Episode 3: The rules

When it comes to keeping a romance going, there's nothing like a big white lie.

Published July 19, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Friday, July 9

Arthur, who knows me as "Suzy," arrived last night at 6:30 on the
dot and pronounced me "byoo-tee-full" in that quaint manner of his.
Perhaps, sleeping in is consistent with the working girl's
work ethic after all ...

Arthur is one of those cozy clients who likes to hear about my
personal life. He was tickled by my latest romance -- though I
don't tell him I've been staying up until all hours boffing my
brains out. (That would be too unladylike.)

While I knelt, half naked over his middle, Arthur became
thoughtful. "Suzy," he said, "when you have sex with someone who's
not a client, do you have to pretend to be less skillful than you
really are?"

"Well errr ... that's hard to say." For one thing, "Suzy" is a
rather forceful type, given to brandishing strap-ons and other
instruments of questionable pleasure -- whereas Nancy (me)
sometimes finds it impossible to talk dirty in bed. Not because
it's dirty, mind you, but because it just sounds so stagey. Does it
inevitably follow that, just because Nancy is my real name, this
blushing shyness constitutes the "real" sexual me?

Almost every girl I know leads two sex lives. If you let them
intersect, it can be disastrous. Once, I did something Suzy-like
and maneuvered a condom onto a boyfriend while he wasn't looking.
Mark and I had been fucking for a good 10 minutes before he
noticed what he was wearing. I admit I was feeling mischievous --
I wanted to play a trick on him but I didn't think he would take
it thatway. He gave me a resentful, puzzled look and things went
from weird to worse. So I guess the answer to Arthur's question is yes.

Jasmine says she almost never gets on top when she's with
her boyfriend. Of course, it's the default position with a john but
when Jasmine's with a freebie she expects him to do all the work.
She has no compunction at all about being a lazy lover.

This business of leading two sex lives -- it's a direct result of
the double standard: "I'm having sex with guys for money but he'd
better not sleep around." Every hooker I know subscribes to this.
A call girl will maintain her advantage by any means necessary.
The illusion of monogamy is supposed to prevent a guy from
straying, and the idea is to prevent your boyfriend from noticing
that you have more experience than he has. Keep him way off the

In Jasmine's case, though, it's all about getting laid versus getting paid: "Why should I put myself out when I'm not getting money for it? You know, in a sense, I am actually paying him because I'm giving up an opportunity to make money!"

Everyone's got a theory about why hookers have double lives. A guy who finds out will often accuse you of hating men -- but that's just sour grapes ... I once read something by a sociologist who said hookers lead secret lives because they're "stigmatized." Oh, well -- what do sociologists know?

My own informal poll, carried out over the last decade, reveals that we don't tell our boyfriends what we do for a living because:

1. "If he knew I was having sex with other men, he would start sleeping with other women."
2. "He would never understand."
3. "Open relationships don't work, for god's sake."
4. "He would never take me home to Mom."
5. "I don't like it when a guy knows -- it's harder to sneak out and work. He'll try to monopolize your time."
6. "Nobody knows I'm in the business."
7. "I would lose respect for him if he knew."
8. "He would feel emasculated."
9. "I don't want him to know how much money I make -- he might turn into a gold digger."
10. "Every guy has that ego thing, it's just the way men are ..."
11. "If a man loves you, he doesn't want you doing this, so if you tell him, he'll either want you to stop or you'll discover that he's not worth it. Either way you lose."
12. "It's more fun this way."

And so on.

One exception comes to mind: Kelli, a former exotic dancer who worked with Jasmine for awhile. "If a guy answers ... You don't have to hang up. It's Kelli's boyfriend. He'll even book the date for her ... Isn't that sad?" Jasmine once said in a snide-but-sympathetic tone. Everyone assumes that a guy who knows is living off his girlfriend. I would never have a boyfriend who booked my appointments -- but maybe Kelli was happy with this (admittedly bummy-sounding) boyfriend.

For sheer deviousness, I think the medal goes to "Angel," a ditzy-looking blonde I met when I was working for the escort service. She was living with her boyfriend: "He knows I used to work but I made up a story about how my ex-husband was a bastard who beat me and forced me to hook." I don't think I could bring myself to tell a guy such a flat-out crazy story, even if I thought it would help our relationship.

Allison is the only girl I know currently espousing the truth and consequences policy -- and look at the consequences. Basically, if you tell a guy, he'll put pressure on you to quit. It's always those closet good girls who are tempted to tell.

By Tracy Quan

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