(appeared in The Rampallion, summer issue 2013)
I met her on the front steps of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. While it was far from the first time I’d paid an escort, it was the first time I’d thought ahead enough to have one escort me anywhere. As she approached, I was once again thankful I’d gone to the trouble of asking for pictures instead of taking the word of the service that she would be attractive. Trust me, if you don’t know what you’re getting, you’re going to end up getting someone you wouldn’t want to have sex with if you were the one being paid.
She sported the requisite short skirt but I’d advised against high heels due to the amount of walking we’d be doing. I’m thoughtful like that.
I expected a jaded and cynical partner for the afternoon but I was surprised to find her jaded and cynical. I say “surprised” because usually in these types of situations the person you expect turns out to be someone completely different from whom they end up being. I waited for her to surprise me with some interesting insights into the artists we were viewing or some poignant story inspired by one painting or other but no such witty banter emerged.
She liked the portraits better than the landscapes, while I tend to prefer the landscapes. She found one painting that she said looked a lot like me but it was far from flattering. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit to sporting a raging hard-on on and off as we toured the galleries. How much this clouded both my appreciation of the artwork and my judgment when it came to selecting topics for our conversations, I’m not sure. Finally, exasperated by her complete lack of connecting with the masterpieces cluttering up every wall, I asked her if she thought the Richard Gere character in Pretty Woman would have ever fallen for Julia Roberts if she hadn’t cried at the opera.
She just laughed.
“Is that what you want?” she asked me.
“I’ve already paid for what I want,” I replied.
She laughed again. “That’s what every guy likes to believe.”
I wondered if I had chosen her because of her likeness to a prostitute in a Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painting I’d seen recently at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. As she stood there before me I suddenly saw the striking similarity. The subconscious is a tricky devil. It’s rare that it catches me with my pants almost down.
“You’re not rich enough for me to pretend to like art,” she continued.
“How can you tell?”
“Rich guys wear expensive watches. It’s their way of letting people know they’re rich.”
“Is that what you want?” I asked.
“I’m no Julia Roberts. I’m more of a Deborah Van Valkenburgh type.”
The confused look that crossed my face made her laugh a louder, more sincere laugh.
“She was the girl in The Warriors. You wouldn’t know it.”
I didn’t know it. I looked it up later and wished that I had. It would have been perfect if I could have come back with a Swan song of some consequence. A verbal corsage if you will.
We continued walking around. Soaking it all in. She looked bored some of the time and I tried to keep my erection from being noticeable most of the time.
I know I’m not painting it as such, but it was a hell of a nice day.
Once back at the hotel my performance was regrettable. I was barely inside her when I climaxed. To be fair though, after an entire afternoon of fighting back various urges, I was lucky to have lasted as long as I did. I whispered “my Rosa la Rouge” in her ear as I finished my business.
While I was walking back naked from the bathroom afterwards, she watched me the entire time and said she found my body “strangely attractive.” I would have said that she was “captivated” as she watched me but by then she was off the clock so any word with “captive” in it doesn’t seem appropriate. The idea of being offended by the observation never occurred to me. When you’re built like I am you’ll take any kind word you can get. If given a list of body types to describe myself I would no doubt check the box marked “Other” unless that was one hell of a long list.
As she left she told me that she was showing me mercy.
Another Warriors reference I didn’t understand until later.