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Call Girl

Call Girl

A call girl is a female prostitute whose clients contact her by telephone to arrange meetings. Call girls typically charge higher prices than street prostitutes and exercise a great deal of discretion over which clients they accept. A call girl will generally meet with a client in her own home, in his home, or in a hotel room; meetings are arranged in advance, usually by telephone—hence the term call girl. Depending on the wishes and needs of the client, sessions may be brief, with the sole purpose of bringing the client to orgasm, or much more protracted, involving conversation, cuddling, leisurely lovemaking, extended role-playing scenes, or even a traditional dinner date.

Though the term call girl is often used interchangeably with escort, there are significant differences between the two. Clients make contact with escorts through publicly available means: They may arrange for a meeting through an escort service, or they may find escorts advertised in magazines and newspapers. Call girls generally accept clients by referral only; clients may be referred by a madam (a woman who manages a house of prostitution), by other call girls, or by other clients. This referral system helps protect call girls from the danger of soliciting an undercover police officer and helps ensure discreet clients, thus allowing them to remain more or less invisible to the public. As such, call girls, of all illegal prostitutes, run the least risk of arrest and prosecution.

THE BUSINESS

Call girls are generally considered to be a higher class of prostitute than streetwalkers, escorts, and brothel workers. The most successful call girls are often well educated, intelligent, stylish, sophisticated, and—above all—discreet. Though comprehensive demographic data is largely lacking, existing studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that call girls are overwhelmingly white and that their clientele tends to be middle or upper class. The profession is lucrative, and call girls generally dress and live well. Much of the allure of the call girl stems from her conventional outer appearance, and most call girls, therefore, look very much like the kind of smart, successful woman that the general populace cannot imagine being a prostitute.

As with many sex workers, call girls consider themselves first and foremost to be professionals. In order to best serve their customers and to encourage repeat business, call girls pay close attention to their clients' desires—both expressed and unvoiced. More so than with street prostitutes, whose circumstances often dictate a hurried sexual encounter, call girls are selling a fantasy. Successful call girls are cognizant not only of what sexual activities their clients desire but also of what kind of persona he will find most attractive and exciting in a lover. A call girl might play the role of a first-time call girl, an experienced dominatrix, a raunchy schoolgirl, or a comforting care-giver. She might be passive or demanding, pliant or controlling, depending on the wishes and moods of her client. Often it is left to the call girl to discern which response is most appropriate. As such, call girls are often accomplished at reading and responding to their clients' hidden desires at a moment's notice.

Call girls acquire clients almost exclusively by referral, thus necessitating a close connection to other women in the profession. Many call girls begin by working for a madam, who provides contacts with screened clients—and sometimes a location for the meeting—in exchange for a substantial cut (usually 40 to 50 percent) of the call girl's earnings. Women employed by a madam will often try to develop their own client lists; such women might try to circumvent the madam's participation in the transaction by providing the client with their direct contact information—a practice understandably discouraged by madams—or they might purchase a "book," or client list, from a call girl who is leaving the profession. Self-employed call girls expand their client bases by exchanging referrals. A call girl who is unable to meet with a client might send him to another girl, or she might send a client to another girl in exchange for that girl's previous participation in a threesome or in a role-playing or fantasy scenario.

CALL GIRLS VERSUS STREET PROSTITUTES

Although both call girls and street prostitutes may see the same clients for years, call girls tend to spend more time per session with their clients; this may be because sessions are almost always conducted in a safe and secure location, often a private home. Additionally, call girls are much more likely to engage in conversation and other nonsexual activity with their clients. Whereas street prostitution often aims to bring the client to climax as quickly as possible, call girls and their clients are much more likely to engage in extended foreplay, as well as activities, such as oral and vaginal stimulation, that are aimed ostensibly at female as well as male pleasure.

THE CLIENTS

Studies of call girls and their clients are necessarily somewhat difficult to come by, as call girls' business and safety depend on their own discretion, as well as that of coworkers and clients. Available studies suggest, however, that men may visit call girls for somewhat different reasons than they visit street prostitutes. Though sexual activity is almost always a component of a visit to a call girl, conversation is often also a significant aspect of the session. Call girls frequently report discussing their clients' business and personal lives and often provide support and commiseration after a bad day. Reasons for visiting a call girl vary widely, but for a significant percentage of men this kind of emotional interaction is crucial. Married men may report being able to converse with a call girl about topics they will not discuss with their wives, while single men sometimes indicate that a call girl is an easy alternative to a girlfriend, citing readily available sex and intimacy without the time commitment of a romantic relationship. As Janet Lever and Deanne Dolnick (2000) have suggested, men's visits to call girls are often as much about intimacy and connection as they are about sex.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Buchwald, Laura. 2001. "A Conversation with Tracy Quan." Bold Type 5.4 (September). Available from http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/0901/quan.

Bullough, Vern, and Bonnie Bullough. 1987. Women and Prostitution: A Social History. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.

Lever, Janet, and Deanne Dolnick. 2000. "Clients and Call Girls: Seeking Sex and Intimacy." In Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry, ed. Ronald Weitzer. New York: Routledge.

Ringdal, Johan Nils. 2004. Love for Sale: A World History of Prostitution, trans. Richard Daly. New York: Grove Press.

Stein, Martha L. 1974. Lovers, Friends, Slaves …: The Nine Male Sexual Types, Their Psycho-sexual Transactions with Call Girls. New York: Berkley Publishing.

                                               Maureen Lauder

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