Tuesday, June 05, 2007


We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be. ~ Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007)

On the day she was introduced to me by Larry, an ex-parishioner, she sat on my living room floor applying layer after layer of makeup as she told Larry and me of her life of woes. I did my best to keep my eyes off her 34 D, surgically enhanced breasts, a third of which were exposed by the top she was wearing. At some point she stopped caking on the makeup, pointed to the bottles and jars and tubes sitting on my coffee table, and said, “This stuff isn’t really me. I just work as an adult entertainer (my euphemism) and hustle guys. I am not really a whore (her word).”

She was, as I understood her words, simply dressing and pretending to be a whore. Unfortunately, in the two or so years in which she contacted me off and on, I came to learn the untruths she told that day. She would contact me to “rescue” her from some dire situation she had gotten herself into: a guy who had promised her $5,000.00 if she would live with him, or the time she was hiding out from the police because she had an outstanding arrest warrant pending in another state. I always came through for her—in the best way I could. And she realized that: I was the one male, she told me, who would help her and not demand sex in return.

No, she wasn’t really a whore. To the best of my knowledge, she never prostituted herself for money. (The guy who offered her the $5,000.00 never came through with the money; he did, however, provide her with a place to live. The "relationship" lasted less than two weeks before she telephoned me to help her "escape" from his abuse). She would, however, exchange sexual favors for a place to live—and for drugs of all kinds: whatever drug some dude had available, she once told me. But she never defined this as prostitution: she was just partying (again her word).

I suppose that we have to be very careful about the roles we play, as Kurt Vonnegut points out, what we pretend to be. When we act a role, we take on the elements of that role—and often we become what we pretend to be. She, who hustled so many dudes (again, her word: she could seldom remember a dude’s name), hustled and lied to everyone she encountered, including her parents and siblings and children, and those friends who really cared about her welfare. She also hustled and lied to herself.

Where and what she is doing now is beyond my knowledge. I have had no contact with her in more than a year. The last I knew of her, she was hustling a dude who was trying to hustle an insurance company for a half-million dollar settlement for a faked injury from an automobile accident. However, before she got involved in that hustle, I did manage to help her enroll and participate in a Methadone program. It is my hope that, at least, she no longer trades sex for drugs. And, perhaps—just perhaps—someday she will let down the mask she wears, stop pretending and be the person God created her to be. That is my prayer for her.


  1. The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves, especially when we start to believe them. ec

  2. That’s really a sad story.

  3. Nick, I think you have a heart of gold. It is a very sad story. I think the people that tell the "best" lies are those that actually believe what they are saying. Maybe someday she will stop believing her own lies and help herself.

  4. Life is a slippery slope. We all know the downward slide...but there is also an upward slide as well. As the AA group are fond of saying - FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.

    The mind can't tell the difference between the fakery and the truth. So pretending to be all we want to be can trick the mind into believing we already are. When we believe in ourselves, we can work miracles.

    A thoughtful post, Nick.


  5. Of course, you are talking about our mutual acquaintance. I have heard rumors that she has come out here, but have not seen nor heard from her.

  6. Hi Nick ~~ A sad story and let us hope she overcame her problems and
    is happy somewhere. You did the best you could for her and so deserve credit for that. Thanks for your comments, Yes, we are in Winter here
    and when I woke this morning I heard that the temperature was 0 degrees C
    and it won't get much colder than that. Sometimes a bit below zero.
    The sheets were warmer than the satin ones. Take care, Regards, Merle.

  7. What a sad story, Nick, and there are millions of them every day. I hope your friend is happy wherever she is.

    Thank you for your concern and comments over Oscar's loss. I've posted on the Kat's Cradle blog today if you want to take a look.


  8. I like that quote.

    I once knew a, ahem, professional girlfriend. She was the 'black sheep' cousin of a close friend who we tried to help for years. When I met her she used to brag about all the money she made making older men think she loved them. It didn't take too long for me to find her half comatose from too much coke(not the kind one drinks) on the floor crying because in her words, she felt so old and tired. Woke up the next day and pretended like everything was ok again. Eventually and luckily she went off to rehab and I lost touch with her cousin-my friend 9 years ago so I don't know whatever happened to her either. This post made me think of her and send out a little prayer too.

  9. She reminds me of Jake, another hustler we both knew. He had so much talent—so much wasted talent.

  10. Poignant post!!
    Sadly, we all know people like this, who are hiding from themselves. :(

  11. I'm glad she's not around making your life miserable. You are Very Saintly Nick to wish her the best.

  12. That mask actually looks quite a bit like her.

  13. I'll add her to my prayers. Sometimes though there is nothing we can do.