When I first started hooking, I worked for an agency.

* make us famous

The term “agency” is a bit misleading; the entire operation consisted of a few hookers, a shitty website with photos of Russian models from 1994, and an old guy who worked by day in insurance and by night answered a pay-as-you-go phone and referred drunk, inexperienced clients to us. 

I’ve always been afraid of commitment (except in relationships—I’m available, your mom will love me, and I’m totally marriage material, y’all), so when Jim, the aforementioned old guy, told me I’d have to choose a name, I asked for a few days to decide on one. I hadn’t thought about this aspect of the job. The persona, I mean. Actually, I hadn’t thought much about what the job would really be like at all. I just knew that I was tired of being broke, tired of stressing about debt, and I’d fucked some pretty ugly guys in my time, so I figured, as long as I was armed with condoms and lube, I was as prepared to bump uglies with random old guys for cash as anyone could be.

Jim called several times over the next two days to offer clients. I finally said fuck it and gave him my ex’s name. The pain of that breakup was still pretty fresh; I was in that stage where the sound of her name felt like a gut-punch. The idea of sucking strange dick, cupping saggy old-man balls, maybe even taking it up the ass from the lesser endowed, all while assuming the name of the gold-star lesbian who broke my heart gave me a shitty little thrill, so I went with it.

My first appointment turned out to be two guys on some kind of business trip together. One was young and looked like a busted-up version of some young actor I can’t place, and the other looked like a lot like Billy Bob Thornton, but slightly more grizzled.  Within a few minutes I was bent over in the bathroom, blowing Billy Bob while the younger one fucked me from behind, surprisingly at ease. “Oh, Kelly,” the younger one slapped my ass. “Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.”  “Unghmmf” I responded, and pushed back onto his dick. I glanced at the mirror—yes, that was me, performing like a pro. Yep, these were two guys who I’d never met. This was good. I could do this. It was kind of fun, actually. I congratulated myself on being such a badass. 

After a while I started to get the feeling that I was only really there as an excuse for Billy Bob and the younger guy to get naked and hard for each other. That was a-ok, but they could have saved a lot of money by owning it and skipping the middleman (or middle-woman, as it were). They fed me cheap American beer (my favorite!) and we unanimously decided to call for another girl. I was all for that, of course, but when the girl arrived, she had no interest in fucking me. Ouch. She was cool with sucking this dick, she was cool with facials, she swallowed cum, but making out with another girl? That’s where she drew the line.    

The party went on and on—we drank, we talked, we fucked, we drank some more.  At some point yet another girl showed up. Then there was cocaine, and more fucking, and more talking. Billy Bob didn’t believe me when I mentioned my ability to shoot ping pong balls out of my vagina. No one had ping pong balls on hand, but we did have a bathtub, and I knew from experience that I could shoot water even further than a ping pong ball, so with about ten minutes left on the clock, we all squeezed into the bathroom, filled the tub, and I hopped in. But despite my best efforts, I couldn’t make it happen, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the cocaine. Maybe it’s a gift I’m only meant to share with a lucky few.  Whatever the cause, it was a humbling experience. 

The third girl was long gone. The not-gay-even-for-pay girl asked for a tip, and that’s when the younger guy realized he’d been robbed. I was shocked and appalled, and then I remembered that I was a prostitute now, and this wasn’t my problem, so I left. I never did find out where that third girl came from, but I resent her spoiling my first night on the job by turning it into a cliche.

And now I had several hundred dollars. What would I buy? Fresh produce. And fuck Sav-a-Lot. I deserved a trip to Rouse’s. Tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, maybe even some artichokes—oh! and I should get some of those garlic-stuffed olives. Those are awesome.   

I worked for that agency for a few more months before deciding to switch to a DIY-style approach to sex work. I ditched the name Kelly.  It turned out that hooking wasn’t the dirty, hedonistic, soul-crushing, straightforward fuck-fest I’d expected it to be, so using my ex’s name didn’t make sense. Besides, it didn’t suit me; it never felt like it fit, like it wasn’t mine. I wanted to own this. It was something I was good at; it made me feel in control. It was not only exciting but somehow reassuring, even healing. There may just be some truth to the oft-repeated- if trite words of advice: “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” Or in my case hundreds of someone elses.