I guess I'm one of nature's optimists so when my business meeting fell though a few weeks ago it meant I had a couple of hours to myself in town. Not that many years ago this would have been an opportunity for spontaneous, casual sex and I would have looked for a phone box with plenty of cards or rung Les Girls to see who was working. Back then it didn't take much to start my mind wandering - once I saw an attractive woman wearing a leather skirt, jacket and high heels waiting at the station and by the time I was in London I knew I had to have sex - and soon! These days more planning goes in to it and I have learned to enjoy the anticipation - and the week of abstinence before hand too!
I began wondering if it was still possible to get laid without resorting to the internet so being near Baker Street - the scene of many a fleeting hour of pleasure - I decided to walk from there to Berwick Street in Soho where Les Girls were for many years. I failed to spot a single card near Baker Street although there was evidence that they had been present but Westminster Council had done their usual thorough removal job. The cards back then were quite basic and the pictures bore little or no resemblance to the woman you would meet. These days when you see a working girl described as "young" you worry that it actually means a 16 or 17 year old or worse but then it meant anyone under the age of 50! Yet sometimes you got lucky. It was how I met "Flame" a sweet girl with a spectacular mane of red hair and a penchant for wearing latex even on the hottest of days - her card simply consisted of a line drawing of a woman in rubber and her number - it certainly worked for me!
I made my way down to Bond Street and headed for Soho - still no cards on view. As I tuned into Berwick Street the memories came flooding back. In some ways the street was just the same - certainly the market was still there but were the sex workers? This was where the "walk ups" were to be found with their hand written cards alerting passers by to the availability of "French Lessons" or the opportunity to purchase a "Large Chest". All long gone. Les Girls was very different and in many ways ahead of its time. They described themselves as "a group of professional working girls whose aim is to provide a high standard of personal services in accordance with their clients' needs and delivered in a healthy and mutually respectful environment." They started in the mid 1990's and were early adopters of an internet presence. Many girls worked there over the years but the two I saw most often were Paige and Chelsea - they were both attractive physically but more importantly were warm, friendly people who really tried to make sure you had a good time.
If I found myself with a free Saturday evening a session at Les Girls followed by a meal at Jimmy's in Frith Street then collecting an early edition of the Sunday papers on the way home was a real treat. Three things that were unique to London all now gone and almost forgotten.
Blore Court was a dead end off Berwick Street and it now seems to have disappeared into a new building on the corner with Peter Street. It felt safe and clean and you really were made to feel welcome. If we lived in a parallel Universe where honesty ruled there would now be a Blue Plaque there telling the world about Les Girls who helped me understand that engaging with independent professionals was so much better for both clients and providers.
Still no cards to be seen though the thought crossed my mind as to what I would do if I found some? Would I make the call and head off to have sex with a complete stranger? For all of 30 seconds I considered this and then thought about what J, the superb professional I now see regularly, would have to say. My guess is she would read the riot act - she considers health, safety and hygiene as being utterly non-negotiable and I suspect that if I confessed to a casual encounter like that I would find my self rapidly removed from her "white list"!
I finally did find a phone box with some cards clearly on display. It was just by the Edith Cavell memorial in St Martin's Place - not a hot spot for the sex trade as far as I am aware. I was about to go in and take a closer look (purely for research purposes of course) when a Chinese couple decided that this was the ideal place for some wedding photos - I am guessing that they liked the idea of having a quaint red London phone box in the picture but I can't help wondering if they noticed the unusual adverts too!
An old man called Mike remembers sex in London before the internet, rants about the hypocrisy of today's society and shares some links to the best companions around today......