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Posts Tagged ‘Mentoring’

Although lucrative, this is a very isolating career.  Your website eases that some, but I was wondering if you ever offer business coaching for providers?  If not, perhaps you are aware of a reputable coach you could direct me towards?  Although I’ve been in this business for a few years now, and I have a stellar reputation, I feel there is room for improvement.

You’re exactly right, this career can be extremely isolating; one of the reasons I moved to Seattle is because of the amazing sex worker community here, which is unlike any other I’ve ever seen in any other city.  We communicate with each other, socialize with one another, help each other out and even date one another; I really wish it could be like this in every city, especially in criminalized regimes like the US where that kind of interpersonal support is vital.

Unfortunately, I’m actually a terrible person to ask for advice on this subject; though I’m a top-notch sex worker, I’m not a very good businesswoman and I’m pretty bad at internet marketing, too.  If it weren’t for my natural gifts and talents, literally decades of experience and the attention my writing brings, I probably wouldn’t make enough to live on.  As I wrote in “Teacher’s Pet” (which is worth reading in its entirety, BTB):

The market has changed considerably since I learned the trade, and I really haven’t kept up; the only reason I do as well as I do is that I’m Maggie Fucking McNeill, a widely recognized sex symbol.  In other words, my brand is already built, and all I have to do is maintain it.  But if I had to give someone else advice on web development, tailoring one’s ads to the clientele one wishes to attract, and all that kind of thing, I’d be utterly hopeless; unless you’re willing to devote over half your waking hours to become a well-known blogger for six years while making practically no money at all, I just don’t think my experience is transferable to your situation.

The only three ways in which I might be able to help are 1) I’m going to post this as Thursday’s column, and maybe someone may pop up in the comments to offer help; 2) If you like, I can forward your information to a screener/booker who may be able to assist;  3)  I can pass your info on to a friend of mine who helps new girls get started in Seattle; I can’t promise she’ll be willing to help or that she’ll be able to tell you anything you don’t already know, but it’s a possibility.  So here’s #1 (keep your eyes open to Twitter today, too) and if you want me to put you in contact with either of those other ladies, do let me know.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’m trying to join a site that requires a reference; could you provide that for me?

Unless you’re someone I’ve actually met in person and know to be a sex worker, the answer is “absolutely not”.  Ditto if you’re a client I haven’t actually had a full-rate appointment with.  The reason should be obvious: the entire point of references for joining sex worker sites is to provide some measure of trust.  If I’m a trusted member of a site and I give a reference for a lady or gent I’ve met and feel reasonably good about, that says something about that person.  But if I just give references for people who haven’t actually done anything to earn that vouch, I’m deliberately cutting at the webwork of trust such sites rely upon and sabotaging the system; that’s an ethical nightmare which could allow any number of awful and even dangerous people behind the walls.

Now, it’s absolutely true that all a cop needs to do to infiltrate an escort board is to talk somebody into seeing him, then using her as a reference to see someone else, and after he does that a few times getting them to vouch for him (maybe even writing a few reviews for good measure).  That’s morally reprehensible behavior; it’s serial consent violation for the purpose of destroying a community, ruining lives and wrecking careers, which puts it on the same moral level as rape even if the individual women who were tricked don’t realize it.  Of course, cops (being moral retards) have no aversion to rape and other vile, thoroughly loathsome violations of the most basic human decency; they are, however, subject to limitations imposed by time, money and their own stupidity, and therefore tend to prefer low-hanging fruit to that which can only be harvested via years of sleazy spying and exploitation.  With a few notable exceptions like the violation of Seattle’s The Review Board, cops prefer to capture and parade the largest number of victims possible in front of the reporters’ cameras for the least possible effort, and that means when they bother trying to infiltrate sites at all they generally do it in the quickest, easiest way possible.  And you’ve got to admit that if it worked, getting a fake vouch from a well-respected escort would be a helluva lot quicker than the months-long process of actually behaving like a decent paying customer for long enough to worm his way in.  Of course, most well-respected escorts are going to answer this question in exactly the same way as I did back in the first sentence, though without the explanation.  Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s very likely that the person who asked me this question is a real sex worker, but I don’t know that for a fact.  And the stakes are much too high for me to gamble them on a guess.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Getting Started

I am a 24-year old in the US who has been interested in becoming an escort for a while, but I don’t know how to get started.   How does one screen clients to make sure they aren’t dangerous (including cops)?  I see your escort booking form asks for occupation & references, but what if they don’t have them?  When is the appropriate time to talk about what sexual acts they are looking for?  Where is the best place to start advertising?  I just wish I had a step by step guideline.  I wrote to a girl who’s highly reviewed in my area, but the response came from a guy in another state who said he is her “persona management.”  He said that he books her clients, a woman does the screening and, they spend over $3000 per month on advertising for her.  If I were to join they would take a percentage but I would be responsible for getting to all of my appointments.  Have you ever heard of people doing this?

First, absolutely DO NOT make any deals with people you’ve never met.  While there are still agencies, they’re going the way of the dodo in most markets and as a former service owner myself I’m telling you that you don’t need them (especially ones that try to hard sell you from the get-go with fancy talk of thousands of dollars a month in advertising).  Frankly, this sounds to me like a scam, especially since you’re an unproven quantity at this point.  The best thing for you to do (especially now that Backpage is kinda crippled) is to find your local escort boards and join.  If you have a little seed money, it’s a good idea to get some professional pictures right away; if you don’t, find a friend you can trust who takes decent pictures to do your first ones, then after you get a couple of gigs you can hire a pro.  You definitely want to make sure you like the work before you invest too much.  As for screening, references are the best way to go for a beginner; as you go on you’ll talk to other girls and learn more tricks, including whitelists like Date-check and blacklists like Verify Him.  It’s not a good idea to talk explicitly about sexual acts up front; this is partly because of cops, but also because some guys just want to jerk off while talking to you and you don’t want to give them free wanking material.  Please check out my Mentoring tag, and the “Mentoring” section of my FAQ page; there’s a lot of stuff there and I think you’ll find many of the posts useful (including a number of them on screening).  But probably the best all-around advice I can give you is to buy and read Amanda Brooks’ Internet Escorts Handbook; it’s a small investment and you’ll get a lot out of it.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Respect

How do you get deposits for appointments?  I don’t mean the physical logistics like PayPal or whatever, but rather the larger question of actually getting men to pay them (say, if they want you to get a hotel room or travel a great distance to see them).  Then, there’s the vastly larger question: how do escorts command more respect from clients in general?

Generally, the way anyone commands respect from anyone else in any sexual transaction is, paradoxically, by not needing them.  Let’s start with a couple of extreme examples.  Think about how you feel about men who are very emotionally needy; even if their deep neediness doesn’t induce you to run as fast as you can in the other direction, it’s not exactly going to endear them to you or inspire you to treat them with more respect.  If anything, it’s going to discourage respect because A) it’s annoying, and B) respect isn’t necessary to ensure their devotion, so why bother?  By the same token, one of the classic forms of abuse is to convince the victim that she’s unattractive in some way: she’s fat, she’s ugly, she has bad teeth and/or breath, she talks too much, her pussy smells, her sexual desires are repulsive and/or she’s no good in bed, etc, so nobody else but the abuser would want her.  When a person has no options, they don’t feel they can command respect, because most humans reserve respect for equals or superiors (which is why people react so strongly when someone “above” them gives them respect).

So the answer to both of your questions is the same: the more well-known, well-reviewed and in-demand you are, the more respect you’ll command from clients and the more hoops (including deposits) you can demand they jump through.  The more clients you have, the more you can turn away; the more you can turn away, the more guys who want to see you will be willing to do to keep your attention & goodwill.  Some ladies are fairly good at creating the illusion of being very sought-after, but no matter how much you call yourself “VIP” and “exclusive” there’s no substitute for the obvious confidence that naturally comes from knowing you can tell anyone who annoys you to take a hike without it affecting your bottom line.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I am a retired madam who used to post often on a well-known review board; I knew quite a few escorts fairly well, and some even worked with me while visiting my city.  But when persecution of sex workers increased, my nerves were shot and I retired; that was five years ago.  I thought I had enough to retire on, but a few months ago I lost a lot of money in bad investments, and now I find myself needing a source of income again.  Although I am no longer interested  in taking on the all-consuming responsibility of an agency, I would be very interested in becoming a booker/screener for another agency or for a number of independents.  I have tons of experience, intuition, and good judgement, plus actual empathy for the women I worked with.  Do you have any suggestions on where and how I could get established in this business?

gatekeeperI’ve met several ladies who work as bookers & screeners, and some of them do quite well.  Personally, I wouldn’t approach an agency; instead, I would look for independents who would be willing to pay you a fee for every completed gig.  After you get a few happy customers, I think more will come looking for you; it’s the first few that are going to be the hardest.  Do you still have a presence on any escort advertising/review boards?  If you do, you could contact the owners or moderators and ask if they’d mind if you advertised your services there.  You could also call or email the ladies you know, and pitch it to them; you might even advertise on Twitter.  It’s even possible you might get some business advertising on Backpage, and Aphrodite knows many of the ladies who advertise there could use an experienced assistant; however, as we all know that site is crawling with cops, and I’m afraid you might be setting yourself up to be targeted by predatory “detectives” looking for a big “sex trafficking” bust to add to their resumes.  It may take you a little while to get this rolling, but once you do I think you’ll not only have a very decent income, but also help a lot of our younger sisters to stay safe.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Do you still feel Gina and P411 are dangerous?  I disabled my p411 account because I am still worried, but I do not really know how to screen clients so I am wondering how I should go about it.  I live in a city where the cops target escorts frequently, and though I have never been arrested for prostitution, I have been in trouble for other things and cannot have any legal issues from this.

lady scientistI don’t think you need to disable your account; however, I wouldn’t assume any guy from P411 is automatically good, either.  I’ve written about screening a number of times; my personal favorite method is asking for references.  If you don’t trust references, there are other means of screening including  Date-Check, a helpful whitelist with a better track record than P411.  I’ve also written about several other methods, and here’s a good resource list compiled by a provider in New Orleans.  You should also look at the posts in my mentoring tag; some of them may make you nervous, but it’s better to be prepared.  And one final thing: if at all possible, get in touch with your local SWOP chapter.  This can be a very isolating business, and connecting with other local sex workers will not only help you to stay safe, but may also help you to find peace of mind and emotional support.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

 

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[Emotional] manipulation is where censorship pulls its strength, and keeps the discussion of porn within the realm of saving women and children.  –  Violet Blue

Mea Culpa

I don’t often make errors worth noting in the blog, which may be why I never had this heading before.  But when I do, they’re usually because my VEWWY SEEWEEUSS thought processes failed to recognize a joke or parody as such; that was the case in Sunday’s “Links #308“.  Author Christopher Seaton explains:

When I write at Fault Lines I usually do so from a very serious perspective. This is because keeping the cracks in our criminal justice system visible and educating the public about the law is serious. When the weekend comes, we usually loosen our belts, let our hair down, and have fun. My mischief caught the attention of Maggie McNeill this week, and the whole story is a great lesson in communication…Maggie McNeill is one of the most interesting people on the web, if you don’t read her work regularly.  She’s a writer, an academic, and a sex worker.  This is not someone you want to get into a fight with when it comes to criminalization of conduct in any way, shape, or form.  It’s not that I’m afraid of a good verbal spar with Maggie, I just know my limits…so I tweeted Maggie and told her it was a joke…she replies with an apology and says she had no idea Fault Lines posted anything but 100% dead serious content…I also appreciate Maggie letting her readership know I’m not on the side of over-criminalization…

Aversions

Margaret Corvid asked several sex workers what made their favorite clients special:

…sex work is work, and my favorite clients are like a writer’s, or a plumber’s: they’re the ones who treat me with respect…our favorite clients are the ones that respect our screening processes, that pay us, that don’t bully us or stalk us or subject us to their racist rants while we, on the clock, smile and nod.  My favorites read my website properly, learning my hours, fees, services and how I prefer to be contacted.  They don’t whinge if I ask for a deposit, and they don’t request services I don’t provide.  They respect my time.  They don’t call with cocks in hand for free sexy chat, or show up early while I’m still lacing myself into my corset…

The New Victorianism

So this happened to my friend Maggie McMuffin:

A burlesque dancer from Seattle, Washington, was informed that she would need to change her clothing if she wanted to board a flight from Boston to Seattle because her shorts were deemed “too short” by the flight crew.  The crew felt that the shorts may be deemed inappropriate by families on the flight and should be changed as not to offend anyone…Maggie McMuffin says that she had successfully flown on a JetBlue flight from New York To Boston without incident in the same pair of “too short” black and white shorts earlier in the day.  However, when she approached the gate to fly her second leg of her flight back home to Seattle, she was informed the shorts were not appropriate and that she needed to cover up more, as there were families on the flight that may find the attire inappropriate.  JetBlue says they personally called and apologized to Maggie about the incident and refunded her for the shorts she was forced to purchase in the terminal while also providing the woman with a $200 credit to use on future flights as a “goodwill gesture”…

Mentoring

Paint By Numbers

Why hike or stand when you can motorcycle?

[An Oregon] woman is using her love for motorcycling to spread awareness about child sex trafficking.  Gwen Feero is a special education teacher who is preparing to bike to all four corners of the United States for what she calls the Freedom Ride.  She decided to make the more than 11,000-mile ride after overhearing a sex trafficking conversation in Portland…

I think my profession must be the only one in the world that people think they’re “experts” in after eavesdropping on a conversation between two other lackwits.

Thou Shalt Not (#413)

Because prohibition always works so well:

Six out of ten Norwegians support a proposal from the Norwegian Medical Association…to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000…NMA [fantasized] in January that Norway [could] create “a tobacco-free generation” by 2035…NMA president Marit Hermansen said in January that it is not a basic human right to begin using tobacco…Health Minister Bent Høie [said]…the government has no plans to take up any legislation that would lead to a ban of tobacco sales.

Broken Record (#579) 

I’m not sure which part is more pathetic: this ass insisting that there’s rampant “sex trafficking” in South Dakota, or thinking a vacation in Southeast Asia makes her an “expert”:

…you’d be surprised how many people don’t think sex trafficking is a thing that happens here…in South Dakota…one of my favorite things we have done so far is our work with Whittier Middle School…This is how sex trafficking numbers go down. These kids need a reason to believe that they are worth more than a number some trafficker puts on them.  Traffickers only have power when they find those that believe their worth is so small that it can be bought…

Sales Pitch (#626) 

Aphrodite bless Wendy Lyon for enduring Swedish cops’ self-congratulatory pig porn to bring us the parts that most show up their “model” for what it is:

Swedish super cop Simon Haggstrom – you’ll know him from his frequent visits to other countries to proselytise for the sex purchase ban – has now published his memoirs.  Only in Swedish, alas, but that’s why God made Google Translate.  Here are some of his views on how the law actually functions in practice…it provides the cops with “excitement” and plenty of wank material, in which they themselves play a starring role in the action…it hasn’t changed men’s attitudes.  It isn’t deterring them from paying for sex.  It isn’t stopping women from selling sex (indeed, they have to engage in a sexual act before enforcement will take place at all).  It is subjecting them to unwanted interactions with the police, up to and including detention, and deportation for those who refuse to accept the cops’ “help”…even Amnesty might be surprised at the clumsy, cringeworthy porn that Haggstrom illustrates his accounts with..Is it any wonder he’s such an advocate for the law?  Without it, he’d have to get off with only his imagination again.

Among other lovely bits, Haggstrom reveals that Swedish cops harvest sex workers’ used tampons as “evidence”; he includes a photo of such in the book.  Hooray for “feminism”!

Gorged With Meaning (#639)

Articles on sugar dating appear to be starting to shed the moral panic:

“Sugar Daddy” arrangements have existed for ages, and it’s unclear if they are becoming more common because the phenomenon is not well studied.  But experts say at the very least the internet has made these transactions far easier to arrange and negotiate…U.S. undergraduate students last year finished school with an average of $35,000 in student debt — a figure that has risen steadily every year…The average graduate debt load is $75,000, and some longer programs force students into much deeper debt.  Many students say their loans don’t cover the cost of living, and with rent skyrocketing in most major cities, they are left scrambling to make up the difference.  One graduate student at Columbia University in New York had a scholarship that covered almost all of her tuition, but not her living expenses.  She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the potential impact on her job prospects…she plans to continue “sugaring” after she graduates to buy herself time to find a more traditional job and remain officially unemployed so she can defer repaying the roughly $70,000 in loans she had already racked up.  “There is a lot of moral panic about it,” she said. “But what are the real estate and academic funding situations that led to this?”…

Almost the only negative statement is a quote near the end from a fanatic who claims that violence magically arises from money.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#641) 

Violet Blue exposes the connection between a number of recent anti-sex op-eds:

…under the guise of demonstrating objectivity and presenting a range of opposing views on pornography, the [Washington] Post ran its “In Theory” porn series…Out of seven articles, only one presents an opposing viewpoint…When the two essays that could be considered positive or neutral viewpoints were published, they were simultaneously published with anti-porn essays…The Washington Post not only deceived readers about the agenda of its “In Theory” porn series, the outlet also deceived readers about the sources of these writings.  For instance, its final day in the series featured an article by Haley Halverson which depicts the anti-porn movement as a cultural zeitgeist brought on by public common sense, thanks to the good efforts of The National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  What readers are not told is that NCSE is the re-branded faith-based group Morality In Media, Inc., which changed its name in 2015.  Halverson runs its PR department.  This organization is a thread connecting most of the Post’s authors…

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