delve a little deeper....
Last weekend I went to the wedding of an old university friend. I was very much looking forward to catching up with the gang and celebrating the last of our little crowd of five to get married. Seeing as two of us are already separated/divorced maybe the circle will start again as we start on the rounds of second weddings! Please note it won't be my turn again for a very long time! Well, at least it gives us all a reason to all catch up....
As well as some of my oldest girlies attending there were a few people I haven't seen for years, a few lads who we knocked around with, the bride's family and people we had met for one reason of other over the years. The difficulties with this as well as other social situations when you do what I do is what to say when you meet someone either for the first time or after a number of years when the inevitable question of 'So, what do you do?' comes up. I think, as a nation we are defined by our career. I know stay at home mums have the same gripe when asked the same question. They feel that people lose interest or are thinking What a shame, she was so clever/bright/ambitious once. But at least being a mum is socially acceptable. Answering 'Well, I'm on the game' isn't really the done thing and I somehow can never get my story straight in my head so usually end up mumbling 'Oh this and that' and changing the subject, which probably makes people think I am either a road sweeper or a drug dealing gun runner.
In situations when I know I wont be seeing the person again I use the line 'Oh I'm a dreadfully dull accountant' because people never ask much more. However seeing as both the happy couple are (very interesting and fun) accountants and graduated in accountancy the place was wall to wall full of accountants and my usual get out would probably land me in a sticky conversation about spreadsheets or P&L or something accountant-y. Apart from the fact anyone who knew me at uni would know full well that I cry when faced with lists of numbers and that I may have offered blow jobs and/or vodka in return for help with the odd bits of accountancy and economics I had to do on my hotel management course. It was never going to wash...
Then I discovered the bride had blabbed to some of the lads about my career choice, which I kind of expected she might have so I was a bit nervous how they would react to me ( or worse, their mumsy looking wives) . At least it meant they were less likely to ask me what I was doing these days- or at least not til after copious glasses of wine, in which case I would be better equipped to deal with the answer.
My first trial was with the bride's mother who certainly did not know about my job who after hugs (I'd not seen her in about 15 years) and pleasantries were swapped about our health and the weather she introduced me to her niece and said 'So, are you still in hotels? The intake of breathe from bride and another friend present was almost audible and in my head I was saying 'Oh yes, but only in bedrooms and by the hour'. I managed not to and said 'Oh no, not done that for years!' made my excuses about needing to get changed and ran away.
There was some ribbing later from the lads, but very gently and by that time I was pissed enough to shut them up with 'Well I bet my hourly rate is better than most people here!' (very crass I know, but that's what a free bar does to me). They didn't treat me any differently and the general consensus was I may as well be paid for something I used to distribute quite freely after the Friday night bop back in 1995.
However, I did tell someone (who I apparently met about 5 years ago) that I was an ejaculation facilitator and when they looked confused I leaned forward rather wobbly and whispered (loudly) 'That means I suck cock!' I don't think he believed me though and I sashayed off before he could ask any more.
So, it was all OK. My friends are a liberal crowd and they know me well enough to know I'm smart, safe, savvy, naturally slutty and well suited to the job. It does mean I have become a great source of anecdotes and well, a bit of a show and tell specimen. People are actually really fascinated rather than horrified by my work and I suppose because I'm not a boob tube, micro mini, thigh high boot wearing slut fest (in public at least!) and I am clearly not drug addled or repressed and exploited people do see a different side of prostitution. And despite having to answer the same questions every time* I do kind of enjoy educating people about what it's really like and well, I do quite like to be the centre of attention!
In fact I think my friends invite me to coffee mornings/to pick their kids up from school just so they can introduce their rather exciting whore friend who will keep the conversation away from nappies, the school run and tedious child based talk in general. I often hear things like 'I was telling my friend from yoga/the PTA/Brownies/whose daughter in little Johnnie's class about you and she wants to meet you Oh and she asked me to ask you X,Y,Z.'
So despite that I always worry about being a social leper I haven't ever really encountered any nasty or horrible reactions from people. The worst it gets is a concern for my safety (which is kind) and comments about how they could never do it, the overwhelming reaction is 'Good on you!'
I do however think there is a generation gap, I suspect my parent's generation would be a little more horrified and I would never embarrass someones mum or granny!
*The questions. my answer in brackets
1. But isn't it illegal? (no. Followed by explanation of UK laws and a rant about how stupid and archaic they are)
2. Eww, but don't you have to shag dirty smelly old men? (Nope, I stick those ones in the shower with dettol and I like old men anyway)
3. Wow! I bet you earn a fortune, what's your hourly rate? (Um no and didn't your mother teach you it's rude to ask what someone earns?)
4. Have you shagged anyone famous? (That would be telling! accompanied by mysterious smirk.