STRANGE LITTLE CALLGIRLS 1: ROLES
Mandy is the baby.
Mandy thinks she’s competition, and maybe one day she will be, but for now she’s still just a little girl, all pouty mouth and innocently wanton eyes, more useful sprawled on her stomach with her feet in the air than draped across a chaise lounge. She’s the one Madge sends out when the client asks for someone cute, because that almost always means someone young, and Mandy is certainly both.
When Madge first picked her up, she was just a trashy little street prostitute, couldn’t have been more than fourteen, with scared eyes and the air of the permanently fucked. She was born to be an older man’s fantasy, and she’d been hooking since she was twelve, when her old man kicked her out because she wouldn’t fuck him. You sneered and called her Lolita, but Madge just smiled and said, “She’s sweet, like candy, Baby. Give her a good name.”
You never claimed originality.
You taught her how to dress, how to act, how to be more than just a whore. Now she’s sixteen and she wants to be a lady, but she’s still the baby. Taller than both you and Madge, but still with that long, slim body that is more girl than woman.
Her eyes are still astonishly innocent, and when she smiles, it seems genuine.
Mandy has an openness, a sweetness about her that is foreign to you. She’ll only fuck a client if she genuinely likes him, and she’s cute enough that she can scamper away from a date with just a smile over one shoulder and a little wave. She doesn’t get that this is a job, and you do it to survive, not to be able to buy that cute sweater you want. She sees this escort gig as a luxury, a way to earn money without having to fuck every man you meet, without having to sleep in a box and be scared all the time.
Mandy has a future that lies in something else, if she ever gets her head out of MTV long enough to see that this is not real life.
Jessica is the nice girl.
She’s the daughter of a minister from Texas, and when he calls you have to pretend to be her sorority sister, even though you’ve never set foot inside anything resembling a sorority. Madge’s a minister’s daughter too, strangely enough, and the two of them actually met at church. Madge brought her home one day and said, “The girl’s broke, but she’s got morals. Teach this sweetheart what to do.” Back then she wore tiny, tiny shorts and shirts that better passed as bras. Now she knows that the less she shows, the more they want.
Jessica has wide, trusting eyes and a bitten smile, and she wears her cross everywhere except on dates.
Jessica is the one Madge sends out when they just want a normal, girl-next-door type. She can wear anything from jeans to an evening dress on a date and be received the same way, because she has Barbie doll looks. There’s something all-American about her, and the clients never expect to fuck her.
Jessica’s been working here for a year and a half, she still acts like she’s above it all. “I’m providing a humanitarian service,” she says, like she’s here on church work, “I won’t go to bed with them, but I make them feel wanted.” Jessica might still be a virgin, like she claims she is, but there are other things you can do, and Jessica knows it. Sometimes she comes home with her mascara smeared and uses half a bottle of Listerine. The next day, Jessica is queit and the sink is always perfectly scrubbed.
Jessica is sweet too, but there’s something in her eyes that speaks of deception. You think Jessica is the type of woman who doesn’t like other women very much, sees them as competition. Where you and Mandy will playfully squabble over who gets the guy with the Jag, if you and Jessica want the same thing at the same time, Mab will sometimes discover used tampons in your bathroom, regardless of whether or not you’re on the rag.
Jessica may hate the industry, but boy oh boy does she love the business.
This business doesn’t stand well with hypocrisy. You know a lot of women who like to claim that they’re better than everyone else because they’re not prostitutes, they’re escorts. They usually end up under the thumb of some pimp they think is their boyfriend, and you only hope that Jessica doesn’t end up that way, too.
You, you are the lady. You get the rich guys because they like to take you to parties, to business dinners, sometimes to premieres, and because of it all your jewelry is diamond and your outfits are Gucci. You are always classy, always perfectly made up, always perfect. Even on your off days you wear dresses and stockings, and your blonde hair never shows its dark roots.
All of you are blonde, even Madge, but you are the blondest of the blonde, like Marilyn Monroe.
You like Marilyn. Before Christina, you’d never really given her any thought, but Chris had shown you Bus Stop and said, “Thats you, Baby. You’ve reminded me of Marilyn since the first time I met you,” and then she’d kissed your neck. At first you were offended, thinking words like whore and vapid and dumb blonde, but then you saw it: the twinkle of hidden intelligence in Marilyn’s eyes, the pain, the anger. She didn’t like being the showgirl, but that was what she was good at, the only role she could play. She was so much smarter than the guys she had to fuck to get where she wanted to be.
Because you did what Marilyn did: changed yourself to fit the role you needed to play. Where Jessica uses her accent to her best ‘sweet lil’ downhome girl’ advantage, wears her daisy dukes with pride, you have carefully eradicated all traces of an accent from your voice, and you dress like you were raised by a Vegas showgirl, all furs and feathers.
People have to think they’re smarter than you to fuck you. Mandy can talk about her straight As and Jessica can blabber about being an honor student, but people are scared enough of you already. If you even mention that you finished high school, let alone were valedictiorian, men freeze up or start talking about politics and science and other things they think you won’t be fluent in, just to prove that they’re smarter than you.
That’s why you’re Baby. Infantile, weak, powerless. Stupid. Madge gave you the name—you’re the one who’s stayed with her, for five years now, even after all the other girls left. She says that you’re her daughter, her baby, and maybe that’s what she feels, but you know its also her way of keeping you weaker than her, dependent. You can’t escape from her any more than you can escape what you are right now, what you do.
You don’t care. You know you’re smarter than the guys you have to fuck to get where you want to be. You know you’re smarter than the people who try to make you into a whore. You know who you are, really, and you know that one day you’ll get out of here.
You know, even if you don’t exactly believe. You know because Christina told you.