Review boards aren’t for us. They’re for sad, sad clients to commiserate with each other and get back some of the power they feel they’ve lost by having to pay for sex in the first place. But I didn’t always know that. Once upon a time, I was a review board junkie. That only lasted until I forgot the reason I was there in the first place (to make money,) forgot that everything you post is essentially an advertisement, and started being a little too vocal about my opinions.
I complained about a thread entitled “Best Asses On [That Particular Board],” writing that it was problematic for these clients to post photos of escorts without their permission—taken from their websites or from their photo albums on the board—and that reducing us to bits and pieces was dehumanizing. I was met with many defensive responses from clients claiming that this thread (and others like it) were simply celebrating the female body. I replied, “I’ll believe you when you start posting some fat asses.” (Because believe me, you are never going to see a BBW escort in any of these stupid threads.) A few of us started trolling the thread by posting male asses and monkey butts. That’s when some of the so-called “elite” members—they have more than 1000 posts—started to complain that the site “wasn’t what it used to be” and boo-hoo, the women are talking when they should be sucking cock. (Ok, they didn’t literally say that, but that was the message they conveyed.) One day, I logged on to discover I had been suspended without warning for six months. [READ MORE]
Let’s boycott the review boards en masse and create our own.(Courtesy of ManBoobz)
Since becoming a full-time companion (my euphemism of choice) in the United States about nine months ago, I have noticed two distinct issues that affect our safety and ability to continue to operate. The first, most pressing issue is the fact that full service sex work is illegal in most parts of the country. The second issue is the fact that a very large online community of reviewers or “hobbyists” exists. While most hobbyists are not sociopathic predators who use coercive tactics to rape sex workers, the very fact that a review community exists creates a power structure that makes coercive rape a fairly common occurrence for sex workers. With so many sex workers coming forward saying they were sexually violated after being blackmailed with the threat of a bad review, there is something deeply wrong with a community of reviewers who perpetuate misogyny and rape culture.
The problem comes out of the hobbyist propensity to reduce sex workers to commodities. Many hobbyists claim it is important for them to know what they are getting into if they’re going to drop that kind of money on a “product,” and on the surface this argument makes sense. Law enforcement is a very real concern not only for sex workers, but also for our clients. It seems reasonable that a client would want to know whether or not they can trust that a sex worker is legit before agreeing to meet with them. Depending on the mood I’m in, I can even be sympathetic to the plight of the poor hobbyist who had a kinky fantasy that a sex worker cannot/won’t fulfill. We are, after all, quite the expensive hobby.
When we talk about reviews, though, and the information that is contained within them, we are not just talking about simple yes or no answers to questions of legitimacy and customer satisfaction. The hobbyists’ arguments for the necessity of reviews fall apart with one look at the reviews themselves. Not only will you find a full and detailed accounting of a sex worker’s body type and appearance, grooming habits, gender assignment versus presentation, and how nice/real their various body parts may or may not be; you also have the opportunity to read a very detailed account of the session a hobbyist enjoyed (or didn’t) with a sex worker. This includes all the dirty details on what the sex worker was or was not willing to do, and how happy or unhappy that made the hobbyist. These reviews can often read just like an Amazon.com review, with all the information about the provider’s body listed like basic product info, and the experience with the product (person) detailed below. I think most sex workers and even quite a few hobbyists would agree that these details are unnecessary and in fact compromise sex workers’ legal safety, since most of us try not to admit to exchanging sex for money.
Essence Revealed: courtesan, queen of the pro dommes, and tough stripper adventurer—in her dreams
When I started stripping, dancing in Vegas was the only thing on my sex work bucket list. Thanks to the internet, I was able to research, find out everything I needed, and make it happen. Off I went with printouts that contained information on how to get the paperwork needed for a business license, a list of clubs I’d like to audition for, how to obtain long-term, low-cost housing, etc. I was part traveling stripper, part lone tourist. I even have pictures of me in the wax museum with wax Oprah, wax Prince and the pair of dude buds who ended up walking through the museum behind me to prove it. Years later, I became one of those travels-to-Vegas-every-weekend strippers. Our weekend contingent nicknamed the one-hour flight from LA to Vegas “Stripper Express.” Whenever I saw a woman at the airport in sweats carrying not much more than a purse, I had a sneaking suspicion she was heading to work with me for the weekend.
So having crossed that item off my bucket list and conquered it, here’s the rest:
1) A Strip Tour. I’ve often read about women jumping in a car for a working road trip. I think it’d be quite the adventure to find a stripper Thelma to my Louise and hit the road, Jack! And don’tcha come back without stack, without stack, without stacks of stacks, stories of strippers being stuck on these trips with no money and no club that will hire them be damned. In my bucket list strip trip fantasy Thelma and I hit the road with our route perfectly planned. The only bumps in the road evolve into welcomed adventures. These adventures will be worthy of being tucked into my “this is one to tell the grandnieces and nephews” file. (I have no intentions of having children, so it’s up to my sister’s children to provide me with youngsters to tell these tales to. It’ll be as close to the granny experience I will ever get.) Managers will miraculously hire my buddy and I in the bat of a fake eyelash. Move over Thelma and Louise, the explorations of Essence and Spice are now what road trip chick flicks are made of!
Image from NabbCafe
Sex workers are a profoundly diverse group of individuals, with wildly different backgrounds, circumstances, and work tactics. But I’ve been around the block enough times to know that within this corner of our lives, our experiences often coincide. On a near-daily basis, I recognize another escort displaying the signs of an attitude I too once held. So without further ado, here are five common hooker states of mind that I suspect most of you will recognize, in others if not in yourself.
Everyone Must Know — The most embarrassing, cringe-inducing mindset is also one of the earliest to appear among a subset of privileged, politicized, very young sex workers. Think about the worst qualities of most middle class college kids: their naiveté, which they’re (naively) convinced is actually a very sophisticated and hard-earned understanding of the world; their youthful earnestness; their awkward, hyper-self aware social skills or lack thereof. Throw in a job at the local strip club/jack shack/full service incall and it’s a recipe for humiliating disaster. I was convinced that I could single handedly eliminate at least, like, 50% of the stigma around sex work by making it clear that I — a white, educated, intelligent young woman! — was selling sexual services and was TOTALLY EMOTIONALLY FINE and THRIVING and indeed, STILL WHITE AND EDUCATED in spite of it.