I drove the freeway, hands tight on the steering wheel of my grey compact car, a thrill inside me alongside terror of the unknown. It was 11 p.m. and my mind raced with thoughts of “what if?" The streetlights ticked past as I sped along wondering what to expect, what would this be like, who was this person I was meeting, really, even though I had talked to him at length, and what the hell was I doing? I knew what I was doing, but I had never done it before.
6 Hours Earlier
I stare at the bank account balance on my phone screen, my mind registering the fact that my student loan money is gone, my throat tightening, my mind grasping for solution. It’s time to give it a go, says my inner voice, but how are you going to do this? How do you even start? I know there are plenty of men, everywhere, looking for the company of women. I’ve always been secretly intrigued by and interested in being part of the adult-slash-escorting world. I like the company of men and how they respond to me. But it’s not a job description listed on Indeed or Monster. There’s no training or schooling for it. There’s no one around I know to ask for advice. I quickly type craigslist.com into the browser bar on my Android. I know I should post photos with my ad. Should I show my face? Hmm. Nah. I’m a serious, full-time student and don’t want anything backfiring on me later. I upload photos alongside my modestly-worded ad and click Post. Okay, here we go.
I wait… and wait. I count the minutes.
“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.”
As I read the first response my phone continues pinging out notifications. I type my first reply, hit send, and by the time I reopen my inbox to get to the next message there are already twenty more responses.
“Are u real?”
“Hey bb how many roses?”
“You’re gorgeous. How can we meet?”
I go through them one at a time looking for signs of an intelligent, respectful guy to meet. It’s difficult as I converse with them; it’s getting late and the messaging is tedious and time consuming as I lie stomach-down on my twin-sized bed, feet raised toward the ceiling, my eyes narrowing in concentration. But I have a goal, and I’m going to achieve it. I’m laughed at nearly every time I name my price. “You realize that guys on Craigslist are mostly blue-collar and don’t have that much money, right?” one guy responds. Crap. I never thought of that. Hmm. I lower it a bit until I start to get serious interests; at least, they seem serious at first.
“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.”
It’s been four hours and I’m not making much progress.
“Are you sure you’re not fake or a guy? You are way too pretty to be real on here.”
Ugh! Yes, I’m real! Why don’t they believe me?
Then, I get a very well-worded intelligent message that makes me commit. He wants to see me but isn’t sure about the price. He’s a professor and gives me his full name. I Google him.
He’s not only a professor, but a professor at MY school. Holy shit. I’ll take it. We exchange numbers although I don’t know how I feel about him having my real number. I figure it’s fine since he’s a somewhat prominent person anyway. We text a while, and he says yes, he wants to meet, and he’ll get a hotel room. We agree on location and I throw myself into the shower and then some classy snug jeans with a fitted zip-up hoodie and a pink lacy cami underneath. With makeup I go minimal; just some foundation, and mascara on my curled lashes. My crazy dark curls are their usual tousled mess and, slightly damp from the shower, I dab in some product, blow them dry, and give myself a once-over in the mirror. You are so not the norm for this are you. You’re pretty, and you have kickass curves, but you’re not the norm.
I grab my coat and head out. It’s cold outside and brown leaves crunch frostily under my feet as I walk to my car. I’m really doing this. It feels terrifying.
And it’s a fucking rush.
I pulled into the hotel parking lot half an hour later and sat in my car a moment, somewhat stalling, and gave myself a pep-talk. My phone dinged: “Are you coming?” “Yes!” I replied, “I’m parked, and I’ll be right there.”
I stepped out of my car, locked it, and charged toward the hotel entrance. Shit. The wine. I rushed back with all the grace of a teenage boy fumbling a first date and popped the trunk to pull out the bottle of white wine a date gave me after our trip to an apple orchard.
Once inside I tapped on the room door, my excitement and terror rising. A tall and attractive, soft-spoken gentleman opened it, and I greeted him like I would greet anyone, with a cheerful hello and wide smile.
We talked. And talked. My hands were visibly shaking as I drank and that has never happened to me before. He laid relaxed, stretched across the bed, fully clothed while we talked like we had known each other for years. “You’re easy to talk to,” he said. “I can’t believe how much you have me talking.” He told me about his life, his difficulties. We talked about his good and bad experiences with women. As I relaxed and realized just how much he craved company and companionship I made myself a bit more vulnerable. It was a comfortable exchange between two people, cozily tucked away from the cold weather outside, a temporary respite.
We didn’t have sex. I was surprised he didn’t try. He just wanted to talk. He just wanted my company. He wanted someone to listen. For three hours we snuggled and talked, and he petted my hair and told me how pretty my hair is, how pretty I am, kissed me, and I drank wine and it was lovely.
“Thanks for being my therapist for tonight,” he said. I grinned and told him it was my pleasure - because it was. He didn’t know it, but it was sincerely the highlight of my day.
When he left he welcomed me to stay in the room for the night and I did. When I woke up and had breakfast downstairs alone, strangers talking and eating around me, I was sharply aware of why I was there and the fact that none of them knew. I had a sort of secret - one that I was delighted to possess. My lips curled into a small, smirking smile as I reached for my orange juice.
I was collared. This job was going to suit me just fine.