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On one of my book hunts at my favorite haunts in the Nairobi CBD, I happened upon a book with a very “come-hither” title and I just had to get it! I mean when you see Diary of a Married Call Girl on the cover you can’t not buy it!

‘Diary of a Married Call Girl’ is the last in Tracy Quan’s call girl trilogy starring a prostitute called Nancy Chan. Nancy Chan is a character Quan created through whom to tell her experiences & plights as a cocotte. Quan is now a retired hooker who writes books and supports positive reforms for the prostitution industry and champions decriminalization of the same.

I’ll be honest here, I loved the book and have told people that it’s interesting but not for the style of writing or the story itself. No. It was quite a basic book by my standards of appreciation which may be a little off (I am crazy after all) but enthralled me was having access to the psyche of a harlot. I never expected to be so entertained, educated and repulsed. Puzzled too. That’s what made the book work for me.

So, Nancy Chan is a call girl working the Upper East side of Manhattan (I soooo wanna read that in gossip Girl’s voice!) serving a select strata of clients referred to as “Johns” in her line of work. Now in her 30s, her body has been a for profit orgasmization since she was 12. She’s now married to a successful investment banker but she is still a working girl. Her husband, Matt, is well off so she isn’t doing it for the money. She has frequent and amazing sex with Matt and even shares intimacies with him that she has never been able to with anyone else so she isn’t doing it because she’s a nymphomaniac who’s husband’s a bad lay. She sees a shrink to unload her problems so she clearly does not like leading a double life. So why is Nancy a prostitute when she doesn’t have to be?

It took me a while to suss her out. She does it not because she needs to but because it’s the only thing she knows! It’s her identity-well a dominant part of it anyway. hooking is not a job for her but a lifestyle. One she very consciously chose for herself at the tender age of 10 and embarked upon at 12. She has every impetus in the world to divorce her past but she cheats on her marriage with it. Quite weird. Not exactly Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’.

She has a couple of close girlfriends who live the life she does and shares an intimate relationship with to the point of trading and sharing Johns: birds of a feather fuck together? I guess so. They all have different styles of living their personal lives though. Allie, Nancy’s closest friend, has a professor boyfriend that knows about her trade and is comfortable enough with it to the point of being her biggest fan. He supports her and encourages her to take up more proactive roles in the fight for prostitute rights. Jazmine, her other fierce girlfriend is all business, headstrong and has never had a normal/proper relationship in her life. She finds that to work in favor of her trade: zero complications, awkwardness and guilt. Trisha is married with kids and sometimes helps her husband through financial difficulties with the money she earns selling herself (though he doesn’t know that). different strokes for different folks.

Their Johns come to them for all kinds of reasons. There are those that use them as a release valve when they are frustrated professionally or domestically. Some of them are international business men that are in town for a few days and always seek out some entertainment beyond borders. They see some men who like to get jiggy with two or three women at the same time while some just get off watching two women get each other off. They even see married couples that are looking for novelty in their lives (pick up a common  hobby not a hooker, I’m just saying). And finally, the weirdos who need queer stunts to satisfy their unusual appetites which I will not even attempt to discuss here.

By the end of the book, Nancy still consciously decides to stay in the business. Living a double life. And for what? Her dedication to the life she chose, made and supports? IMHO, her sense of pseudo independence, the fallacy that she can quit when she wants to and her need to meet and beat her quotas all give her a reason to stay. Or is she inventing those reasons? To validate herself? weird ending seeing as how Quan quit the business to focus on writing in real life. Maybe there will be a sequel?

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