Friday, January 11, 2008

A new podcast: a reader writes in asking about a specific jealousy issue. No lawn-gnome jokes in this one, for some reason Monk and I got off onto a weird "sex with robot chickens" tangent.

Edit, Noon: Because of the persuasive words of you, my readers, the image has been removed. Have I mentioned how much I love you guys? I am, however, leaving this post up so that I can refer to it for future situations like this.

And from the Annoying Person Department: this woman refuses to remove my photo from her site. (EDIT: Link removed, since she has now done so.)

I sent her the email I send everyone, which just says, Hi, that's a picture of me, and I actually haven't given you permission to use it, so would you take it off your site, please? Her replies are as follow, edited down slightly.
I'm sorry to inform you that i recieved that picture from the front of a greeting card that was sent to me years ago. Everyone I know has that picture. Also if you look on the picture that you sent me.. there are no copyright signitures or watermarks at all. Once you put a picture over the internet you have to stamp them with your mark or they are anyone's to take....(snipped for incoherence)... Do you have the copyrighted picture or negative? I will look up the copyright and authenticate and also then apologize to you and my readers... It is not my intention ever to hurt or steal from anyone. That goes way beyond anything I'm actually capable of.

Yes, I'm aware everyone you know has that picture. It is one of the great regrets of my life that I ever put that damn picture online. And why is it that no one who's stolen it ever has it on a cool, intelligent, interesting site? At least this is better than the last guy I had to speak to about it. He had a page for a "Christian D/s" social group. No, you do not use my naked body to promote Christianity, thankyouverymuch.

I sent this person a reply stating again that yes, it definitely was a picture of me, and asking again that she take it down. She responded:

This picture is not of you. I found the owner and the site it's displayed on... Again.. I'm sorry for your trouble though you've been through it .. it seems to me "a million times" as you said that's how many times it's been stolen. I see this photo all over the place.. it's on greeting cards .. and on a million profiles.. and erotic sites.
Again,, if you still believe this photo is yours please send me the copyrighted number to be authenticated and i will take it down.... Im not trying to steal and am certainly not making money off of the picture. But the site i got it from is a FREE site. Please do your research and take it up with them I do not want to be involved in your battle with them.
She then blocked me from sending her any more emails. So much for being all loving and open.

I don't know why she thinks I'd say it was me if it wasn't. I can assure you, I do not get off on emailing strangers to ask that they remove a photo from their (badly designed and rambling) websites. I don't find it so entertaining that I'd do it just for kicks. Given that she's also displaying the complete text and images from, "The Little Prince, " I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that she doesn't understand copyright.

Or at least pretends not to understand it. But for those folks who do - here's the original image from my camera. (Note: really big file!) No one else can produce this, because I never posted it full-size anywhere. But I suppose you could enlarge a tiny one and try to smooth out the jagged edges, so here also are two other (big) images from the same shoot. One, two. It's the same set, lighting, camera angle and model - me. No one else can show you these images without the red edits, because I have not posted them anywhere before now.

It pains me to have to present my work defaced with the cutouts and X's, but it's obviously the only way. I don't expect that this woman will get it, but now that I've posted it, I can link back to this post in future emails to similar image-thieves.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Okay, I didn’t get around to uploading a podcast. But I will! However, there’s a new column up about rocking your strap-on.

If you just want sexy stuff, click over and read the column. But lest some ya’ll think I never have to deal with the inconveniences of the real world, let me tell you about my unsexy day yesterday. My car is sick, and my cat was sick.

My car is very sick and I’m cranky about it, because it shouldn’t be. It’s not very old – faithful readers of the blog will recall my buying the Saab 9-5 in 2004, and it was only two years old then. I was amused to be buying a Swedish car. I joked that I’d had a Swedish husband, and that hadn’t worked out too well for me. But it was a good deal for what seemed like a good car, and I really liked the way it looked and the way it drove.

Well, my second Swedish romance has also gone sour. In my crankier moments with the Saab, I have called it “The Swedish Revenge”, or more specifically, “(My ex-husband’s name) Revenge.” The Saab has proved to be a fussy car, and I do not like fussy cars. When I got a quote for the latest projected repair, I said, “That’s it – this thing is outa here, I’m getting a new car.”

I have been in obsessive research mode for the last week or so, trying to decide what kind of car I should get. Frankly, I do not enjoy the process of shopping for a car. It’s stressful. It is better this time around, because now that I have a mortgage, everyone and their brother wants to loan me more money. Very odd, to a girl who spent many years functioning in an all-cash, off-the-grid system of personal economy.

So I’m checking Kelly Blue Book and I’m filling out loan applications online and I’m readings car reviews on and Consumer Reports, and in the middle of all this, I look up and see my cat doing something that bodes ill: she's piddling on the floor in a corner of my office.

I said a rude word and jumped up. Of course she ran away, but I watched her for a little while and determined that yeah, she's acting like a cat with a UTI. So, I get on the phone and cancel my plans for the rest of the day, while I simultaneously stuff my unwilling pet into her cat carrier, because we are going to the vet right now, before she gets any sicker. Unlike my car, my cat actually is quite old – she’s nineteen. So I do not dally in these matters.

We get into the Saab, and I cannot tell who’s making the most noise – my cat, who strongly disapproves of this whole plan and is saying so, loudly, or my car, which is screeching as badly as the cat. It is not a pleasant ride.

So, two hours at the vet’s office, and my cat is on her way to being fixed. At significantly less cost than the Saab repair shop wants, I might add. She’s a much older model, but at least in this case, American-made seems to trump imported.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I seem to either be posting looooong rants or very short snippets, don't I? And the more sex-work advice posts I write, the more questions come in. Seems like a lot of women have questions about this, which actually does not astound me.

I've got a couple more in the chute for later, but hey, I have to talk about poly and kinky stuff, too. So I'll upload another silly podcast today and link to it shortly...

Meanwhile, Monk has a very cute video-blog post up....Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Advice For The Ambitious Escort

Let me just start by saying braaa-vo. I just got hip to you recently and I like what you are about... I have been an exotic dancer on and off for six years and i'm done with that, at least in seattle I am. I want to escort because I want to make ALOT of money this year. I've contacted several agencies and never hear back??? So I try craigslist but feel like I need a set guideline for how to go about it. 2 major problems. The rates are too low. I am seriously hot and know I can do WAAAY better than 2-300a visit (no offense to u or anyone else out there who may have had those rates) . The second problem is that several times I had a man on the hook about to pay 1000$ then he finds out i'm black (ethiopian) and bails out. I am a mess. Please help. If you know any UPscale places I could get n touch with and or suggestion...

Thanks for reading, I’m glad you like what I have to say. Yes, I do have some advice for you. Here’s what I think...

I believe you. I am sure that you are so hot that your time is worth a thousand dollars an hour. In fact, I’m sure it’s worth ten thousand, or a million, or any sum one cares to name, because you’re beautiful and special. But you see, every woman is worth that, because we are all beautiful and special and infinitely precious in our own way. That is what’s true in, shall we say, the spiritual realm.

Now we’re going to leave the metaphysical realm and talk about business. And in the business world, you’re not being realistic. Two to three hundred dollars an hour is the average rate for an escort here in Seattle, and the idea that you are seven to eight hundred dollars worth of better than all the other local ladies, just because you say so, is silly. You may be hot, but hotness ain’t all there is to being a high-end escort. Far from it. You need a better grasp of how this business works, which I’m about to give you.

First, understand that escorting is not a con-game. At least not in my book, and I’m the one you asked. I am somewhat skeptical about your good intentions here, because of what you say about your would-be clients “finding out” that you’re black. Are you not saying so up front? What, do you think you’re going to sneak that fact by them somehow? If you honestly want to do well as an escort, then the key is creating good experiences for your clients, not getting someone "on the hook” and scamming them. I’ve been a dancer myself, so I know that’s how it works in clubs, and that’s probably true for the lower-priced women too, but that’s not the market you’re trying to break into.

(Also, you are looking in the worst possible place for high-rollers. Craig’s List? My dear. No. Sell a used couch on Craig’s List. Or find a guy to haul your trash away. But do not expect to find clientele for a high-end call girl.)

The fact that you haven’t heard back from agencies can be due to one of two things. A) many escort agencies are not exactly run like Fortune 500 companies. Especially if they’re not looking for new staff, they may just blow you off because they’re doing other things.

B) You may be making a bad impression on them. If you’re telling them what you told me, I bet that’s probably the case. No agency is going to take you on if you’re telling them you’re not willing to work within their fee structure. That doesn’t make you seem like a hot woman with a lot of confidence, it makes you seem like a troublemaker who’s going to piss off their regular clients by trying to demand more money for the same service. No agency wants that, no matter how pretty you are.

When it comes to high-end escorts, Seattle is a clubby, insular town. There’s a very active escort-review board. (Or two, perhaps. I only keep tabs on the one. I’m not going to link to it, because it doesn’t need the attention, but a Google search would find it.) Most guys who see escorts regularly – and a lot of guys who are just curious – read at least one of the boards and use the reviews as their buying guide. There’s also a lot of private-channel discussions between the guys. This is not a bad thing necessarily – once you gain a good reputation with this in-group, you don’t have to market a whole lot in other places. But most guys with money to spend shop among the ladies who are well-known and who have very good reputations. You don’t have that. You’re an unknown woman, advertising on Craig’s List - which is generally regarded as low-rent and full of scammers - and asking a very high price. That’s not going to work. I know some ladies who charge upwards of six hundred dollars an hour for their time, which is high-end for Seattle. They all started out as new girls, charging the same rate per hour as everyone else. You have to prove yourself, create a reputation for excellence. Then you can raise your rate.

On the other hand, if you don’t give what is commonly regarded as good value for the money, you will quickly get a bad reputation, and that’s a very hard thing to shake. In some matters clients are rather forgiving – see Sunday’s remarks about flaky indy escorts – but they react very badly to the feeling that they’re being deliberately hustled. And who can blame them? So if you over-promise and under-deliver, word will get around about that, and the client pool will dry up quickly.

So, you asked me my advice, and I’m giving it to you. I’m guessing it’s not what you wanted to hear. But at some level, you must know it’s true, because you have not succeeded in getting anyone to pay you a thousand bucks within your current system. You sound like a determined woman, and that’s a good trait. So, get off Craig’s List and get an ad here instead: If you put your energy into honestly being a really good escort, then I predict you will indeed make a lot of money. I wish you very good success in attaining your goals.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Links, schedules and random remarks

I’m going to try to remember to talk about my schedule for the week here every Monday. This week, I still have Tuesday free, and I have some time on Friday before 4:30 pm. Drop me a note as soon as you can if you’d like to get time with me either of those days.

Also, there was some talk of me going out of town this month – that’s been postponed. So I’m around all of January. My time goes fast, so carpe diem.

Thanks to everyone who made Mark Yu’s visit here such a success!

I do indeed have a Sweeney Todd poster promised to me, so thank you, everyone who emailed about that.

Interesting link: This is a well-written and very informative post about how straight men should act at sex parties, and it's good every sex party, it seems like some guy messes up and pisses off some woman. In most cases, he is a perfectly nice and not at all creepy fellow who just screwed up slightly while following his instincts. Men of the naughty party world: I’m here to tell you that when it comes to sex and play parties, your instincts are wrong.”

I found out recently that some sex-negative bloggers refer to me, pejoratively, as “that yuppie mistress”. I am vastly, but vastly, amused by this. Perhaps I'll start using it as advertising text. Yuppie, huh? Well, I’m not old, I do live in an urban area, and yes, I am a professional…dominatrix. However, I’m guessing they’re referring more to the fact that I own a house, drive a nice car and buy new clothes. Oh, and that I’m happy. In certain circles, to be both emotionally and financially stable obviously means you’re a shallow sellout. You should be poor, and tortured with angst! To which I say: I can’t be a sellout, because I never bought in to your philosophy or your politics. And it isn't like you'd ever approve of me even if I was poor and unhappy, because my sexuality is just way too wrong for you. So keep your approval, I don't care about it. Now pardon me while I go shop for a BMW.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Screening Escort Clients

A friend of mine, who has just recently begun working for an escort service, is toying with the idea of going solo and booking her own calls, and she’s asked me for advice on how to do so safely. In my time as an escort, I worked for two cool women who ran good services. But I also worked as an independent escort. And my safety-screening process now is not substantially different, since I still spend time alone with my clients.

I think working for yourself is the best way. Granted, you need to be a reasonably intelligent and well-organized person to book and keep track of appointments. (Or else you need to be really hot in bed, so that clients forgive you for being flaky and keep calling you anyway. This second category accounts for a large number of indy escorts.)

But more important than time-management is learning to observe and analyze people's behavior quickly, in order to determine who you should see and who you should not. This is what I am most frequently asked for advice about, and it's the hardest thing for me to teach.

It is common, now, for an escort to require a referral from another working girl before seeing a new client, and I sometimes use that system myself. At least here in Seattle, that method works rather well. Most established working girls are good about answering such requests from another woman, and I have not heard of any cases here where a reliable escort gave a thumbs-up to a guy who then turned violent on another woman.

However, I have booked plenty of perfectly nice guys – many of whom are still clients of mine - on nothing but gut instinct. It’s an eclectic skill: there are so many tiny clues and tricks and tells, all of which I have learned over time, and whenever I pick up the published phone line all that information is running through my head, below my level of conscious thought. It’s like the book “Blink” -I get a snippet of information and make a quick judgment about the situation. And while I have probably excluded some nice guys, I have never had a client harm me or threaten to harm me, and that’s what we’re going for here.

So, how to screen: some off-the-cuff thoughts…

Read this: Yes, No, Maybe.

Next, search for “ring ring” and “beep” on this blog and read all the phone call and message posts. They’ll give you an idea of what a bad caller sounds like.

A good caller:

  • Talks to you in a way you’re comfortable with. That’s a really subjective thing, so you have to figure out for yourself what type of client makes you comfortable. It’s likely to be someone from a similar culture and background to you. It's just harder to quickly assess the meaning of someone's behavior if they're from a vastly different world than yours. That’s why men from other countries – like, say, New York – often throw me a bit on the phone. A man with an unfamiliar manner is going to have to work a bit harder to demonstrate to me that he shares my sex-work values: safety, discretion, mutual respect.
  • Acts as if he has a life. Be careful of anyone who says something like, “I can come over anytime, anytime at all.” A guy you want has other stuff going on in his world. He also should act as if he's interested in safeguarding himself, like he has something to lose. A guy who tells you his full name, address, phone number, ect, in the first three minutes of conversation? That’s odd behavior and highly suspect.
  • Realizes that yes, you’re another human being in the world, and that he’s negotiating an intimate rendezvous with you, not reserving a table at a restaurant. If he’s expecting to call a stranger and get an appointment in a hundred words or less, this is not a guy you want, because he’s not considering how you might feel about anything.
  • Is willing to accept that he may not get exactly what he wants, exactly when he wants it. Children throw tantrums when they hear, “No, not right now”, or even simply, “No.” A grown-up who does this is not a client you want.
  • Evinces a sense of humor. This is the most flexible requirement – callers are often a bit nervous, which can squelch humor. But it does make the sessions nicer.

Read, if you haven’t already, The Gift Of Fear. That’s a requirement. I have also read dozens and dozens of books about behavioral analysis and found them helpful. Go search through Amazon for “how to spot a liar” – there’s a lot there. Some are better than others, but information is never a waste.

Other advice on booking your own calls: Don’t go out too late. It’s not like ladies don’t ever get hassled or assaulted in the afternoon. But there’s something in the phrase “nothing good happens after midnight” when it comes to one-on-one sex work. The later at night an appointment with a stranger begins, the higher the chances of it going sideways. I might make an exception for a really upscale hotel. It’s unlikely – although definitely not impossible – that you’d get seriously physically assaulted in The Four Seasons. But I have known ladies who have had (non-consensual) wrestling matches in five-star hotel suites, and you still run the risk of the drunk/stoned client who is a huge pain in the ass and/or who stiffs you. Be careful here.

If the caller says something like, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you,” that’s bad. That’s very bad. Do not see anyone who says something like that. Dangerous guys will very often telegraph their intentions in this way, so if you pay attention, it’s not so hard to weed out the problem people.

The majority of the bad client stories I have heard began with the line, “So there was this guy, and I knew there was something kinda wrong with him, but I really needed the money, so I went…” No. No. Do not do that. First, as an independent sex worker, it is essential that you plan ahead and don't get into a situation where you feel desperate for cash, because desperate people make very bad judgments. And second, you must listen, listen, listen to that voice in your gut that says, “No.” It must be the highest authority, and if it says don’t go, you don’t go, and that’s it.

There’s a line I use in talking about this with the other women I’ve mentored. One time I wrote it out in block letters on a piece of masking tape, and stuck it on a pal’s (land-line) phone. The line is “The Phone Will Always Ring Again.” That means, this is not the last client in the world. Don’t get panicky and take the gig because you think you won’t get another. There are a lot of horny men in the world, god bless them, and if you’re putting it out there that you’re available for them, they’ll find you, trust me. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Dance like nobody’s watching.” Well, screen like you don’t need the money.

So I'm talking about safety because there are bad people in the world. But most of the guys who call you are not serial killers - far from it. On the contrary, I think most of the time if you respect your client, then your client will respect you. I have known some women who hated doing sex work and hated the clients, and they all thought they acted their part so well that the clients never knew. Ha. Meryl Streep those girls were not. They fairly radiated rage, and the clients sensed it and were brusque and resentful in return. This is not to say that it’s a girl’s own fault if a client treats her badly. But the last rule of screening is: if you think you’re going to hate the guy, don’t go, even if he looks great on paper. You can’t possibly have even a neutral experience in that mindset. Listen to the guy, listen to your gut, and then do what’s right.