Alan Diaz is a senior at Florida International University. He has served as the editor of the college newspaper, and he was our most recent editorial intern. He's also one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He turned 21 years old this past November, which made him old enough for our purposes.
Originally we had wanted to interview some of Sonya's regular customers, the once-a-months, the once-a-weeks, the addicts who use her service as often as possible, damn the cost. But Sonya couldn't persuade anyone to talk.
So we decided to provide our own john. Or in this case, our own Alan. So we handed our lovable intern $180 and Sonya's phone number and instructed him to report back on what it's like to be escorted. Sonya paired him with an escort named Nina, perhaps coincidentally the same escort we had interviewed a few days earlier.
The following is Alan's account of the interlude with a few observations from Nina interspersed.
Alan: I call her at like ten in the morning, before I go to class. I'm sitting in my bedroom in front of my computer. On the screen is a paper I'm working on for Lit. class.
I'm thinking, Uh, what am I going to say? The phone rings three times and I almost think someone isn't there. Then a soft female voice says, "Hello." It was as if I was calling my aunt. She didn't say "Hello! Hookers!"
I'm like, "Hi."
She notices from my hesitation that I'm nervous and she switches into a more seductive mode. I say I'm interested in trying her service and say something like, "A friend recommended me." She can tell that I am timid and she asks if I want her to explain how it works. I do, so she tells me the difference between an in-call and an out-call. In-call, when you go meet the girl at her place, is $180. (An out-call is when the girl comes to you.) One time she says "girl." The other time she says "model." There's also the half-hour rate of $120. I tell her I'd like an in-call for a regular hour, I guess.
She asks me what kind of girl I want. I say I guess it doesn't matter. She says she has a girl available in Coral Gables named Nina. She says Nina has strawberry-blond hair, big blue eyes, and is a 36-something-something. I don't remember exactly. She also gives the address of the hotel, which is on South Dixie Highway. She tells me that Nina is 22 years old, and she gives her weight, which I can't remember, either. We agree to meet at noon.
I eat a toaster strudel and take a shower and off I go.
Nina: When Sonya sets up an appointment, the first thing that happens is the customer comes in and we introduce ourselves to each other. I check his ID and take his money. Then I call the service to tell them that everything is cool. That's it.
He can stay for a full hour but most stay only for a half an hour. I put the money in a magazine or somewhere where he hopefully won't be able to see it, in case he wants to take it back. I have to be careful when I am dealing with strangers, but usually they are more scared than the girls are. I could have a big guy in the closet, right? They don't know.
Alan: I was told to use the pay phone in the parking lot of the hotel, so I do. I call the same number from the classified ad, and I tell the woman [Sonya] that I'm there. She tells me what room number to go to, but before I can get there, Nina pops out the door. I tell her my name.
She's wearing a black mesh polyester dress. It's a long dress, and sleeveless with two little spaghetti straps on the shoulders. As advertised, she has strawberry-blond hair. Her skin is fair, with a little bit of freckles. She has a prominent nose and her chin is kind of droopy. She's not ugly at all, but she isn't a knockout or anything. She has a nice smile. She's wearing lipstick. She's older than 22, that's for sure.
The maid is cleaning the room right next door. "God I get so angry with them," Nina says in a German accent. "They are so nosy. I know they want to know what I do, but it's none of their business."
Her room is a standard hotel room. It smells like cigarettes and air freshener. In the main area, twin beds sit facing each other, separated by a nightstand which has a fax machine on it. On a far table lay folders of paperwork and a pack of Camel cigarettes. The blinds on the windows are shut. The television is on. A radio is also playing. Nina likes house music.
So she's like, you know, "Get comfortable," and she takes her shoes off. I notice that not all her toenails are painted. The phone rings, Nina answers it and says, "Yeah, he's here," and giggles. While she's talking on the phone, she slips out of the dress. Then she hangs up and sits down on the bed next to me. "I'm always naked," she says. "I used to be a stripper so I'm pretty comfortable."
I'm like, "Ooomph."
For the first ten minutes of the conversation she's just sitting there naked. We're sitting on the same bed together. She admires my shoes. I notice she has a little tattoo just above her genital area. A black kind of symbol or something. She gets up to lock the cat in the bathroom. She at one point walks over to the TV naked and I can see that she has some kind of bruises in the ass area.
Nina: It's not so much sex with the customer. It's very little sex. Most of the times it is a little fantasy involving shoes or maybe lingerie. Customers can make clothes requests, but they'll have to pay extra. I do stripping and dancing and massages and talking. There is a lot of fantasy playing.
Alan: So she's sitting there on the bed and I'm sitting there and she's naked. We talk about whatever, about what we're going to do. I tell her I have a girlfriend. She asks if my girlfriend cares that I am using an escort service and I say she will. "Then why did you call?" Nina asks. I say something like I need to try something different. She asks if I want a back rub. She says she gives excellent back rubs.
"Can we just talk?" I ask.
I tell her I'm a student at FIU and she asks where it's located. She says she's living in the hotel until she can fix up her apartment in Kendall. I think she wants me to think she's only been working for a week. That reassures people that she doesn't have diseases or something, I guess. And she remains naked. It's kind of weird, but I get used to it. When she realizes it isn't going to happen, finally, she slips back into her dress.
I tell her I'm a Lit. student and we talk about German literature that we'd both read: Goethe and Hesse. I read Siddhartha and Demian. We talk briefly about Jung and Freud and about why Jung broke with Freud. It's kind of ironic to be talking about that with her, because the main reason they broke off was because Freud thought mainly that everything had to do with sex.
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We talk about the enigma and the animus and the theory that everyone has a persona of the opposite sex inside them, which may mean that everybody is actually bisexually inclined. She says she's done it with a girl before. She tells me that her brother has a Ph.D. I tell her that I'm thinking about studying physics.
She lights a cigarette.
When it's time to leave, she gets up and gives me a hug. She steps outside first to see if the coast is clear. She gives me a kiss on the cheek and she only charges me the half-hour rate of $120, even though I ended up staying for the full hour.
In the end, she was cool. She was nice to me.
Nina: I've been doing his job for ten years now, working first in New York City then down here. After all this time I don't hate men. None of the girls do. It makes you kind of like them, actually.
-- Robert Andrew Powell