The education of a prostitute

At age 13, I solicited Professor Andrews. He accepted.

Published July 29, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Wednesday evening, July 14

Today, I had lunch with Jasmine at Taxi. Ouch, muscles sore due to a rather arduous mini-marathon last night with Milt (easily my favorite customer these days) + April (a voluptuous L.A. blond fresh off the plane) + Sandra (a pre-op TS who never gets hard ... but when you're that interesting to gaze at, you can get paid just for showing up.) Milt's a position-sampler, and I sometimes feel like one of the letters in those alphabet posters of women doing A though Z.

Last night, adding yet another position to the alphabet, Milt surprised me by sucking Sandra's semi-erect cock while April wrapped her mouth around Milt's erection. I was in a very awkward position at the foot of the bed, pretending to fondle April. (Doing another working girl for real the first time you work together is considered gauche.)

At lunch, Jasmine started ranting about an article in the Village Voice about johns who hang out on chat sites comparing hookers they've seen: "Guys from New Jersey and Queens are calling up escort agencies and complaining about every lurid detail! It's a jungle out there."

"Out there" is the world of newly turned-out escorts, $99 hand jobs masquerading as Tantric Body Rubs and other assorted tawdriness -- a world, Jasmine maintains, I unwisely try to ignore.

Well, I've earned the right: When I was starting out in this business, I worked for some fairly dubious operations. Upon arriving in New York -- after six months of hustling in a London "hostess club" -- I joined the ranks of Jeannie's Dream Dates, a midtown escort service run by a madam whose real name was Mary. I was not planning to stay in New York, but Mary's brisk business forced me to reconsider.

As a 15-year-old runaway, raised in a quiet, picturesque Canadian city, I found London glamorous yet somehow familiar. New York felt foreign, untidy and incomplete, but the American way, though slightly repulsive, was also seductive. For the first time in my life, I was faced with a surplus of johns.

Why was I so busy? At first I thought it was my exotic loveliness and good breeding. ("You're so well-spoken!" Mary would croon.) Actually, I was too naive to give out my number and skirt the 50-percent cut that went to Mary. But all that changed one night when she sent me to Arnie, a Garment Center hippie and son of a buttons-and-trimmings magnate, with a triplex in Gramercy Park. For the first time ever, I had multiple orgasms.

Due to Arnie's abundant cocaine and my extreme youth, I became somewhat paranoid after my fourth climax. Was he trying to get out of paying for the final hour? But no, it was business as usual, and Arnie asked for my number as I was leaving, a request I warily brushed off. When I woke the next afternoon, I literally pinched myself. Why hadn't I given Arnie my number? I realized I liked him in a way that I had never liked a john before.

Arnie made me look at men differently. Before, clients were mere tools, a breed apart from boyfriends, and I didn't care if I saw them again. But now I discovered that you could care about seeing a john again -- because you simply hit it off or he did something to your body that nobody else did. For the same reasons that you might want to see your boyfriend. Uh-oh.

Everyone has to come from somewhere but with a past like this -- snubbing the first repeat customer I ever wanted -- I'd sometimes like to forget. I'm pretty open with Jasmine, but this is one story I keep to myself. Jasmine, who started hooking in her late 20s, has always had her eye on the bottom line. I'll bet she has the first nickel she ever made -- "taxing" the lemonade she sold as a child. Early financial behavior -- not sexual behavior -- is the key to what really makes a hooker tick. Jasmine has always had a criminal streak: She took her savings from baby-sitting to buy opera tickets and financed a precocious career as a ticket scalper when she was 14! With those savings, she began a small franchise as a marijuana dealer. Jasmine was inspired when a customer, a good-looking pimp called Rico, started boasting about his business. She paid him to introduce her to a madam.

Like Jasmine, I was a baby sitter, too. Regarded as the level-headed, mature type, I began baby-sitting at 11. I loved having money I could spend without my mother's permission. Unlike Jasmine, I spent every penny I earned -- and was already planning to be a hooker. Ever since I discovered an old copy of "The Happy Hooker" in our garage at age 10, I had been thinking: "When I grow up, I'll be a hooker."

I didn't feel any need to explain it. When my best friend told me, "You don't know what you're saying!" I shrugged: "Neither do you!"

I'd never heard of orgasms or had one. I knew I wanted sex to be my career but assumed that I wouldn't become a hooker until I could also vote: I'd never heard of an underage prostitute.

The opportunity to break in at the part-time level came sooner than I expected, when I was 13. I was not a passionate teenager -- I planned my defloration down to the last detail and read up on every method of birth control for an entire year before deciding I was ready. I read about the phases of the female orgasm and wondered when I would actually have one. There was no special guy to please or be seduced by but, oddly enough, the special guy -- Peter, a 19-year-old history major -- appeared as soon as I made up my mind to start fucking.

A few weeks after Peter became my first lover, I propositioned Professor Andrews, a longtime neighbor whose son was my little brother's classmate. Earlier that year, Professor Andrews had offered to initiate me sexually, but I said: "No, I'm not attracted to you." I didn't want Professor Andrews to be my first lover -- he was somebody's dad, for God's sake, middle-aged and rather portly. When he'd asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told him: "I think I'd like to be a hooker."

"You don't have to wait, you can start now, you know. I'd pay you," was his reply.

"I'm going to wait until I've gone to university," I said.

He asked me to call if I changed my mind, adding, "I'll pay."

Now that I was having sex -- with a cute guy -- I felt emboldened. I called Professor Andrews and told him I was no longer a virgin. "I want to discuss what we'll do," I said before laying down the law: no oral sex (an act I still regarded with suspicion) and no kissing. Condoms a must.

He didn't quarrel, but he asked what I was planning to wear. "The last time I saw you, you were dressed in all this baggy stuff -- that Women's Center look ... Do you have any high-heeled boots?"

"Boots?" I gasped. "It's August!"

"All right, forget about the boots ... but do you have a short skirt?"

I showed up for my first trick wearing Dr. Scholl sandals and a once-long wraparound skirt hemmed with the wrong color of thread, carrying my wicker basket handbag.

"I suppose you want your money first," he said. I tucked it into the lozenge tin that I kept in my basket -- I hadn't yet developed much fashion sense and did not own a wallet.

As he put on the condom, it came naturally to say, "I like watching you do that."

He asked, "Why?"

I told him, "It's the anticipation."

But I was more interested in collecting an amusing scalp. I had never lusted for a man's cock. Professor Andrews wasn't demonstrative but he must have been excited -- and I mistakenly assumed that paid sex would always be this quick and easy.

Andrews was well-known in our little town -- as a theater critic and book reviewer for our Sunday paper. I was pleased with myself for having illicit sex with a local celeb: I knew about trophies and notches before I knew about desire. While innocent about my desires, I was less so about his. He was taking a giant risk to satisfy a curiosity that he couldn't control. I knew he was a fool for doing it but I was too young and selfish to pity him. He was different from Peter, whose affection and admiration lit me up from somewhere deep inside.

Despite my still-dormant sex drive, I was in love with Peter, who knew Andrews from his classes, and I couldn't wait to tell him about my adventure. Peter had more sexual experience than I did, but I felt sure that he had never done anything like this. When I told him --

YIKES. Milt just called -- to tell me he lost a gold cufflink in my apartment. Just what I need! Men's jewelry knocking around my bedroom -- with my new boyfriend afoot. I looked under the bed and couch for the engraved cufflink. No luck. But Milt is such a gentleman -- I could never get annoyed with him. He thanked me for arranging a "magical" event. April and Sandra did most of the work, but I get thanked. That's magical, indeed.

By Tracy Quan

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