You think you have a tough life? Try working in the sex industry.
German-born Dimitra Ekmektsis came to the United States at age 19 with nothing but a vagina and a dream. Now, the former working girl exposes her decade-long career as a self-styled “Happy Hooker” in her tell-all memoir, Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl. From X-rated trysts with B-list Hollywood producer Aaron Sorkin, to flying high aboard the Concorde with her $2,000 per night Sugar Daddy, Ekmektsis talks openly about her tenure in the world’s oldest profession.
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These are strange and abundant times for the memoir—strange, because scores of people who grew up with alcoholic fathers and “refrigerator mothers” have whimpered out tear-jerking, poignantly humorous accounts of their experiences with said parents. Abundant, because anyone can do it and, it seems nearly everyone does. Slipping down the long, dark tunnel of self-exploration is no longer the sole territory of staid literati such as Marcel Proust, Henry James and Ron Jeremy. The door to memoir writing has been thrown open and torn off the hinges for the likes of you, me and Dimitra Ekmektsis.
From the moment she made the decision to compose Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl, Ektsmetsis considered herself a writer. It didn’t matter that she had yet to put pen to paper. In her mind, a soi-disant writer is a writer just the same. That belief carried her through two years of composition with the assistance of journalist Patricia Lieb.
Ektsmetsis’ place in the memoir family tree is atop a nascent but already prolifically lush branch of call girl autobiographies. A few have managed to become pop culture sensations. The Happy Hooker, written by Xaviera Hollander and published in 1972, is one of the most recognized of the lot. It was also a huge underground hit among the female pre-teen set of Dimitra Ektsmetsis’ school library in her hometown of Drama, Germany.
When 12-year-old Ektsmetsis first read Hollander’s lusty account, the book had already been clutched and pored-over by most of the girls in her class. It is likely, though, that Ektsmetsis was the only one of the bunch who decided, then and there, to eventually actually become a call girl.
“I felt like it was a really exciting life that she [The Happy Hooker] had. The types of people she met, you just didn’t meet anywhere. You had to be part of this secret world,” says Ektsmetsis.
The influence of Hollander’s book was not the only catalyst for Ektsmetsis’ decision to write her professional life. Plenty of subterranean troubles share the credit: Most notably, two years during the early ’90s that Ektsmetsis asserts she spent as paid sexual companion to Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing writer/producer. The only public comment by Sorkin on the subject has been that he knew Ektsmetsis a long ago, for a short period of time. Ektsmetsis insists that Sorkin admitted to basing a call-girl character in The West Wing on her, but neglected to give her direct credit as his muse. Such a slight is unacceptable for someone like Ektsmetsis, who is a self-proclaimed believer in the adage, “Any publicity is good publicity.”
Ektsmetsis admitted to porn journalist and blogger Luke Ford that she really went all the way with Sorkin, actually falling in love with the man.
The Great Divide
For some reason, we all become psychoanalysts when it comes to the discussion of sex-industry workers. There is an uncontrollable urge to explain why a person chooses such a stigmatized lifestyle. We immediately want to know what the parents of this particular high-priced call girl were like. Abusive? Drunk? Deranged?
“Square,” Ektsmetsis interjects before letting the full question fully reverberate. “Very square.”
She says she came from a traditional patriarchical German family.
“I couldn’t talk to boys or go out with boys—not even at 16. But once my parents started going through a divorce, they didn’t pay attention to what I was doing anymore.” I asked if they were even a little open-minded. “No,” she says, again without an iota of hesitation. “The opposite. Traditional—not religious exactly—but traditional. ‘You don’t go out with boys because they are just going to want to have sex with you,’ and that was such a terrible thing.” It was clear that there were no skeletons immediately forthcoming from her family closet. If they did exist, Ektsmetsis wasn’t letting any of them out.
Only in America
An extremely petite, soft-spoken redhead, Ektsmetsis exudes a cuteness that is easy to reconcile with the accommodating, sexy siren persona at play in Confessions. She is warm and inviting in an absent way, infrequently glancing up from the screen of her laptop as she talks.
Looking at Ektsmetsis today, it is easy to visualize her as a willful young girl explaining to her mother that she did not, under any circumstances, plan on studying to become an engineer (her family’s collective profession of choice). Years of protest later, Ektsmetsis managed to escape her less-than-glamorous life in Germany, making the first of several fictional claims to her parents: She was leaving for New York; going on holiday. If sex, drugs and a show ticket for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour constitute a vacation, then Ektsmetsis wasn’t lying to mom and dad—technically speaking.
Fast-forward to July 2000, when Ektsmetsis alighted in Northern Nevada. A decade of clandestine experience working as a call girl in New York preceded her shift into life as a legal working girl at the Moonlite BunnyRanch and Kit Kat Ranch.
Ostensibly, the transition should’ve been easy. Instead, Ektsmetsis found herself struggling to balance writing her recently conceived memoir with the daily travails of being a legal prostitute. “When I started at the Moonlite, I had a computer already. Dennis Hof [Moonlite Bunny Ranch owner] didn’t like the fact that I was writing.”
While Ektsmetsis’ ability to be conversant on a variety of topics had always served her well as a freelance call girl (evidently men enjoy braininess in their sexpots, from time to time), the brothel world was less tolerant of creative expression. “I couldn’t write at the Ranch. Twenty girls sit around, 24 hours a day, beside a bar. Most girls sat and got drunk. Then a guy comes in—if he picked me, fine. Otherwise, I would go back to the computer. Apparently, I was supposed to go sit on the couch instead.”
Rather than have her ambition squashed, Ektsmetsis opted for retirement. Her stint at the two brothels did bear fruit, however. It was there that Ektsmetsis met her best friend, Amber. A long-time fellow prostitute, Amber had already experienced her share of memoir-inspiring events. She had the dubious fame of being the then 19-year-old prostitute who survived being twice raped, skull-bludgeoned on the head with a hammer, bagged up like a piece of trash and then thrown into the San Francisco Bay to die by serial rapist Jack Bokin in 1997.
Amber encouraged her new friend Ektsmetsis—who had far less grim tales to tell—to start a blog à la Belle de Jour, and to begin writing her story.
“I think of myself as a sexual journalist,” Ektsmetsis says. “I’m observing people in a very unique situation.”
While the “situation” of sex is wholly universal, Ektsmetsis believes that her perspective on the subject will contribute to a de-stigmatization of the sex-for-hire industry. She currently lives in Reno and is at work on a revised edition of Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl, the first edition of which was published in Turkey last year. An English-language, self-published version is now available for sale on Amazon.
Having dipped a toe into the pool of public opinion and finding it tepid, Ektsmetsis plans to fill this latest version with more explicit details of her professional experiences. Ektsmetsis is confident that her own memoir, and others like it, can potentially make a difference in the way that the public perceives prostitution.
“There is some drive for people who participate in the profession, whether they’re clients or call girls, to kind of talk about it and to become more accepted. It has always been around and will always be around. Maybe we’re all just getting tired of things being so underground.”
It might take some societal getting used-to, but the memoir and all of its colorful composers are here to stay. And whether her former clients like it or not, Dimitra Ekmektsis is intent on exposing her personal piece of the sexual underground to the light of day.