Pretty enough?

At the time I was seeing a guy from back in high school, we’d been dating for about a month, we went to the pub every weekend, he was the bad influence type of guy, but I was enjoying what we had, he was perhaps all I needed. It was fun, but the relationship was lacking desire, it was like a never ending party but nothing more. One of those weekends we spent the night with some of his friends drinking and smoking menthol cigarettes, everyone went to sleep around 4:00am.

I went to a room with him, he laid down and fell asleep without even trying a move, –am I not pretty enough for you?- I thought. I felt rejected and sad again. I found myself awake, looking at him sleeping and wondering why he wouldn’t want me. The hours passed and all I could think of was, if people on the internet would want me at all and what if they would? The idea didn’t seem so bad at that time. I was only wearing panties a loose shirt without a bra sitting at the edge of the bed still looking at him wondering if he even found me attractive at all, I felt pretty that night, pretty enough to take off my clothes to show my naked body without feeling shame but nobody there willing to see it.

I spent the whole night awake, reading back the pages of my old diary that I used to carry everywhere. I was embarrassed realizing how pathetic my life was getting again, dating a man because I was bored and hoping for him to show me my worth. I was an expert at jumping from relationship to relationship, terrified of being alone. I needed someone to believe in me, to see the good things about me I could no longer find.

The sun came out, I was there, restless checking how much money I had, I found a 20,000 COP bill (no more than $7) that’s all I had, not much, but enough to get a decent breakfast and get around the city. I left before he woke up, walked to the bus station with my mind going a million miles per hour, my heart racing with sadness, the strangest and most unwanted feeling in the world. I took an empty bus and sat at the back, I was going home. The bus was heading south of the city and was going to pass Chapinero, an area near the center of the city, I remember then, that’s where those “erotic shows places” were. I quickly checked my diary, I had the addresses and the phone numbers of those places I wrote just in case.

I was still terrified, but without thinking I left the bus at Calle 45 station, my hunt for a new job started. It felt like a walk of shame, since the minute I left the bus, like if every person there knew exactly what I was doing, where I was going, their eyes were judging me at least they were in my head.

I walked for about 15 minutes and made it to the first place, an old rusty house in the middle of a normal neighborhood, I knocked on the door, a young woman came out and greeted me -“I’m here to find out about the job”-, I said. She smiled and waved me to come in. I remember a few things, sometimes my mind went blank, the place was overwhelming, my hands were sweating, and my knees were weak. There was a few big rooms with blankets to divide the space where the girls worked, there was no intimacy, dirty mattresses on the floor and old computers with webcams, it smelt like humidity and sadness, I was petrified, just staring at the environment then a girl wrapped on a blanket ran in front of me heading quickly to the bathroom, she seemed happy, I was thinking she probably just made a lot of money taking off her clothes.

The tour around the place kept going, it was time to talk to the owner downstairs, he was a middle age guy, who gave me a strong hand shake while telling me proudly how the police don’t come as often as they used to, -Police, is this job even legal?– I thought. He explained a little bit how the work was done, -“You take privates and charge per minute, take off your clothes and do a show”- he said, I still had no idea what a private was, it felt like he was speaking in a whole different language -“You can make around 3’000,000 COP ($1000) a month working full time”- looking at me with a perky smile, I looked at the girl that opened the door with doubt in my eyes, she was next to me and told me –“you’re going to love this, it’s amazing”-I was only wondering if the guy would masturbate watching the girls that worked there on his computer, I got even more scared than I already was, that place wasn’t for me, I thanked them and went home feeling dirty, like if being in that place took away a part of me. The excitement was gone, all was left was shame and guilt. -How did I end up here?– I wondered while I was on the crowded bus going home.

The days passed and I was running out of time, It was the beginning of July 2012 and University was starting soon, I had less options to get the money I needed and if I didn’t get it on time I’d lose the scholarship. –Taking off your clothes can’t be that hard-, I kept thinking, -maybe I just needed to find a better place to do it-, I looked around the web a little more, called a few places and made appointments to visit other possible work options, printed my CV and found my best clothes to wear in my job interview. I was ready to take my clothes off, ready to be seen and get paid for it, this was the beginning of a new me.

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