Sometimes, in my line of work as in many others, rude clients float to the surface. I should say that the most awful clients I ever experienced were in banking, because when you’re dealing with people and money, greed comes before all else. Suddenly the bank charges they incurred were my fault, personally. Like I took their money and spent it on caviar. Or call girls. Allegedly.
In my experience, nine times out of ten when clients are chest puffing, it’s easily sorted. They swagger into the room with the “I’m paying you, you will do exactly what I say” routine and I just smile. “Oh dear, you’re terrified, aren’t you ?” Thereafter comes the crest fallen expression and apology. Every so often though, one comes along where the only solution is to play him at his own game, but do it with eloquence.
A few years ago, I had a request to do a dinner date in Glasgow. Perfectly civil emails, if a little abrupt, led to a brief telephone conversation and eventually, we met. Dressed to impress in a cocktail dress, heels and hair flowing, I tottered into the bar to be surveyed with a chewed lip and a turned back. “She’ll have a G & T too. Slim line.” Bearing in mind that I was advertising as a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman), that was uncalled for.
So to dinner. For some strange reason, Mr. Client decided to do anything and everything to make me feel uncomfortable, to the extent that I felt he might be a plant, from abolitionists. He began by asking what drove me to resort to my profession. It couldn’t be drugs, because hello ? Size 16. Was there childhood abuse ? I immediately switched from professional girlfriend to debate mode, and knew I was going to have to bring it.
From there, he decided to raise his voice so that anyone and everyone could hear what he was saying. “DO YOU HAVE A PIMP ? CAN YOU GET AWAY FROM HIM ?” To me, this felt like a man desperate to be seen in the role of rescuer, a very sorry state of affairs indeed. I sipped my non-fatty drink and smiled sweetly.
In time, the menu arrived and it was in French. Quelle horreur. Obviously, as an escort, I would be too dense to be able to interpret it, so he came to my rescue by snatching it out of my hands with the reassurance – “It’s in French, I’ll order.”
Coming very close to boiling point, I let him order, in spite of the fact I wouldn’t touch foie gras if my cat’s life depended on it. Once the starters had been served, my new best pal made great haste in handing over my fee in an envelope with a megaphone style declaration – “BEST GET THE FEE OUT OF THE WAY, EH ?” I’d had enough.
There was £400 or so in the envelope and I carefully removed it from it’s sheath. Standing up, I leaned across the table and whispered, “Au revoir”, before throwing the entire bundle of money into the air. As I flicked my hair and strolled out of that restaurant, I left behind me a stunned misogynist, caught in that moment between records at parties when it suddenly goes quiet, and with twenty pound notes gently flitting down all around him.
I never did get an apology, but the satisfaction ? Now that, you couldn’t put a price on.