Sex Worker Confessions: Gracie Passette
Describe your work & services.
I was an escort for a number of years, but now I am mainly a writer and editor. I consider myself a facilitator of conversations or an activist more than anything else though... When I am forced to address such definition questions.
There are many who discuss the differences between the types of sex workers. On one hand, I find it largely the problem with the fragmentation in our industry, and therefore the lack of acceptability of our work and of sex in general; we divide ourselves like 'red and blue states' rather than look at what we all have in common. On the other, there are clearly differences and they need to be addressed, if only for marketing purposes so clients find the correct providers & services.
But underneath it all, sex workers are all about bridging, in body & soul, word & deed, the irreconcilable differences between realities and desires. As a writer I am no less such a bridge. I still take the unacceptable and make it acceptable, the impossible the possible. My words may not bring the same solace or satisfaction as a physical connection; but without my words, many would never feel the right to do such things.
How long have you been doing this work?
Nearly two decades, I think. I'm not skirting the issue to hide my age (43 years) for vanity's sake but I had to believe in 'sex positive' before I could be 'sex positive' and it is difficult to pin-down the moment & year I became sex positive.
Describe, as best as you can, your type of clientele in terms of what you see as their need for sex services. (Not just the 'need to get off' but why they hire help; what they are missing in their lives.)
As an escort it is much easier to describe clientele in the sense that I saw, met and spent time with clients more than I do now. Mainly my clients fell into three categories:
The bed-notch guys, who only wanted to have new girls ~ or so they thought. (More on that later.)
The broken-hearted, such as widowers, divorced men, handicapped men, men who never quite got the girl...
The very busy ~ corporate ladder climbing types, entrepreneurs, business owners, construction workers, CEOs, professional athletes, politicians, truckers and others who in some way or another had sacrificed personal lives for professional ones.
On the surface, all of these men sought the services of a sex worker for practical reasons. Certainly it's easier and filled with less hassles than picking a girl up at a bar; but it's also more ethical. For those who travel too often or otherwise are unable to be available for relationships, they seek companionship on their terms without hurting others. Ditto for those who are emotionally unavailable for relationships.
For example, I once had a relatively regular client who was a widower with three very young children. He said that a year later he was still not ready to 'replace' his wife, and with being a single parent who needed to work full time to support them all, he just didn't feel right about going out on dates and spending time away from his children ~ and, as he knew he wasn't ready for a relationship, he certainly wasn't going to bring women into his children's lives that weren't going to be there long, making the children suffer additional (though smaller) losses. He felt the most responsible thing to do was to continue friendships with long-time friends, and when needed, seek the companionship of a woman who wouldn't be offended at 'beck & call' nature of time spent together.
Another example was a young (and very hot) corporate executive. He was tired of girl friends who were miserable with his traveling for months at a time. One even complained that after three months in China he had decided to stay the following Saturday and Sunday after the business had finished so that he could see more of China than what he had seen from hotel, conference room, and taxi windows. He had only wanted to see a place he may never see again, but she felt he had stolen time from her. After that, he no longer wished to pretend. He opted for sex workers, with their no-strings, until he had reached a point in his career where he could afford to physically settle down and be there for a woman. (And I say 'physically settle down' as it was pretty obvious this was an intelligent, considerate man who was painfully aware of his partners' feelings and didn't wish to harm them.)
But beneath all three of these 'types' was loneliness; they wanted human connections, physical and emotional, but not at the expense of others.
Do you try to help with those needs, even if the client hasn't specifically asked or even acknowledged this need? If so, how? If not, why not?
Of course! I considered this 75% of my work. In fact, there were so many times that clients would sheepishly say that they 'should move along to the sex now' as if they were somehow either embarrassing their gender or disappointing me! I would remind them that they were paying for my company, not any specific actions or activities, and that I was in fact having a wonderful time.
But I also did, especially with regulars, work with them gently to assist them in a variety of ways. For some, it was to assure them that their needs (kinky, pursuit of business, healing, etc.) was normal and acceptable. For others, such as the bed-notch guys, it was to help them see what it was they were really looking for.
If you have specific example, like the one client you mentioned you helped, please tell us about it.
There are many, but as I promised I'd discuss more about the bed-notch guys, I'll give you the story of Gary.
Gary was a classic bed-notch client. He continuously called all the agencies asking if they had new girls. It didn't matter what they looked like, how old they were, what they specialized in, or anything; all that mattered was that they were new. Only when there were no new girls, or when he couldn't wait to get an appointment with one, he would see a girl he'd already seen.
On my first night as an escort, Gary called and naturally I was selected. I'd been told all he wanted was a quick lay with the new girl, that I'd be back in less than an hour, and that while he wasn't a good tipper he was an easy to work with client.
Obviously I was nervous myself, so when Gary opened his apartment door, I maneuvered to the sofa and invited him to chat a bit. Gary wasn't thrown by this; likely many new girls were this way. But tonight would be a bit different...
I noticed on the coffee table a photo of a cute little white dog, a Westie. Delighted to see the photo I asked if he had a dog. Gary's face lit-up as he told me the dog was his parents' dog, Susie-Q, and that he watched her when they traveled, which they did a lot. As Gary talked about Susie-Q, it became very clear that this man was a dog-man. He loved taking care of her, taking walks, playing fetch in the house, having her sit pretty and all the doggie things. He should have had a dog.
Well, to make a long story short, Gary and I eventually did the deed and I left. I didn't hear from him for many weeks (presumably there were lots of new girls at agencies all over town). But within I'd say about two months, there I was, driving back to Gary's place.
Naturally, I inquired about Susie-Q and he seemed so delighted to have me remember her that this time he directed me to the sofa and brought out his little doggie brag book full of photos of her. Again and again this happened until Gary was seeing me every two weeks. Each time we talked about Susie-Q and I kept nudging him towards getting a dog of his own. I mean here was a guy who loved the companionship of a dog and all the commitment and responsibility that goes with it, so it was clear to me that if he had a dog he wouldn't feel so lonely that he'd need to provide himself safe but anonymous sex just to avoid feeling alone.
Eventually Gary did get a puppy -- a Westie, which got along great with old Susie-Q. I hadn't heard from him for a few weeks and assumed he'd gone back to his fresh-meat when he called for me to come over and see his new puppy, Bobby-B. I did, but we didn't have sex. In fact, Gary said this was sort of a good-bye as now that he had Bobby-B he'd been going to the local dog park and was rather busy... "Busy" meant that Gary no longer felt so lonely. And to my knowledge Gary never used the services of a sex worker again.
The sad side of sex work is that you can lose clients ~ and that's not my wallet talking either. It's rather an odd feeling to spend so much time getting to know people and then to be left assuming that they are no longer calling you because they are happier, getting their needs met elsewhere. But that's the nature of 'the game'.
I sure hope Gary (and all the others) are happy with their lives.
About the interviewer: Secondhand Rose is a former escort who became a writer and then, when she discovered she missed sex work, returned to sex work as a phone companion and conversationalist.