Rabia (39) is married to Ivar (41) and is the mother of Rosa (7) and Minou (10).
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“I considered just telling it. It sounds heavier than it is, an escort past. Still, I don’t think Ivar could handle it. And what does it matter if he doesn’t know: I don’t know his exact number of bed partners either. All of this happened long before we knew each other. And no matter how lucky we are: that 90,000 euros is a nice nest egg – should things ever go wrong between us.
My student year club consisted of a motley collection of women. We were a bit out of tune at the association, as alternatives. We are still very close. My girlfriend Minke studied psychology just like I did and was the only one of us always financially warm. We had an after party in my dorm room, after a tequila party in town. “The call center where I work isn’t actually a call center,” she confessed during a game of Truth or Dare, “it’s a massage parlor.” We were immediately collectively sobered. A massage parlor? As in: happy endings? She only took care of that when the customer explicitly asked for it, Minke said. What did she care: she did not care about men and during the act there was ‘just a towel over it’. She could put the ‘special tip’ – sometimes up to a hundred guilders – in her pocket.
None of us could say anything. This was what our parents had just warned about when we moved into rooms. We were eighteen, nineteen. I had only had sex with one boyfriend at all. I didn’t want to think about other dicks. ‘You can also do it without touching them’, Minke winked. “A roommate of mine does that – usually, then.” I parked that knowledge somewhere far away in my head, and plodded further in my side job in the hospitality industry.
Too good to run
Until in my third year – I was now 21 – I saw my student debt get a bit high. I worked as much as I could, but the salary did not include room, tuition and living expenses. And so one evening I was having a beer with Lisa, Minke’s elderly roommate. Lisa was intelligent, beautiful, spontaneous, thoughtful. The very last you would attribute a job as an escort.
It had happened like this by accident, she said. She had been introduced by a friend and before she knew it she was a table lady to a middle-aged man. His own wife didn’t have the energy, he’d said, and that’s how he’d called in Lisa for his business dinners – with or without dessert. The case paid. It was too good to let go, Lisa said. She didn’t always have to have sex with her dates, just having an intelligent conversation now and then and being interested was sometimes enough. And then she regularly received a gift as well. Roses, lingerie.
From that conversation in her dorm it went quickly. I had an intake interview and after a week to consider my first date; a dinner. I waited with trembling knees until I was picked up at the agreed point. But from the moment I sat in the car with him, it was no different from one random date. No dirty old man or dishonorable proposals; it felt more like I was out with an older friend.
Within three months I had a number of steady relationships who wanted to go out with me. Sometimes I only had to shop or dine with them, I had sex with others too. I saw no problem in it: I first judged each man myself during an introduction, and how many classmates did not have casual sex with boys whose names they didn’t even know the next day?
Not all appointments were business-like; a widower liked to go out for a luxurious meal and was only looking for company. A man never crossed my limits.
‘My husband has no idea of my wild sex past’>
Of course it sometimes crossed my mind that I was on slippery ice. What if a date wanted more than me? Or make my work public? I increased the risk of the bargain. Until I got a customer with whom I fell madly in love. He was married and took me to a concert that arranged a business relationship for him. It was like I was dating a peer. We laughed, danced – nothing felt like a business deal. When he kissed me, I kissed back with full dedication.
A day later, we met outside of work – unpaid. I broke all the codes and ignored the alarm bells. I called in sick at work and plunged into an adventure that lasted almost a month. Then he broke up. He was married, I knew that right?
My reality landing was relentless: it broke my heart and I felt terribly used. What the hell was I doing? I led a secret life that only Minke knew and in which there was no room to spontaneously fall in love with someone from my own world, my own age. I had saved up a – for my understanding – small fortune. A date with me cost at least six hundred euros, and that was the basic package. I got a percentage of that, which I don’t want to elaborate on. Fact: I could amply pay off my student debt and then I still had a lot left over, say 90,000 euros.
Just before my graduation I quit my job, three months later I ran into Ivar. I told him about my love life, not my paid dates. Ivar, in turn, had partied quite a bit; I didn’t have to be accountable. The longer I concealed my past, the more difficult it became to confess it.
I have a small sole proprietorship in psychology, my savings are in an account linked to it. Stupid, because that costs me money, because the amount is included in my tax return every year – I run the risk that it will dissolve slowly that way. For the time being I have enough turnover to keep it settled, but I would be better off investing it. Or invest in a house for sale, instead of renting for 1150 euros per month very expensive, as we do now. But then Ivar finds out about it – and with a bit of bad luck my children, and that is precisely not the intention. We are married on a prenuptial agreement; my case is beyond that.
Every year I am terrified that my savings account somehow surfaced during the tax return. But it is arranged by my accountant; Ivar only has to provide his data and believes it further. I realize that I got into more trouble with my lie than if I had just told my past. But it is too late to reverse it. Luckily I have Minke. Her wife is also unaware of her student job; we carry this secret together. ”
This article is in Kek Mama 14-2020.
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