Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Glamorous Life of the Call Girl

At one a.m. in 1994, I received a call from Le Montrose, a boutique hotel in West Hollywood. The guest told me the problem was “personal.”

The man who opened the door was past sixty, short, plump, balding, and tieless, wearing a rumpled suit which I suspected he’d put on to greet me. Across the room, wearing a bathrobe, a young woman sat on the bed, staring sullenly at the floor.

“There’s been an accident,” he said.

Neither guest seemed injured, so I knew I wasn’t going to get off easy. This proved true as he explained that his friend seemed to have an object in her rectum. He provided no details.

Bizarre incidents fascinate doctors no less than laymen. Around the cafeteria table, interns and residents compete in relating the latest. Outside of working hours, they remain a mainstay for impressing girls at parties.

Central to this adolescent obsession is the genre of things-that-end-up-in-people’s-rectums. I no longer find these amusing, not only because I’m a grown-up but because they make me nervous. I hate situations that I might not be able to handle. Removing something from the rectum often requires tools such as a proctoscope which I didn’t carry. Also skills. I had never done that.

But I had to try. After introducing myself to the woman, I put on a rubber glove and went to work. There is more space than you’d think inside the rectum; I felt a hard object touch my fingertip and then drift away. When something lies out of reach, it’s natural to stretch, and my desperate efforts caused her to groan with pain.

Suddenly, I snagged something and pulled out a shot glass. I almost danced with joy and relief. Although I expected an outpouring of gratitude, none appeared. Gathering up her clothes, the woman disappeared into the bathroom. The man nodded agreeably as if this were routine business. Filling out my invoice, I asked the woman’s name.

“Elizabeth Anderson.” He hesitated before answering, revealing that he had invented the name. Call girls lead a glamorous life in Hollywood movies, but the reality is often miserable. I handed him the invoice. He examined it thoughtfully. “That’s a lot of money,” he said. “You only spent five minutes here.”

In 1994 my fee for a wee-hour call was $180. He had not objected when I informed him earlier. If guests balk during the initial phone call, I say I’ll accept whatever they consider fair. They often reconsider after the visit and pay my regular fee.

I told him I’d accept whatever he considered fair. He handed over $80. I don’t want to think how the woman made out.

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