February seems to have brought out the creme de la scum that was dormant throughout the winter. I had people calling to ask how much I charge, people showing up without bothering to ask how much I charge, and – the highlight! – a young man who, when I eventually pointed out that he still hadn’t given me the money, said that it was because I hadn’t yet undressed to show him what he was paying for. I took sadistic pleasure in showing the door to him free of charge.
But somehow all this was insignificant in view of my coming date with The Old Nutter. The Master Plan involved a dinner date on Sunday night and a gallery visit on Monday morning which is tantalising as it is, but the whole affair was spiced by the presence of another woman! And before you drool all over your keyboard – it’s not what you think! The woman wasn’t there to take part, she was there to take photos. Again, stop drooling, it’s not what you think.
You most probably forgot by now but this lady, Dana, was mentioned here before. Dana is a photographer who finished a project on victims of sex trafficking a few years ago (here is the project and you can listen to her interview explaining the stories behind the images and her work) which helped her see the difference between women who are forced and women who choose prostitution as work. So now she is working on a project about women who chose sex trade, our work and our selves.
We’ve been in touch all this time but somehow things just didn’t work to our advantage until now. The date with The Old Nutter was booked well in advance and Dana happened to be free on that day which was more than we’d had before but why not take it further? I texted The Old Nutter saying that I had a very indecent proposal and it would be great if he could call to discuss it. He duly did and, to my great surprise, he easily agreed to take part in the project. Just like that. I still can’t believe that.
Dana arrived 3 hours before the start of my date. The idea is to present the public with images of a woman who is cheerfully getting ready to sell herself. Don’t know about Dana, for me it was exciting.
Getting ready for a date is that part of my work that not all clients are aware of. Some men assume that we wake up all made up and dressed up, and spend the day playing with our mobiles in expectation of their call. Thankfully, my clients know better. But even those who get in touch days and weeks in advance still don’t know what getting ready to see them is about. There is this popular belief that the process of dressing up for a booking is this magical transformation from an ordinary woman into a working one. Now you’re yourself, and the next moment you put on your working clothes and suddenly you’re this embodiment of sexuality. Well, I don’t know. I can understand why some women would choose to feel this way. It probably helps to keep your work life separate from your private life through different sets of clothes and an established routine for a metamorphosis there and back again. Personally, I find this too complicated. Besides, I don’t feel to be a different person when I’m with a client. The clothes I wear for work are the same clothes I wear for myself. My wardrobe is limited even from a man’s point of view: just as with clients, I’d rather have a few quality pieces than a lot of stuff but nothing to wear. So getting ready for work is simply a very long and boring process of scrubbing up, at the end of which my eyelashes are slightly longer and my legs are slightly smoother than they would be otherwise.
This is why I was so excited to have Dana there. First time in my career I had someone to help me choose what shirt to wear with this skirt and what lingerie would look better under it. She took a few pictures of me in the shower, shaving my legs and scrubbing my back. Then in front of a mirror, with powder puffs and mascara. Then by the wardrobe, getting dressed. All this time we were chatting, her asking questions about my work and me explaining things and rolling eyes here and there.
– You look almost like an executive.
– What do you mean – “almost”?
– You need one of those briefcases.
– I see (slowly, mentally noting to self to buy one).
– I look at you and I can understand, but then I think of the women I see in the streets in Kings Cross and they look so different… and I wonder…
– If I were to stand in Kings Cross dressed like this, how much business do you think I would get?
– I see (slowly).
Eventually I am ready and we set off to The Old Nutter’s hotel. Continued in Part 2.