A Hobbyist’s Perspective: We Just Don’t Give A Shit

by Beatrice Darling on May 15, 2013 · 79 comments

in Clients, Prostitution

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Dear Tits and Sass Readers,

It has recently come to my attention that some of you *cough cough—male hobbyists—cough* think we are talking to you, and while on some days it’s kinda cute to watch you think you matter—to anyone, at all, ever— I just thought I’d take a minute here to set the record straight. If nothing else, the Tits and Sass editorial staff will now have a nice little post to link to the next time one of you forgets his place: silent, pondering, not commenting, and on my blocked list if you happen to forget.

Earlier today, one of our editors posted a call for submissions about how we feel about hobbyists. Adorably, a hobbyist thought that “we” included actual hobbyists. Because, you know. Men have no voice/power/platform/place or places to talk among themselves, so where else could they POSSIBLY talk about their entitlement if not on Tits and Sass?

Answer: Anywhere else you like, but never, ever here.

Presented for your consideration is the full, unabridged “submission” by said hobbyist, annotated with commentary.

A couple thoughts, since you asked: (We didn’t ask YOU though is the thing)

1.  When I am travelling to a new place for vacation, I like to go to tripadvisor.com and read about what other tourists liked.  I don’t necessarily have—or expect—the same experience as they did, but it helps set expectations.

Women are hotels. Wait, no. Women are tourist attractions. Wait. No. That sounds bad, too. Maybe it sounds bad because it is, in fact, a fucked up way of looking at women? You know what women are? People. Super weird, I know.

2.  Gadget reviews—cameras, phones, projectors, whatever—are similarly helpful.  And while reviews by pros are best, consumer reviews on amazon.com etc. can give you a pretty good sense of what kind of mind-numbingly confusing experience you can expect to have when you buy one of these things that you don’t know how to work.

WAIT I HAVE GOT IT THIS TIME! Women are gadgets. Also, women are toys to be consumed and rated. What an excellent argument in favor of reviews and hobby boards in general. The objectification angle is incredibly incisive, as women have never before been looked at as objects, and there are no ugly implications in such a crass oversimplification of the complexities of transactional sex. Unless you count things like rape and violence and the pressures that an “established reviewer” can put on a new escort to do whatever he wants her to do in order not to immediately ruin her own reputation. You know. Like a camera. You fucking moron.

3.  Similarly, reviews of Providers can be very helpful to those of us occasionalists who don’t know how to work them, but are game to try. Is she giggly? Seductive? Energetic? New? Not new?  It’s nice to know, and it’s only through review boards that anyone other than the most experienced Johns will know what someone may be like before they actually find out what she is like.

One good way to get a feel for who a sex worker is as a person is to read through her entire ad, website, and blog if she has one. It DOES require that you trust that a woman’s writing might give you a better idea of who she is as a whole person than you might get from the astute observations of the guy who has received and rated over one hundred blow jobs on TER, which is kiiiiind of a gamble. HOWEVER, it is entirely possible that if you grant her personhood in allowing her to demonstrate her own personality, you will not forget that she is actually not a camera during your time together! [You may or may not find this rewarding?]

4.  What’s bad?  Flamers suck, but you (and they) and oftentimes we know who they are.  Numbers sort of suck, but they tend to trend towards accuracy and I don’t really care if someone who sounds like lots of fun got a 6 or a 7 from some alias John I don’t know.

Flamers do suck. Trolls suck. They sure do. You know what sucks EVEN MORE? Guys who think that their two hundred bucks and gold star reputation should earn him the right to take advantage of new or young escorts with community impunity. The problem isn’t the obvious flamers. The problem is the insidious, benevolent predators. How do you rate the anonymous John’s likelihood to rape or coerce unsafe services on a scale of 1-10? Or do you consider sufficient the current ratings system, dealing exclusively with whether your tourist attraction is giggly or seductive?

TER founder Dave Elms, who paid to kill an escort he'd previously outed. Classic "troll" behavior!

Mugshot of TER founder Dave Elms, who paid to kill an escort he’d already outed. Classic “troll” behavior!

5.  What’s worse?  Not having the boards at all.  Then all you’ve got is Backpage and self-run sites and LE and fake posts and…

Self-run sites ARE pretty sketchy, what with their female-written copy and lack of star ratings. Be honest. It’s worse for you. It’s worse for ONLY you. The illusion that the boards are a mutually beneficial necessity is a myth propagated by men exclusively because it reinforces male power over the industry. Many women—particularly career sex workers—advertise exclusively through Eros, social media, blogging, and search engine traffic. If you had to develop an actual understanding of the literal human being person that you are booking for your next sexual encounter, rather than seeing her as an enthusiastic cock hotel rated seven stars on T-E-R-dot-com, you could probably manage to figure out whether she’s a good fit for you or whether she’s actually holding a badge. Just a thought.

6.  Trolls are everywhere.  They’re on Civil War sites, Ford Mustang sites, F. Scott Fitzgerald sites, you name it.  They’re worth suffering, because more info is always better than less, and God bless the www for it has set (some of) us free.

Trolls make the community less pleasant for hobbyists, like you. And hobbyists like you make the sex industry less pleasant for sex workers, like me. Don’t flatter yourself. We tolerate you, and we talk shit about you behind your back. The new girls may not understand how little power you truly have, but more and more girls are requesting “no reviews,” and it’s catching on. And, as a side note, as an “occasionalist” who needs reviews because he’ll never be anyone’s regular, your voice is essentially worthless from a business perspective. You’re a one-off. A gap filler. Not worth the investment. So why would any of us submit to your ratings system to make it easier for you to objectify us and see us once before racking up your next notch? We wouldn’t. And if you think I don’t value your business, you should just see how I feel about your voice. I don’t expect you’ve read this far, but perhaps a man will review it for you and put it in a couple numbers you could understand.

Cheers, A

Good chat. I think we understand each other now—B

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine May 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Nicely done!


Catherine May 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

And that photo is priceless.


MB May 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Sorry Charlotte–

Not all escorts hate reviews… Just like not all sex workers hate doing sex work.

Not all escorts have the education, time, money and energy to create a high-end website, write web-copy that conveys their personality, hire a photographer who can capture the look/vibe they’re going for, pay for a splashed-out shoot location that matches that personality, and pay 400-1000-odd dollars a month for a top-placed EROS ad that doesn’t get shifted down to the bottom of the other 600 ads in their city…

For me, reviews are free, effortless advertising. It’s okay that you hate the concept of reviews. But…not everyone does.


Bubbles May 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Yes! We know. Which is why we have a call out for submissions about reviews for next week. We’re interested in your feelings about reviews and message boards, so please, any interested sex workers (let me repeat, this is a call to SEX WORKERS ONLY, not customers, like the poor fellow above) should email the info account.


BD May 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm



DarkLlama May 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Dude, brilliant. I’ve considered hookers before but never seriously. I might take the plunge now, because while I don’t need to pay for it, you ladies fascinate me. Sounds weird, but I’d love to just pay and hear your stories-the twists and turns that lead you to your job, how you feel about it, how you market (but not advising! lol-just a tactical curiosity as it’s my background), everything. I feel like that’d be a spot of justice in a world filled with loser dudes that treat you like this. But I’m not out to save you, none of you need it and I can see that.


Robin D May 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Um, dude, a lot of people find that really irritating and invasive, and it mostly basically forces people to make that shit up. Befriend someone genuinely, or just read this blog, is what I suggest.


DarkLlama May 16, 2013 at 12:39 am

Fair enough, sorry I didn’t get it. You’re right.


Evie May 16, 2013 at 12:59 am

I’d be happy to simply sit and talk with a client. In a safe location, after the proper screening process, and of course, cash up front – like any date.

If that’s what you’re into, this hooker says go for it. Just be upfront from the beginning about what you want – and you’d better fucking stick to it – and she can decide for herself if you’re a client worth seeing.


Robin D May 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm

If he is upfront, sure, and folks like me can just avoid him.


LoriAdorable May 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Everything about this is perfect and, holy fuck, I had no idea bout the TER guy. Holy. fuck.


jenny heineman May 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Wonderful essay. It will be required reading for my students next semester.


James May 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I guess I would be an occasionalist that you say is worthless from a business perspective if you are looking at how often I seek out an escort for services. Not to say I don’t have some idea about the “business perspective” as I have recently started a relationship with an escort I have seen on and off over a three year period. From a business perspective she would be out of business if she had to rely upon me as a “regular” for a source of income. However, I could say the same is true for “hobbyist” who bang every girl in the business at least once, that one time per girl doesn’t pay the rent as well.

As far as reviews they have positives and negatives both. I would say overall the review process and forums are a positive only because our vice law criminalize what should not be criminal. I have written a few reviews only after getting a girls approval, in fact I always want them to review it first, but so far every girl has said just write whatever you feel like. I find it hard to rate women about their sexual prowess as sex is not one sided. One side sex is what you have with your wife or girl friend who lays there like a dead fish and is the reason many men seek out escorts in the first place. However, if a man can’t do his part with an escort, he is the dead fish and no matter how good she is, the overall experience will suck. So bottom line is I have never written any review without the girl asking me to review her after out session is complete.

So if an escort doesn’t want a review, don’t review her. If she wants a review be accurate and don’t review her negatively based upon your poor performance. To condemn the process is wrong as it is the only way other than word of mouth to get some perspective of what she likes, is willing to do or not and other things besides her pic as a reason to pay cash for services. If we would legalize prostitution things would be so much easier, safer and better for everyone. However, until such a time I find it wrong that both stop prostitution at all costs zealots and some women working in the industry both want to shutdown and limit free speech.

Many hobbyist are arrogant asswipes most of the time and they misuse the review and ratings systems for their own egos, however not all are and not all misuse the system. So I am willing to tolerate asswipes to protect the rights of all.


Robin D May 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Again you are worried about verifying someone is not a vice cop – from a “HOBBYIST” perspective. Hookers don’t need reviews to do screening.


Robin D May 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Nope we do not need reviews to screen. Still self-interested reasoning only.


MB May 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Wow. Also…

As an escort…I’m really grateful that “hobbyist boards” are nicer to escorts who comment than Tits & Sass is to Johns – Ouch!


Eva Karlsen May 18, 2013 at 3:19 am

You’re reading the wrong review boards then…


Aspasia May 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Beatrice Darling, DAHLING…loved it!


Supernova90 May 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm

“As an escort…I’m really grateful that “hobbyist boards” are nicer to escorts who comment than Tits & Sass is to Johns – Ouch!”

They are? That’s news to me.

I loved this article, and while I think there are nice johns out there, the review system is inherently degrading and objectifying and it’s easy to see how men exploit it. There is a subsection of johns who find reviews as tasteless as many escorts do.


Evie May 16, 2013 at 1:04 am

Yeah, this was not about all men who have ever purchased sex. It’s in response to a specific type who, as you and the OP point out, are particularly exploitative and objectifying – the exact opposite of a good john.


Robin D May 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm

This piece is great.

Anyone who thinks it is too hard on “johns” – I think I will be laughing about that for weeks.


Robin D May 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Also, this guy is definitely a piece of work – and the picture is awesome and perfect.

And I’ve only once had an ad on the incredibly-expensive and not-hugely-well-known Eros.


LoriAdorable May 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Eros is well-known in the BDSM market, at least in NYC, and the rates there (the BDSM section) are actually cheaper than Backpage. So YMMV, and all that.


MB May 16, 2013 at 1:24 am

Yeah – I’ve heard of that too from BDSM providers.

On the flip-side, EROS for escorts in NYC is expensive (245/month) and over-saturated (520 escorts). Honestly, the only way to consistently get decent client-volume via EROS alone is to pay an extra 100 for VIP AND an extra 400-1000/month for a top-placement ad. It works out to about 745 – 1350/month just for an EROS ad…

Alternatively, you can click “available now” chronically and respond to a bunch of demanding, last-minute-callers who refuse to provide any acceptable screening information.


Ariane May 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Brilliant! Thank you!
Shortly ago I was thinking to answer on this article, I didnt:

I m totally f** up with this bullshitters
Stay off the boards!


Berlin May 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm

That was AWE-some. Thanks for that!

I *hate*review boards and tolerate them only because I can advertise for free and because I’m currently pissed at Backpage for their shitty customer service (seriously, you charged my credit card and then pouf! no ad and of course you can’t get anyone to return your phone calls).


B May 15, 2013 at 8:25 pm

To MB:

I’m not criticizing women who allow or encourage reviews. I AM criticizing a culture wherein men are granted power over women with little leverage. You’re right that our anonymous would-be contributor doesn’t seem like a bad guy. He actually seems like one of the guys on the white-hat side of the hobby–and that’s exactly my problem.

On one end of the spectrum, you have men like Dave Elms, who use their power over a girl’s reputation to get away with rape, who out women who won’t bend to their will, and who actually attempt murder. We can all agree that’s unacceptable. The premise of my argument is that the very best that the hobby world has to offer are men whose casual objectification of women as gadgets and hotels is perceived as benevolence. I posit that this is a completely unacceptable way to perceive any woman, including sex workers. You, of course, are welcome to disagree.

As to this bullshit argument that I am somehow “above” anyone else because I market myself in other ways, and that I am being unfair to women who can’t afford Eros or who aren’t educated enough to blog (which is in itself an insulting thing to say about women without degrees), just stop right there. Let me say this once, loudly: ESCORT REVIEW BOARDS ARE NOT “FREE” ADVERTISING.

The cost of advertising on Eros is money. The cost of building a great site yourself is time. The cost of advertising through your blog is time and intellectual capital.


***The cost of advertising on an escort review board is power.***

You lose power over how you are perceived. You allow men to speak for you instead of getting to speak for yourself. You allow men to tell other men why they should or should not see you. And any man with a decent number of reviews under his belt has a platform of power from which to abuse. Not all men will, of course, but ALL OF THEM CAN.

These women you think I’m being unfair to? The ones who you say can’t pay for advertising, who you imply aren’t smart enough to blog, who you say don’t have the means to get photos or any friends with cameras, who you seem to believe can’t figure out site building software? They are the most vulnerable to predation, and all they have left to pay for their advertising with is their power. I do not think that I am out of line in suggesting–albeit in my characteristically caustic way–that this is a system that could use an overhaul.

I’m tired of women silencing women because we all have some privilege or another in the experience we write from, but that’s another post. I’m just not interested in apologizing for not finding blatant objectification–the kind which has dangerous and even lethal consequences–as charming as you do. Lucky you that you haven’t been harmed by it yet. I hope you never are.

To pretty much everyone else:

I’m so glad that my snark resonated with a bunch of you guys. I know that there are many, many, of us who resent the hobby review board business model, but feel like it is an inevitability. I am so excited that Tits and Sass is opening up a dialogue where we might all start deconstructing what’s damaging about hobbyist mentality, and maybe come up with some brilliant new ways to promote and take back a lot of the power over the sex industry that places like TER hold unnecessarily.

Maybe some of you will even be able to do it nicely… that’s just not really my style. 🙂


Eva Angelica May 16, 2013 at 7:28 am

“I’m tired of women silencing women because we all have some privilege or another in the experience we write from, but that’s another post.”
Yes, thankyou. Has the discourse around sex-work become so politically-correct that we can’t even criticize the jerks on these boards without worrying that we’ll offend *some* workers in the industry? People, get a grip – these toxic assholes are a plague on the whole industry, and have dragged the names of perfectly good working girls through the mud just because they refused to provide unprotected services. Plus, the way in which they refer to women as products(as demonstrated by this excellent article) is gross.

Also, I would say there’s definitely an overlap between hobbyists, PUAs and MRAs. So my sympathy for any butthurt feels on their part is exactly ZERO.


danielle May 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

this guy’s email is further proof that people who unironically use the word “john” to describe clients don’t have opinions on sex work worth listening to.


Jo Weldon May 15, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Amazed it didn’t even occur to him to try to frame his rationale as if people also review manicurists and cake bakers and dressmakers and lawyers and yoga instructors and waitresses. Cause oh wait, they DO. That was an option!


MB May 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Hey Jo –

When Tits & Sass first put out a call for escort-opinions on review boards, I started the draft with the same comparisons (hotels & restaurants):

“I use yelp. I use trip advisor. Based on the way I pick restaurants & hotels, if I were a business-traveler into paid companionship, I would be that guy — the guy with 800 reviews and no repeats. My reviews would be nice… but still: It would be really hypocritical of me to not understand why some guys like to read reviews…”

Those were just the first things that popped into my head, because I look at hotel & restaurant reviews more than therapist, lawyer, dentist, doctor or professor reviews. I can’t speak for El Hombre there, but I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to assume conscious or sub-conscious objectification…

Although I really do with that he had used “lawyer” “professor” & “dentist” rather than hotels & gadgets… the discussion may have been more interesting & wouldn’t have auto-piloted to the default “objectification!” response…although maybe less roast-style-hilarious.


LoriAdorable May 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm

” BUT I can’t help but think that taking out your frustration with the review system on some faceless john is akin to generalizing all sex workers as abused and drug addicted women.”
Yeah, not really. I can’t speak for the author, but just by my own analysis, sex workers are some of the most marginalized people in society, while men who pay for sex are often some of the most powerful (and even those that aren’t are treated far differently by the criminal justice system than their SW counterparts). Generalizing sex workers in any way contributes to that marginalization, while generalizing hobbyists– who, by definition, are not synonymous with ‘johns’– is doing the opposite. Further, this guy didn’t just say “Hi, I’m a hobbyist,” while Beatrice assumed the rest. He came at her with the same kind of entitlement and objectification that hobbyists as a whole display.


LoriAdorable May 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

“but I personally believe that with so many anti-prostitution organizations pumping millions of dollars into “End Demand” campaigns, that vilifying hobbyists and reviewers might do more harm than good. ”

Huh? Can you elaborate on that?


Robin D May 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm

“I personally believe that with so many anti-prostitution organizations pumping millions of dollars into “End Demand” campaigns, that vilifying hobbyists and reviewers might do more harm than good.”

Oh come on. The issue with End Demand is it is harmful to SEX WORKERS.


Elle May 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I don’t agree Robin. End Demand is bad for everyone. It’s bad for society. It is a pathetic idea and an even more pathetic attempt at social engineering. It hurts a lot of people not just sex workers.


LoriAdorable May 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Just a general note: there’s a difference between being anti-review and being anti-hobbyist/ review culture.


Johanna May 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Yeah I totally agree. I’ve definitely depended on reviews for advertising, and having a no-reviews policy would have made it extremely difficult for me to get any work at all in the tiny NZ market I was in, but even when I was actively cultivating a review board presence when I first started working I still hated hobbyist/review board culture. It’s perfectly possible to choose (or find it necessary) to work within a certain system and still oppose it (see capitalism).

The thing I love about this piece is that its snark is directed at exactly the right target – not workers who use or don’t mind reviews, but entitled sexist jerk hobbyists who think having disposable income, access to the internet, and the ability to fill in a review template makes them some kind of relevant authority on anything.


Supernova90 May 16, 2013 at 2:19 am

I’m genuinely curious as to what you would like reviews to look like, and ideas as to how to not let them lead to being degrading/exploitative which I kind of see as inevitable, and what you see the benefits of reviews being. I don’t mean this with any hostility I’m genuinely wondering about your POV.


LoriAdorable May 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Well, mostly, I’d want them to be consensual. That is, the SW should get to decide if she’s reviewed and how much info is revealed in the review. I’d make an exception for clients to be able to warn each other about scammers + abusers (which, while FAR less common than the other way around, does happen, esp. with dangerous pro dommes). Reviews should be posted on boards where SW + clients have equal control– like MaxFisch, as opposed to TER. None of this numbers rating nonsense, esp. not based on some arbitrary ideal of service, and no nasty comments about the women’s bodies (“she looks nothing like her pictures” suffices, gentlemen.) I like getting reviews, even if they aren’t favorable, but as long as they’re *respectful*.

They can be a useful tool for workers and clients alike, but let’s not kid ourselves that SW are the same as other service providers + so can be reviewed with the laxness of Yelp. We have legal concerns that, say, hairdressers do not, and we deal with levels of misogyny and abuse that are unparalleled and that are reinforced by ‘hobbyist’ nonsense.


Robin D May 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm

I like this comment. THAT might actually work. Maybe you should write a piece for Tits and Sass about it!!!


MB May 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Lori – I ABSOLUTELY agree with your comment!

Besides what you mentioned (Only consensual reviews; workers control amount of info about services; equal client-worker-reviews; allow posts for scammers/abusers; no rating system; respectfulness), I’d like to add: sex workers should have an option of ONLY showing reviews from the past 6 mo or 12 mo.

It’s not something I like, but society is still so weird about being involved for a long time, so some people may not want a card-stack of reviews dating back to forever. Plus, people can change a lot in a year or a few years, and the old reviews may not be even relevant to what someone is providing or the way they approach work any more. Or they may want to wipe fresh & start with a new persona (for reasons besides “bad reviews”), and should be able to do that. And it’d also be useful for legal stuff (i.e., if you get out of the industry & forget to wipe reviews; if you have a custody battle or get arrested, there is not a record that you’ve been doing this since TER started, etc.)


Caty Simon May 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Wow, this makes me think we all should actually try to start a sworker-friendly reviews site. I mean, these sites are going to proliferate no matter what we do, so why don’t we provide a more palatable option for our clients and ourselves and boycott the other, hobbyist-controlled sites?

Priscilla May 19, 2013 at 4:30 am

I think Caty has a great idea. A site like that could also be used as a screening tool, I think.

BP May 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm

I’m not at all familiar with review boards – are you only reviewed if you post on them? Can someone be reviewed without her consent?


Johanna May 16, 2013 at 12:21 am

Yeah, it’s perfectly possible for there to be random reviews floating around without you knowing about them. Once someone said that I looked different to my photos (I didn’t), and a bunch of other reviewers jumped into defend me, but that was only because I’d spent a lot of (annoying, unfulfilling, not very financially rewarding) time building a presence on that board, which I think is an example of how the whole “reviews are free advertising” line is often a bit of an illusion. To make them work for you at all you often have to sink a heap of time and energy in I think, and now that I’m a bit older and wiser I don’t think it’s really very worthwhile (although obviously no judgement to people who do find them useful).


Glasgow sex worker May 16, 2013 at 7:22 am

I deliberately avoid googling my work name(s) because I’m vaguely aware of a couple of reviews out there that I’m unfamiliar with (there are a couple on my AW profile that I am familiar with, of course) and it just weirds me out to think of them there, so I prefer not to. Especially as at least one is behind a paywall and I can’t get at it. Ugh.


LoriAdorable May 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm

If you’re a provider, definitely make sure to search the boards for your name. I didn’t think house girls at dungeons get reviewed on TER (I mean, really, we don’t) but found myself on there anyway. Nasty surprise, even if what’s said is supposedly flattering. The fact that you aren’t even *informed* *afterwards* is utter bullshit.


LoriAdorable May 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm

ETA Or, yeah, you could take Galsgow sex worker’s approach and purposefully avoid looking. Don’t blame ya there :-/


ayna May 16, 2013 at 12:15 am

Yes they can be reviewed with out consent. I have had reviews that had my height wrong by 6 inches, piercings wrong etc.


Cheshire May 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

Dear LW, you use lots of metaphors for sw worker reviews, non of them are humans humans running there own businesses. I would suggest you think about why you didn’t think of Plummer/tutor whatever reviews as an equivalent.


Amanda May 16, 2013 at 8:44 am

“…can give you a pretty good sense of what kind of mind-numbingly confusing experience you can expect to have when you buy one of these things that you don’t know how to work.”

I think this sums up the hobbyist view of women quite nicely. I appreciate this hobbyist for the quote.

Also, I love you Beatrice.


Jenny DeMilo May 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

I agree with your sentiment and have often written myself about chronic reviewers, my dislike of reviews, the power they hold over escorts (especially baby hos). I have to say this piece would be a lot more powerful if it wasn’t written anonymously. You ripped this guys a new one and while i think he deserved to be told that his thoughts on reviews were not what T and S was looking for, you now can be easily brushed off as just some angry ho. Or worse someone like me will be accused of writing this and have to deal with the inevitable message board fall out.

I get it this guy is using the same old tired boring argument and analogies that “hobbyist” have been using for eons about why reviews are necessary to him personally blah blah blah as if no one ever thought that sparkle of a thought before. I agree as a sex worker his opinion on sex worker reviews.. eh i don’t give rats ass about. However think you run the risk of appearing only angry and lashing out because you did it from a anonymous persona.

When i started to write about my experiences with reviews and my disdain for them it would have been easier for me to do it under a name that didn’t trace back to the actual working me but it would have given what i had to say less credence and i thought it was important to not only be speaking my truth but to back it up with my credibility. I know you’re legit (clearly T and S does or you wouldn’t be writing here) and respect you immensely and feel you have the right to be as pissed off as you want, i think you lose impact when its all pissed off and its all anonymous.

As someone who’s been accused of being divisive, a bitch, and worse more then once because I’ve spoken less then flatterly (thats an understatement) about the hobbyist and message board subculture. I would caution you to remember how this looks to people who don’t know you and be clear about what your goal is. If its just to vent and tell a self important douchebag off publicly then you’ve done a great job, A++ in my book. If its to change hearts and minds, then I think you have to rethink your approach.


Beatrice May 16, 2013 at 11:54 am

Hey, Jenny,

Thanks for weighing in. I have tremendous respect for your writing and for your completely transparent platform from which you are brutally honest. I think you’re bold and courageous, and one of the best advocates for safety and sensible solidarity on the internet.

I choose to write under a different name than I work under because I work privately, don’t allow reviews, and I never want my words to be influenced by how I think it will affect my income. If I am honest, I also don’t want to deflect ad hominem attacks on my body or appearance to try and detract from my thoughts. I prefer writing from a different perspective than I want to work from. I have been tweeting and blogging for three years as Beatrice, I have been doing sex work the entire time, and I have personally met… gosh, I don’t know… a dozen people from this community through there? Two dozen? No faux ho here! While I value the courage women who speak out from their professional platforms, I feel this is the best fit for me. Selfish? Possibly. But I think I write more honestly, and from a part of myself that is too raw to be for sale by separating my work persona and my writing endeavors.

As to what I’m hoping to achieve, I don’t expect to convince one single man that a system designed to protect and empower them is worth overhauling. My response was intended to give a voice to the innumerable women who are fed up with the boards and review culture, but who feel resigned to it, or who can’t place why it is so disturbing to them. I’m hoping to be part of the dialogue between sex workers about what is wrong with hobby culture and how we might address our grievances, change the system, or advertise differently.

For the hobbyists who are reading this, I love that I’m anonymous. I love that I could be anyone–and my voice echoes many other voices with the same feelings. I want hobbyists to be self-conscious of their board reputations. I want them to feel stigmatized. I want them to wonder if maybe they shouldn’t name drop their dozens of reviews, because many of us are disgusted by them. I don’t expect to change their minds. I want them to understand that we may not call them out in session, but that often their board presence looks foolish and pathetic to their escort. I want them to second-guess their motivations, and I want them to be embarrassed at their contributions, because although it’s not often talked about, they’re being harshly, quietly judged.

I don’t think I can do that alone, but I also don’t want to, because it’s not just me. It’s not just one angry hooker; it’s many of us. I would love to see all kinds of sex workers speak out about their feelings on board culture, anonymously or not. Tits and Sass is soliciting submissions regarding hobby boards and hobby culture, and I am excited at what is coming out over the next little bit, and super stoked to hear what other ladies have to say, too.


Amanda May 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Jenny — While I’ve written publicly about these issues myself, and have published a book that deals with the issues surrounding reviews and hobbyists (and another book defining “clients” and “hobbyists” as separate beings, as you have), I have no issue with why sex workers decide to be anonymous when writing about sex work issues. Most are. Most aren’t out to their families either. I want that to change, and it is slowly changing.

Writing and working from a place of fear and stigmatization is the biggest obstacle to more sex workers being out in every way. Changing hearts and minds takes time, as pretty much everyone knows. (What would change hearts and minds the most is changing the laws, but that’s a whole other conversation.) Beatrice has every right to be angry if she wishes to be (and I don’t think this post was all that angry, frankly). Beatrice has every right to be angry and anonymous too. I don’t see how protecting herself changes the message all that much. It gives her more freedom to write without reprisal.

On the flip side, I often fantasize about how life would be if I were an anonymous escort writer but then I just go to my personal journal and vent there. I’ve made the choice to not say anything in the public sphere that isn’t attached to my professional name and yes, I often censor myself because of it. Beatrice has made the choice to do otherwise.


Jenny DeMilo May 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I understand your point and I believe i said it would have more impact if it wasn’t anonymous. Not that she should express herself. I personally think people need to responsible for what they say, especially when being inflammatory or incendiary. Its hard to hold an anonymous persona accountable. Beside isn’t that one of the big complaints about hobbyist message board culture, anonymous persona’s saying inflammatory shit with no accountability.


Charlotte Shane May 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I am really confused as to how Beatrice writing about her thoughts re:hobbyists and the review board culture, and the particular comments made by this guy, is the equivalent of a review-writer giving a fake or unfair review that he’s hoping/intending will harm a woman’s livelihood and/or endanger her. That’s a completely unfair comparison. I also think it’s splitting hairs to argue that using a work persona (which is not someone’s legal name, and would still be what plenty of people might call “anonymous”) is somehow more honorable or “responsible” than using an established internet presence with a strong twitter following and a years old blog.

I’m also confused about what she would need to held accountable for. Is your concern that she’s taking the money of hobbyists while hating them behind their backs? Lots of working girls do that. I’ll stand with each and every one of them, and I don’t think they have any type of responsibility to make that known, any more than they should have to declare their real age, marital status, sexual orientation, or how much they’re actually enjoying or hating the sex.


Jenny DeMilo May 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

You’re confused? Really? I need to break down that writing anonymous inflammatory things is different and has less impact then saying them when you do it when you can be accountable and responsible for your words? Seriously? This wasn’t a thoughtful break down or examination of the whys or hows this guy thoughts or ideas were being taken issue with. This was a full on slice and dice (some might say rant) and in my opinion a mean spirited one from an anonymous persona and that is exactly how many providers on the message boards are treated themselves. I know, i was on them. When you slice and dice someone from behind a anonymous persona, not everyone is going to think that’s cool. Some of us might even tell you so.

Also since i’m here, I dont appreciate being censored. The OP directed a long dissertation specifically addressed to me and my response back… poof disappeared into non approval land. Not cool Tits and Sass. Slippery slope and all.

Amanda May 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

For the record, this name is my professional name. I can do banking under this name. It is tied to my real name via certain documents.

Any other persona I use for working is simply that, I don’t consider those names my “professional name.”

LoriAdorable May 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Not all of us can afford to use our working names when being angry though… like, literally. For some people the financial fallout could be disastrous. Or, depending on what we’re getting angry about it, it might be enough info to lead to stalking. Just as sex worker’ shouldn’t have to use our legal names to work, we shouldn’t have to use our working names to rant. You do what you want, but don’t hold other people to that standard.


Jenny DeMilo May 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Hey people can rant all they want. I didn’t say dont rant i said when you say incendiary things behind a anonymous persona it holds less weight then if you put your credibility behind your words.


LoriAdorable May 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Credibility for whom? This post was pretty obviously designed as an outlet for the author’s frustration, and sex workers’ frustration in general, and we all know Beatrice is legit. It’s not as if she was worried about being taken seriously by the hobbyist in question.


Tizz May 17, 2013 at 1:34 am

It’s kind of bull shit to dismiss a valid response to a super problematic system that puts sex workers, particularly new ones, in a position of vulnerability based on the criticism that…well, what, she didn’t use her working name? Legal name? As has been fairly well-established in other comments here, B has a well-established and respected internet presence, and while there may not be an actual face to the name, we know where her internet persona lives, so to speak. She’s clearly not some troll or sock puppet.

The criticism of “You’re anonymous so you’re a coward and aren’t accountable for your words!” seems baselessly argumentative (which, if I’m understanding correctly, you aren’t directly saying this, but arguing that a hobbyist could), particularly when anonymity can be a protective tool to avoid being descended upon by the vitriolic vultures that can be found in both hobbyist and MRA (often seemingly related!) communities.

I would also think that the way it could affect someone’s business is worth a helluva lot of acknowledgment; other folks aren’t entitled to make decisions regarding how sex workers live their lives, and we, amongst ourselves, aren’t entitled to tell other SWs what is best (and safest–financially, emotionally, physically) for their business. The decision to be anonymous is one that, I would think, should be easy to understood and well-respected.

Frankly, if some jerk wants to dismiss Beatrice’s opinion because his feelerz are hurt, or because he wants to do what he wants without any acknowledgment of his own participation (perpetuation, even) of an unfair system, he’s going to do so, regardless of whether she wrote this as Beatrice, her working name, her legal name, or some other pseudonym. It doesn’t matter what name it is going to be written under; people who would use that flimsy excuse as a reason to not take this seriously aren’t interested in listening in the first place.


Tizz May 17, 2013 at 3:15 am

*easy to understand


Jenny DeMilo May 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I guess that would depend on if you thought the response was valid or not. Also i didn’t dismiss the OP point in fact i said i agreed with her sentiment. What i did say was it hold have more impact if it wasnt anonymous.


Tiffany Divine May 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

My biggest fault with the current review system is that you have no way of disputing a false review or report a reviewer for abuse. I’ve had a hobbyist blackmale me for a positive review and when I refused his proposal he wrote a negative review that prompted numerous harassing phone calls and emails from consumers I’ve never even seen or spoken to before.

I’ve heard of hobbyists following and harassing providers because of a negative review over the net. They do have too much power and how quick they are to rally around each other is really sad.


Beatrice May 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I love that you posted this. I think most hobbyists really don’t realize that the “trolls” who they find annoying on the boards become a real threat to sex workers, and can actually stalk, harass, threaten and hurt. And the problem of women being threatened with a bad review if they won’t do things they don’t want to do is a real one that most hobbyists want to gloss over in their quest for the ultimate hour in paradise.

I would love to see you write about your experience for Tits and Sass!


mistressmatisse May 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

A response to the comment by Beatrice: “You lose power over how you are perceived.”

I’m not going to say a lot here, because while I don’t have a big problem with review boards, I see that other people do. I’m sympathetic to their experiences, and I would certainly be supportive of an alternative, if one was conceived.

But I am going to just speak to this sentence, because it jumped out at me. No one individual person, no matter who they are, has power over how another individual perceives them. You simply don’t. It’s happening in that person’s head and it’s not subject to your knowledge or your control.

Once an idea leaves someone’s mind in the form of words/actions – in this case, in the form of a review – it’s there and I can react to that. But it’s essential to my own mental health to make this distinction. If I mistakenly thought that, if I just somehow found the right words, or the right action, that I could control how other people perceived me, I would have had a cosmic mental meltdown a LONG time ago. That’s a losing game.

I am myself, I don’t fool with fools, and I don’t bother myself much about what they think of me. If anyone takes an unacceptable action towards me, then I respond to that appropriately. But I don’t stress myself thinking I have lost power because I can’t control someone else’s perceptions of me. My power is in how I respond to any unacceptable actions, resolve the situation as much as it can be resolved, and move on.


Miss Margo May 18, 2013 at 7:17 am

Great piece! I loved it!

Fucking REVIEW BOARDS! I hate them–I find the very concept revolting. I would never participate in them. The concept of some random asshole rating my tits and my face on a 1-10 scale is outrageous.

I had a guy use the reviews system to pressure me into doing something that I didn’t want to do. I’m a pro-switch in NYC and I do not offer traditional sex. I told this jackass repeatedly, both in writing and in person, that I am strictly fetish and not full-service. My limits are very clear.

So what does he do…? I bet all the women on this board can guess! He takes out his wang, puts it in my face, and demands a blowjob. Irritated, I safed out and said that we needed to talk. I don’t give bjs, buddy, I told you this…

The jackass became petulant and said that he had over a hundred reviews on TER and that I should do it “if I wanted a positive review.”

I said that I didn’t want ANY reviews. This resulted in him telling me how important the review forums are to my business. I just love it when clients give me unsolicited advice about how I should run my business and what services I ought to provide!

Then he whined that for the money he was paying me, he could have hired a full-service girl. I told me that he should do that next time. I mean, FFS, there are plenty of fetish-friendly escorts out there. What was he thinking? That I was just lying about my limits on my ad and in my emails for fun? I think that for some of these assholes, getting a SW to do something that she doesn’t want to do is part of the fun. It’s like a game to them. It really is a “hobby.”

I got out of there with my money and without being molested, but I refused to see him again (incredibly, he asked. So I guess he didn’t have such a bad time with me after all, huh?). I wouldn’t be surprised if that blow to his ego resulted in a nasty review on TER. Whatevs. I refuse to look.

Oh, one last thing about review boards…one reason I don’t want reviews is because if and when I’ve ever “outed” (I am very closeted about being a SW), I don’t want my family and future boyfriend reading what some sexist douchebag has to say about my body and “performance.” Ugh.

Are you still accepting submissions from SWs about clients? I could talk about them all day! Heck, I wish we had a review board for clients so that we could warn each other about the bad scary ones.


BP May 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Miss Margo, I would totally want/participate in a review board for clients! Seriously that would be such a source of power and safety for SWs.


Robin D May 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm



Robin D May 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Though I think Emi Koyama’s SMS-based national bad date list (note this is SCALABLE by city too) is the best idea (with distributing cell phones that can still access it on zero minutes, maybe with panic button functionality to someone trusted, etc. if possible, props to Meg Foster for some of that). Though they are not mutually exclusive! So yeah. Someone should start an online board too.


BP May 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm

I’m not good with web technology but if someone else got a board designed and running I would totally post, moderate, help spread the word, etc…


Berlin May 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Just wanted to add, a number of review boards WILL NOT allow you to advertise on them if you don’t allow reviews. So as much as I want to have a “no review, do not discuss” policy, I can’t if I still want to be able to utilize the free advertising (and by free I simply mean there is no fee to post ads). If I wanted to avoid the boards altogether, I’d have to use paid advertising on Backpage (which I do, but again, can’t afford to spend $60-100 multiple times for auto-reposted ads that don’t get posted after you charged my cc). I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, essentially. I either tolerate the reviews so I can advertise for free, or I take on a DNR policy and start spending way more money than I can currently afford on paid advertising.


Miss Margo May 19, 2013 at 9:19 am

Hello again!

The forums at SAAFE.info have the right idea, I think, but they are based in the UK and most of the SWs who post there are British. They do have special sections of their forum for time-wasters, scammers, and DANGEROUS clients.

The SAAFE forum is also very Escort-centric…probably not a big deal, as I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my fetish clients also see Escorts or private Dancers or Masseuse…

I would TOTALLY participate in an online forum…or even a email listserve, which might be easier to do, at least at first. SWs could submit email addys and we could email dangerous/ripoff client info to one another. While I would be happy to review clients in other ways (Awful hygiene! Showed up falling-down drunk! lol), I think that dangerous clients or those that renege on the fee/steal from you are the most important to know about. I haven’t had many of those, thank goodness, but I can think of at least 3 that I will NEVER see again and I hope that NO other SWs have the misfortune of meeting them….yikes…

If anyone wants to to continue this conversation about the forum/email listserve w me personally, please feel free to drop me an email: piecesofmargo at gmail dot com. I don’t want to be rude and spam the comments here at T & S (unless admin doesn’t mind).


Amelia May 21, 2013 at 1:19 am

It always grates on me when I hear girls adopt customers’ juvenile terminologies, although “hobbyist” is definitely not the most disgusting one. My gut reaction is always that we are encouraging it by repeating it. All it ever says to me when a man calls himself a hobbyist is that he probably has no real hobbies at all.

But maybe we have to play along, with that and with reviews and review culture and with other things like “liking it”/hating it (as Charlotte Shane discussed in a recent post), which I have listed here in increasing order of number of times you have to let the customer one-up you (for lack of a better way to describe it) before the interaction is complete (and sometimes you don’t even know when that is).

Am I the only one who got into this work because I saw how we have to work through these problems even in unpaid life? If we’re doing it anyway we might as well be paid for it, and if we’re doing it and being paid for it, then we (at least those of us who have made it a profession) should do it right in order to work the most efficiently and have the most successful business.

I know you all have realized that for many if not most (if not all) reviewers, reviews are not reviews at all but are an extension of the appointment. I know that there are a lot of issues surrounding this and I know it involves a lot of real problems that exist whether or not we are at work, but for the purpose of work I’d like to suggest, at least as a theory, that we should separate between problems that are within the transaction and problems that are outside of it — that is, between things that interfere with our money and things that don’t (because we can be certain that they will be paid for).

Like I said, this is only a theory because it’s possible that every aspect of the imbalanced client-provider interaction can come into conflict with our earning potential. But what I’m saying here, or, really, what I’m debating the viability of, is a shift in which we stop seeing reviews as outside of or above our money, and start seeing it as another thing that we provide as part of the service.

I know it’s probably an endless loop of one-upping each other (or, our being one-upped by them). I was heartbroken to find that after all the steps of male-female interaction that I went through in order to try and be treated the way I wanted to be treated, reviews stood at the very last one and I could move no further, ultimate proof of the natural inequality that will always exist. But as long as that’s the way it is I’d like to make as much money off of it as I possibly can.


Mavis May 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I noticed a tendency of some review writers and/or general fucktards to give their real name and work info for screening purposes (probably because no provider would ever vouch for them.) At any rate, I got really devious at one point about one of these guys who posted a down right cruel and mean review about me. Not just me, but all the providers he reviewed under that handle. It wasn’t that we weren’t up to par, no, he was having a field day describing how hideous, ugly, old, etc. we all were, and it was breathtakingly evil. Btw, the handle was the name of a character in opera who uses and destroys a prostitute.

However, remember, he gave his real name when I screened him and I remembered the session from the details he wrote about. I went and found him on facebook. I printed out all his “friend” names. I then created a fake facebook personae and messaged him. I told him if he, under that certain “nom de plume” handle, didn’t delete all his mean reviews about all the girls he reviewed (he used this handle to be a general bastard to many providers) I would message his friends and family on FB and “out him.”

Amazingly the next day all the reviews, including mine, were gone! O.k., so this took an extraordinary amount of work, but boy was it worth it! Muahahaa….


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