The Lies that Prostitutes Tell their Families and Friends

The best insurance against being caught lying is that people often do not want to hear unpleasant facts.

For a few years, my dad thought I was working for a catering company. I had worked in a restaurant kitchen before I became an escort, so the story suited my abilities and my irregular working hours. He used to work in the restaurant business too, so we had that together. I regularly put on the macho, indignant tone I learned in restaurants, and scolded the fictitious mistakes of my colleagues.

The lie seemed to work quite well for a while. But I was not sleepy and stressed enough. The baking sheet scars on my forearms faded and disappeared. The questions slowly became very targeted, so I had to invent extravagant weddings, and then I was promoted to team leader and always had to make “estimates locally”.

I hoped that it was enough for my father, when I was happy and did not intend to go back to his basement. The children of his friends flew back to the nest in droves thanks to the uncertain economic situation. The sex work is not completely safe from the recession.

But it was the money that made the lie burst. My father is not naive-caterers do not live in Manhattan unless they do not distribute hors d’oeuvres but cocaine. I realized that both of us were lying: I lied about what I was doing, and he lied that he did not think I was a liar.

What lies do people tell who work in the sex industry? First of all, that depends on what they are doing exactly. The week of an independent escort is irregular and variable. I spend around a third of my time working with clients and have to account for my revenue over the time I spend on my laptop to generate traffic, post tweets, and send carefree, flattering messages to repeat customers. Most appointments are in the afternoon and early evening.

An escort named Jane (I changed all the names in this story) tells everyone she’s a real estate agent. It suits her and explains her fluctuating income. That’s a good story, but it can quickly lead to problems.

“Two years ago, my aunt gave me a blind date, and after I said yes, she told me he might be able to get me a job at his company,” she told me, “so I quickly got someone in the gym met.”

Escorts working for agencies face other challenges. If an escort logs on to an agency, that means she’s dressed and ready to work; if it is booked, it must arrive at the customer within a previously agreed period of time. Big agencies in London promise customers to serve every address in Manhattan within half an hour. There is no guarantee as from the pizza service-if it arrives after 31 minutes, there is nothing for free. Since it is not possible to wait at home in Brooklyn under these conditions, the lie must explain why she leaves the house early in the evening with full make-up and comes back at different times during the night.

Karen, who graduated as an accountant with escorting, told her Eastern European family she was a party promoter. After all, that was pretty close to the truth, since she spent most of her waiting time in clubs.

Lauren, another agency escort, said goodbye to her four student roommates in Peckham in the evenings to go clean up the office building, unclad, in leggings, and with a backpack she went by train to a colleague in Notting Hill. They kept each other company while they were getting ready and waiting for their phones to ring.

It was not perfect, but it worked for a while. “I do not like to lied to her, and the few times I was booked late, I had to make up crazy stories,” she told me. “Once I told them that I had sex with my boss in his office. It’s strange that that was OK, but not the truth.”

Strippers have different challenges again. The lessons are tight and they can carry whatever they want on the way to work, but it takes a tailor-made lie to explain why you get exhausted at 5 or 6 in the morning and come home with an urgent need for a shower and a meal, Miranda told her dates that she worked as a bartender, which was enough as long as things did not get serious. But when a real relationship arose, her friend wanted to visit her at work. “I panicked – I was seriously considering getting a job as a bartender, but I did not know how to pretend I was there longer,” she said, her solution being to claim she was fired and immediately placed in a new restaurant, so she had to wait a bit, before she can bring visitors to work. When she wanted to use the same story again, she was caught and confessed everything.

Of course, the job was not as big a problem as the lie.

Jobs where working hours are daytime and have a fixed address make it easier. Jill works in a Domina salon Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 6pm. The equipment is stored in the studio, where there is a shower and Wi-Fi. She leaves the apartment at 9:30 and returns at 18:30. Her babysitter considers her a recruit.

“I should think of something else, I have no idea what human resources people are doing,” she said. “But I do not think anyone else knows. Nobody asks.”

Lily studies three days a week and works two days in a massage parlor. She does her homework in the breaks. “Most of my friends know about it, and if not, I can use the computer room in the basement as an excuse; There is no reception there,” she told me.

The best insurance against being caught lying is that people often do not want to hear unpleasant facts.

Betty posted an online ad when she was 21. She did not really know how to explain the financial benefits of the so-called “Sugar Daddies”, so she resorted to deception.

“I told my mother I got my phone on the radio, I’m getting free upgrades, and I would pay only half as much rent as I do. She did not want to know,” she explained.

The ignorance of her family began to seem intentional. “I started to hide it less well, but she did not want to know anything. Sometimes I want to tell her, but that’s how I make it easier for them.”

If lies can make life easier, then a lack of lies can do the opposite. Dan is in his thirties today and worked as an escort ten years ago. He recalls, “I never told my parents how I earned my money, but I made it through four years of study. It hurt me that they did not ask. Did you know it? Or did they just manage not to think about it?”

After a year of my pretended catering job, I asked myself why I was lying. Apart from occasional shame, I did not really have a problem with my job. My friends supported me, I had money and I also had the dubious pleasure of worrying about much more normal things. It gnawed on me that I had to lie constantly.

Hiding them suggests that sex work is fundamentally bad or wrong, and it was the conviction that it was not the case that made me honest. I did not tell my dad because I did not know how to process something that is so stigmatized. If I told him, he might stuff the information into the brain drawer where people lay and shatter harrowing information.

I did not feel that it was my right to drop such a bomb in his life. He’s stubborn and I’m not good at drinking alcohol, so eventually it came out. The conversation went much better than I had ever expected. I have not lied for three weeks and it feels fantastic.