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Diary of a Married Call Girl

Diary of a Married Call Girl

3.7 8
by Tracy Quan

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In this irreverent take on infidelity and modern marriage, newlywed topflight prostitute Nancy Chan finds herself struggling to adjust to the realities of domestic bliss. She’s honing her respectable image as the wife of investment banker Matt, cooking fashionable meals and taking his shirts to the cleaners. But now that she and Matt share a home, it’s


In this irreverent take on infidelity and modern marriage, newlywed topflight prostitute Nancy Chan finds herself struggling to adjust to the realities of domestic bliss. She’s honing her respectable image as the wife of investment banker Matt, cooking fashionable meals and taking his shirts to the cleaners. But now that she and Matt share a home, it’s getting harder to keep her career as an exclusive call girl a secret. Nancy fears what might happen if Matt finds out, but she can’t quite bring herself to give up her financial independence. And now Matt wants to start a family. Motherhood could jeopardize her business—and what will it do to her body?

Will Nancy have to give up her career to save her marriage?

If you’ve ever had a naughty secret or struggled with competing desires, this funny, insightful romp will strike a chord.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this unnecessary sequel to Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, Nancy Chan-now 30-something and newly wed to WASP banker Matt-is still working. She pretends to be a freelance copyeditor studying French, but maintains her old apartment for clients; she's even in therapy on the sly. Juggling her fake life with her kinky one (described in raw detail, not for the squeamish), Nancy is increasingly stressed out. On top of her carefully choreographed days ("Hooking is like backgammon. Dating and marriage are like chess"), Matt is pressuring her to get pregnant, and her friend Allie, a sex worker activist, is about to blow the covers of working girls everywhere by seeking media attention for her cause. And Matt, it turns out, may have some secrets of his own. Quan makes Nancy eloquent on the vicissitudes of her sessions with clients, but tiresome dialogue, lots of banal Nancy-to-client and Nancy-to-husband e-mails, and a light plot pretty much sink the book. The cover calls this "A Nancy Chan Novel," however, which means there's probably more to... come. Agent, John Brockman. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this uninspired sequel (Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, 2001), Quan's proud prostitute heroine simply goes back for sloppy seconds. The sometimes amusing "diarist" narrator has married her impossibly perfect (and impossibly unsuspecting) banker boyfriend Matt, but otherwise it's business, Brazilian waxes and Botox as usual. Weekly sessions with her shrink give Nancy a chance to be honest about her double life as wife and call girl, but for the most part it's just lip service from a shallow, self-unaware liar hoping to keep her profession a secret. The most shocking thing about Nancy's story isn't the sex or her loyalty to the life, but the tiresome logistics. Someone is always coming or going, waiting in a hotel room or on voicemail, and they all require an excuse or a fresh lie. Covering-up has become this unnecessarily desperate housewife's driving force, and it seems like quite a lot of hassle for a thirtysomething with a successful, baby-mad husband to want to put up with. Subplots involving sex-worker activism and a family funeral in Trinidad do little more than introduce more indistinct, dead-end supporting characters for the protagonist to manipulate or lie to. Meanwhile, Nancy seems to neither love nor want to leave hooking behind, and it's not quite clear how the reader should view this conundrum: Is she sad and warped by the things she has done, or empowered and enviable? One thing that is for certain, Nancy is no Carrie Bradshaw, even if lunch conversations with her working-girl girlfriends read like tepid Sex and the City deleted scenes. And with the entire story taking place in early 2001, all this pre-9/11 grunting and groaning feels dated. Anyone looking forconfessional, know-how secrets from a sexual dynamo will be woefully disappointed by advice like, "When in doubt, wear black."If a Nancy Chan franchise actually looms on the horizon, this happy hooker will need to learn some new tricks.
From the Publisher
“Winning and warm, this book is a gleeful romp through the world of the married call girl. Tracy Quan is a great talent.” —Molly Jong-Fast, author of Normal Girl and Girl [Maladjusted]

“Love, sex, money, marriage, lies, infidelity, shopping, and strap-ons. What more could you ask for in a novel?” —David Henry Sterry, bestselling author of Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent

“A delicious peek into a very secret world—sexy and suspenseful. I was pulled in from the start and absolutely fascinated—titillated!—until the end!” —Candida Royalle, author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do

“In this unique and sexy novel, Tracy Quan gives readers a rare peek at what it’s like to live a double life.” —Kyra Davis, author of Sex, Murder and a Double Latte

"A salty, saucy concoction" —The New York Times

"Chick lit, meet trick lit" —Time Out New York

"A new perspective on infidelity and modern marriage" —The Boston Globe

"Quan has a gift for turning out irreverent witty novels on the sex trade... probably the only chick lit writer to discuss indentured labor, sex worker rights and the proper purse in which to carry a dildo." —Reason

"Continues the vicarious sluttiness that readers enjoyed in the first book" —Washington Post

"A peccadillo-esque journey of titillating trysts, marital infidelity and financial prowess." —Our Town

"Satirizes the tricky dynamics between sex workers" —New York Press

"Addictive... unapologetically realistic" —$pread

"Quan has staying power and her book deserves a place in everyone's bedroom — and bookshelf." —Ottawa X Press

"Stereotype-busting." —The Ottawa Sun

"A brutal satire of conspicuous consumption" —New York Times Book Review

Product Details

Publication date:
Nancy Chan Series
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Random House
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Read an Excerpt

1: Roundheels and Caballeros

MONDAY, 3/12/01

Dear Diary,

My two best friends are no longer at war: They invited me to brunch on Sunday. Do I want this unlikely alliance to succeed? Let's just say I'm ambivalent.

Yesterday, I was late for the brunch at Quatorze—which I had to embroider into a birthday celebration when my husband started asking too many questions about my day. Sliding into a banquette, I looked around furtively. Jasmine, sitting next to me, barely noticed my arrival.

"You can't fuck him on the first date!" she was telling Allison. "You're becoming a public figure!"

Across the table, Allie was sipping a mimosa.

"What do you mean, 'a public figure'? I'm just me," she protested.

"He met you at that crazy conference!"

"That was a panel discussion. For Lucho's course. Re-Writing the Extra-Colonial Body. He's fostering a dialogue with sex workers! And he wants to discuss his plans for a documentary. He was too shy to introduce himself at the harm-reduction conference. So we didn't really meet till last week. Tuesday will be our first chance to—"

"Discussion, conference. To him, you're a public figure. This isn't like turning a trick! This guy's a fan. Fuck him right away, and you'll destroy his illusions. Listen, those panties stay on if we have to glue them on." Jasmine paused. "You wouldn't want to disappoint a fan . . . would you?"

Amazing. Jasmine has gone from blanket rejection of Allison's "sex worker activism" to micromanaging all the details now that Allie's a budding spokesperson.

Allie blushed. "A fan? I never thought of it that way! But"—she began to looked worried—"I don't want Lucho to have illusions. I want him to really know me."

"For god's sake, he knows too much about you as it is. Now look at Nancy. I'll bet she didn't fuck Matt on the first date."

"Please," I warned Jasmine. "I am so not in the mood to dissect Matt!"

"What's wrong?" Allison was glad to change the subject from her latest crush to my new husband. "Is everything okay? With you and Matt?"

"Matt's fine," I said tersely. "I'd much rather hear about your professor friend. You met him at . . . a harm-reduction conference?"

Should I tell Allison about the birthday ruse?

Maybe not. There are things your single girlfriends just don't understand. Especially a friend like Allie, who seems to be grooming the man she just met for an illusion-free romance. Which sounds as appealing to me as a sugar-free meringue.

"When you became a spokesman," Jasmine told Allie. "You gave up your right to sleep with guys on the first date."

"I—what are you talking about?"

"He knows you're a working girl! If he doesn't, you can sleep with him anytime you want. Because he won't know he's getting free sex from a hooker! But he knows. And you're not just any working girl. You've got a reputation to maintain."

"A reputation. This isn't the 1950s," Allie objected.

"No kidding! If you sleep with him right away, he can go on Craig's List. Or yap about it on his website! You have to find out more about his past before you fuck him. And don't tell him anything about yours."

The waiter appeared at our booth. Jasmine ordered a martini and I, with genuine remorse, a businesslike Evian.

"No kir royale?" he asked.

"Not today," I said. "Medication," I added, as both girls were giving me owlish looks. "I have to leave early," I explained, when the waiter had drifted away. "Something at the Waldorf."

Alcohol and work don't mix. Or shouldn't.

Jasmine eyed my pale blue yoga pants with curiosity. Then my matching hoodie and my gnomish tote bag, larger than usual, chosen for its excellent zipper. The last thing you want, when carrying lots of dildos and a pair of fuzz-lined manacles (not to mention a serious change of shoes, underclothes, and a Donna Karan suit) is a clever bag with nifty magnets, Velcro flaps, or gimmicky pockets. A laptop case—my usual cover for a hotel call—is way too small for all this gear. And you don't want the zipper to jam!

"Smart move," Jasmine said, staring down at my new suede sneakers.

Faux sloppy is a look I've been cultivating since my marriage began. It's pulled together but says "no special plans." The goal here is to look vague, not mysterious.

Allison, who never has to think about married-girl mufti, was perturbed.

"It's a long story," I sighed. "Charmaine's using the apartment, so I have to change in the hotel bathroom!"

Or maybe here? But no, this restaurant's too intimate for that sort of thing. Why did I ever go in on this deal with Charmaine? A married hooker has to downsize—but I couldn't bear to part with my rent-stabilized lease. That would be like discarding your oldest friend. Charmaine is mostly a boon but sometimes I feel like my small sunny 1BR on East Seventy-ninth is being slowly colonized by a stranger whose ways I barely understand.

"You'll manage," Jasmine said. "Nancy always manages," she added, casting a meaningful look at Allie, who was gazing pensively into the distance.

"Nancy didn't sleep with Matt because she didn't know if she wanted to!" Allie began. "But Lucho and I are different. Besides, this doesn't feel like a real first date. We exchanged at least a hundred e-mails before I spoke at his class. Not that kind of e-mail," she added. "I had no idea who Lucho was. Someone gave him my e-mail address. Then I got something from his department, inviting me to speak on the panel. I know he didn't ask me out until after the panel but—don't you think this is more like a third date? Or even a fifth? We spent two hours IM-ing about the problems in his mother's homeland. His e-mails are totally articulate! And sensitive! And he wants me to be part of this documentary. That's the real reason for our lunch."

Jasmine was looking more Solomonic than usual in a subdued argyle V-neck. She pulled her dark hair behind her ears, and the eighteen-carat glow of her Bulgari knockoffs seemed to compete with her highlights.

"We'll make allowances for technology," she said. "Taking the obsessive e-mails into account, so long as you're not sending each other thinly disguised porn, you might be able to treat this like a second date. Hooking is like backgammon. Dating and marriage are like chess. This guy is a knight. Or, if you handle this right, a rook! Your strategy, as queen, is 'be enigmatic.' Don't be making these extravagant moves. At this point in the game, you and Lucho—"

Jasmine was cut off by a bouncy version of "Hungarian Dance #5," which caused Allison to fiddle nervously with her Prada bowling bag.

"Hello?" Allie whispered into the phone. "It's hard to talk here!" Extricating herself from the chess tutorial, she simpered incoherently. As I watched Allison heading for the front door, a tiny red cell phone pressed against her long blond hair, I realized she was thinner than usual in a pair of striped pants I've never seen before.

"Is this love? Or lipo?" I asked Jasmine. "She must have lost ten pounds! In less than two weeks."

"It's the Internet. How can you keep your pants on for a third date if you're falling in love before the first? Very dangerous. But great for your metabolism. I think she burns a pound of fat every time she gets an e-mail from this guy. Her hips are disappearing. That—or she's spiking her pomegranate juice with cocaine. Don't worry," Jasmine added, reading my mind, "better to be a size six, happily married to a banker, than a frazzled four throwing yourself at some nutty-sounding professor!"

Is hooking really like backgammon? What if it's all chess? And maybe our johns—so numerous yet essential—are the pawns? If, as Jasmine says, a devoted e-mailer is a knight with the ability to evolve into a castle, what is Matt? A king?

Allison's approach to the business reminds me more of bingo. As for Jasmine, she's good at backgammon and did well at chess in high school. But how much does she know about dating? Or marriage—never having lived with any man that I know of? Jasmine thinks real dating is a liability, cutting into the time she devotes to meeting her self-imposed quota of clients.

In fact, Jasmine doesn't feel right going out on a real date unless she tells herself that she's pretending to litehook. But here's the thing about being a litehook: you have to enjoy being "rescued" financially by a man. Even if he's only saving you from your Con Ed bills, you must feel victorious and grateful. This doesn't come naturally to Jasmine. It doesn't even come to her unnaturally. That's why she'll never pass for a damsel in distress. Despite what Jasmine thinks, she can't fake being an amateur hooker.

Allison returned, just as the food was arriving. Jasmine had ordered her usual—"bacon chicory salad, hold the croutons"—followed by a dozen Fanny Bay oysters. With a righteous Atkins-powered smirk, she announced: "Looks like I'm the only chick at this table who knows how to order a real meal."

Picking at her salad, Allie giggled nervously. "I can't help it if I'm not hungry!"

Jasmine's got a point. Falling in love and sneaking around are the two most effective appetite suppressants known to woman. But Allie gets a metabolic boost—meriting low-slung pants—while I merely curb my intake to avoid discomfort.

On Seventy-ninth and Second, available taxis were so plentiful that I took it as a happy omen. What have I done to deserve such good fortune? Something in a former life, I'm thinking. Sitting in the back seat of a yellow SUV, I began my transformation, tucking my hair into a ponytail and slipping it beneath the collar of my hood. As we approached the Waldorf, I donned my sunglasses.

After years of coming here on a frequent basis, I'm still thrown off balance when I try to use the public areas. I'm hardwired to head straight for the elevator, keeping the time downstairs to a bare minimum. The Waldorf's not the worst offender when it comes to fanatical security but neither is it one of those cozy new boutique hotels where a single woman might be taken for a visiting dot-commer. At the Waldorf, you remember that once upon a time all unescorted females were inherently suspect. You can feel the ancient history when you pass through those revolving doors, and I'm always on the lookout for a snoopy security guard because, in fact, the ancient history is still with us.

My heart was beating a little too fast as I scanned the lobby for a ladies' room. In the privacy of my self-contained cubicle, I changed into high heels and stockings. Despite the luxury of my own sink and a good mirror, I felt a little too naked.

Jasmine's commentary—a happily married six, a frazzled size four—echoed in my head. Marriage has caused a few pounds to visit my hips, but it's nothing I can't reconfigure, damn it. I can get away with some fluctuation without alienating my regulars, but I might be approaching the limit.

As I hooked a smooth black garter belt around my waist, I felt like a superhero sprouting magical powers. In my high-heeled slingbacks and push-up bra, I was suddenly sleek yet curvy and my suit had not wrinkled: the finishing touch. I loosened my ponytail and played with my hair, stuffed my clothes into the tote, and hid my wedding ring in a change purse. Nobody would guess that the pastel-hued slacker in sneakers and sunglasses had just morphed into a womanly vision in crisp black-and-white houndstooth, hair falling around her shoulders, wearing just enough eye makeup. It occurred to me that lipstick would change my appearance even more. But lip color at three in the afternoon? Too . . . professional.

I took out my Zagat--essential camouflage when posing as an out-of-town guest—and checked the clock on my cell phone. Transformation accomplished. In less than ten minutes. I'm definitely getting better at this!

Then, spotting a run in my left stocking, I felt a pang of remorse. I forgot to bring spares! Suddenly I felt less like a superhero and more like a refugee, yearning bitterly for the lost comforts of home. Not to mention my supply of stockings. It is maddening to have all the right stuff when it's totally out of reach.

I've been turning tricks since my teens. Never, until I married an investment banker in my thirties, was I reduced to changing my underwear and brushing my teeth in a public bathroom.

Is this what "going straight" is really about?

In the lobby, a tall man with a walkie-talkie was dangerously close to the elevators. Adopting a matronly scowl, I walked right by, hoping the ladder in my stocking was not reaching my knee. On the twenty-fifth floor, I glanced around quickly to make sure I wasn't being followed. Not until I was in the room, with the door securely bolted, did I feel truly safe.

Trisha's weekend regular was put out by my solo arrival but did his best to couch things in submissive terms.

"Thank you for coming, Mistress." He paused and looked around. "Mistress Thalia was planning to arrive at two-thirty. Would you like me to wait for her?"

Colin was wearing gold-rimmed glasses, silk boxer shorts, and nothing else. Despite a round, childlike face, he looked rather virile. It was that salt-and-pepper chest hair, much thicker than the hair on his head. I could feel steam from the shower seeping out of the bathroom.

"Of course," I said sharply. "Thalia is definitely on her way."

"May I offer you a drink, Mistress . . . ?"

"Sabrina," I reminded him. "You may."

I nodded at a row of bottles on the dresser. Five bottles of mineral water! This guy is more than prepared.

"Some coffee or soda perhaps?"

"Just the water," I replied.

I could hear my cell phone chiming in my pocket. "Mistress Thalia" stuck in traffic, no doubt.

"It's me! I've been trying to get some privacy so I can call. What a disaster! You're gonna kill me! Let me talk to him, then I'll talk to you."

What? Why didn't she talk to me first? I was doing my best to look imperious while feeling somewhat unnerved when I summoned Colin to the phone.

"Yes. Yes, I will," I heard him saying in that flat monotone that slaves like to use. "Yes, Mistress. Of course, Mistress. No, I promise. One moment, Mistress. Right away."

Slinking off to the bathroom, he looked both dejected and turned on.

Trisha was apologetic and panicky. "I told him to wait in the bathroom. My daughter's playdate was canceled! At the very last minute! Do you have a ball gag?"

"Um, no."

"You'll have to improvise. Put some of your underwear in his mouth. Okay? Later on. Don't do it right away."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

What People are Saying About This

David Henry Sterry
Love, sex, money, marriage, lies, infidelity, shopping, and strap-ons. What more could you ask for in a novel?
—(David Henry Sterry, bestselling author of Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent)
Kyra Davis
In this unique and sexy novel, Tracy Quan gives readers a rare peek at what it’s like to live a double life.
—(Kyra Davis, author of Sex, Murder and a Double Latte)
Molly Jong-Fast
Winning and warm, this book is a gleeful romp through the world of the married call girl. Tracy Quan is a great talent.
—(Molly Jong-Fast, author of Normal Girl and Girl Maladjusted)
Candida Royalle
A delicious peek into a very secret world sexy and suspenseful. I was pulled in from the start and absolutely fascinated titillated! until the end!
—(Candida Royalle, author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do

Meet the Author

Tracy Quan lives in New York City. Her previous novel, Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, was acquired by Revolution Studios for a major motion picture, to be produced by Darren Star, creator of HBO’s Sex and the City.

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Diary of a Married Call Girl 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never read a book like this before but it was recommended to me by a friend. I found it quite hard to put down, as i wanted to know what was going to happen next to Nancy and her friends. It was a well written book and contained exellent uses of words to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nancy Chan is back and better than ever. This sequel to 'Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl' is a rollicking, randy romp through the Manhattan demimonde of the upscale hooker. It's all there: sexy girls, rich and adoring johns, hooker activism, even a yuppie husband and in-laws to complicate things. All spiced with Nancy's unique humor. And the sex is better than ever. Tracy Quan has outdone herself. Buy this for a great read.