As you make your bed, so you must lie in it. - English proverb
One year ago today I wrote about nuisance callers who were blackballed from every escort service in New Orleans because they were either total time-wasters or else they were so impossible to deal with that not a whore in town would see them. Most of these men were clearly disturbed and/or out of control and lacked the income to support a hooker habit, but today I’d like to tell the story of how one particular wealthy man, who could easily have become a client girls were eager to see, instead found himself persona non grata due to nothing other than his own asinine behavior. Melissa Farley would like to convince the world that all “sex buyers” are “men who dehumanize and commodify women, view them with anger and contempt, lack empathy for their suffering, and relish their own ability to inflict pain and degradation”; that’s not only a gross exaggeration, but also a literal inversion because in today’s column you will see what becomes of a man who could even somewhat fit the shoes of Farley’s caricatured customer.
It was August of 2000 and the summer doldrums were upon us; the convention season had not yet started, most well-heeled locals had fled the pressure cooker which New Orleans becomes during the Dog Days, and a lot of working girls were on vacation because they wouldn’t miss much. Since I had only started my own service a few months before, my phone was even more silent than those of more well-established agencies; so when I received a call from a real estate developer who said he wanted a girl who was good at conversation and didn’t mind spending a few hours with him, I looked upon it as a blessing directly from Aphrodite. I explained my multi-hour rate and he said it would be no problem, so I let Doug and Linda know I’d be out of pocket for a few hours and headed down to the Warehouse District. As its name indicates, this is an area which once was home to nothing but warehouses, but was at that time undergoing a boom as real estate developers bought up the old buildings cheap and converted them into large hotels, apartment complexes, condominiums and the like.
I had a little trouble finding the address, but eventually I located it as a large hotel-like front door in an otherwise featureless wall on an empty street only a short distance from the river. As my client soon explained, he had purchased an entire block of small 19th century buildings, sealed the spaces between them with concrete walls, refurbished the outer buildings into apartments and razed the inner ones to create a large courtyard with a swimming pool and tennis court. The place was empty but for us; he told me there were still a few building inspections and whatnot to come before he could open the place to tenants, and he had decided to celebrate the project’s completion by hiring an escort. He was well (though casually) dressed and well-spoken, and he seemed completely sincere, so when he explained that he wasn’t sure how long he wanted to see me for, and that he preferred to write me a check at the end, I didn’t instantly walk out. Oh, I was very uncomfortable with that plan and told him so; I was inexperienced but not stupid. But he did everything I asked to set my mind at ease; he showed me the business checkbook, whose address matched the one to which I had come and whose check numbers indicated long use. His name and title were on the business cards whose name agreed with that on the checkbook, and it was the same name on his driver’s license. There was no way this guy was going to write a bad check, and since he seemed nice and the night was dead anyhow I decided to roll the dice and accept his offer.
Everything was fine at first; he showed me around the property and we talked about a number of subjects for two hours, after which he was ready to bed me. And that was where things started going wrong, because in bed he was totally the opposite of the way he had been in the living room. He was incredibly rough, and though I actually like a bit of that, this was beyond the pale. He kept shoving his fingers into my vagina despite my protests, grabbed my head when I was fellating him, and exuded an aura which was distinctly hostile and unpleasant. And after he entered me it got worse; after coupling in the regular way for a while he got up, stood beside the bed and without a word grabbed my right ankle and literally dragged me quickly across the bed, causing my head to drop abruptly off of the pillow and jerk hard to the left as he pulled me. As I’ve explained before, I suffer from vertigo and become dizzy if I lie flat during sex; rapid and unexpected motion has even stronger effects, so as you can imagine his action sent my head into a spin and it was all I could do to keep myself from being sick. Luckily, he finished quickly after that, and turned out to be one of those men who want the woman to leave as soon as he’s done with her. So I quickly got dressed and returned to the living room, where he already had the checkbook out; he asked how much I owed him and I said, “three hours is $750.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said, “that’s too much.”
I felt anger welling up stronger than my dizziness. “You agreed to the prices on the phone earlier.”
“Well, I guess I wasn’t listening. I’ll give you $200.”
“That doesn’t even cover the bedroom time, much less everything else!”
“Well, it’s all you’re going to get; take it or leave it.” He knew there was nothing I could do to enforce my price; he had tricked me with his smooth talk and I had fallen for it like a stupid amateur (which, to be fair, I had been only eight months before). He was much bigger than me and judging by his performance in the bedroom unusually strong, and it was also growing increasingly difficult to keep from embarrassing myself by throwing up all over his carpet. So I took the check, told him that he would regret reneging on our deal, and left; I drove less than two blocks and then pulled over at the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street to lose my dinner in the gutter. That cleared my head sufficiently for me to drive home without further incident, and on the way I called Doug and told him how the guy had cheated me, and asked him to tell everyone else because I was sick and going home to bed. He did tell me something that made me feel a little better: his phone hadn’t rung once since I went into the call. Even though I was cheated, at least I hadn’t missed a good call because of it.
A few weeks later I felt better about it still, because Doug called me and said, “I think that arsehole who cheated you is trying to get a girl from me; is his name ___________?” I confirmed that it was indeed him, and Doug decided to mess with him by pretending to look for a girl but not actually doing so. I’m sure he was eventually able to find someone from one of the two agencies in town who weren’t friendly with the others, but apparently the leopard couldn’t change his spots because a few months later Doug again called me with more good news. “Hey, remember Mr. Big who likes to cheat working girls? Well, I just got off the phone with him; he’s drunk and when I told him I couldn’t help him, he started crying and asked me ‘Why won’t anybody come to see me?’ So I told him maybe if he wouldn’t manhandle and cheat women he wouldn’t have that problem.”
Maybe it was wrong of me, but I permitted myself a bit of righteous schadenfreude. Well, at least he taught me a valuable lesson; I never, ever again got into bed with anyone without payment in full and up front, no matter how nice and respectable he seemed.