ne year ago I was broke in Barcelona. I had only one reliable client, and my best girlfriend, also an escort, distracted me from weeping fits. She barely succeeded. I felt penniless and pitiful. My greatest talent was hiding in my room.
The rest my readers know about. The virus dawned. The sex worker industry went dead. Then, one day in late winter, I read about girls who were going “virtual,” finding ways of building an online clientele.
This made me curious and somehow got under my skin, which is thin but has a strong entrepreneurial side. I started watching videos by successful virtual sex works. I stopped sulking long enough to take “underground” seminars on how to kick start sex-related businesses.
My Chilean photographer friend Oscar arrived and took pictures of me, thousands of them, that made me feel beautiful. My morale perked up.
I say this because last month my sexting business, only four months old and now based in London, netted nearly 200K, a third of which went to my employees, the sexting sisterhood I wrote about in my last column.
I am not here to tell you that I am astounded by what’s happened, though I am. Amazed, astounded, and terrified, because it seems as surreal as the virus.
No, I am here to say this might mark a watershed that ends this column.
I am now making enough monthly, online, to begin considering stepping away from the business and starting a life of own. What I mean by that is that my company is doing well enough that it needs me only in peripheral ways. All the pieces are in place to keep my virtual Katrina Kent in business for some time to come, while Katrina herself is busy elsewhere.
I’m thinking of renting an apartment in Chelsea. Had you told me that a year ago I would have asked you, “With whose money?” The answer now is my own money, and its flow seems steady, rising even — another astounding fact.
I am now thinking of a cat, maybe even a dog, and how I might decorate the apartment. I’m thinking, God help me, of trying to date again. I am 36. I am shy. I am wary of men. And yet I know I want something more.
I check apartment listings dutifully while sipping tea and wondering just how all this came to be. My web business means I’ll never have to see another client again. No more strange encounters. No more threesomes.
Yes, fine, call me self-involved. I’ll take it as a compliment, at least these days. Why? Because I actually see a future, and a well-funded one.
Will I ever casually be able to tell my new close friend or a lover that, oh, by the way, I run a sexting business? No, I won’t. At least not yet. The paradox of the sex trade is that some of its members are deeply shy, private, the opposite of the way sex in general is portrayed in escort adverts or porn.
Very soon my life may turn bland. If the right flat appears, I’ll take it, and maybe both the cat and the dog. The boyfriend is another story. I’ll need more time to rearrange my life and my mind.
Maybe in a few years I’ll actually be able to raise the funds necessary to secure the manor in which I grew up, the financial goal that started me down this edgy road.
All I wish to say, in closing, is that Barcelona is long gone, the bad and the good. Oscar will soon be leaving: he fell in love with one of my escort friends and they’ll move in together. She’s quitting the business because she feels it’s time, and she’s in love. Good for Oscar. Good for Marie.
But also — and this I could not say in last year’s moment of dead self-esteem — good for me.