Plans change. My last Asian trip is this week: Hong Kong to spend Dec 17 with Zi Teng. Then back to Singapore. Then back to Dallas in early 2011. I imagine I’ll stay put for a while, then get bored and light out again. I’ve missed Texas since 2004. The pull for home has become stronger this fall. So I’m taking the hint.

In the meantime, it means I’m re-entering the Dallas market. This has been interesting. I’ve always kept up with a few cities (mostly through Eros, also through a few discussion boards). Deciding on my rates hasn’t been too agonizing. Writing my ad text (and re-writing parts of my work-site) is. How the hell do I explain myself to someone who doesn’t know me? It’s different than advertising in other countries. Dallas is my home. The US market functions on some different ideas than the rest of the world.

philosophical digression

I’m beginning to feel rather unusual. Fortunately, this is a job where one can be as unusual as one wants to be. Though whenever guys complain about my rates, I’m always tempted to tell them to go find some other globe-traveling escort/author/activist whose rates they like better and see her. Okay, sometimes I have a little attitude.

But…I am finding myself increasingly difficult to categorize. I’m perfectly aware of the escort hierarchy (and yes, it exists all over the world). I don’t feel like I fit anywhere anymore, mostly because my attitude toward the work has changed so much and I’ve stopped buying into the hierarchy.

I have repeatedly considered marketing myself to the US high-end but honestly, the necessary level of snob-appeal is just too much friggin’ work. I could go back to the mid-range hourly route in the US but really don’t wish to subject myself to hobbyists and reviews and all that crap all over again. I’m over-qualified for what many men expect out of regular hourly escorts (US and worldwide). I have dabbled in a few things that plenty of other escorts (and more than a few clients) would turn their nose up at. At one time, I would’ve too. Thankfully, I’ve matured. So I’ll probably stay where I am, the zone of eccentrics with a bit of money. (Yes, I do think a lot of my clients are eccentric if they choose me over the more-standard fare available. I like eccentric, probably because I am too.)

More and more I just see it all as a continuum. Every sex worker I’ve met feels they brings value to their clients, offers the same type of humanitarian service. One could argue there are matters of degree (perhaps like the differences between McDonald’s and Guy Savoy), but those degrees blur because both the clients and the sex workers move all over the spectrum at any given time. One man may behave differently with different sex workers based on personal chemistry — likewise the sex worker. I’s like watching a school of anchovies move through the water.

At the same time, don’t ever think I’m hung up on myself (despite this public navel-gazing). I know what I’m capable of and how very, very, very few men ever tap into all of it. If anything, I hate feeling disappointed and under-stimulated when I leave a client. I actually like being positively-challenged (I don’t like assholes or want dangerous clients).

It’s not really about the money, despite the jokes I publicly make. I like making enough money to be able to pursue my other interests. I like paying my bills and living my life. I prefer making money to not making money. Otherwise, I’m not hung up on my rates. I can’t be. It’s simply an entry fee for the client. It’s not a statement that I’m worth more or less than anyone else, though it’s certainly a statement on what I feel my time/energy is worth. If I agree to see someone, then I agree to that particular exchange and I’m good with it. I expect to be treated well — within the bounds of what they consider is well. I’m putting more and more into the hands of the clients. It’s been interesting.

Granted, because of what I charge, I get a certain level of clientele in any given situation. That has flexed too, because I’ve put myself in various situations. Sometimes those experiments have been a success, sometimes not. The point of success rarely had to do with the pile (or not) of bills in my hand but whether I was personally satisfied with what had transpired, if I had gained anything other than some money for that time out of my life. If I gained nothing and made no money, then it was an utter waste and something I don’t like.

The funny thing I’ve noticed is that the more I put into it, the more I get back. The giving of the self has to be done with care though. I’m becoming more and more aware of each person’s limits and I’m perfectly aware when I push past their comfort zone. That’s also interesting though sometimes hard to do with being public as well.

I really do consider myself a professional mind reader. If you don’t know what you want from me I don’t either and we both have a bad time. That’s the challenge and fun for me. There are times when I just can’t provide what they want — either because it’s just not in me or I just don’t feel like it. I do indeed judge: if the client isn’t worthy of what they’re asking, they aren’t going to get it. I love it all as long as the man treats me like a human. It really doesn’t matter too much to me if he simply wants to have sex the whole time or talk or whatever. As long as he does everything with respect, I’m good. None of this has to be any more complicated than that. I’m working at making it less complicated every way I can (though I still make potential clients jump through a few hoops — I’m just like that).

Sometimes I laugh because I can tell a potential client has passed me over because he thinks I’m too open, honest and simple to be interesting in person. I’m all of those things, though when I meet clients they realize there is a lot behind the openness they’ll never get to touch. I don’t need to create mystery via a website only to disappoint in person. It works the other way around for me.

my marketing — or lack of it

Which brings me around to the marketing side. Though I wrote the book on escort marketing, my own advertising/marketing has been bland (other than self-creating email spats with advertisers who annoy me). I think I do all right since I generally get the clients I want (i.e. men I like). But…I do wonder how to best categorize/brand myself. Calling myself an international blonde escort doesn’t really convey imaginative spark.

Judging by client reactions I’m not what they expect when I walk in the door, even though I feel I describe myself well on my work-site and ads. Perhaps they don’t read. More likely they don’t believe any of it since my colleagues just pile on the bull (especially my international colleagues). Still, perhaps I should tweak my marketing to be a little more accurate and little less (pleasantly) surprising.

I’ve looked at several rather common designators escorts use. You’ll never hear me call myself:

Elite Not ever sure what exactly this refers to, but I’m fairly sure I’m not it. You just can’t be elite if you grew up in East Texas. (Same goes for VIP.)

Exclusive Tube sock jokes aside, I’m not sure what exclusive implies. I see as many or as few clients as I feel like and that’s my business — no one else’s. I don’t run in social circles that get me behind the velvet ropes at swanky clubs — sorry. I don’t restrict my clientele by any standard other than age and apparent IQ. I don’t think I’m exclusive in any way. In fact, I go out of my way to be as inclusive as possible while maintaining my sanity and safety. (I’ve yet to see an escort tout her inclusivity. Hmm…)

Personal concierge As my travels have made abundantly clear, I can’t plan. I can often suggest ideas but if you want actual planning, you’re probably better off letting your hamster take care of the arrangements.

Courtesan Depends on your definition, but no, I don’t think I am one, nor will ever refer to myself that way. I’ve been eating at hawker stands way too much to qualify. I’m pretty much stuck speaking (very good) English, I stopped following fashion long ago (I’ve settled for having good taste instead) and I don’t read Proust. That, and the word is so overused as to be meaningless.

Muse Nope, I’m not a muse. My clients aren’t artists and therefore I do nothing to inspire or improve the lot of artists.

Geisha I’m not Japanese and I haven’t been trained in traditional Japanese arts since my youth. Having witnessed some of the grace that cultured Asian women can possess — I’m not a geisha.

Sacred Whore While my working philosophy isn’t too far off from those who call themselves Sacred Whores, I’m not granola enough to say it with a straight face. I like the power and pride of this term; however a lot of the people who use it buy into the sex work hierarchy and look down upon the non-sacred whores running around. If you’re a truly a sacred whore — you know better than that.

What I’m fairly sure I am:

Companion Yes, very much so.

Escort Yes, most certainly.

Sex worker By any definition, yes.

Hooker In some of my moods, I am. Other times, not so much. Generally I prefer to self-label with this one (i.e., don’t take it upon yourself to call me a hooker unless you know me well).

Upscale A meaningless word, but I might actually be. Though if you’re paying my rates, there are certain things one naturally expects anyway. I hate stating the obvious.

So is my issue that I’m just playing it way too straight? I lack a working imagination? My desire for understatement is detrimental to making money? The more I read escort ads/websites, the stronger my desire to cut through the crap and be completely straightforward (my work-site is even more minimal than this site). My escort-overload-backlash for honesty and simplicity is biting me in the butt, I think. Men are trained to read the bullshit. I think many, many men mistake understatement for something it is not. Of course, one could easily argue that it’s all in my writing skills and I won’t disagree.

It’s rather like the cobbler’s children having no shoes, right? Or that I’m simply to close to it all to be objective. I often wonder if I have such problems applying my own concepts, how do my poor readers fare? Or I wonder if it’s simply the case of writing about one’s self in such a way is awkward. I remember the struggle to write my first-ever ad. It took days of writing/re-writing (and it still sucked) because I just could not write about myself. Even attempting it in third-person didn’t help. It’s funny how stuck I am with my own ad. Just how do I explain myself to someone who has simply clicked on my thumbnail because he liked it? (Poor guy, I pity him already.)

PS

The body of this post was written a year ago, though I know full well it has flavours of two of my recent posts. These are things that I have spent way too much time thinking about. Oh, and my work-site has SEO that includes terms like “VIP” and “upscale” because, apparently, it just helps. Sigh.

25 thoughts on “prodigal escort

  1. Highly relatable entry for me, Amanda. Of course, I’ll tell anyone that people in my profession have MUCH in common with sex workers (I use another term). And like you I’ve been doing my job a while and have reflected on it enough to find myself at a crossroads of sorts, so that makes perfect sense. 🙂

    Only thing I’m not sure I agree with is: “If you don’t know what you want from me I don’t either and we both have a bad time.”
    I also like people to be clear on what they expect from me, of course, but when they don’t I see an opportunity to educate them and surprise them with the type of service I do best. Like a salesman would, if you will, instead of sending potential customers their way, telling them to “come back when you’ve made up your mind”.

    If what you do is kept under a veil of myth and mystery, you have to expect outsiders to be a little lost. So when a colleague rants about clients who make a silly requests or have the wrong idea, I tell them that those may just have seen a bad movie too many.

    As for insiders, they’re not necessary any more in tune with what a proper professional interaction entails, as your comment on hobbyists seems to confirm! lol

  2. Hobbyist — I guess if you are in a personal-service type field or a job that requires a high level of interaction with your clients — yes, there would be a lot of similarities. Having knowledge and experience isn’t always easy to explain, especially because I do not want to scare the fish! (Not sure if you worry about scaring your fish or not.)

    Not every girl is going to agree with my mind-reading statement. That’s just how I work best.

    If my client knows what he’s looking for when he sees me, I can deliver. If he has no clue, but is just showing up hoping I’ll lead the way…I’m lost because I have NO idea where he wants to go (and it’s likely not where I plan on going). For men who know what they want when they see me, I’ll always go a step beyond because, well, it’s easy to do. The lost souls and I remain lost together and it sucks.

    There’s a fine line though. A man who comes to me wanting to throw pies in my face without requesting that first (and yes, I’ve had that), is going to be disappointed and I’m going to be massively annoyed. A man who walks in practically DEMANDING that I fall in love with him is going to repulse me (been there, done that). A man who walks in NEEDING to be loved is going to make me want to take care of him (many clients). I hope this illustrates what I’m trying to get it. It’s not easy to explain even in my own head.

    Yeah, those great stereotypes churned out by Hollywood and media. You know, I usually don’t even factor that into the marketing but you’re right, it does show up on a regular basis. (I’m more aware of it from an activist perspective.)

    Hobbyists in general…I’m not sure how much “insider” knowledge I would grant them. They’re in the thick of it, but so often with their eyes closed. Same with many girls though.

    Not sure why this is all getting me in knots, guess it’s because I’m back in front of the home crowd and I’m more aware than ever of how the US industry works vs other countries (not to imply I’ve somehow mastered everything in every other country in the world).

    OTH, clients who know me and have kept in touch (or seen me) over these few years won’t be an issue at all. They’re ALL eccentrics and God bless them for it.

    XX

  3. Escorts do like buzzwords, don’t they? I think that, though the hierarchy certainly exists, it’s a big mistake to let oneself be pigeonholed or to really believe one’s own marketing; that is the path to platinum pussy syndrome. That’s the main reason I tend to harp so much on the fact that prostitution is a continuum stretching from party girl to porn star and from wife to streetwalker, with the vast majority of non-celibate heterosexual women falling somewhere in there and not necessarily remaining in one place within it forever. It’s why I tend to use words like “whore”, “prostitute”, “harlot”, “hooker”, “escort” and “sex worker” interchangeably, and it’s also why the legal basis upon which prostitution law rests is so highly dubious.

  4. “Not sure if you worry about scaring your fish or not.” In some ways, yes… 🙂

    I hear you. I often talk about the need to be highly perceptive in my own biz, but sometimes there’s just no mind there to read. 😉

    I like Maggie’s last sentence. Those distinctions would make me laugh if they didn’t put people in jail based on them. I don’t believe there’s any basis for prostitution laws (besides hypocrisy).

  5. Oh NOOOO!!!! You’re leaving??? I won’t get to visit you in Singapore and hit up the clubs in the red light district with you
    🙁 I was looking forward to checking out the scene once I’d saved my travel funds.

    Oh well–understand that every adventure comes to a close, or moves to another arena.

    Interesting blog post. With dancing it is so visual–I just walk up with cocky confidence mixed with warmth and if there is interest there, it’ll happen. If not, someone else will have it. But this assured manner evaporates on slow nights when you’re just trying to walk with a profit of any kind. Still, I can salvage it if I don’t freak out over the night. I know I put in a lot and I’m worth the generosity which I look for. And I’m appreciative when I get it. 🙂

  6. Hey Amanda, how are you doing? It’s been a while and I need to say hello more often as I read your new posts with great pleasure every time 🙂

    I am one of those who bought your books and found empowering your vision of the escorting world. I did apply some of your techniques to come up with my escort pseudo and I’m really, deeply appreciative of having such quality books available out there.

    I guess it’s normal not to find the perfect words for your ad right away, I think it’s even safe that you don’t find them quickly because nobody can just “sell himself/herself” within minutes. I found blog posts/seminars/ebooks on this particular topic to be nothing but a bunch of lies. Who could sincerely do that? The thoughtful and considerate human being takes time to know of himself and then to let other humans know how it is like, to be himself. Anyway, I’m rather happy to see that both you as the author and I as the reader come at a certain time to this struggle of defining oneself through an ad, this is something that is pretty difficult to do.

    I do personally label myself as “VIP” because yes it helps and I think that this word associated with mid-range/borderline high-end rates help to keep away the bad customers. Since I went the “VIP” route, I have to confess I got worried cause I didn’t have as many calls as I used to when I was “cheap” but you know I wouldn’t change anything. The serious calls I get make me utterly happy. More money, more confidence, better chances to match with the person in front of me. This is like paradise redefined. I don’t mind making less money overall, I only mind being happy doing what I do. I think upscale/VIP route is probably the less risky and the more enjoyable of all. That’s how I see it, personally.

    I love your posts and look forward to the next one 🙂 Take care,

    – Alicia

  7. Maggie — Escorts like buzzwords. They like copying what seems to be working for other escorts, some enjoy one-upmanship, others just try to be creative to stay ahead of the curve. (I think I know who first used the term “personal concierge” and now it’s fairly common. She’s aware of this.)

    Then there’s the whole hierarchy thing, which bites. I have no problems with girls making money, even if they have to make up words to do so. I have BIG issues with them thinking the only way to make money is by putting others (who do the same job they do) down. You do too. 🙂

    I don’t use sex worker words interchangeably. Some of it is because I’m aware of how others see the words, sometimes it’s because I see the words as defining specific jobs (but those are my job definitions). In casual conversation with friends though, I say pretty much whatever. One high-end escort took offense when I included her in the conversation by using the term “hooker” because she is an “escort.” I try to be careful of things like this in public.

    Hobbyist — I still haven’t found the real basis for any prostitution laws at all. No one has yet convinced me of the logic of any of it. I’m still waiting though…

    “No mind to read” Ha! To be honest, my clients are not stupid men, so I can’t say that’s ever the issue. But it’s funny! (I’m separating actual clients from those who merely email.)

    Parker — I’m not leaving the planet! And I assure you Texas will let me travel out-of-state if I ask real nice. 😉 Singapore will be a blast with you! You have my email — we can plan this.

    I will get bored and head back to Asia within the year — I’m sure. I have not seen all of it and will not pretend I have. For instance, I’ve left Japan completely alone and that’s a crime that cannot stand!

    Stripping IS so immediate. Sometimes that was good for me, often not. I guess I didn’t appreciate the immediacy when I was actually stripping. Bar work is like that too. Just very, very dangerous to do the US. I have and probably will again, but…it’s more of a rush than is sometimes necessary.

    Alicia — Very nice to hear from you! I’m glad that my books helped you. You’ve very nicely pointed out there is a real human behind all the blather. 🙂 Nothing wrong with that. The thought has occurred that I need to crack out Book 2 and go through my own ad-creation exercises to help myself!

    If using “VIP” works for you, go for it. This is a highly-personal business and we all make the decisions that are best for us — one of the big reasons the escort world has so many variables. Just so long as you don’t step on others while you do it.

    “More money, more confidence, better chances to match with the person in front of me. This is like paradise redefined. I don’t mind making less money overall, I only mind being happy doing what I do.”

    Beautiful! Exactly the reason I’m writing the books — so that escorts can be happy with their own choices. Doesn’t matter whether you call yourself “VIP” and I do not — only that we are both happy with the clients we see and lives we lead.

    I have no idea where you’re based, but if you’re near Dallas or will be touring there this spring, drop me a line!

    XX

  8. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Your not allowed to go and leave me. One of my few remaining bastions of sanity…….

    You will be terribly missed from my little part of the planet. It has been a Joy a pleasure and an honor. I am so proud to be able to call you friend and I know you will always succeed in whatever you do.

    Stay eccentric. Its more fun.

    You are amazing in every way. Thank you for everything.

  9. Roomie — Thank you again for your kind words and always your support. Going to miss our conversations but…missing home a bit more right now. I’ll probably be back out to Singapore before the year is out!

    I am VERY concerned about your sanity though.

    Ant — Are you publicly stating you’re a brave and eccentric man??? 🙂

    I will be in Dallas in early February no matter what. Actually, since I decided I was going back, I want to be there yesterday. That’s how I am. But…February it is (given how much I loathe cold, I’m landing back during the nasty part of the North Texas winter).

    XX

  10. Hi Amanda – why don’t you make a pit stop and say ‘Hello’ here on the East Coast before you cotinue on to Dallas?

    Big Hug,
    Meeshee

  11. Ant — 🙂

    GA — Once I’m on the plane home, I’m going home. I am REALLY done with traveling for a bit. Will have to wait for your next stop in Dallas!

    David — Thank you so much. I’m glad you are participating in Dec 17 in your own way.

    XX

  12. Ant — Even better!

    David — This is true. Did you invite anyone else you knew to participate? Just curious, is all. Not putting you on the spot.

    XX

  13. About a year ago, I started planning for several business changes and took baby steps making them over 2010. After changing my rates, a couple of “hobbyists” suggested I go the HDH route for full marketing advantage. Really? Whatever. I started concerning myself with titles so much that it left a bad taste in my mouth. Anyway, I kept nearly every aspect of my website ad copy the same because every time I tried to be the definition of HDH or VIP, it didn’t feel right. Besides, I believe men are able to determine if a companion has a “VIP”, “Courtesan” or “Elite” bone in her without touting around labels. And it’s all perspective. While I may be a VIP to men that typically seek out brown-skinned companions who post symbols in their ad subject lines, I may be far from VIP to someone who sees ladies that have traveled the world. Basically, I am applying a concept from your book which is something along the lines of: You can be a persona or be yourself, and if being yourself works best for you than present yourself as such. From my experience, I believe being you will be enough. Personally, I feel you come off as a well-traveled, worldly and educated woman who has a good sense of humor and is down-to-earth…in great shape, pretty, intriguing and more. You don’t have to concern yourself with hierarchy labels to make that clear. (Of course it doesn’t hurt SEO to list them as meta tags or in your site titles for additional traffic, right?) Just describe who YOU are and it will all work out, because any man with a bit of sense will be able to tell you are worth meeting. Xoxo. PS. I interchange “companion” and “escort” often when describing myself. Also, I can think of a few ladies that I would describe as being “elite” from a social/cultural aspect (not putting anyone down because of rates) while they never mention the words in their ad copy. Lastly, I don’t think titles have anything to do with rates either. Rates have to do with geographical market conditions, having access to additional income (e.g. a job, trust fund, sugar daddies, savings), etc. My biggest lesson learned from 2010 is “don’t believe the hype”.

  14. Joi — You have an apt name. You have given me a huge smile today and I needed it. Thank you for your experiences and wisdom. (Readers: she’s someone who isn’t afraid of color on her site either!)

    “Besides, I believe men are able to determine if a companion has a “VIP”, “Courtesan” or “Elite” bone in her without touting around labels.”

    Indeed. Intelligent men can figure out for themselves if you suit their idea of [whatever]. My problem is trying to describe the often-scattered aspects of my personality in an appealing, non-conflicting way. Thank you for the compliments.

    Satisfying the need for competitive SEO can be done without intruding too much on your clients’ web-surfing experiences. I’m working on my comfort levels with that. 🙂

    Wishing you joie for 2011!

    XX

  15. Ha, I love this subject! When I was two, my grandma told me I was soooo cute and laughed when I answered, “yes I am!” She would then tell me I was going to be Miss America (not by a longshot)! At 48, I am still pretty cute and I definitely use my looks to my advantage. I spent my 20’s yearning to be admired for my mind. I consider myself a great entertainer. I have a nice home incall and my favorite type of client is someone safe and sane who maybe kisses me at the door and doesn’t have to be asked twice to drop their drawers and stretch out on the massage table or my bed. I also love it when they tell me I have magic hands or confide in me honestly about whatever they want. I am the kind of girl who surprises my clients with a freshly blended smoothie I whip up while they are showering, sending them off with a grateful hug and my warmest wishes in the form of a welcomed treat I thoughtfully prepared just because they matter to me. Sex, affection, refreshment and enlightenment. That’s what I consider myself, as well as a ray of sunshine! If only all of our clients perceived we providers the way a precious few actually do. Happy, safe, healthy 2012 to you Amanda and fans!!

  16. My observation is your increasing desire for honesty in advertising yourself. Although it’s years too late I want to suggest a personal ad style for you. Something like this:
    YOU: a disappointing lover with an underwhelming penis and money to burn.
    ME: an unapologetic nymphomaniac with an expensive publishing addiction.
    Oooo… baby, I see that bulge in your pants and it’s exciting me. Come over here and pull it out. Let me see that big boy. Oh! It’s so thick! I’m getting wet already. Put it in my hands and let me have my way with it. Oh yeah, nothing turns me on like a big fat wallet in my hands. How long will I be in love with you tonight? (link to rates page)

  17. Anna — Ha! A lot of escorts could this wording. Strippers too. (One stripper told me to imagine all the customers as having a $20 bill stuck on their foreheads and go get it.)

    “Expensive publishing addiction” wish I’d come up with that. It’s gold.

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