By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
Today, she's wearing a yellow floral-print sundress, and ten more shiny red nails peek from her open-toed sandals. It's the same outfit she'd wear when she was escorting. "Two shoes and a dress was all I'd ever have," she recalls, "and I could be in and out of that stuff fast."
With her intense, pale-gray eyes, standing almost six feet tall with heels on, Kannin didn't look like a vulnerable victim when she showed up on "dates." She says she was rarely treated with disrespect. In case her height intimidated a short client, Kannin employed an easy trick to disarm those who complained she was too tall. To demonstrate, she stands up, quickly kicks off her pumps, and kneels down, nose to nose. "Then I'd go, 'Now I'm not,'" she says with a salacious, lip-licking smirk, her saline-buoyed bosom bouncing softly with laughter.
Kannin worked days, occasionally weekends, and she says she was one of the most requested women in the Vanmoor talent pool. "About a third of the calls were for sex," she explains with breathless excitement. It could be an out-of-town businessman with time on his hands or maybe a guy who'd just found out that his wife had cheated on him.
"Well, let's show her, huh?" she'd tell them. "Then you're even."
"Party calls," she says, are when several guys call a hooker just to come hang out and drink or do drugs with them. "Whatever they were doing, I'd take a taste of." Her favorite days were Sundays, especially during football season. "Blow 'n' go calls," she giggles, getting back into character. "I'd show up and go, 'Hey, what's the score?' They'd say, 'Hey, want a beer?' and then it was just..." She sticks her tongue into her cheek to pantomime fellatio. "The most relaxing day," she muses. "I rarely stayed at one house more than 20 minutes and went on to the next."
Yet nearly three years after her sex career allegedly ended, Kannin continues to complain about occupational hazards. Back at home, recovering from wrist surgery, she downs painkillers and beer while gingerly rubbing a tanned forearm encased in a medical brace. "Too many handjobs," she explains, without any indication that she's kidding. "I used to see a crack addict every week, and all he ever wanted me to do was jerk him off while he kept peeking out through his blinds."
Escorting "was never bad for me," she concludes. "I always felt safe." But she quit during Yuletide 2001 after her boss fined her for not working December 24 and 25 -- traditionally two of the busiest days of the year. Since then, she has lived off disability payments (she was injured in a car accident in November 1999) and food stamps, though she still contemplates a return to the trade. "Maybe a little part-time work," she muses. "Or weekends."
Months after this initial meeting, however, Kannin shows few signs of locating either ambition or a job. Afternoons spent finishing off 12-packs of Miller Lite in the small, dark, quiet kitchen of her Fort Lauderdale duplex appears more her speed. She brags endlessly about her two business degrees, her captain's license, and a previous incarnation teaching Sunday school. But without a husband, boyfriend, savings, or future, all Kannin has are her stories. She loves to ramble on about her looks, her brains, and her take-no-shit attitude. But her mind seems to operate like an Etch-a-Sketch: Any sudden distraction and the conversation suddenly goes blank, or she lashes out at real or imaginary foes.
"Why do you think I was so good at this job?" she suddenly asks, apropos of nothing. "Bottom line is, pussy gets the last word!"
One recent Friday, she had promised to scan the Sunday classifieds and schedule a few interviews. On Monday, though, she acknowledges that no progress has been made. "I was too hungover to even open the paper," she sheepishly admits. Putting together an Internet-based ad seems well beyond her scope at the moment, and she isn't willing to use her apartment -- which she shares with two roommates -- as her base of operation.
Kannin's tale jibes with that of other escorts who, after being seduced by the money and the thrill of the risk, find it tough to reintegrate into the civilian work force. Returning to a 40-hour-a-week grind is tough after all that fun and freedom. Forming intimate relationships after being a hooker isn't easy either. And the mendacity (and stress) of concealing a double life from family and friends must be balanced with the boredom that comes with living a 9-to-5 existence. Then there's an additional pitfall: Women who opt to use the Internet and advertise themselves with lurid photographs run the risk, should they ever go straight, that someone will discover their past.
Luana, who advertises on Eros.com's Miami site, bills herself as a 25-year-old 34B-24-36 Brazilian model who charges $200 an hour for outcalls only in the Boca Raton area. Her face is obscured in her ad, protecting her identity. "If I ever stop..." she explains. "It's a lot safer, and a lot easier to be in the business than before," she adds, after realizing the caller isn't interested in purchasing her services. "It's not stressful or anything like that, much better than the old days."