Yu Na’s Autobiography, Part Two
Although my time as a call girl was difficult and painful, I am writing about my experiences in case someday I want to look back on them and remember.
Back when I was working as a call girl, people used to say we were night owls because we worked at night and slept during the day, which must have seemed ridiculous to them. When I first came to Beijing, I didn’t have a place of my own, so I stayed at a little guesthouse in an alley off Wangfujing Road. The room was small and shabby, with a communal toilet and shower, and cost 50 yuan per day, 1500 per month. Most of the women who lived there were in the same line of work as me. Even if I got home early, it was impossible to sleep because the walls were thin and the place was noisy. I lived with friends, a few girls I got along with, so I never felt scared or lonely. Usually we slept until one or two in the afternoon. After we got up, we’d have a cigarette, watch some TV, brush our teeth and wash our faces. Then, when everyone was awake, we’d get together and talk about whether or not to eat, and where to go shopping. We usually got a bite to eat in Dongsi, not far from the club, and then went shopping in Longfusi (Longfu Temple Street). That street had the best selection of the things we needed for our work (including clothes, cosmetics, etc.). You could say that the shops in Longfusi relied on girls like us for survival – we were the reason their business was booming. The clothes there weren’t any cheaper than the brand name clothes at big shopping malls, though. Once they saw you really liked something, they wouldn’t budge on the price, because they figured we all had a lot of money. The street was always crowded with young, good-looking guys and girls dressed in the latest fashions. It didn’t matter if it was a guy or a girl, you couldn’t walk past someone without getting a big whiff of perfume or cologne. And it wasn’t just them – I was exactly the same.
I love to buy cosmetics and jewelry, especially watches. I really love Louis Vuitton, but the real brand-name stuff is super expensive, so I had to settle for fakes, and even those cost 500 or 600 yuan !
I never cared how much my accessories cost. Some girls have real brand name watches and purses, but I guess there’s a reason for that. Sometimes they’ll meet a really rich guy and manage to sweet talk him into buying them the things they want. And if the guy wants to get in good with her, money’s no object – he probably doesn’t have to worry about money, anyway, and he’s more interested in the novelty of a new girl. But no matter what they say, in a relationship like that, they’re both just using each other. Then there’s a handful of men who fall in love with a girl they met at a KTV club, men who aren’t happy with their wives and want to be with the girl at any cost, even if it means divorce. That’s the power of love. In my opinion, love is the greatest and most important thing because, for a woman, happiness in life means having love, a family and a child.
Being able to find the man of your dreams is true happiness.
I think most women probably feel the same, but some girls are just opportunists. I worked with a girl like that – I’ll call her XX. She used to say as long as she had money she didn’t care about love. Then she could have anything she wanted, afford all the things she couldn’t before: cars, houses, designer clothes, etc. Her fiancé was almost fifty, a real-estate developer on his third marriage. I don’t know if all rich men are like him, but I hope that girls won’t ruin their chance at happiness just because they meet a man with money. It scares me to talk about this, because I wonder if someday I’ll meet that kind of man. But I think I can hold out and wait for true love !
Yingzi and Yang Fei were my best friends at the club and we hung out together a lot. They were older, so they looked after me. We loved to go shopping at Ladies’ Shopping Street and Jiayi Fashion Square. A lot of girls in our trade went to those places, because they had a better selection and were cheaper than Longfusi.
I used to go to Ladies’ Shopping Street a lot to get manicures and get my eyebrows plucked. We usually finished shopping around 5:00, then went back to the guesthouse and started getting ready. We’d spend about an hour talking and putting on our makeup. Work started at 8:00, but I usually went in earlier because I was a model in the catwalk show and had to be there at 8:00 sharp for roll call. Yingzi and Yang Fei were PR girls, so it didn’t matter if they showed up a little late. After roll call, the other girls and I sat in the hostess area and waited for customers to arrive. When I first started working at the club, I met a “mami”, a madam, from Beijing. She was young and pretty, really elegant, and all the customers liked her.
Not long after I started working there, one of the customers took her as his mistress. We heard he bought her a car and a house worth over 2 million yuan, and also gave her tens of thousands in allowance money every month. Guess she was lucky. After that, not many madams asked for me, because they didn’t know me well enough. Every place had its rules. If you didn’t have a good relationship with the madam, it didn’t matter how good-looking you were, you wouldn’t get any customers. The madams controlled everything, so you were dependent on them. Yingzi and Yang Fei had been around longer than me, so they introduced me to some madams they knew. They said I was their younger sister and said a lot of nice things about me. After that, the madams made sure I always had one or two customers every night, so I had a guaranteed income. No matter what you do, it helps to have friends. To thank Yingzi and Yang Fei, I took them out to dinner a lot, or sometimes just out for fun. Because there were over a hundred girls at the club, getting even one customer a night wasn’t easy. Some girls would go days without a single customer, either because they were new or not pretty or tall enough, or maybe because they weren’t that popular with the men. But they waited patiently, and had to be satisfied with one customer every few days. Yingzi, Yang Fei and I were better off, because we had a good relationship with the madams. It was more than just knowing how to talk to them. Sometimes if we made a lot of money, we’d give kickbacks to the madams, which made for a more stable relationship. The madams relied on us for their living: they got room kickbacks, a percentage of drink sales and tips from male customers. Actually, there’s another thing I’m almost too embarrassed to write about : being a call girl. Maybe everyone knows this, but it’s hard to make a living as a bar hostess without ever going out “on-call”. Now that “Solution Scheme” has given me the chance to talk about my true feelings, I can get past my inhibitions and be bold enough to say what I couldn’t say to my friends and family all those years. Every night, I entertained different men. Every night when the customers came in, the madams would call me over and introduce me. They’d tell the customers how nice and pretty I was, how good I could drink and sing. After a while, I got to know a lot of the customers, and they would request me regularly. Most of the men I met were property developers or managers of IT or air-conditioning companies; they came to the club a lot. Of course, there were also cadres and military men, some of them high-ranking, and slacker-types from rich families. You could say I met all kinds of people. Some came to the club often, and some only came once or twice. My impression was that the real estate developers were the richest and most generous, but they didn’t come to the club for their own fun. Mostly, they were entertaining to impress cadres they did business with, to show them a good time and talk a little business on the side. I don’t know if everyone in real estate development is that rich, but the ones I met were the club’s biggest spenders – whatever they ordered, it had to be the best.
It was fun to be around them because when they were having fun, they were great tippers. But whenever I drank with them, I always ended up getting drunk. I had to drink like that to maintain their “trust”.
Most nights, they’d spend over 10,000 yuan, or at least 7000 or 8000 yuan. Generally, they spent a lot more than any of the other customers. Managers of the air-conditioning companies usually entertained real estate developers. They had to play up to them if they wanted the big real estate contracts. But they weren’t as generous as the real estate developer types. They didn’t give very good tips, and usually spent only about 4000 or 5000 a night.
The cadres and military men didn’t seem as experienced with nightclubs as the real estate developers, so they weren’t as sneaky, and didn’t give us girls as much trouble. They seemed more conscious of status and situation and sometimes even got carried away, like they really cared about us. But what none of these men knew was that we were just playing along to get more money out of them.
In the beginning, the customers I hated the most were the rich-
kid slackers, because they always wanted us to get drunk and take ketamine and ecstasy with them. At first I was really scared. Some of the girls even asked to leave the room, because they were afraid of getting addicted. I was scared, too, but I wanted to earn money, so I never asked to leave the room. In one night with them, I could earn several times my regular tips, and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to earn some easy money. I used to play little tricks when I was partying with them. When they asked me to take ecstasy, I’d put the pill in my mouth, spit it out when they weren’t looking and then pretend to be high. They didn’t like to be the only ones taking drugs, because the atmosphere wouldn’t be as fun or as wild. I was pretty good at faking it, shaking my head and dancing around like crazy, because I liked dancing, anyway. But after a while, they discovered my little trick and snuck some ecstasy into my glass of wine. I had no idea, so I drank the whole thing. I remember that time most vividly, because it was my first time on ecstasy and they put in a whole pill. After about ten minutes, it started to kick in. It was a totally different buzz than alcohol. It kept getting more and more intense. After a while, my body started to go numb, I wanted to puke and I could hardly move. They knew it had gone to my head, so they dragged me up to dance but I fainted right away. I was totally out of it. They weren’t scared at all, because it affected everyone that way the first time. Then they laid me on the couch and started shaking me, but I didn’t react at all. It was like my brain was flying high. Two of them started were shaking my hands, and another was shaking my head, but I didn’t react for a long time. I slowly started to regain some feeling, but I couldn’t stand it if the music stopped.
I felt like if the music stopped, I was going to die. After a few more times, taking E started to become fun, although it was still scary. Sometimes I really wanted to do it, not because I was addicted but because it made me forget about all my worries. It was like I could get what I needed from being high. I know a lot of kids take ecstasy for thrills. There are some famous directors, actors and singers who take it, too. Maybe their lives are just like ours, maybe they have their worries, too. The main thing about taking a drug like that is that it strengthens your sex drive. When it got so intense I couldn’t stand it, I’d ask one of the madams to send me out on a date. Before I started taking drugs, I hardly ever did that, but when I was on E, I needed the stimulation. The charge for a date outside the club was 1500 yuan. Of that, we gave 300 or 400 to the madam, because that was how they made their living. When we were drinking with customers, we’d get them to order more, or buy expensive imported liquor, so the madam got a cut of that, too. Of course, that wasn’t the only way the madams made money. They had good relationships with the customers, intimate relationships. They had their regulars too, and the regulars always gave them big tips. Sometimes the madams could make more money in one day than we made in a whole month. Some men even bought them cars, or houses. All of the madams had worked their way up from being bar hostesses, and they could size a man up in a single glance. They knew better than anyone what men wanted, so they had the men completely convinced. They knew how to make a man happy, because they had so much experience at it !
Since I was a model and PR girl in the club, I had to work harder than the regular hostesses. Every night at 11:15, we did a catwalk show. If we happened to be entertaining customers in one of the private rooms, we’d tell them about our show in advance and invite them out into the main hall to watch. If we buttered them up enough, they’d send us flowers and come to cheer us on. A bouquet of plastic flowers cost 100 yuan. Sometimes a customer would send us a plastic tiara, which cost 500. But that didn’t happen very often – we didn’t get customers giving us flowers and tiaras every night.