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Trading Sex for Survival: What It's Like to be a Street Prostitute

What happens when men want to pay you money to cuddle, and the thought of it makes you sick?

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My best trick ever was a similar situation. I was in California and this guy picked me up and said if I would spend the night with him, he would give me a car. Right--I really believe that. But much to my amazement, after a long night of performing oral sex on me even though a million women would allow that for free, there was a car. It was a Honda Civic and the reason he was giving it to me was it was hot. He put on welder's glasses and blasted out the serial number. He made me promise I would junk the car when I got home though I had no intention of keeping a promise to a john. He also gave me a packet of meth. I kept thinking, how does a girl start out hoofing it and end up a day later with wheels and speed? The car lasted two weeks and its entire exhaust system just fell into the street. But it got me home.

Since I have been doing this I have had to be strict about boyfriends and freebies or I won't make any money. Almost every guy thinks he's an exception and his ego doesn't want to let him pay. Instead of money they try to trade CDs and expensive handbags and dresses (for all the cotillions I go to) because it makes them feel less like a john. Younger guys are especially bad and I have had them steal back the money while I wasn't looking.

Then there's the guys whose fantasy is a turned-on woman, which is lot more work than a simple plumbing job. What do you like, they ask me, like I want my fantasies satisfied by some stranger who calls himself Mr. G? Beside money, I want to say. You have to be careful about requests for your erotic participation. A john can turn around and accuse you of getting paid for something you do anyway.

You also don't want to get your heartstrings involved. There is one guy named Bruce who works in the airline industry and is so cute and young and polite and even single I want to say keep the money, let's have real sex instead of me doing you. Same with another guy who wears a blue jean jacket and bought me a Christmas present. A Christmas present! But I never lost my professionalism. I also never drink on the job because I would get soft or sloppy and not get the money. I try to stay within daytime hours when the johns are sober and everything is efficient.

I guess I would call my boyfriend Ricky who I met in the day hospital. He makes no sense except for when he talks about Meher Baba. I think he is a schizophrenic. One time he got violent and had dark circles under his eyes, but I think he had gone off his meds. Most of the time he's good, low-key company. We have a good time; we get a small bottle of Jack Daniels. He says his psychiatrist told him not to get emotionally involved with me.

Don was my boyfriend for a while and he is definitely a schizophrenic. He described to me how the TV began to talk to him and tell him things and he jumped out the window and broke both legs. He's shown me the exact place where it happened. Now he seems fine but it will never work between us because he orders me around. You're not wearing that, he said once when we were going to a party, and he marched me back into the apartment to change. If I want to take orders I can get in a car.

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