The Naked Apple

Repoting from the modern middle class

Hermes and The Hooker

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Getting an STD test after sleeping with a prostitute in the UK was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.  I had gone out for a quick drink to “unwind” during a 3-day business trip to London.  A couple of pints and a beef sandwich, led to a cockney pub complete with Eastern European girls stripping on an astro-turf stage for pound coins in a beer glass.  From there, bar hopping around So-Ho and finally slipping into China White, a respectable night club by any standard on the ruse that I was meeting some friends inside.

I hit the bar and the euphoria of 6 hours of alcohol laced with a pack of Marlborough Lights shook my brain.  I bought drinks at the crushed zinc top hugging an unnamed young Arab who had neither the need nor the desire to work due to his father’s wealth.  At the time I felt on top of the world; in reality I was merely six JD and cokes away from solitude.

And then I got talking with a girl at the bar, normal stuff – like any conversation drowned out by the anthems of dance.  Regressing back to a 17 year old out on the pull, I confidently told her we should go back to “my place”.  It was only in the taxi that I realized this all was not quite right.

“You need to pay me two hundred pound.”

“You didn’t tell me this in the club?”

“No, no, no.  I tell you.  You say ok.”  The bubble was popped in full view of the cabbie who played the role of spectator to this public humiliation.  I weighed up the situation, I was very drunk and in a cab heading back to a 3 star hotel with a Thai hooker.  It all seemed kind of predictable, as if the night had edged towards this inevitable conclusion from the first pint.

My situation was comparable to the drunk who’s been stuck with a bill that isn’t his but he pays it anyway rather than trying to argue with slurred speech.  After the taxi dropped us off, I left her in my hotel room and walked past the reception desk with an open shirt and untied shoe laces in search of an ATM machine.  I was worried I’d be over my daily cash withdrawal limit: it’s not that I particularly wanted to sleep with her (remaining standing was a bigger priority), all I wanted was for her to go home with the minimal of fuss.  The ATM card worked.

She slipped off her violet sequined dress but kept on Perspex kitten heals and reclined on the bed.  The sex can best be described as giving a sperm sample at a doctor’s office with a copy of Playboy in your hand: the scene looks fantastic but you feel a little awkward and just want it all to be over as soon as possible.

Afterwards she lay on the pillows, whispering in broken English and doodling on the hotel stationary.

“I move to Germany but boyfriend let me go to prison.  I come from Thailand, beautiful country, home.  London OK, I have Mercedes, you like car?  OK – you pay cash now.”

The following morning I emptied my stomach down the toilet and in the absence of a valium jelly to comfort my anxiety ridden hangover, I began to cry.  I did the mental math of a career escort: from Thailand to Germany to London… guessing her age at 28…  assuming 3 clients a night – it was awful.  Then the flash back of my naked flaccid dick slipping into her mouth hit me.

That afternoon, I phoned a private clinic in Sloan Square to inquire about an STD test, as gesture of taking responsibility for my actions – that had always done the trick back in grammar school.

“How long has it been sir since the event?”

“About 12 hours”

“We can’t test for another 3 weeks.”
 
Remarkably the horror of the situation began to subside and I even starting enjoying my final day of shopping with an old friend from school.  We browsed for dinnerware, he figured since he was only home from his investment banking job every other week he should eat off the best to make up for lost time.  He explained the calculations per meal to me while all I could think about was a figure equal to two months salary for my parents.  Expensive tea set.

“Hermes and herpes, what a combination to bring home to the missus from a business trip” I said jokingly – he’d didn’t quite follow but smiled anyway.  We settled on an economical white china teapot from Harvey Nichols as a souvenir for me.

Having sex with my wife when I got home was difficult and it broke my heart to do it.  Don’t judge unless you know the bottom of your own morality.  Life sometimes just happens, you keep moving or go insane.  Still, I have no more respect for the man who comes home and tells his wife everything.

And then things got really bad.  The following week on a business trip out to San Francisco I spotted a small rash in my groin, a little irritated pinch of skin no bigger than your finger tip.  Something you wouldn’t even notice unless you’d slept with a Thai escort the week before.

I made an appointment with a General Practitioner on the Upper Eastside office back in Manhattan, my only doctor’s visit since I was 15 and my first taste of America’s healthcare bureaucracy. 

The doctor was an elderly gent, still administering to the sick despite being well into his 80’s.  As he took my life history, I think for a moment he weighed up the match with his granddaughter before getting to why I was in his office; then I was definitively struck off the future spouse list.

“So you’re married.  Very smart.  And you don’t smoke – excellent.  Now why are you here today?  I see.  A rash.  And what do you think it is?”  Thus I began my confession to this pastor of science, sanitized with vocabulary I’d picked up on the internet during my anxiety ridden search for answers.  “Event”, “intercourse”, “contraception”, all polite ways to say I’d fucked a woman who wasn’t my wife and my life was fast going into a nose dive.

I sat on his examination table with my naked buttocks stuck to the disposable waxed paper that ensured the hygienic integrity of each patient.

“Fungus.  I had the same as a boy in my groin and it cleared up after three days in the sun.  But it could be something else given your history.”

So, off I was sent to a dermatologist and a test center for a comprehensive blood work investigation with all the check boxes for immoral behavior ticked off: gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and a special red form for a more comprehensive HIV test.  The medical technician at the blood center was one of the most perfect sparkles of humanity I’ve ever met while having a needle stuck in my arm

Sitting in Central Park a week later while waiting for my results, I looked around at the nanny and stroller crowd who fill the recreational meadows while the rest of us are at work.  I could not even document anonymously my plan in the event of a positive result.  Throwing my own life away really didn’t bother me, it was the shame of writing off my wife’s that burned to the bottom of my stomach.  Still I resolved to not ask God for forgiveness, and became a certified atheist in a foxhole

“You’re all clear!  In fact, you’re the only man in Manhattan under 30 without HVS-1”, the herpes virus that causes common cold sores on the mouth and infects 1 in 5 New Yorkers.  For penance he gave me a photocopied pamphlet that he’d hand-typed himself back in 1997 with the bold headline “Herpes! Know the Risk” written across the cover page in size 50 font.  As I walked down Park Avenue with this ridiculous document in my hand, my splutters swung between laughter and crying

Two months later I repeated the tests which also came back negative.  The Doctor was surprised I’d come back for the second set of tests.  With a scowl through his thick laboratory glasses he looked me in the eye and said:

“This woman of yours, was she a professional?”

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Written by The Naked Apple

February 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Sex

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

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