I used to be a huge fan of the Belle De Jour blogs, newspaper articles and subsequent TV series; Secret Diary of a Call Girl. In fact, probably like many women, Belle was partly why I became an Escort. Billie Piper made the lifestyle seem so exciting and glamorous. I adored sex and it seemed to be a lucrative line of work, so much so that when I fell on hard-times and after exhausting other job possibilities, I found myself applying to Escort Agencies for work.
However, as a real High Class Escort who has been in the business since 2009, I can categorically say that Secret Diary of a Call Girl is nothing like real life. So if you are reading this because you are wondering if you should begin a career in sex work because the programme appealed to you, then my advice to you is don’t.
The reality of sex work, as opposed to how it is portrayed on TV is very different. Belle swans around with a cool soundtrack following her every move, clients appear from nowhere and pay her vast amounts of money and it’s just one crazy party after another.
Belle, like myself, originally started her Escort career with an Agency and went on to become independent. The reality of work with some agencies is this, in the beginning, they will send you to all the best jobs in the best hotels with the wealthiest clients. But after a while, they will expect you to go anywhere at all hours of the day and night and when I say anywhere, I mean ANYWHERE. I was once told to go to a B&B in the roughest part of Manchester at 3.30am. When I objected, I was told that I would be going whether I liked it or not. I replied that I would not visit there during the day, let alone in the middle of the night and hung up the phone. After trying other agencies, who really didn’t care about my safety at all (I could write a whole book about bad Escort Agencies), I decided it was time to become Independent.
This is where I have the biggest problem with Secret Diary. Belle was an Independent Escort too and one of the most time consuming and frustrating parts of sex work is the filtering of clients. There was barely any mention of this in the series, which surprised me because it’s such a large part of the job.
Indoor Escorts acquire clients through the internet and whether they choose to be contacted by phone, text, email or a mixture of all three, screening clients is a massive pain. There are so many time wasters, weirdos, men with no-manners and no idea as to how to talk to a human being, let alone an Escort. I have a very large block list, which grows bigger and bigger by the day and using your gut instinct to try and select a good client is a mine field. I find that time wasters and idiots are the majority and the lovely, genuine clients are in the minority.
So why was this not portrayed in the series? I’m guessing it wasn’t glamorous enough to make it into the programme and it would have spoiled the overall ambiance of the show.
Another problem I have with the show is the money side of things. Belle seemed to be positively swimming in money and I’ve never found that to be realistic. Once you have filtered out the time wasters, weirdos and idiots, you can be left with very slim pickings indeed and if you are based outside of the London area, it’s impossible to charge over the top rates. Clients just won’t pay insane prices nowadays because there are plenty of girls (and in particular Eastern European ladies), who charge next to nothing and so clients expect all women, regardless of their caliber to charge the same rates. My clients are under the impression that I am wealthy, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I make enough money to get by, but I don’t have any savings because once all my bills have been paid, I don’t have wads of spare cash to play with. I have a very simple, quite meager existence, which is in stark contrast to the Belle lifestyle.
The sex work itself wasn’t portrayed particularly accurately either. There is nothing and I repeat NOTHING glamorous about waiting around in your Incall apartment for a complete stranger to arrive at your door. For all I know, this client may be the one who assaults, rapes, robs or murders me, he may even go on to become a stalker. There is also nothing sexy about having sex with a fat, ugly, sweaty man, who you would never look twice at in real life. Yes, attractive men do make an appearance from time to time, but I’m usually so worried about my safety and fed up with sex, that all thoughts of having a hot and horny time go out of the window. There is also the constant worry about what the neighbours are thinking and don’t get me started on relationships and friendships.
Belle seemed to indulge in a lot of role play and she went to an awful lot of trouble for her clients. Remember the episode where she role played the James Bond type scenario? The guy gave her an entire script to memorize, she had to buy new outfits a wig and props. Seriously, what Escorts really have the time or inclination to be doing this? If this guy contacted me, I would have laughed in his face and then blocked him.
Then there was the episode where she became a ‘Courtesan’ and she promptly moved into a complete stranger’s apartment. Who in their right mind would do that? She knew nothing about him, only what the women from the agency told her and suddenly she was at his beck and call, 24 hours a day. I can’t speak on behalf of other Escorts, but I definitely would not want to put myself in this situation. It was so utterly unrealistic.
Now you may be thinking that it was just a TV show and so it’s not going to be entirely factual, but that’s not the point. This programme was portrayed in such a way that it made sex work seem like easy money and the point was hammered home that it was based on the life of a ‘real’ Escort. It has inspired countless naive women (like myself) to become Escorts, without fully realizing the reality of the work. If TV shows about sex work are going to be made, then at least someone please make one that shows the true reality of life as an indoor Escort.