The World’s Worst Prostitute


By Simon Doonan

Simon Doonan explains why hooking ain’t easy.

OPENING SCENE: Me and Vinnie are locked in an intense tête-à-tête as he schools me on how to play the role of rent boy. Apparently the key to being a prostitute is flaunting yourself. Flaunt! Flaunt! Flaunt! He tells me to unzip my jacket to the navel, wet my lips, open my mouth wide and, this is the most important part, bite the air in a tempestuous tigress-y fashion. “You are living for kicks! Yes, bite the air, like a dog catching flies. Bite! Bite! Bite!”

I am not sure how this flaunting and biting is supposed to attract potential clients, but I do it anyway, knowing that Vinnie has more experience in these matters. I am the trusting ingénue.

CUT. I position myself near the jukebox and start biting the air like a wild gypsy. Like a gypsy tart, if you will.

CUT. That’s me, drunk and disheveled and biting the air, clambering into the front seat of a banged-up Ford Cortina with an older bloke. This not-unattractive Charles Bronson type is concerned that I might spew my guts in his vehicle, thereby rendering it even more unsavory. I promise him that I will not defile his Fablon-covered dashboard.

CUT. Me taking hours to get my key in the door, the way drunks do, and still intermittently biting the air for good measure, just to keep the client happy. The Charles Bronson look-alike, who has a strong Northern accent, shouts, “What the fook is wrong with you? Stop twitching like that and get the fooking door open!”

CUT. Me and Charles Bronson are rolling amorously around the floor of my squalid student crash pad in our undies. We set off a mousetrap. Fortunately, nobody is injured. More rolling. (When, 40 years later, I heard Adele’s hit, “Rolling in the Deep,” I was probably the one person on earth who had a visual for the oblique lyrics.)

CUT. Close-up on my face. I am no longer biting the air. My expression has changed. My eyes consist of two crosses and my mouth is a zigzag. It’s a face that says, “I have done something stupid. I have broken one of Vinnie’s cardinal rules.”

CUT. Me and Charles Bronson, still rolling around, but now attempting to agree upon a fee for my services. Every time I throw out a number he reminds me that I have yet to pay my cab fare. That’s a surprise! Apparently that car, with the holes in the seats and the crocheted steering-wheel cover, is a taxi of some description, Charles Bronson being the chauffeur thereof.