Antonia Crane is one of Naked Ladies. You can read her bio here. She has her own blog, where she writes about her life as a stripper, sex worker, HIV Counselor, writer, daughter and sister. This piece was originally posted in Antonia’s blog on 1/1, it’s reprinted here, in toto, with her permission. It bears repeat reading if you saw it there already. And it’s here, just in case you missed it.
This entry was originally posted on February 3, 2010 on dirtygirldiaries.com and filed under three naked ladies.
Almost Girl: A Classy Holiday
by Antonia Crane
Some girls shove cupcakes in their mouths and those hot dogs wrapped in obscene bacon on Sunset Boulevard when there are holes punched through their hearts. I wander into hotels and casinos and offer my body to strangers for money. Not my whole body, just a little bit of it.
Maybe because I’m the girl in second place. I’m the Almost Girl. I’ve been runner up my whole life and am troubled by this. I crave attention and something sick happens to me when I don’t get it.Everything’s complicated when you’re this raw and yucky. Even casual encounters hurl me into Walgreens for Rolaids. I’d sooner douse myself with gasoline then be rejected by a man. I’ve got to win. Even when I don’t.
Growing up, I was nominated for things but never won. Like “best looking,” “homecoming queen,”and I was a contestant in a reality TV show to win $25K which I promised my mom half the winnings for her chemo and radiation bills. It was down to the final two. Me and one guy. In those last sweaty moments before the panel, the producer whispered to me, “You’re about to win a lot of money right now.”
I sat in the metal chair, waiting. I was high on adrenaline like it was happening to someone else. But, I lost to the surfer kid who lived with his fisherman Dad.
Mom died after that and there went the beach property in Humboldt that I was supposed to inherit.
Recently, I’ve leapt from the topless clubs on Hollywood Boulevard to Craigslist. I offer the promise of a happy ending to an otherwise dismal life for men who travel alone during the holidays. After all, the holidays mean things to people. There’s obligation, anxiety and volcanic loneliness.
People need to be touched and that’s a fact. Touch is the first and final language and it’s the one thing computers haven’t figured out how to replace. Casual, profound touch book ended by cash. No fights or let downs. No disappointed wives or nagging kids.
Sometimes, I show up alone. Sometimes with my friend, Elle for one excellent hour of manufactured intimacy. Their loneliness bleeds into mine just long enough to give me a hit of the attention I crave, like a baby after the nipple. Together with Elle, we provide distraction, entertainment and a hand job in the sessions. I’ve not had to go hog wild with my pepper spray yet.
Christmas night we had a client at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, where Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton smear fois gras on rice crackers and get shit-faced. A tall white guy with silver hair answered the door at the end of a long skinny hallway. There’s construction paper on the floor. They’re remodeling.
“You are amazing. Such beautiful souls,” he was tower of flesh, covered in tiny scabs. What’s wrong with him? I thought, coveting the fruit bowl piled high with ripe figs and greasy pears. My mouth watered. I didn’t eat dinner.
“There’ sooo much love. So much love,” he said. His eyes watery. According to Elle, he’s a powerful attorney. Oh brother, I thought. A new age attorney.
There was something wrong with his skin. It hung on him like sick flabby meat before it’s tossed down the garbage disposal. It made me sad and grateful to be alive and not have cancer or some skin disease.
I held him tightly in a three-way hug for as long as possible. This seemed to be what he was after, at least, for a few quiet moments. I got sad and the bright room went dark.
We got undressed. I like to keep my shoes and fishnets on for as long as possible.
Elle likes to be naked. He wrapped us up in his pale freckled arms. He had grizzly hair on his neck, chest and in his ears. He laid on his back. A beached whale sunk in soft sand with his belly out, big as a watermelon.
“Are you married?” Elle cut to the chase. She has methods with married men. She likes to help teach them to bring their wives to a better orgasm. It’s stuff she learned in that crazy sex cult she was in for years in Nor Cal.
“She passed away two years ago.” He didn’t look sad. He closed his eyes on the soft pillows that have that posh memory foam stuff. “You’re so amazing,” he said again. His voiced reminded me of soft crying.
“Do you mind if I dim the lights?” I asked. Lighting is everything and I’m prone to migraines so bright lights make me cringe. I love dimmers. I’m a stripper. I make a big show out of taking off my clothes and tease it out some. The lighting has to be right. We draped and dripped our limbs over him on the bed.
That’s when I saw his feet: His big toes were rotting off at the edges, the skin chewed up. His toes were eating themselves and turning black. He had no arches at all. The blackened skin spread up his calves in violent, splotchy little bruises like tiny prunes up his legs. The surfaces of his stomach was freckled and paper thin. I wondered if he hurt. Jesus, I thought. This guy’s got Diabetes or leprosy.
Elle’s great at keeping the fantasy going. She talks dirty.“I feel like you’re inside me,” she said in his face. Her hands were behind her back. She pointed to his junk. This was her signal to me to look at him more closely. “What’s your fantasy?” she asked our man. He ate this up:
“I’m a kid in class and my teacher calls me into her office. She wants me to take my clothes off for her. She draws me and photographs me. Then she demands I play with myself. I hear girls giggling.” Elle giggles. It’s creepy but not as creepy as his cock, which upon close inspection I find the reason why we haven’t touched it yet with our coconut oil. His cock had little warts on it, tiny little red pustules. Angry red strawberry skin at the shaft. Elle’s still giggling like a horror film.
“Will you suck it?” he asked me. His eyes open slits now and his mouth open. He looks like a chubby salamander in a trance.
“Well, sure, but you have some reddish spots and it looks like even warts which can lead to HPV,” I said, crash landing the buzz-kill. I play it safe. I’m an HIV counselor.
“No,” he said. “The doctor said it’s just age. Promise. And. I have a blood disease.” He stroked his cock.
“It’s sensitive at the shaft,” he said. I’m thinking this guy thinks we are stupid bimbos. I’m thinking about the money.
“A promise isn’t enough,” Elle said, her face close to our man who was losing his smile. I’m glad she has a way of being submissive and tough. She has the body of a twelve year old but she’s direct and mature.
“Do you have a condom?” Elle makes herself more available than I do. I’m there for the money. I watch the clock. She’s into energy work and the shaman thing. She says I work too hard and I don’t think she’s wrong but I just can’t shirk my blue-collar roots. This is a service job to me.
“There’s more money in it for both of you,” he said. I jumped up at this and jogged to the bathroom,which was like a mini-spa resort. Huge shower and billion thread-count towels. Two virgin white robes hang from the door, which I consider stealing. Several glass bottles of Evian. Guest soaps that cost more than my car.
I found two types of condoms, one with lube and one without. I think, for oral, the best tasting one will be without lube. They don’t slip and slide when I put them on. I reached into the fancy basket.
Four hundred bucks, I thought. Merry Christmas, darling.