From Jester To King CI
By Simon Barget
Once upon a time I tried going into the escorting business but before starting out I thought it would be prudent to see things from the girls’ perspective and do some research. I was never good at picking up women and these girls weren’t even your regular girls; they couldn’t deny or reject you, give you the once over, these were women who you paid to accept you and so there could be no concern they’d refuse. But when it came down to it I had the same anxieties as with regular women and in some ways you could say the anxieties were heightened. Perhaps we hadn’t approached it in the right way, me and my partner, because we decided to go right into a hotel, straight into the bar and start chatting there. Paul was the antithesis to me, always loquacious, having something light on the tongue, something easy, to every circumstance a choice word or phrase, plus he had the enormous physique of a man balked by no one and conducted himself with an ease few could match. The hotel we’d chosen was the Dorchester, and as we go in I start to feel uncomfortable, and sure enough the girls are there at the bar and you can spot them a mile off in their sequinned dresses, their purses and chokers, their legs crossed lavishly over each other and their gaze set upon us as we enter the room. What made me feel worse was exactly that brazenness, that shamelessness, they knew what you wanted and weren’t afraid to transmit it around them; with the regular women you could forget your desire since they wouldn’t always mirror it back, they might not look at you at all, might walk straight past or pretend to be gay, with regular women there were all sorts of scenarios which didn’t end in the deed.
And the degree to which I was discomfited was the degree to which Paul looked at ease. He started chatting, prattling away as if you could just strike up a conversation, oblivious to the numerous connotations; he asked them how they were, how had their day been, what they thought of some current affair, and to not labour a point but the ease with which stuff fell out of Paul’s mouth was astonishing, and often it seemed as if here were just two people having a conversation, like any two people in the world, and why I should just stand askance gawping upon them seemed even to me to be a bit overdone.
And so we picked up this girl, I can’t remember her name, but she was black-skinned and beautiful, elegant in a slightly sharp way, and Paul wanted to do it all in the proper manner, and what this entailed was driving her in his big posh car to another hotel, show her his power and then who knows perhaps wine and dine her. But what mattered most was the taking of the woman, overcoming her will to the point where she’d go along with you firstly, and then to the point where she’d actually come in your car. This appeared to be Paul’s intention, what he was trying to show me, exactly the thing I could never achieve. And as senseless as this was, since we were at a hotel already, we got in this Bentley, me in the back, and started driving slowly up Upper Brook Street. And you could see the girl loving it, you could see how concordant she was that this was entirely the correct way, and there was this sense of adultness about it, this was the point at which I felt most distant from everything, from them, from the arrangements, from the protocol, and this was the point at which I felt that there would be things in this world that I would never fathom, that I should just let other people carry on without me. This was the point at which I most wanted to be Paul; I couldn’t understand how a man could be so different, so commanding, yes this was the point at which I was most aware of the levels of manliness I could never aspire to.
And even as we were in that car, mostly dawdling in traffic, on our way to the hotel, I felt uncomfortable about the prospect of going into a different hotel with this woman, I thought that we would arouse attention, and where Paul had got the money to buy a Bentley I do not know, and as they both sat bolt upright in those front seats, I could see the backs of their heads so clearly -- the front seats had no head-rests -- I could see this adroitness and straightness in both their deportments, something faintly regal, as if confirming to the world and his brother that this was how it was done, and the sheer confidence of Paul was all that was needed to take something slightly illicit into the realms of the acceptable.