I am nothing if not stubborn.
The next week I picked up the new issues of The Met and The Observer. I found an ad that I liked. It was plain printing with no pictures, offering professional models for lingerie shows, bubble baths and modeling. I called the number and was able to come in for an interview the week after.
I knew I would never be a professional model and I worried that the clients would be disappointed because I was not tall and thin enough. I was fairly sure the girls weren’t professional models, but I did figure they would be very pretty and that made me nervous. I went to an office building in Carrollton. I found the office easily. It was titled something like ABC Enterprises, the initials of the woman running it.
She was a pretty woman nearing 30. She explained that she had been a dancer and thought that this was a better way to make money. She and her longtime boyfriend ran the business. I met him much later.
I filled out an actual job application form, which I stupidly filled out honestly. (I had nothing to hide but it never occurred to me to wonder what these people might do with my information.) She had me sign a waiver that explained I would not do anything sexual with the clients. She carefully explained that I wasn’t to do anything sexual, no touching, no nothing. I was supposed to dance for them. Dancing again! Still something I hadn’t learned to do. This was private dancing. Good god, I couldn’t last a whole song, there was no way I could last a whole hour! I explained my trepidations to her. She laughed and said I would do fine. I would start on Friday night and she would make sure that I worked with someone so that I could learn.
The agency charged $180 an hour and I kept $40 of that. That seemed fine to me since I wasn’t going to be doing anything (from my Pollyanna worldview, I saw it as making $40 an hour, not being ripped off 78%). I felt the very sedate and tasteful ad would bring a lot of appointments and I would earn a couple hundred per shift. I certainly wasn’t about to actually have sex with anyone for a measly $40. She told me if I wanted to earn more, I should try to get tipped. She didn’t go into any details about how to do that.
The agency’s incall was a weekly-stay hotel just south of the 635/75 intersection in Dallas. I would stay there the whole shift I was scheduled for. The clients would call her and she would set up the appointment and give directions to a Jack in the Box near the hotel where they would call again for the directions to the hotel. I have no idea if she screened or not, it never even occurred to me to ask. She just told me that if a guy looked young, to ID him to make sure he was at least 18.
She told callers that we were roommates, not an agency. Why she said this, I have no idea (it never sounded convincing to me). She’d call me after the appointment was set up so I could get ready. I would call her after they got there and I got the money. Then I’d call after they left. It was all cash and I had to turn in all the money that day. They paid me my share every Monday. So every Monday, when I had no reason to be in Dallas, I had to drive over an hour to Dallas to pick up the money that I had earned that weekend. The picking up part took five minutes, then I got to drive back to school.
My first night of work I had to drive to the office for directions (no calling in), then back over to the hotel. I was working with Jenny. She was an attractive brunette in her 30s. She was very short. She did little explaining to me, then told me about how much money another girl in the agency made. She didn’t explain the mysterious tipping process either. I couldn’t believe that guys would tip without anything sexual, but I wasn’t allowed to be sexual. This greatly confused me and I fell silent. We just watched TV.
Finally we got a call. I had expected that on a Friday night the phone would be constantly ringing, but that was the only appointment we got until I later went home around 1am. A young guy showed up. Jenny was in a dress. I was wearing jeans and crushed dark blue velvet bodysuit (thong back). She explained my presence in the room, sitting at the little counter area. She kept the TV on (some war movie) and danced for him. Relief! I can do this and better too. He wasn’t comfortable (and I was quickly bored). Finally, with about 15 minutes left to his hour, Jenny asked nicely if I didn’t mind stepping outside since he was too nervous. I said sure and walked outside to have a smoke. I had brought plenty of mints because of my constant smoking (at that time). It was freezing outside and I didn’t think to put on my jacket.
Not five minutes later he walked out, said bye to me and left. Overwhelmed with curiosity, I went back in. She was nonchalant and I wondered if he simply left or if she just gave the world’s quickest blowjob. I couldn’t come right out and ask her, so I said nothing. Later, she called into the office and left. I stayed there and read and watched TV until Brian, the boyfriend, came to pick up the money. (We were instructed to leave the money in the toaster or the microwave.) Then I went home.
I worked Friday nights, all day Saturday and Sundays if I could. School and my other part-time job weeknights and Saturday night took care of the rest of the time. I worked all of Thanksgiving break too. I would have one, maybe two appointments per shift (a few times, three or four). Sometimes Brian came over and hung out. He was my “driver” and supposed to be my protection. He stayed in his car in the parking lot when there were clients in the room. But if something went wrong he really wouldn’t be much help since he was in the parking lot in a car. In hindsight, I know he was there to make sure they got their share of the money. If I weren’t such an honest idiot they really would’ve had to worry at the rates they were paying me.
A lot of guys really expected something sexual (duh). I was upfront with them after collecting the money. I told them this was an agency, I only got $40 of what they were paying and I wasn’t allowed to touch them. I danced for them, wore lingerie, stripped naked and masturbated. The guys loved to watch me masturbate. Like a half-wit, I made myself come every time. My clit began to get sore from this. I never thought to fake it (at that point in my life, I’d never faked anything sexual and wasn’t much of a liar either).
One poor guy brought flowers and wanted a bubble bath (that stupid option was printed on the ad). I wasn’t about to get all wet and in a small tub with some guy for $40. I talked him out of it. Another kid (the only guy I ID’d) paid the last $20 in change. He was at SMU and just wanted a break from studying. Since this was near finals at my own school, his story seemed real to me.
The guys just jacked off. That’s all that was left for them. I would cuddle with them (no kissing at all) and talk with them. They seemed to like me and I always apologized for the agency’s practices. No one ever seemed to take exception to it, although no one ever suggested that I find something better. I guess before the Internet changed everything they were as stuck as I was, just on the opposite end of the problem. (This was right as the Internet started booming. The fall of 1997 and Eros and Diana of Dallas hadn’t even been up for a full year. The large public discussion boards were still a couple years in the future. Although various small bulletin board groups were around, most guys probably didn’t know about them.)
One man finally offered me money to do more. We settled on an extra $60 for a covered hand job (I knew all about safe sex!). I put lube in the condom for him and jerked him off. He said he had a friend that he would send up, but when he left, he left. The whole friend thing made me a bit nervous, but I wanted the money too. If he had only raised the price a bit more ($100) I would’ve had sex with him. This was near the end of my month or so with ABC Enterprises (they never gave me a name for the agency).
I know now that this was a major rip-off agency. I had a haunting fear when I started escorting for real that someone would recognize me from those days and tell the world I was a rip-off before I got a chance to explain. (That never happened.) Some of the policies, like the no touch rule, seemed to be based on the Mayflower Madam’s book about running her agency (at least, as far as I can tell, that’s where the ideas came from). The theory was if I was busted it was my fault. The agency had told me it would not allow touching and I had said I wouldn’t touch, so if I did anything, it was under my own initiative and they were not accountable for me.
Not that I knew all that then. It never even occurred to me that the police called these agencies to set up stings. I thought they only busted streetwalkers. Besides, I knew there was nothing going on in my room! Why did I have to worry? I never worried about violence either. In fact, the whole idea of screening a client was beyond my comprehension. If someone had told me about it, the idea would’ve made sense. But without anyone to guide me, it never entered my mind. (Anna’s expertise was in the studio/spa world and picking up men in bars. I can’t remember if I told her about the agency or not.) I was surrounded by a cloud of total ignorance and had an aura of happy, horny, innocence.
Near the end of the semester, I had a new boyfriend (not so accidental this time, I’d had my eye on him for a year or so). He didn’t like me working for the agency, although I assured him nothing sexual happened. Once again, I was letting a man who wasn’t paying my bills interfere with my (miniscule) money-making. Ladies — a sign.
I quit the agency not long after. It wasn’t because of the new boyfriend but simply because even I could do the math and tell that it was not profitable for me. I told them I quit after my last shift on a weekend. I went Monday to pick up my money. They owed me $120. The offices were closed. I called. No answer. I called and went by the office several times over the next couple weeks at varying times. Nothing. Eventually, even the sign went away. It was nearly a year before I saw their ads stop running. They still owe me. (I learned to tell someone that I quit a job after the cash is in my bank account.)
So I leave the idea of sex behind and decide to work in a strip club instead.
update to the story
I went through a box of adult industry-related articles that I’ve been keeping for years. I found three old pieces of newsprint.
One was an employment listing with some agencies circled that I tried to work for (my notes in the margins).
The other was a picture of Jenny (from behind) in her independent ad. After I left the agency, I noticed her ad go up. She used her same stage name and in another ad (that I didn’t save), she was facing the camera, so I knew who it was. I assume she was independent because phone number was different from the agency’s.
The final scrap of paper is the agency’s ad itself. It’s titled “Intimate Encounters” so I guess that was the name of the agency. Or perhaps it was a selling point. I don’t know. But this ad does contain the “professional models” line that so worried me, as well as that damn “bubble bath” line.
I Googled their phone number. Nothing comes up.