I’m not ashamed to admit that I (along with most of the female population) watched ‘Belle Du Jour: Secret Diary of a Call Girl’ with the amazingly talented Billie Piper playing the title character. I thought “wow this is fucking awesome!”. Here, in mainstream media, they were portraying this young, beautiful, INTELLIGENT woman, making a fortune from doing what most young women do after a weekend visit to the local.
Now, there is absolutely no shame in being a sexually active woman OR in having a one night stand, but the innovation was that she was being paid for it! She was embracing her sexuality and making a living off of it. She was the smart one, I thought, living a life that consisted of luxury hotels, designer shoes and making a truck load of money, in exchange for her sexual services, which, in all honesty, didn’t look too bad. Not off putting at all, more glamourous than what society portrays (we’ll talk about the media glamourizing/society demonizing such subjects in another chapter) and I, like most other women in their late teens, early twenties, watched in awe and dreamt of a life similar. Yes, Belle had a few unpleasant instances but generally speaking, she was living a boss-babe life in London and mostly had rich, respectful clients. She was far removed from the image of heroin junkie street-worker that is still in most people’s minds when they hear the word “prostitute” (I can’t bear this word, sex-worker is the correct term).
Generally, we think of sex-workers as those who’ve had terrible upbringings, been abused, physically or emotionally, as children or who are tragic drug addicts that have no choice other than a life of back alley blow-jobs to get their ‘fix’. While this can sometimes, sadly, be true, this is more a reason to wash away the stigma and taboo regarding sex-workers, to provide a safer job environment, but I digress, such is a topic for another time.
On the other end of the spectrum we think of ‘escorts’ such as ‘Belle Du Jour’ who make hundreds of thousands a year ending up marrying a ‘Richard Gere’ and living the life of Riley. What nobody ever talks about is the ‘in between’ or the everyday ‘escorts’ that often work for ‘agencies’ that are wide spread in the U.K. and are no more than dressed up brothels. Even the ones that advertise themselves as ‘high class’ are often vile, seedy apartments in the city, often in student digs, where city men/truckers and lots of taxi drivers pop in and out of the revolving door, 24 hours a day.
Before I started at 24/7 escorts, I truly believed the term ‘escorting’ was going on quaint dinner dates with rich men, who wanted the company of an attractive and engaging young woman. Escorts didn’t debase themselves by having sex with people! Oh no! That was what prostitutes or high class call girls like Belle do and darllling I’m an ‘escort’. Well that was bollocks as I quickly found out, yet so many of the young girls coming through the ‘agency’ believed the same as I had.
When I or ‘Hungarian Susie’ would explain, what was required of them, the look on their faces was often horror and disgust. Many girls would come for ‘interviews’ and never return. I didn’t blame them as part of the process was often a ‘physical interview’, which was just a dressed-up term for sexual assault. An interview round where the scum bag would ask her to prepare a strip tease, and midway through, force himself on the candidate, then when they’d object, he’d simply say “well how do you propose to sleep with clients if you won’t service me?”. Urgh! Which, if you’re young and intimidated, nervous, naïve or all of the above, then you do what he says out of fear, embarrassment or naivety. This was the worst part of my interview too and yes the same happened to me, even though I was applying as a ‘receptionist’. It’s hard to explain but when you think you’re in danger and you’re in way deeper than you can handle, you are compliant through fear. The ones who’d object I admired, I hadn’t and I was disgusted in myself, I was shocked at myself for allowing it but like I say when we are in a bad place we do things that are not ‘us’. I was so low, fearful and desperate for money.
‘R’ was an Asian man in his 40s, he had told me about how he moved to England with nothing and how proud he was of himself. A true success story. He was an accountant by day and moonlighted as a pimp. It turns out no one knew what he was doing, including his wife, who at the time of sentencing, had just given birth. I felt so sorry for his family and still do, but yet again, another story for another time.
He was small and thin and I still often wonder why I didn’t realise, that at 5ft 8 and weighing enough to overpower him, that I didn’t just knock him out. During that period in my life I was terrified, an anxious, paranoid wreck, partly due to not wanting anyone to find out where I was working, especially my Auntie, who’d have flipped her lid and taken me to the nearest convent! So, I was scared to challenge him, scared to say anything as he had threatened to me that I would be in big trouble, he seemed to have a great knowledge of technology and internet hacking abilities, he also told me that he had police protection (believable considering officers would use the agency for their own gratification).
The person I became when working there, I no longer recognized; she was a frightened little girl, who spent months cooped up in a brothel day and night, and in some very dangerous situations indeed. I literally had no qualifications as I’d flunked my A levels shortly before my parents had moved us to NZ, so I felt lucky to be earning upwards of £600 a week for my 24-hour phone, reception and maid services.
I quickly settled into a routine; at first before he started getting really out of control, I’d get the train to Liverpool city centre, walk the ten mins up Mount Pleasant and to the student flats where the apartment was. ‘R’ had given me a BlackBerry and instructions on how to take ‘bookings’ and the phone rang off the hook every damn day. He hired me for my voice which he described as ‘youthful, soothing and posh’ (It’s really bog standard, I promise you, although I’ve always wanted to be a voice over artist). The day would go as follows…. I’d get there, clean the stinking, trashed apartment that was over flowing with ashtrays, I’d clean the residue from lines of coke off of the glass top table, racked up by the girls from the night before, who were now sprawled out on the couches or sleeping in one of two rooms, where they had had their clients in all day, grim. I’d change the overflowing bins filled with condoms, wipes and other undesirable items, clean the bathrooms where girls had left them in a total state and then I’d switch the phone line on.
See the thing is in England, it is absolutely legal to be a sex-worker, it is also legal for two girls to work from one apartment, but when there are more, it is legally deemed a brothel. It is also illegal in the UK to make money from sex-workers, for example, being a pimp or as they put it ‘gaining financially from prostitution’. How the hell do these agencies stay open, I’ll never know. Essentially they are all running illegally because every agency makes money from girls shagging men! It’s a standard 35%/65% share for the agency/girl and ‘R’ charged girls out at £90 for 30 mins and £150 for an hour (with an increase for outcalls). In the time, I worked for him I banked over 100k into his account, he trusted me, I am honest and would never embezzle from anyone, like many others would have done. Anyway, I digress… I warned you 😉
So, the first girl I met was ‘Hungarian Susie’ and she was amazing, I loved her, she was a straight up professional sex-worker, here to earn money to send home so they could start a family business and build a house. I admired and respected her, her English wasn’t so good, but she was kind, she took no shit, and she was one of the most popular ladies. Susie was advertised as a ‘Porn star’ she had fake tits, a cracking petite frame and a very pretty face with flaming red hair. She liked me instantly and, quite honestly, I was glad because she was one girl you didn’t want to be on the wrong side of. She was clean, she didn’t do drugs like the others and she feared no man, she was the one I would send to the pain in the arse clients or the coked-up men at 3am wanting an outcall (and if any of you ladies have ever experienced a man trying to get it up after one too many pints, times that by 10 and that’s the definition of ‘coke dick’). Susie could handle men and wasn’t afraid to speak out or put them in their place, she worked most days and would despair at the younger girls behaviour, as she was such a professional. Susie would cook the most delicious Hungarian goulash and tell me tales of her sex-work throughout Europe, in short, Susie was fucking ace!
At the time I joined there were two apartments, one in Manchester and one in Liverpool; I ran the phones for both and as I say both were HOT 24/7. I never met the Manchester girls but they mainly consisted of 4 professional Romanian girls with the rest coming and going so regularly, that I couldn’t keep track.
Besides Susie, the other ‘regular’ girls in Liverpool were; Brandy, Taylor, Ashleigh, Mandy, Serena and Emily. Over the months I probably met over 100 girls who would dip in and out of it and some who I have some crazy unforgettable moments with, that I shall talk about in posts to come. Choice few, like Susie, touched my soul and we created a sisterly bond. My first week was a blur and I had learned I loved Susie, hated Brandy (who I had renamed ‘Brandy the Bomber’ due to her love of ‘bombing speed all day’ but thats not why i hated her) and pretty much tolerated/mother hen-ed all the newbies. I had realised that men who paid for sexual services were not all serial killers coming to dismember us, as well as realising that they weren’t all rich either. The ‘clients’, or punters as the girls called them, were normal, everyday men; from kinky professors to plain Jane barristers, surprisingly gentle truck drivers to plastic surgeons who’d point out what you needed doing (LOL). In fact, the majority of them were all really nice in that first week and then there came ‘John’, the resident pervert, who came three times a week (literally) and always wanted the new, fresh girls, the younger, the better. He would specifically ask for the new girls and we all knew him and he was perfectly ‘sound’ as they say up in scouse-land. I had also learned that being a sex-worker was nothing like the Belle Du Jour diaries, in fact I believe anyone saying it is, is either a high-class courtesan in London or they are bull shitting you to detract from the fact they are probably miserable and wishing for a way out.
‘R’ was absent in the beginning and would only call me up to check everything was ok, he NEVER visited the flat in those first few months, and I was glad, I had very little contact with him since he’d forced himself upon me during my ‘interview’. He would pay me 20% of every booking that went through and I had found it easy that first week taking home a cool £780…. I was fucking rich! I was fucking ballin’ in fact and when I had that wad in my hand, I soon forgot about the seedy spunk filled flat until I had to go back on the Monday.
Want to read more like this? Stick around for the next chapter in my saga.