In an interview with a now-retired prostitute working in a big city, I had the opportunity to see into a different world where champagne bubble baths and naked sushi dinners on the bedroom floor exist.
While undoubtedly attractive, this gorgeous dirty blonde looks more at home in yoga pants with her hair bundled up into a messy bun talking about her collection of baby bonsais, than a roaring harlot with a black book that would make Al Capone cry.
“I wanted to go to Paris”, she says, “and working in my junior office job was not going to get me there”.
A quick google search, an interview, and a new red lipstick later, she found herself working in a high-end brothel on the steeper side of the pay scale. It took her less than a day to earn her ticket to Paris and less than a month to earn her entire 6-month all expenses paid sojourn to the city of lights.
When asked what it was like, she set us off on a highly entertaining journey.
While there were many perfunctory in-house visits with mostly attractive men in their early 30’s to 50’s, what kept me laughing were the stories of her travels, the term used to describe when you meet a John at his house or hotel… or office block, sex club or even onboard a massive yacht, as she also experienced.
She even dressed up as a date to a prestigious horse racing event where she hung off the arm of a major player in the industry.
I was expecting to hear of some sordid stories of perfectly reprehensible transactions but instead, I was enthralled by what seemed like a series of sensational short-lived love affairs. Instead of a bunch of one-offs, this woman built up a retinue of wealthy men who would hire her on a regular basis.
The Men Who Loved Me
There was Morgan, the high-flying executive of a prominent Fortune 500 company who liked to have steak dinners and lots of excellent red wine in top-flight restaurants before retiring to a night of bedroom antics that would make even a seasoned prostitute blush.
Then there was Larry, a recently divorced millionaire who liked to mix multiple cocktails in the nude before reclining in front of a homemade fire to make mad love until the sun came up.
There was a night spent with a group of well-known sportsmen who catered a sit-down dinner for 10 people, complete with wine pairings and crystal glasses before each woman went off with her beau for the night of giggles, sinfulness and, in our lady’s case, a champagne bath.
When asked of her favorite experience, she speaks of a week in Thailand spent with a man who at the time had recently secured a multi-million dollar investment for his dot.com. They motorbike-taxied their way around Koh Samui, had midnight pillow fights and sponsored an elephant orphanage’s fees for two years.
Were they all so exciting? “No”, she answers… but she always had the option to leave if she felt uninterested in the client and she never experienced any of the downsides that come with this kind of profession.
And leave she did.
After 6 months of working in the industry, she left her sex work days behind her and now works an executive job in advertising.
Leaving Love-For-Hire Behind
“It was time to go”, she says.
“Prostitution is the one job where you start at the top and work your way down. I never intended to make it a long-term profession and I was careful about the emotional implications it may have had on my life going forward”.
She reports that one of the most attractive aspects of these kinds of liaisons is that there is a timestamp on the encounters which makes “ceasing the day” and filling each encounter with as much fun as possible so seductive.
So, was it hard to leave all the excitement behind? Yes, she says.
Meeting an average Joe after the kind of excitement she experienced was a little hard and there is a certain hesitancy to embarking on a new love affair when the playing field isn’t so leveled. Knowing you’re playing a part and being paid for the encounter makes it easier to be free with your emotions. “You arrive in love when you’re a working girl”.
That is a very poignant statement.
You Arrive in Love When You’re a Working Girl
The most successful women in the brothel were the ones that offered a convincing Girlfriend Experience, or GFE. It is less about stripper heels and clock-watching blowjobs and more about romance and what happens in between the ears rather than the sheets.
The ability to manufacture intimacy and make someone feel cherished is what sets one working girl apart from the other, not how pretty you are or how potent your prowess in the bedroom. It also sets the professionals apart from random one-night stands on top hookup sites.
Throughout my 2-hour conversation with Jane, it is clear that so little of this kind of transaction is about sex itself. While there is always a happy ending in all of her stories, what captures my attention is the fact that most of her clients seem to be looking for an intimate tenderness.
The softness of a woman in love.
With the lines of love and lust so blurred and further complicated by the machinations of money, it is clearly a world that requires an immense amount of emotional strength to withstand.
Pornstar sex and impersonal pleasures are one thing, but mimicking a passionate grand amour with unbridled sexuality thrown into the mix… which is then replicated six times a week with someone different each time… is asking for trouble. Jane credits this complexity for her need to leave the industry.
It sounds hard to keep track of.
You see, the thing about arriving in love as a working girl is that at some point you have to leave and there is no illusion that the love lingers on. The emotional complexities of being a GFE working girl are immense and dealing with the implications on an ongoing basis is unsustainable.
“I was running out of love to give”, Jane says simply but succinctly.
So Much More Than Sex
When asked what was the most difficult emotional experience, she tells me a story of a wheelchair-bound paraplegic man with limited top half mobility. He once was the CEO of a booming investment banking business and dove head first into a pool breaking his neck. He used to run the world and would come and see Jane on a monthly basis, a shadow of his former self.
He had a colostomy bag and had picked up a lot of weight. He was ashamed of what had become of his life and initially, it was difficult to pierce through the anger to get to the man who lay beneath the frustration.
When he first started visiting Jane, it would be for one-hour sex sessions in the brothel but over time, they’d go out to dinner with a carer in tow and land up at a hotel room where he would have all of her favorite macarons delivered along with a bunch of flowers.
When they first met, he was an angry paraplegic who would arrive for an impersonal sexual release. When they last met, he was a creative and imaginative lover, a raconteur of great stories and someone who, according to Jane, was so easy to fall in love with.
The price of a prostitute for the night is nothing when compared to giving a man back his manhood.
So Much More Than A Prostitute
It is not hard to see why this lyrically articulate young woman was in high demand. She is warm, charming, immensely endearing, and has the unique ability to make you feel as if you are a part of some kind of naughty secret and therefore a fellow clansman in some kind of special group.
She isn’t classically beautiful, nor does she have a model figure, but she is absolutely fascinating. Her ability to read people and understand the human condition is uncanny and her insight has given me a whole new perspective on the intrigue between men and women of today.
Much like the women who beguiled the Sultans of kingdoms now gone, or women who captured the imaginations of famous artists of every era, women like Jane enthrall and inspire.
Of course, there will always be those that herald the moral compass and demonize their very existence, but I didn’t meet a woman of calculating menace nor moral degeneracy. I met a kind woman. A sweet woman. A gentle woman who reminded me that ladies simply want to be adored and men want to be appreciated.
She reminded me that sex is more than intimacy and that intimacy is far, far more than sex.
Is it so terrible that a woman wanted to go to Paris so she embarked on a series of love affairs in exchange for the money to get her there? How is it that we live in a society that condones the exploitation of Bangladeshi factory workers for an affordable yet instagramable outfit but vilifies a consensual transaction between a man looking for comfort and a woman with a dream?
Women like Jane will always operate on the fringes of society but make no mistake, if you listen to them, they can teach us a lot about fortitude, empathy, endurance, and aspiration. These are all noble characteristics that you would not usually associate with women of the night, but I am forever changed by my encounter with Jane.
There is something indelibly memorable about a woman who soothes restless souls, restores broken spirits, inspires elephant philanthropy, and harnesses carnal desire all for a ticket to Paris to watch Madame Butterfly at opera’s famous Palais Garnier in a red dress with a flower in her hair.