You know when a man wants you when he gives you that look. The look that says “yes please, I’ll take all of it and more.” It seeps into your pores and sets fire to your veins, a simple narrowing of the eye, a slow upward curl of the lips, perhaps a cocking of the chin. My streets surrounding Boulevard De Clichy are held in hypertension because of these glances, they are what I live on, literally. I am the virtuoso of the two-seconds-longer-than-a-normal-glance, of the slight hip shimmy at the corner street, of the perfectly draped pearl necklace that draws attention to all the right places.
I know that all the high class bank men with the stiff suits want to do to wind down at night when they slip away from their wives is tear the tassels of my dress, pull my hair out of my pins, bruise me. I know that young men who are taken to my district by their friends to experience things for the first time might not want me physically since I am not manly enough and would prefer to sit and disclose secrets. I know it all, I’ve seen it all.
Tonight, things feel different. Men infiltrate the street and I wait, knowing my rouge has been carefully spread and I’ve perfumed the undulating crease of my breasts. And yet my one pair of silk stockings that I haven’t the money to replace keep slipping from my garter’s hold and the same shingled lock keeps falling out of my bobbed pinning. I insist to meet men’s eyes and I encounter nothing. Every look stops at the first extra second, and never reaches the second and final before the deal is closed. What is wrong with the world today? Has everyone gone mad? Do they know who I am? Have I not been the topic of conversation enough for people to want to see for themselves? No matter. I always get my wait’s worth of money. Most of the time. My knees quake and my mouth dries out. More rouge always helps. I pull out the tube, flick off the cap – shit. Was that really necessary? ¾ of the red cream cylinder (4 fucks to afford) now rolls away from me, across the sidewalk, only to be stepped on by an invading patent leather brogue shoe. Lovely. Red smears and splurges out. The owner of the shoe is the only one to give me more than a 1 second glance- he gives me a five minute explosion, red faced, eyes glaring, mouth spitting. Thanks.
I look around at the mill of passing people and the girls posing, pouting, fluttering eyelids, and I feel bile erupting. The pretences, the extra effort to sexualize every one of my actions. I need my dimly lit closet-like room and my patchwork sheets. I need it all and I need it void of anything related to this underground empire of sweat, heaving and moaning. For the first time in 2 long months I’ll go back to my lair empty handed, without a hand on my ass, without my lipstick, without sweaty cash and sleep it all away.