The Night I Hired A Hooker

I was bitter and furious at my girlfriend the night I hired a hooker.
But is that her fault? I mean, come on, I’m also furious and bitter at Ralph Nader for dropping out of the Presidental elections, but you don’t see me using him as an excuse for the time I got drunk and puked in my friend’s aquarium. I suppose I could try fobbing this whole wretched thing off on, say, my old teacher Mrs. Montlick for not marrying me when I proposed to her in third grade… but come on.
Let’s try that again: I was curious and I was hopelessly horny.
The horniness needs little explanation. Even if we had been in the same town at the time, my girlfriend had stopped fucking me – and we had just had an argument that made Hiroshima look like a Sunday weenie barbeque, and had driven fifteen hours back to Connecticut in a fit of pique.
We were supposed to attend a concert that week. Thanks to my complete ignorance of Michigan geography, the concert was a four-hour drive away.
I decided to hoof it alone anyway.
The concert was great. The drive, however, sucked like a fifteen-year-old virgin with braces. So when it was one in the morning and I drove by a string of billboards, all advertising Oriental massages (OPEN UNTIL 3 A.M., they leered suggestively), I felt my dick leap out of my pants and grab the wheel, wrestling it away with the strength of an elephant’s trunk.
Normally my brain stops my penis at moments like this, but there was that curiosity factor. And my brain and my penis, in much the same way that stars align every couple of centuries or so, suddenly agreed on something. I should have a massage.
You see, my mother had been brought me up to believe that if you did a job, you did it well and with pride – even if it was scrubbing rancid fry residue out of the greasetraps at McDonald’s. I honestly thought that everyone inside was secretly bursting with the yearning to do a great job on whatever they laid their hands to – and only poor management stopped America from being a wonderful place, where even the poorest septic tank cleaner looked forward joyfully to scraping that last bit of fecal residue off of the bowl.
When it came my turn to pick wilted lettuce up off the floor with pride, I realized my Mom was a big fat liar.
But the thought stayed with me when it came to prostitutes; after all, handling men’s genitals was what they did for a living. They didn’t have to love taking facefuls of lukewarm sperm every day… but the incentive was clear. The better they were at their job, the less time they spent at it. And they had a variety of sex partners, seven to eight a night. Add it all together, I figured, and your average hooker would have acquired every trick in the book, know every last secret about what made a man pulsate. In my mind, prostitutes had to be the absolute masters of lovemaking, the pinnacle of fucking.
But I was doomed never to experience this bliss, mainly because I was poor and cheap.
You see, prostitutes cost money – really, you say? Why, yes! – and I never could justify spending half a week’s paycheck on twenty minutes of entertainment. You didn’t even get souvenirs. So my evil intentions went unfomented.
Until my girlfriend left me in an abrupt gesture, driving fifteen hours back home with no warning whatsoever. I was bitter, angry, horny, and curious.
Wars have been started over less.
And so, with my cyclopean member twisting the wheel, I pulled* into the wide gravel parking lot. The massage shack itself was just that; a shack with a dimly-lit sign buzzing overhead, looking like every half-baked tourist attraction in Florida. Except they wrestled your gator, apparently.
Trees surrounded the abandoned road, with a few lonely pickup trucks parked at various angles, all pointing towards the Oriental Massage Parlor. The only sign of civilization was a gas station across the way, a puddle of clean fluorescent light in the midst of an otherwise-murky outback. I parked my Honda Civic, feeling ludicrously upscale among the battered Fords and Chevys around me, and walked in.
As I approached, I heard a whiskey-slurred voice yelling angrily, and the pounding of grimy fists on the door: “Cuhm’n! Lemmeh in! Yuh godam hooer!
I tried walking quietly, but there were two of them, both dressed in filthy plaid workshirts, sweat-soaked baseball caps, and tobacco-stained teeth. The aroma of beer and chasers hung sourly about them as the lead redneck pounded relentlessly on the green door, slapping and kicking it. They were both uneducated – you could tell from the dull, lightless reflections in their eyes. They looked, in short, like they had been kicked out of the Michigan Militia for failing to live up to the dress code.
The larger one was beating the door steadily and shouting. Sneaky as I was, they heard me and turned around, just as an older oriental matron poked her head out and yelled, “No! He no good! You go way!” She slammed the door behind her; the booze-sluggish bozos whirled around again and slammed into the door, like zombies from a George Romero movie. Then the older one turned to me.
I froze, understanding both deer and headlights.
Instead, he turned to me with a friendly grin you could have pushed playdoh through. He looked at me goofily, like a dog happy to see anyone, and said, “Canyoo beLEEv’dis? Here ah am, tryinah pop muhson’s cherry for his fifteen’d birdday, and deysay heez tooyung!”
“Really,” I said, trying to buy time when my brain translated. It did, and then stopped short. I looked at the son, who was indeed fifteen and had the look of someone who really did not want to be here right now.
What the fuck did one say to this?
“Oh,” I riposted.
He stood looking at me, awaiting further recognition of this travesty of justice. I stood there numbly as the matron forced open the door, shoving the drunkards aside and dragging me into the parlor in one smooth motion.
It looked like a bad Chinese restaurant.
The matron’s face was squinched up like an anus coated with bad makeup. She rictused at me, and said, “You wan massaj?”
“Sure,” I said. From behind me, the pounding and cursing still came. I felt a wild urge to make some zealous plea for them, like Churchill in the House Of Commons, but fuck it. Massage parlors are no place to make alliances.
“C’mere,” she barked, and frog-marched me into a small room. The room was the size of a small doctor’s office, with a massage table (complete with table paper), an endtable filled with various oils, and nothing else. “How you pay?”
“Um… credit card…”
“Good!” she said, snatching it out of my hand. “Taik off yaw close,” she ordered, and drew the curtain shut.
Somehow I thought there would be more romance.
I disrobed, feeling bizarrely nude. I mean, I’m intensely comfortable with nakedness, but I felt like a GI getting drafted – vulnerable and confused. Still, there was that giddiness that comes from the anticipation of healthy sleazery, and I certainly was wondering what sort of fantasy girl would shimmy through the door.
The matron came through, making my hardon wilt like an unwatered fern in fast-forward.
Thankfully, this crabby old bitch wasn’t to be my lubricator tonight. She grabbed an armful of my clothes and flung them at me, saying, “Ah credit cod machine no workin. You go to gas station, he give you money. He take cod.”
“But I – ” I said, not wanting to go across the street at this point.
“GO! He do this all time. No big deal! You wan massaj? You GO! GET DRESSED! COME BACK!” And she hurled the curtains shut again, leaving me with a pile of underwear.
I got dressed and left; the father-son team was still outside but were now sitting in his pickup truck, screaming, “Mah son deservza fuck!
I drove off. There was no way I was going to head across the street and say, “Hey, I want my dick yanked; be a good fellow and grease the path for me, will you?” Not to a total stranger, anyway. Truth be told, I might not even have to really say anything – this can’t be the only time this has happened, I thought – but I really didn’t feel like getting that “I know what you’re up to” look from some loser on the Wednesday night gas pump shift. Tires squealing, I found my way back to the highway and began the drive home.
This time, the debate betwixt penis and synapse was a bit more heated.
The penis, for his part, was insisting that he had gone to all of this trouble to dress up for the event, channeling his best blood flow into the tip and all that, and he was darned if he was going to miss a social event like this. There are other massage places on the way, said Little Elvis, lying on the brake with the meaty weight of an anaconda. You can stop elsewhere.
The brain merely said that it was late and he had to be to work tomorrow. The brain’s always been jealous of the dick. The dick is like a bad foreman – it shows up for maybe an hour a day, bellows out orders that nobody can argue with, and then sleeps for the rest of the time while you have to clean up the mess he’s left behind. Sure, said my corpus callosum angrily. I’ll be around tomorrow trying to crunch numbers at work… and what will you be doing? Surfacing every once in awhile to scam some chick, maybe throb briefly for a bit, and then sleep until bedtime. Easy for you to say.
It was a difficult argument. The dick won simply by convincing the brain that there would be an amusing story in the incident, and the brain could have fun writing about it someday.
I’ll say this for my dick; when it’s right, it’s right.
So I drove for another seven miles and pulled into the Shining Beacon Oriental Massage Parlor to give it another go. This one was better; it lay* poised in the middle of a city block, well-lit, and easily accessible. Still had that bad Chinese restaurant look to it, but I suppose you couldn’t ask for everything.
I parked and walked in, feeling like a large black spider on a white wall, waiting for the inevitable smackdown by patrolling police. I knew it was ridiculous, of course. They’d bust me inside, if they did at all. But how come it was only at relatively innocuous moments like this that I felt the omnipresent hand of The Man pressing down on me, and not, say, ten seconds before I got ticketed for running a red light?
But this time a professional experience awaited me. A smarmy Chinese guy in an expensive blue suit greeted me with a reassurance that yes, their credit cod machine was working, why you ask?… and led me into a large room with three tables, lined up in a neat row, ten feet apart from each other. “Get undress,” he said. “I send someone in.”
I disrobed, wondering whether there was some sort of assembly line at work here. There seemed to be no privacy. What happened if someone else came in? Were you just set to wait, naked and erect, left on a table like cars on a rack during a lunchtime oil change?
I mean, I consider myself eglitarian, but….
So I waited on the table patiently and nervously, draping a towel over my vitals. And then the masseuse walked in, a lithe young Oriental wearing a bathrobe and nothing else. I saw flashes of nipple buried deep within the terrycloth fabric, and the way she moved let me know that she wasn’t opposed to me seeing them.
It was then that I got a brief but unmistakable lesson in sensuality.
I don’t know what the fuck I was really expecting – give me credit, I was at least bright enough to realize that she wasn’t going to stride into the room in a slow-motion high-heel pump walk like every bad Traci Lords film I ever loved. But here was a scene that could have been very erotic, or at least a major turnon… but she wasn’t walking in like she wanted to see me.
She was walking in like it was time to make the donuts.
She flashed an obligatory smile, the kind that is generally required by the company handbook, and said pleasantly:
“You wan massaj?”
I realized that I had not heard proper English in hours.
I said yes – well, I fucking nodded anyway, because suddenly I was as timid as a nun at a deflowering party – and she rolled me over and began tweaking my trapezoids.
I was experiencing that same, hamster-in-a-wheel hyperintense paranoia I got when I smoked pot. My paranoia had nothing to do with drugs, though – it was stage fright. I always got stuck smoking with groups of rampant stoners, and I was the only one who couldn’t roll a joint.
And nobody knew. They all assumed total competency of me, which is a horrible burden to lay on a clueless person. Every time I smoked I was playing an evil game of Hot Potato, smoking and passing the joint like a baton runner – and one day my luck would run out, leaving a dead roach in my hands. At which point I would be called upon to take a perfectly good joint and, using my talentless fingers, I would turn it into one of those sodden butts you see at the bottom of urinals.
You see, eventually I was going to humiliate myself in front of a roomful of people. I just didn’t know when it was going to happen, which leeched all fun from potentially enjoyable binges.
That paranoia was burrowing into my spinal cord like a lungfish right now. Because there was one thing I did not know:
How the fuck do you ask for this?
Having successfully maneuvered myself into the position, I now realized that I would eventually have to request The Handjob. And I didn’t know how.
I suppose braver souls would have cheerily requested it as casually as one would ask for a Happy Meal from McDonald’s: “One handjob please, and a finger up my ass on the side!” But somehow this approach was not for me.
I could have muttered it into the pillow: “Um, cudIhavahanjob?” But that sounded shameful, and my deepest fear was that I would request it – only to have her tower over me and say in a rich English accent: “Sir, do you think that I, a licensed masseuse, would deign to tweak your pathetic weenie? I am ashamed of your conduct! Did you take me for some common whore?
I figured, probably correctly, that asking shamefully would only make things worse. Best to be bold.
And for another thing, I had been barraged with poor English tonight. There was something in my nature that had me determined to speak the King’s English clearly. Despite the fact that I was wrangling for a polewaxing, I had to show them my fine breeding to prove that I wasn’t like the other unwashed louts who strode in here.
While I decided on my options, she tweaked my muscles, rubbing me down. Groping and curling. Nothing particularly erotic.
She decided to make smalltalk.
“Ah laik yo hayuh,” she said, in a thick voice that cried out for subtitles.
“Thank you,” I said.
“Iss lawng,” she said, taking a lock of it in her hands.
Tweak tweak tweak tweak.
The silence was as uncomfortable as a beanbag chair filled with caltrops.
“Yu gro yo hayuh?”
“Pardon?”
“Yu gro it?”
Who else? I wondered, then answered. “Yes.”
“Iss nize,” she said.
Tweak tweak tweak tweak tweak.
Now, to understand the horridness of this massage, you have to understand what a terror I have of smalltalk.
I would rather be raped alive by rabid rats than have to fumble through ten minutes’ worth of smalltalk with strangers. I would rather have a small paper cut made on my eyeball by each page in the 2000 Manhattan Yellow pages than pretend to talk with people to fill the air. I hate having to come up with neutral conversational topics, I hate the awkward pauses, I hate the fact that I really don’t have much in common with, say, 95% of the people who were spawned into breathing on this planet… and trying to talk with this masseuse, who apparently had gotten her entire English vocabulary from reading Green Eggs And Ham, was like the Chinese Water Torture for me. Except that this was the Chinese Bad Massage Torture… far more insidious.
To defend this poor woman, if I were to suddenly become a masseuse in China, I’m sure that I would sound worse. But I wouldn’t fucking try to carry on a goddamn conversation. I’d realize that if conversations were the equivalent of building skyscrapers, my toolbox would be full of legos and tinker toys, and I would shut the fuck up.
However, since my hair was the topic du jour, my hair was what it was.
“Iss braowen,” she said.
“Well, I dye it.”
“Die?”
“I color it.”
“Ah see,” she said, not seeing.
Tweak tweak tweak.
“When dyu dued?”
“Um… about six months ago….”
“Iss nize,” she said.
Somebody please kill me, I thought. Twenty minutes had passed and this sleazy massage had all the enjoyment of a tin foil dinner.
And then, suddenly in the middle of a brief rub of my spine, she pulled back and looked at me, her face twisted into an expression of disbelief.
“Yu just wanna massage?” she said, as if I were some kind of freak, some weirdo pervert who just wanted a backrub. I had seen the same expression on Jewish mothers, when I had stayed over for seder and refused to eat gefiltefish. This just wasn’t done.
“Um… no….” I said, cringing into the table. She was really angry. “How much does it cost?”
It occurs to me later that perhaps I would have done better to ask what “it” was, as I could have been shackled to a chair and gangraped by orangutans, but fortunately on this topic she and I synced up.
“Fifty dolla,” she said.
Fifty? – my brain said, and my penis clubbed it into submission. It appeared that my penis was paying my Visa bill this month.
“All right,” I said, and leaned back. She removed the towel.
Now, I can’t really imagine that any of you really want explicit details of what followed. For one thing, I am a dumpy and balding thirty year-old man, with a body that looks like a garbage bag filled with meat. Extensive descriptions of my orgasm would have all the effect of an ice cream sundae with ipecac topping. Secondly, my mother and father know about this page – and although I have no troubles revealing my inmost secrets, extensive erotica is not something I want my grandparents asking me about. “So do you really have a penis like a baby’s arm clutching an apple in its fist? Really! We’re so proud of you, Billy!” they’d say, and I would promptly die.
So I shall avoid specifics. But suffice it to say there was one flaw to my logic.
She was experienced in the way that I thought she would be. She did in fact get men off for a living. However, theorizing that a handjob from a hooker would be mindblowing, simply because she did this daily, was much like assuming a taxi ride would be luxurious and scenic because a taxi driver drove men for a living.
They could both care less about the ride. They care about the destination, if you get my drift.
As such, the experience could best be described as functional. Mechanically, she fulfilled her purpose, with all of the eroticism of a vaccuum cleaner. I think she would have read a book at the same time if she could have. Heck, I might have read a book if I’d known what kind of an experience this was going to be.
And she didn’t clean up. She flounced out of the room the moment after completion, leaving me with a stomach looked like a glazed donut. Apparently her worktime was over. Cuddling was apparently extra. Realizing that she wasn’t going to come back, I got to my feet and started looking for my clothes, feeling depressed and let down. This was it?
My brain immediately reminded me: One hundred and twenty-five bucks, half an hour’s enjoyment. And not much of that, either. Didn’t I tell you?
My penis, satisfied, had fallen into a deep sleep akin to hibernation. The fucker.
I wiped myself off with a towel, wondering what germs lived deep within the terrycloth, and put my clothes back on. I had my pants on when she came angrily running back into the room.
“Naw! Naw! Ah kleen yu off! You naw put close ahn!
She immediately pushed me back onto the table and began wiping my stomach down with the same slimy towel, holding me down with her other hand. This was not helping, and I was pissed. If this was part of the service, how come she left me on the table with a bellybutton full of cold, squirming protozoa for ten full minutes, for Chrissake?
Then she brandished the card. “Awrite. How yu pay?”
I looked at her dumbly, then the card.
“Visa?” I said hopefully. This had not occurred to me. As a technically illegal transaction, probably putting “Illicit Handjob, $50” on my Visa card was not the normal practice.
Yu can’ du dat! Ah no taik Veeza! Where cash?”
“It’s all I have….” I said forlornly.
“Faw Gah sake,” she said, angry with this clueless client as she stormed out of the room. Apparently I didn’t know anything about this crazy business.
I put on the rest of my clothes, reflecting that sympathy was a scarce commodity in the world of sleaze. She eventually came back in and told me that she had gah the manager to taik da cod – sign it heah and everything okay.
I signed the cod slip, my brain kicking and heaving. Was this worth it? it kept saying. The answer was, of course, no. I left the massage parlor and drove home. That night, I slept the sleep of the unjust. (Contrary to popular belief, the unjust sleep equally as well as the just, assuming that it’s three in the morning and the unjust are fucking exhausted.)
So what did I learn from the experience?
First of all, if you’re buying a hooker, bring cash. Heloise won’t tell you that.
Secondly, much like you should never shop when you’re hungry, you should never trust your dick to make financial decisions. The penis doesn’t pay the Visa bills, unless you’re Ron Jeremy.
Thirdly, although I still believe prostitution should be legal – as a society, we need to face the fact that some men cannot get laid without a wadful of cash, and sex is too nice a pleasure to stop them from having it – I learned that hookers are no substitute for sex with a willing, loving partner. As sporadic as my sex life was with my girlfriend at the time, one night with her was worth a thousand Chinese handjobs. Prostitutes will give you orgasm – but not love, nor affection, nor sympathy, nor anything but physical release. They’re not worth it. Hopefully this discussion of my wretched experience will stop someone else from trying it, because believe me… if I could go back and avoid it, I would.
And finally, if you do buy a hooker… buy American. It’s worth it, if only to avoid the smalltalk.
* – Please excuse the pun.
** – Again, I’m sorry.