In the rush of a busy life an escort can lose sight of the simple things which can make her encounters and her life in general much more pleasant. It is all too easy to become cynical about the profession. Part of the reason why cynicism and burnout are problems faced by escorts may lie in the fact they may forget the virtues of formality and politeness.
by Hannah Jay
The very idea of formality is something of a lost art in a society where your dry cleaner first names you from your first visit onwards. In a world of twerking is there any room left for a gentle handshake? Indeed does anyone know what politeness is any more?
In fact, formality and politeness are formidable weapons in the hands of an escort who knows how to use them. They are also wonderful tools to put clients at ease. Having a grasp of the basics and the determination to use them will empower an escort to move up the escorting ladder.
Every escort from the most basic service provider to the highest priced courtesan has to make a decision at some point in her career: will she follow her profession as a lady or will she just bump along as nothing much in particular? In the most basic sense this is a decision driven by a sense of self.
For some girls the decision to escort is all about low self worth and poor self esteem. At the end of their tethers, girls can decide to become escorts for many reasons which are not the reasons which they might have wanted. Lack of money, loss of a job, pressure from a boyfriend are all reasons why a girl might enter the escort business. The problem with all of those reasons is that they are external. They are limits on the girl’s choices.
Entering escorting for what amount to negative reasons can lead to an escort seeing herself as having very little value which, in turn, makes it easy for other people – clients, agencies, boyfriends – to exploit her. Such exploitation leads to an even lower self valuation.
Other girls enter the business from healthier places. They are intrigued by the money, see there being a somewhat glamorous life in the escort world or see that world as a means to a particular end. Healthier but often quite fragile.
Regardless of the reasons a girl enters the escorting business, she makes a decision daily to stay in the business and that decision gives her real choices. Principally it gives her a choice as to the terms of her trade.
When a girl first enters the business she has only a theoretical understanding of what, in fact, escorting is. And she has only the most limited understanding of how the escorting dynamic can work and be made to work for her.
The escorting dynamic
On one side of the equation are the clients in all their strange varieties. From hobbyists to random strangers on through to married men and soccer dads with child seats in the back of their mini vans, an escort is quickly exposed to the wide spectrum of male desire.
To some degree an escort is mistress of her fortune in that her ads can be written to attract a particular clientele. Her website can tell a story which will appeal to some clients and not others. Her booking agent, or if she is independent, her own calls can screen out men who do not seem suitable.
Of course, the ability to refuse dates depends on the escort being economically and emotionally stable enough to feel comfortable turning away money. But it is also a good indication of where a girl is on the escort continuum. The further upscale a girl goes the pickier she can become both in the dates she accepts and in how selective her marketing actually is.
However, after all the selection and all the marketing escorts see clients. How they chose to handle that situation and the tools they bring to their business goes a long way to decoding why some girls are very successful low volume, high earnings escorts and others are not so fortunate.
“It was funny. I’d been working for about three months and I was building up an independent clientele while still taking some dates through an agency.” explained Gillian a thirty year old escort from a city in the North East, “I was doing pretty well. Or at least I thought so. But, to tell the truth, I was getting a bit bored with hour “dates”. And I seemed to be going no where.”
“You know that old sports thing where the coach says, ‘Never change a winning game, always change a losing one”? Well I wasn’t losing yet but I just could not see myself going on seeing six or eight or even ten guys a day. It’s too much.”
“I had this one date. Nice, nice man, two hours but we went over and he gave me a two hundred dollar tip. But he also said something I really paid attention to, “You are much too much of a lady to only be making a couple of hundred an hour. You are working too hard.”
“I knew he was right. So I wondered what I could do to change that. I had this one photo set which the photographer the agency used to shoot me had taken for his own portfolio. Not at all the normal escort butt and boobs pics. Dark, halflighting and he had me wearing a broad brimmed black straw hat and black slip I’d brought for the shoot. The slip wasn’t even lacy or low cut. Anyway, the agency hated them but I kept the pictures.”
“I knew I had the pictures and I’d just moved to an ok apartment; but what did I really want to change? I wasn’t all that sure but I started with “I want to make more money, keep more of it and work less. Which, of course, every girl wants.”
“I looked at the pictures and one in particular really jumped out at me. My hair had somehow been pulled off my face, maybe tucked under the hat and I was looking up. The fact is I looked like one of those expensive ladies you see in ads for watches and things.”
We asked Gillian what changed.
“Well, start with my working name – I was “Alexa”, the agency gave me that porn star name – I started advertising as Gillian. It just sounded better. And I totally changed my ads. I was a gentleman’s companion. And I doubled my rates. Which I thought would kill the business but I figured if I worked half as much for the same money I was out ahead.”
“Mainly, though, I changed my attitude, my approach. I mean I didn’t know when I started. I had no idea how to deal with clients and the agency owner telling me “We all know what men want so get paid and give it to them.” was not a whole lot of help.”
“I went with the look in the picture. A bit aloof. I mean I got into escorting for some pretty screwed up reasons but mainly because I needed the money. I still needed the money but I wasn’t quite as desperate. I knew I was a little older than a lot of the girls and the agency never let me forget that. But I also remembered what that client said “You are too much of a lady”. Maybe he was right. Before the trouble I had, I worked as a hostess at a pretty upscale restaurant. I knew the moves.”
“What I hadn’t done is make the connection between escorting and that sort of set of public manners and courtesy. When I was working in the restaurant guys flirted with me all the time. It’s an unwritten rule of the restaurant business that you never date the customers but you certainly flirt for tips.”
“I thought to myself, what the Hell, why not change how I was working so that I marketed myself as a more sophisticated companion? A lot of that was in my advertising. “Gillian” had ads which left a lot to the imagination. I just used pictures from that one session. And I targeted my ads by using words like “generous businessmen” and “outcall to select hotels”.”
“But where I really changed my game was answering the phone. The restaurant I worked in took reservations but the owner was a total snob. If he didn’t like how you asked for a reservation we became “booked”. I learned from him to look for the signs. If a guy wants to discuss the menu he has already lost points. Same with prices, no one who knows anything phones a restaurant and asks for the prices. It is all online. Well the same thing happened if a guy phoned me and started in on what he could expect or what would this or that cost. I would refer him to my website but, usually, even if he called back I would be booked.”
“What I tried to do on the phone was project a sense that this was a special, luxurious, not for everyone sort of date. It took me a few tries but the clients who got it really got it. I was friendly on the phone but not chatty. There is a sweet spot between being strictly business and being warm. I erred a little on the side of warm but I didn’t waste a lot of time.”
“In call or out call I always began the same way. I put out my hand and said, “Well we have not been formally introduced, my name is Gillian.” It was casual and formal at the same time. But it put the client at ease because, in that first minute, he knew what to do. He was to take my hand and introduce himself. Unless the guy was raised by wolves, he would get this part of the evening right.”
“The other thing which I changed was how I actually either led the caller into my apartment from the door or walked into his hotel room. When I was first starting I would sort of shuffle in, shyly, waiting for him to tell me what he wanted. What I remembered from the hostessing trade was that people are much more comfortable when the hostess “takes charge”.”
“So now, after shaking hands, I make a point of either touring his hotel room or taking him on a tour of my little apartment. While I am doing that I am taking those last reads which every escort uses to check out a prospective client. Shoes, watch, clothes and, if he is in his hotel, things like luggage and laptop. And I will be asking him about himself as I walk.”
“I make a point of never being in a hurry. In my city the vice cops are all about the low end. I was at much more risk of being busted doing the hour and occasional half hour dates. But a girl can’t be too careful and a polite ten minute conversation with no mention of money is a great way to break the ice while getting to know your client.”
“The biggest choice I made was that I really was worth a premium rate and the consideration which goes with that. So, instead of a dress down to there and up to here, I wear good, fashionable, fairly demure outfits. I threw away – well actually sold – a pair of really tacky plexi glass stripper platforms…what was I thinking when I let the agency owner talk me into those.”
“While I am delighted with flirtatious and lightly suggestive language, I don’t tolerate vulgarity. And it’s funny, maybe it is the somewhat aloof advertising, or the screening calls, but I find that most, well really all, the men I see are almost relieved to be seeing an escort who seems to have standards. I think they feel safer somehow.”
Gillian paused for a moment, “You know, the fact is since I changed my attitude and my prices I have been making more money and not working as hard. Plus I am seeing nicer men. It is a slightly older clientele. Which I think has to do with my prices but also how I advertise myself. There is just that little hint of intimidation.”
“One thing which has really changed, and maybe this is because I dropped my agency, is that I am building a group of regulars. Not a lot, maybe a dozen or so; but they are very faithful and very reliable. I never discount my rates but I make sure that I give them all the time they want while only charging for a couple of hours. Again, to use the restaurant example, we treated out regulars like gold. There was always a good table ready and the chef would whip up a little “off the menu, off the bill” course and there would often be an “eau de vie” to finish off the evening. Which might have cost the restaurant $10.00 on a $150 dollar bill for two.”
“I use the same sort of tactic with my regulars. Because I know them I can be a little more forward. If they are coming to my place, instead of greeting them in a dress, I might entertain them in a pretty slip and stockings. In the bedroom they might have a treat which is not on the menu. It can be nothing more than a few minutes of teasing; but they seem to like it.”
“Of course, for a few of my regulars I have their permission to send them the occasional naughty picture. Smart phones are a wonder. I don’t do selfies exactly. More shots of pretty things very close to my skin.” Gillian laughed, “Not that they don’t ask. I’d be disappointed if they didn’t. One of the things I often do is send a picture of a perfect little bra or a gorgeous garterbelt that I know one of my regulars will like and invite him over to watch me try it on. It’s a great way to fill in a hole in my schedule.”
“And that is probably the biggest change. When I started escorting I was pretty passive. I waited for things to happen. Now I make things happen. I make my own decisions. I run my own business. I know what I am good at, what I enjoy in the business and, for a select group of clients, this seems to be what they are looking for.”
“I take charge the same way I did when I would take care of people at the restaurant. I am formal to begin with, polite. If they play their part well then I unwind a little. It is like a dance where you reflect your partner’s steps.”
“keeping a bit of distance at the beginning, even on the booking call, means that the client is set to value me far more than if I was passive. And that, in turn, means I have a much more pleasant encounter whether it is the first time or with a regular of long standing.”
The escort’s value
Value is an odd thing. It is related to price. A girl charging $100 an hour is seen differently than a girl charging $500. Interestingly, each girl is setting her rate according to what she sees as her value in the market where she is escorting.
Because of circumstances Gillian entered the escorting world with a sense that she was not very valuable. That her time and her talents were very run of the mill and that she should charge no more than what her agent told her was the going rate. She could easily have stayed in that situation because it is tough to look in the mirror and say, “What I do is valuable and I am going to charge for that value.” It often takes a trigger like Gillian’s client for a girl to assess what she is doing and to consider what else she could be doing.