While giving a longtime client the all-night ''girlfriend experience,'' Hannah sneaks out and picks up another john
Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, ...

‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’ recap: All-nighter

On the surface, yesterday’s show was about a client who requested the $3,000 all-night ”girlfriend experience.” That’s hooker-speak for drinks, dinner, faked exclusivity, and sex from dusk till dawn, with a bit of a cuddle in the middle. Hannah’s take on this: ”What’s wrong with that? We all want to be held.” My response: Get a cat.

Anyway, dig deeper and this episode was really about cheating. Ash cheats on his wife with Hannah. Hannah cheats on Ash with a random punter. The concierge cheats on his job by helping Hannah. And (I might be stretching it here) Ben even cheats on Hannah when he prematurely ends their phone conversation to shtup Vanessa. Though who can blame him? Last night’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl proved that Hannah would make a truly crap real-life companion and probably was one to Ben when they dated. In her own words, ”Maybe the girlfriend experience is like me as a real girlfriend — starts out all exciting and passionate, then I get bored, sleep with someone else, and leave.”

Let me explain. When Hannah introduced us to Ash at the episode’s start, she was gaga for him. He’s nice. He’s smart. He reads the books she recommends. (Which reminds me, how many hookers carry around a copy of Roth’s novel The Human Stain?) He’d popped her prostitute cherry years before, and now he’s her ”perfect regular.” Then Ash took her upstairs to his hotel room. They had hot and heavy sex (several times). He fell asleep (big mistake, mate). Hannah got bored, cracked open a book, did a back bend, and nipped off to the hotel bar, where she hooked up with another dude. Now I know you can’t technically cheat on a john. You’re not his actual girlfriend. But he is paying you to pretend you are, and I don’t think that means taking the high hard one from someone else. Thank Mary Magdalene, Hannah didn’t get caught. She did that finger-up-the-arse prostate massage trick that made her Sting-like punter finally come (does this really work?) just as Ash was about to wake up and realize she had duped him. In her mind, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. In truth, she couldn’t be more wrong.

If this isn’t a reflection of Hannah’s skewed view of personal relationships and inverted moral compass, I don’t know what is. My red flag went up as soon as she said Ash was married, but ”his wife hasn’t had sex with him in five years. Suppose they’re both breaking the marriage contract.” Not the same thing, I think. Do you? I was also struck by Hannah’s rules for conversing with clients. First, keep it light: No chatting about global warming. Second, no politics: The Tory party winning the Northern vote is not your concern. Third, nothing inflammatory: He doesn’t want to banter about how he likes it in the Cambridge end. In short, never talk about anything meaningful. Which got me thinking: Have we ever seen Hannah have a real conversation with anyone? Not Ben. Certainly not her parents or her punters. Even her diary-like addresses to us are flip and frothy, not her deepest, darkest emotions. The only times she seems contemplative (as in the shower) are also moments when she’s silent. This is definitely a woman who can’t, or won’t, really express herself. Which I find interesting, because I think either she’ll pop or this reticence will come and bite her in the bum.

NEXT: The other woman

What I liked even more about this episode is that it finally brought the high camp I’d expected. Sure, the double-dipping plotline was emotionally and professionally corrupt (and in a way stolen from the Sex and the City epi in which Charlotte booked two dates on the same night). But the outfits, the camera work, the dialogue, and all the plain hopping back and forth (not to mention the darkly lit humping) was super stylish. Billie’s speeches to the camera were cheeky and direct, not the self-satisfied winks I feared would grow old.

I also enjoyed the glimpse we got of Vanessa. Mainly because she looks like some freak bodybuilder with bad taste in workout gear, but also because by chopping off Vanessa’s head (we saw her only from the shoulder down), Call Girl showed how she is a nonentity to Hannah, who won’t face the fact that Ben is moving on. He’s already cutting her off midsentence when they’re on the phone, and it was obvious in the scenes from the next episode that they are heading for a major blowup. I just hope this doesn’t mean he won’t be around for season 2. Three episodes in, and I’m already attached.

Speaking of the second season, let’s end by congratulating Billie, who is pregnant with her first child (rumored to be a boy) with hubby Laurence Fox. Can’t wait to see how they manage to hide that baby bump!

So what did you guys think? Is my reading of the episode totally off, or are you, like me, beginning to see each different john as a metaphor of how Hannah treats situations in her own life? Are you tired of Ben or interested to know where that’s going? Do you want to see more or less of him?

Episode Recaps

Secret Diary of a Call Girl
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