Dear Tits And Sass: Review-Free Edition

by suzyhooker on January 10, 2012 · 9 comments

in Dear Tits and Sass, Prostitution

Carrie Graber’s “Elegant Lady in a Black Dress”

We’ve already established that reviews are one of the most hated aspects of indoor work, so it’s only natural for us to want to avoid them. But how, oh how, can such a feat be accomplished? If you are a current sex worker facing a work-related challenge, you can email info [at] titsandsass.com and we’ll do our best to help or call in a guest who can. (Please no “how do I get started hooking” questions. We’re not trying to end up like Heidi Fleiss.)

Dear Tits & Sass,

I’ve been escorting for under a year, and for most of that time I’ve been working for an agency that could be said to fall under the “blue-collar agency” category. We work for $260-300 per hour, minus fees, and I’d say the independent girls in my city generally list similar prices based on the ads I see around the review boards. I’m interested in the leap that some escorts make to the so-called high class stratum where prices drift upwards, volume drifts down, appointments start at two hours and not 30 minutes, independence is ubiquitous, and where client reviews are unnecessary, if not outright forbidden. I certainly see evidence of girls at that level in major cities, but not so much in mine, though I’d be willing to bet there’s a market for it. So, seeing as the most distasteful aspect of indie work (to me) is review board culture, I’d love to hear what anyone has to say on transcending that snake pit, and going for gold. Tips on advertising, especially, without the good word of the local hobbyists, would be especially fascinating.

I’m in Calgary, AB, but I’m happy to take advice from Americans, because the biggest difference in standards of practice seems to be intensity of screening, and I’m inclined to work that way anyway as cops still love to bust indoor workers for things like running an incall. Our laws are different, but culturally we’re so similar that I’d say most Canadians wouldn’t know that, and would assume prostitution is as illegal here as it is there. Our police seem to forget it, too, sometimes.

Love,

Medium-Class Call Girl

Lolo de Sucre: I was actually surprised how easy it was for me make the leap from my first business model (hourly appointments and reviews) to my current one (longer appointments and no reviews). Getting your first few clients might take a little longer, but there are plenty of men out there who have no interest in the review system. In fact, all of my highest spending clients were a little disgusted by reviews. I’d get the odd guy now and then who would inquire about them, but for the most part, I did fine without them. Just have a little patience when you start out and be confident that it will pay off. Since you’re trying to find clients who want to book longer appointments with you, it’s important that your advertising reflects more of your personality (or the personality that you’re trying to market), so spend some time working on your ad text. Having a blog might be a good idea. You could also explain somewhere why you don’t want reviews. If you stress the importance of discretion (and that you take your clients’ privacy as seriously as your own), a no-review policy shouldn’t turn off good clients.

Linda: The idea that an escort can’t work without reviews is a convenient fiction that “hobbyists” perpetuate for their own gain. I simply state clearly on my site that I don’t want them and I maintain no presence on any message boards, so I’m not making myself readily available to that clientele. I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically high class about not having reviews, and I don’t think you have to charge a lot to eschew them. It’s more about doing your best to screen for nice guys who are willing to respect your privacy. I think Lolo is right that the most important tool is a great website that will accurately highlight what makes you different from other girls. You want the people who do see you to come back; your advertising then isn’t about reaching and appealing to every fella out there but rather targeting ones who will become your regulars. Reviews are really important for guys who hooker hop but less so for men who want to find one person they can see with some frequency.

Be forewarned: the review trolls will complain bitterly and publicly about your lack of reviews. They will also complain about your raised rates. But keep in mind that these are people who complain about having to use condoms. Please, for your own sanity and because they don’t deserve your time, ignore them. Definitely don’t deign to respond on the message board itself about why reviews are insulting and unwelcome. Non-engagement from start to finish is the only way to go.

Only Very Important People can read about the rimming.

I’ve not had to deal directly with review boards in a long time but my understanding was that the larger ones would take them down at your request, and usually keep you unlisted forever once you’ve asked once. It might be tricky if you’re working for an agency, though, since you may not have a work email address with which to prove you’re the woman being reviewed. (I also think they ban girls who try to review themselves, so that might be a last ditch option, if you make it really obvious that you’re the one behind it?) Another easy thing to do would be to change your name and then the reviews won’t be attached to your work persona anymore.

If you’re feeling nervous about changing your current business model, taking small steps is a good idea. First, you could require longer appointments (with the support of your agency, if they’ll give it, and going independent if they won’t.) Then you could up your rates a bit and continue rising them periodically until you’re satisfied. You might find that, as an independent, charging what your agency asks for and requiring longer appointments is satisfying for you since you’d get the full cut and, hopefully, be enjoying your work more. There’s no reason to rush to catapult yourself into any pre-existing business model. I think the most successful of us are those who take a little time to experiment and figure out exactly how we prefer to operate.

Melissa Gira Grant: Your question prompted me to go look up the two reviews ever posted about me. One was while I worked at an in-call dungeon, in a city where BDSM workers were rarely the subject of reviews. My client was visiting from Los Angeles, coincidentally the home of The Erotic Review. He inflated my breast size and I never heard from him again. I can’t tell if my business was impacted at all by his exaggeration—or that he posted it, at all. But I do remember feeling as if I “existed” online in a way I hadn’t before that review. When I left that house to work independently, I put a note on my new website that I didn’t accept clients who posted reviews, and I changed my name.

Over time, the city I worked in took up its own message board review subculture. I was fascinated by reading the reviews—the ways that clients expressed their sexual fantasies, the locker room behavior they fall into in their posts on those boards, that they knew we as workers had access to and they said it all anyway. It was a waste of time and it was like having counterintelligence on what kinds of clients to avoid. I changed my name back. (I really liked my first domme name. It was perfect for me and I wish I could share it here.)

Okay, I was reviewed one other time, but it wasn’t even actually me. I had been part of a two-girl call with another woman, and she had sent me an email from the client in advance, a little fantasy about what he wanted to do. Imagine my surprise a few months later when I found a review of myself using that story as “the juicy details,” posted two months before our appointment! Whose fantasy were we even acting out again? The client admitted later to me that he had actually been asked by the woman who introduced us to post that fantasy as a review of her before he had even seen her. Again—we know the review boards are full of lies, but really, they are full of lies!

After that, I don’t think I could take ever take anything—good or ill—written on any client message board anywhere all that seriously ever again. Like the fly-by-night client who saw me once, reviewed me, and disappeared with his trophy, hobbyists aren’t a solid base for your business. (They are good at running a content farm for these board owners, though!) You might think you need them to launch in a city, to give you some credibility, but there’s so many more new, good, potential clients who never would have anything to do with this culture, either. More than “notice,” you need some professional contacts, who work independently, who can mentor and cheerlead you. (Thanks for asking here, btw.) I know they can be hard to find if you are trying out a new business model in your area. When I was getting started in a new line of sex work, I used the review boards to approach women whose business I admired—and ended up meeting and sharing some good clients with them. (Even that fake review woman. She was a piece of work, true, but her clients were reliably generous.)

Can you go for the “diamond in the rough” approach in your marketing—invent the higher-priced, lower-volume market you want for yourself? Someone has to be the first high dollar escort. Calgary needs your entrepreneurship and innovation. Whatever you decide to do in terms of price and minimums, invest in gorgeous photos and set aside a little time each week to write on your work blog. (Even when I let my ads go offline for a few months, my blog still brought me my high-ticket, 2 hour minimum business, through its tiny but well-targeted readership.) One last thing—keep good friends in the business, who can share in the misery of fallow periods (even in the high end, this can strike)—and also to remind you when need to stop looking at the goddamn message boards like they have the answer to why the clients you really want (not them!) are not calling, and to go eat something good or read a book instead.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

TD January 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

It’s interesting that the subject of reviews should come up now. A few days ago, I was reading a thread on Reddit about a guy who by his own claim was a great prostitute aficionado, and he linked his blog of reviews (http://amsterdamprostitutelover.blogspot.com/). I don’t know if these are even real or if he just made it all up for some weird sexual thrill, but reading them, I was shocked by how misogynistic and disrespectful they all were.

I wonder if it’s even possible to have non-misogynistic sex worker reviews. It appears to me that they’re never about the worker in question’s service-mindedness or skill, but instead turns into a rating of them as a human being, deemed a bad person if not up to the reviewer’s particular standard or idea of how these things should go.

I must admit, though, that I have not read many and that I am by no means an expert, my only knowledge of sex work coming from blogs. I’d love to see more titsandsass writings on it, though.

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Charlotte Shane Charlotte Shane January 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I’ve been planning on writing a separate post about reviews for a long time now because for one course in grad school I did a study on reviews as my final project, ranking how often certain acts were mentioned and trying to quantify what was prioritized. I just have to dig through my hard drive to see if I can find that data….

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TD January 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

That sounds very interesting!

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Jenny DeMilo January 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hobbyists review their own performances, always have always will. That’s the true nature of reviews. I mean if they cant write about it in detail to wow, impress, hurt, curry favor, gain stature or because they have buyers remorse then it didn’t really happen now did it.

I’m no fan of reviews though I do have some floating around on the tubes and its easy to say “you don’t need them!” but the fact is in some markets they actually do make a difference and even some HDH’s have them. The world of escorting has changed so drastically in the last few years alone and I’m guessing will continue to change in big ways. So it really should be about your comfort level and what you can deal with. Some people have no problem chasing reviews and the hobbyists/cash who write them and make a lot of scratch using that model. Others cringe when they see their name associated with them even if the review is positive.

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Miss Dior Dandridge January 12, 2012 at 5:06 am

i am not an object, i cannot be reviewed

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andi andi January 17, 2012 at 4:27 am

such a terrible mistake to have read my own reviews, and yet i have read them all. i never solicit them so i don’t actually have that many, maybe 15 or so, mostly good, but still it creeps me out. particularly the part where the client can rate your face and body on a scale of 1-10. every single reviewer has rated my face a full point below my body. EVERY ONE. body: 10, face: 9. body 8, face 7. etc.
i quite like my face. annnnnnyway.

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kat March 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I’ve sent Google some emails of complaints (though no doubt nothing will come of them) for this disgracefully misogynist blog. I’m not a sex worker (as relevant as that may be) but I’m a women and I know multinational corporations should be allowed to host such disgusting blogs. The man’s a pathetic cunt.

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Charlie October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Came across this post while perusing the site (love it by the way).

I have worked in Calgary and I would be considered a high end provider for that city. It was very review based and difficult to get 2-hour appointments. 1-hr incalls at my hotel was the norm. Outcall requests were to client’s homes. It also had the longest bad date list I had ever come across for a Canadian city. So many NCNS and fake appointments plus general rough behaviour. I never took an appointment without 2 references.

That being said I think there is always a way to work in ways that suit your comfort and safety level in most any North American city. Like MGG mentioned in the post, create the market. It requires time and creativity but is doable. I do think it exists in Calgary, but as a visiting gal I did not have the time to find it or develop it. I have done something like this in my city.

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