An Ex-Call Girl Tells All
What follows is an excerpt from my forthcoming book of interviews: The Talk.
I asked people, ‘How were you told the facts of life?’
And, ‘What information were you given?’
Major Gerard Crastley invited me to perform at a Mess do. I was asking my questions backstage. A tame brigadier thought I must speak to his, ‘Old chum of many moons, Belinda…’
Sounding papery on her landline, Belinda invited me round to her flat in proper Bloomsbury.
We sat in her white kitchen at a scrubbed table. She served tea with home-made apple upside down cake.
‘How was Brigadier Lance?’ Belinda stilled her fingers, long and thin like quills. ‘You know he’s your chum Gerard’s real father?’
As far as I knew, Gerard’s father was Graham Crastley, artisan beer maker.
Belinda was smirking. ‘Oh, no, dear. At the time, the brewer had his own droop.’
My sister read about Dutch caps. We looked at Old Masters paintings and wondered how having those funny big white hats on their heads would stop women getting pregnant.
In British Guiana, we had native servants who would do the deed al fresco au natural. From the age of five, I was playing sex with my dolls. They’d have their dolls’ tea party, a recitation lesson, then I’d have them mount each other.
When we came back to England, I had a nanny. Katrin was fresh from the convent. She was all mummy could get for me. I expect it was a time of general strikes. Mummy would send Katrin for breaks back to the convent meanwhile sending me for remedial elocution. This would happen when I’d said one too many ‘tinks’, ‘fecks’ and ‘gobshites’. Katrin was largely untaught. In that way of where to hide the purloined letter — in the letters compartment on the desk. Where the leaf — in the forest. Where the mentally subnormal, dyslexic, whatever — in the convent. Convent girls then were expected to take interim jobs as secretaries or shop girls — those that happened to have adequate maths — while waiting for a husband. All this feminist development since those times, and just look at the young girls today on social media being vile to each other about the perpetual reams of slutty photos of themselves with trout pouts. I want to shake them.
Nuns, incidentally, believe it’s a mortal sin to ever touch themselves in their sexual regions. Even when it’s for the sake of cleanliness, which don’t they know, fecks sakes, is next to godliness.
For anything that ails them down there, the Mothers Superior tell the sisters to prayerfully put on another pair of Vatican approved cami-knickers.
When I began dining downstairs, as it’s called, my father, Max, would project slides above the dinner table. He was a gynaecologist. My brother’s first word was ‘prolapse.’
‘What is this disease, children, tell me?’ my father would ask.
‘Darling,’ my mother would intervene, ‘can we at least have our mains before you start on gonorrhoea?’
My mother let on my father had treated Katrin and one or two of her convent cronies. I don’t think it was a wholly unserious idea that he upstick from his Wigmore Street practise to set up in the grounds of some well-founded Sacred Heart somewhere.
So, really, I would say from my father I learned the precise mechanics. He cleared away some family items in his study at home and rigged up some objects to, I believe, make it look like his consulting room in town. Gauze, Bunsen, forceps. And they were precise mechanics: insert this tab into this flap, more or less, like one of the Make Your Own Opera House paper craft kits. My brother made a point of comparison between glue and sperm. Katrin put the idea into my head we must, like the Virgin Mary, keep ourselves for that someone special. Ideally, of course, she meant we would go into a convent ourselves and be a bride of Jesus. Which would be quite unsatisfactory if you were marrying for the sex. Though I seem to remember seeing something along such lines in a film where a woman was impregnated by a demon. The music score would become seeringly ominous and the bedclothes would bulge from her calf regions upward.
Exchange visits with the local boys’ school, begun when I was fifteen, brought me to sex. Certain masters at the school, tired of their commonplace fare, were hankering after something firmer. The watercolour over my dressing table is mine from memory of the view from the Chemistry master’s rooms. All those post-coital tints.
I blackmailed him over six whole terms.
Then having left school, I wouldn’t ever have been a fit for the typing pool, overseen by a sex-starved had lacking that last vestige of black evil required to take the veil, in her chocolate hessian two-piece and gamekeeper’s shoes, lunch from Tupperware and a thermos…
All to find a man.
Men were going to find me and pay for the privilege.
I had it very cushy. Not at all real prostitution. Run by gutter pimps, the real — sickening — trade happens in the street, out of harshest, most desperate need. I was indoors, word of mouth, no cards in phone boxes. Not so much as a coded advert in The Lady.
One client paid me to iron. He said his wife refused to look after him. Oh, we fucked — exactly the same time in each hour spent in foreplay and then in the missionary position. After which, I ironed. He once sobbed when I pointed out a work shirt sleeve was terribly frayed, ducks.
For another, it was battle reconstructions with toy soldiers that were all rust.
Another would ask me to read theatre programmes with him before he went to the performance alone. Couldn’t afford the second ticket or so many hours of my time.
I was the pre-curtain up supper.
My speciality evolved because I never quite asked, ‘How young?’ Once the flyaway baby hair grew thicker, pomade and a sharp side parting could be deceiving. Over-egging, a father might deck his son out with a fob chain. I really couldn’t tell whether I’d closed with a fully filled-out youth or not until I’d checked for that displaced perkiness of pre-stretched clavicles.
And by then it would be rather too late, we found.
Occasionally, I instructed young women. Alone or with their partner. Women never need to be reminded, of course, how impossible it is to have great sex with a one-night stand. I encouraged them, It’s your body, find out what it likes. And ask your partner for it. There’s a fifty percent chance you’ll get it. Men tend to be such selfish lovers, I simply dinned in how their responsibility was never to cause displeasure. If he suspects he’s hurting, he must ask. If she says he is, there’s so much else to do — and after it, he can just quickly come. If they were having sex without a condom, he must ask where she wants him to come. A case study could be written on the where of that coming. Then he really must comply. They might need an immediate spillage clean up. Or he might want to urinate as a precaution against STDs. Or she might want to douche. Or either of them might heed a religious observance to wash away the sin. Whatever. Then they must cuddle.
Dialogue and observation. Make sex your friend.
For my young men on their tod, I would dress sexily — or so one hoped — but not complicatedly. No hooks and eyes, suspender belts, stocking fastenings. My gents could experience such things with haberdashery floor girls.
I would make the young man feel like the seducer and, if need be manipulate a change in tack. I would command myself never to give away my own ennui. Not quite the right word — but try for size: ‘awareness of how little there was actually that could be got up to’.
I wouldn’t allow immediate scrabbling to get the penis into the vagina. That’s akin to the soprano coming onstage and immediately hitting her top C.
I might feign a slight neck strain, leave them to think massage was their idea. Never deigned to respond to one Etonian saying, ‘I expect that’s from too many blowjobs’.
We would progress down the arm — oh my practised shivers — and then inland.
Sensual manipulation of the breast I rewarded with kitten purr-squeaks, which quite often led clients to truly fondle — rather than continue to treat the breast as suet to be hand weighed, dough to be kneaded or pelmet to be slapped free of dust.
You could never quite tell, apropos my bottom. Was he happy with it to face away, or was he always seeking to turn it to? Whichever, it was strictly off-limits other than as a substitute for piano keys, for leverage, or simple admiration.
They could, again, get that sort of thing from the haberdashery floor girls.
As with the breasts, so — similarly — the clitoris. I taught them to treat it as they would a clinging oyster. And if they hadn’t yet acquired a taste for oysters, along with peaty malts, Turkish cigarettes and rolled herring, I could usually be sure of repeat business. I would never have my clitoris ever treated, please — no matter how topflight your public school — as a Lilliputian punching bag, a chronic itch, a lift call button when the lift is clearly signed OUT OF ORDER, a teat by any other name, pencil mark being erased by finger, game of shove ha’penny.
Easy does it.
No need for that sound of drunken navvies mud-fighting.
See, with time, and your lovely help, we produce our own lovely unguent.
But yes, use your trust Vaseline on yourself…if it calms you.
Now, like press-ups at first, then relax yourself around me, but not so I’m supporting your weight.
I’ll guide you.
No, it’s not a failing.
Since when do men ever read maps?
A line I only used when I could be sure. What do they say — never risk levity with a man when it comes to his bedroom prowess, garden shed rituals or golf swing?
So, we’re hopefully in now.
I will have made sure to affirm his reaction.
Be it bug-eyed.
He’d never imagined.
Once, only: ‘Are you sure it’s meant to feel like this in here?’
I would now seek to not disturb their concentration. Possibly a fallacious doctrine, like not waking a sleepwalker.
If I was sure — levity risked again — I might remind them of the infinitely slower build of the female orgasm. And deem it a success if some of them paused for thought.
And even asked…
Then I would conduct them to take it leisurely like the bigger ruminants, not at a garble like the small chatterers. I taught a whole generation the prize bull’s hip swinging, sauntering up approach. Some practised by incorporating it into their walk. Can you imagine the pavement pile ups on the King’s Road?
Oh, I never had an orgasm, other than possibly accidentally — that would be like an actor at the curtain call applauding himself.
As one Harrovian rightly though crassly reminded me, ‘My father’s paying for me to come, not you.’
And he went on shafting away at monkey speed.