The most successful prostitutes are invisible, because the sign of a prostitute’s success is her absolute blending with the environment. – Camille Paglia
One of the most common effects that the Hollywood hooker stereotype has on escorts and call girls is the tendency for inexperienced clients to be concerned about their dates’ appearances. Since the Hollywood stereotype prances around in a miniskirt, fishnets, gobs of makeup, etc this concern is probably understandable; imagine the possible repercussions to a client if hotel security followed such a creature to his room, or if any of his neighbors saw her coming to his door. That sort of costume would be hard to miss, which is precisely why experienced escorts don’t wear them. Camille Paglia is exactly right; the most successful working girls are those who attract the least attention, either in calls or where they live.
“How will you dress?” is one of the most common questions high-end clients ask, and they’re certainly not unjustified in worrying; I’ve heard a few horror stories about inexperienced low-end escorts dressing like strippers or Hollywood streetwalkers. But such a girl never lasts long in the business unless she learns quickly; no businessman or professional will want her twice, and her agency owner will tell her better the first time she sees her in such a getup. Experienced girls understand that it’s best to dress in such a way that one wouldn’t attract undue attention in a shopping mall; I had only one wardrobe and wore the same sort of clothes whether I was working or not, and indeed wear the same sort of clothes today. Obviously one must dress attractively, but there’s a vast difference between ladylike and skanky; I told my girls to dress as though they were going to court or to meet a boyfriend’s mother. Some girls even wear business suits and carry briefcases, ensuring as complete a camouflage in a business-class hotel as any beautiful woman can ever hope to achieve.
But it isn’t only about dress; demeanor is just as important. When orienting new girls I always stressed the importance of the “Clipboard Effect”, which is my term for the fact that if one acts as though one belongs in a place (such as by wearing a white coat and carrying a clipboard when in a lab or hospital), everyone will assume that one does belong there. In hotels, it’s best to walk briskly through the lobby directly for the elevators as if one had done so many times before (even if she has never been in that particular facility) so as to avoid looking lost and thereby attracting the attention of a helpful staff member who may ask where one is going. And on those occasions where one has no choice but to ask directions, a smile and a simple question (followed by a smile and “thank you” afterward) arouses no suspicion, while sneaky behavior does. I told my girls to always keep in mind that they were not doing anything wrong, but simply visiting a business client; they wouldn’t feel guilty if they were a pizza delivery girl or sales rep going to his room, and so shouldn’t in our business either. It is truly amazing how much our thoughts show in our faces; shame and paranoia create a shifty, furtive countenance, while confidence and self-assurance are equally reflected in one’s face and manner.
In truth, the hotel staff (with the possible exception of overeager security guards) really doesn’t care about escorts; why should they as long as no guests complain? And unless a girl makes a spectacle of herself, guests are unlikely to notice her any more than they would notice any other pretty woman. For example, take the Airport Hilton; for some reason I’ve never been able to ascertain we got an awful lot of calls from that one hotel, so many in fact that I was there at least four or five times a week and sometimes more than once in a night. I had to pass the front desk on the way to the elevators, and it seemed the same night clerk was there every time I passed. He could not possibly have failed to notice a strikingly beautiful woman passing his desk twice (about an hour apart) nearly every night for almost seven years, and he knew I was neither staff nor guest, yet he never said a word to me or gave me a dirty look. Why? Because I walked straight to the elevators and never attracted the attention of any busybodies. In other hotels the staff actually got to know me; the parking valet and doorman at the Windsor Court always greeted me with a cheery “welcome back!” as though I were a guest, though they well knew I wasn’t. And the concierges of several hotels would call me when a guest asked for a referral, I’m sure in part because they knew they could rely on my discretion.
The modern mania for security has made some hotels a little more difficult to navigate, especially late at night; some of them require a hotel key-card to activate the elevators, and keep the lower doors to the stairwells locked. When visiting such hotels one must either piggyback with other guests or call the client to meet one downstairs, which he is often loath to do. What I always did in such hotels was to glance to the reception desk to see if anyone was checking in; if so I simply lingered in the lobby pretending to read tourist brochures, then nonchalantly walked into the elevator with him and let chivalry take its course by saying “fifteen, please” (or whatever floor I was going to) and letting him swipe the key card and press the button. If there was no guest about it was a simple matter to use my smile and eyelashes to convince a custodian to use his key, usually without any need for explanation. Only if the lobby was bare of either guest or custodian did I have to resort to calling the client; I preferred to mystify him with my apparent ability to penetrate doors he knew to be locked at night. Apartment-complex gates opened by key rather than the usual code could often be passed in the same way, by riding in behind another car, and thus neither annoying the client nor attracting the attention of security guards.
Some calls require being inobtrusive in a completely different way, and these are in my mind the ones which mark the true professional; she is a chameleon who can provide public companionship for a gentleman in any setting as easily as she can provide sexual favors in private. She must therefore be able to dress, converse and conduct herself as the occasion demands should her client wish to take her to a restaurant, the symphony, a party or any other public event. In such situations she must perform exactly as a “regular” date would, entertaining her client by her conversation and company and allowing not the slightest sign to any observer that she has been paid to do so. Call girls, in other words, are the modern equivalent of courtesans.
Alas, since tyrannical laws prevent modern courtesans from openly declaring our calling as our spiritual ancestresses did, blending into the woodwork is even more important in our private lives than in our professional. Even if a girl is fortunate enough to have the full support of her family and friends (and few do), her neighbors may not be quite so tolerant; unfortunately, the world is full of busybodies who would happily call the police to report any activity which offended their personal biases, and this certainly includes prostitution. It is therefore imperative that not the slightest hint of one’s unorthodox trade enter the minds of those one is not prepared to trust with the knowledge. And here, as with the customers, selective honesty is the best policy. Some girls have a “normal” job as a cover, some invent a mythical job to explain their odd hours, and those who are married simply allow the neighbors to assume that they are housewives. But except for this one deception, it is best to be as friendly and open with one’s neighbors as is typical in that neighborhood. As Poe pointed out in “The Purloined Letter”, the best place to hide something is in plain sight. When people see secretive, suspicious behavior they naturally assume one is hiding something and will usually set out to discover it. But if one is natural, friendly and neighborly one blends in; if she pets dogs, helps old ladies with their groceries and coos over babies, they will all say, “What a nice young woman that Maggie is!” and overlook her eccentric hours. In this one way, the stereotypes about prostitutes work in our favor; since everyone knows all prostitutes are diseased, drug-addicted criminals, obviously clean, friendly, good-hearted women can’t possibly be whores. If prostitution were decriminalized we wouldn’t need to hide, but as long as the authorities insist on promulgating false stereotypes in order to support their oppressive laws we can appreciate the poetic justice that the very falsity of those lies serves to hide us from the laws they were created to support.