Street walkers, walking into darkness
So, the title for this entry is a reference to a song by Michael Jackson from his album Dangerous called “Why You Wanna Trip On Me?” It’s appropriate, because of a situation involving an escort whom I met last weekend in New York City. For almost a year now I have met many great people, both clients and colleagues, but I had yet to meet someone who completely falls into the stereotypical chaos that (until recently?) has been ubiquitously associated with adult entertainment as an industry.
I had finished for the evening last Friday, and I was chatting online. I saw a face I recognized from the online escort ads. He was an escort whom I’d considered hiring a few months ago when I was in Philadelphia, and for whom I had submitted a vote for being the sexiest escort of the year for the 2010 escorting awards. He is amazing in his pictures. Totally mesmerizing. I said hello.
And I should have known from his first response that it was going to be problematic.
I am not going to bother with the details of our meeting in person, but I will say that I am glad I have my process for screening clients. I will expound on this more in a moment. But before I do, I need to take a minute to meditate on the wisdom in the statement, “We create our own reality.”
This escort loathes his work. He said repeatedly, “My clients hate me too, because I’m an asshole.” His clients contact him willy-nilly, and they show up (or not) based on whatever whim. They come at him with expectations that trespass on his sense of self, and he goes along in an inebriated state trying to block it all out. I ended up having to extract myself from the club where we went, just because I was too tired to continuously avoid absorbing his dismay. I had a great trip to New York City, I enjoyed all my clients, and I wasn’t in the mood to have this person bring me down when I had one more day of itinerary left to conclude.
All this brings me to the following list of suggestions. These practices have created a situation where I am content, safe, and happy, and I have offered to share them with this person (who is truly breaking every rule of adult entertainment, but especially Devon’s Platinum Rule). I hope they will help you, if you are unhappy in your escorting practice:
- Establish contact via email: Escorts, you will do very well to follow this simple suggestion. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be organized and to convey a sense of professionalism. This initial contact sets the tone of your entire interaction. Putting your phone number in your ad allows people to interrupt you at any time, and if you are distracted you will not be able to put the required focus into your conversation. Also, email puts everything in writing, so that you don’t have to memorize conversations. Sort your emails in a way that fits you (I sort mine by US states), and use the search functions on a person’s email to load strings of conversation to refresh your memory as needed. All of this is impossible with phone conversations. Also: Clients who are willing to go back and forth in an email conversation before talking on the phone are the ones you want! They like you enough to engage you verbally. They are excited. They are getting as much information as you are. They have gotten to know you some, and are much less likely to cancel. If they do cancel they will do so (in general) with enough notice not to leave you hanging. I generally do not give a client my phone number until we have confirmed an appointment. BE ORGANIZED.
- Be certain that you know exactly what is expected before you meet: Seeing someone without having thoroughly discussed the client’s interests and expectations is a way to all but guarantee that you will have a thoroughly wretched time. Know your boundaries, and turn away appointments that are not aligned with what you are willing to do. Agreeing to see a client who wants something you can’t offer without injury to your sense of self will result in disappointments on both sides. You should know that there are forums where clients submit reviews about escorts, and if you provide terrible service others will eventually know and cease calling you.
- Work sober: Until you have gotten acquainted with a client after a few meetings, you cannot say you truly know anything about him. You should never be intoxicated or inebriated in any way. Ever. Period. If you are meeting a client for the first time in a private place (rather than in a restaurant or public locale), do not accept food or drink that you have not witnessed being opened fresh and made from scratch in your presence. Not only is it completely unprofessional to be drunk/high (and you would do well to avoid clients who are intoxicated, as much as they should avoid you if you are), but your inhibitions will be eroded, and you will not be able to monitor and assess your situation from moment to moment.
- Respect yourself: It might be a universal truth that people will treat you exactly how you tell them to treat you. And they will know how to interact with you by evaluating how you comport yourself. You must hold yourself dear, so that you will be in a position to be giving to others. When you treat yourself with care and others with grace, they will (nine times out of ten) do the exact same in kind. Adult entertainment is the same as any other business: Professionalism, cleanliness, respect, kindness, and confidence will attract the people who value these traits. You are in charge of your own brand. You must sell it to your target audience. Pick an audience with whom you WANT to work.
- Take breaks: If ever there was an industry where you have to rest and recover your strength, it is this one. You can give only so much energy before you have to recharge. Escorts who will see clients with almost no notice worry me. How can you possibly be ready in 30 minutes to see someone who hasn’t told you what he wants?? Are you crazy??? You haven’t established that there’s any possibility of rapport between you at all! And escorts who say in their ads that they are available 24/7?? You must look like hell! I am available from noon to midnight, and don’t bother me when I’m sleeping! My goal is to take one weekend off each month, and you’re a fool if you don’t take time away. Burnout is real.
- Plan ahead and manage your money: I know my itinerary before I ever show up in a city. I am looking for 7 – 12 billable hours on a weekend trip away from home (and only 3-6 billable hours if I stay in Charlotte for the week). I need two billable hours to cover hotel and food; one or two to cover airplane fares; three to amass the money I need that week for bills; and then the difference goes toward savings, projects, and/or spending money. This means of a maximum of 12 billable hours in a weekend (This is one way I avoid burnout!), a quarter of the money goes immediately back into my travel expense account, a quarter goes towards bills, and half goes to me. And THAT is how you divvy your money: Repay travel first, so that if you have a disappointing weekend you can afford to try again the next week. Put aside money to pay your bills next, so that you are not in a weakened financial position at home. But pay the business FIRST! (You can pay your bills late if need be! If you pay them first to be on time after a bad weekend, you won’t have the money to travel!) Finally, PAY YOURSELF. You would be wise to put some of what you have netted after business/bills into savings, some into investments, some into an emergency store of cash, and the rest into something nice for yourself (nice food, new clothes, travel, JEWELRY!!! hahaha). Everything in suggestions 1 -6 are here so that you can obey #7, which is the most important of all:
- ESCHEW DESPERATION: Do not do anything involving adult entertainment from a position of desperation. EVER. Walk away and do something else. Find some other option to make money or to solve whatever problem is at hand. If you work from a position of disempowerment you risk falling into the pit of despair. It is a deep, dark place, and those who fall in with you will not be there to help you get out. They will not be in a position to do so, and they won’t want to. Create the reality you want for yourself!! Be happy! It’s in your power to do so!