It was bound to happen. Six years as an escort, and not once have I been on the receiving end of a phone call from a client’s wife until last Tuesday afternoon.
I was at a nail salon when a text message came through from my business partner, Vanessa.
“A lady called Stephanie* has just phoned. She said you’ve had sex with her husband and she wants to speak to you. I think her husband’s name is Dan*. She would like you to call her back.”
I thought to myself, “What am I going to say to this woman?”. I should really call her when I get home, but these nails take an hour.
“Hello, Stephanie? This is Samantha. You rang …”
She sounded relieved: “Oh Samantha, thanks for calling back. I really appreciate it. You had sex with my husband two years ago, I’ve seen the emails.
“Dan told you he was an engineer, but really he’s a lawyer*. He’s fair haired and short. He would have been wearing a navy suit.”
“Sorry, he isn’t ringing any bells,” I replied.
“He saw you for an hour at the Hyatt? Paid cash?” she said.
“Yes, but it was a long time ago. You say two years ago? I’m sorry Stephanie, I don’t know whether that makes you happy or whether I am insulting you, but I have actually no idea who your husband is.”
She laughed: “Yes, that’s him. Pretty unmemorable!”
We laughed, then I stopped myself. This wasn’t supposed to be funny.
She said you’ve had sex with her husband and wants to speak to you.
She continued: “He told me he booked you for the intimacy, not the sex. He told me he booked you for the cuddling. I’ve seen the emails. You still don’t remember?”
For a split second, I thought maybe I should lie to make her feel better and say, “Yes, I do remember your short, fair-haired husband in his navy suit. Yes, you married someone extremely memorable.” But I didn’t.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “I understand you’ve probably seen hundreds of men.”
Was that a dig?
“Well I wouldn’t say hundreds,” I replied.
“But lots of men since him,” she added.
“Yes,” I said.
“You know Samantha, it broke my heart when I found out,” she said.
Ouch. There it was. The stab of guilt. I had something to do with a woman’s pain.
“You weren’t just the only one, he’d been seeing others too,” she said.
“Right,” I replied. Why did it irk me that I wasn’t the only one?
She continued: “We were trying for a baby at the time. Trying for a baby! Can you believe that?”
“Wow. What a bastard. I am so sorry to hear this Stephanie,” I said.
But when it came to men, nothing surprised me. I’ve had clients who saw me two days before their wedding, who slept in my bed as their wife was breastfeeding their newborn twins and whose wife had just been diagnosed with cancer.
I once had a client who was on holiday in Sydney with his wife and he asked me to come to the hotel while she was at Westfield shopping. I’ve had men tell outright lies to their family in front of me about what they do during the day, to their loved ones.
Have you ever heard a man say? “I had the monthly performance review, then had Chinese for lunch, then spent two hours in a hotel with an escort, then went back to work and made it home just in time for tea. How was your day darling?”
I didn’t think so.
Stephanie continued: “I couldn’t understand where all this money was going, I don’t spend a thing! … Well, I am now. Once I found out he was spending $1000 an hour on you, I made sure he spends triple that on me!”
“Absolutely, it’s the least he can do,” I said.
“I had no idea where all of this money was going. Then he started to text to say he was running late at work – a lot, so I started to suspect,” I said.
A woman’s intuition is never wrong.
She continued: “So I called the bank to get his credit card statements. He’d been doing it for years, Samantha. He broke down when I confronted him. He was very, very upset and begged me not to leave him.”
“And you haven’t, obviously?”
“No, but I’m finding it hard. He was so upset I had to tell his family. He needed support. I was worried about what he was going to do,” she said.
“Oh God, what a bloody mess.”
“It’s been very stressful. I never thought it would happen to us. We had a good marriage.”
“Some men do it because they just need variety, not because the marriage is broken,” I said.
“Yes, do not blame yourself.”
“I don’t, but it’s not easy. I have a question Samantha, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“Please, ask me anything you like Stephanie.”
“How can you, as an escort, cuddle a man like my husband without feeling anything for him?”
That was it? That was all she wanted to know? What about the sex? The sweet nothings he could have whispered? That was one question I hadn’t have been asked before. As my nails were being buffed, I sat back and thought about my answer carefully. One wrong word could change her day, could change her marriage.
“The cuddling? Oh, um …” I replied. “Well, Stephanie …”
“Call me Steph.”
“Well Steph, I mean, I like my clients, all of them, I haven’t had one I didn’t like, so it’s not like I don’t like them …”
That sounded terrible. I imagined her sitting anxiously at her kitchen table in a nice home with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, waiting for my pearls of wisdom. But what the hell was I trying to say? Even I didn’t know.
I replied: “Look, it’s easy, I can cuddle them because it’s my job. I get paid a lot of money to do it. All men who come to see me have needs, usually non-sexual, whether it’s cuddling or stroking or telling me about their lonely marriages. While the cuddling sometimes is harder than the sex, it’s just my job. I don’t have feelings for them, or your husband. It’s a job, nothing less, nothing more.”
“So you can cuddle a client without feeling something?” she asked.
“Human to human, I feel compassion for my clients, but not feelings per se.”
“So what do you actually think when you are cuddling them?”
“I’m thinking about what to have for dinner, whether I should take the dogs for a walk when I get home or go to F45. I’m thinking about how tight this lingerie is and I can’t wait to put my tracksuit on. I’m thinking how long I’ll have to cuddle him for before I should pop him in the shower. Sometimes I don’t really think of anything. I am certainly not thinking how much I like your husband and how I want to prise him away from you. When your husband or any other client leaves, I don’t think about him. I don’t remember half of them.”
“He wouldn’t like that!” she said, and we both laugh.
“He told me he did it because of the cuddling. I suppose looking back, we were fighting a lot at the time. I wanted a baby and was pretty focused on that. I admit I wasn’t the easiest person to live with,” she said.
“It’s not your fault. He is selfish. Don’t ever blame yourself.”
“My husband is bloody selfish. There was no crazy sex with him?” she asked.
“Steph, I could count on one hand the times I’ve had crazy sex with a client and your husband isn’t one of them. It’s rarely about the sex. The sex is the cherry on top and usually it’s vanilla. It’s about the intimacy.”
“There’s no handcuffs and whips?”
I snort, giggling.
“No sadly, I don’t get those clients. The sex is just normal run-of-the-mill sex. Clients may think they’re booking an escort for sex, but quite often the time together turns into a bit of a therapy session.”
Stephanie said: “He says he’s stopped and that he will never be with an escort again, that he is so sorry he’s hurt me. All the money he’s saved on hookers – sorry, escorts – he’s bought himself a sports car! But I don’t trust him Samantha. I track his phone and …
“Whoa. Hang on, you track his phone?” I said.
“Yes, and I was thinking of getting a private investigator …”
“Stop. Steph, I’m going to be honest with you. You cannot live like that. That will send you insane, it’s is no way for anyone to live.”
“I know,” she said, sounding tearful.
“You have two choices. You either decide to trust him and move on. He has to earn your trust again of course. Or you leave. But you cannot spend the rest of your life worrying.”
“But I’m 42, I haven’t worked for years. I’d have to start all over again. What would you do if you were me? Do you think he will stop?”
Was that desperation in her voice? I really felt for this woman.
“What would I do? Gosh, I don’t know. I avoid relationships, that’s what I do! Do I think he will stop? Woman to woman, the answer is no. I think he will stop for a few months, maybe a few years, but the temptation is too great. It’s the thrill he may miss, the excitement of booking a girl, walking to the hotel, the anticipation… I feel bad saying this to you, but in my experience, the ones that get caught always come back.”
“So, do you think I should leave?”
“Steph, I think you actually know your answer deep down.”
“Samantha, thank you.”
“If you have any more questions, just call me. It’s the least I can do.”
So, that was it. My first conversation between escort and wife. I’m not going to say, “poor Steph” because she doesn’t want to be a victim. She’s a woman searching for answers. Should she stay in her marriage? No one can answer that apart from her.
I felt guilty that I had a part to play in her pain, but it really is just a job to me. I’m not going to stop working because of the hurt it could cause to a faceless, nameless partner. I don’t choose the men, they choose me. Someone else’s marriage is none of my business. People always ask me whether I judge men in this job? Not at all. But I do question marriage.
Samantha X, real name Amanda Goff, is an escort and a former journalist. Her new book, Back on Top, is due out September.
* Names and professions changed to protect the identities of those involved.