Like with most things, there are certainly some unique perks and downsides to the escorting business. From dry office humor to crude construction site banter, we tend to get more laughs out of our work when we congregate with others like ourselves. Birds of a feather flock together, as the old saying goes.
However, escorting is still very much “underground” in North America. We have a long way to go until we can openly and comfortably talk about sex work in a casual setting. While that kind of sucks, we seem to be making progress (albeit slowly). In the meantime, enjoy this list of five things that only escorts will understand and relate to.
- That awkward moment when someone you just met asks you “what you do.” This one would get me every single time. I would actually start trying to get a feel for how a person would react after they spoke their first few words directed at me. I’m a pretty decent judge of character and I’ve never disclosed my occupation to anyone who reacted negatively, but that’s probably because most of the people who asked were guys who happened to find it fascinating upon hearing my response. I won’t say that I always answered the question truthfully, because that would be a lie. If I didn’t have a good vibe from someone, I would say I was in between jobs or that I worked from home or something like that. Every answer was at least somewhat true. I almost always lied when it was a woman asking. That’s just somehow very different and few seem as if they would be accepting of such a response. Any lies I told over the years were more for the sake of other’s comfort than my own.
- What it’s like to take five showers. Every. Single. Day. Seriously, this might not sound that bad at first. But I challenge you to try doing it for a week straight and then see how your feelings change on the matter. There is nothing wrong with being clean and it’s certainly a necessity when working in this business; it kind of comes with the territory. After months of this on a near daily basis, the shower seems like an exhausting and repetitive chore that you basically dread after the first couple you take in a 24 hour period. On the bright side, I seem to always have my best ideas when in the shower. On the down side, I think it’s because of how damn boring it is to stand alone in silence while lathering yourself up for the fifth time since you woke up.
- Becoming isolated and antisocial until it feels normal. Luckily, I’ve never needed a huge social circle in order to be happy. In fact, I value my alone time and would probably go crazy without it. Not everyone feels that way though, and escorts are usually in a particularly sticky situation when it comes to friends and family being in the loop regarding what it is they do for a living. That can make things really tricky, especially if you consider yourself a people person and have a strong need for social interaction. Even if you keep your work a secret from your friends, you suddenly find yourself with less to talk about when you spend time with them and there is a lot of understandable awkwardness that hangs in the air between you and those whose company you enjoy.
- What it is like to live on the fringe of society, morally and financially. Speaking as an escort in the US, this is definitely something I have grown accustomed to over the last ten years. Most of the people you know probably expect things like a tax return, qualifying for bank loans, renting or buying a place to live, a job with health insurance and a long list of other important things that most people end up needing. Of course, those things are not without their own price tags. For example, most of those same people likely have employers they work for, a 9 to 5 work schedule, college degrees, credit cards, rental history and things of that nature. If you’ve worked in other industries before escorting or if you have a day job in addition to your escort work, then you may enjoy the same opportunities mentioned above. If escorting has been your main career, however, you may find these things difficult to attain or simply not possible. On the plus side, you don’t have to pay a dollar in taxes, have total control over your work and schedule and probably get to enjoy life more than most of your friends simply because you have more money and more time to do what you want in life.
- Being judged, criticized, belittled and somehow classified as “worse” than other types of sex workers. Stripping and starring in porn films is perfectly legal, so they are more acceptable and less “dirty” right? Wrong. But don’t be surprised if that’s the mentality you run into over and over again when people find out what you do to make money. It’s always amused me how often most people confuse morality with legality, since they rarely seem to intersect beyond the most extreme and universal crimes known to man. Women who catch wind of what you do will cast a watchful eye over you while smiling superficially, pulling their boyfriends a little closer as if you are going to snatch them away at any moment or something else ridiculous. Guys will usually either think it’s cool and want to have sex with you or they will think you need to be “saved” and try to become your White Knight. After the giant eyeroll reaction to all of that nonsense, just remind yourself that you can make the same amount of money in an hour as a brain surgeon or lawyer and you didn’t have to take out any student loans to get where you are right now. Let the haters hate.
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the escorting business, then I’d be willing to bet that all of those sound more than a little familiar. I could keep going with this list, this only scratches the surface. I can think of at least half a dozen other woes and wows that come as part of the sex work package, but we’ll save them for another day.