She arrived at my office on a Friday afternoon. My first impression was that she would blend in perfectly well if she stepped outside the office and walked around the campus a bit or sat in on a class. She looked, in other words, like an ordinary college student—perhaps a few years older than most, somewhat more attractive, but not particularly unusual in any outward aspect; likewise for her clothing (casual), voice, and facial expression. The interview began.
Tell me who you are, how old you are, and what you do.
My name is Veronica [conspiratorial laughter]. I am 24 years old, but if you ask the internet, I’m 22 [more laughter]. I am a hired escort in South Florida.
How long have you been doing it?
About six months.
Have you had any previous jobs you’d care to talk about?
I worked at Winn Dixie for a long time, like from age 14 to age 21, doing pretty much everything from, like, bagger to I ran their office.
And the pay’s better now?
Yeah, just a little, yeah [laughs]. I was also a dancer for a little bit, a naked dancer obviously, a stripper.
I’ve heard of those.
That did not work out. This is easier than the stripping.
With stripping…there’s a lot of hustle. In this business, you’re posted in an ad, and someone knows what they’re getting before they walk in the door. They know that they want you, you know that they want you, and the money is guaranteed. As far as stripping…at the end of the night you could go home with a negative amount, ‘cause you always have to do tip-outs.
[Thanks to the miracle of modern science we can now predict when a stripper is most likely to go home with "a negative amount."7]
Like the bartenders and stuff like that?
Bartenders, there’s the DJ, you have to pay house fees. You have to deal with a lot more cattiness from the girls.
Do you have friends who are your co-workers?
We’re not really friends. We’re in our own rooms. We have things called GTs, which are get-togethers with clients and all the girls, but that’s pretty much the only time that we interact.
Do you ever work together with any of them?
Once in a while. It just depends on the girl. I personally do provide a threesome option. Some girls don’t.
How much do you get per hour or session?
It depends on the client. If you pay to be part of a website like Indi, you’re what’s considered a VIP client, so me personally, it’s $180 an hour. Out of that 180, I get 100, and my boss gets 80. If it’s non-VIP clients, they are 200 an hour. I get 120, and my boss gets 80. And then there’s TER clients, and the higher scale clients, like when I travel, it’s 300 to 350 an hour, and it’s a 50/50 split because my boss is paying for my flight, my hotel, my expenses and all of that.
Okay, that is more than Winn Dixie.
Yeah. Right now is our slow season, so I might only see three clients a day, maybe four. Once season picks up, I see about five to seven. It just kind of depends on how much I can handle.
Is that emotionally or the demands of how much time it takes, or what?
The job gets to everybody. It’s gonna get to you, so if I see an awful client or someone who’s just treating me disrespectfully, after that I can call my boss and be like, “I want to end this. I don’t want to work anymore today.” He’s very easy. There’s a difference between an agency and a pimp. With a manager or a boss with an agency it’s different because if you say, “I don’t want any more,” he can’t force you. It’s, "Okay, you’re done. Go ahead and leave."
What about your religious views?
My family’s Catholic, and I grew up going to Catholic school and practicing [laughs] and practicing that. It was a struggle when I first started. I think more of my struggle was with what my family would think. I’m very, if…the way that I view it is it’s a different person when I’m in that room. I’m just, I have to put my mind in a different format, so it’s, that part is Veronica, and what I do in that room is Veronica, and when I come out of the room I’m a different person.
Some Catholics take positions as missionaries.
Does that different person go to church?
She used to. I struggle with it sometimes when I do walk into church, and I know what I am, and I know what I do, but it’s like a lot of the time that I’m in [my hotel room] gets erased.
What’s it typically like?
Not what you see on TV. I don’t expect them to walk in the door and try to stab me with a knife. They’re not trying to rape me. A lot of them, about 95% of the guys I see, are trying to make love to me. They’re not trying to just f*** me.
Most of the guys I see fall into two different brackets: the professional man who’s married, and has the whole family life at home. It’s that kind of guy who wants to act like he’s 20 again, just putting that fantasy on me. The other type of client I see is normally a little younger, a guy who could never get a girl, has severe social issues and stuff like that. If he tries to go into a bar and talk to somebody who looks like me he just couldn’t, or he wouldn’t, so he just pays to be able to do it. That’s the kind of guy it takes about an hour and a half to get out of my room. It’s hard because you don’t want to break the fantasy part of it, but you also have to make sure there’s that border.
Do you end up getting repeat clients?
I do. I have quite a few regulars.
In both categories?
In both categories. The first client I ever saw, he [later]…booked one of those dates, and I sat down to dinner, and he just starts bawling [In context, this is the only reasonable spelling.], and he’s like, “You don’t understand. I’m in love with you…I want you to quit the business. I want to be together forever.” He cried for the full four-hour date. And then wanted to extend…About two weeks later the man—we can call him John I guess; they’re all named John [laughs]—the man calls and he says, “Can I see Veronica?” And my boss is like, “I don’t think that’s a really good idea.” He’s like, “Oh, I promise I’m over the whole thing. I understand it’s a business. I just want to see her. I just want to see her.” My boss calls me, and he’s like, “Listen. John wants to see you, and he’s going to be here in half an hour,” and I’m like, “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.” He’s like, “Nah, nah, he says he’s over it. He says he’s over it.” Then [John] comes into the room, and it was all very I-need-to-prove-that-I’m-over-you, so it was very like, it was f***ing, and at the end, about the last five minutes, he started crying. Now I have to see him at GTs… and it’s hard because he’ll get drunk and he’ll come up to me. It’s been a few months now, and it’s still, “You don’t understand. I’m in love with you.” But they don’t know about my outside life. They don’t know that I have a boyfriend. They don’t know. They don’t know I don’t love you.
What did you study in school?
In school, I started as an aeronautical engineering major, and then I changed to an accounting major for about a year, and then I quit. I was in school for about four years, but I just didn’t finish.
How aeronautical engineers do it
What do you like reading?
I like fiction. I guess you could say I like being put in that world. My favorite book of all time is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. The Crimson Petal and the White is kind of about what I do, and that was an interesting read to me. I like a lot of classics. I like Pride and Prejudice. I like anything by Alexander Dumas.
Does your gynecologist know what you do for a living?
What’s your least favorite thing about the job?
The toughest part that I see about this job is you get rated, and you get reviewed, so they will go online, and they’ll read my reviews. It’s like they’re buying the new iPhone. The reviews get very detailed. It’s every move that you made, every little inch of your body…
[This poignant online art project will show you what she means.]
…That’s my least favorite part. I won’t read them. I read them one time, and just…They’re very graphic, very graphic. I just…This is going to sound kind of arrogant. All the reviews that I have are very good; it’s not like I’m reading something that’s bad, but it’s still, I like, I just don’t like reading it. It gets, I just, yeah I just can’t. I just get a mental image of these men like sitting at their computers and writing it and going over it and, you know, touching themselves to it.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened at work?
The funniest thing? Hmm, probably the funniest thing was when a guy came and brought me a bunch of snacks. Literally he walks in the door and places like bowls of chips out and all around, and I’m like, “Okay, he’s supplied. That’s cool.”
The kinkiest thing was, I had a client who…
(To be continued)
1 Simpson, J. A., & Gangestad, S.W. (1991). Individual differences in sociosexuality: Evidence for convergent and discriminant validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 870-883.
2 Webster, G.D., and Bryan, A. (2007). Sociosexual attitudes and behaviors: Why two factors are better than one. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 917-922
3 Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating.Psychological Review,100, 204-232.
4 Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B.Campbell (Ed.),Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man: 1871-1971(pp. 136–179). Chicago: Aldine.
5 Buss, D., & Dedden, L. (1990). Derogation of competitors. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 3, 395-422.
6 Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
7 Miller, G., Tybur J., & Jordan B.D. (2007). Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 375-381.
Dr. Scheyd can be followed on Twitter. @GlennScheyd