08/29/2012 09:12 am ET

In Conversation With My Friend, a Prostitute

Mary (not her real name) is a 22-year-old student, writer, and sex worker. She has no problem calling herself a hooker, or prostitute, or what her clients prefer: an escort.

“When I jokingly call myself a ‘prostitute’—or not even jokingly, seriously, with a client—he’d be like, ‘don’t say that! That’s not what you are! You’re an escort!’”

Mary and I met in a creative writing class in university. We talked about being writers, about being women, about being women and writers—the two, for us both, inseparable. It’s now been about a year since we met. We’re sitting in her apartment. By a lone student’s city-dwelling standards, it is enormous: double-storied, triple bedroomed, with a rooftop deck. It’s airy and cool, and the glossy hardwood floors are littered with empty wine bottles and confetti.

“I had a party,” she says. She’d offered to host one for her literature class, a course she still has to finish an essay for. She’s stressed out, because she’s only got until 6 p.m. on Sunday to finish it. “You’d be surprised,” she says, ”Sunday nights get busy.”

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