Archive for October 22nd, 2010

No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree. –  W. C. Fields

I’ve mentioned Linda a number of times before, but I think I have enough to say about her to justify a full column.  I first met her at Pam’s agency, and when she heard I had left it she offered to give me calls through hers while I was getting mine started; she was thus one of three agencies (Doug’s, hers and my own) that I worked for the first two years I was escorting, and she also did calls for me.  Linda was a fairly pretty, petite (maybe 5’1” and 100#) blue-eyed brunette in her late 20s who had so much energy she reminded one of a Chihuahua even when she wasn’t doing coke (which she did when clients offered it).  She was very friendly and usually quite dependable, but never did anything she didn’t want to do and therefore had to be watched rather closely.  I liked her better as an employer than as an employee, because she had a tendency to go off on customers who annoyed her; her signature kiss-off when hanging up on a customer with whom she had failed to reach an agreement was, “Suck your own dick, then!”

This was only one of the many strange, vulgar and (though I hate to admit it) amusing lines she was wont to throw around; another (as mentioned in my column of September 13th) was “A ho knows a ho” (except with her New Orleans “Yat” accent it sounded like “a hoe knoe a hoe”).  Her customary phone greeting to me was “MAG-gie!  Whatcha doin’, girl!” and it was accompanied by an energetic hug and a compliment on my looks when we met in person.  She constantly improvised new and ever-stranger phrases, such as when she referred me to one of her regulars with, “Oh, he’s easy; all ya gotta do is suck on Bobo’s nose the whole time.”  And even when she wasn’t using any of her idiosyncratic expressions, she often inflected her voice in the strangest, funniest ways; when she was happy she practically got airborne, and when she was annoyed she affected the finger-pointing, head-bobbing stance of a stereotypical black woman.  She was not remotely elegant or “classy”, but for some incomprehensible reason she appealed to a particular type of man who really liked her and would even ask for her specifically!  Since she was averse to any kind of lesbian behavior I never got to see her in action on a two-girl call, but she must’ve been some kind of firecracker in bed to attract such loyalty despite her weirdness.  She therefore never had any trouble getting customers; in fact, though she never quite crossed into platinum pussy syndrome or became an extortionist (see August 24th), she was fairly good at talking her price up when she sensed the opportunity.

Linda used a different stage name with every agency in town, but since Doug and I talked so often we eventually started using the same one for her.  And since there was another Linda in town, the woman I’m talking about eventually came to be referred to between us as “Crazy Linda” to distinguish her from “Spanish Linda”.  The name fit; after knowing her for a while “crazy” was definitely the term which came to mind.  She drove Doug up the wall, and time and again he swore he would stop using her, but he never did because she was too dependable.  Once he even suspected her of stealing calls and actually caught her in the act by driving to the hotel, parking next to her car and confronting her when she came out; he swore vociferously that he would never use her again, yet somehow within a week she had charmed him into rescinding that ban.  And she was definitely charming; despite her goofiness and semi-madness she was really very friendly, loving and loyal.  The stolen calls came at a very bad, stressful time in her life which I’ll discuss below, and were not at all typical behavior; Doug certainly realized this, and I suspect that was why he allowed her to talk herself back into his good graces.  At all other times she had shown herself to be both an honest businesswoman and a strong believer in sisterhood; if she sensed a problem with a client she would be on the phone with every agency in town to spread the word, and when she saw the bruises the wrestler left on me she became angrier than a wet hen.  Whenever I dropped off a fee at her apartment she would try to feed me, and since her metabolism burned off calories as quickly as she could consume them she never understood why I usually refused her goodies!

On one of these visits (soon after I started doing calls for her) I met a black gentleman whom I’ll call “Joe”; he was very nice and well-spoken, but I must admit that I was rather taken aback when I found out that Linda was his mistress and he was the actual owner of the agency.  Though I am not by nature a prejudiced person, I couldn’t help but be a bit dismayed by the thought that I was doing calls for a black pimp.  To Joe’s credit, he instantly discerned my subtle reaction, asked me to sit down and eloquently explained that he actually had two regular businesses, but enjoyed having the escort service as a hobby and let Linda run it most of the time.  He was a family man, and his wife knew and accepted Linda; I eventually saw the proof of all these things myself.  Joe was a stereotype-shatterer if there ever was one; he ran his agency (or rather let Linda run it) like a business, treated his girls fairly and honestly, and never once ever tried to impose his attentions on me despite the fact that he fully admitted to finding me incredibly attractive.  Contrast this with the abusive, exploitative behavior of Pam, a white woman who had been an escort herself, and you will see why “pimp” stereotypes cannot be trusted!

Then one night in 2001, Linda called me in tears to tell me that Joe had been murdered and to ask me to attend his funeral with her.  I of course agreed, and the story she sobbed out to me was the final sledgehammer blow to the stereotype.  He had not been killed in a drug deal (as far as I know he never used them) nor some sort of street violence, but rather by his business partner in one of his “legitimate” businesses.  Joe had apparently discovered that his partner had been embezzling and had gone to the man’s house to discuss what was to be done to rectify the situation without involving the law; tempers flared and the partner pulled a gun and shot him dead on the spot.  Linda and I were the only two white people at his Baptist funeral service, but I did not feel at all self-conscious; he had been a fine, honest man and I was honored to have been accepted at his memorial.  We sat in the second pew directly behind his wife and children, and Linda and the wife hugged each other several times and cried together.  I could not help but be impressed with these people’s level of acceptance; wife and mistress together mourned the man they both loved.  The wife knew full well her husband’s other business and must have known who I was since I came with Linda, but my color and profession were of no importance to her; what mattered was that I considered her husband as a friend and had come to honor his memory.

Linda inherited the agency, but slowly lost interest in it after Joe’s death and eventually sold her phone lines to Luke when he started his own service.  She continued to work as an escort for a while, but I heard less and less from her as the months went by and lost touch with her entirely by the end of 2002, though not before hearing that she was dating another man.  I would like to believe she married him and got out of escorting; though she was clearly good at it and happy in The Life, her inability to control her mouth would have eventually gotten her into trouble so it’s better for her to be out of harm’s way.  Perhaps she calmed down with age, but I doubt it; she was irrepressible, and since New Orleans prizes its eccentrics in a way few American cities do I suspect that she’ll be bouncing off the walls, regaling friends with her loveable silliness and flying up in the faces of those who offend her for many years to come.

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