By Peter Berton
Many people see sex work as a short-term career; a stopgap while figuring out the next ‘straight’ job to pursue. But for others such as Christine, sex work has been her vocation and – until recently – her lifelong calling.
“I’m in my early 60s, and I’ve been am adult entertainer since my teens, back in the 1970s,” she told Nakedtruth.ca’s Peter Berton. “I’ve worked in almost every aspect of the business, and I’ve seen it through some revolutionary changes, mostly due to the technology available to us for marketing to and communicating with our customers. I think I lived through the most exciting years this industry has ever seen. So far, anyway!”
Here’s the rest of our conversation.
Peter Berton: When did you decide to become a service provider, and why?
Christine: I always say my mom introduced me to it. She hates that! But it’s sorta true.
When I was in my teens, my mom encountered some “go-go” dancers who lived in our neighbourhood. They were only a few years older than me. One of them needed a babysitter.
I didn’t know which end of a baby was up, but my mom, eager to snoop on these young women, offered my services. (My mother is incurably snoopy.) This gave her the chance to get her foot in the door under the guise of helping me.
They were entertaining privately on the side as well. This gave me an early exposure to the business, and next thing you know, I was finding opportunities to try my own hand at it. It paid better than babysitting!
Peter Berton: What did this career offer you that made it attractive to you?
Christine: In the beginning, I assumed it would be much more glamorous and exciting than it is.
I was an avid reader of Cosmopolitan Magazine, and they often carried stories about high class call girls. Xaviera Hollander’s The Happy Hooker was published around that time, and somehow I’d gotten my hands on a translation of Alexander Dumas fils La dame aux camélias. Movies like Klute!, Belle du jour, and Irma La Douce glamorized the profession.
And, of course, we were smack dab in the middle of the sexual revolution. It was the obvious choice!
Peter Berton: How long did you stay in the profession, and why?
Christine: I’m approaching half a century! Turns out, it’s not so glamorous and exciting, but it offers me a degree of autonomy nothing else ever has.
Peter Berton: What did you like and dislike about being an SP?
Christine: I love the joy I share with my clients. When you’re in a good session, it’s like time just stops! There are certainly worse ways to make a living. And I liked having a lot of time to spend reading, skydiving, working on whatever projects interested me. (And there are always projects!)
People think we go into this for the money. The money was never that great for me. I could have made more money in any one of a number of other jobs. But nothing else offered me the luxury of so much time to spend any old way I wanted.
What I never enjoyed is the obstacle course you have to run to connect with someone who is right for you. When you place an ad, you get hundreds of responses, but obviously we’re not selling widgets. We sell our time, and we only have so much to sell. We have to choose wisely.
Peter Berton: What did you learn about yourself and your clients during that time?
Christine: There is a lot of stigma surrounding adult entertainment customers. They’re made out to be sleazy, misogynistic, and some go so far as to call them predators or exploiters.
Maybe some fit that bill. Most do not.
I think most of my clients are true feminists, in the sense that they come into this on an equal footing with us. They treat me as they would expect to be treated. Even today, with all the advances women have made, there aren’t many situations where women enjoy such equality.
As for myself, I often say that the days of tying a mattress to your back are over! To be an independent in the business today, the more skills you have, the better.
Of course, you can pay others to provide services to you – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m the DIY type, and so, over the years, my work presented a wide variety of learning opportunities. That has kept it interesting for me, and given me self confidence. The longer I am in the business, the more convinced I become that I can do anything I want, but also the more l appreciate the variety and challenges this gives me.
Peter Berton: What is your funniest/most-moving client story?
Christine: Geez! There are so many! I always swore I wouldn’t write a book (as in a tell-all) but I do a little writing and stories sneak in, here and there. Properly scrubbed, of course.
One of the most hilarious situations I ever found myself in was when I was visiting someone in his office on a Saturday morning. We had met that way several times before. But this time, his wife showed up unexpectedly!
We heard a car pull up and park. He looked out, and there she was!
We were both in states of semi-undress, and the way the building was set up, there was nowhere to go. His office was the first door off the front atrium, so she would have seen me, had l tried to make a run for it.
Luckily, the front door was locked, and he had to go out to let her in. That bought us a little time!
But what to do? Well, there was a credenza along one wall. He opened the centre cabinet, and pulled out some office supplies and the shelf that was in there, and motioned for me to get in.
Which I did!
I wasn’t completely dressed, so he tossed my shoes and clothes in with me, and slammed the doors.
I was a lot skinnier in those days, but I was never petite. It took some serious folding to get my long legs and big feet stuffed in that cupboard. I could barely breathe! And, of course, once she was in the office, I didn’t dare move.
She probably only stayed about 15-20 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity! She had been shopping in the area, and decided to pick up burgers, and treat him to lunch.
When she finally left, and he helped me out of the cubby hole, I was a mess! A sizeable tip, and some massage helped get the kinks out. But after that, whenever I visited, we used one of the rooms in the back.
Incall does offer more control, but things still happen.
One hot summer afternoon, I was expecting a visitor, and he was late. This was someone I knew very well, so I hadn’t bothered to dress. He got a kick out of it when I answered the door naked.
The doorbell rang. I ran downstairs and flung open the door… and there stood the Purolator guy!
I slammed the door, got my raincoat out of the closet, and opened the door again.
He was not amused! I don’t know if he was gay, or just lacking a sense of humour, or what. Maybe this happens often to Purolator guys, and they get tired of it. He didn’t cut me any slack.
“I thought you were my husband,” I stammered, as I signed for my package.
“Your husband rings the doorbell?”
Nope! No slack at all!
To make matters worse (or maybe better), my client arrived about then. I greeted him as though he were my husband. He was confused, but played along well!
The Purolator guy looked disgusted. We couldn’t stop laughing about it later.
To this day, I’d love to hear how the Purolator guy tells this story!
Peter Berton: Why did you retire?
Christine: I’m only semi-retired. I take a few appointments a month, and I rarely see anyone new, but it happens on occasion. It’s the right pace for me right now.
Peter Berton: Would you do it all again?
Peter Berton: A final question: What advice do you have for young SPs?
Christine: Regulars are gold. When you meet someone you click with, your #1 job is to make sure he can’t wait to see you again. That’s the secret to all of this.