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.

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, 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.

London

Euston, Thursday 28th June, midday

A text from H(ugh): “Jewel, Midnight Tango on at the Playhouse on Saturday 7.30. Will you be back from London in time?”

Does he need to ask? I walk to Kings Cross to change my train ticket so I could arrive to Edinburgh earlier than planned to be in time for the show.

Kings Cross, Friday 29th June, 7pm

I’m having dinner in a gay restaurant (it’s a largish restaurant, it’s literally across the road from 2 main railway stations, it’s Friday night and there’s me, 11 other customers altogether (all male) and 4 male staff. Gay is the only explanation). My phone rings.  It’s the client I’m seeing in Edinburgh on Sunday for lunch and lust making his introductory call.

– And by the way, Jewel, it’s tomorrow you’re travelling back, isn’t it? Have you heard of the train disruptions? I don’t know the details but because of the bad weather in Scotland some trains have been cancelled.

Well, it was bound to happen. There hasn’t been good weather in Scotland since last Christmas. Still, my dinner over, I go across the road to Kings Cross station. A very disinterested young lady in the information booth tells me she hasn’t heard of any disruptions of East Coast services. She looks like a highly unreliable source of information but the only one, so I walk back to my hotel in Euston.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 6.08am

“This is so exciting!” – a text from J, the client who’s already on the train to Euston to see me at 7am before work. I open one eye, read the text, roll the eye and text back “You can say that again!” Drop the offending beeping device on the floor by my bed, bury my face in the pillow and give myself 10 more minutes.

Do you know how long an average healthy and youngish person needs to get a good night’s sleep? Just 10 more minutes.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 7am

J is outside my hotel with a cup of hot chocolate for me. I’m running around my room in panic, still only partially dressed, shoe in one hand, mascara in another, trail of loose powder on the carpet behind me.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 9am

I’m drinking the cold hot chocolate from the paper cup courtesy of J when an e-mail from Walter arrives: if, as my site says, I’m going back to Edinburgh this week-end, I’d better take a plane because of the severe disruptions to East Coast services. I’m not even seeing him this week-end, yet he bothered to check things out and e-mail me!

This is the second warning, and much as I hate browsing Internet on my mobile I do that, just to see that according to East Coast website very few London trains make it past Newcastle to Edinburgh, and those that do, run up to 90 minutes late. I’ve H(ugh) waiting for me with tickets outside the Playhouse at 7. I love tango. I love my clients. I love being paid. I hate being late for dates because of East Coast. Besides, H(ugh) always insists on giving me a lift home. Here’s his chance.

“Morning, H(ugh). East Coast trains being more unreliable than always, how do you feel about picking me up in Newcastle to give me a lift home?”

“Jewel, my dear, you are one of the few friends I would do this for! When are you due to arrive in Newcastle?”

Aww. I still have this text. I’d print it out and frame it if I could. Yep, I’m that sad. I e-mail Walter to thank him for the warning and to express my surprise at how much my clients seem to care. His reply arrives almost immediately: “you’re like L’Oreal – you’re worth it”. Another aww.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 10.30am

I meet Dana Popa in the lobby of my hotel. Dana is a photographer working on a project which I hope to be part of. The aim of the project is to show women who happen to be sex-workers. I like the way it’s put. After all, I never think of myself as a sex-worker. This word may bless me with a certain lifestyle but it does not define me. First and foremost, I am a woman. I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend, and then a prostitute. Dana tells me about her project. I tell her about my clients (because that’s the thing on my mind), how unbearably sweet they are. Typical girlie chat.

Kings Cross, Saturday, 30th June, midday

I get on the train. Luckily, it takes me all the way to Edinburgh so H(ugh) doesn’t have to go to Newcastle to pick me up. He picks me up from Waverley though.

Weird compliment vs real compliment

– Good evening, Jewel, my name’s H. I’ve seen you once three years ago or so, I think. Are you free tomorrow night for a meal together?

What wouldn’t you do out of curiosity! Of course I show up the following night at the restaurant for a gluten-free (yep, still!) dinner. H stands up from the table to meet me and I recognise him. It hasn’t been three years. It’s been exactly 2. Last time I saw him was also around the Women’s day – I was just back from London where ECP celebrated it with a march. That time he was in Edinburgh for a rugby game. This I remember so well because I told him how sad it was (which probably accounts for why it took him 2 years to call me again): one of the most beautiful cities on earth (not to mention home to one of the most attractive women on earth) and he’s only here for a rugby game! Across the table he smiles at me and says that he’s going for a rugby game tomorrow. Men… I ask if he still lives in X where he was from. I remember it well because 2 years ago he told me that one of the very well established ladies in London was also from X which he figured out from her accent when he met her (yes, this is exactly why I will never tell anything personal to clients – because you never know whom they will (unwittingly) pass this information on to. This is not the first time I get to hear the personal details of other sex workers’ lives – and not all sex workers will treat my secrets with confidentiality!) and he smiles again – no, he now lives in Edinburgh.

He holds my hand as we chat.

– Have you ever been complimented on your hand-holding skills, Jewel?

My memory helpfully gives me the list of the weirdest compliments: my eyebrows, my teeth, my biceps, my eyebrows again. No, hand-holding hasn’t yet been mentioned. My memory dutifully files it under “weird compliments”. Meanwhile, H can’t let go of my hand:

– It’s so soft, so encouraging, so stimulating.

– Should I maybe shake your hand?

– Not, not here, – he throws a quick glance at the people around us. – Later, when we’re alone.

When he tells me about his week-end plans – the rugby game in the morning and the ballet in the evening – I smack my own forehead in disappointment: I saw the poster for the Nutcracker and made a mental note of the dates, but, since it wasn’t work, my memory didn’t treat the entered data as important. Seeing my dismay, H asks if I would consider going to the ballet with him – if he can still get a ticket, of course.

If I believed everything men say, I wouldn’t be so decadently happy in Edinburgh right now. Instead, I would be a single mother of three in a council flat in Dagenham or Peckham. Or worse, I’d be a married mother of three in a council flat in Dagenham or Peckham. So I tell H it would be lovely if he could get another ticket – and firmly forget about it.

Much later, as we’re lying in bed, he’s looking for the way to express how he’s feeling. According to him, there should be a large neon sign outside reading “For the time of your life come here” (so far so good and no-one’s sponsored the erection (of it) yet). 72-year-old men can be incredibly sweet, that’s what makes them such great clients.

And, believe it or not, first thing the following morning H calls me to say that he swapped his ticket for 2 seats together. Isn’t life full of wonders! I meet him outside the Playhouse at 7.30.

I will never understand it why people think that ballet is boring. Fair enough, there are no car chases and x-rated scenes there, but where else will you get a chance to ogle a bunch of men in very tight tights for a nominal fee of £25-50 per 1.5 hours? Ballet is fun! The only upsetting thing about it is that, as with all western performing arts, ballet dancers have to face the audience when in fact it’s the view from the back that is particularly attractive. I especially liked the army of mice – grey tights overcome red and white ones by a mile when it comes to showing the shape. Even H didn’t nod off as he said he usually does.

The ballet over, we go for a drink, and over his cup of hot chocolate H ruminates whether having a little more time of his life is a good idea for tonight. After 10 minutes of hard thinking he asks if I come across a lot of men who take more than a few minutes to decide if they want to share more than a hot chocolate with me.

– Few minutes! How about the few years it took you to give me a call again!

Eventually, we put the time of his life until the following night. He promptly shows up and, as I count the money, there’s an extra hundred – for the ballet. It’s especially sweet because it wasn’t asked for. I always knew I was great in bed: I can sleep for days. Now I know I’m just as great out of it: I really am a good companion.

Chaleur de ma vie

And so, the day has arrived. This time Mr French wanted to go to the cinema. On the way there, we talk about the beauty of polyandry. Oh all right! I talk of the beauty of polyandry and Mr French cringes slightly. He does try to mention the beauty of polygyny but has to keep it to himself eventually.

As with anything else, what we watch is up to me. I choose “The Artist” and get ready for the reaction along the lines of “Woman, are you making me read again?!” (last time you heard about Mr French, I made him watch a 6-hour-long play with supertitles) but instead he seems to be quite pleased. I don’t think I’ll ever have my revenge with this one, he’s pleased no matter what I do.

If you’ve seen “The Artist”, you’ll recall the moment when George, having just been fired, runs into Peppy, whose star is rising. She has 2 men accompanying her. She stops to chat with George and gives him her number, pleading him to call. He points at her 2 companions who are waiting patiently close by. “Toys” , she explains with a smile. “She’s just like you”, – Mr French whispers in my ear. How can you not love a man who knows his place!

We get back to the flat and, erm… read poetry. In case you are smiling knowingly to yourself – yes, we really do read some poetry. The previous date Mr French complained that he hadn’t read anything in a while, so this time I have a little book by Jacques Prevert for him. I ask him to read for me: it’s so seldom that I hear his French! At first, he seems reluctant, but soon he’s leafing through the book, looking for the next poem to french out. Still, delightful as Prevert can be, we soon leave the book and go to the bedroom to make some poetry of our own.

It’s almost 10 when I get out of the shower and see Mr French getting dressed. Does he want a shower before we go? “It’s a French restaurant”, he shrugs, “there’s no need”. Sometimes I do wonder if he’s being funny or if he’s being French.

I watch him eat. He’s the only one I’ve ever seen eating snails, oysters, scallops, mussels and other creepy slippery invertebrates. Yet I enjoy the sight. I’m sure you know by now that I like men with a passion in their lives. It can be anything from collecting the models of planes to feeding penguins – I don’t care as long as it’s something he takes pleasure in. Mr French has a few hobbies that make him forget the time and, along with seeing me, eating is one of them.

Don’t confuse eating with food, they are totally different. Food is my hobby. I love food in any way, shape and form. If it’s not nailed to the wall – I’ll eat it. Eating is different. Unlike me, Mr French enjoys the process, not the object. He may not be the most elegant eater, but he’s a joy to watch because he does it with appetite – not for the food he’s eating but for the pleasure he receives from eating it.

En masse, the Brits deny themselves the pleasure of pleasure. It’s a cultural thing. They eat to quell hunger, they drink to get drunk, they wear clothes to be dressed, they work to make money, they have sex to reach orgasm. They do these things for their final purpose, not for the pleasure of doing them. Mr French is the complete opposite. He’s so French it makes me envious. But right now I’m looking at him eating – it turns me on.

– Stop staring at me.

– I can’t.

– When we get back to the flat, I’ll take you to the bedroom, undress you, put you on the bed and stare at you.

– Promise?

– Oh yeah!

– Eat faster then.

For the main course the chef made a tart for me – gluten free. It’s basically the tart’s filling on a plate without the tart itself. If anything, it’s only better for it. When the manager comes round to make sure I’m ok and sees the plate, he says the chef will be happy to see this – he likes it when plates arrive back empty (my plate couldn’t have been cleaner even if I’d licked it). Needless to say, I immediately want to thank the chef for all his effort personally, and the manager takes me to the kitchen. When I return, Mr French makes a jealous face: I left the table to speak to another man without even excusing myself, not to mention asking if he minds it. We both know he’s fine with this (does he have a choice?) but it’s still fun, so we discuss the chef over the dessert, and leave.

Back at the flat, he takes me to the bedroom, undresses me, puts me on the bed and… stares at me? Yeah, right!

The Good Date

Continued from Part1 and Part2.

Mr French is running late. He was supposed to be at the flat at 1pm, but it’s a long way to Edinburgh and the traffic is not very helpful. At 1.30 he storms in, suit on a hanger in one hand, a bag in another. All this immediately goes on the floor so his hands are free for a little fumble right by the door. Eventually I tear him off my face, shove a towel in his hands and lock him in the bathroom where the shower is already running. 3 minutes later he’s out. I dry his back while he zips his bag open. Not made of carpet, it’s still Miss Poppins’ style: he takes out a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, a change of underwear and lots of grooming things. 5 more minutes and he’s ready. Another little fumble by the door until we’re at last out and in a cab. Thankfully, Lyceum theatre is close by and we’re there just on time.

As much as I am now in love with Arabic theatre, I have to mention that One Thousand and One Nights is not the sort of play you go to see with your mother. Or with your children, even if they are over 30. In fact, depending on what sort of woman you were clever/ lucky enough to marry, your wife might also be the wrong partner for this sort of entertainment (when the slaves with strap-ons appeared on the stage, the elderly lady on my right closed her eyes. When The Porter went down on the three sisters one after another, she closed them again. When he ran across the stage stark naked, I didn’t dare to look at her. Besides, The Porter was quite a sight). But the sex-worker – client relationship happened to be perfect for it and by the end of Part 1 Mr French started looking keenly at me. We go for an early dinner in a nearby restaurant and he seems to relax a little, but back at the theatre, in the bar, his hand is again firmly glued to right below the small of my back.

“You’re so lovely” he says. I yawn. He takes a swig from his glass. “You’re bloody desirable.” I smile smugly. He pulls me in closer. We kiss. The taste of his drink burns my throat.

One Thousand and One Nights is a tale in a tale. Shehrazade tells tales to her husband (don’t we all know women like this?). The characters of her stories (2nd level), brought to life right in front of us by the power of her imagination, go places, meet people, tell them their story and listen the stories of others in return (3rd level). These stories also involve people and so we go deeper and deeper. Mr French admits that he’s losing the plot. I’m surprised – after just 2 drinks? But by the middle of Part 2, when a character from a 5th level tale comes to the 3rd level tale to resuscitate The Hunchback, I have to admit that now they lost me, too.

We leave the theatre around 10. It’s a lovely evening, even if a little too fresh, and we walk in silence, his hand on my waist. I’m still dwelling on some parts of the play that impressed me most. No clue what’s on his mind. Eventually, he’s the first to speak.

– Now I know what your plan was. To show me that women are so much better than men.

This totally wasn’t my plan. I haven’t seen the play before and I didn’t know what it was about. Besides, there were some decent male characters in the play, too. Although, in all honesty, not too many of them. But would I really tell Mr French that he’s arrived to the wrong decision? I just reply that everything around is a part of a greater plan.

My own revenge plan, it seems, did not work that well. Not only did he sit through the 6 hours of the play without falling asleep, he also really enjoyed it. Oh well, there’s always the next time. Maybe I will have to tie him to a chair after all. At this point I get too cold and Mr French hails a cab.

At the flat, I make him go through the drafts of Parts 1 and 2 of the recipe first but it’s obvious that reading is not what he wants to do. I point at his chin. He opens his carpet bag, takes out his shaving things and disappears in the bathroom. He knows how to win my, erm, heart.

And so, the ultimate rule for being happy with a woman: no matter what your woman says, all you have to do is reply “Yes, dear” and then go and do as she said. It really is that simple. Happy women don’t nag, don’t look unattractive and don’t make your life miserable. You are far more likely to be happy with a happy woman than with an unhappy one.

The most bizarre date, Act 4 – updated

I made a mistake. I published Act 1 straight away and then for a long time I didn’t have a chance to finish and polish Act 2 (dinner) and Act 3 (censored). Meanwhile, I got all those e-mails from people (clients and non-clients alike) that read along the lines of “the bizarre sequel is eagerly awaited!”, “when is Act 2 released? Can I get a preview?”, “I really liked the piece on Daniel”, etc. And an e-mail from Daniel which could be interpreted as he wasn’t very keen on making his private stuff public. It could, of course, be interpreted as he was playing shy to get more publicity. And so, with the burden of all this demand on my shoulders, I came to realise that Act 2 will never live up to your (by now) inflated expectations. This is how we make it straight to Act 4.

Previously on The Most Bizarre Date:

Act 1 (Prehistory) where Jewel meets Daniel and his temporary landlord.

Act 2 (The Controlled Use of Fire, Invention of the Wheel, and Other Hi-Tech Devices) where Jewel is deemed ravishing.

Act 3 (Back to the Caves) where Jewel gets ravished, not that it’s any of your business.

Daniel was only in Edinburgh for a week so our second date a few days later was to be the last one. We were supposed to meet at his for a quiet evening together. I don’t think anything goes as it’s supposed to with Daniel, and less often still does it go quietly (argh, isn’t it a pity you missed Act 2!). 2 hours before the date Daniel calls and asks if I’d like to go to the theatre. The last time I said no to a theatre ticket was never, and 2 hours later we meet outside the Playhouse for, believe it or not, Buddy Holly. It’s not something I’d ever choose to see for myself, which is a pity, because I enjoyed the show enormously, with the wonderful actors, inspiring music, Daniel’s hand on my knee and our little chat about erections, stallions and Freud.

Back at his, we end up in front of the mirror by the front door. My bra comes off, I turn my back to Daniel so he could untie my knickers and reach for the nearest place to put my bra on – the knob. All of a sudden the sight of my bra hanging down from the door handle (and what did you think?) puts him in the mood for ravishing again and for a while we are lost to the world. He later explains that for him it was reminiscent of a newlyweds’ hotel room. How would I know? I played a supporting role at the only wedding I’ve ever been to, not the lead. But it was great to have done something which, in Daniel’s brain, now links our time together with something utterly romantic, even if it happened inadvertently.

If there is one thing you need to know about Daniel it’s that he is a charmer. By nature. Most men understand that if you pay a sex worker, you get sex. If you treat a sex worker with respect, you get good sex. But if you are prepared to play your part and provide your chosen sex worker with BFE*, the date can be unforgettable. It takes two to tango.

It being our last date, I have a present for him. No, not something you have your GP dealing with afterwards, but a little something to keep him warm in Antarctica. Wrong again, it’s not rolled up for your convenience and wrapped in foil. I get a present in return (which is strange because I already got one from him in Act 3, but you wouldn’t know, would you?). While I’m in the bathroom, he goes around the flat picking up my clothes and lays them out on the bed for me. He goes with me downstairs, opens the cab door for me and says he’ll call to say good-bye the night before he leaves.

Continued in Act 5.

*BFE – boyfriend experience. I disagree with giving intimacy a fancy name of GFE (because, to be honest, the real GFE that my long-forgotten boyfriends used to get from me was lousy. I mean, how can you sleep with one and the same man for WHOLE 3 MONTHS IN A ROW and still be able to pretend that you enjoy it? When you pay me, you get a far better deal, as with anything you have to pay for) but right now it succinctly describes the attitude I’m talking about.