04 Jan How To Find An Escort
Dan Savage and Mistress Matisse have some top-shelf advice on how to pick the best wo/man for the job.
I have google alerts set for lots of things related to sex work and escorting. A lot of that is carryover from my days working with Rentboy, where knowing about stuff relating to the industry was way more a part of my job than it maybe is now. So I get lots of emails whenever something big happens, and periodic emails about nonsense when nothing huge is going on. But either way, there’s always a bit of breath-holding when I open those emails to see what terrible journalism or judgmental bullshit awaits me at the other end of the link.
So it’s always something of a prozac raindrop from a thundercloud of depression when I pop into one of those alerts and it’s smart, charming, accurate advice from people I admire instead. Behold, today’s alert: “Dan Savage: How to Find an Escort” via the East Bay Express.
I was so pleased with Mr. Savage’s decision to hand over the advice-giving here to Mistress Matisse (who you should definitely be following on twitter if you’re not already), a lady who is fantastically educated and knowledgeable about sexwork (and definitely not afraid to talk about what she knows) and lists the #rightsnotrescue hash right in her bio. So you know she’s serious business.
Here’s the setup for their advice offerings:
My brother is a virgin and turning 30 in a few weeks. He said he wants to hire an escort just for drinks and conversation for his birthday, but he doesn’t really know how to tell what’s a reliable service or what criteria he should be looking for to tell whether an agency is legit, reliable, etc. I’m very happy he came to me with this, because I can tell it’s not something he wants to share with many people — but I don’t have any advice or knowledge to pass on regarding this and I want to respect his privacy by not discussing it with everyone in our social circles. Do you have any advice in regards to what he should be looking for?
— My Younger Brother’s Romantic Order
I’ve read that a number of times now and I am completely unable to determine the gender of the sibling, or the preferred gender of the companion they’re looking to track down. It’s a shockingly well crafted paragraph that really supports the anonymity of everyone involved. If you can decode it, gimme a shout because my curiosity it killing me (though not because it’s particularly significant here).
Anyway, here’s what was on offer, as far as replies:
“Look to social media,” said Mistress Matisse, a writer, sex worker, and sex-workers-rights activist. “Now that so many review boards have been taken down, social media is the best way to find a good independent escort.”
About those review boards: Law enforcement agencies, always on the lookout for ways to “save” sex workers by making their jobs more dangerous, have gone after online sites, aka review boards, where clients rated and ranked escorts and — more importantly— escorts communicated with each other about safety, clients to avoid (flaky, rude, unhygienic), and clients they absolutely shouldn’t see (erratic, threatening, violent). Elizabeth Nolan Brown wrote a great piece for Reason about the issue last fall (“The Truth About the Biggest US Sex Trafficking Story of the Year,” September 9, 2016), and everyone should go read it at Reason.com.
Anyway, MYBRO, back to your brother and Matisse’s advice.
“I’m not saying ‘no social media’ equals ‘bad escort,'” said Matisse. “There are lots of good escorts who don’t have much of a social-media presence. But if you want to get to know a little about who someone is before you meet them, that’s just how you do it now.”
Another rarely discussed, perfectly legal alternative to figuring out if an escort is for real: pay them to meet up for drinks and conversation, which just so happens to be all your brother wants (or all he’s willing to tell you he wants).
“Obviously, this is not a good option for the budget-conscious,” said Matisse. “But if you want to test your chemistry and create some trust on both sides before booking a private date, it’s a solid way to go. Note the keyword, though: PAY her for her time. (Most ladies have a public social meeting fee that’s lower than private-time rates.) And remember the basic rules when you do decide to set a private-time date: Don’t ask about sex and don’t talk about money other than to briefly acknowledge that you have seen her rates and agree to pay for her time. Expect to use condoms and to abide by the rules of whoever you’re seeing.”
I’m completely in awe of Matisse’s tact and skill at bringing up the dismantling of review boards (which I don’t think ever receives the attention it deserves, except from the providers who are disenfranchised by their disappearance), in a situation where she clearly could have just said “I dunno. Twitter.”
If you’re here reading this, it’s very very likely that it’s because of social media in one form or another. That’s been the cornerstone of my online presence pretty much from the outset of my career, and is likely the only reason that anyone knows who I am at all, since I’m not traditionally a go out and meet people at parties kinda guy.
I also really like the suggestions of a ‘just drinks’ date to get to know someone before you commit to anything more serious. I’ve had a ‘first date‘ option on the board for a while now and it’s been a great way to really begin to form a genuine bond with somebody to put any of their fears or hesitations to rest. It’s also, on two occasions, been a way for someone to spend time with me and decide that I’m simply not the guy for them. I can’t tell you what a relief that is to have up front, instead of trying to force chemistry later that may never happen!
In short, this is brilliant, concise and accurate advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about. If you’re on the hunt for someone, you’ll learn far more about what they’re really about from their social media or personal websites than you ever will from their photoshopped Rentmen photos, and a paragraph of typos (self)congratulating their sexual prowess.
Good on you, Mistress Matisse, and good on you Dan Savage. Four for you.