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Handling The Review Boards

ABC
This isn’t the best way to handle issues with review boards.

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.

—Oscar Wilde

There is no human experience so intimate and personal that people won’t publicly dissect it. Childbirth. Funerals. Cancer treatments. And sex. I agree with much of what has already been said here on T&S about the problems inherent to some sex work review boards. The whole concept of reviewing an erotic encounter that one was a participant in is an odd idea; it’s like having like a theater critic be in the cast of the play. How can one ignore the fact that the critic played some part in how the show turned out? But, especially with experiences that touch on primal emotions, people search for ways to bring some intellectual analysis to what they are feeling—with mixed degrees of success. Some sex worker reviews are truthful, insightful, and useful: others are more like naked bathroom selfies of the reviewer, with all the perils inherent to that art.

I’ve been reviewed, as an escort and as a pro domme, on both escort boards and sites specifically about professional dominance. Some reviews were positive, some not so much. Of course I prefer the paeans to my beauty and skill—who doesn’t? But I’ve learned to not take any of them too seriously, because I got toughened up in an equally merciless school: reviews and comments on my writing.

The Annual Sausage Fest

Hahaha... Quit it.  Image via Enriquesantos.com
Hahaha… Quit it.
Image via Enriquesantos.com

Last night, a friend and a few of the girls from work and I headed to a strip club for the annual sausage fest. One night a year, this club shuts down, kicks the female strippers out, and brings out the male strippers. Pudgy Midwestern housewives and sassy eighteen-year-olds alike pour into this place, begging to see men with beefy bodies and thong-draped dicks. So much so, that after the release of Magic Mike this past year, the very large multi-level club had to start taking advance reservations just to get in the door.

My group had such a reservation, and on stripper-time we were early. (By early, I mean, a half-hour late.) Parking was spilling out into the road. Approaching the door, several people told us to turn around and go home; they were only letting reservations in. Ahead, we heard chants of “LET US IN, LET US IN,” from over two hundred angry, horny, determined women. I’d seen male strippers before, and I knew women were generally poorly behaved in strip clubs…but this? There wasn’t even a sausage in sight, yet.

We made it through the crowd of hornballs, and were escorted to the cashier. It was twelve bucks to get in, and we were told there was no available seating remaining. Excellent. The first dancer started, a completely decked-out Fireman, and coworker AI and I knew what we were in for. We’d seen this guy before. He tried to jackhammer AI to death [?] at the last small male revue.

I guess male strippers are in short supply in the Midwest.

The Big Ripoff: TER, The Texas Murder Aquittal, and the Myth of the Vulnerable Client

elms
Dave Elms, founder of The Erotic Review, possessor of a rap sheet documenting violent crimes and harassment against women.

In early 2010, Dave Elms, founder of the infamous website The Erotic Review (best known as the review site where clients rate prostitutes on a scale of 1-10), was arrested after talking to an undercover officer in an attempt to hire a hit man. Elms wanted to pay for the murder of an escort and the severe injury of a website founder who used his own forum to air the well-known but rarely publicized fact that Elms and other TER moderators extorted sex and/or money from escorts in exchange for maintaining their positive reviews. Elms was convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. This charge, to which he pled guilty, was one of many legal issues he faced at the time. He was already on probation for drugs and gun violations from 2006. Furthermore, Elms’ decision to pay for the killing of Jane Doe came on the heels of his outing her to her family, as well as publicizing her legal name and home address online in connection with her escort name. Murder: it’s for when relentlessly harassing a sex worker just isn’t enough.

Though it was only three years ago that David William Elms entered official records as a man willing to invest in murdering prostitutes, this information is rarely discussed anymore among online-advertising escorts, let alone among the clients who position TER as a defining force in their sex and social lives. TER chugs along like the profitable, amoral machine it is, unharmed by its somehow secret status as the most enduring and powerful product of a scummy, thuggish psychopath. The company itself “parted ways” with Elms after his 2009 arrest (that’s the one where he tried to engineer an escort’s death, if you’re having trouble keeping track). This is no more accurate than saying the United States “parted ways” with Thomas Jefferson after his slave-raping became public. A project cannot be cleanly extricated from the ideology of the person(s) who created it, no matter how convenient or fervent the dream of tie-cutting may be. If his legal conviction wasn’t evidence enough, Elms is also on record as conceiving TER in the crucible of his intense sense of entitlement and permanent grudge against sex workers.