I would pick up The Met (now defunct) every week. Every now and then I would pick up The Observer and look in the back pages. There were ladies who offered massage or domination and there were mysterious “escorts.” I was intrigued by the idea of offering phone sex, but with the problems the college phone system always suffered, I knew it wouldn’t work.
One time, (with the aforementioned boyfriend), I had gone to visit a photographer who advertised a need for nude models and paid $300-$500 per shoot. He was a professional and had a great studio. His portfolio was full of Playboy-style photos of womanly women. I think I looked too young for his taste, although he was complimentary. I know I didn’t look sophisticated enough. We talked for at least half an hour and when I left, he told me I could come back and pose if I wanted. But, of course, the boyfriend vetoed that. I was a little steamed since the pictures and the photographer seemed harmless and very nice (but it wasn’t “art,” in my opinion). The boyfriend had already put a stop to my (free) nude modeling for art/photo students. He really cramped my style.
As the relationship with my boyfriend was winding down, I struck up a friendship that summer with a non-traditional student who lived on campus. Her name was Anna. One day I showed her an Observer ad for the much-envied Dallas Fetish Ball (I finally attended it years later and it really wasn’t wild, or maybe I’m jaded). That sparked quite a conversation. I showed her some of the other ads that I found intriguing. I explained my need of money. I was hoping for support and not recriminations. What I got was a surprising history and lots of advice, which I sorely needed.
Just after my 22nd birthday, I called this one agency that claimed it had been around since 1971. After a game of phone tag, I got to talk to the woman who ran the agency. I can only imagine that I sounded as green as I said I was. We made arrangements to meet that Saturday. She gave me directions to Hurst (nearly to Ft. Worth). It was two hours of driving, one-way. But I was going to work for an escort agency! I was going to sell my body and rake in the dough!
On the way there, I stopped in the Wal-Mart of another town to buy scented candles and condoms. I wanted good new condoms instead of the school freebie condoms that all the students used. Anna had said Trojans were the best, so I bought Trojans and KY Jelly. I was too embarrassed to buy this at my local Wal-Mart, although how condoms being used for free would ring up any different than condoms used to make money, I don’t know. I was wearing jeans, ankle boots and a tucked-in white shirt with French cuffs. I looked fresh and smelled good.
I drove all the way to this Motel 6 off some highway near Ft. Worth. I had gotten my first cell phone (for driving-safety reasons) only a couple weeks prior. I proudly called the lady and left a message. She called back just a few minutes later. I reached for the phone, then panicked. I didn’t know how to answer it! I’d never had a call before! I scrambled for the manual and by the time I found out how to answer my phone it had stopped ringing. I called right back, but didn’t get an answer. I left a message explaining myself and waited with a book I’d brought. After waiting in the hotel parking lot for an hour, I realized that I would not get a call back. I probably sounded like a lunatic.
I drove to DFW Airport in defeat. I had a few dollars in my pocket. I wanted to try picking up men in a bar like Anna had talked about (and I had spent many hours at the airport photographing people and planes). But I chickened out because I worried about not having a plane ticket and instead drove to the Westin Galleria where she said she’d had some luck a few years before.
I went into the bar. New to cocktail-drinking, I didn’t know what to order, so I got a coke. There were three other men in the bar and none of them paid me the slightest attention. I left. Hungry and feeling very blue (and poor), I wandered into the Galleria proper and went to the Bennigan’s there. I assumed I could get a cheap drink at the bar and go home.
The bartender who took my order (“I only have $3, please help!”) made me a Long Island Tea. Then he mixed up shots and gave me the leftovers from the shakers of other people’s drinks. He could see I wasn’t having a good day. He chatted me up and got me pretty well buzzed. Finally, I was ready to leave. He wanted me to hang around and wait for him to get off work (only another 30 minutes). I wanted to get home. I shouldn’t even have been driving. I thanked him profusely and left. At least I could pick up a bartender for free. What an accomplishment!
I went home and cried. I felt like such a failure. I was unable to properly operate a cell phone. I couldn’t pick up guys in a bar. I couldn’t be a proper hooker. If I couldn’t even sell my body, what hope did I have? If selling one’s body was the lowest depth to which one could sink, where was I on that mythical ladder of life? I couldn’t sell it. I tried! I really did! There were just no takers. I bawled myself to a drunken sleep.
The next day I was awakened by a very worried Anna. It had been so late when I got home and I was so upset that I didn’t call her. I told her about my failures and laughed a little. Then cried a bit more when I got off the phone.
Next week: I finally break into the adult industry with another agency who successfully rips me off!