Natural selection

If Allison is still "giving up" the hooker's life, why is she still giving it up?

Published September 7, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Sept. 7, 1999

Thursday morning, August 5

Why is it so much easier to forgive a client's transgressions than a boyfriend's? Last night, Milt and I had "make-up sex" in front of the VCR while a vintage Traci Lords video was running in the foreground.

I had been feeling kind of miffed with him for seeing April behind my back. A small part of me thinks, "It serves him right" when I hear about April's rotten behavior ... but, bottom line, I'm horrified by what she's doing.

"Are you kidding?" Milt said when I asked if he had seen her. "She's a blackmailing nut! She might be wired -- or using one of those hidden cameras. I may be a horny dog but I'm a smart horny dog."

I gave him a skeptical look.

"Well," he allowed, "a smart-enough horny dog."

I was embarrassed to be asking Milt about another girl. First of all, a hooker who exhibits jealousy is skating on thin ice. A john is paying for his emotional freedom. A jealous hooker reads as crazy, and a nutty hooker is as scary to a john as a crazy client would be to a hooker. While we worry about losing our lives, they worry about getting in trouble with their wives ...

"April needs a down payment to move into a new apartment on East End Avenue. I told her she would have to wait a week or so," Milt told me.

"And then what? You don't intend to pay her off! Do you?"

"I don't know," he said quietly. "I'm worried, Suzy. If I do pay her off -- well, I won't do it in person."

I looked away. No girl wants to see cowardice on the face of a man she admires, and I found myself thinking, "Why do I care? He's a john!" But I can't help it. I've known Milt for about five years. He's been in my life longer than any boyfriend. So have most of my clients -- and every year that goes by, it's harder to avoid that reality. I've been seeing him every week or so for five years, and he doesn't even know my real name. Yet, suddenly -- I care about how strong he is?

Saturday, August 7, after dinner, and much sake

When I offered to treat Allison to dinner at Sushisay with Jasmine, she reluctantly agreed -- "but not at the sushi bar because we won't have privacy."

Jasmine was waiting for us at a quiet table.

"Have you paid April back yet? You need to resolve that ASAP," she told Allison as soon as we sat down. Allison avoided her gaze.

"New bag?" she inquired, eyeing Allison's pink-and-green tote. "I hope you didn't pay retail!"

"I can't give April her money yet ..." Allison's voice trailed off.

Jasmine rustled indignantly in her seat, pissed off because she was outnumbered tonight by two dangerous spendthrifts.

"If you could get it together to pay that witch back, we could move on and sell your book to someone else. But if I help you sell it, I want 50 percent," Jasmine told her. "Your shopaholic spending has to stop!"

"Speaking of addictions," Allie said quietly, "there's something I want to share with you ..." Sensing she was going to launch into one of her rhapsodies about Prostitutes Anonymous, I excused myself to go to the ladies' room and check my cell phone for messages.

When I returned she was looking earnestly at Jasmine and
intoning, "... until we admit that we're powerless over our addiction to
prostitution, we don't see how unmanageable our lives have become --"

"These anonymous folks have it wrong," Jasmine interrupted testily. "It's
the natural order for males to buy sex from females. Expensive egg, cheap
sperm. It's a good thing you're an egg-owner
because those silly Kate Spade bags are way overpriced in my opinion.
Sheer hype."

"Her bags are very well-designed," Allison pouted. "Anyway, I
don't want my relationships to be about exchanging things. I want
a real relationship with an equal partner."

"Why do you keep finding excuses to turn tricks, then? You like
it when a male pays homage to you with $100 bills ... Face
up to it!"

I looked around warily, hoping nobody could hear Jasmine's sermon.

"Insects do it! Birds do it! The female bluebird doesn't look for
some namby-pamby equal partner. She looks for a male bluebird who can
provide. It's your biological destiny to obtain resources from as
many males
as possible by peddling your --"

"I don't want to live like -- like the bluebirds," Allison protested. "I'm
just doing it until I pay April back. This is not my destiny."
Jasmine flashed her eyes around the room. It was an expression I'd seen
before -- exasperation laced with a hint of physical rage.

I wondered if she was
going to start shouting. "Listen," she fumed. "Every day that passes
without April being paid off increases the possibility of her doing
something really vicious to you -- and maybe even to Nancy." She looked at
me for support.
"Nancy went out of her way to put you two together.
If April can't find you, she'll take it out on her."

"I've been friends with Nancy for longer than you have," Allison said in a
tense voice.

Allison shot me a resentful look. I had invited her to
dinner with Jasmine, thinking that three minds could actually work
together on this problem but it was turning into an emotional fiasco.
Allie felt cornered, unjustly accused -- and set up. Having said very
little, I was looking more and more like the culprit! And feeling like the victim of
Allison's persistent vulnerability.

"I've got a Prostitutes Anonymous meeting," Allison quietly announced.
"I'm qualifying."

"Well, you're certainly qualified!" Jasmine snickered.

Allison narrowed her eyes. "That means I'm speaking -- I'm going to
share my ... journey of addiction with other recovering prostitutes."

Jasmine stared at Allie for a moment. "You can't tell them about
our problems with April, or the way we do business. That's private."

"No," Allison said, nervously. "I'll focus on my sex life, not the business
details. Anyway, I don't want them to know I've slipped lately ... they don't know I'm seeing clients again. Are you sure you don't want to come with

"Maybe next time," Jasmine said, suddenly calmer. "Actually, I'm more
interested in a Sexaholics meeting."

Allison looked surprised. She gave Jasmine a warm smile as she
was leaving.

"Why did you say that?" I asked Jasmine. "Now she'll never stop bothering

"Come on, she's the featured speaker. Don't you want her to leave in a
confident mood?" There was a strange twinkle in Jasmine's eye.

"Why do you think she started working for Liane? She could be
seeing her own clients and keeping all the money for herself," I

"Liane got her started in the business, right? Well, Allison loves
remembering what it was like to be the New Blond. It's like
revisiting the loss of your virginity. A standard female fantasy."

"Do bluebirds do that?"

"Ha! No, they're too focused to look back. But blonds are another
species altogether ... I wonder how much she tells those girls
in the PA meetings. I wish I could go undercover."

"I hope she keeps her mouth shut," I said, after a moment. "I don't want
those zealots to know I'm holding her book."

By Tracy Quan

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