Carry on with a stunning hooker or face the music with her Russian boyfriend? What will our man decide?

 

Depression is a terrible thing. I once read a book by a manic-depressive. He said that when he was depressed he could feel each individual second pass by with agonising slowness, like the ticking of a grandfather clock. When he was manic, the opposite was true. Time seemed to hurtle along so fast that he could actually sense his fingernails growing, like a speeded up film of plants opening.

But when I sink into a depression, it just feels like I’m paralysed, and all I can do is slouch at home. I eat packet meals and stop shaving for weeks on end. It can take months until I snap out of it. By the time I pull through, I look like Captain Haddock. The trick to getting out of a slump like this, I’ve found over the years, is to do something unexpected to kick-start a recovery. Once, I jumped out of an aeroplane for charity. The next time, I went travelling in Cambodia. And on the last occasion it happened, I decided to visit a high-class whore.

I’d come across a website called Punternet. Initially, I thought it must have something to do with gambling, but I soon realised it was for men who used prostitutes. Rather brilliantly, there was a forum where they posted write-ups of the women they’d had sex with. They were a bit like restaurant reviews, but instead of praising the veal Milanese or the Chateau Latour, they enthused about oral sex technique and dirty talk.

The site directed me to some online agencies which featured photographs of women. They were stunning enough to be fashion models. Up until that moment, I’d naively assumed that the only way to get a hooker in London was to visit the back alleys around Kings Cross, where a waif with the skincare regime of Pete Doherty would give you a hand-job – and probably lice as well – for £15. But now it appeared that every beauty queen east of Berlin was working as an escort. I even found a glossary to help me decipher the slang the reviewers used. GFE was short for “girlfriend experience”, which meant she would kiss you with tongues. “A levels” showed a willingness for anal sex. And OTK – “over the knee” – meant that you could spank her with the vim of an angry headmaster.

And then I saw her. There were five pictures. Milla from the Ukraine. Hazel eyes, high cheekbones, perky breasts, hair as golden as the vast and trackless wheatfields of her homeland. She resided in Maida Vale and for £150 I could have an hour of her company. Of course, a debate raged in my head. But not, I’m afraid, one considering the tragedy of human trafficking or the moral iniquities of the sex trade. No, this one was simply wondering if £150 was, well… a bit steep. But after calculating what I’d normally spend getting someone into bed, factoring in the phone calls, drinks, dinner and taxi, I decided it was in the right ballpark.

One phone call was all it took to arrange, and a couple of days later I was outside the apartment block where she lived. I checked my appearance in the wing mirror of my Renault and felt a swirl of anxiety in my stomach. Would I be able to perform? Would my penis be laughably small compared to the many she’d seen in her professional duties? I nearly turned around to go home. But then I rallied. After all, if she was half as pretty as her photos, it would be a treat just to see her naked, even if I remained limp for the entire 60 minutes. And maybe she would be pleased that I didn’t have a huge cock. She probably hated getting chafed by well-hung men. When she saw mine, I might even get a discount.

I took some deep breaths to calm my nerves then rang her bell, number 183. When the buzzer went, I walked through the lobby, staring at my shoes to avoid meeting the eye of the porter. In the lift, I had seven floors to tweak my haircut, then I was at her door. My heart pumped. There was no turning back. She answered my knock dressed in pale blue lingerie. I drank her in. She looked every bit as lovely as I’d hoped. A knockout, one of those girls who are so physically perfect your breath catches in your throat when you see them. But there was also a problem. When I’d made my appointment, the booker from the website had failed to mention that Milla spoke almost no English. And while I’m sure many men could simply jump into bed within five seconds of meeting a girl, I like to chat first. There has to be a connection, a shared laugh, a sense of something deeper, for me to be properly aroused. So I gamely attempted to converse with her, using the kind of hand gestures you might employ if asking for directions in a foreign country.

“How long have you been in London?” I queried, pointing out of the window and then at my watch. After a moment of bafflement, she held up three fingers. Whether that meant months, weeks or days I had no clue, so I moved onto safer ground. “Dynamo Kiev?” I asked, giving her a choice of thumbs up or thumbs down. She smiled. Okay, now we were getting somewhere, and within 20 minutes I also had her opinions on Rasputin, Yuri Gagarin, caviar, and those little dolls that fit inside each other. Pleasant though this was, the conversation eventually lulled, and I wondered how best to move things along. I suppose I could have made the universal symbol for sex – a straight finger going through a circled one – but that seemed too crude. There was also a slim chance that it might be misinterpreted as a ring going on a finger, and I didn’t fancy having to explain, using only the medium of mime, that I was not, in fact, proposing marriage. In the end, I just put my hand on her knee. She got the message.

Boy, did she. There’s a commonly held belief that beautiful women don’t make so much effort in bed, but she was an absolute sensation. From the moment she unbuckled my trousers, she treated me like an object of worship, an idol which had to be pampered, licked, stroked and pleasured to the limits of human capability. At one point, watching her perfect bottom ride up and down me in the reverse cowgirl position, I almost burst out laughing. It was ridiculously good.

Best of all, she genuinely seemed to like me. I realise, of course, that all tricks delude themselves about this, but while I’d be the first to admit that her orgasm was probably faked, I don’t think her affection was. Maybe she was lonely in this strange country. Maybe the time I’d spent chatting with her marked me out from her more brutish punters. But whatever the motive, she allowed me to stay an extra hour for free, and then she gave me her personal mobile number. “Agency no,” she said. “Me. You. Just.” Okay, it was about as romantic as talking to Tarzan, but I didn’t give a shit. Her naked breasts jutted warmly next to me; her stomach was flat and tanned. Over the next few months, I saw Milla once a week. It may have been more pricey than going on anti-depressants, but it was certainly a lot better at cheering me up. On the day of each visit I’d feel elated, smiling at people in the street, wanting to hop in the air and click my heels as though I was starring in a musical. And once I got to her place, I’d really enjoy our chats, safe in the knowledge that I could stay as long as I liked afterwards.

On my last visit, things followed their usual pattern. I put the money on her kitchen worktop – it was always called “your present”, not a payment – cuddled up on the sofa, then headed for the bedroom. We were soon naked and her agile tongue was making shapes around my penis when there was a loud knock on the door. A gruff voice called out her name. “Is Basil!” she whispered. She pronounced it baz-eel. There was terror in her eyes, but I’d already got the picture. This was not an unexpected delivery of herbs.

She answered my next question before I could ask it. “Is boyfriend. No good he here.” The knocking on the door got louder. Then I heard a strange metallic sound and realised he was trying to pick the lock. Oh Christ. I was naked in bed with a Russian man’s girlfriend. He was about to force entry into the flat. He might be in the mafia, or be built like a steel worker, one of those strapping heroes of the revolution you see in Soviet art. I was weak, a plump little man ruined by years of capitalism. It would be murder.

In desperation, I considered my options. Hide under the bed? Get out on the eighth-floor window ledge? Pretend to be dead? Next to me, Milla was clearly thinking along the same lines. The music and lights were on in the flat, so she knew Basil wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, he started barging the door with his shoulder. “Quick,” I said, inspiration striking at last. “Call the porter and tell him to throw Basil out.” She looked at me blankly. It was like being on Give Us A Clue with a retarded person. Frantically, I mimed talking on a telephone and pointing at the floor. “The porter! The porter!” I whispered.

Thankfully, she got the message and rang down. A couple of minutes later we heard talking in the corridor. I allowed myself to breathe for the first time in ages. Perhaps I was going to live. But then the door opened. The porter had used his master key to see what all the fuss was about.

To her credit, Milla was out of the bed like Linford Christie with a firework up his arse. She threw herself full length, still naked, and slid the chain into place before they could gain entry. A stream of Eastern European invective flew from her lips. Basil gave her just as much back. I even heard the odd “you fucking cocksucker” and “whore bitch”, so he was clearly the more promising linguist. After five minutes of this she slammed the door shut, came back in and said, “Man tell Basil go or police.” Then she burst out crying. Her beautiful face was streaked with tears.

Of course, I wanted to stay and comfort her. But I also – very, very urgently – wanted to escape before Basil came back, possibly by abseiling through the window with a knife in his teeth like a trained killer of Chechens. Chivalry and cowardice battled in my mind. It was a short fight. Miming tears and then touching my flexed bicep, I tried to explain that she should “stay strong”. Using my fingertips, I pushed up the corners of my mouth into a smile. “Things would get better”. Her tears continued to fall, her frightened eyes pleading for human comfort, a hug from a man who had called himself her friend, who hadn’t just been there for the crude exchange of sex and money.

How did I respond? By leaving even before I had my trainers on. It was a low moment in gallantry. But it could have been lower. As I sprinted past her kitchen, I saw my £150 sitting on the formica. Strictly speaking, I was within my rights to take it back. But I didn’t. No, I thought. Poor little girl. She can treat herself…