At what point are you actually selling your soul to protect yourself? 

It was a fine line that she was walking, and she was about to teeter off. 

She was hurt. Scarred. Bruised. Broke. She needed money and she hated the thought of loving again. 

It started out innocently enough. She met a couple of guys online willing to pay her for her company. A date here and a date there started to make her rent. She was charming and well educated, and these men were older and had a lot of experiences to share. They were plenty interesting after a martini or three. 

They would wine and dine her, and after an hour or two she reminded them of her previous engagements and that she would see them again soon. They slipped her a couple hundred under the table and she would leave without any regret. That's how much they bid for her, anyway.

She walked away with her head held high. Her dignity was in tact and she made a thousand dollars this week on free dinners. She never knew that emotional unavailability could work so well to her advantage. She was perfectly content.

Around the first of the month, she found that she had a few hundred dollars extra. She really wanted to go to Montreal, and though she was sure one of her dates would take her, she would rather go alone or with a friend. She was fiercely independent and wanted to do things her own way. But a few hundred dollars would only pay for the airfare, so she decided to go back on her trusted website and set up a few more dinners. 

She had a few regulars that were pretty hands off. They were just lonely and needed some arm candy to strut around with. They never expected anything from her, but they also didn't pay much either. One guy leaned in for a kiss once, but she gracefully stepped back and he handed her the fee. He never called again.

It wasn't the end of the world though. She worked really hard on her profile to get attention from men. She had her friend photograph tasteful poses in sexy but not revealing clothing. She was pretty sure she got her message across, because it was received quite well in the over 45 community.

As she scrolled through the potential date notifications, some bid at 50, others up to 250, she came across a bid for 1000. Her eyes opened wide and stretched to see if they were playing tricks on her. She opened the message from a profile with no photo and it read as follows:

Heading to a Gala tonight in Midtown and you look like the perfect date. Will provide gown and accessories. Pay for play. (347) 555-5555

She was insulted. What the hell do I look like?  A hooker?

But the money and the experience were making her salivate.

She decided to text the guy out of sheer curiosity. Maybe she could negotiate? She'd take 500 if it meant no sex. That would still give her plenty of spending money for the weekend.

Hey there :) just got your message for the Gala tonight. I would love to be your date, but I have never done pay for play. I'm more of a professional date. How does that sound?

Not interested.

Shit. It was that easily dismissed?? She realized there were probably a million other girls on this website that would do it if she wouldn't. And she couldn't let that happen. She wanted the money and she hated rejection. Maybe she could just go and figure it out later? She was sure she could scam this guy somehow.

Well, I'll try anything once. When should we meet? Do you have pics?

Ok, I'll send a car for you at 6 pm. Send me your address.

She was nervous that he ignored the request for pictures. How would she even know what this guy looked like? Maybe they were going to his apartment first so she could change into that gown? That sent a bit of a cause for alarm, but she shrugged it off and notified her friend of what she was doing that night. She was smart, after all, and as soon as she got anywhere she would send her friend a pin to her location. She didn't take TOO many risks.  

She sent on the number to the Starbucks down the street as her address. She then began to pace around her room, her head filling with fantasies of the money one night could make her.

5:30 rolled around and she was a little confused about what to do. She tried to blow out her hair as best she could, but an up-do was probably more appropriate. She knew a gown was being offered, but she wore a slinky black dress just to make sure this man was impressed when she walked in. The thought of nervousness crossed her mind, but her eye was on the prize. 

She received a text: Car is downstairs. See you soon ;)

She walked over to the black car a few doors down and got in with a transparent arrogance. She and the driver were the only two in the car, and her heart started to beat quickly. They took a short ride to the Upper East Side and when the car pulled over, her jaw dropped. This guy has MONEY.

The driver escorted her to the back elevator that was reserved for the penthouse suite. She felt like she was in Pretty Woman. Then she remembered Julia Roberts was a prostitute in that movie.

The doors of the elevator opened up into one of the most impressive homes she'd ever seen. A portly, short man in his sixties walked over to her and gave her a hug. His eyes were determined but tired, and he had a receding hairline that created a bulbous shape on the top of his head. He offered her a seat and a scotch while he got out her attire for the evening.

Oh god is that him? That can't be him. OK everything is fine; none of this means anything anyways. 

She took a sip from her glass and glanced over at the bar cart next to the chaise lounge. Macallan 27. An impressive, but flashy, choice for guests. 

She decided she needed this to work for more reasons than one, crossed her legs suggestively, and waited for her round little date to come back from the bedroom. 

He exited the gilded french doors holding an extremely sleek, delicate, lace beauty of a dress. It glittered softly in the light and her eyes bulged out of her head. It was vintage Givenchy. She knew the exact season. She couldn't believe her eyes. 

"I know this is rude to assume of a woman, but from your pictures you seemed like a size 4. Am I correct?"

"Yes, actually, a small size four but a size four nonetheless. May I?"

She held out her hands and took the gown in her arms like you would hold a baby. She was speechless.

"Go ahead, try it on. I have some old jewelry as well."

She went into the bathroom, walked by the jacuzzi sized tub and removed all of her clothing. She stared in the mirror at herself for a moment, a few questions circling her mind. Where did this dress come from? Whose was it? Does it matter? Maybe I need to lock this down??

She shook her head to try to straighten herself out and looked at the gown hanging from the shower door. She gently removed the hanger and stepped into the dress with the grace and precision of an Olympic diver. Once she had it on, she knew this was the life she wanted forever.

She stepped out of the bathroom and he looked at her with jewels in his hands worthy of Elizabeth Taylor. He smiled devilishly at his young project and gestured for her to come closer. She took the accessories with soft hesitation, he helped to apply them around her neck and wrists, and they exited the building together. 

The car ride was brief and without much conversation. He explained he was a real estate mogul and that his family had been in the business for years. He was twice divorced and now enjoyed the company of young, unaffected women like herself. They always appreciated his grandiose gestures. She nodded her head at his explanation with a soft hum in her ears. She couldn't stop staring at his forehead, which shone the reflection of the multiple carats adorning her neck. She stared down at her shoes for a minute, which were the least expensive things on her body. The only thing she had on that was a true representation of herself: a pair of scuffed Louboutin stilettos that she saved for months to afford. She looked back at his eyes, realizing that he had been waiting for a response, and just smiled and laughed in an agreeable and flirtatious manner.

They entered the Gala like movie stars. He was apparently very well known in the real estate world, and she was introduced only as his date. She said barely a word and did her job as arm candy. She looked great doing it, and she knew it.

After a few hours of showing off around the room, he left to meet with some colleagues for a brief moment. He told her that if she waited for him, he would give her the money she so desperately wanted.

She thought about ditching and just keeping the dress, but he pretty much knew where she lived. And if she stayed and proved her worth as the ultimate sugar baby, there would be much more than a thousand dollars in it for her. 

She moseyed over to the bar and had a glass of champagne while she waited. A handsome young man came up beside her and they started to chat. He was new in the business but very successful for his age. They talked about art and politics, and discovered they shared many interests. There was chemistry, sure, but she was taken for the night.

He asked her for her number and she politely declined, saying she was already here with someone. He looked a little disappointed; he'd never met a girl who shared so many of his ideas and interests. Most of the girls he met were vapid and shallow. Beautiful women with no depth.

He hung his head a bit and her date sauntered up beside her. His pudgy hands wrapped around her waist and she looked surprised for a second, then remembered what this was all for. Her date whispered in her ear, "Are you ready?"

She shook her head yes and exited the building with a millionaire, only to look back at the handsome protege with a sad smile.  

 

 

Published by Shawn Engel