Juliette shares a period of her dark history. Something she wished she has never done.
That is 14 days. 336 hours.
I did something I never thought I will do ever in my life.
I worked as a freelance escort out of curiosity and money. What drove me to make this decision is actually a combination of factors. Mostly bad news all happening at the same time.
If you see know me personally, you would surely think I’m the last person ever to become a social escort. It’s just not me.
I’m that quiet, sweet looking girl hugging a laptop on the train with headphones on. I’m not super model hot, I would say I’m more of a girl next door.
My looks have never put me in the same league as the ‘chio’ (hot) girls among my friends, but I do get guys approaching me in cafes and in school. I look above average I guess, i’ve caught guys trying to take photo of me in public and I once caught this pervert snapping my upskirt.
Surely If I look grotesque, they wouldn’t do that right ?
Coming from an average low middle income family, I would say I’m considered lucky. The roof over my head is a 3 room flat in Bedok. I live smack in the middle of the busy town centre. A friend once told me my place in Bedok is like the Singapore version of MyeongDong in Seoul.
And the flat I live in, is equivalent to the apartments and hotels that overlook the bustle of activities that goes one below.
You can find everything you could every need within the town centre. It’s always busy, always crowded, there is always something going on. From food, to coffee shops, to supermarket and libraries, everything is within a couple of minutes walk away.
There is always food on the table for me and my older brother, my father is a cab driver, while my mother works at a chain bookshop. I started working at the same bookshop after my ‘O’ levels as a part timer, and as I progressed into Junior college and university, I continue to work part time for additional pocket money.
Covid 19 hit us when I was in the 2nd year of my degree program in NUS. It affected the family’s expenses on many levels. First is my father, he is the main hirer for the cab and his relief driver retired before CNY 2020. He ended up shouldering the daily rental of the whole taxi. So when the lockdown came, his income plunged to zero.
The government relief and help took some pressure off the finances but when it rain, it pours. My grandmother, took a fall in the bathroom and she needs to be hospitalized. Medical bills aside, the family do have some savings to tide through emergencies. My brother Matthew, who is working in Australia, lost his job 1 week into our Circuit breaker.
He was on 6 months probation and had just flew over after CNY. Jobless with bills to pay and stuck in Melbourne, his emergency cash is dwindling fast.
It’s like we’re hit with a tsunami when all the bad news start arriving one after another. The 1st month of our circuit breaker was a very stressful period for my family and I could tell my dad was on the verge of breaking down.
One moment, he had it all good going for him in his life. Son working in Australia building his career. Daughter in university. He just needs to hang on for a couple of years before he can retire once I hit the workforce.
Fate can be cruel at times.
To be honest, the money situation is not exactly dire to the point we need to beg for food or to raid a supermarket or something. It’s more of the uncertainty that drove me to make such a drastic decision.
Back in May 2020, there is no end in sight. Nobody knows what will happen, nobody can see the end of the pandemic and no one knows when this will end. It is under the duress of such uncertainty that I did something so stupid.
Abigail, or Ab in short as I call her, she’s a close friend of mine in secondary school. As a fellow Bedok resident, we often take the train back together after school. She stays just a 10 minutes walk away from me.
Ab has her own set of problems since childhood, the typical single parent, abusive father kind of family drama.
Her life only got better when her dad went to prison. I think it was for drug related stuff, he won’t be coming out for at least 20 years. That was when Ab just finished her secondary school. With a mother and 2 younger sibling to take care of, part time work at a café & bookshop will not cut it, so Ab did the one thing with the one asset that she has.
Throughout her poly days, Ab freelances as a social escort and even as a sugar babe. She still clocks a few hours on weekends at the same bookshop as me because she needed an excuse where the money is coming from.
She confided in me that she hated it, but she needed the money. Ab did it for a few years until she started her degree in NUS, she stopped taking new clients and only sticking with a handful of regulars as her siblings grew up and her mother found a more stable job.
From there, the regulars begin to dwindle to the point there are only 3 that she sees from time to time.
All 3 are married men with kids by the way.
Abigail confided in me about the men she saw, the disgusting things they did and she told me sometimes she gets nightmares thinking about it. Ab has a few suitors in school but she chose to remain single.
“I’m disgusted by myself babe, how do you expect me to date someone?”
Those were her exact words.
I remembered clearly it was the day when the government announced that the circuit breaker will be extended by another month when I called Ab on the phone to chat.
It was 11pm at night and I came out of my room for some fresh air. I stood at the quiet staircase landing looking down onto the deserted interchange that resembles a town with a zombie outbreak.
We chatted, talked a little about everything before I broke the question and asked Ab if she has any idea who to link me up with if I want to do it.
“What ? Are you fucking out of your mind ? “ She asked.
“I don’t know, I mean, I could use with some money, help out the family a little.”
We continued talking and Ab spent the next 10 minutes scolding me, saying I’m crazy.
She also shared with me her experiences when she was doing it, experiences she has never shared before. Some of it made me feel sick.
“you have a boyfriend Juliette. James will flip if he knew.” Ab said. “he’ll fucking kill you or something.”
“Sigh… that’s sort of the last thing on my mind now actually… I’m more concerned about the family’s finances.” I asked Ab about the money.
She has shared with me before but back then, I was not really paying attention.
“after the agent takes the cut, I get about 350-400.” She said.
“what ? For an hour’s work ? “ I exclaimed, unable to believe my ears.
“sometimes it’s less than 30 minutes, they can’t last that long.” Ab said spitefully.
From there, our conversation drifted to commissions, rooms, the unspoken rules of the trade. Dos and don’ts, eventually I told Ab something that literally earned me that absolute silence on the line.
“Ab, why not you be my agent… rather than let other people earn, you can earn off me.” I said in jest.
She just went quiet, I had to keep hailing for her on the line to get her to response.
“You’re fucking serious about this aren’t you Juliette ? “
“how much do you think I’m worth Ab ? Be honest, I won’t blame you. I mean, I don’t exactly have much boobs and all.”
“You’re a gem babe, don’t put yourself down.” Abigail comforted me. “to me, you are priceless ok ? it doesn’t matter how much I think you are worth. It’s how much the men think you are worth.”
“Any chance you can help me out on this ? “ I asked.
Abigail sighed and told me to make my Instagram account private. Start cleaning up my social media profile and make it all private if I’m considering going down this path.
“send me a picture of yourself which is not on the internet. Never posted anywhere before. No need to show your face, just your body… I’ll ask my regulars what they think”
“ok, they probably think I’m worth 50 bucks or something.”
She hung up and I did not think much of it.
Looking at myself in the mirror in my room, I shook my head. I’m nothing compared to the beautiful hot babes on all the social media platform. I took my phone and just point it at the mirror in front of me. Using the phone to cover my face, I snapped a picture of myself before sending it to Abigail.
I didn’t even bother to change into something better.
I went back to my bed and was about to fall asleep when I suddenly sit back up.
I read the message a couple of times over and over again from Abigail.
“One of my regular, Heng, he is willing to pay 700. I helped you asked for 800. I told him this is the first time you are doing it. He’s 47 btw, more than double our age but he’s still decent.”
I read that message close to 10 times and I could feel my heart beat really fast.
Moments later, my phone rang.
It was Ab.
“Babe, think it through carefully ok, I don’t want you to regret your decision.” She said.
“800 ? for an hour’s work ? Are you kidding? “ I exclaimed in a harsh whisper.
Ab was telling me to sleep on it first, when I told her 800 is a freaking load of money. I don’t even make 800 working part time for the bookshop. The most I got was 500 ish for burning a few weekends.
“It’s 1600 babe, he wants 2 hours with you.” Ab said. “ Think it through properly please.”
“Fuck, for 1600, I’m doing it.” I replied without thinking.