As a teenager, I planned to leave the country village I grew up in someday. At the age of 19, I married a German soldier and we moved to a nearby small town. Although this was the first step, I always dreamed about living in a place others go for vacation. Years later, I found myself single again and quite dissatisfied with my present life. So, I have decided to take responsibility for my future even if it means giving up certain securities and accepting risks. My goal is this: I want to live in the sun and by the sea. I want to work less, schedule my own hours, and yet still make a good living. But above all, I no longer want to keep my profession secret, considering this is what I have been doing. For many years, I have been working as a part-time prostitute. And a working girl does not just come out and profess to her family she is a prostitute. Even friends and acquaintances are kept in the dark. Who would want a prostitute as a daughter, sister, partner, or friend? I do not know anyone! Through the years, this part-time job has filled my wallet so I could afford things and, moreover, set money aside. I belong to those people who need financial security in order to enjoy spending money. And so, I pursue my goal of establishing myself as a self-employed female escort. Given the fact that the rural area where I live is unsuitable and since I am uncertain I can keep my work secret in major German cities, I pack two suitcases and fly to Athens. The city is far enough away from my former surroundings that it allows me to work in this profession without being recognized – not to mention, it is near the sea!
Initially, I rent a room in a small, relatively inexpensive hotel in Athens’ Piraeus district. In order to obtain local information about my profession, I buy the English weekly newspaper, Athens World, and find what I am looking for in the classifieds: In the ‘Escort’ section, women advertise sexual pleasures for sale. Carefully, I read all the ads and decide to call a woman who goes by the name ‘Lovely English Lady’. Unlike many others, she does not advertise she is young or a model, thus, I hope she might be a bit older because I am too. I am 42, in essence, considered past my prime — although it did not hamper my professional success in recent years. After all, I sell myself as a 35-year-old. It is an extremely attractive age. Many young men crave sex with women in their mid-thirties and a large number of older men lust after those other than young girls. Therefore, in principle, I am the perfect age to establish myself as a self-employed prostitute who earns good money. I consider myself good-looking with long blonde hair, blue eyes, a slim figure, groomed appearance, charm, and I am always well dressed. Plus, I can be quite sexy and flirtatious when I want. – I rarely encounter problems passing myself off as thirty-some years old.
I dial ‘Lovely English Lady’s’ cell number and she picks up with a friendly:
“Hello! My name is Anika. I’m new to Athens and I would love to work here as a call girl. I wanted to ask if you could provide me with information on local rates, hotels, and so on.”
“Oh!” A brief pause. “What’s your nationality?”
“Are you here by yourself?”
“How old are you?”
“And you’ve already worked in this trade?”
“Yes, for many years, but only part-time. Any chance we can meet in person? Perhaps at a café, that way we can have coffee while we chat?”
Another brief pause. “I need to think about it. Call me back early tomorrow morning. Bye!”
The line goes dead. I understand her cautiousness. She does not know if I am the person I make myself out to be. I could be the wife of a client who discovered her phone number on the husband’s cell phone. There are numerous possibilities. Therefore, I do not mind waiting while she makes up her mind. I see another interesting ad about an escort service posted in Athens World. Perhaps I could learn some vital information about my future profession if I call and pretend I am applying for a position. I dial the listed number and a woman’s voice answers in Greek.
“Excuse me, do you speak English?” I ask politely.
“Yes, of course! This is Seven Heaven escort service. How may I help you?”
“Hello. My name is Gaby. I’m German, 35, and interested in joining your escort service.”
“Have you ever done something like this before? Do you have any experience as a prostitute?”
“Yes, more than 10 years.”
“Where are you right now?”
“Uh, hold on a second. — Would you be willing to meet me? I would have to see you in person before I can reveal details. You said you’re 35… that’s no longer young!”
“I know, but perhaps once you meet me my age will be less important. I can meet you at any time.”
“Great. Our office is located in the city center. Could you be at the Café Rena in two hours? It’s catty-corner from the Akropoli Subway Station.”
“Yes, I can be there around 4 p.m.”
“Great. See you later, Gaby. Your name is Gaby, correct?”
“Yes, and what is your name?”
“Oh, sorry, I’m Elena! Okay, see you in a couple hours!”
“Okay, Elena, I’m looking forward to meeting you!”
I look at the clock and realize there is no time to waste. I have to doll myself up. I decide on a red, sleeveless, knee-length sheath dress. It is chic and emphasizes my figure. Even though I do not want to work for the escort service, I want to make a good impression so I can get as much information as possible. It will come in handy for my own business. As it is one of those days again where my hair has a mind of its own, I bend over and brush it vigorously. Returning upright, I comb it out, leaving a lot of volume while styling it into a lion’s mane and applying hairspray for good measure. I apply makeup so my blue eyes pop, but omit lipstick. All that is missing is a spritz of my favorite perfume, Must de Cartier. Checking myself from all angles in the mirror, I know I have done my best. I slip into my red pumps, grab my little gold purse, and leave the hotel.
I hail a cab and the surly driver drops me off near the Akropoli station, demanding 19 euros for the fare. Glancing at my watch, I realize I have plenty of time. First, I locate the café where I am to meet Elena and then stroll around the area. This is the Plaka, Athens’ old town, with narrow streets, shops, and restaurants. I make sure to remain on the shady side of the road because the sun is unbearably hot. At 2:50 p.m. I enter Café Rena and sit at one of the small round tables. Considering the scorching outside temperature, it is pleasant inside the air-conditioned room. The waitress comes and l order a Diet Coke. Never beverages with sugar! They only go to the hips. A small woman with short, black hair enters the café and looks around. Seeing me, she nods and I nod back. It must be Elena. She approaches the table and greets me with a handshake.
“Hello, I’m Elena.”
“I’m Gaby, nice to meet you, Elena. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”
“Of course. Our escort service is always interested in a new face. So, you live in Athens?”
“Not at the moment. I’m only here for a week to check out the area. I’m thinking of moving here for good this fall — sometime in September.”
“Okay! Well, you certainly are pretty and have a good figure. You obviously take care of yourself, but then there’s your age. You’re already 35. I mean, you are 35 or are you older?”
“I’m actually 38, but I advertise myself as 35, which I have no problem getting away with.”
“Well, it’s not like it’s uncommon in our industry. We all lie about our age. Most of the women working for us are actually much younger than you. You would be the oldest on the team. It doesn’t matter though, it’s not like you work together. Okay, let’s say I take photos of you and add them to our catalog. In return, we expect our ladies to work full-time and be reachable at all hours. At times, you might be expected somewhere within one hour after a client’s call. How you manage that with your family is your business. Let’s say you get a call from us and we give you the client’s address, telephone number, and time of the appointment. How you get there at the appropriate time, either by taxi, public transportation, or with your own car, is entirely up to you. Just make sure you’re on time. It’s extremely important. An appointment is usually 45 minutes to one hour. We provide safe sex in all possible positions, as well as oral sex without a condom.”
The waitress arrives at the table and Elena orders a coffee frappe with lots of sugar and milk. Then she continues:
“The customer pays you the price we’ve agreed on, usually 200 euros an hour. Anal is extra. These details aren’t important right now. In any case, you take the money home. The next day, at the latest, you give us half. We can arrange a meeting by phone or we can send a messenger to your home. That’s entirely up to you. Remember, half the money is ours! Naturally, any tips you receive from clients are yours to keep. If a client happens to asks for anal intercourse or an additional hour of service without prior arrangement with us, you must add on the extra charges. However, once again, half of that money is ours. Trying to keep extra services secret will do you no good because we always confer with our clients to ensure they’re satisfied with our service!”
Elena sips her coffee and lights a cigarette.
“Okay, so far so good. I’m accustomed to such working conditions from Germany. What other services does Seven Heaven offer their clientele?”
“Quite a few. We try to cover any possible wishes a client might ask for, but obviously, no pedophilia or any other criminal sexual practices. That brings me to my next questions. So, what do you do? What can you do? What languages do you speak?”
“I speak German, English, Dutch, and a little French. I’ve worked as a dominatrix among other things and can role-play. How much do you charge for domination? Or for role playing?”
“Now and then we have a client who likes to be dominated, but it’s uncommon for Greek men. They prefer to be in charge. They’re all macho guys. You never know what a client might ask for and we’d be happy to use another lady who can take care of such services. We charge 400 euros for a domination session and 300 for any role-playing games. In each case, you keep half the fee!”
“Okay. I have another question, Elena. Am I reimbursed for travel expenses?”
“No, you pay that cost. We pay for all advertisements, some of which are in English newspapers, others in Greek, and on the Internet. We’ll schedule appointments and provide you with steady work. You simply do your job and earn a good income without having to do much else. Easy money!”
“Sounds good, Elena. I guess now it depends on whether you, well, actually the escort service you work for, would hire me, come September.”
“Gaby! I don’t think it will be a problem. Make sure you don’t let yourself go. Always be well groomed and do everything the client asks of you. The client is king! This is important to us. Stick to what we agreed to with the client by phone. No rejections! You must accept every client even if he’s fat, ugly, repulsive, or stinks. Since starting this business, we’ve been trying over the years to build up a clientele list of pleasant and friendly men. And I think we’ve succeeded. The well-being of our employees is of great importance to us. We do not tolerate any mistreatment of our women! Well, I guess we can talk about the other formalities in September. What do you say?”
Since I’ve received all the information I want, I reply:
“Great! It sounds like a plan. I’ll call you when I’m back for good in September. Thank you so much for seeing me, Elena!”
“My pleasure. Your Coke is on me!” she says while reaching into her purse.
“Thank you!” I reply and grab my handbag. Elena places a few bills on the table. We stand and leave the café together. Out on the sidewalk, we exchange a last glance and go our separate ways.
The next morning, I give ‘Lovely English Lady’ another call. She is friendly and tells me she has decided to meet me. I note the suggested café’s address and agree to a time. That afternoon I take a bus to Glyfada, a southern area of Athens located directly on the coast. Since I am not familiar with the place, I hail a taxi and give the driver the address. On the phone, we discussed how we would recognize each other and she said, ‘I have long blonde hair’. ‘Me too’, I replied. At a table on the café patio, I do not have to wait long before a medium-size blonde flits around the tables, her handbag dangling from one hand, her eyes searching. When her gaze falls on me, I make a small hand gesture. She walks slowly toward me, her eyes looking me up and down.
“Hi, darling!” She greets me warmly. “I’m Violet.”
“Hi, I’m Anika. My real name is Ilona. Thank you for seeing me!”
“Let’s call each other by our aliases. That’ll be fine!”
She sits and looks around suspiciously. I quickly assure her I am who I say I am and that I came alone. I estimate she is about my age, perhaps even a few years older. She orders black tea and starts asking all kinds of questions: Where I live, how long I plan on staying, do I have a family, etc. — Since lying never accomplishes anything, nor do I have reason to, I answer truthfully. Granted, when it comes to our profession, it is different, because who reveals their real name, their actual age, or true origin? Furthermore, I want information from her; possibly, even make a friend among colleagues. Such objectives require honesty, even among prostitutes. We like each other right from the get-go. She tells me she has been working in Athens for more than 15 years and has established a large customer base while only advertising in Athens World. At times, she does business in hotels but prefers working in her home. Her usual rate is 150-euros per hour. She only practices safe sex, no anal. The majority of her clients are Greeks. However, she is frequently contacted by businessmen from around the world when they are in town. She typically meets them at their hotel. Those she is already better acquainted with can come to her home. Her cell phone rings once. She looks around nervously, gets up, answers, and starts pacing while talking to the other party. I only hear: “Hi, darling, how are you?” When she returns to the table, she nonchalantly says:
“I just made an appointment for Monday morning with Christo, one of my regulars. I’ve known him for many years. He always sees me on a Monday or Thursday, but he can only afford 60 euros. Considering you’ll be new here, you might want to be flexible now and then. Not every Greek can pay 150 euros. Not in this crisis! Make sure you do not to give tourists or businessmen you meet in upper-class hotels a break. The cheap Bulgarian and Russian whores you find loitering in the streets or the drug addicts sell themselves for way less. For as little as 30 euros, I’ve heard. Moreover, they practice all sorts of unprotected sex. Disgusting!”
Violet tells me all about the no-tell hotels in Athens where I can conduct my business and arrange to meet my clients. She also reveals that although in Greece prostitution is illegal when independently exercised, it is still commonly practiced and tolerated. Granted, there is still a need to avoid the police. So far, she has been fortunate. She tells me about her earlier years when she frequently went to upper-class hotel bars to find clients. Reminiscing must have put her in the mood because she asks me if I want to go fishing with her one evening.
“Together, we’ll be more successful. Let’s say there’s a man who wants both of us. We each charge 100 instead of 150 euros. That’s still good money for us.”
She cannot stop talking. I am flattered by her frankness. I have never done anything like fishing before. So far, I’ve only worked in a bar and various clubs. At one time, I had a well-paid relationship. I met the respectable man in a hotel and now and then, he took me out for the evening. I am excited Violet has invited me to go fishing and that we will do something together. We chat for quite a while longer and before we say goodbye, we agree to meet the next evening at 8 p.m. in the town square in Glyfada. Meeting Violet made me extremely happy. Now I know enough to establish myself as a self-employed call girl in Athens!
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