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 ASPD.net, 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.