Meeting Vladimir at the Belvedere

    This evening I finished work and took a taxi uptown to a tony hotel.  

     I’d never been to the hotel before, and I’d never met my date before, either.  We’d exchanged a grand total of 3 emails in 48 hours.  I was slightly nervous–as I’ve written in the past, going in blind is a bit of stressful.  

       I pulled up a chair at the lounge and ordered a Diet Coke.  I kinda wanted to play that blind date game, where you look at the other people in the room and guess which one is the one you’re going to meet, but I couldn’t do it–not in a bar.  A single women staring at men invites too much attention.  So I tried to read the front section of the New York Times.  

        He found me right away. 

        He was a slim man about my height who looked a lot like Vladimir Putin:

“Come here often?”

     
         I noticed right away that he seemed slightly uncomfortable.  Usually that’s good news, because a cop wouldn’t be scared.  The question is, though: is he uncomfortable because he’s married and meeting a professional sadomasochist for the first time that he found off of a shady internet bullituon board?  Or is he uncomfortable because he’s planning to rape me, strangle me, and leave my body under the bed, and he’s anxious about tipping me off?  That, my friends, is the question!  

       I gave him a big smile and shook his hand.  I gave him my fake name.  Then I asked–because he’d never told me in his emails–“What did you say your name was again?”

        There was a four-second beat before he said, “Kevin.”   So, he made it up.  That’s fine.   A cop would have it rehearsed.  Kevin had to just be married and nervous. 

        “Has anyone ever told you that you look a lot like Vladimir Putin?”  

       That startled him.  Then he started laughing.  “No, but now that you point it out, I see the resemblance.  I saw him in St. Petersburg.”

       We talked about Eastern Europe for fifteen minutes.  Broke the ice.  The guy seemed okay.  Educated.  Not pushy, not charming, but smart and well-spoken.  He showed up sober and only had one drink. While there are always exceptions–the vile Dominique Strauss-Kahn springs to mind–men like this are usually pretty safe.  They are afraid of me.  They are afraid of getting caught.   

        The men you have to watch out for–the ones I walk away from–are drunk men, pushy men, and men like the Surgeon: coiled, intense smooth talkers.  Flirtatious is fine, but anyone who tries to seduce a worker in the sex industry has ulterior motives.  I also ditch men who engage in vulgar, explicit sexual conversation prior to the start of the session.  Besides being a tip-of for law enforcement, it signals to me that the man thinks he can be crude with me because he’s paying (or intends to pay) for the privilage.  He thinks he doesn’t have to act with me like he would a “normal girl.”  He doesn’t respect me, in other words–and you don’t want to be in a compromising situation with a man like that.  

       Kevin was polite.  Normal.  He had a trace of that nasal, middle-class New York accent people here have.  He paid for my soda.  

       “You seem highly intelligent,” he said.  Usually it pisses me off when men say that–I want to ask them, Why wouldn’t I be?  But this one seemed to be saying it as a statement of observation, rather than surprise.  

      “Except for this crazy shit that I do,” I gestured at us and then at the leather bag on the chair beside me, “I am. Shall we go up?”

        *                   *                *              *              *           * 

      I sat on the edge of the bed in his room and sent a text message in front of him.

     “So, Kevin,” I said.  “Nothing personal, but I’m sure you understand that I have to take precautions.  If my friend doesn’t hear from me in an hour and a half, she’s calling the cops.”

     “That’s fine.”  

      “It surely is.  I’m not worried.  You seem all right, and I can tell you’re not a cop.  I shouldn’t even have to worry about that, given the nature of my services, but the attitude is ‘Arrest em and let the judge sort em out.'”

      “How do you know that I’m not the police?” he asked.  He was sitting in the chair by the bed.  I noticed that he was actually a graceful man.  Interesting.  I wondered what his profession was. 

      “Well, first of all, now that I’ve seen more of this hotel, there is no way that the management of this place is going to give the NYPD permission to conduct a vice sting on the premises.  Guests are not paying $300 a night so that they can see women led through the halls and the lobby in handcuffs into a squad car.  If anything, they probably expect the concierge to hook them up.  Two: your clothes are a little too expensive.  And finally: if you were police, at your age and with your education you’d be at least a detective.  The  department is not going to use a man with those skills and pay grade to work as a prostitution decoy.  You cost too much–it’d be like hiring a physician to change bandages and insert IV’s.”  

      He laughed.  “You ought to be a detective.  You’re perceptive.”

      This man sees me, I realized. 

      I started to get excited.  I don’t usually feel chemistry with the people I meet at my secret job, but when I do, it’s very entertaining.  It’s a game, it’s a thrill.  I know the dance, but the partner is new–what’s going to happen? Who is this person?  I wasn’t crushing on Kevin, but I was curious about him, and a little attracted.  

     “You said you’d never done this before?  Hired a prosub?”

     “No.  Never.”  

     I believed him.

    “Want to see what I brought in my bag?” I asked.

    “Very much.”

    I fetched my bag and carefully laid its contents out on top of the bedspread, explaining a few of them.  

    “What shall I do next?  How would you like to start?” I asked.
   
    “Take off that dress and come talk to me.”

    I pulled my dress over my head and folded it and put it on the bed.  Then I kneeled at his feet.  He didn’t touch me.  He wanted to know how and when I understood that my sexuality was like this.  It wasn’t an interrogation–I think he was honestly curious because he was inexperienced.  I told him about a few of my recollections and experiences.  We must’ve talked for twenty, thirty minutes.  

     Then–I got to do ONE OF THE BEST THINGS EVAH!!! with a random internet stranger!!!

     He told me to take off his shoes.  They were nice shiny dark brown shoes.  Almost black.  I had to untie them and pull the laces loose, and then I held his foot and pulled them off.  I sneaked a glance at the size and brand–it was something Italian, but I didn’t recognize it.  

      Then he said, my socks.

      Then he said, my tie.

      I was gentle with it.  I took it off him, unfurled the knot, and folded it.  I placed it on top of the dresser.

     Then he said, my shirt.

      It was bright white.  I worked at the buttons.  The arms had a nice crease in the fabric.  Fastidious person, this man.  Who was he?  What did he do?   I have always been fascinated with men–their masculine clothing, their masculine rituals.  I don’t always admire them, or even approve of them, but they do fascinate me.  

      “Should I hang it up?” I asked.

      “Fold it.”

      I folded it and put it by the necktie.  I could be wrong, but I think that he appreciated how careful I was with it.  

     “Every morning I walk my Australian Shepard.  He knows how to heel.  He’s a well-trained boy.  Do you know how to do that?”

      Bet your ass! Put the collar on and we did a few laps around the room.  

       Then he smacked me around a little bit.  It was very, very mild.  It was obvious that he had no experience with this sort of violence. I tried to give him the reactions that I thought he wanted, though.  

     At the end, I shimmied into my dress and tossed my things back into my bag.  I’d clean and bleach them at home.  It took five minutes at most.  

      He seemed both happy and slightly worried.  This emotional combination is very common in the Biz.  In their heads, dudes are conflicted.

     I gave him a light hug and invited him to call me if he ever wanted to.  He said that he’d like that.  I have no idea whether I’ll ever see him again or not, though.  

     Happiness in the taxicab back to my apartment.  Relief I’d pulled it off.  Relief that I was safe and sound.  Joy that I got paid so, so much money for an experience I would have been grateful to have for free (I can’t believe I charged so little for such a long time.  Do you know what pro-switches in NYC can charge?  It’s absurd!  ABSURD!). 

     Thrills.  Just like drugs. 


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