The Client Who Changed My Mind
Updated: Oct 25, 2022
BY JORDAN LUCA
Would you like some muffins?” asked George, as he invited me to sit at his kitchen table. He placed a plate of small blueberry muffins in front of me, which I instantly recognized as the Krusteaz box brand with the dehydrated blueberries. I have enjoyed craft cocktails and extravagant seafood dinners with men like George, but I was particularly charmed by the homemade baked goods.
I accepted the stout discs of pastry, and a decaf cup of coffee. George and his wife were sensitive to caffeine, but that can happen in your 60’s. I must have hesitated momentarily when reaching for the plate, because George joked that they weren’t poisoned or drugged. I gave a brief chuckle; I am used to men making jokes as a means of assuring me I’m not in danger.
George sat next to me, and shifted in his seat. He straightened his khakis and smoothed his blue checkered button-up. I could tell he had combed his thin-but-modest head of silver hair, and I watched his muted blue eyes wander nervously.
“I was hoping we could spend the first couple of hours talking,” he suggested. My jaw immediately unclenched, as I was apprehensive about the four hours he asked me to block out for him. I’m a virile, 26-year-old man, but there’s only so much I can do. I had agreed regardless, as I had only been active as a sex worker for a year. I was becoming more confident and starting to gain momentum, but still felt guilty about turning down any experience (and almost a thousand dollars) out of fear of stagnating.
“That sounds lovely,” I said, smirking sweetly. I relaxed into my chair and took a bite of the sweet treat. I was transported back to my humble beginnings as a baker, making box brownies and cakes as a kid. I still have a fondness for them, though my tastes have grown and I’ve become more passionate about baking and food in general. I didn’t share this with George though. I heavily curated the personal information I shared with clients.
George told me about his picturesque suburban life. He was married, with two kids and now grandkids. He and his wife had been married for over 40 years. He described his wife as stern, traditional, and no-nonsense. “Have you ever told your wife about your desires?” I asked earnestly. He furiously shook his head. “My wife is too by-the-book to ever be okay with that. That’s why we had to meet today, she’s visiting her sister. I love her, but we married because that’s what you did back then.”
His words left a trail of discontent that thickened the air. I felt a deep empathy for George, as I once lived with a woman who also stifled the parts of me that she didn’t like. My aunt Ceci taught me about the parts of sex that were less clinical than the videos my mother, an elementary school nurse, showed me and her students. What Ceci taught me included the fact that weed makes you horny, but only offered to buy me my first joint if I “used it on a girl.”
After exactly two hours of conversation, George proposed that we move upstairs. “If you would still like to, that is. If you’re bored, we can go our separate ways,” he said matter-of-factly, as if to arm himself against potential rejection. I quickly refused; I wanted the rest of my fee, of course.
The next hour of being physical together began with tender kisses and embraces. He seemed quite content just to have me next to him, naked in his bed. He allowed me to take the lead, considering he was less spry and had less experience with men. As was the case with most of my clients, the sex was very average.
We finished — rather, I should say the sex stopped. George had impotence issues and I often had difficulties orgasming with clients. We laid in bed caressing each other. He told me about the one other time he had been with a man. In his early 20’s, he and a young neighbor lad snuck into George’s family barn to explore each others’ bodies. He luxuriated in the memory of these few formative encounters, and his voice didn’t carry the hints of exhaustion that were present when talking about his wife. We continued to talk as he affectionately soaped me in the shower, savoring the last few minutes he had to touch a male body, the only male body he had touched in four decades.
“You wanna take any muffins for the road?” George asked, leading me downstairs. As I waited for him to open the scrupulously locked and dead-bolted front door , my empathy kicked in. Years of remorse, of discouragement, of hiding from the person who is supposed to be your greatest advocate, all washed over me. I was too overcome with a light grief to think about food; I politely declined the muffins.
George had contacted me only 24 hours before we had met, but I could tell that he had been waiting for me for over 40 years. His voice broke and his tone softened as he bid me farewell. “You will never know how much this meant to me. Thank you so, so much.” He gave me a lingering peck on the lips, and then pulled me in for one last embrace.
“Take care, George,” I said as I walked out the door. I really meant it. I know what it means to have someone in your life who would rather ignore the parts of you that deserve celebration. The toll is immense and scarring, and George deserved better than four decades of that.
I hope our time together provided him with a dose of liberation. I know that it did for me. I was liberated from viewing sex work as transactional, a bias that I am now realizing followed me too far into my career. I think we as sex workers have all had that client that changed our minds, who shaped how we view our future interactions. Who opened our hearts, even just a little, to the idea that sex work is far more compassionate and cathartic than Hollywood often portrays. I realized my potential not only to pleasure, but to heal and fulfill dreams. After meeting George, sex work was no longer a side hustle; it became a beautiful, empowering part of my identity.
WORDS BY JORDAN LUCA
ILLUSTRATIONS BY OZ HAL0