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Posts Tagged ‘screening’

For the past two weeks, I have only seen my regular gentlemen and a single new client with excellent references (who found me via Twitter), and it has been wonderful.  As I’ve mentioned several times in the past year, I’m really tired of dealing with traditional escort advertising sites, especially since FOSTA demolished the old demarcations between the different types of sex work advertising, resulting in my being subjected to a barrage of the kind of unschooled, semi-literate, rude, stupid, screening-averse wannabe clients I haven’t had to deal with in years.  As a result I am in the process of phasing out Eros and similar sites entirely, and an ever-greater fraction of my clients find me via other channels such as my blog, Twitter, other writing, my public speaking, TV interviews, etc.  I haven’t taken a cold voice call this year, and I reply to no-information texts with a polite but short copy-paste text including my website address (visible in part here) that rarely results in any kind of response, much less a paying client; yet despite these changes to make my life more pleasant, I’m still two months ahead of budget as I have been for the past couple of years.  That lets me know that my strategy is working, which means it is very likely that next year I’ll start moving toward my next goal,  namely to eventually stop taking new clients without a referral from one of my friends.  What this means for you if you’re already in my “good guys” list is that everything will go on as it has been, and it may even get easier for you to get an appointment; what it means if you’ve never seen me, but would like to, is that you should probably get on the ball and make an appointment in the next few months, while I’m still accepting new clients.  I’m getting to that comfortable stage of maturity where I dislike change even more than I did in my youth, and by two years from now I’d like nearly all of my in-person visits to be with clients I know, trust and feel comfortable with.

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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, here’s a sample of recent tweets you missed out on:

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Unfortunately, the government’s wanton destruction of advertising platforms has thrown the industry into disarray. Idiots like the one who sent me this a week ago today are now approaching professional escorts when they’re used to dealing with unprofessional dabblers, and things like screening flummox them.  But screening protects decent, normal clients as much as it does sex workers; it demonstrates to the client that he’s dealing with someone professional and careful who has something to lose.  You know who doesn’t screen?  Cops.  They just want to get as many warm bodies into their trap as possible before the word of it gets out, and that means they just love it when guys who are thinking with the wrong head and want a no-questions-asked nownownow date contact them through their fake ads.  This certainly doesn’t mean that everyone who doesn’t screen is a cop; however, it does mean that of those who don’t a share approaching 100% are either unprofessional, extremely desperate, totally inexperienced, or up to no good.  From our side of the equation, even the request for screening info acts as a form of pre-screening; if a man is in too much of a rush or is too much of an entitled clod to comply, or else refuses because he has something to hide, I’m uninterested in seeing him anyway.  The short exchange illustrated here demonstrates another value of the process.  A large fraction of low-intelligence, poorly-socialized men respond to what they perceive as rejection with insults and rage; imagine if I had upset this cretin in person, in a private setting.  And then think again about whether you want to eschew screening.

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Last week Alex Andrews of SWOP Behind Bars asked me to spread the word about this serial predator, or more specifically the effort to bring him down.  If you have information and would like to talk to the lawyer she describes below, please Twitter DM SWOP Behind Bars or see the lawyer’s contact info below.  If you’re not on Twitter, I can forward your email to Alex.  I’ve also attached all the info on this monster people have shared on Twitter; his email address and physical address are here, and a few of the many phone numbers he’s used here.  As you can see, there would be more than enough had he not cunningly chosen to target a group cops consider subhuman.

Joey the Player has been a predator in the sex worker community for many years; barely a month goes by without a horror story of his assaulting an unknowing provider.  Just last week there was an incident in Las Vegas.  And of course since sex workers were kicked off the internet in the FOSTA debacle, its been really hard to continue to warn each other about dangerous and abusive clients.  And because of criminalization – we can’t go report these horrific assaults to police because they would probably put a target on us, rape us themselves or do some kind of harmful cop shit that would make our lives harder than they are.  His victims  have been working on a strategy for a long time and SWOP Behind Bars wants to support their efforts, especially since most of his crimes have taken place in New Jersey and NYC.  If you have been victimized by this sleaze or have information and would like to talk (pro bono) to the lawyers, please contact Noam (nbiale@shertremonte.com) or Anna (aestevao@shertremonte.com) or call 212-202-2600.

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It’s no secret that I do not suffer fools gladly, and never have.  In the past few years my reaction to imbeciles online has resulted in my being compared to a Western gunfighter, various warriors, a wronged wolverine, and even a psychic mutant (sorry, I can’t find that column); earlier this year, Matisse said I was like a “flaming sword of doom on Twitter”.  But while at one time I had a great deal more patience with work calls, the events of the past few months have necessitated a change in that department as well.  Up until this year, a large enough fraction of the texts and phone calls I received led to paying work to justify my taking at least a few minutes with each caller.  But now that Backpage is gone and the guys who used it have flooded into all the other sites, and Eros has made the incredibly asinine decision to remove all advertiser’s website links (thus driving browsers to contact providers by phone or email), I’ve been forced to improve my phone-screening skill set so as to eliminate the > 80% of phone callers or texters who are time-wasters, clowns, or cheapskates.  Even if I’m awake, I’m unlikely to answer a voice call before noon or after midnight, because those guys are most likely looking for a session nownownow and I don’t work at any AM hour (if they really want to see me, they can text or email).  Texts from any number not already in my phone book receive a short reply with my website link (and I wish I had a way to save that as something like a macro), and most of those don’t reply once they see my rates (or else they’re too lazy to even visit the site).  Guys who voice-call and mumble, ignore my questions, make stupid comments or just keep saying “hi” are going to be hung up on, and those who then try to pursue by texting are likely to get their feelings hurt.  Some of you reading this may not understand why this strictness is necessary, but I know the sex workers get it:  if I spent just five minutes with everyone who contacts me I’d be on the phone for about two hours a day, and less than a fifth of that effort would actually lead to any money.  So it’s absolutely imperative that I quickly separate the grain from the chaff so as to concentrate on the former rather than wasting my time and emotional energy on the latter.

Still, I recognize that there may be some men who want to be good clients, but simply lack the phone skills to present that way; maybe English isn’t their first language, or they’re painfully shy, or nervous about contacting an escort because they never have before.  To those guys, I advise doing what a new client I saw last week did:  use email.  All the emails I received from this gent were clear and polite, and I had no trouble screening him, but when we chatted so I could give him directions I noticed he wasn’t very verbal, and when we actually met I don’t think he said 40 words in the whole hour.  The reason it worked out anyway was that he made a realistic assessment of his competence in spoken English, understood that his written English was much better, and so followed his strong suit.  So unless you’re both eloquent and confident, and quite familiar with my rates and such, email is probably the best approach; not only does it give you the opportunity to put your best foot forward, but it also allows me to answer when I’m in the proper frame of mind.

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I recently found an escort with several ads, but one of them is basically blank.  The other sites she advertised on had more information and pictures, but were of lower quality.  I had a feeling like her ads are illegitimate, so I traced her number using Pipl and apparently it’s her own personal number; it seems like she was arrested two years ago in a different town.  So now I’m a little spooked; how do big ad sites verify? Do they make the advertisers provide personal information?

One of the most important pieces of advice I give to sex workers on the topic of screening is, “trust your gut”.  Sometimes one’s mind unconsciously picks up on cues that, though they don’t trigger conscious recognition, still set off alarm bells.  Sure, it’s possible to get so spooked that one begins jumping at metaphorical shadows, but when that happens it’s time to take a vacation so as to allow one’s instincts to reset.  In general, it’s best to heed that funny feeling or little voice that says something is wrong, and wait for another client who doesn’t trip any red flags.  I think that advice is probably good for clients as well; if something about a sex worker’s ad strikes you as “illegitimate”, it’s probably best to just pass her by and move on to another provider who doesn’t make you feel that way.  As I explained in my recent Reason article, “check whether she has a blog, a Twitter account, message-board posts, pictures whose image searches lead you back to a website, and other signs this is a real person.”  While it’s unlikely that cops are going to go to the trouble and expense of setting up high-quality fake ads on sites like Eros or Slixa (and those sites do perform some verification), it’s still not a bad idea to exercise due diligence for your own safety and peace of mind.

(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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Recently two providers in one city discovered that they had me in common; I never intended to visit both.  I contacted one following her instructions and waited a week, but when she failed to respond I contacted the other.  After another week, both got back to me on the same day, so I saw both.  But they’re friends, and since they discovered I saw both of them, they’re both treating me kind of indifferently now.  Is this some kind of jealousy or possessiveness thing?

It would be highly unusual and unprofessional for an escort to get jealous over a client, unless his seeing other women would put her in dire financial straits (for example, if the economy is very bad in her city and she depends on him for a large part of her income).  But even in that case, it wouldn’t really be “jealousy” in the sense you’re thinking, but rather concern for economic survival.  Under ordinary conditions, escorts are not only non-jealous, we actually give each other references for clients or provide introductions; it’s not at all unusual for one of my gentlemen to ask me for an introduction to one of my friends, and I’m always pleased to see one of their names in the references a new gent provides me.  Aside from the pleasure of helping out people we like or love, and the necessity of sex workers being respectful of each others’ safety and survival, such cross-pollination sometimes leads to duos, which many of us enjoy a great deal.  All that having been said, I notice that one of these chicks took a week to get back to you and the other two weeks; unless they had some kind of vacation notices on their websites, that strikes me as both unprofessional and just plain bad business.  Plus, if they’re friends I can’t see why they’d object to both seeing you; that happens in my circle of friends quite frequently.  So it may be that you had the bad luck to run into two not-very-professional escorts who just aren’t very interested in making money, or else their indifference to you is caused by some other factor in your own behavior that you haven’t mentioned.

(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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