Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Marie is my manager, my madame, my pimp. And like all people in her position she wants me to work as often as possible. She has the usual range of options, encouragement, assignment, manipulation and coercion.

She will use them all, though she lacks leverage and the will for coercion. She can choose not to send a girl new clients or try to shift clients requesting a girl to another. But that has limits, we all have our regulars and if we walked we would take them with us, at least for a while. She could threaten to expose us to family and friends, but that would likely backfire. What we do is legal, what she does is not. What a win-win for a prosecutor, rooting out moral corruption and standing up for poor downtrodden prostitutes at the same time.

Sending a thug to beat us would be counter productive. It is doubtful that the clients would pay Marie’s rates for bruised and battered whores, unless of course they were paying for the opportunity to administer the beating. Anyway coercion and force does not fit her personality, her image of herself, nor the relationship she wants with her girls.

Last week I met with my accountant and later with my financial advisor. Both were pleased with my financial situation. Under the plan we agreed on I would have a monthly stipend in an amount that would be similar to a person in marketing who was just starting out. Any earnings above that I would save till I reached a target. Above the target I could spend freely. I surprised them both by saving some of my stipend.

While I’m not cheap, I can be thrifty when I put my mind to it. This may change as I continue to think about buying a car and I’m considering taking the summer off. A friend has suggested we travel through Eastern Europe and Russia west of the Urals by camper.

My investments are fine. On the advice of a client who is a currency trader, and over the objections of my financial advisor, I made a large bet on currency fluctuation and did very well. It was exciting but I bailed out while the dollar was still falling. I don’t think I’ll do that again soon.

Over the last few months I’ve been very profitable for Marie; she’s worried that I want to cut back drastically and she’s trying to figure out how to keep me producing. Conversations with Marie are never direct, at best they are elliptical, you often know where you will end up but the route to get there can be…interesting.

We were meeting in her office at the back of the store in the morning prior to its opening. She had made lattes and had brought croissants and we made small talk while we snacked. Then she asked how things were going and then off on a tangent, then back to business and then another tangent. Finally she told me she had something to show me and went to another room.

Eva, before she was so rudely interrupted, often commented that this was a good business only if a woman has a plan and Olympia will simply remind you that it is a business. From the business point of view I’m doing pretty well, but I’m worried about my plan.

When she returned she carried a clamshell jewel case. “Here I want you to see this. You’ll just love it.” She sat down next to me and opened the case; it contained a diamond necklace and a set of dropped earrings. They were beautiful I told her and they were. “Go ahead, try them on,” she urged.

Maybe it was hubris or naiveté or even foolishness to think I could build a freelance career in marketing in France. I have good skills and I’m talented and could succeed in the US. But marketing is all about communication and my French language skills simply are insufficient. Since fall I’ve only had one contract and that was for only ten hours.

I put the necklace on then the earrings and then slid my blouse off my shoulders and admired myself in a mirror that Marie held. “I have them on consignment,” she said, “for an estate. I have a month to find a buyer otherwise they will go to auction.” I asked her how much they were worth and she told me. “They look lovely on you, beautiful things such as these should be worn by the young and pretty.”

Currently my only profession is that of a whore. This in of itself is fine, I am making and saving money and generally enjoy what I do. But the future concerns me. How long could I do this? Perhaps twenty years, that would make me forty-three. I know as I age my income will diminish, but I have come across several companions in their forties who are charging 300-500 dollars or euros for their services. If I stay in shape and maintain myself it isn’t unreasonable to believe I could make that much as well.

I’ve played with the numbers a bit, if my income is steady till I’m thirty and begins a decline in both rate and hours worked I would have a comfortable nest egg to live off. But that would be at the cost of other things I want in my life. If I quit at thirty I would have enough money to fund an early and comfortable retirement in my mid fifties or a supplement to other income at a younger age.

In my little life plan I see myself having my children between thirty and thirty-five, regardless if I have a partner or not. But I do not want to be a mother and a whore and I can’t guarantee that I’ll have sufficient savings to raise them by that time. So I need a plan and as Julie pointed out in an exchange, with out one I could end up working at a perfume counter and I want more out of my working life than that.

“I can never afford these,” I replied. “You could,” said Marie. “I can arrange a loan.” Now my interest was piqued as to where this would go. “How much and for how long.” I asked. Depending on which metaphor you prefer, or better yet let us mix them, she was attempting to sink her tentacles into me. No way that I was going to give that kind of leverage over me, but they were pretty and I was enjoying seeing myself in the mirror wearing them so I pretended to think about her proposition. Finally she asked if we had a deal. No I replied and a look of disappointment then frustration flash across her face.

I have some thoughts regarding my options. I need to build my resume more than I need income, so I can focus on work for charitable organizations where the compensation would be small or none, but the experience no less valuable. In school I had a double major in marketing and arts administration and a possibility is to explore work at a museum or gallery. And of course there is the Retailer, he is in a position to help and I would think that he would be willing to help his girlfriend find work.

I took the jewels off and put them in the box commenting on how beautiful they were. We discussed my schedule through June and I told her when I couldn’t work. I didn't mention my plans to take the summer off. “Then keep me in Paris,” I paused intentionally to taunt her, “through February and then book me as you have for the last couple of months." She smiled in relief.


Tonight I have a date, a referral from a man I saw in Milan in November. Or was it December, it's all is getting run together.



Blogger Kevin said...

This Marie seems like an interesting woman. Tempting her employees with baubles, playing on their vanity, trying to make them indebted to her - a subtle scheme worthy of a fairy tale villain.

Way to avoid taking a bite out of the enchanted apple...

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, one of the classic ploys from Marie. Me, I'd work my contacts and try to expand my network where and whenever possible. I posted on a suggestion previously, but the Arts connection is also worthy of pursuit certainly. Try to cultivate or befriend some of the more neglected artists, possibly singers or musicians. This might ruin your rep, you'll get a reputation for sluming perhaps. But the arty crowd tends to hang together.

Other than that, the careful use and maintence of your resources both financial and personal is the surest way to survive in any industry for a long time. But your plan sounds to be feasible, as long as you are willing to stick with it and make the sacrifices and do the hard work to make it all work.--VJ

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss Eva!

12:37 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Yes Marie is a manipulator, though at times clumsy.

Thanks for the thought on individual artists VJ, I had been thinking more on the lines of organizations. As far as slumming, well that's ok, I just don't want to be tagged as a groupie.

Maybe Eva will post a comment somewhere so we know she's alright?


3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a good thought Kim, But I'm unfamiliar with how it might work over there. Down home it's the older society matrons who 'do' the arts, and staff and run many of the arts organizations. There's very few of the younger set involved unless as administrators or as artists. There might be an in there somewhere, but ours, while not exactly stuck up, remain a pretty staid bunch.

If you've got a lot of money, or do well at fundraising you're in like Flynn, and naturally this predisposes the population to be middle aged and higher. It might be a tough nut to crack otherwise. Did you have a specialty with that Arts degree? Something you really liked that was unusual or that might give you a good start? It's a thought... Good Luck!--VJ

9:47 AM  
Blogger John Psmyth said...

Kimmie, Kimmie, Kimmie...

Take the work, by all means, but please don't go into debt to your agent!

Please tell me you're not even thinking of doing that.

Remember Manon Lescaut, who turned back for her jewels!

3:35 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Don't worry John, I'm not that dumb. But they were beautiful.


6:32 PM  
Blogger C.K. said...

I am curious.

"What we do is legal, what she does is not."

Is prostitution now legal in France?

I didn't think it was when I went there a few years ago.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Thaϊs said...

Hello Kim,

I am still new to the community, and haven't been following your blog yet, but this post was incredibly interesting and shows great common sense - and you definitely didn't need me to know that...
The reason I am commenting, is that I am originally Russian. I've been living in Canada for past 5 years, but I still stay in touch with a number of friends. So if you ever consider the trip seriously, you have an option of using me as a resource for travel advice and best practices.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim - why don't you work independently? I am an independent escort based in New York. Your procurer sounds exactly like the one I started out with - a nightmare. Do they have a farm where they churn out evil, greedy madames somewhere? At any rate, I work for myself now, and I love it. Better yet, I don't have to turn over half of my money to someone who does not work to deserve it.

7:12 AM  

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