I have to play backward. I’m dyslexic.
Jeopardy Answer: What is Lightning?
"Moral Indignation permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue."
Last month I mentioned that an Agency in NYC was busted and I talked about the reaction the news reporter received from the people on the street.
Yesterday, three more Escort Agencies were taken down in NYC.
One of the Agencies was the one that wouldn’t hire me because I wasn’t tall enough.
The second one was run by a man I had had some difficulties with.
Knowing this, several clients wrote to tell me of his demise. Although I should have felt victorious in his downfall, I could not. I felt that if we parent and punish anyone in my business, we do the same to all.
But I did not have all the facts.
Today I was informed that another Agency closed. Their ‘top-rated’ girl, another RFDS grad is venturing out on her own as an Independent.
For the sake of clarity:
Although I work in a business that is ‘underground’, I fully participate as a citizen on every other level in society. I pay my taxes. I put in a 60-hour workweek. I treat all that come into my realm with dignity and love.
I do not steal, disrupt the living conditions of those around me, betray my clients, or force anyone to do anything they are uncomfortable with. This, I know to be the case, for so many I have met in my line of work over the years. These women, (and men) are perhaps some of the most upstanding, warm, loving and honest individuals I have ever met.
It is unfortunate my business is considered, under the law, a crime. Perhaps if there were bravery enough to think beyond installed prejudices, we would merely regulate it to protect those who cannot protect themselves, such as children, and those enslaved in forced circumstances.
From where I sit, I, and all that seek me out, are participating in a consensual relationship built around honest, fair terms. So it grieves me deeply whenever I hear of compatriots in my business being punished for this ‘crime’.
However, it is true that in my business, as in any business, there are Honest folk and there are those who are not-so-upstanding, whose actions domino causing pain and grief to all who surround them. And for this, indeed there should be consequences.
Usually, in my ‘underground’ world, we are self-regulating.
If a girl steals from an agency for instance, eventually the word gets around and she is finally ostracized—no one will work with her, recommend her, share information with her, or help her when times are tight.
If a client is dangerous, or a thief who uses services then doesn’t pay, his name and number are circulated until eventually, no one will see him.
But there is bigger Karma for bigger wrongs.
Dining last evening with a special friend, I told him of this news and the disturbing effect it had on me. He had heard nothing of the events so we started from scratch. Over a sublime glass of Sauvignon Blanc and melt-in-your-mouth Fois Gras, I described to him the events from the past that led up to my encounter with one of the heads of the Agency that went down.
Approximately two years ago, I was rated on one of the review boards as ‘the Number One Escort in America’. Because of this ranking, this gentleman, (I use the term loosely) contacted me saying he had opened an escort service that he was confident would become the top agency in the city.
I wished him luck and was about to hang up when he began to court me on the phone. He was determined that I work with him. He had to have the ‘Number One Escort in the Country’ in his ‘stable’.
Flattered but leery, I agreed to meet with him in person to discuss the venture.
Over a glass of champagne at my place, we discussed the possibility but frankly, I could see no way to make it happen. I had my own website and was fairly well known in the industry. How would it be possible for him to charge enough for me to still get his 50% cut when most people knew my site and my rates?
"No problem," he said. He would charge more for me, take a 40% cut and tell people he was now managing me. I in return, would remove my website from the Internet.
I expressed my hesitancy quite honestly to him, stating that this was not a game to me. This was my life, my career, my livelihood. I had serious bills to pay and loved ones that depended on me and my income. It was very difficult to take a chance on him. If he did not deliver, the suffering would be too great financially on my end.
He assured me that would not be the case. He imposed upon me to trust him—to give him one week.
I countered by pressing upon him that my losing one-week’s salary, in case he did not come through, would have devastating consequences in my life.
But this man was practiced at the art of selling and deception and so I agreed. I would give him that one-week.
I removed my website and signed on with his agency.
For two nights I sat at home waiting.
On the third night I called his agency and he again promised to ‘get me out the door’.
Nothing. I was getting very frightened.
By the fourth night, I told him it was over.
He insisted then, I come to the office to meet the 'phone people'.
He was sure, once they met me, they would be more motivated to book me.
The evening I was to come was arranged as follows: I would arrive at 7pm. He and his then fiancée would go to dinner with me. Afterward, we would go back up to the office where I could survey his plush digs, and meet the staff.
I didn’t eat all day knowing we would be going out for a lavish meal and arrived, disgustingly, as I always do, exactly at 7pm.
The voice in the intercom instructs me to come upstairs—they are almost ready.
A lovely space. A duplex loft. Many desks and computers humming. Walls wallpapered in ‘tear-sheets’ of girls of every description, all in their best poses.
J and his fiancée M, still working diligently at their phones and keyboards. Amex machine humming.
‘They’ll just be a minute.' he informs me. "Go into the kitchen and pour yourself something to drink.’
Other girls arrive. I am feeling self-conscious. Although I am the ‘number one escort’, I know, or feel, when they look at me in person, they must wonder ‘why?’
I am so normal.
They cannot know my heart and what joy I can give and receive behind closed doors.
I feel as if I am in one of those tabloid magazines in an article entitled: ‘Stars without make-up!’
Waiting for J and M, I polish of one glass of wine on an empty stomach and begin my second.
J asks me to sit on his lap as he shows me all the wonderful girls he is making ‘number one’ on the review boards by swamping those boards with false reviews written from several different computers all authored by himself or his staff.
I smile as a layer of skin is torn from the flesh of my heart.
Does he not comprehend how this hurts me?
He then tells me, as he lights yet another joint, that he offers his clients a discount if they too write a review that rate his girls as ‘tens’.
I can hold back no longer and although smiling, tell him that what he is doing is a bit unfair. That ladies like myself work very hard and our reviews matter greatly to our business. To skew the boards in that way, damages us more than he realizes.
"Hey. Business is business. But once you work for me, I’ll make you so much money your head will spin. What do you make now weekly?" He asks.
I give him an approximate.
He gleefully boasts he makes twenty times that amount.
"Of course you do. You run an agency."
"You should run an agency." He says. "Run an offshoot of mine. I got a second one ready to go."
He questions this.
I answer that unfortunately, to run an agency is considered a felony in the eyes of the law.
I don’t agree with the law, but it is so.
What I do, independently, making love to people in various forms of love, is a misdemeanor, carrying considerably less consequences.
I am not that greedy, frankly.
But it hurts my heart to know that this man sits behind his computer, comfortable, with his feet up, wheeling and dealing and takes in more than I make in a month.
I inquire once again about when we are to leave for dinner.
"Just a minute. Just a minute."
The other girls are starring at me. One comes over.
"Are you THEE GEISHA? You are my idol. I’ve seen your website for so many years. Maybe you could coach me? Or mentor me? You’re like a LEGEND in this business! I can’t believe I’m actually meeting you!"
Oh god! Am I that old? Have I been in the business that long?
I am the Meryl Streep of escorts—no. I’m the Mae West of Escorts-- and I am severely embarrassed.
"Yeah and she’s gonna work for us", J chimes in.
"Oh wow!" the girl says. "Maybe we’ll do calls together. I can’t wait to tell my roommate I met you."
I remember when I first started: Cait and I.
I feel for her and can’t help but love her. But inside I feel so stupid.
It is now 10 o’clock. I am slightly buzzed and have an early day tomorrow. No dinner is eminent, as J and M (his financee) are too high.
I bid my farewells and inform J that I can give him just one more day.
He assures me tomorrow is the day.
Tomorrow becomes today and no calls from his agency.
I call and sweetly apologize for my not being able to stick with him in this venture and ask that he kindly remove my picture from his sight.
He assures me he will.
It is never done.
I make an effort not to concern myself with it, at first.
Until a few months later, I begin getting visits from new clients who all say the same thing:
"I can’t believe I finally found you."
By the third client who spoke this phrase, I asked,
"What do you mean when you say that?"
He tells me that he saw me on J’s sight and was told that indeed I worked for J but was just not available that night. Then J would send over a different girl instead.
This infuriated me.
How could he do such a thing?
He makes enough money.
Would it have harmed him so much to be honest and direct clients to my site?
I call J and ask again that he remove me from his sight.
He assures me it will be done first thing in the morning.
Of course, it is not.
Now I am losing business based on his deception.
Then the phone calls begin.
Once a week, seemingly friendly phone calls come into my machine from J asking how I am and informing me how much money—to the dollar—he had made that week.
He also makes it known to me that although I used to be ‘the number one girl’ on the review sites, he is ‘taking me down’. He is making his girl 'number one'.
Then after she stole from him—next Natasha.
Through a series of faked and bribed reviews, he has made her number one in New York.
Indeed I feel my business suffer.
The first clue was when I had a client who I’ve known for years, call to cancel an appointment with me just hours before out meeting.
When I questioned him, he replied that he would be happy to keep our booking but could I see him with this girl Natasha as well.
I could not.
A) Because I do not know her and do not know how trustworthy she is both financially and in her hygiene practices.
And B) Why did he need to see her at the same time he had booked with me?
He answered that Natasha came from J and supplied him with ‘party favors’. (Drugs)
I passed on the call, but was none too pleased.
By the third week of J’s calls to report his income to me, I begged him to stop.
I told him that his calls hurt me deeply.
I explained to him how hard I worked, how long my hours were, how much energy I put in and how, with all that, being the workhorse that I was, I would never make what he made.
I pleaded with him again to remove my photos and to stop the calls.
He pressed upon me again to join him. Told me how I was missing out on the big bucks. How he gave huge sex parties where everyone benefited.
I sighed and explained I was just 'an old workhorse'. That I truly and maybe foolishly felt that this business was all about honor.
God. I would love to make a quick buck. To sleep more. To have my live be easier.
But unfortunately I was plagued with this stupid thing called 'integrity' and even if I never made as much as I could doing it the ‘easy way’, at least I knew, in the face of all society that ignorantly hates me, that I was honest.
He laughed, commented, ‘suit yourself’ and hung up.
Time passed. The calls stopped. But my picture remained on his site.
Every so often, I would see a new client who told me it was difficult for him to find the ‘real-me’ as he had been so side-tracked by J’s agency.
Oh well. Nothing I can do. Just let it go and let the Universe deal with it, if It ever chose to.
Then, a new development.
A client of mine, a famous producer in Hollywood whom I had met and befriended when I lived and worked in L.A., called me to purchase time with me for a friend of his. It was his friend’s birthday and he thought, giving me as a gift, would be just what the doctor ordered.
The friend arrived. A prominent lawyer yet a very shy and kind soul. He wanted nothing intimate physically. Just romance and lively conversation.
During our chatter, we discovered the old ‘six degrees of separation’ theory.
He and I knew people in common.
It seemed that my client was a dear friend to J’s father.
J, it turned out was not just a simple pimp and pusher.
In fact he was a dangerous criminal who helped, through his greed and narcissistic selfish-ness to end his father’s hard-earned law career.
My client informed me that J was ruthless and to stay clear of him.
I related my troubles with J and his refusal to remove me from his website.
Without a word, my new client snapped open his cell phone and dialed. J.
"It’s M." He said. "Take Geisha off your website". (Pause.) "Take Geisha off your website. Now. Thank you."
"Done." He said to me as he snapped his phone shut.
And the next day it was gone.
A year passed and thoughts of J never re-surfaced in my mind until I got a call from my friend ‘The Playwright’, a stranger to me at the time. We met for a drink and the subject of J arose.
"I called him for research on my play." He told me. "I met with the 'famed' Natasha."
(See how small the world can be?)
"How was she?" I asked.
"Average. We just met for drinks."
"So why not keep using J and his service?"
"Can’t afford it. Just a poor writer, But too, J was odd. Felt like I was in the presence of the Devil."
"No! That’s pretty dramatic."
"Maybe. But it was creepy."
I told all this to my special friend over dinner the night I heard about the arrests and felt so disturbed by it all.
I wasn’t sure he believed me.
The next morning, my friend vial email sent me these two links:
New Years Eve 2004, I was in Wales with my no-longer best friend Cooper and his family. Watching the one of two channels, I saw a news report that as of the New Year, England had made a landmark decision to legalize, in every way, Prostitution.
Meaning that, women could work without punishment.
Men could patronize without repercussion.
Workers could own property, pay taxes, and live basically ‘above ground’.
They could not however, ‘street walk’, which would harm property values.
They could not disturb the peace or act blatantly.
Underage children could not be used, nor enslavement of peoples either.
I was amazed at their bravery.
They’d modeled their new regulations on Holland’s age-old theories. Now it was possible in England, that all crime relating to Prostitution would dissolve.
It was a miracle. I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime.
And then I got on a plane back to the Home of the Brave, Land of the Free, to creep down my hole, to the ‘underground’ again.