Real Life

Real life: I took up escorting to pay for my pet sheep!

It's not that baaaaad!

By As told to Take 5

Deborah Wales, 70, shares her true life story;

I looked out of my kitchen window at my flock of sheep grazing in the paddock and gave a contented sigh.
"This is the life," I said happily.
My boyfriend William, 60, had kindly bought me the 16 sheep.
He worked as an oil tank captain but he loved animals as much as I did.
Not only did he help me look after the sheep but also the two horses, 14 rabbits and two dogs I'd rescued.
We even had a crow.
William and I lived in a small two-bed cottage attached to some paddocks.
We'd met through friends.
I had been a widow for a long time after my husband died when I was 32 and William was divorced.
We spent many happy years tending to our animals and working on a business plan supplying living roofs – roofs with lawn and other plants growing on them.
Then one day after we'd been together for eight happy years William got a phone call.
"My father's unwell," he said. "He needs me to look after him."
His father lived 500km away.
I had to stay behind to look after the animals.
"I'll only be a few weeks," William promised as he drove away.
I blew him a kiss and went to tend my sheep.
But days passed without me hearing from him.
He didn't answer my emails or calls.
That's strange, I thought.
Then, days turned into weeks and I started to get worried.
I get up early every day to feed the flock.
I rang his office and someone answered and said, "Oh William doesn't work here anymore - he's retired."
I stared at the phone after she hung up as the realisation dawned. He'd left me. After eight happy years together.
The coward didn't even have the balls to break up with me.
Had he gone back to his ex wife - who lived close to his father? I'll never know.
All I knew was that the debts were mounting.
We'd borrowed on the cottage and now I had a big mortgage to pay by myself.
With no family to help, I threw myself into our living roofs business.
But the financial crisis had just hit so it didn't take off. I went back to my old job of supply teaching to kids with special needs but it simply didn't pay enough.
Not only did I have the mortgage and bills to pay, I had to many animals to care for too.
"I don't know how I'm going to cope," I confided in a friend one day.
We were sitting in the yard while I hand-fed a baby bird who'd lost its mother.
"You could always sell your body!" she joked.
I laughed out loud. I was 60…
I put an ad in the newspaper.
But the next day as another set of bills landed on the mat, I began thinking more about what she'd said.
I looked in the local paper and saw adverts for 'massages.' I knew that many of those 'massages' were more than that.
I shook my head.
It was a crazy idea.
Then I looked out the window at my gorgeous flock and my stomach flipped.
Escorting would mean I could work my own hours and be home during the day to care for the animals.
The next day I crafted my own ad. As I spoke a smattering of French, I called myself Chanelle and wrote: Taste the flavour of France. Sensual massage in your own home.
I knew I looked good for my age as my friends told me, so I didn't bother putting down how old I was.
Would anyone respond? I had no idea.
Within 48 hours I had my first client. I rushed around buying lacy underwear and tights.
I turned up at his house almost sick with nerves.
An ordinary man in his 40's opened the door.
"Hi, um, come in," he said.
I realised he was as nervous as I was.
Looking after the animals is my priority.
When I got changed and he saw me in my seductive get-up, he was gobsmacked.
That was a good feeling.
I started off giving him a massage and that led to full sex.
The whole visit only took 45 minutes.
After that, he became a regular client.
Since then I've worked around three hours a night seven days a week.
I always use a condom and have regular STI tests.
The youngest was a bloke of around 18.
I'm sure he was seeing me in his parent's house and I was terrified they might suddenly turn up at the door.
The eldest was a man aged 103.
Women would be amazed at the number of men who use an escort service.
I've had men from all walks of life contact me, even some living in care homes.
Many are just lonely.
I charge $125 an hour and some don't even want to have sex.
They just want to chat.
I always turn up at their homes in jeans, then get changed once I'm inside their homes.
I don't want them to feel embarrassed in front of their neighbours.
All of the men seem delighted when they see me dressed up.
I'm 70 now and have been doing it for over a decade.
I take care to remain a slim size 10 but no one ever mentions my age.
My friends said I looked good for my age.
Luckily I've never had any bad experiences, although I've visited a few men who I've instinctively not liked.
Then I've quickly left.
There are some things I won't do, like entertain men in my own home.
These days, most of the men I meet are regular clients.
Still, I don't get to know them.
I ensure they pay up front and then get onto business.
Often I'm in and out within the hour.
Most of my friends and neighbours have no idea what I do.
I think many vets who send me wildlife animals to be nursed back to health would be shocked to know I escort to make ends meet.
I worry how much longer I'll be able to continue.
Going out every night to see clients and then having to get up early to feed the animals is incredibly tiring.
I'd love to give it up but my financial situation means I can't.
Selling my house would barely cover the mortgage so that isn't an option.
Even with my extra work, I'm still only able to pay the interest on my mortgage – it's only a matter of time before my house is repossessed.
That would be devastating not only for me, but for all the animals.
I need to keep being an escort for them.

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