Burnout. Every career has its version and sex work probably has higher rates because the work is so much more personal, because sex workers shoulder such a huge portion of the work individually. A stripper cannot outsource her work and make a living. An escort can outsource some of her administrative work, but has to make more money in order to pay for that luxury. We cannot clone our selves to go meet clients. Scaling up or out is impossible. At best, we can make and sell content for passive income, or raise our rates. We still have to do the actual work though, whether writing, photographing, interacting, and showing up.
This is a novella-length essay of my journey into and out of burnout. I’m still in the process but am through the worst and on my way out. Take what you find valuable, if anything, and I sincerely hope it helps you. This is not a “poor Amanda” essay, some of these issues have been self-caused and it has taken solid moments of clarity to realize this. Avoid my mistakes and do better.
There are many ways to organize this and I felt chronologically would be best for you. It’s not how the feelings and experiences are organized in my head, but you don’t live in my head. I’ve done my best to make the steps of the journey clear to both of us.
This particular rant is something I’ve been wanting to say for years (and has been sitting in my Drafts folder for a while; written in 2010 in Singapore so many of the things I say here don’t apply to the US). Other than a few adjustments to reflect the passage of time, the essay is unchanged.
What sparked it was two things happening on a discussion board in one week. One was a thread where some hobbyists reacted badly to a touring escort charging $350USD/hr (the nerve! the gall! the audacity! the envy!) and another was a PM to me, an attempt by a hobbyist to “help” me navigate the Singapore scene and make sure I’m not charging too much. (Russian girls at Brix are the “cream of the crop” and I’m not so I can’t charge more than they do, which was $300SGD/hr according to him. I wonder if he knew there were two non-Russian indies charging right at $1000SGD/hr in Singapore at that time. I charged a minimum $500SGD/hr or $800SGD/2hrs, depending.)
Despite the hand-wringing and general disbelief of hobbyists, my clients are usually pretty happy with me. I’m personable, intelligent, interesting, beautiful, mentally-mature and fully focused on their needs. I don’t have a pimp hiding in the corner, I won’t phone-stalk them at 4am, I don’t try to manipulate them into becoming my “boyfriend” or desperately taking risks to make a few extra bucks to support my starving extended family in some poverty-stricken country. I don’t chase extra money or presents: clients pay my fee and that’s it. Their responsibility ends (sometimes they’re spontaneously moved to extremely kind generosity). I’m with them because I want to be — they’re with me for exactly the same reason. To me, that’s all cream. For everyone. [Insert sex joke here, if you must.]
Just because hobbyists can’t imagine something doesn’t mean it can’t exist. I’ve been fighting this stupid battle since 2002. The narrow vision and nosy desire to control a stubborn, independent cuss of a woman just keeps on keeping on. Sigh.
The WikiLeaks thing has had my attention for a while. The rape charges against Julian Assange leading to an Interpol arrest-warrant? Really? I have two words for you: Roman Polanski. If it’s not a big deal that Roman drugged and raped a young girl, then Julian’s charges aren’t a big deal either. We all know what it’s really about: countries being embarrassed. I’m not sure why. So China is tired of propping up North Korea and no one likes Iran. These are state secrets? This is news? As for the gossiping that politicians do behind each other’s back, well, they obviously forgot that their mothers must’ve said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t put it in a fucking telegram!” Or something to that effect.
Honestly, every country’s media has churned out for more insulting things about each other than these world leaders ever said in these leaks. I’m still waiting for a devastating state secret to be unearthed (spies being outed isn’t the same level of secret; also, I’d like everyone to recall Valerie Plame). Far as I can tell, it sounds a lot like high school with nuclear weapons. (Singapore’s response, invoking their Official Secrets Act, is hilarious.)
While I’m very sure that not everyone agrees with WikiLeaks fulfilling its mission of making leaked material available to all, I think it’s a great way of leveling the playing field. Here’s a chance for countries to get really, really clean with each other. This could be a great experiment in peace and cooperation. The world being what it is, it probably won’t, and things will just remain as they are.
I personally hope that Julian makes it to Venezuela and enjoys a nice vacation courtesy of Hugo Chavez, my favorite contrarian world leader. He’s not a supporter of sex worker rights. If he only had any idea of how much it would piss off the US, I’m sure he would turn his attitude around in a heartbeat. I’ve often wished I could convince him of this.
Which brings us to our own little WikiLeak in the online escort world: the exposing of Alex/a DiCarlo.
As some of you noticed (thank you!), I just turned 35. If you haven’t noticed, well, now you know. I didn’t think much of it, actually. Was just surprised the date rolled around so fast, October 2009 was really only like 2 months ago, right??? (My mom, always good for a thought, cheerfully reminded me that I’m halfway to 70. I’ll have to put that in my ad text.)
What I didn’t expect was the little “ouch” of putting that extra year into my ads. Unlike many and unlike what I used to do, I don’t lie about my age right now. I certainly could — I could easily get away with 8-10yrs younger. But why? I don’t fake orgasms, I am how old I am. I really don’t have a lot of choice in the matter (I’m either this old or I’m dead).
I experienced ageism back when I was a young and tender 33. At the advanced age of 35 I think people are just throwing their hands into the air and giving up (I found an escort today who won’t exchange links with anyone over 33). In Asia where everyone looks very young and the most common escorts are young, it can be difficult to be honest about age (very difficult to be okay being an XXL in local clothing sizes, which translates into a US size 6-8, depending.)
There have been potential clients who have passed me up because I’ve gone around the sun too many times. Then there are younger guys who seem to expect me to literally be a cougar: pin them to the bed, open my claws and have my way with them (this is my style about as often as the planets align). I present myself honestly on my website and ads, yet guys are still often surprised by me one way or another. I look just like my photos, except that I’m not as tanned right now (the French Riviera was good for that, if nothing else).
I’m not a MILF — I have no children. I’m not a cougar — I feel I’m just barely out of girlhood, really. I’m just 35. That’s all. It’s how old I happen to be.
Specifically — other escorts. Not me. No, of course not me.
I wrote this several months ago, came across it again and decided to post it here. It’s me being curmudgeonly. I have less and less patience with certain aspects of my own industry. Familiarity breeding scorn? Possibly. Do I think perhaps the industry could move forward? Yes.
Ahem: I’m obviously writing this from the perspective of a female escort/male client relationship simply because it’s most typical and I’m most familiar with it.
I’m standing in front of the classroom, pointer in hand, frowning. Remedial detention is now in session. (Men can imagine me in my secretary/librarian look. Girls…probably aren’t interested in imagining me.)