I feel like glamour is capitulated in words and photographs but what does it take to feel glamorous? Private jets and sparkly jumpsuits, flashes of flesh, flawless make up?
The crafty and clever use of sex as a source of trade exchange is used in so many advertising campaigns. So what exactly does that look like from a relatively inconsequential female’s point of view? And how does that play out in theory and then in practice?
The birth of the internet has made it almost too easy to explore this often dark and mysterious world which often is misrepresented by shiny Instagram models with rich daddies who fuel all those luxury, highly coveted, often Gucci sprinkled goods. Signing up to one such notorious site is the first step. Welcome to the adulterated rabbit hole of strange bedfellows. Posting a few enticing photos brings a stream of messages from men who effectively are batting far above their average and want an exchange of some type of sex for quite a measly amount of money. Yes, there is the exception, such as the seeking of something they’re not comfortable exploring with their partner (BDSM, anal, pegging; or oftentimes something their partner has refused to explore), or the odd young dude who wants to try something different, but I feel as though these sites are designed to assure one party that they are guaranteed sex and the other party that they’ll be compensated for it. This exchange of power seems fairly simple and should work, in theory.
So when I agreed to meet a seemingly nice and generous Israeli man for lunch and after a candid discussion of what would transpire (theatre dates, spa weekends, bedroom fun and a monthly allowance of £1400 which would be distributed “incrementally” until a trust was built up), I felt secure in that if I was going to be asked for sex, I would be given something in return. We met in St John’s Wood, conveniently his neighbourhood and a £20 Uber ride from mine. He was a portly man, not unattractive but soon to be revealed without manners or sense of social decorum. It was clear from the beginning that he found me attractive, with his bulging stare eyeing primarily the chest to ass portion of my body. I hadn’t planned to eat anything, but his insistence as he greedily discussed the menu and then repeatedly crowed on about how hungry he was from his earlier gym session. He then started looking around for service quite incessantly and even griped about trying to garner a waiter’s attention. It was a bustling bank holiday in a small establishment. They weren’t going to forget us. He was the type of man who could go a few days without food and you wouldn’t have been able to tell, especially if he hadn’t been able to speak. But this man knew how to do one thing really well, and that was express how he felt in a really direct and impolite manner.
“The burrata for the lady and the eggs hollandaise for me, on brown bread, no butter or anything like that, with a side of avocado,” he said in faux de-lovely delivery.
Then he turned his direction back to me, “Do you want a drink, wine or something?” I smiled and shook my head. He seemed surprised but finally at ease that we had ordered. “I just really need something to eat” he gaffed. I chuckled awkwardly. This was going to be interesting.
We chatted about our jobs and families while we waited for lunch. He ran a tech company and had been in London for a lot of years. He’d been raised in Israel but had attended university in London. He had a sister who was five years his junior and both of them were single, despite having parents that were about to celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary. “I only sleep a couple of hours a day” he said casually. “I’m really high energy. When I was young I only slept every few days, which meant I had twenty five hours a week more than most people. That was when I really started launching my business and networking with clients.” Uh oh. That didn’t sound conducive to my love of being quiet and low key. I didn’t have infinite amounts of energy, particularly when it came to annoying people.
“So how do you find the site?” He asked.
I answered in a nondescript way, touting on about how I loved going to the theatre and travelling and how nice it would be to have someone to do that with. I’d only been in London for a year and it was hard to break into already established friendship circles. Blah blah blah bullshit. We both knew what this was really about. He mentioned several arrangements he’d had in the past, then a recent eight month dating experience which in essence had been too much effort for him. He didn’t want to be accountable to her all the time. He couldn’t be bothered driving her home, so he’d order her an Uber instead. He didn’t want to be badgered by incessant texts from her every five mins. I couldn’t help but see the irony. What did he think 42 years of marriage entailed? It sure as hell wasn’t hot sex on tap constantly and bare minimum effort. Talk about the death of romance.
Our food arrived and he dug into it eagerly. Hold up. Stop. Problem. The poached eggs weren’t runny enough. “Waiter! Can you bring me some more eggs, sorry they just aren’t done right, but don’t take my plate, just keep it here.” His pudgy fingers gripped the plate tightly so he wouldn’t be deprived of his long, (hardly) awaited meal. Cringe. The waiter looked at me almost sympathetically before walking away. He didn’t roll his eyes and if he was making a mockery of what I thought was a blatantly obvious situation, it was silent and saved for the kitchen or mid shift cigarette. The man sitting across from me, however, wasn’t. He looked at me with an exasperated smile and shrugged while he poked at his eggs.
“Where’s the fun?!” He exclaimed. Calm down mate. You’re not five years old, despite the ridiculously immature way you’re behaving. I was dying. At this point I was reminded why there are certain things only money enabled one to tolerate.
He ate quickly as we spoke about the possibility of him launching his business in LA, along with the numerous properties his parents owned in New York, Israel and London and how they divided their time between the three cities pending the season. He obviously came from extremely wealthy roots.
All of a sudden he was finished and we were getting the bill. “My car is just up the road. I could have walked from home but nahh haha.” I started to wonder exactly what he did at the gym. He haughtily pointed out Abbey Road as we glided into Maida Vale and stopped outside an impressive apartment block. We got into the lift despite there only being three floors and he pressed level two. There was a gross excitement in his hands and his eyes seemed to get beadier as he prepared for what would happen next. It felt so lewd. I felt like a reluctant piece of meat.
His apartment was basic but tidy. Classic bachelor pad with random pieces of art including a photo of a naked model inside some kind of porthole. Apparently this was the only piece his interior designer had chosen. Interesting. I wonder if it made him hard every morning or if the sex appeal had worn off. He took my coat and told me to make myself comfortable as he excused himself to go to the bathroom. I wondered when exactly the allowance conversation was going to take place. The only mention of money had been earlier at the cafe, when he’d said that the appeal of an arrangement was that it was no muss, no fuss and that the money was an inconsequential amount that he’d expect to part with in a conventional relationship. I really should have left then. I should have excused myself to take a ‘phone call’ and never returned. So I went to the bathroom to steel myself and as soon as I re-entered the living room I was being kissed and grabbed and ambled onto the couch as he undid the bow on my dress and the clasp on my bra. All of a sudden his belt and pants were undone and a thick but short and stumpy cock was staring at me. It was clean. That was a plus. I hesitantly began the work as he clumsily took his pants then underwear off, and soon he was leading me into his bedroom.
His bed was lined with grey sheets which were pressed and fresh but unadorned. Did the interior designer charge per room? Because he or she appeared to have left this one out. My ‘date’ lay down on his back and commanded me to get on my knees as he lifted up his shaft. This usually meant ball sucking. So I went in begrudgingly only to hear him shudder. I stopped to say
“Oh sorry, is that too much?”
“Yea a little bit” he said.
He kept lifting up his leg, almost as though he was motioning for his ass to be licked. Not in this lifetime buddy. I kept working on his main appendage and he sat up and said, “That’s really sore. It’s really sensitive.” I almost laughed in incredulous disbelief. This man was 39 years old and he was describing a blow job as making him sore. I was annoyed at this point. “Oh well you should really tell me how you like it because otherwise I won’t know.”
“Just softer,” he said.
For someone who was so keen to fuck me, he sure didn’t appear confident or aware of himself sexually at all. In fact, in our text exchange the previous evening, he had described himself as a dominant alpha male. All I really observed was a giant greedy man child who didn’t know how to communicate properly. I got up on the bed and pretty much silently refused to touch him with my mouth any further. It was obvious money was not going to be discussed so the muffin shop needed to shut really promptly. He tried to touch me so I lay down on my side next to him.
“I feel really uncomfortable” he said.
I nearly died. He felt uncomfortable? Haaaaaaa. This was hilarious. What entirely have you had to do that has made you uncomfortable son? Shoving your dick in my face? Eating eggs that were slightly overdone? Driving two mins from your house in your plush BMW? And now you’re having your dick sucked by a woman who is obviously not in your league, in all the ways possible, and you’re uncomfortable? Get me a fucking bucket so I can hurl.
He jumped off the bed and opened a draw revealing a bunch of condoms and lube bottles. I still can’t figure out why he opened it but then he snapped it shut again and proceeded to rush back to the living room to find his jocks and pants. I sauntered out after him in my lacy black g-string and satin blue pumps. He’d finished dressing by the time I reached him and he repeated how uncomfortable he was. I quickly put on my dress sans bra and kneeled on the couch as far away from him as I could possibly get away with. It was obvious he had no idea what was wrong. I was going to have to spell it out for him. He repeated for, the now third time that he “just didn’t feel comfortable”
“Well,” I began. “As we discussed, in this type of relationship there are expectations in exchange for convenience, and it seems like only one end of the deal is being considered. You said you’d give an allowance incrementally, and…” I went on stammering about expectations and conventional relationships.
He replied with some unnecessary nonsense about the fact that he wasn’t looking for someone to introduce to his parents or someone to be the mother of his children. No shit Sherlock. I don’t want to meet your parents either.
“Look,” I said. “I’m not going to be messaging you asking where you are every five minutes but I do need a reassurance that I’ll be looked after financially.” He rambled something about transferring money before our next meet and then offered to call me an Uber. I accepted but I sure as hell wasn’t taking the tube in my heels. No sign of money for my efforts, and to add insult to injury, he pretty much demanded I take the stairs instead of the lift down to the car. “See you soon” he waved as he closed the door.
I felt like I’d just been assaulted. What on earth was wrong with men? His parents looked so measured. How had they gone wrong in educating their son on the proper way in which to treat women? I don’t care if he had met me climbing out of a garbage can, just because we had met in this manner, it did not mean he was entitled to sex straight off the bat. The way in which you treat someone does not depend on the circumstances in which you met them. Just because you buy a drink for someone or take them out for dinner it doesn’t mean you are privy to prey on their naked body. I texted him a thank you once I arrived home and headed straight for the shower. I felt so violated, so used, so bewildered by his pathetically disgusting attitude. He didn’t reply and I just could not deal with that. I wrote him a very perturbed message and his response was: “I fell asleep and woke up to this nasty message. We’re not going to meet again, are we.” I went straight to my profile and deleted it. There was zero chance I was having an experience like this again.
What a waste of a day. I could not get over his gross entitlement and blind awareness of the imbalance of power that had just occurred. The most ironic part of this entire situation was that I don’t even subscribe to a glamorous lifestyle, I was merely trying to survive London life in it’s expensive bloody red haze. It felt as though so many men used these websites instead of simply hiring a call girl and paying her directly, because they called the shots, they kept the power within their domain. I think it was also because there was a sense of shame mixed with egotistical narcissism. Men believe they deserved sex and hence didn’t believe they should have to pay for it. So instead under the guise of ‘looking after a female’ they justified this sort of ‘arrangement,’ which worked really well for conventionally unattractive men or men vying after women who were much too young or attractive for them. I didn’t want any part of it. Being pounced upon and expected to do things that were incredibly one sided felt so unfair. It was enough to be catcalled and eye fucked in the street wearing modest gym clothes.
Maybe this hustle wasn’t my standard. Maybe the Instagram highlight reel actually had a dark under girth. Maybe the manipulation was a two way street. An endless power struggle between pounds and pussy. All I knew was that I never wanted to feel that powerless and truly shellshocked again.
It’s hard not to want something when you’re surrounded by it, particularly when it seemed ridiculously unobtainable. This new age of social media means ‘things’ and ‘experiences’ are constantly being flung in our faces. It preaches twenty four/seven that someone is doing something ultimately cooler and more interesting than us, or has a bigger, better, more successful repertoire of stuff than we have.
Maybe I came to London to learn what was truly important to me, what I wanted in life and that you don’t have to do things that make you feel like shit or be treated like shit to get them. Maybe glamour actually came with a cost, and that the essence of my being wasn’t congruous with what this ‘glamorous’ existence offered.