When I started stripping, it took only a couple months before I had my #1 pet peeve question. When I started escorting, it took only a couple months before I had my #1 pet peeve question.

I’ve been doing this writing/publishing thing for over a year, but now that I’m regularly contacting other people and trying to “network,” I’ve realized I have a #1 pet peeve question for both men and women in this business. Didn’t think it would happen, but it did.

Strangely, all the questions are related.

Stripping: So what’s your real name?
Escorting: What turns you on?
Writing/Publishing (men): Are those pictures really you?
Writing/Publishing (women): Can I get a [free] copy?

I have to decide how to answer.

With stripping, the answer was easy. I just gave them a fake “real” name or told them that if I wanted them to know, I’d tell them, they wouldn’t have to ask. My answer depended on my mood and how many times that night I’d already been asked that question.

With escort work, I would give a vague answer, along the lines of “it depends” or “I know it when I see it.” I still can’t believe men expect me to pin down my sexuality into some sort of recipe that they can follow. I don’t work that way and I’m guessing most women don’t either. (But I can say with utter certainty that asking this question is the one guaranteed way to turn me off!)

pet peeve writing/publishing question from men

What should I say?

  1. 1) Yes, it’s me. (Sigh.)
  2. 2) Yes, it’s me. Who else the hell would it be?
  3. 3) Yes, it’s me. The budget is too small to hire a model.
  4. 4) Yes, it’s me. No, I won’t meet you for coffee.
  5. 5) No, I hired a model. She’ll be standing in for me at book signings and interviews as well.
  6. 6) No, I hired a model. I’m actually 4′ tall and weigh 400lbs. I’m mostly covered in pustules and boils and what isn’t oozing is usually undergoing some sort of allergic reaction to all the medications I’m taking for my various ailments (and various diseases).
  7. 7) No, I hired a model. I’m actually a very hairy man.
  8. 8 ) No, I hired a model. I don’t plan on doing any sort of non-virtual promotion, so I figured, what the hey? I mean, it’s a tax write-off anyway.

Keep in mind that so far, the only people to raise this question have been men. And because I have worked as an online escort (meaning my photos were important for my advertising), I know what is going through a man’s head when he asks for picture verification. This is why it’s a pet peeve question.

Please note: This is in no way a self-endorsement. I feel my appearance is very average, girl-next-door. I try to take care of myself, but that’s about all I can do without a team of Hollywood surgeons and special effects artists.

What should I say? How should I handle the question? What’s the best smart-ass response? (I know the best polite response is simply “Yes.”) Anyone think I’m off-base when I assume why the men ask this question?

pet peeve writing/publishing question from women

It occurred to me this week that the most of the people who’ve bought my book have been men (that I’m aware of) and 99% of the many people who have requested free copies have been women. It seems that women think they’re entitled to a free copy because of their gender or because they’re in the adult industry as well.

The pickup line: “This sounds so interesting. Can I have a [free] copy?”

Of course it’s interesting, you condescending #$*@ ! My goal really wasn’t to create a cure for insomnia or kill a lot of trees.

I have given out review copies to legitimate reviewers (I contacted a lot of reviewers but very few took me up on my offer) and to people who contributed to the first book in some way (I will continue with the gratitude plan). I’ve swapped books with a former client who self-published. (I think the trade was actually more in my favor because he had a four-color, coffee-table book.) I’ve submitted 2 books to BookCrossing.com, although what’s happened to those books is anyone’s guess.

I’m not against the idea of free books. But at some point, I have to make a living. The nonprofit that I talked about starting was not my book publishing company. My target audience (women) seem determined not to pay for the book.

another reason why I’m not into sending out books, gratis

Against my better judgment, I sent a copy to an organization. (I was publicly cornered into this and that’s my fault for not handling the situation better.) Not only have I not even received an e-mail saying “Thanks!” I haven’t even received a reply back to the e-mail in which I asked a non-book-related question (and confirmed their shipping address). If I’m saving you $25, plus s&h, because I was being nice and fulfilling a request, the least you can do is send a thank-you note.

I worked in the adult industry for a long time. Nothing is free and I don’t expect it to be. Why would anyone else have such a different view? Don’t they realize how offensive it is?

21 thoughts on “pet peeve questions

  1. I get asked the “are the pictures really you?” question a lot too but it doesn’t seem to peeve me as much as a lot of things. I just simply state “yes the pictures are really me and will prove it to you when I show up”. That usually ends the questions about the pictures… very rarely have I said “well if it ISN’T me who shows up then there is no charge to you”. That way nothing is free but the possibility is there!

  2. LVC,

    The question peeves me because I’m not as escort anymore and there is no good reason for men (in the writing/publishing field) to be asking the question. I got asked that question when I was an escort too, and no, it didn’t bother me then. It went with the territory.

    Of course, everyone has their own pet peeve questions because every person is different.

  3. I get asked about my real name all the time. I use it as an opportunity to sell a dance. I say I have to get to know them better before I feel comfortable telling them my name…and why don’t we do a dance or two first. When I do finally tell them my real name, i use a fake one anyway. I actually figured out what my fake “real name” was by having people guess my name when they asked:
    him – whats your real name?
    me – what do i look like… why dont you guess it and i’ll tell you if you’re right?
    i got a surprising number of the same wrong answer, so that became my fake real name. now when i tell people, they say “oh, yeah, that name fits you.”

  4. Autumn,

    That’s very clever! Good job!

    I changed my fake real name when I changed my haircolor from brunette to blonde.

    By the way, you ever have this conversation:
    Strip club customer: Do you know if [so-and-so] is here?
    Me: Is that her stage name?
    Customer: No, it’s her real name. I don’t know her stage name.
    Me: If you don’t know her stage name, I can’t help you. (I walk away laughing.)

    I had this conversation at least once a night; I guess because I attracted those “lost” guys.

  5. Just ordered your book through Amazon.
    Hope this isn’t a pet peeve question…I’m not asking for a free copy…I already bought it…and it’s on the way to me soon…just wondered perhaps if you are able to autograph it for me…pretty please? Maybe not…I understand…


    Lots to read on your site…it’s a great website!

    Dawn (Yes…that’s my REAL name)

  6. Dawn,

    First, thanks for the buy!. Right now, that’s the way to my heart. (That and some really spicy Thai panag curry.)

    I certainly don’t mind scrawling a message on it for you. Unless we meet somewhere — and I don’t have any events planned but I’m working on it — the only way to do this is to mail it back and forth to each other. Time-consuming but not expensive.

    Please contact me so we can work out the details. It’s no problem!


    PS: Glad you’re enjoying my sites too! I have a lot more content that I’m working on.

  7. I’m surprised that most of your book-customers aren’t female. I’ve bought several escort autobiographies in the past and I always thought these books would appeal more to a female mind. I’m also surprised at the cheek of people asking for a free copy. If one is interested in an authors work, and especially if one can relate to the material, I thought the natural thing would be to want to support the author! It’s not very supportive to angle for freebe’s. I’m glad you stick to business sensibility on that issue.

    Those two questions, what my real name is, and what turns me on, are two of my pet-peeves as an escort too. Those and “what else do you do?” in regards to asking me about my personal life/goals.

    I don’t think you should bother to be so annoyed about the men asking if it’s really you, men will be men… I guess they ask with a combined typical-male-mind curiosity and perhaps a slight shock that you actually are willing to show your face, considering the subject of your book. I think it’s fairly natural that they ask. When people learn of someone being or having been in this industry, it’s like they get a real big surge of an urge to know who that person is behind the very word (sex-worker/escort/prostitute). Not least what they look like. Even though I doubt I’d ask outright if I was a publisher, as a girl, I’d still be very curious to know what you look like/if that was really you on the picture etc.

  8. Lux,

    Thanks for the understanding on the issues.

    I hadn’t thought of the point of basic curiosity, even though I always want to know what the author of a book looks like. But if I see their picture, I assume it’s them. Why wouldn’t I? Still, you’ve given a great explanation, certainly much better than an e-mail asking “Is that really you?” 😉

    But if it wasn’t me, who else would it me? What model would sign on to have her face associated with something that wasn’t her work and may have serious consequences for her? It’s still a pet peeve question of mine, but you’ve provided a very nice angle on it.

    I think next time I’m asked, I’m going to pepper them with questions. See what’s said.


  9. my pet peeve ? is: “so, do you have a real job besides this?” also “how long have you been doing this?” or “how many do you do in a day?” very peeving! thanks , Elizabeth

  10. Elisabeth,

    Ah yes! The old “you can’t handle a real job.” I got that too and hated it. (Writing a blog post about this for my other blog — due out at some point.)

    And “how many do you do in a day?” is also a pretty irritating question. I hated that one too.

    Thanks for the reminders! 🙂


  11. Hi Amanda, I was just reading over your blog and it is kind of humorous to me that I encountered my friends asking the same questions when I went to the strip club a few nights ago. 8 of us from our baseball team went because I had just turned 18 yesterday and my other friend a week before.

    So we get inside and my friend Jake starts flirting with one of the dancers. He buys a lapdance from her and bought me a lapdance too, then we watch her go on stage 20 minutes later. Afterwards she comes and gives him another lapdance and sits on his lap to talk to him. He’s falling for it pretty hard too, but when he refuses her invitation for a private dance she leaves.

    So I couldn’t help but laugh when Jake said “Dude, she wanted me. She told me her real name.”

    So I just wanted to say that after reading your blog I really have a lot of respect for women in your (former) line of work because I know the kinds of idiots they have to put up with.

  12. Tim,

    Thanks for dropping by! I’m laughing at your story — it is so typical. And no, your friend probably did NOT get her actual real name. What’s worse is when guys go back to the club and ask for the dancer “by her real name” — like I have any idea who she is if he isn’t calling her by her stage name.

    As for putting up with crap…an ex-boyfriend believed that the more money you made on a job meant you had to put up with more shit. Somewhat true, in or out of the adult industry.

    Tips for having fun in a strip club: know your budget beforehand, be very nice to everyone (even if saying “no”), don’t take anything seriously, find the right person — have a blast.


  13. It sounds like the writer is a little bitchy and having severe mental issues. Funny though that she complains about the small talk men come up with, and then she ask something stupid like “what turns you on”. LOL!
    Apparently, she has been watching to many porn movies. She is really out of touch with reality.

  14. Yikes. All this confirms the relevance of this favorite quote of mine: “One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do, and always a good thing to say.” (Will Durant)

    I also work in a misunderstood and somewhat mysterious niche line of work, and either hide it, or end up barraged with silly and naive questions (from both sexes), so I can relate to the exasperation. Still, I usually chalk it up to the natural ignorance and curiosity that even I had before getting into this particular racket.

    Boy, I’m glad to be able to read about those pet peeves, as they confirm how right I’ve been to keep my mouth mostly shut with providers (I did THINK some of the questions…)! Makes me feel bad to talk only about myself (there’s still a lot of chatting going on), but I figure it’s safer if I’m the one answering questions, whether those are MY pet peeves or not!

  15. Hobbyist,

    It’s not “natural ignorance” when some slightly lecherous guy in the publishing fields asks if it’s really ME in the photo. It’s not “natural ignorance” when an escort thinks because she’s an escort she’s entitled to free escort books, regardless of the retail price (actually, this question has stopped altogether).

    Escorts generally prefer clients to talk about themselves. I know I do and encourage it. It helps me to do my job better by getting to know you. Plus, I honestly find other people’s live far more fascinating than my own.


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