Author: Lisa Lou
Publisher: Oshun Books
Cape Town, 2007
Soft cover, 15x23 cm, 224 pages
Red Velvet is a memoir in three parts by former call girl Lisa Lou. Lisa’s memories are funny, poignant but above all, compassionate and we see the courtesan’s life through a unique and frequently sardonic point of view.
Divided into three parts, „Red Velvet“ traces Lisa’s early experiences, from a childhood of abuse to working as a high-class prostitute in Melbourne, Perth, and Copenhagen right up until the time she meets her wealthy lover Red.
Part two depicts the complex and erotic partnership of Lisa and Red as they explore the limits of their sexuality as they hob nob with gangsters, socialites and millionaires and part three examines the mechanics of running an escort agency as Lisa goes into business for herself.
Lisa Lou was born in Devon in the 1960s. She studied English literature in Exeter and moved to Australia in the 1980s to escape crippling poverty in London. She has lived the life of a gypsy in England, Germany, Denmark, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. She has been a wife, a witch, a lover and a mother.
Lisa has lived with prostitutes, transsexuals, drug-users, bisexuals, gay people and fetishists - on the periphery of the underground and the underworld. Lisa began writing to deal with her bipolar affective disorder, which makes real-life experience acute and a life of fantasy more comfortable.
Preparation: building the fantasy
Initiation: the first time
Penetration: anal stimulation
Domination: torture fantasy
Interlude: Recreation: Nightclubs and casual liaisons
Domestication: working from home
Medication: the gangster
Subordination: submissive fantasy
Interlude: Fascination: Falling in love
Interlude: Infatuation: Romantic weekend
Amputation: Salon Kitty 8
Covert Operation: busted
Interlude: Annihilation: Suicide attempt
Inebriation: the drunken miner
Masturbation: the client who was caught
Molestation: the boy who was molested
Interlude: Deification: Icons
Interlude: Violation: Childhood rape
Defecation: the fantasy
Interlude: Illumination: the Sleazeball
Urination: my fantasy comes true
Asian Nation: working in Singapore
Destination: working in London
Flirtation: at the Cockatoo Bar
Salvation: the start of the end
Melbourne at the end of the 1980s.
I had given up my three children to their father because I was at the end of my rope.
I knew that the day I hit my son.
I’d never hit him before.
I had almost run out of options, but I had two options left:
Option One: Become a prostitute. Option Two: Suicide.
I thought about suicide a lot.
My father had abused me to the point where I hated myself, and my husband to the point of despair but not quite to self-destruction.
This was to be my journey to empowerment.
Throughout my marriage I was inexperienced and so inhibited that my husband never saw me naked. One night, towards the end of our marriage, after a particularly mediocre session of sex, he said to me that if I had to rely on fucking to make a living I would starve to death. I laughed about that later.
I wanted to prove him wrong, about everything he’d ever accused me of. I wanted revenge. At the time I wanted revenge on men. But, more importantly, I just needed to survive. Prostitution was to become an enlightening and often educational career.
I had a creative mind. I survived. I flourished.
I felt special living a glamorous, sensual existence, far better than the lives that ‘ordinary people’ had. I did it with style. I became an actress, a dancer - part entertainer, part psychoanalyst. A mental acrobat, a seductress creating one fantasy after another.
I became the fantasy for many men - and a few women.
The men I saw treated me like a princess. They valued me more because they were paying for me. They valued me more than their wives. They certainly treated me better than they treated their wives.
I knew that other people saw me as living in some sort of moral twilight, visiting five star hotels, working in brothels and losing myself in nightclubs, sleepwalking in a drug-induced haze. I survived all this-without permanent damage.
This is a story about me, how I became a whore, how I sold myself and what I did to earn a living. But it’s important that you know that at the time my clients were not with me, they were with their fantasy, and it is this detachment that allows us, the women who work in ‘the industry’ to give so much of ourselves night after night after night.
I want you to see my clients the way I saw them - as damaged children. I always felt compassion, even tenderness, for them and I am eternally grateful to them for their support, financially and emotionally.
Well, most of them anyway. Many women not only survive this profession, they thrive. The skills they learn to deal with people empower them in their relationships, in business and in all aspects of their lives. I’ve known women who started in the world’s oldest profession with nothing and ended up property owners, directors of companies, starting new careers, and entering into happy marriages and having well-adjusted children.
I was fortunate. I was one of the lucky ones. Let’s be alone together now. Follow me. Come with me.
Preparation: building the fantasy
They liked me to look artificial, it contributed to the fantasy: the ‘slut’ image. After all, I was an insatiable slut who ‘loved it’. The mask of carefully applied make-up helped me assume my role in this, my private theatre.
As I moved with the languid grace of a cat, diffracted light from nine candles of varying sizes and a side lamp threw off a golden glow as though a bed of daffodils had burst into bloom around me. My delicate floral perfume moved through waves of a haunting Arabian love song, mingling with thin trails of grey smoke from the candles of varying sizes placed on the dresser and windowsill.
I bent to the old dresser to light the wick of an oil burner scented with geranium and rose. Sitting with my legs spread wide, I pulled a tangle of lingerie onto a thinning Persian rug. From the large, wooden bottom drawer of an old dresser I sorted coordinating pieces; separating a dark-grape-coloured lace G-string and bra with a plain satin suspender belt and black lace-top stay-up stockings.
I liked dressing up.
A plump grey and white cat, who I’d named Miss Piggy, sauntered in arrogantly and made herself comfortable in front of the bar heater. She licked her dainty white paws and gazed at me with a blissful, contented look, from half-closed eyes. I let her stay for a while, recognising a kindred spirit.
I fastened the school gym skirt that just covered the tops of my stockings and buttoned a short, white cotton school shirt; left open at the top to show my bra and the creamy curve of an uplifted breast. I tied my hair in two pigtails, high on each side of my head, fastening them with black satin bows. I dragged a pair of shiny black stilettos from under the bed, ready to slip on at the last minute.
Kneeling on the floor next to the bed I peered into a small silver mirror propped against a pillow. I applied plenty of thick, pale concealer to cover faint dark shadows beneath my eyes, that gave my face the look of a Japanese doll. I outlined my lips with a pencil and applied dark-red, matte lipstick that stayed on well. I gave my eyes a smoky outline, smiling at my reflection, pleased with the overall effect.
Studying the sheet on the bed, to make sure it still looked clean; I pulled it tightly, hastily pushing my doona into the bottom of the wardrobe that smelt of dust and old ladies. I hurriedly pulled three towels from a cupboard, laying one across the bed, pinching it in the centre so that it resembled butterfly wings. I placed a tightly rolled bolster across the centre to form a fat butterfly body. I had learnt this in a brothel. Different brothels have their own towel etiquette, varying in intricacy. The last towel I placed in the bathroom.
I put a video on: ‘Teenage Fantasy’. Some overly made-up, blonde ‘office worker’ being seduced during a job interview. As if. I couldn’t see many clients at home: it was too risky, although no-one seemed to notice during the week, since most people were at work.
I charged a hundred and fifty dollars for an hour of straight sex and an extra one hundred and fifty dollars for anal. Occasionally I went to hotels. This was fun but the journey there and back was too time-consuming. I tried to keep my condom use down to three a booking; they were expensive and I was a businesswoman.
As I prepared, I spoke to myself gaily: ‘Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere. Here for a good time not a long time. Live fast, die young; leave a beautiful corpse.’
My mother said money doesn’t grow on trees, but I sure as hell have a bush it grows on. I made sure everything was close at hand; it was better not to expose the condoms and lube to my clients, they liked to think I got wet just looking at them.
I hid my ‘accessories’ under one side of the bed and sat the vibrator in the middle. A rotating purple penis with little pearl beads sat in the centre of the bed like a child’s toy - a very expensive one that had to be replaced every three to six months. They don’t come with a warranty. It looked slightly ridiculous in its colourful rubber glory.
It reminded me of a Japanese pearl diver from Broome I once serviced, who had pearls pushed under his foreskin. They formed a row down the shaft of his cock, which made it difficult to suck.
I think it was some sort of status thing, or to ‘pleasure’ his women.
Yuk!, was all I remember thinking at the time.
Verdi swaggered into the small apartment. He nodded to me without speaking. As I shut the door I turned away from him and leaned forwards. I pushed my arse into his groin, swaying from side to side slightly, rubbing his cock between the cheeks of my arse.
I gave him an arch look over my shoulder then turned slowly. Reaching up, I hooked my hands around his neck, twining my fingers through the short wavy hairs. I pulled my face up to kiss him lingeringly on the lips.
Taking him by one hand I slowly moved towards the bed and sat him down on the edge. Kneeling before him I undid his shoelaces and pulled off his shoes one by one, pushing his socks into them. I leant my face towards his groin. I could smell his distinctive fishy scent as I placed my mouth over the bulge in his trousers.
I breathed hot air into the fabric. I looked up at him and gave him one of my sleazier smiles as I slowly eased down his zipper. I slid the belt open and undid the top button, then raised myself to sit on his lap, straddling his shaft, rolling over it with my arse. When my legs began to ache I dismounted.
While he sat on the bed I knelt in front of him and undid the buttons of his shirt. I draped it over the back of a chair next to the bed. He leant forward. I pulled his singlet over his head. Then, together, we eased his pants off-clumsily. I folded them at the creases and hung them over the chair back.
He knew the way to the bathroom and headed there in his silky red boxer shorts, which he discarded on the bathroom floor. He helped himself to a shower, fiddling constantly with the taps. […]