Sex, lies and congressmen

A professional Washington escort says Gary Condit might have had a better summer if he had emulated his colleagues who pay women for their ... company.

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Sex, lies and congressmen

Regardless of whether you think he’s a killer or just another adulterer, it’s clear that Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., got himself into a great deal of trouble because the women he was involved with, from missing intern Chandra Levy to flight attendant Anne Marie Smith, talked about their intimate relationship.

Condit might have turned instead to Jane (not her real name), an entrepreneurial professional escort working in Washington. Jane’s doing plenty of business, earning a six-figure income by providing “engaging conversation and inspiring social companionship” to area gentlemen for $250 per hour.

Though hers is a risky business, Jane says she’s never been busted, thanks in part to helpful hints supplied to her by clients in law enforcement: never discuss sex and money, never take cash from a client’s hand, always make the client undress before you do. Ever on the lookout for a new opportunity, Jane sells this advice as part of her side business as a consultant to other area escorts.

It’s part of Jane’s appeal that she doesn’t look like the near-naked, silicone-enhanced young women whose pictures appear in a handful of Washington adult Web sites. Politicians and businessmen feel that they can be seen with Jane without raising suspicion, precisely because she doesn’t look anything like a escort, high-priced or otherwise.

Just as her Web site promises, Jane is a short, size 10 redhead, with a quick and engaging smile. If you look closely at her face, you can see freckles on her cheeks under her tastefully subtle make up. She dresses in black, wears silver jewelry, and has a happily unhurried manner rare in a Washingtonian. Jane’s also a perpetual student who is too busy dabbling in a series of part-time professions — gemology, Web development, massage therapy — to set a final graduation date.

She’s not looking to get a degree so she can escape from her current line of work, however. She says she’s perfectly happy in her job, and her business is always booming.

Jane won’t discuss the political affiliations of the five senators she counts as regular clients. Nor is she willing to share specifics about the dozens of men — and handful of women – with whom she has sexual relations in the course of her work. Jane places a high premium on discretion as part of her overall focus on customer service.

But she will admit it’s tougher to get business from Democrats, since the liberal party’s greater openness about sexual matters makes it easier for its membership to find “social companionship” from willing women, even on their staff. Republicans are better patrons, though she sometimes has to put up with warnings about going to “hell” from Christian conservatives who enjoy her company, and then promise to go home and “repent.”

Jane doesn’t concern herself much with what happens when her clients go home, but takes pride in providing those extra touches that make them crave her service. Regular clients who are willing to pay her monthly retainers get special attention — last-minute appointments, home cooked dinners, and sessions that are allowed to drift passed their allotted time without increasing the size of the bill. And then there’s the “anal egg.”

Anything to keep the customers happy.

How did you get started in this business?

I was a swinger, and I had a husband who offered to meet with me without his wife there and offered to pay me. And it was truly for my time. I thought, “Sure, I like you. I’ve been with you before. You want to pay me? Sure. No problem.” I didn’t know at the time that he was a politician.

A Washington politician, or a local politician?

He was a senator.

How many senators do you have as regular clients?

Wait, let me count. Six. No, it’s five. One I haven’t seen in a while. I guess they have to go home once in a while.

Do politicians and other Washington clients prefer out-call [where you meet them somewhere] or in-call [where they visit one of your locations]?

They prefer in-call. I think it’s the way things work here; most people are their own bosses, and they don’t have to explain things to management. So the best time for them to [see me] is during the day instead of at night when they would have to explain things to their family. Plus out-call can be expensive. You have to go to a hotel or maybe go to their house, and God knows who’s there or who’ll arrive.

Does working in Washington, where people’s identities are so much tied up in their work, make you any more uncomfortable with what you do for a living?

No, because I thoroughly enjoy it. I do also work as a business consultant, so I really don’t have a lot to hide. I truly think that escorting and prostitution are two separate things. I am paid for my time. I’m not paid for any particular acts.

I never discuss sex with anybody — not by cellphone, or by e-mail — nothing. If it happens, it happens. It’s not expected. If you go to a prostitute, they say “$75 for a blow job.” And I never go along those lines.

Have you ever been busted?

No.

Why do you think you’ve avoided arrest?

I don’t talk about sex. I’ve had people who I thought were trying [to arrest me], but they’d been fairly obvious about it. I also have clients who are in law enforcement, so I know when something’s getting ready to happen. I had a gentleman come in and he was quite blunt — [how much] is it for this, [how much] is it for that. And I said, “What are you talking about? There’s no sexual reference on my Web site. Why would you ever believe that? Get out.”

Are there escorts who have come to you, asking for your help as a business consultant, and you turn them down?

Oh, yeah. There are a lot of them. Scummy wenches, people who cannot spell the word “escort.” People who are just twits. My favorite thing is that I ask them these little questions like, “Who is Alan Greenspan?” or “Who is the vice president?” and they just say, “I don’t know.” OK, well you know what? I won’t make any money off of them because they’re idiots. Of course I don’t tell them that. I tell them, just for their benefit, that they need to read the Washington Post everyday.

But let’s say that an escort doesn’t develop as high end a clientele as yours. Does she really need that type of help?

It really depends on the situation. I have had one client tell me, “I’ve seen this escort, and I think she needs help, and I think you could give it to her.” I asked why and he told me she’s working in a situation that’s not healthy for her. He asked, “Can you empower her rather than enslave her?”

She was working for men. [That's] bad, because if men have any part of the business, they’re going to screw women over. The best agencies in this area are run by women, because women know what women need. Women need healthcare, women need day-care vouchers, and men don’t think about that. Men just think about the bucks. And there have been cases where [the escorts I have helped] weren’t the type of people who I wanted to deal with, maybe their trustworthiness was a little shaky. But you know what? What if this escort is just a nice girl? What if she just wants to feed her babies? Sometimes I can help and sometimes I can’t.

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What’s the difference between women who become escorts as opposed to those who become prostitutes and work on the street?

A lot of [escorts] quite honestly are originally off the street; they’re hookers. Nothing wrong with that. I haven’t got the guts to do that. I’d be scared to death. And they think that by calling themselves escorts and advertising that they’ll make more money. But the etiquette and the attitude are still the same. That doesn’t [work] very frequently. It is hard to dress up and put heels on a person like that. I’m sure it’s a possibility. But just in general, I don’t come into contact with lots of people like that.

A lot of agencies, particularly the ones run by men, guys just go down to the streets and say “Hey, I’m starting an agency. Would you like to learn?” I’ve helped to set up agencies, and I go to the college students. That way you’re going to get someone who’s relatively intelligent.

There are a lot of colleges around Washington. Which schools in this area are the best to find new escorts?

Well first you need to think about where the agency is and what they’re advertising. If it is an agency that will be based in Baltimore and will specialize in black women: Towson [State] University. If you want snotty white women in Washington: Georgetown. But in this area, that’s sometimes what politicians want: snotty eye candy.

That’s not necessarily true all the time. It depends on what they want her for. If it’s for just for eye candy, or they just … then they want the blonde bombshell. But maybe that’s not what they want, because those women stand out, and people might wonder.

I do very well at political parties because I can look like the niece. I don’t stand out in a crowd.

What is it that you can do for a guy in one hour that he’s willing to pay $250 for?

You’d be surprised. Most men in this world, what they really want is just to be touched, just to be held. As much as society says that they have to be strong or whatever, most men are not, and they want someone who can give them that. I also have skills that I’ve learned. I practice, I study, I teach. I help with couples.

I do have a certain knack. If you’re talking about the intimacy aspect of it, there is a certain art to it. Most people think that you find the hole and start pumping. Kiss every once in a while, and you’re good to go. And that’s the way most people approach it, but that’s not really the case.

You said you don’t always have sex with your clients. How often does it not happen?

I would say about 30, 40 percent of the time.

Then what do they come for?

We go out shopping, we go to dinner, we go to political events, I give them a massage. I’m a very good therapist. We’re very good friends. All of my clients are very good friends. And for some people, that’s the line they draw. “I can’t have sex with her. I love her. She’s attractive; she’s great. But I can’t have sex with her. I’m married.” And they don’t.

Then why? If you’re a married man and you don’t want to be unfaithful to your wife, why are you paying an escort at all?

I don’t know. I’m not a guy. They’re twisted little creatures.

What is your specialty?

Oh my! I have toys that I play with. And I love toys; they’re wonderful objects. It’s something that a lot of my clients haven’t tried because they think that there’s not a lot of passion to it. It’s something new that they might not think of.

But I have this wonderful little gadget that I call an anal egg, and you insert it anally and you turn it on. For a man, that area contains the prostate glands. Most men don’t play with that area unless they’re gay, because you know, for society’s reasons or whatever. Well once they do, I just love it when I turn it on, because their eyes, they boggle.

But the thing about this is — [giggles] I’m sorry, I’m blushing. I tease them relentlessly, because what I’m trying to teach them is that pain and pleasure are the same thing. It’s simply the way you perceive it. So I turn it on, and then I turn it off. And what happens is they get addicted to it basically, and they want it on. And I’ll give them the little remote control, and they will crank it up as far as they can get it. And what happens is the pleasure is so outrageous that the mere stroking of their penis is going to do nothing for them. They can’t get off after that point. They’re so electrified. And I’ll have clients call me days later and say “My fingers are still tingling.”

But this all takes about an hour or so, and for them it has been an eye opening experience. And it’s really bad because I spoil them. They’ll go to somebody else or maybe return to their spouse or their significant other and [the clients] just like, “You got an anal egg?”

How often do you get clients who think they’re in love with you and want to run off with you, and how do you handle it?

I’m very professional in what I do. And my clients are [my] very good friends, but there’s always that line, and I always keep an emotional wall up. People say that you can’t tell when you’re falling in love, but you can tell. You know when it’s coming. The heart starts to flutter, you get excited, and so I back away. And they do, too. And I’ll have to sit down and say, “I love your letters. They’re wonderful. I love hearing about your fantasies, but I don’t date.” And I don’t date, and so I start with that premise.

You don’t date or you don’t date your clients?

I don’t date anybody. I have no reason to. Men don’t make me happy; I do.

Do you ever indulge clients in having affection for you, something that you think might be approaching the line or about to cross it because they would be the most reliable clients?

Well, it is good for business, and you don’t want to be bitchy about it. You don’t want to say, “Oh, I can’t take those flowers.” And there are ways that you can turn them off. Keep your phone on during the session. Mention that you have another session right after that, which I never do. Remove the focus of attention from them. Men hate it. They want to be the center of attention at all times. And we all do, and if you’re paying that much, you need to be. But there are ways around it.

Most men that I see are in wonderful, happy relationships and they are just not satisfied. They’re not going to leave these women. They’re great, and they’ve been with them for 20 or 40 years, and there’s no reason. This is just a minor setback. It’s not worth leaving their relationship over.

Do you ever get a client who says “Oh, you’re a wonderful girl. Why are you doing this? Can I help you get out of this?” How do you handle that?

I say, “I’m perfectly happy. Thank you very much.”

Do you get the warnings about hell from politicians at all?

Republicans, yeah. Because they believe that they are conservative and they always just want to take a chance. Business is always better when the Republicans are in office.

I love the ones who say I’m going to hell. They end up being my best clients, because they’re trying to justify it all. I say, “Uh huh. Why don’t you come play with me?” [And they say] “OK.”

But for most of the time you’ve been working as an escort, Clinton has been in office.

You’re still dealing with people who are either Republicans or Democrats. They’re just completely different. If you talk to a Republican about it, they’re like, “I have to go home and repent.” But they’ll do it anyway. This is why I’m not a Christian. I don’t have a lot of hang ups about it.

The Democrats don’t really care.

You can make $250 an hour. Perhaps it’s the same for a lawyer, but do you find it difficult to give yourself enough time off, when you know you could be making so much money?

I make enough money that it doesn’t really matter to me. I have a set schedule. I have every other weekend off. We were talking before about lifestylers [Jane's term for escorts who squander their earnings on luxury items]. They’re the ones who are on call 24/7. I’ll be damned if someone’s calling me at 2 in the morning wanting a session in 15 minutes.

For a lot of young women being an escort is sort of a fantasy, but in the fantasy, the young men all look like Brad Pitt, the old men all look like Cary Grant or Sean Connery, and you never get headaches. That fantasy is a lot more idealized than a regular — even a happy — sex life. Have you ever been disappointed with how the reality of your job compares to what you thought it would be?

I never conceived the fantasy as the reality. When I saw “Pretty Woman,” I knew that didn’t occur. I never have any idea of what the client is going to look like. Anyway, I’m not attracted to people based on looks, so that’s not really a factor. I have clients who are severely obese. But they are wonderful human beings and I love being with them.

That’s one of the ways — and some people might disagree with me — that’s one of the ways you can tell a true professional from someone who isn’t, someone who does what they do based on what their customer looks like. My theory is your doctor doesn’t care what you look like. He’ll take your money. A lawyer doesn’t care what you look like. They’ll take your money. Your accountant doesn’t care what you look like, so why should I care?

Does your work affect your friendships with men or the way you view men?

No, I always viewed them as toys. [Laughs]. To be honest with you, I don’t have a lot of friends in general. I don’t have enough time or energy to spend on them, and I’ve had people approach me and say, “I don’t want to be your client; I just want to be your friend.” And so I just lay it on the line. I tell them, “This is my schedule. If you want to plan something, you have to call three or four days in advance.” And they’re like, “Huh? You mean I just can’t call you up to have a beer or a pizza or something?” I say no. They have to work around my schedule, and, for most people, that’s not very doable.

I have very close friends that understand what I’m doing. Some people are a little iffy about it, but I generally don’t have a lot of friends. I don’t need them. Friends take 20 years to create. Associates, people who want to call themselves your friends are not your friends.

Do you think that what you do for a living has fostered your attitude about friendship, or do you think that your attitude about friendship and relationships has helped you in your work?

I think the second. I’ve always felt that way. Someone calls you a friend, and then they do this and that to you. There will always be friends, associates, clients, and you have to keep a certain mind-frame when you deal with them.

I would think that your attitude about friendships and relationships could make your job more difficult, because you have an affectionate relationship with so few people. Because, at some point, you have to at least pretend to have affection for your clients, do you feel that the integrity of your real relationships is threatened, like when you say something to a client and then say something similar to a guy you’re romantically involved with?

You say the same thing to both.

Does that bother you at all?

Oh no. It’s not like I tell them. Essentially you’re an actress.

Aside from your very close friends, who have you told about your job?

Some people, it’s important that they know [I'm an escort]. My accountant, my doctor. My lawyer. I also tell some people who I’ll never meet again.

Why?

Why not? Like the guy who was moving my furniture.

“Oh, what do you do for a living?”

“I’m an escort.”

“OK.”

It’s the first thing on my mind. I don’t want to think up a lie.

Do you ever outright lie about what you do for a living?

I tell people I’m a business consultant. It’s not a lie. There’s just some people you can’t tell anything to. If I told my grandmother, she’d just die.

Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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