Escorting the Escorts
A first-person account of Maine’s legal sex trade
by Alex Veligor
“Do you have any condoms in your purse?” I ask.
“Yeah, why?” she replies.
“Leave them in my truck. Carrying them is ‘intent.'” When she unloads the condoms into the cup-holder beneath my dashboard, I decide she’ll do just fine.
Her stage name is Lena, and this is her first show with us. My name is Alex, and I drive employees around for an escort service called Love Birds.
I have a dog, a terrier-Chihuahua mix named Fenris. I have an apartment in Portland. I have a light-duty truck made by Isuzu and a girlfriend made in Norway. I have a bachelor’s degree in English and a day job in construction, but what I don’t have is enough hours, which is why I have my other job.
The pay is pretty good. I make $50 an hour, on average, just sitting in a room. If the client is generous, or recently came into a lot of money, or if it’s a bachelor party, I make much more than $50. It almost makes up for the danger involved.
I’m called the “driver,” but in reality I have many duties. Dancers almost never drive themselves to shows — it’s too risky — so I chauffer them. At the start of every show I have to recite the same lines, stipulating what the client and the dancer can and cannot do. I collect the money — almost always cash, because few people are comfortable using their credit card for this type of entertainment. If it’s one guy buying an hour, I usually sit in the bathroom reading a book and listening for panic signs. If it’s more than one guy, I stay in the room, in an out-of-the-way spot, while the show goes on.
The shows themselves are pretty much what you’d expect, with one key difference: no sex. I have been forced to bring a guy’s hopes down more times than I can count.
“Can’t you take a walk?”
“You just got to say that, right?”
“But your ad says ‘escorts.’”
Yes, the ad does, and that is what we provide: an escort, a companion who will do as you wish during the time you paid for, as long as you don’t break the law. No touching between the legs, window blinds or curtains closed, and no pets in the room while she’s performing. I once had to haul a fish tank out of a finished basement because the clients’ parents were upstairs, so we couldn’t use the living room.
Most shows are booked for one hour, and the most common type are what I call “truckers.” These clients are on the long haul in big rigs, and they stay in the crappiest hotel rooms imaginable. I like the trucker shows because they always pay, the guys are friendly (most of them, anyway), and they usually ejaculate within the first 30 minutes and could care less if we bail after that.
You heard me right, and it’s not illegal. The guy can masturbate, and so can the girl, but that costs a lot extra, because everything past the first hundred dollars is based on tipping fees.
Another common type of show falls into the category I call “repressed.” These people are dealing with some deep sexual repression. Some clients want the girl to mother them, literally, including changing adult diapers full of poop. Others want the girl to be a full-on dominatrix and beat the ever-loving crap out of them. Those clients are almost always doctors or lawyers who are aroused by losing the power they normally exert over other people.
Some repressed clients want the escort to dress like a little girl; others want the escort to dress them like a little girl.
Foot fetishists make up the majority of the “repressed” set. There are so many of them that I hardly think of them as “repressed” anymore — just underground. My theory is that it’s not especially difficult to meet a woman who will dominate you, mother you, or even dance naked for you, but it’s practically impossible to find a loving partner willing to let you pleasure her with your feet.
None of this bothers me, because I follow a simple code of sexuality: If you are not doing it to a child, and you are not doing it to someone against their will, then have all the fun you want. Plus, “repressed” shows usually pay about five times as much for a quarter of the work.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties (we also have several male escorts) are good money too, but they are a huge hassle. I guarantee that for every seven drunk men, there will be at least one who’s more interested in fighting me than watching the escort pick up twenties with her private parts. And I can’t just smack the annoying guy. That’s not my job. I need to keep the show going or I don’t get paid. I’ve gotten good at psychology by patiently listening to a lot of drunks slur sad complaints about their love lives two minutes after they were ready to beat me with a waffle iron because I wouldn’t let them finger the girl.
Bachelorette parties are even worse. At male parties, the ratio is one hammered jerk to six drunken nice guys. With women, the ratio is more like five to two. They always break the rules, they always get violent, and they usually wind up molesting me as well as the dancers. It’s as if all the unwanted sexual attention women put up with on a daily basis gets channeled and spit back out as spite when they get the opportunity to make someone else a sexual object. Plus, women are terrible tippers — due more to lack of experience than anything else.
The work is dangerous, which is why the pay is so good. I’m an amateur practitioner of a few martial arts, have served in two combat zones overseas, and have been a bouncer at one of Portland’s most notorious dive bars. In the course of this job, I have been inside the homes of more major drug dealers than I care to recall (they live in the suburbs, by the way, not on Grant Street). I have walked into parties and seen mounds of coke, meth and marijuana.
Most unsettling, though, are the guns: guns on the table, guns on the mantle, guns tucked in belts. Amazingly, these gun owners never argue when I politely ask them to put it in another room. I’ve never been punched and never had to punch someone at a show. I consider it an accomplishment that, after over a year as a driver, no girls have been harmed on my watch.
Granted, sometimes things take a turn for the weird. Some guys try to spike drinks. The girls will accept a drink if one is offered, because they are trying to please the customer, but I have to watch where it comes from. Unopened cans or bottles of liquor that I personally pour for the girl is a rule I try to follow.
The girls are not necessarily the kind of people you’d imagine working in the sex industry. A couple are in college, and the rest are single mothers whose husbands or boyfriends abandoned them. Not many jobs offer this kind of money and the flexible schedule our company offers. A girl can step out in the middle of the night while her kid is fast asleep and earn $300 for an hour of labor, and I take care of her commute.
The girls go through three stages in this line of work. For the first month, they’re scared shitless. After they’ve cleared their first two grand, they act like divas. Eventually that stage ends and they settle into the job like old hands. We get a lot of new girls, but only a few make it through the first month, for obvious reasons.
Very rarely, a girl with our company will fall off the deep end and have actual sex during a show. These girls are fired as soon as we find out. They may get away with it once or twice, but preventing that is one of the other reasons I’m there. There are clues. Has she had a string of shows that all end early, but with full pay? Is the customer grunting instead of moaning? (Yes, I can tell what a guy is doing solely by the sounds he makes. That is the only part of this job that depresses me.) The company can’t afford to have a girl cross the line, and neither can I. There are fines and prison time for all involved. So far, I’ve worked three shows that turned out to be undercover sting operations, and we passed all three with flying colors.
Tonight, it’s another trucker show in a cheap motel, and Lena is nervous. She didn’t believe me when I told her not to have sex. She came over from another company that pretty much forces their girls to do it and provides no security.
“What the hell do I do for an hour then?” she asks. “I can’t dance that long.”
“You don’t have to. Talk to him like you would your new best friend. Find out what he likes and what his hobbies are. Ask him about his family — I guarantee you he’s got one,” I told her. “Do that when you’re already naked, though. Even strong, silent types will open up when a naked girl seems interested in them.”
Alex Veligor’s first novel, A Simple Act of Creation, will be published in May and available on Kindle.