Almost every sex worker blog has some sort of post dedicated to those who come to the blogger asking for help on getting started as an escort. I got those emails as a non-blogging newbie escort years ago and rarely responded. Doing such things is a felony in the US and a huge deterrent to sisterhood with an anonymous stranger. So I wrote a couple books about escort work and put up a website showcasing those books. The question comes in several times a week now on that website, from both men and women. Sigh. (I still sometimes get that question posted to my escort email, but maybe once every couple of months.)

Back when I started, there really wasn’t information on being an Internet escort. I know, because I spent a lot of time on Google (did it exist at the end of 2001?). I wasn’t as Internet-savvy as I am now but I still understood the concept of operating a search engine. I knew how to scour Amazon (which I’d already been doing as a stripper). I spent a ton of time reading the public boards on, being anxious and offended in turns. I instinctively knew that taking the dubious advice of male hobbyists would not lead to satisfaction in my work (they certainly couldn’t answer my period questions!). Fortunately, I had a real-life friend and mentor. She was patient with me and very honest. I fully appreciate how much help she freely gave. Though she and I are different people and approach our work in different ways — her advice on keeping safe and being successful was spot-on.

But now? If I wanted to become an Internet escort and had no mentor, I would begin with a good long Google session, followed by an Amazon spree. There are several books other than mine to order, all of which would require some serious reading time. I’d probably spend days reading the various sex worker blogs out there. I’d find even more review boards, probably being less anxious and more offended. I’d surf BP, which would be horrifying and yet comforting. I’d spend even more time surfing Eros than I do now. I’d be a sponge as there is a lot to soak up. I’d probably not remain completely ignorant of the issues of sex worker rights and those orgs in the US.

Then, research complete…I don’t know. Would I still feel confident putting myself out there? Or would I still want to talk to a real live escort?

My guess is I’d still want to talk to a real live escort. I’d choose several likely ladies in my own city to contact. I’d be sure to tell them I’ve done my homework and have a few questions to ask. I’d offer to pay them to meet me for coffee during the day. Would I submit to screening? Possibly, or maybe not. Sure, this whole research thing is an investment but the idea is recouping my investment very quickly — if my debut is handled correctly. After all, I’m starting a new business and there are always business startup expenses.

Probably one of the first questions I’d ask her in person: is it really like everyone on the blogs and in the books says it is? She would look at me like I’m an idiot (or maybe a little rabbit) and say: yes, both the good and the bad. I would say: oh. And then…ask whatever else is on my mind.

I would probably be completely amazed this normal-looking girl charges money for herself. It would be both mysterious and promising; I could be her! I don’t know that my conversation would be about information, really; probably more about reassurance — something books and blogs can’t offer. I might ask for local photographer recommendations. She would leave when the time was up or I’d run out of conversation. I’d try not to embarrass myself by asking the stupid questions everyone asks on every sex worker blog, but I’d still probably want her story anyway (the one of how she started, of course).

I’d sit there with my empty cup, musing and digesting this peek into my possible future and probably feel it’s not that scary. Like jumping off the high board at a swimming pool: there is water down there, just have to make sure and hit the water instead of the concrete around the water.

Two things I most certainly would not do:
ask a male escort for advice on becoming a female escort.
have a sense of entitlement that because I’m asking about an underground profession and haven’t done my homework that the person I’ve contacted is obligated to spill their guts to me, hold my hand and coach me through my ABCs.

18 thoughts on “seekers of knowledge

  1. Eek. I certainly hope I have never bugged you too much. I still feel like I’m misstepping constantly in this business or at least more often than I’d like. Half-way between a shrug and saying “fuck it” some days but I suspect other stresses are exacerbating things for me.

    Sorry. Rambling.

  2. Asapsia — No, not you.

    I’m talking about the random messages from people I don’t know. Sometimes these people have hit up more than one escort with their messages. They are strangers asking other strangers for help, often in intrusive or illiterate ways.

    Due to the economy, a lot of women wish to give this a try and they DO NOT do their homework. They seem to think that not only is their sob story unique, but that whatever escort they choose to “help” them will drop everything and hold their hand for free.

    It’s just like the type of guy who wishes to be a free pen-pal, only with a different spin.

    This came about due to my own frustrations and because I’ve noticed a LOT of escort bloggers have put some sort of notice on their site regarding this issue.

  3. PS: Asking another escort you know about particular issues with your work is one thing. Asking an escort you don’t know but admire her business practices is called “networking” (assuming you approach as a colleague).

    Demanding and expecting someone else to do all your homework for you is an entirely different matter.

  4. I’d love a post on easing the new/ weary client through the screening process. I get annoyed especially at one who continually tries to convince me “he’s safe!”. Bite my tongue, repeat myself, explain myself… what to do? The last thing I was\nt to do is be a buzzkill and explain that I don’t want to be raped and made into a human lampshade, or that I’m not storing the information for malicious purposes. Am I the only one who deals with this?

  5. Callie — Either have it already discussed on your site (like the FAQ); link to someone else who has already discussed it and says everything you would like to say; have a copy and paste response that you use in such emails. (I had so many copy and paste responses that it quickly became my FAQ page.)

    Men grossly overestimate the amount of risk they entail in this, especially if they’re already being smart about their choice of companion. You always have far more to lose than he does.

    Even very well-established girls, both mid-range and high-end, reviewed and not, have to discuss this on their sites and blogs. There are men who just never, ever, ever get it.

  6. I’m astounded by these requests (which I ignore) and my first thought is always that your books would answer more questions than any ol’ email from me. I read them twice before I launched (then emailed you with more questions anyway, haha) so have no respect for ladies who can’t do their own homework.

    You also reminded me to post about the most amazing photographer I’ve just found in Austin. Amanda Elmore, absolutely fabulous (and affordable)!

  7. Cecilia — I wonder if their fingers are so broken they can’t Google (but can write escorts). For women contemplating a major life change, they’re not doing their due diligence. Not a good sign.

    Thank you for the photographer recommendation!! I will look her up.

  8. Dear Ms. Brooks:
    Although this was not commonplace when you were coming up because of the nature of the legality of the subject, I was wondering would they have professional development meet and greets? These would be the type of sessions that would be advantageous to you because then you could talk to a range of professionals in the adult companionship industry who could answer any inquiries that you might have and also begin to develop your skills in a variety of areas that would be critical to the development of an adult companionship professional.

    Also I was just wondering hypothetically if you were to have an internship program for women who were contemplating a career as an adult companionship professional how would you design it and what type of seminars would you have? Also what phases would you have so that you encompass and address all of the items that would be relevant and vital in running a successful business? Also how would you determine who is suitable to be an adult companionship provider and what stipulations would you have for admission into your internship program? Thank you for your thoughts with respect to this subject Miss Brooks and have a wonderful holiday.

  9. Lionel — Promoting prostitution is a felony. Doesn’t matter to the authorities if you do that via phone, email or in-person meetings. Doesn’t matter if you call it “escort work,” because it’s a fine line only lots of lawyers and time will settle.

    An internship program??? Are you out of your mind??? Do you have ANY idea how the laws in this country operate, especially against a hugely-stigmatized sector of society? Nevermind, rhetorical question.

    This is the second or third time you’ve brought up “ideas” like this. At this point, you either need to clearly announce your agenda or stop leaving these type of comments. If you do not, I will delete them from this point forward.

    I am not going to conduct classes for sex workers telling them how to do sex work. Period. (Unless the laws radically change.) I have written two books on the topic and have two more to write. That’s enough sticking my neck out for my taste.

  10. Dear Ms. Brooks:
    Just like you said that you sought out an experienced adult companionship provider to obtain information when you were in the seminal stages of your career this could be done through some type of underground communication. No agenda just a way to brainstorm if one wanted to ascertain more about the business. You would just have to screen and verify through certain back channels to ensure that everyone says who they are.

  11. Lionel — I knew her for a year before I ever asked her about escort work. There’s nothing underground about that — it’s female mentorship, which is one of the traditional ways of getting started. Had I never become an escort, I still would have kept up with her socially (until she moved to another state).

    I have zero desire to be every random woman’s “underground” mentor. The screening and trust level required for this is far beyond even whats required for clients. There are ladies who have struck up friendships with me and I’ve been happy to answer their questions as I felt comfortable with who they were. Anything that requires heavy-duty screening in order to charge money for answering questions is not worth the possible consequences, IMO.

    There are a number of ladies who offer paid consultations and mentorships. I’m not one of them and truly doubt I ever will be. My idea of making money is being an escort and building my publishing company. Maybe that’s not exciting to YOU but that’s my gameplan and it carries enough risk for my taste.

  12. I don’t mind helping ladies become escorts. My problem is when a lady ask for advice, and when I give it, she gives every excuse as to why my advice won’t work for her. Then I have to sit and listen to her complain about a situation that I gave her sound advice for.

    If the woman has been in the industry for a few years…. FORGET IT, she basically knows everything, or THINKS she knows everything.

    I LOVE getting advice and tips from other ladies. I’m always willing to learn, even after 10 years of doing this, there is ALWAYS something new to learn.

  13. Lusty Chick — That’s the OTHER danger of helping out a newbie: getting drawn into someone’s personal issues. Or having personal clashes. Or she sees you as standing in her way of success. Or…the list could go on. That’s probably a much more common problem than the threat of arrest (though I’m still not willing to risk a felony).

    Yes, I’ve run into the closed minds of veterans with my books. Ironically, the ladies who have the WORST business practices are usually the ones who resist a new perspective the most.

    I like learning. I certainly cannot and do not know every single little aspect of this business. I experiment. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. Learning keeps it fun and interesting.

  14. PS: Come to think of it, I DO actually offer a fairly open Q&A to anyone, male or female. (Details are on the Contact page here.) Just that wannabe escorts aren’t willing to pay that much for it. Neither are TV producers, for that matter.

  15. I enjoy your blog and books very much, your books helped me greatly when I left the escort agency I was with and ventured out to become independent. As I quickly realized that the escort agencies wanted to keep me in a box with no individual voice or personality. I started to reach out for my own voice and I can honestly say your books really jumped started it then it snowballed into me having my own blog and getting involved in sex workers rights whenever I could. It took some time for me to realize that I had the skills to be a great independent escort and stop comparing myself to others out there but now I think I am in a good place of knowing my limits and knowing where I want my escort business to be. Thank you so much.

  16. Shelley — Thank you. And yes, that is the main point of the books I’ve written so far: to enable you to take care of yourself in this business. I’m extremely happy every time I help someone achieve that.

    You’re very welcome.

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