Answers to escorting FAQ and examining a real-time instance of whore-phobia.
In late August, as I was preparing for a tour to Ottawa, I received a rather offensive email, seemingly out of the blue. It went something like this:
This, understandably, upset me. I was going about with my day, completing necessary tasks to prepare for a tour, including planning travel, accommodations, advertising and building a schedule, only to be interrupted by a disgruntled stranger. However, this email got me to thinking-why is it exactly that society seems to think that my work is incredibly easy and that escorts are “lazy”? This couldn’t be further from the truth, so to clarify some misconceptions, I’ve decided to answer some common, if not intrusive, questions.
Q: Are your parents proud of you?
Well, let’s see. Out of either side of my family, I’m the first in this generation to complete an undergraduate degree. I also anticipated my impending debt from student loans, and saved a large portion of my earnings from escorting to pay it off. It was such a wonderful feeling to put that behind me.
I’m currently one of the only individuals in my family living debt-free. I have managed to avoid having children before I am prepared to care for them, and I am currently living with a clean bill of sexual health. I’m self-sufficient, saving for property, further skills training and retirement… trying my best to do what I think is responsible.
So, are they proud of me? I would like to believe so. They know what I do, and although they worry for my safety- like any good parent would- they trust my judgment. I’m a healthy and well-adjusted adult who loves working in the adult industry. They’ve clearly done an excellent job at raising me, for which I am incredibly grateful.
Q: Do you pay taxes? Or do you use all the services taxes cover, for free?
Yes, I pay my taxes. I have done so every year since I was 16, and didn’t stop doing so when I became an escort in 2014. I actually pay an accountant for their advice on how to file properly, so that I don’t miss anything.
I also contribute to the Canadian Pension Plan, and donate to two different charities, all with money I have earned through escorting. I plan my finances accordingly so that I can be prepared for when I have to pay taxes. Politically, I am also more inclined to the left, and believe that most tax cuts are a bad idea in one way or another.
I also believe in giving back to my community, which is why I do a lot of pro-bono counselling for friends looking to explore the industry- a service for which I could charge, as many other SPs do. This last one is not tax-related, but there is often a misconception that escorts are self-centred and only in it for the money. Most of us are incredibly generous, but even so- there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something purely for money, or being self-centred some of the time. It is up to each individual provider as to how they want to manage their time and finances, and it is offensive to assume that we are automatically gaming the system and taking social services for granted.
Q: Sex Work isn’t Real Work.
This isn’t a question, nor is it a fact. In my experience, yes it is work. It just happens to be work that I enjoy, where I get paid a very livable wage- a combination that can be rare for young, recently-graduated individuals. There are many things I love about this career choice, including, but not limited to:
- I can control my schedule and benefit from more free time in comparison to a strict 9-5 standard;
- I’m my own boss. I make the rules;
- I can define how much my time is worth, instead of having someone else dictate what that looks like;
- I meet interesting people who have more life experience that I do, and learn from them;
- I get to safely explore my bisexuality with amazing duo partners;
- I can afford to take care of myself, weather through exercise, good quality food, therapy, or services to pamper myself;
- I can afford to pursue my passions, whether or not they are profitable, because I am already maintaining a steady income;
- I can plan for my future, now. And I do like to plan!
However, just like any profession, there are parts to sex work that I do not like at all. For instance, I have long, beautiful legs, but shaving them is not my favourite. I also take my sexual health seriously, meaning that I get complete screening frequently. I also have a crippling phobia of needles, yet blood-work is necessary during these checkups. I am also an incredibly shy person, believe it or not. Yet I overcome this every time I meet someone new, and I learn more about myself each time.
Unfortunately, I also have to deal with some not so nice people. Generally, I only deal with harassment over email, or via text if someone is upset with my prices. I have had random strangers email me very hurtful things to undermine me, and have had potential clients get upset over my prices because they think they are too high.
This last one always surprises me; I always include my up-to-date donations in every advertisement I place, usually right before my contact information. Meaning that to get to my contact information, one would have to read through my prices…ridiculous.
I have also had individuals get very upset when I specify that I am not comfortable with certain activities. Which, after a bit of research, is exactly what happened with this individual. He originally wanted to book me, but asked for personalized pictures and for a POV porn shoot during the session. I’m not currently comfortable with offering that type of service, and so I declined. Months later, the same person sent me an insulting email. But for what purpose exactly? It’s not like insulting me is going to encourage me to say, “oh- you’re so right! I have no self-worth, so I’ll do this thing I really don’t want to do now that you’re gone through the trouble of making me feel awful.”
I would also like to take this opportunity to share the fact that I have had someone text me for a session, asking for a duo, and get very upset when I asserted that we need to change condoms when switching between providers. He started attacking everything from my appearance to my rates to my “life-story”… because he was upset about me standing up for both my own and my duo partner’s health.
I have had a lot of different jobs in my short life. I’ve been a babysitter, a line-cook, an intern at a national environmental non-governmental organization, a receptionist, a hostess, a library clerk, a senior social media-marketing specialist, and a bartender. None of these jobs gave me the same degree of happiness, self-sufficiency or success that escorting does.
Even after graduating, with options in different fields that relate to my interests, I continue to choose escorting as a valid career choice. Because it is. Undoubtedly, I experience peaks and valleys- just like any other self-employed individual does. What is more difficult to overcome is the online harassment from strangers and the societal stigma that makes it difficult to openly discuss my life without fear of judgment.
A kind word of advice: if you are upset with a provider’s boundaries, you can simply search for someone else. There are so many excellent options out there, and a few will be an near-perfect match for you. It doesn’t do any good to insult someone and throw a tantrum like a toddler. That’ll just encourage me to share my bad experience with my community, making it harder for you to access what you seek. I wouldn’t go to a vegetarian restaurant and demand they prepare me a steak- because that would make me a difficult idiot. Be an informed consumer- researching and building anticipation is half the fun.