Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor



June 2011



But for the Grace of God: My Life as a Would-Be Call-Girl

Written by , Posted in faith, humor, life, Uncategorized

My husband closed his book and looked at me with a smile in his eyes. “This section about a high-end prostitute reminds me of you.”

Perhaps most wives would bear a hint of offense, but not I. I figured it was probably a fair assessment– I just wanted to know exactly why.

“Because she likes boys and she likes sex.”


Presumably most call-girls do. But evidently these were the only two reasons she began turning her pricey tricks in the first place. Not destitution, not drugs– just a certain fondness for boys and sex.

And, man, did those hobbies pay well– up to $500 an hour. I joked that I just might like boys and sex enough to make that much money. My husband nervous-laughed.

I devised my fictional business strategy aloud with elaborate detail just to keep him on his toes. But, ever the sensitive wife, I assured him that the moral implications would keep my name off the escort list.

It was a great day-long joke. Before our bedtime prayer we even discussed the appropriate way to tithe prostitute-pay: As tax information would prohibit the writing of a check, one would be compelled to make an anonymous cash drop into the offering basket.

And when I awoke the next morning, I found this delightful note beside my coffeemaker:

But the reason the joking was so funny was that it bore a hint of truth: I like boys and I like sex, probably as much as that high-priced call-girl does. I just haven’t made it a career choice. And if you think about it, that doesn’t make me a better person– it just makes me less financially savvy.

Because the other side of the truth– the side that is anything but funny– is that I have a lot of what it takes to end up just like her. I’ve liked boys (a lot) for as long as I can remember, and I’ve made too much of them, and I’ve given too much to them. And I’ve liked sex (a lot) since much farther back than my 12-year marriage, and I’ve used it to anesthetize, and I’ve used it to manipulate. The fact that I’ve never collected cash means very, very little.

People toss out the phrase, “There but for the grace of God go I” with smiles of whimsy. But let me tell you– for me, it’s solemn truth. I have a lot of what it takes to end up just like her. A lot, but not all. And what I don’t have is really, only, what I do have– I have the grace of God.

I don’t know her whole story, but I know my own. I know that it’s not my upright nature or moral excellence that keeps me from choosing dangerous paths. It’s God’s grace, lovingly molding my wanton nature into one that yearns for Him.

And it might not pay much by the hour, but does it ever make me rich.

  • http://heresyofthemonth.typepad.com/blog/ Bill Sergott

    Great post. I love your vulnerability here. Thank you so much. You are absolutely incredible.

  • http://melindatodd.com Mel @ Trailing After God

    I totally get this because it could have been me too. I liked boys a lot and too early and I’m certain my past had a lot to do with it. But by the grace of God that things never went too far until I met my now husband but I KNOW if that hadn’t happened, it would have and I would have been on a repeat cycle of boys/men to fill the void. Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing!

  • http://wendisnuttylife.blogspot.com/ Wendi

    I don’t think I could ever put it as eloquently as you have here; but there is this immense gratitude I have for how far I’ve come because of the grace of God. I could have chosen a much different path than I have because of my illness. Giving in, letting the depression take a true hold on me dragging me into the darkness. I could let my anxiety disorder continue whispering it’s “what if” lies over and over causing me to hide and never venture out of my house.

    I’ve been blessed by God through my illness. My illness requires me to look to God. It requires me to pray and keep an open conversation with Him. Okay, admittedly it doesn’t always happen. I’m no saint. I don’t necessarily always listen to His calming words reminding me of the tools and techniques I’ve been taught to fight both my depression and anxiety disorder. But at least I still have grace, accepted it, want it.

    I know people who have my same illness and some of them are doing way better than me and some are not. Some are homebound and we’ve lost at least one to suicide. And I think, thank God, thank God for what You have given me to keep going.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thankful along with you.

  • http://mairedubhtx.wordpress.com mairedubhtx

    God’s grace is good.

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    “I know that it’s not my upright nature or moral excellence that keeps me from choosing dangerous paths. It’s God’s grace, lovingly molding my wanton nature into one that yearns for Him.”

    Amen! I would not be here today were it not for the grace of God grabbing hold of me and not letting go!!

  • http://www.veronicamonique.com Veronica

    Some times I read things and am completely enrapt. This is one of them. Given some of the marital joking that goes on between my husband and me, it’s nice to know that we are and are not unique. I can well imagine how off color some would find this line of thought, let alone actual discussion, but isn’t this the stuff that shows us how right our partner is for us. Not to mention how it shows us the true power of our choices.

    • http://wendisnuttylife.blogspot.com/ Wendi

      My husband and I have our own inside jokes that I’m sure would turn heads (not in a good way) if they happened to walk into the room in the middle of one. Right now our jokes are revolving around “That 70’s Show” which could cause a whole lot of “what the heck?” if someone read our instant messages to each other during our work day or heard us simultaneously and instantaneously burst out with “PANTIES! Glorious PANTIES!”

      • Joye

        that line cracks my husband and i up too! we have been heard saying that around here! 🙂

  • http://coexistdocumentary.org Adam

    Another powerful, well written post… You’ve probably also considered- on a serious note- that a lot of women who become prostitutes end up that way not for any lack of faith, but lack of role models and opportunities. More often than not they also are earning far less than $500/hr and getting physically and sexually abused by johns and their pimps. (Sorry to be a downer)

    • http://thoughtsafterdarklounge.wordpress.com Thoughts AfterDark Lounge

      Not always true. It depends on the woman. and if she allows the pimps and johns to treat her that way. times have changed! female escorts may not be making a $500 hr booking but these women come from all walks of life. some are mothes, lawyers, students, she can be your next door negihbor etc. And may I say, It’s not also about the lack of faith or role models in their lives, it can just simply be a means to get buy a rough patch until something better comes along.
      It’s sad to see how people are quick to judge “call girls” but on the other hand it’s funny to see a husband/boyfriend pay these woman who they talk about behind their backs but at the end of it they keep paying and going back for more. So, if these so called “call girls” are lacking faith and a good role model in their lives, aren’t the men who sees then the same? don’t they lack faith/role model in their lives too?

  • http://shawnsmucker.com Shawn Smucker

    What I love about this post is the honesty – we all have something similar in ourselves, and most of us are scared to admit that it’s there.

    When a local man shot ten Amish girls in their school, people were (rightfully) horrified. But at one point my uncle, who was deeply hurt by someone in the past, visited the grave of the shooter and realized that if his own downward spiral had continued fifteen years before, he could have been the one killing innocent people.

    It’s in all of us, this capacity to hurt (ourselves and others).

    • http://coexistdocumentary.org Adam

      Shawn, you’re absolutely right on. Each of us has the capacity to harm and the more we understand that, the easier it becomes to consider our role in conflict and violence. That’s what we try to teach young people every day in our work via Coexist.

  • http://rasjacobson.wordpress.com Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson

    I agree with Shawn. Why did everyone freak out when we learned Representative Weiner took a couple of sassy pictures of himself in his … um gray under shorts and emailed them to female admirers. What does he want? A little validation. Why not embrace this part of ourselves (which, by the way, reminds us we are alive and kicking) instead of acting all embarrassed like we aren’t all little whores for attention? Why are we so Puritanical about that stuff. Sheeeesh. That said, I think the guy is a dirt-bag for LYING. That for me is the stupid part. Why not just admit that we all have this little part of us that is still in middle school. We want to be noticed.

    I have never received cash for action, but in 11th grade a boyfriend did buy me a Cabbage Patch doll. So… I guess I have that. Great post, T.

  • http://www.hopefulleigh.blogspot.com HopefulLeigh

    I appreciate your honesty, Tamara. It is interesting to think about how our lives could have gone in very different directions but for the grace of God. I’m a big Freakonomics fan and I remember that portion of the book well. I felt very sad for that woman, because no matter how much she liked men and sex and that she was being paid well for it, I couldn’t help but think about the long-term consequences and what she was losing as a result.

  • http://tylertarver.com tyler

    i’ve felt many times in my life it was not my top-shelf morals that kept me out of a lot of bad situations, but God’s grace and many times His straight up help.

    i might not really know what i’m talking about, i just feel i should be a lot worse person all around had it not been for Jesus being so cool to me.

  • Anonymous

    Rich, indeed.

  • http://betachristian.net Moe

    Ha! I knew it. Wait what? 🙂

    Well, at least we know the money wasn’t the idol. Now about those other two…. 🙂

    Good post!

  • http://popparables.com Keri @ Pop Parables

    Alright, it’s taken me waaaaaaaaay too long to read your bloggity, after being told by one too many people that I should. But, this is perfect timing because it’s a post about S.E.X.! (one of my favorite blogs topics, too!)

    First off, wow, Superfreakonomics talks about high end prostitutes? That brings a whole new meaning to the title! I’ve read Freakonomics, but wasn’t aware there was a Supa freak version.

    Love your words here…”But for the grace of God go I”. Without Him, my life would be in shambles as well. His plan for my life-His constant pursuit of my heart, has kept me from a dangerous path. It’s given me much compassion and grace for those in disrepair-to know that “but for the grace of God”, I would be in the exact same situation.

  • http://mattshedd.blogspot.com Matt Shedd

    Sad to hear her story, praiseworthy to hear yours!

    I have found that my life is full of those “but for the grace of God” moments.

    I could have destroyed everything in my life, but God’s grace redeems it.

    Thanks for transparency!

  • http://brokentelegraph.com Tiffany

    “I know that it’s not my upright nature or moral excellence that keeps me from choosing dangerous paths. ”

    Wow. This is so incredibly true. This is the same reason I feel little ability to judge most people. I’ve done everything but…
    I have not charged actual money – but have I committed the same sins? Absolutely.

    Recently a little story came out about my 80 year old little church going Grandma that rocked our little church going family to pieces. We found out that roughly 40 years ago she had a lengthy affair on my Grandpa that, possibly, resulted in two children (my mom and uncle are possibly not a true part of the “my grandma and grandpa have 4 children together” story).

    Everyone in our family took a different rout in dealing with this news – and I’m humble enough to admit that I didn’t handle it very well to start. However, after taking some time I thought “Am I any better than her?” – Not that I’m cheating on my husband, but do I make mistakes as a wife every. single. day? Yep. Am I above allowing my needs to be met by other men? Nope. Do I rely on God to help me back to the arms of my husband when I am feeling like something is missing in our relationship? Yep. But, often, just in the nick of time.

    I recently talked to her about this very thing. She told me tearfully that she was worried that I would never forgive her for this. I told her that if it was not for God’s grace it could have very well been me. I’m no better of a wife than she ever was – it is only because of God’s grace that I walk the path that I do. So, what gives me the right to sit on any sort of high horse and judge her?

    For me it is a “solemn truth” as well. Which is why I can’t and don’t judge her.

    Thank you for another amazing post.

  • http://ironicmom.wordpress.com Leanne Shirtliffe

    I hope there’s a chapter in your book on this.

    Really. You rock.

    Grace is beautiful, and so is this post.

    And, just so you know I’m still me, I sat on all my iykwim comments.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Thanks, babe. I’m not sure I’d know how to write a book without a section on “this.” 😉

  • Anonymous

    Very good post, and brave for putting it out there like that…. Though I guess it’s better putting it out there on the blog than… well, nevermind! 😉

    Seriously though, it is brave of you to share so much, being so honest and vulnerable. Some of those same qualities could have indeed made you vulnerable to pursue the wrong “calling” if it weren’t for the “there but for the grace of God go I”. People that can be the most out there and loving for good and bad reasons alike can end up the most hurt and taken advantage of. Glad that God has kept you safe and brought you to a good place… and I’ll bet your husband is glad too! 😉

    • http://reconcilingviewpoints.wordpress.com reconciling viewpoints

      this comment was mine…. tried to switch to twitter id and ended up anonymous.

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com JBen

    i’ve often wondered if it was just fear that kept me from going down certain roads. But I totally know the feeling like I am capable of pretty awful things. This would be one of those times when fear might actually be a good thing. But in the long run, grace and community are going to be much more helpful.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Grace more than fear. So true; so good.

  • http://reconcilingviewpoints.wordpress.com reconciling viewpoints

    I had a friend that used to ask other Christians, “do you think you could be as bad as Hitler?” just for the shock value. If we’re perfectly honest, we’re all capable of going down a multitude of roads that wouldn’t be… umm…. shocking? gross? (pick the adjective that best describes our own depravity?)

    • http://fallingfromthether.wordpress.com gentlemenbrown

      The question “do you think you could be as bad as Hitler?” is not all that shocking. We are all as bad as he was. We are all fornicators, doubters and pride-filled murderers. The world just let him get away with it for a while. The real question is, “Do you recognise the choices made along the road, that led you to where you are?” We choose our sad and depleted futures.

  • http://www.becominglast.com Matt

    Wait…so do I need to tell my wife I’m following a call girl now?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      Emphasis on “would-be,” sir. 🙂

  • http://gravatar.com/browngirlslife That Brown Girl

    I have just recently stumbled across your blog and I really appreciate the honesty that are present in your writing. Absolutely love it and the post was amazing.

  • http://lizakane.wordpress.com Liza Kane

    I have wondered many times: “Where would I be now, if not for God’s grace…”
    Thank you for sharing! I love your blog, and glad you were freshly pressed so I could find it! ^_^

  • http://joyissoyellow.wordpress.com joygirl

    I think this is just lovely. O that more of us saw the truth of this phrase:

    I know that it’s not my upright nature or moral excellence that keeps me from choosing dangerous paths. It’s God’s grace, lovingly molding my wanton nature into one that yearns for Him.

    I think you must have an unusual level of self-knowledge. Loved this entry.

  • http://gravatar.com/lemmony Jessica Lemmon

    THANK YOU for that chunk of blatant honesty. And for the revolution of honest, toe-the-line irreverence that is so rarely seen in the Kingdom. 😉 *yay God*

  • http://autogirly.wordpress.com missfadesomi

    This is just an amazing post. I love the sincerity and “non-judgmental-ism”.
    You write beautifully well. *I’m sure you’re used to this phrase*

    I love this part the most:
    I don’t know her whole story, but I know my own. I know that it’s not my upright nature or moral excellence that keeps me from choosing dangerous paths. It’s God’s grace, lovingly molding my wanton nature into one that yearns for Him.
    And it might not pay much by the hour, but does it ever make me rich.

    – I find this post somewhat similar to one I wrote: http://autogirly.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/forgiving-thanksgiving/

  • http://gagangupt16.wordpress.com GG

    Was the book “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho??

  • http://jayendrasharan.wordpress.com jayendrasharan

    You are so correct!!! I liked the attitude of yours…..

  • http://www.greatsmitten.com Faith

    I LOVE the honesty of this post!

  • http://winter david

    Nice Blog. Mine is at
    Hope you will stop by and check it out.

  • http://www.unscriptedlife.com Ivy

    This post hit home with me, because I too could have easily ended up as a high-price call girl. I was definitely on my way to living like one, without the obvious payout, before meeting my husband (and learning about Christ).

    I was just listening to Klove this afternoon and they wanted you to send in pictures with you holding a poster board that read how you know God loves you. This definitely hits the nose on how I know and what I was thinking in the car. By the grace of God, I’m alive (I had some dangerous situations happen) and I’m healthy (with sex, it can easily go the other way).

    Thanks for this post.

  • http://www.1n5.ru/ Roman

    Frank story!

  • http://xanaxorrunningshoes.com Jeanna

    This was a great post! So true! It’s nice to see the reality actually makes into the minds of some! I know so many just can’t see what’s really going on in life! GREAT POST!

  • Jeff Wright

    It is so refreshing to find someone who is real enough, and firm enough in their faith, to talk openly the way you do about real life issues. So many of us are just one step away from some version of prostitution without His hand of grace pushing us in a better direction.

  • http://www.lifewithbellymonster.blogspot.com LizMcLennan (Bellymonster)

    How did I miss this? HOW HAVE I MISSED THIS?!?!

    Tamara, sweet Tamara – how well you write your own heart, bared for all to see. How well you write MY heart, tumbled here onto your page.


    God’s grace, indeed. This is beautiful.

  • http://aletalane.wordpress.com aletalane

    Must be a curly-haired girl thing to like boys and sex. I used to try to straighten my hair. But I lost my sex drive. So now I leave it curly. Hah 🙂

  • Robin

    Wonderful, eloquent post. I just now found your blog and have read several posts. This is my favorite.

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  • http://endeshabile.wordpress.com jezibelle

    I think you just made us all examine those hidden portions of ourselves that we never put out there.

  • http://romantzaiubiriieterne.wordpress.com doru

    Wow, I admire your transparency!

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  • http://biggerinreallife.com/ Christy A.

    As someone who very seriously says, “there but for the grace of God…” from a very similar place, I can only say AGREED.

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  • http://kelseyhough.wordpress.com Kelsey Munger

    Your honestly and rawness reminds me of Anne Lamott — and, for me, that’s the highest complement when it comes to creative nonfiction.

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