I first started working as a dominatrix when I was in my twenties. I was in debt and attracted to the idea of easy money. Soon, I was making enough money to pay down my loans. There was money left over for fun, too.
I bought beautiful clothes and expensive shoes. I ate out every night. I began to travel. I spent two weeks at a resort in Jamaica. Then it was off to Paris. I spent another week in Amsterdam, then flew to London just to attend a party. I spent two months in Southern France and ended up in Barcelona.
I'm sure there's an old adage: When the money's easy, there's a catch.
I couldn't be honest with my parents. I was judged by my friends, so I lost a lot. It was difficult to have a boyfriend. My life became emotionally empty. I began to fill it with work. And money.
My first client who wanted to take drugs during our session told me he would pay me $2,000 an hour. I didn't even have to supply him with the drugs. He would bring them himself.
His name was Dan, and his drug of choice was crack. All I had to do was be with him while he smoked the crack, dressed in fetish clothing -- thigh-high boots, a leather mini-skirt and a corset.
I've been thinking a lot about Dan the past couple of days as I read all the headlines about Alix Tichelman, the high-class prostitute being held on manslaughter charges in the death of Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes. Allegedly, Tichelman shot Hayes up with heroin, then left him to die while he overdosed.
I never shot up anyone with heroin then left them to die. Still, I shudder to think what could have happened had Dan suddenly died during our session.
Dan said he was a movie producer. "I want you to ruin my life," he told me.
He lit up his crack, then proceeded to tell me his wife's name. He gave me her work phone number and their home phone number. He said he wanted me to call his wife and tell her that he was with me.
I couldn't do it for real. I dialed a different number, pretended to leave a message. Dan smoked more crack.
"I just inherited six-million dollars," he said, then took a card out of his wallet with his social security number on it. He told me his mother's maiden name.
"So you can access my money," he said.
He wanted to be exploited financially. A man with this type of fantasy becomes sexually excited by the thought of being used for money. At the end of the hour, Dan reached into his wallet again and gave me my first dozen hundreds.
I wasn't doing anything but sitting there, breathing in his crack smoke. Still, I couldn't help feeling like I was the one being humiliated. I should have walked away from the session. I didn't. I couldn't.
I wanted his money too much.
The day toiled on. Dan kept smoking. I kept telling him about how I was going to ruin his life, get his wife to leave him by telling her what he was doing with me. By the end of six hours, I had $10,000 in hand, and Dan was crawling all over the floor, searching for stray "rocks." Another mistress had to help me get him out of the dungeon.
We pushed him out the door, to his car. It was a stupid thing to do. Dan shouldn't have been driving. I should have called him a taxi. But I didn't want him around the dungeon anymore. He was a danger. Still, I can't believe I put innocent people's lives in danger by permitting Dan to drive high on crack.
But not once did I ever consider what could have happened had Dan had a heart attack under my "care"? What if he had had a bad reaction to the drugs? Would I have called 911?
I'd like to think I would have. I'd like to think I wouldn't have acted as stupidly as I did by letting him drive. I'd like to think I wouldn't have acted like Alix Tichelman did either. Security footage shows her taking a last drink of wine then calmly collecting her clothes before she shut the blinds over the windows of Hayes' yacht, fleeing the scene without ever calling 911. All the while Hayes lay dying on the floor from a heroin overdose.
But then again, hadn't I also wanted to quickly wash my hands clean of Dan's problems once I had his money in hand?
I should have taken this as a warning sign to play it safer. I didn't. When a few months later a dominatrix friend of mine asked if I wanted to meet another client who used, this time cocaine, I agreed to meet him.
His name was Bill. I was told that he would pay me by check, $1,000 an hour.
Bill lived in an apartment in a high-rise in Beverly Hills. He had requested that I wear a pair of dirty stockings for the visit. When I arrived at his apartment, I found him on the carpeted floor of his living room, next to a glass-topped coffee table upon which he had laid out an ample spread of perfectly formed cocaine lines.
I sat on the couch and placed my dirty stockings over his face.
"Tell me what a scumbag I am," he said.
I did, then said, "I'm just here to take your money."
It was just what he wanted. By the end of the night I was $3,000 richer. Bill wrote in the amount of money in the appropriate space on the check, then signed the bottom. He didn't fill out the place where my name went. My true identity was supposed to be a secret. This was a ridiculous assumption of course. All Bill had to do was look at his bank statement once I deposited the check to find out my real name.
Week after week, I went back to see Bill. Again, I shudder to think what could have happened had Bill had a heart attack. He also could have hurt me in his coke-addled state.
At the time I wasn't thinking clearly though. I was too hooked on the cash that I got from Bill's checks.
The end to our relationship came about a year later when I got a call from a detective. The detective knew my real name. He had seen it all over Bill's bank statement.
The detective wanted to know how I knew Bill. I lied and said I was Bill's masseuse. The detective didn't seem that interested in the fact that I was probably lying. His concern was that Bill had skipped town, left the state.
I had no idea that Bill was in legal trouble.
I was completely shaken by the call. The detective called back a week later to say that he had located Bill in Florida. He wanted to know whether Bill had tried to contact me. I told the truth: no.
Something finally clicked. I saw the warning flag that had been waving for so long in my face.
It was time to give up the easy money. I didn't want to tempt fate any longer. Things could have ended in a much different manner. They could have ended for me like they did for Alix Tichelman.