant. 3 tables away from me Douglas Fox was chatting to a woman who was scribbling his words down. I waved at him. He gave me a blank stare. Oh well. Walter returned, I told him about Douglas and we marvelled at the coincidence. Although frankly, considering how many beliefs Douglas and I share, it wasn’t a surprise at all that we ended up in the same restaurant. We got up to leave and as Walter opened the door for me, he whispered: “He looked at your bum!”

– Errm… Douglas??? What, is there a stain on my dress?

I turn round trying to look at my own bum. Walter rolls eyes, probably the first time in the years I’ve known him:

– The waiter! He totally looked at your bum!

Once inside, we have a shower and move on to the bed. There Walter picks me up (naturally, I scream and demand that he puts me back down), kisses me and throws me on the bed. What’s it all about? If you remember, some time ago Walter pulled that trick off the first time and although it was a little different to actual throwing, it was rather exciting. And this time it’s even better. The bed creaks, as if to complain; clumsily, on all fours over the duvet I make my way back to the floor and demand (again! Some women just won’t give you a break, will they?) that he throws me again. He does as told and jumps after me.

I haven’t said it before on the blog, but Walter is one of those clients who turns my job from a nice pastime into a rewarding endeavour, a hard task that’s totally worth taking. For a very long time our relationship was a teacher-student one, with him asking questions and me doing my best to explain things I’d never even tried putting into words before. When I met him, he had very little (and mostly negative) experience of sex. But he was eager to learn, with a clear goal he set himself from the start. I’ll never forget the kiss he stole while we were waiting to be seated in a restaurant on one of our first dates. Such a small thing but it was a big step for him at the time. And, step by step, he is now at the stage where he knows how to make love to a woman, he knows how to take the lead and he feels comfortable with it. I don’t think he thought it was possible 2 years ago. And all this time he’s been unwittingly teaching me back things that I lack: humility, open mind, putting trust into people. Prostitution is a nationwide educational programme focussed on safe sex and personal growth. You should be investing into it, not criminalising it.

And in case you’re interested, here‘s (much) more about the debate from Douglas Fox and the article about each panelist by the lady-scribbler in the restaurant.

A man, a woman and a suitcase

My cab stopped in the hotel’s driveway and a porter ran up to open the door. He grabbed my suitcase by the handle, pulled it and lifted his eyes at me.

‘Yes, I know. Sorry.’

He tried harder, managed to pull it out of the cab and then heave it up the steps to the front door. There I took over. On days like this you want to shake the hand of the bloke who invented the wheel. And also that of the genius who suggested to attach it to a suitcase.

The Nutter meets me inside. We kiss and he takes the handle of my suitcase as we make for the lifts. And stops.

‘Exactly how many thongs have you packed?’

‘Six. No, wait, I’m wearing one, so it’s only five inside.’

His eyebrow is still raised as he pulls my suitcase into his hotel room and positions it on the floor. I open it straightaway: I can tell he can’t wait to see my thongs. What he sees is rows and rows of carefully packed books*.

‘Well that explains some things but raises another question. I didn’t realise you’d been to the Army.’

‘I hadn’t. It was the Navy.’

He looks at me.

‘Oh alright! It was prison!’

Now he smiles.

‘I’ve a CDO,’ I confess.

‘Ah. That explains pretty much everything.’

We need to be in the National Theatre for 7.30 so I rush to the bathroom. Out of the shower, I put on some make up, arrange my hair, get dressed and we’re out. All in all, it took me about 40 minutes to get ready. As the cab drives off, the Nutter turns to me.

‘All this time I looked at you getting ready and thought “Why won’t she just get a move on!” Why do women go through all these needless things when they get ready?’

‘Exactly what would you rather I skipped? The shower? The make up? Getting dressed? Brushing my hair? Kissing you between all of these?’

‘Well, when you put it this way, I’m not sure.’

We get to the theatre just on time. It’s The Captain of Kopenick with Anthony Sher. I think both of us enjoy it, even if for different reasons. The Nutter holds my hand throughout the show and lifts it to his lips now and again.

It’s a dry frosty night as we leave the theatre. The cloudless sky is full of stars. We walk across Waterloo Bridge, stop for a late dinner at a small restaurant and get back to the hotel.

In the morning, the Nutter stays in bed and watches me rushing around the room packing. His present of the date is, ironically, a book. A large and heavy book. The first edition of The Making of Classical Edinburgh. He knows how to please me but not my suitcase. Eventually we agree that I’ll leave a few books with him and he’ll pass them to me the next time I see him. I quite enjoy loading him with a Mosby’s Dictionary and a couple of textbooks on anatomy and pathology of a similar size. Now there’s enough room for his present and I don’t even need to jump on my suitcase.

He looks very comfortable and relaxed in bed, even though his eyes keenly follow my erratic movements around the room. I’m packed and getting dressed when suddenly he asks if he can see me off to the station. Why ever not? As the bathroom door closes behind him, I shout ‘And get a move on, will you! My train’s in 40 minutes!’

This is the first time I see him out of the shower. Independent Edinburgh escortsWhat a transformation! His wet hair brushed back looks much darker than ordinarily and gives him a sudden sharp look; his features so clearly defined, he resembles young Clint Eastwood with the square jaw, prominent cheek bones and piercing blue eyes on a face that now appears much thinner. But his long white fluffy hair dries within minutes and soon Clint is gone, replaced by the soft face with a timid smile that I know so well.

The Nutter pulls my suitcase out of the front door and the porter runs up to him.

‘Let me help you, sir.’

‘No, thank you, I’ll cope.’

‘But this is what I’m here for, sir!’

The Nutter looks at him and smiles a little.

‘Oh no, young man, this is what I am here for. Why don’t you get us a cab.’

Unusually for Kings Cross, the gates for platforms are open and the Nutter takes me all the way to my carriage. He shoves my suitcase under the baggage rack and kisses me good-bye. My thoughts still revolve around saloons and cowboys when I arrive in Edinburgh.

* I don’t usually travel with a suitcase full of books. This case is too surreal to try to provide a believable explanation.

A damsel in distress

If you remember, in Part 3 of my London visit I went to Praed Street clinic. That was a Monday. Friday of the same week, sleeping sweetly in my Edinburgh bed, I am woken up at dawn by a phone call.

– Jane?

– Merrr?

– Jane, this is Andrea from St Mary’s hospital.

– Wherrr?

– I’m calling about the results of your latest test.

– Oh?

– Please don’t worry, but…

(Funny how you always get a panic attack when they tell you not to worry. Suddenly I am wide awake)

– … one of your test results is inconclusive.

She goes into long explanations of why this could have happened and what it might mean, but, being in panic, I only get this much: an inconclusive test result means that I either have it or not. They test each swab twice. My first test for throat gonorrhoea was positive but the confirmative test of the same swab was negative. I need to take this test again.

I hang up and lie for a while looking at the ceiling. It feels surreal. Everyone knows that condoms don’t provide a 100% protection from anything, so this one time in 7 years is, I suppose, good enough. Hold on, it’s not like I have it for certain! Besides, if this really is the case, how did I manage to get it in the throat but nowhere else? How long will the treatment take? And then I’ll have to take another test, and wait for its results, hopefully negative then, so how long will I have to be off altogether? Hold on, it’s not like I have it for certain! I don’t have to be off. It’s only my throat that’s off limits. Gonorrhoea sits deep in the throat so I’m unlikely to pass it to anyone unless they lick my tonsils and I am yet to get a client with such a fetish. The rest of my body is disease-free although of course this isn’t how clients will feel about it. It’s getting in touch with clients I saw recently that I need to be worried about. Hold on, it’s not like I have it for certain!

And so, after a miserable week-end, on Monday morning I go to Edinburgh GUM clinic. I hate this place. The walk-in clinic is open 8.30 – 10am. If you show up at 9.15, you are told that the clinic is already full and you’ll have to come back tomorrow. Unless you’re a hooker with gonorrhoea, in which case they’ll kindly squeeze you in as an extra patient. EXTRA patient! In a walk-in clinic!

I get to see a nurse. I tell her why I’m there. She goes. I wait. A doctor comes. I tell him why I’m there. He takes a throat swab and goes. I wait. Second nurse comes, with a Petri dish for another swab. This one is for cultures, so they could determine what antibiotics will work better. Then I wait again. Third nurse comes, with a syringe and a pack of pills. She tells me what the treatment involves; details aside, it’s a heavy-duty course of antibiotics. She rips the syringe open and starts filling it.

– Hold on, have you already received my test results? Even the cultures?

– No, of course not, they’ll be ready next week.

– So why do you think I need the treatment?

– Well, er, because… You know, to save time.

– Would you take this amount of medication for no reason?

– Er…

– When I have the test results, I’ll take it. Or not.

I leave. I feel sicker than ever. A whole week to wait for the results.

Incidentally, that was the week when Walter could visit Edinburgh. And I couldn’t see him! Well, I could, but without kissing this is a waste of my time and his money and kissing he wasn’t comfortable with in my ambiguous condition. He comes anyway – to show his support in more than just e-mail.

We start with a lunch. We’ve a lot to talk about, mostly his plans for my next video. Then Walter wants to go to the cinema. I don’t. Guess who wins! It’s not that I dislike cinema. It’s that I love Walter. And in the cinema we’ll be watching a film, not spending time together. So instead we have a hot chocolate and do what we always wanted to do but were afraid of: shopping for lingerie. In a little boutique in West End I introduce us as Mary and Alfred Hotchpotch (his nome-de-videocamera), he sits down on the sofa with a cup of tea and I disappear in the change rooms. Some time later he joins me there.

Out of the boutique, I take him for a walk in Dean village, we have another hot chocolate and then go home where I change into my new lingerie, he wipes his saliva with his sleeve and we go out for dinner. A beautiful day and we didn’t even kiss! Oh alright, we did. More than once. Mostly in the change room. And also after dinner when it was time for him to go to the railway station. A beautiful day nevertheless.

The following morning I get another call. All results are negative. The crappiest week of my working life over nothing. Well, I have some lingerie to show for it. Quite literally! Walter took a couple of pictures!

February in London, Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.

The following morning the Nutter comes to pick me up from my hotel. The weather is slightly better and we walk to the Royal Academy of Arts to visit the Manet exhibition. We queue outside in the snow for something like an hour: the Academy is very English and very Royal in this respect. The exhibition is a joy.

I’ll be honest, I’m not big on art. My favourite movement is Pre-Raphaelites, that should tell you enough. But I am captivated by portraits and figure painting. Now, before you accuse me of neglecting the beauty of nature in art – you’re right. It’s true, landscapes bore me out of my skull. Seascapes – not so much, but close. Still life, on the other hand, is fascinating as long as it’s a flower painting. Anything other than a bouquet in that composition and as far as I’m concerned, I’m looking at a landscape again. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has a whole room dedicated to flower paintings. If there is anything the Dutch are good at…

Anyway, figure painting. I’m not a connoisseur, I don’t care much for brush strokes and techniques. I enjoy the story the painter tells me. Figure painting is like blogging. When I blog about a client, I tell you how I see him. I’ve never seen him at work, or with his children, or at a funeral, so my blog entry is not a well-rounded and truthful depiction of a man, it’s a description of my experience of him. I can bet all you want that his wife would tell a very different story. Similarly, looking at a portrait we see the person the painter saw. We can only guess about the actual poser. The painting tells us more about its author than about its object. Olympia, the notoriously controversial painting of a prostitute. It’s not like she’s the first hooker to ever be painted, far from it. But very few of the thousands of sex workers painted before her looked so unrepentant, unashamed and unabashed. She wasn’t caught unawares when dressing or spied on when bathing. No, her accessories show that she’s naked by choice and she’s very comfortable with it. Moreover, she looks dominant. She knows what she’s doing. I guess that’s the real controversy. What do we know about her now? Nothing but her job. The way she looks here is the way every other sex worker would look when naked (I am now really curious to see Dana’s photos of me). Does it tell us anything about Manet? He is evidently very comfortable with female sexuality. He doesn’t want to own it, he celebrates it.

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Fair enough, the woman in the painting is a model, but any real life sex worker could be painted very differently in the context of her job by another painter. Of course, not all painters are good story-tellers and not all portraits are there to be heard. That’s why the exhibition was a beautiful learning experience. And I was taken by his signature: “Ed. Manet” on most paintings. It was hard not to poke the Nutter in the ribs with my elbow and say loudly, pointing my finger: “Look! Another good one by Eddie!”

Out of the Academy, we walk a little around Piccadilly and then he takes me to a little restaurant in Jermyn Street for lunch. The lunch conversation is an eye-opener: we go through our “history” of 5 dates. First time he came across my website, he thought “She’s bloody arrogant!” First time he came to see me, he assumed I was older than the website said. And I have to say that the first time I saw him he looked and acted much older than the Nutter I know now. So maybe it’s all in the eyes of the painter. Has he changed since? He says he has. He is now more sensitive and considerate to others’ needs. I don’t know about that. I notice his increased confidence around me (and his new talents in bed) and his attention to his clothes. Unlike the first time, he’s now a tasteful dresser, understatedly elegant. If I were to paint him, you’d see a very sexy 60 year old man.

Time flies when you’re happy and it’s 2.45 before I know it. I have to leave the Nutter at the table and rush to Praed Street clinic for my appointment at 3. This is the first time I am at the clinic dressed for going out (shirt+skirt), not for blending in with the other clinic attendees (jeans+T-shirt) and suddenly I am treated differently. Even my reply to the same old question of “how many clients a week do you see?” (why do they have to ask every time I’m there? To check if I’m lying?) doesn’t inspire a raised eyebrow.

Thankfully, the Nutter leaves for his hometown from Paddington, 5 minute run from the clinic, and I make it there just 10 minutes before his train leaves. We walk to the gates, stop to say good bye and I reach to kiss him. As our lips touch, he drops his suitcase. He bends down to pick it up, mumbling something along the lines of “clumsy old fool” and I give my usual line of “I tend to have this effect on men”. But I can only wish. This is the first time a man drops something other than his trousers when I kiss him.

February in London, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

The Old Nutter opens the door and I sneak in with Dana in tow. He plants a kiss on my cheek and steps back a little, opening his arms:

‘I made an effort this time,’ he smiles.

I laugh. It’s a reference to our second date and I’m pleased he remembers what I taught him. And, just as that time, he looks very presentable indeed. I do have a thing for a well-dressed man.

I introduce him to Dana and disappear in the bathroom for a few minutes while they are chatting. I told him what taking part in the project involves (nothing except being photographed. In a way that doesn’t show his face) and he agreed, but I still expected him to be apprehensive. He wasn’t. He looked as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him in my presence.

I return to the room to find him talking to Dana pleasantly, something about the political situation in Romania. It’s unclear if the Nutter is gone all professional because of anxiety or because the concept of small talk is beyond him. Either way, if it’s not about me then I’m not interested, so I tell them we are ready to start and Dana moves to the corner of the room where she found a good spot to take pictures from. She sits down on a chair by the window, opposite a mirror on the wall. I sit down on the bed next to the Nutter. Dana watches us in the mirror.

This is probably the hardest beginning to a date that I’ve ever had. With the camera winking at me, I find myself unable to do any of the things I usually would when meeting a client I’ve seen a couple of times before. Talking about the weather is just too silly but bringing up a personal subject is impossible because we’re not alone. I’ve always known I take responsive clients very close to heart but I never realised just how close. It feels like something between us will evaporate if shared with an outsider. So for a few minutes we just sit on the bed, him waiting for me to take the lead (as always) and me not knowing what to do (as never). But it can’t go on like this for hours so I ask him for a glass of water hoping to get a minute to collect myself.

As he gets up, I pinch his bum and, without turning to me, he tells me to stop objectifying him. I giggle. He pours me a glass of sparkling water, I quickly finish it and… pull off his pullover. The sooner I do what Dana expects to see, the sooner she’ll leave. This isn’t fair to her: she is looking for the authentic experience and she most certainly doesn’t want to be a burden, but I brought her all the way here and I don’t want to kick her out with nothing. It isn’t fair to the Nutter either: he is looking for the authentic me and he most certainly deserves neither empty conversation nor a hooker show. But he can wait a few minutes while I sit in his lap, kissing him and unbuttoning his shirt. I make sure I hear a few more camera clicks from Dana before I tell her that now would be a good time for her to go.

She quickly shows us the images on her camera so the Nutter can make sure his face isn’t there. One of them she points out as a particularly good one.

‘Mmm, I look good!’ I think, looking at it.

‘I didn’t realise I am that bald,’ says the Nutter with a sigh.

Dana leaves and at last I can be myself. We fool around a little and then I remove the rest of his clothes. Now it feels natural and effortless. With Dana watching a prostitute at work this same action was an act of prostitution. On our own, it’s just a man and a woman doing what men and women do. For me, the difference is almost palpable. For the camera – I don’t know. In her project Dana wanted to show women who happen to be sex workers. Maybe she got exactly what she wanted after all: on my own, getting ready, I happen to be a sex worker. With a client, I clearly am a woman. It’s rather sad that it took me years and help of another woman to find out how I really see my work.

Some time later we get dressed and go to a restaurant close by for a late dinner.

‘Did you really feel objectified when I pinched your bum?’ I ask as we walk and the wet snow gets into my boots.

‘Are you kidding? I’ve never been so flattered.’

The morning in the gallery will be in Part 3.