Eight years ago, Bella lost her job as a marketing executive when the relatively new bank she worked for down-sized. “The job was a glorified name for prostitution anyway”, she explained in her usually blunt way. “Female employees are sent into the `field’ to solicit for customers for the bank – and we were usually given a set target for the year. In the three years I spent with the `marketing department’, I, along with a few other members of female staff had a list of `customers’ that did more than put their funds in the bank. We compared notes too – apart from one or two goody-shoe-strings who pretended they never sold their bodies.
“When the bank downsized, a few of the affected female staff got together and from time to time, pass on tips on a few of the men we’d got friendly with over the years. Some of them confessed they were squeamish about sleeping with anyone over 40 but I didn’t mind. It made for more interesting `work’ in my eyes. So when a man in his 60s got in touch with me, I turned up at his house as he’s recently been widowed. He confessed, its been years since he had sex since his wife’s illness put paid to that. Looked as if I’d be dealing with a `virgin’ and you’ll be surprised at the number of men I’d met who were virgins.
“Mind you, some men liked to pretend they were inexperienced. They get a kick out of a woman teaching them how to have sex. But some really did need educating. I’ve had my fair share of virgins – young men looking to do it for the first time were common, as were religious men before their wedding night. They all just wanted to get that difficult first time out of the way with a woman who could take the lead. And for the hefty fees I charge, I was more than willing to be their teacher.
“And there are men who think they’re God’s gift to women. Generally, they are completely clueless. Men who pay for a good time generally want me to tell them I’m loving every second of it. They don’t want to know that I’m really thinking about what I’ll have for dinner that night.
“Over the past six years or so, I’ve seen every side of life in the `sex’ industry – the good, the bad and the ugly. I had a fairly standard upbringing in a small town – lots of friends, a loving family and a very average school experience before my parents came to Lagos.
“A lot of people see what I now do as a glamorous lifestyle, sneaking off to lavish hotel rooms to meet businessmen or last-minute dirty weekends away with millionaires. I’ve had my share of rich `clients’ but that experience never delved into the practicalities of the job. It can be messy, dirty and downright disgusting. Other times, it can be boring and monotonous. You can meet the strangest people too who want unusual things done to them to be able to get some sort of kicks. All in all though, the money is good most of the time – and tax-free too! That’s not to say my experience has been wonderful all the time.
“A couple of years ago, I was doing really well and making a lot of money. I’d bought a small low-income flat and always had spare cash to treat myself. So when a good friend talked me into joining her in the cat fish business, I fell for it. She’d gotten the business on its feet, my contribution was to help go into marketing the smoked aspect of the business. Needless to say, we’d bitten more than we could chew and competition was stiff. It took no time for the business to bite the dust, causing me to lose my life’s savings. My dream of calling it quits with `escorting’ came crashing with the business. `Escorting is easy money and I’m good at it’.
“I have a regular boyfriend and he has no idea what I do. The fish business was a good cover-up when we started it and, to this day, he still believes that’s what I still do. As things stand now, I’d rather wait until the economy picks up before I stop so I can at least have a chance of getting decent pay for a proper job. And I won’t work in a bank if it’s in the marketing department.
“If I could change one thing, it would be agreeing to take on the cat fish business with a friend. That was the catalyst to my downfall. But I don’t regret anything else. I’ve lived a rich life – and I’ve got stories only a few people in the country could match!”