The Story of a Sex Worker

June 24, 2004


I loved L.A. deeply when I first moved there. It had all the sun and air and space that I had imagined. I liked the beach. I liked Venice. I liked how calm and unchanging the weather was. The one problem was that breaking into acting didn't seem any easier than in New York. I dialed an agent out of the yellow pages because I didn't know where else to begin. His name was Lawrence Turner. He was short with small features, a tiny, uncommanding man. He had a large round bald spot and a few hairs pressed firmly across the top of his forehead. He sat behind a small metal desk and asked, "What exactly is it that you want?"

"I'd like to do some acting," I said. "I thought it might be good to start in commercials."

"Do you have any experience?"

"No. I acted some in high school."

"I see," he said.

"I didn't really know where to begin."

"Did you try going to any auditions?"

"No. Can you do that? I thought maybe you needed an agent or at least some photographs of yourself."

"We can put some headshots together," he said. "But I'll need some money from you first."

It cost me two hundred dollars to get three decent headshots in large-sized prints and his services. He kept the negatives. He told me about two auditions. One was for a shampoo ad, the other for detergent. At the detergent audition I found myself in a room full of forty gray-haired ladies. The director looked at me pityingly and said they were looking for an older woman to play a mother. At the shampoo audition there were one hundred and fifty girls and 80% were blonde like myself. I gave them my headshot picture and said, as well as I could, "Mmmn, this is a natural clean. And it tingles." Or something like that. I thought I did fine but they never called me back.

I went back to Turner. He said he didn't know about anything. I told him the detergent ad was for an older woman. He sneered at me and said I probably went to the wrong place. He always talked down to me with a manner of small-minded power.

The third time I saw him he gave me a list of five auditions. I went to all of them and got nothing.

It seemed so futile to be working so hard just so I could sell shampoo. It would have been to nice to be on TV but I was getting the feeling that it was impossible. Maybe I didn't want it bad enough. I needed to be ruthless and ambitious like people were in New York. I would have been proud to call my parents and tell them to watch my commercial on TV, but I never had any success.

The fourth time I went in to see Lawrence Turner he grabbed my tit hard with one hand and I walked out.

By this point I had gotten a job at the tourist restaurant. I would soon be working sixty hour weeks. Working from 6 p.m. till four in the morning, six nights a week. I all but forgot about acting.

Then I got the temp work, and after that I got fired from a busy restaurant for not being fast enough. I applied for a few assistant jobs in the music industry but I didn't get them. Then I got my job at Sizzler and quit when my boss fucked with me. After three years of having nowhere to go, and nowhere proud to call a workplace, endless short-time relationships with a string of older men who didn't have any more money than I did, and what seemed like an endless cycle of job after bad job, Bernard's graciousness seemed like a breath of fresh air in the L.A. smog.


  • At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    GREAT writing as usual. But the story is just heart-breaking... ...I really hope it's purely fictional, and that you are a well-off liberal arts co-ed working on you writing skills.


  • At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ...AND WHY THE HECK DID YOU LET YOUR BOSS RAPE YOU. God damn it, you should have kicked him in the balls OR have somebody kick him in the balls.


  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger Lady Charisse said…

    Heartbreaking. Just tell me you truly didn't trust any of these "men" that...*shiver*....

    And the stories are starting to sound a little too rough to be fake...but then again, I've got a story that's pretty bad and it's all fiction.... EITHER WAY, it's a great read, keep it up.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger sinsulita said…

    Anonymous is obviously a male and a dumbass at that. Love the writing and I'm in suspense waiting for more.

  • At 6:09 PM, Blogger John Psmyth said…

    It's great the way you draw the arc from Turner to Bernard... And we don't even know who Bernard is!


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