What differentiates a bad client from a good one?
“Relationship” is a word that carries an endless number of connotations. It can be used to describe the bond we share with our spouse, our children (or yours – I’m childless), or our friends. It can refer to how we perceive our connection to the world around us or even our attachment to our favorite teapot. (The Design of Everyday Things, anyone? Bueller?) But within the context of this piece, whenever I use the word, it is about an arrangement between an escort and a client.
The factors that go into differentiating one from the other are too many to list, so instead, I’ve decided to share two stories with you. By placing yourself in these moments with me, you can organically observe a number of the negatives and positives.
And before I launch into the tales at hand, it is worth noting that I met both leading men during the height of COVID in 2020, within a few months of one another. I believe in the law of attraction and feel that the universe constantly tries to balance itself. And I steadfastly maintain that banning the first from my life led to the second’s positive manifestation.
Chapter One: My Worst Client Ever
He was calculated. He was determined. He had done his research. By the time he submitted his booking request, he knew that I was scared of our locked-down world and grasping at straws trying to generate income. He knew all this because he watched me on Twitter and read every fearful exchange I shared with my colleagues.
In our distress – in mine – he saw an opportunity to manipulate someone. Into what? I still don’t know. But I assure you it was nothing good, and I’m glad I didn’t stick around to find out.
Every post-verification email leading up to our first and last date reeked of condescension and entitlement. He popped the types of questions one asks when their end goal is mind-fucking someone into / in a relationship. He sent rambling stories of nights out with his friends – complete with photos – and was miffed when I didn’t reply. He sent poems in various romance languages and remarked negatively when I wasn’t instantly familiar with them.
But I endured his boundary-pushing, self-styled IQ tests and attempts at procuring my emotional labor for free. I’m an adamant proponent of “trust your gut,” yet I had to intentionally ignore mine. I felt like I’d never work again, and I had no choice but to meet him.
So – terrified – I went off for our walk in the park. That was the date. A walk in a public place. And yet I was scared to go.
I’ve never seen someone adopt a posture quite like his. As I approached our connection point, I saw him transform from a man on a bench into a caricature. He rose to his feet and assumed his (self-perceived) power form. He pointed his nose to the sky and peered at me from under a proper boat hat. He sneered. We said our hellos, and then he began.
The same barrage of questions, assumptions, and observations he’d once unleashed in writing was now being thrown in person. He was sinister, and that sneer – that smirk – never left his face.
I spent twenty minutes doing everything I could to converse with him without giving him any of the personal information for which he was digging. I was disinterested in jumping through his hoops designed to test my level of intelligence. I was tired of ensuring that there were other people in our vicinity at all times so that I did not feel physically endangered.
Our world was burning, and I felt immense stress and existential dread daily, and I finally realized that I – frankly – didn’t need his shit. So I broke away to sit silently on a bench and run lines in my head. I knew that I needed to figure out a safe exit strategy.
“Well. Men certainly don’t pay you for conversation, do they?” broke the silence.
I did a double-take and asked him to repeat himself. He had followed me to the bench and sat smirking with self-importance. “I said that men don’t pay to talk to you. They just fuck you, and that’s it. Isn’t it? You can’t carry a conversation. I’m glad I tested you before taking you out on my boat this summer. I am very discerning, after all. And you…” He scoffed.
And that was my final call to action. I pivoted slightly so that my knees pointed towards him. I adopted his same asinine posture: nose up, a grin spread across my face. My eyes lit up as I locked onto him with intensity. And then I began.
I explained to him in slow, calm, sneeringly articulate detail every single example of his rudeness. Of his pomposity. Of his vileness. I questioned his mental health with a condescending air of faux concern. I remarked that I felt pity for anyone choosing to remain in his midst. I paused to ask if he had questions, and his jaw remained clenched.
I concluded by thanking him for his time, and – in a brilliant power move – I informed him that I would return his electronic donation. I stated that I neither needed nor wanted his money, and then I walked away.
I was shaking, and it took days to properly process what I had experienced, and it was clear that I had escaped some form of danger. After all, men of his ilk often push emotional boundaries within a relationship as a warmup for pushing physical ones.
Chapter Two: The Man Who Changed my Life
What do I say about him? How do I write about the man who came into my orbit only a month after the incident in the park? His chapter is more robust and complex than the first, and for too long, I’ve postponed writing it. I guess my fear has been that I won’t be able to truly capture the magnitude of his positivity.
But here I am – on the end of a client-sponsored staycation in my favorite luxury suite in my favorite hotel. And this? This respite from the cold at the end of a prolific and busy year? This is the type of gift that he used to give me.
So I am inspired. I can finally write about my relationship with the man who set into motion my accomplishments over the last two years.
The first sign that he was different from the other was .. well .. everything. It was clear that he had done his research, but he used the knowledge gleaned for good. He used it to make me laugh, and he used it to challenge me in the best of ways. He read tweet after tweet (he first encountered me on Twitter) and devoured my blog. I was his first companion, and he wanted to make sure to do things well and do them right. He wanted to support a woman whose strength he saw and respected.
During our year together, he did everything in his power to ensure not only my financial security, but my exponential financial growth. And he sought to help me restore the sense of equilibrium we all lost that year. He had funds, availability, and affinity, and he admired how intensely and brightly I experience life’s beauty and emotion. And despite being married, we could go out together. We could easily be seen walking hand in hand, and that made me happy.
So seen we were. We trotted around Chicago supporting struggling businesses and dining on heated patios in twelve-degree temps. We holed up as the singular occupants of barely-open five-star hotels. We created our own reality. His goal was to make me feel secure and happy at the end of the world, and he did his job so well.
And then the world righted itself. His business picked up, and life threw a few hurdles in our path. So we saw less and less of each other. By the time of our sexual dissolution, he had set a new bar for what I expect from a client. And it’s not like I’d kept lackluster company before him. But what he brought to my life changed how I perceived myself as Alyx and – if we’re being honest – certain aspects of my everyday self.
And these changes continue to impact me in so many important ways. So much of how I live my life in 2022 has roots in him, and all of it has only brought more wholly valuable people into focus.
When he and I were together, we existed on an even playing field. We saw the world through the same mature and realistic lens, yet we never stopped looking for the good and seeking inspiration. We never stopped trying to impress one another, and it was our mutual goal to elevate and bring happiness.
And I am forever grateful for my relationship with him, and for the universe bringing him into my life. While we haven’t made that two-backed beast in over a year, he still books me for dinner or lunch every now and then. And he recently wired me (insert amount of money) because he just remembered that he’d lost a bet to me last February. I once – at his request -referred him to one of my plastic surgeons, after which she gave me a discount on my Botox.
This is the type of relationship we have. Impactful, light, and intwined. Eternal and good.
Update – January 22, 2023
I shared this post with it’s wonderful hero, and this was his reply. Be still my heart.