Shawn just “cheerleadered” me. He was suggesting—in a peppy tone—that I approach a salt n’ pepper dude in the audience (I had noticed him before and thought that he looked like my type, which is to say, the type who spends money on me). Shawn said he saw him turn down a bunch of young girls. “So maybe you’re just his type.” Was I just offended? Ah well. With nothing to lose, I walk over to Salt n’ Pepper. He removed his coat from the empty chair for me. Off to a good start. Nice guy. Said that he was tired. We talked about the food, and how it’s surprisingly good, considering where we were. He tells me that he’s been traveling, and hasn’t been here in twenty years, but was sitting in traffic and decided to pop in. I liked him, and he was even kinda sexy. When I asked him (the soft sell) if he would like a lap dance, he humbly said that he couldn’t, because he has a girlfriend. He added that he’d been turning everyone down, and wouldn’t want to make the other girls mad by saying yes to me. Awww. Wait, what? He augmented this with, “If I were to do one, it would be with you.” He smiled at me with warmth and a twinge of longing. I could tell he was being truthful, but sentiment doesn’t pay the bills.


I think I was just solicited for sex by an Indian guy I’ve had sex with before. I’m not positive though, and he didn’t seem to know me, but his questions and concerns rang a bell. How much time? How much fun? Can we eat dinner first? Could I spend the night? Pretty standard questions, but the way he kept repeating them jogged a memory. Or he’s a cop. Either way, I gave him my email, and I give him about a thirty percent chance of contacting me to set it up. Which is probably for the best anyway. All those questions made me tired. It’s sex, not a lifetime supply of lightbulbs.

anything but a wasted life

I worked a deal with a guy to go to his hotel room after my shift tonight. I don’t want to, but I could use the dough. It’s less than my usual fee, but considering it’ll be after 2 a.m., I’m not expecting it to be a long one. Truthfully, I didn’t have the energy to negotiate, or say no. I’m secretly hoping he doesn’t call. My eyes are already the shade of the VIP curtains. That is to say, they are a nice shade of burgundy. I made a margarita concoction to drink tonight, and it’s clearly run its course. I look like shit. Do I really want to go to this strange guy’s hotel room?

I envy my friends with family money. They’ve never had to (nor will they ever have to) ask themselves this question. Not that you need a trust fund in order to not hook. I’m just saying it must be nice to know there’s a safety net. I have the opposite. I’m just praying that by the time my mom is too frail to work, I’ll be able to support her.

What’s the likelihood of him calling? Five to one? It’s 1:03 a.m. I bet he got to his hotel room and passed out after the magic of the club’s inner sanctum wore off. I could see it being easy to lose sight of why he’d pay a stripper to come to his hotel room. This man doesn’t know me. I could be a complete nut, a con artist, a bitch, or a bad lay.

[an hour later]

He called. I’m going. I’m trying to remove some of the blue eye shadow before I leave the club so I look a little less hooker-y walking through the hotel lobby. That’s always my favorite. They must know. Thank god I wore a cute shirt tonight. I don’t usually look cute when I go to work. First of all, I have a forty-five minute drive there and back. Also, it doesn’t matter what I wear coming and going from the club. In fact, I’ve always thought it was rather stupid of girls to wear skimpy things to work. Dancers have been followed after work. Plus, after a whole night in heels, I’m usually dying to slide into my Chuck Taylor’s.

So I drive my tired ass over to the hotel by the airport. I self park and begin my walk of shame to room 702. I’m in jeans and tennis shoes. The lights are bright and my eyes are bloodshot. He opens the door with a big smile. He doesn’t seem to care. He’s a lot taller than I remember. I suppose it’s because I’m out of my platforms. We hug. He hands me the cash, which I shove in my pants. I left my purse in the car. I have nothing but my car keys. This way he can’t jack me for what I earned at the club. He could kill or maim me, but he can’t have my purse.

I tell him my usual speech about a friend who’s waiting to hear from me by a specific time. As per usual, this is a lie. He says no problem. I suggest a shower, partially so I can wash off the night and additionally a good way to start the deed. Two birds.

His cock is average: short, but with decent girth. Not that it really matters. We kiss. Yes, I’m a hooker who kisses. I’m not sure why I do or why I didn’t implement a no-kissing rule when I started, but it seems natural. Plus, if there’s anything I can do to turn them on more, it will only insure that the deed will be over faster.

We wash each other, yadda yadda. I get out to dry off, and I make the mistake of looking in the mirror. Yikes. I’m quite the sight. Jesus, I look ragged. I lay down on the bed, and he follows. It’s a bit awkward. It’s always a bit awkward. He goes down on me. I fake a small orgasm. No chance for the real thing even if I wanted it. I go down on him.

“Damn baby, you give good head”.

“Why, thank you,” I purr and then go back to the job. I’m dehydrated from the tequila and pills, so I make an excuse to jump up and drink some water from the sink. He wants to fuck me. He reaches over to the box of condoms he purchased and hands me one. Apparently I’m supposed to do it. Fine. Open with teeth, place on head of dick, and roll down. But it won’t fucking roll. It’s too thin. I open a new one. Same thing. It gets wrapped up in itself. Shit. The condoms he bought are ridiculously thin. I make a sloshy mental note of the brand as never to buy them for work, fully knowing that there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to remember. I grab a third one. He says he’s never worn a condom before, which seems crazy, but maybe he’s been married for thirty years.

I finally get the fucker on. Third time’s a charm and whatnot. Now if I only had some damn saliva or moisture anywhere! I try to straddle him, but I’m not wet enough and of course I don’t have any lube. I suppose I should carry tiny packets in my purse like a good ho. I usually just use my saliva. Not tonight. It’s becoming troublesome. I explain that I need to give him head in order to stimulate my saliva glands. I have an insane physical response to giving head. Slippery lube-like saliva forms in my mouth. I’m not lying. It’s totally different from my regular spit and of an entirely different consistency. And I only get it from giving head.

I go down on him condom and all, which is yucky, but it works. It’s not Niagara Falls, but it’s better than nothing. He gets on top of me. I wouldn’t put this on the “hottest sex” list, but he seems relatively happy. After about ten minutes, I turn over on my stomach. It’s a little better. I tighten my pussy muscles, hoping this action will aid in him getting off, but he pulls out after maybe eight minutes. I’m parched like a motherfucker. I giggle and I drink more tap water. He must think I’m out of my mind, which, of course, I kind of am.

“I want to jack off and come on your tits.”

Excellent idea! I lick his hairy balls. He moans. I haven’t met a guy yet who doesn’t like his balls licked.

“I’m really close.”

I jump up and lay next to him. He sits up and strokes it faster and comes on my breasts—a decent amount for an older guy and almost no smell. Now I can go home.

I wash off and make idle chitchat while I get dressed. We are both exhausted, but he’s happy. It pleases him to hear that I had two orgasms (wink, wink). He can sleep soundly now. We thank each other and hug again at the door. It’s 3:30 a.m. and I’m walking back through the lobby a little richer than before. The best feeling in the world is driving away from a john. Shit, I forgot to pee.

anything but a wasted life

Of course I would get my period a couple days ago. Luckily, mine don’t last very long, and it’s almost done. A hooker’s nightmare. Or savior depending on how you see it. I guess I should milk it and earn myself a sex-free night. I just hope he doesn’t insist on my having orgasms (real ones). It didn’t seem to be an issue the night we met. An old client of mine got upset with me once for faking. He said that he was old enough to know when a woman faked it. Something about the clit. He was dead set on making me come. He was a handsome black man and gave decent head, and eventually I did, but I felt like poo right after. It’s too much. Too real. Too personal. You’d think the act of intercourse and fellatio would also feel this way, but for some reason I’ve always been able to compartmentalize it. Coming is different. Faking is easier and far less emotional. Although, I really hate feigning an orgasm too. One, it sets a horrible sexual precedent for women and men. Men think it’s so easy to make girls come, and I’m just furthering the myth. I never faked orgasm before I was a hooker. I guess I gave up my social cause for five-star restaurants and travel. Two, how much time is believable before I come? How much noise? How long? How closely are they paying attention to my anatomy? I wish they didn’t give a shit. When did john’s start caring about our orgasms, anyway? Just enjoy and get yours. I don’t want to come with you. This isn’t my fantasy, honey, it’s yours.

anything but a wasted life

I was ecstatic to end my stay at Gladman. Time in a psych ward feels like an eternity. I did everything my rehab counselors told me not to do and nothing they suggested. Ninety meetings in ninety days: nope. Get a sponsor: nope. Keep away from using friends: nope. No relationships: fuck that. Don’t drink or use: yes!

I was sleeping on the couch of my boyfriend’s house (we lost our apartment while I was locked up) with his roommate who drank a case of beer a night. But since I was out to prove the “know-it-all” counselors wrong, I didn’t partake. A few months out and still sober, I was introduced to a girl named Jennifer. She was fourteen and had been clean for a year. She showed me the heart of NA. I had hated meetings before, but she took me to a great NA meeting in San Anselmo, which became my home group for a very long time. It was then that I fell in love with the program. I never did ninety in ninety, but I started doing all the other stuff. My home group had ex-convicts, hookers, and society’s rejects. My kind of people. Even though I was only sixteen and hadn’t lived as much as my peers, I fit right in. Everyone was sarcastic, had a dark sense of humor, and big-ass heart’s. Besides for the overuse of drugs and booze and the propensity to be an asshole, this is what you’ll find in the twelve-step program. The people in AA and NA taught me how to love myself, how to be honest and have integrity. I grew up in the program. I never had the compulsion to drink or use—staying sober was real easy for me. I saw people struggle and relapse, and I always felt extremely lucky.

I spoke at tons of meeting and was even selected to tell my story at a young people’s convention in front of sixteen hundred people (I still have the cassette tape recording). I chaired meetings in jails and prisons. I spoke at a meeting in San Quentin when I was eighteen, and I held a weekly NA meeting INSIDE a jail cell for two years at the Marin County Jail. Nothing will make you feel more grateful than leaving a jail cell. I changed my major from psychology to pre-law with a minor in criminal justice, and prison reform was the topic of my senior thesis at SFSU. The program was my life. I never pushed it on others nor judged people who drank or used. I’d go to bars and clubs and simply say, “No, thank you,” if someone offered me something. It wasn’t about anyone else. It was about me, and my personal choices. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not spent those twelve and a half years in the program. I wouldn’t change a thing.

anything but a wasted life

[two weeks into rehab]

I broke my hand while playing volleyball. Don’t ask me how, but after waiting for a few painful hours at the Alta Bates ER with a counselor, they put my hand in a thing and gave me pain meds—under very strict watch. I did the typical fake taking one so I could double up on the next. That night, when I took both pills, was the first time I didn’t like being high. The pills made me feel sick and cloudy, and I wanted it to be over. It was a breakthrough moment. I didn’t tell anyone. I had already found out the hard way that authority figures often used things against you. Instead of hearing what this meant to me, they would likely concentrate on the doubling up. The significance of it was not lost on me, which was the only thing that really mattered.

Similar to Gladman, we had lots of groups. We watched classic “Don’t Do Drugs” movies, which is ironic because I was in a “Don’t Drink and Drive” after-school special a couple years previous. We were hooked-up to Biofeedback machines, and made leather bracelets. We went to local AA and NA meetings, were I was a minority, both in age, race, and background. I thought the meetings were bullshit, but I kept my mouth shut. I was just counting down the days. When it finally came time for me to graduate, my counselors said I was never going to make it (meaning stay clean). Which bugged me. I didn’t like being told what I was or wasn’t going to do, so being the stubborn person that I am, I set out to prove them wrong. I wonder if that tactic has worked on other people?

anything but a wasted life

After a few more weeks of the same bullshit within the peach walls, my yearning for freedom had replaced my need to rebel, and I came to the realization that I needed to play their game in order for this to happen, so I started behaving. I eventually earned enough points and made it to Unit One.

My delinquent high school graduation took place while I was locked up. The hospital gave me a six-hour pass to attend. I had stopped going to school in January—which is when I passed the proficiency exam—but they invited me to graduate with the seniors in May. It was amazing being out, but sad knowing I had to go back. The ceremony was at a beautiful location in San Anselmo, surrounded by trees and peacefulness. After the graduation ceremony, when my friends were going to party, I had to return to the fucking mental institution in East Oakland, gangs and hubba rock. I did, however, manage to sneak off to have sex with my boyfriend before going back.

Gladman was affiliated with an adult rehab next door. I spoke to one of my counselors, then the head of the rehab center, and convinced him to let me in the twenty-eight day program. I was two years younger than the minimum age requirement, but they admitted me anyway. I had no intention of joining AA or staying clean; I just wanted the fuck out of that hospital. I missed my friends, my boyfriend, and the acid I had in my freezer.

anything but a wasted life

Then there was that old-ass Rorschach test. Of course I lied—like a good little girl. I told Dr. Whatshisname that I saw butterflies and lollipops. Happy things. When in reality, I was seeing death and decay. I wonder what he wrote down about me? Probably something like: “I’m bored out of my skull. I can’t wait to get out of the ghetto”. And, “This girl thinks she’s so smart, but she’s not fooling me”. I wonder if that’s part of the test—if the answers are categorical bullshit. It’s not what you see, it’s what you lie about what you see.

My doctors eventually decided that my problems weren’t stemming from a mental disability, it was drugs and alcohol—so they sent me to a teenage rehab center in the small town where I grew up. Of all the rehabs in the Bay Area! My depression ten-folded as we drove over Whites Hill. My childhood memories being the source of my angst.

I begrudgingly went through the intake, and when my mom left, I made the rookie mistake of mentioning to a fellow “camper” that I was going to kill myself as soon as I was alone. Stupid. I had assumed she would be on my side. She wasn’t. She told the counselors, and they called my mom. They said they couldn’t keep me because it wasn’t that kind of facility, meaning one where someone could be placed under twenty-four hour watch.

After being there a total of five hours, a cop car came to take me back to the Marin General Crisis Unit. He made me remove all the safety pins from my jeans in case I tried to hurt myself. I’m not sure how I could have managed that though, seeing as how he handcuffed my hands behind my back for the long ride. Poor cop. He wanted to be shooting at criminals, not escorting miserable teens, but that’s the action in Marin.

So I was right back where I started. There was more talk amongst the adults (as I mentioned, I had been living on my own, but hadn’t emancipated, and therefore was rendered shit-out-of-luck), then back to Gladman. This time I put up a fight, like a scene from The Wall. They literally had to drag me out of the hospital. It was all very dramatique. My dad was there this time. We weren’t close, and I wasn’t thrilled with his presence, which only added to my state of mind. I was crying and making a complete scene the whole way to Oakland. Saying the meanest shit to my mom. When we got close to the exit off the freeway I tried to jump out of the moving car. My dad was doing eighty, I was halfway out the window, and my mom’s screaming and trying to grab me. I was thinking, if I can reach the tire, it’ll pull me under. I must die before we hit the exit. I didn’t.