If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. - William Blake
In my column of August 15th I pointed out that one of an escort’s greatest assets is the ability to blend into her environment and thereby remain invisible. But as with creatures in nature or military camouflage, no disguise is perfect; even if the escort makes no mistake whatsoever, some people have an infallible instinct which allows them to see the truth about others no matter how well-hidden.
Usually, such instinct derives from experience; I know that I have no trouble spotting most escorts, and they can spot me with equal facility. As Linda used to say in her inimitably déclassé fashion, “A ho knows a ho.” Many a time I met another girl going into a hotel I was leaving or vice versa, and often we exchanged smiles; once another working girl struck up a whole (though disguised) conversation with me when we found ourselves riding down in the same elevator. And on one memorable occasion a streetwalker approached me bold as brass while I was getting into my car and asked for a ride; while en route she began a conversation with, “I wish I had what it takes to be an escort.” I was quite sure on these occasions that I was not dealing with a disguised policewoman; though I’ve never met such a creature, I’m sure her “vibe” would be completely different.
Cops love to imagine that they have the ability to detect “criminals” (including, in their minds, whores) by a finely-honed instinct, but this is in most cases as mythical as the superior driving skill many of them claim to possess. Undoubtedly many cops can detect nervous behavior (big deal, so can most people), and since true criminals tend to behave nervously around uniformed cops it isn’t any great surprise that they notice criminals sometimes. But this common ability has no power to detect one who isn’t worried; I’ve often been chatted up by uniformed cops while on my way to or from a call, with never a hint they thought I was anything other than a businesswoman.
I can only recall one exception, a cop who was working a “detail” (a private security job outside his normal duty hours) for one of the large hotels on Bourbon Street. Because of the large number of drunk tourists that crowd the area on weekends, this hotel always hired uniformed off-duty cops to guard its lobby from inebriated non-guests who might otherwise wander in from the street. I usually avoided these cops by the simple expedient of entering via the hotel’s parking garage, but in this particular instance my cell phone battery had died so I needed to check in and out via the room phone. When I checked out, Doug let me know he had another call for me; since it would be the height of crassness to take such information down in front of the client I had to walk down to the bank of pay phones near the front door, and on the way I passed the cops at their guard positions. I got the info from Doug, called the client and arranged my appointment, then started back toward the parking garage to leave. But when I passed the cops, one of them hailed me with a smile and said, “Girl, in your job you ought to get you a cell phone.”
I replied, “Oh, I’ve got one, but I forgot to charge it.”
He then waved and said, “Have a good night!”
“You, too!” I answered. It was obvious that he knew exactly what I was, and equally obvious that he didn’t care; I of course said nothing incriminating, but even so I was glad he wasn’t a vice cop! Perhaps he had seen me before on other nights; I suspect most men remember pretty faces better than average ones, and he may have worked that same detail many times and therefore had ample opportunity to notice me. Or perhaps he was observant enough to work out the escort pattern, and I fit it closely enough for him to hazard a guess. Or perhaps he really did have the ability to see through facades, in which case I certainly hope the department eventually promoted him into a position where his talent could be better employed!
Another perceptive man in a hotel actually turned into a client. I was riding up in the elevator with him and he struck up a conversation, obviously in the hope of “getting lucky”; he obviously assumed I was a guest in the hotel as he was, and asked if I was turning in for the night. I replied with something like “probably not just yet,” and at that moment the doors opened to my floor and I bid him good night. He had a sort of quizzical look on his face, though, and it was obvious he had clearly understood my comment. But I didn’t realize how well he had understood it until I got out of the call some forty minutes later and found him lurking about in the elevator hallway despite the fact that he had originally gone beyond this floor to a higher one.
“Well, hello again,” I said pointedly.
He looked around to make sure we were alone, then quietly asked me “Did you mean what I think you meant earlier?”
I smiled, saying “That all depends on what you think I meant, doesn’t it?” and handed him my card. I knew he was safe; this hotel was one of the morally-run establishments which refused to allow the NOPD to practice their evil games in its rooms.
Either he had done this before or was just naturally discreet, because he asked, “How much would an hour of your time cost?”
“$300,” I answered, and he agreed. Grace was none too pleased when I called; it just didn’t seem right to her, but as I reminded her it was actually safer than a typical call because I had been able to look the man in the eye before committing myself to anything. It turned out to be a very normal call, though especially nice for me since there was no travel time at all!
The Vieux Carré (French Quarter) is absolutely infested with tour groups; it’s impossible for a native to go six blocks in any direction without running into one. The most popular of these are conducted from horse-drawn buggies whose drivers entertain the tourists with a colorful mixture of common local knowledge, facts learned from other guides, half-remembered history, exaggerated and/or distorted facts, pure hokum and outright lies; I suspect some of it is made up on the spot. That was certainly the case with one such driver who passed me one spring day; I was in no great rush, so instead of my usual brisk walk I was slowly perambulating along in a rather filmy long-skirted dress. I heard the carriage approaching but as usual paid it no mind until I overheard the driver saying to his passengers, “Y’all have heard the song about New Orleans ladies sashayin’ by, and there’s one of ‘em right there.” A quick glance around revealed that I was the only woman on the block, so he clearly meant me; I doubt he intended me to hear him, but I have unusually sharp hearing. It’s certainly possible (though unlikely) that he didn’t realize the song was about whores; perhaps my lazy sashay simply called it to mind. Somehow, I doubt it.
But none of these men was as amazing as the middle-aged American Indian I saw one night in (I think) 2004; he told me he lived on a reservation in New Mexico and was in town to visit a friend, and it was pretty obvious he was stoned. I don’t know if it was peyote or something more mundane, but whatever it was opened the doors of his perception to an astonishing degree. The first sign came when I was demonstrating my oral skills; there’s a particular trick I use which must be very unusual because many clients have either asked where I learned it or told me no girl had ever done it to them before. But my Indian knew exactly where I had learned it; he suddenly said “I think bisexual women are especially beautiful.”
I was a bit surprised and asked, “How did you know I’m bisexual?”
He replied, “Because what you’re doing to me is like what you would do to a woman.” And he was right; I had adapted the technique from one I use in lesbian encounters. The clitoris and penis are analogous structures, after all.
But he didn’t stop there; he proceeded to make similar comments for the next half-hour. He knew I was divorced, childless and remarried; his fingers found nearly-imperceptible scars from old accidents and correctly deduced their causes. It was nothing short of incredible, and when I asked how he could tell so much he simply shrugged and said, “I’m a shaman.” He then held me close and gently caressed me, telling me that he wanted to enjoy the beauty of my spirit more than that of my body.
Eventually he fell asleep, and when I left I said to his friend in the next room, “Your friend is an amazing man.”
He agreed, saying “He’s always been like that; I’ve known him all my life and it still spooks me sometimes.”
For whatever reason, some people are more able than others to penetrate the veils we wear to cloak ourselves from a world in which many deny our right to live and work; fortunately, such individuals are rare and usually uninterested in using their gifts to harm us.