Hiding in plain sight: Ultra-discretion for escorts and companions

There are a lot of reasons why an escort is usually very discreet about her business. The world does not have to know your business. Nor does law enforcement. Nor does your mother. The trouble is that an escort also has to market her services and her brand. She needs to be discovered by her potential clients.

Every escort deals with the contradiction between her desire for privacy and her need to attract clients her own way. There is no right answers but we thought Washington DC escort “Alex” took a really creative but obviously cautious approach.

“I’m twenty eight. I did a little escort work in college – just for extra cash – through an agency and that was fine. That’s where I got my work name, “Alex” which is actually short for my middle name, Alexandria. I enjoyed the business and after I graduated I decided I’d like to escort more seriously to pay off my student loans. I have a commerce degree which really helped me with my business planning but it is also a bit of a problem because if anyone found out I escorted my business career would be pretty much over.”

“I found a decent job in Washington, DC which was a place that I had never been. A soon as I knew I had the job I started checking out the ads for independent escorts in Washington. There are some gorgeous girls escorting in Washington but I was pretty sure I could compete. I have always been the sort of girl who, if I have a good haircut and spend a little time in front of the mirror, can be striking in an up market sort of way. I keep my hair a dirty blond with really nice, but dumbly expensive, highlights. But it’s all a business expense.

I have a nice body and the advantage of being five seven. I swim a couple of times a week and do some very light weight training for tone. I am a huge fan of well engineered lingerie. With the right bra I can look busty without the hassle or expense of implants.

So I was confident I could make money escorting.

My plan was pretty simple: I wanted to charge high but not excessive rates for what I called “the courtesan experience” which I wanted to differentiate from the “girlfriend experience”. The key thing was that I actually had a plan. A full on business plan with income and expense projections and milestones.

The one thing which I did decide was that I wanted to be able to run my escorting business with as little subterfuge as possible. When I escorted in college I had seen a number of girls who led purely double lives. Their escorting and the rest of their lives didn’t intersect at all. I didn’t think that was healthy.

Because I was starting fresh in Washington I had the ability to look around a little before making any decisions where I wanted to live. I knew I wanted to avoid the outcall business simply because I always feel vulnerable when I go to see a client. It does not matter how much I screen, there is a wave of discomfort when I knock on a hotel room door. Just how I am I guess. On the other hand, having an apartment just for escorting seemed to me much too expensive and way too much hassle. I was not aiming to be a high volume provider so, with the right cover, I thought I could easily work from my home.

If you are working from home you have to set up a good story as to why men are arriving at your front door. But, even more importantly, an escort should look around until she can find a situation which is secure and fairly private. In a large city there are a lot of housing options and it is really worthwhile to spend some time looking. The great thing about having a straight day job was that I did not have to do a song and dance about how I would pay the rent.

I wanted something a bit “funky” which I could dress up as a courtesan’s boudoir but, at the same time, it needed to have safe parking close by for clients and, ideally, a good deal of foot traffic in the afternoons and evenings. Obviously I wanted a safe area.

I was really lucky because I found a really nice, rather cosy, two bedroom apartment above a store in what I discovered was a nice hip part of town – which is actually pretty hard to find in Washington. It’s funny, I am all of ten blocks from the White House but you would never know it.

My initial “story” is that I am a life coach/counselor. Which, in a way, I suppose I am. The key thing being that it makes perfectly good sense for me to be seeing people after work and in the evenings. It also gives my gentlemen an excellent reason for their discretion. There is nothing wrong with seeing a life coach but it is also not something people feel they have to share.

What this let me do is set up an entire business as a life coach. I set up a bank account, a business website and had my business cards printed. I kept “Alex” and added a fake last name on the business cards; but the bank account and apartment lease were obviously in my own name.

So far so good but now I had to find clients. Washington is a strange place. People are always flying in to do things with the government. They are pitching contracts, giving testimony before Congress, interviewing for jobs. I took advantage of that.

My advertising was everywhere but Washington. New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas: men knew they were coming to the Capital and they knew they would like some company. Who could resist and ad which read:

“Coming to Washington? Enjoy the company of a sophisticated, elegant capital courtesan. Always extremely discreet, never rushed: enjoy the best Washington has to offer.”

I stayed with the elegant theme with the pictures. For the ad there is a professionally done “glamour” shot where I am in half light wearing a little net veil, with a white fur stole and a black, very lacy, demi-cup bra. Super suggestive, entirely anonymous. And then a link to my website and email.

My website is all about life coaching unless you type in a member name “alex” and a password “courtesan”. That gets you to my secure members’ area. This part of the site is set up like most higher end escort sites with a few pictures, a description of the three packages I offer – “drinks and hors d’oeuvres”, “supper” and “dinner”.

I also have my contact information and a screening form which, if you would like to book my time, you have to submit along with $100 in PayPal. For new clients forty eight hours advanced notice is required, for old friends, three hours. A girl likes to have time to get ready.

Part of my cover is that I have cultivated a “look” which is a bit high end so that people who see me going in and out of the apartment are not surprised if I am dressed up for a dinner date. It does not take much these days. A nice skirt and a cape for spring and fall, a good, long winter coat and some pretty summer dresses and you’re done. You see some well dressed women in Washington and they are not all wealthy. Plus, even now, Washington still has a bit of the old, Southern influenced, style. It’s fading but it is still there.

I am a stickler for good screening. Here, again, my life coach business provides cover. Caller ID means that if you call a client’s office, at minimum your name will come up. I use a cell phone in my Life coach name and there is a second line of text, where it gets through, saying “life coach”. I make sure that my potential clients know to expect a call from a life coach. It makes them a lot more comfortable giving me the screening information I need.

The advantages of having a carefully built cover story became apparent the third date I booked. This was a prominent guy from a fairly small state in the Midwest. He’d seen my ad and was coming to Washington to lobby for a particular group of farmers. He had political ambitions and an image he wanted to keep squeaky clean. He also wanted to spend some down time during the week he was in Washington.

He was very easy to screen once he knew I would be calling as a life coach. He checked out and booked “drinks and hors d’oeuvres” for his second night in town. He was right on time and very impressed with the luxury minimalism I had furnished my apartment with. It is not a hard look to achieve, just use a very minimal palate of colour and get all of three nice pieces of simple furniture and an unfussy geometric carpet. Add a decent crystal vase with a few stems of a vivid flower and you are done. I keep the lights low and indirect.

My Mid-Westerner had had a hard day in the marble halls of power and really did need to relax. Some white wine and a bit of cheese to start and then I ran him a bath – which busy men love because they almost always just “jump in the shower”. I greeted him in a lovely Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress which, by the time I had sent him off to the tub, had become a bit unwrapped. I gave his back a good wash and then dried him, first roughly and then gently. Adult activities ensued and then we had another glass of wine and he booked me for the “full course dinner” later in the week.

Here’s where the life coach cover is great. He didn’t have the cash with him to cover the full cost of the next date; but my life coaching business is fully registered at PayPal and a credit card payment will show up on his bill very innocently. And lots of life coaches offer Skype sessions where you pay in advance. Perfect.

I set my rates to make sure I could do well with only a couple of dates a week at the start. I wanted to keep my day job if for no other reason than I didn’t want a hole in my resume. But the great advantage of having the day job is that my escorting income can be channeled through my life coaching company, taxed, and safely deposited. While cash is a lovely thing, the fact is that it doesn’t do a thing for your credit rating or your chances of getting a mortgage. One the other hand, I never bank or declare my cash tips. Those are my fun money.

By establishing a legitimate business identity early on I have been able to deduct a fair number of expenses. I also have been doing a bit of modelling with some of the photographers I have worked with on my site. I declare that income but I also write off things like make-up and hair, manicures and pedicures, intimate grooming and the occasional spa day which, if you want to look great, can really add up.

I am absolutely adamant with my clients: no reviews. None. I’ve had a few clients who have very much enjoyed my company and have wanted to write a review. They are a bit surprised when I ask them not to but they understand a bit better when I explain my reasons. Escort reviews leave the escort vulnerable to discovery by law enforcement. They also devalue a particular experience because a great deal of the fun of being with a courtesan is that the client will not know exactly what to expect. So far my clients have understood.

The other advantage of the life coach | counselor cover is that it is another layer between my escorting and any level of law enforcement. The police in DC are all about street prostitution and setting up “sting” operations. They are not very interested in higher end girls. Especially girls who are clever enough not to advertise locally. But you also have to think about higher end law enforcement like the FBI or IRS who are not looking to arrest escorts but who might want to put pressure on an investigation target if they can link him to an escort. My little brass plaque says “life coach | counselor”. It’s not bullet proof but it is a layer of protection.

There is always a slight risk advertising, even out of town, but by directing people to a private section of my website I further protect myself. To be extra careful, I host the website in Europe.

All this might sound excessive but I’ve been doing this for five years without a hitch. My student loans are long since paid off. Like any other business, you get better at escorting as you work. You also build up a solid list of regulars which makes the business a lot more predictable and, frankly, more fun.

I have kept my day job and I’ve been promoted twice. It’s actually funny. Most of my escorting clients live in the business/government world and if I go out in that world – and I have a surprising number of “arm candy” dates – there are certain bars and restaurants and hotels where these people gather. The people at work never go to these sorts of places. Probably because when they go out they are using their own money rather than putting it on an expense account.

Expense accounts are huge in Washington. Quite a few of my clients like to take me out for dinner on the company card. I am usually listed as a communications consultant which, of course, I have added to my legitimate business presence. The fact is that life coaching and counselling are personal expenses and hard to justify to the home office. Plus, it is a rare life coach or counsellor who charges $750 and up an hour with a $1000 minimum. Communications consultants, on the other hand, look plausible starting at a total invoice of $2500 and going up from there. And my better clients want invoices.

The biggest thing I realized setting up the business the way I did was that the sort of clients I want expect a high degree of professionalism and are willing to pay for it. And they are very used to paying professionals very well. In many ways I think they see escorts the same way they see wine; the more expensive it is the better it seems to taste.

My original thinking on rates which was to charge high but not excessive fees was actually hurting my business in the first couple of years. Where I had been aiming for $500 an hour with a two hour average, when I tried raising my rates to $1000 my business actually grew. Having my rates fairly high also gave me an even more select clientele. A bit older, a lot wealthier.

Even though I have a nice stable of regulars I still advertise selectively. The thing is that while there might be a hundred or a thousand men in a given city who can easily pay $1000 for an few hours fun, there are significantly fewer men who will pay an escort $2000 for the same experience and even fewer who will spend the $5000 a month my regulars often spend. So you always want a steady, if select, stream of new clients.

An escort at my level has only a few years to make her money. Partly it is because men like young women but there is also the fact that escorting is difficult to combine with the sort of life most women would like. I mean not every woman wants a husband, kids and a house but a lot do and, more importantly, I do. So I want to maximize my earnings from my peak escorting years.

By offering an ultra-discreet escorting service to a select group of affluent clients I am maximizing income and minimizing my risk of exposure. It turns out that there is a demand, especially in a city as political and gossipy as Washington, for a pretty girl who takes security and anonymity seriously. In fact it is a selling point. I had one regular client who suggested I make my little brass plaque with life coach | counselor | communications a bit bigger so that it would show up in long lens photographs of the entrance to my apartment. Paranoid? Probably. But I get at least one referral from him a month so, why not?

My business is partially about giving my escorting clients what they want in my bed, but it is just as much about giving them a safe place to relax and a good, bullet proof, story to tell in case their wife or, worse, their boss, starts asking questions. That security and anonymity are the valued added features which has made my escorting very lucrative. I went into the business with my eyes wide open. I knew what escorting was about and I have been successful because I have aligned my business with my clients’ needs. Same as any other business but, sometimes, a little more fun.