Chat with Escort

Today we’re stepping away from our usual diatribe of ICOs and fundraising, to learn more about the business of an escort in Canada’s biggest city. As a reminder, our pre-ICO sale is on until January 31st.

Escorting really is the world’s oldest profession, and hearing the term ‘escort’ often spurs comments and criticisms of all varieties, most of which are unfounded or based in fiction. Although the street-walking scenes in Pretty Woman are a reality for many, the fairy-tale lifestyle that follows is most definitely not. Escorting, like any freelance work, is a real job that requires grit, hustle, and perseverance, and a level of initiative few possess.

“Most people don’t understand the business side of escorting,” says Isobel, a Toronto-based escort. “Many clients think that we spend our free time laying in bed, waiting for a man to call us so we can have him make mad passionate love to us all night long. Or other escorts think that all we do is travel and shop.” A lot this, she says, is perpetuated by what gets presented on social media such as Twitter. “You see escorts tweeting amazing dinners, hotels, spas, trips, gifts, etc., and then you wonder ‘damn, what am I doing wrong?’ if that’s not something you benefit from.” The Myth versus The Reality (image by @MsAvaStClaire)

What people often never see is the business of escorting. All that tweeting is marketing, and speaking as a sex worker, we’re trying to get you to notice us; to show off our personality or looks in some way, so that clients might get on board to book. Sure, much of it is fun, but much of it is work, too. Contrary to popular belief, we’re not lying in wait to be taken to ecstasy.

Marketing is a huge part of an escort’s work, and although there are many options, only a few stand out as go-to places where clients may look, each with their own problems. Eros just experienced a raid last fall, and although still online, who knows what their future holds. Slixa is a beautifully designed site, although lacks reach among clients. Review boards are another option, although many escorts are veering away from this culture.

“Advertising is expensive. Some months I’ve spend close to $1000, depending on if I’m traveling or not,” Isobel claims. “You have to look at the cost to acquire each new client and see where that client comes from. If an ad platform doesn’t perform, I won’t bother.”

Another major concern for sex workers is security and safety, which is why many escorts conduct some level of screening to ensure the person they meet won’t harm them.

“Some clients are great with screening, others outright refuse. When I ask for screening information, I essentially want to know if this person is safe, sane, and will pay the agreed-upon donation. I don’t care about his personal life, job, or any of that. Sure, I want to get to know him, but the fact he’s a ‘good-looking 30 something white guy’ doesn’t inspire any level of confidence with me,” says Isobel.

She says that some clients refuse screening because they’re afraid of an escort stalking them, or they’re afraid of getting caught. Now that Bill C-36 is the rule in Canada, making it legal to sell sexual services, but illegal to buy them, clients are more wary of providing personal information by unsecure means. Instead of protecting sex workers, the Bill just makes it more dangerous because it drives everything underground and makes it even harder to screen.

Last-minute cancellations are common in the escort industry, Isobel says. Some months she’s experienced up to 20% of her booked hours as cancellations or no-shows, which impacts her bottom line.

“If I spend money booking an incall location for a date, I still have to pay that fee whether my client shows up or not. And now that I’ve booked time off to see one person and he blows me off, I may have had to refuse others for that same time.”

Often times clients won’t pay a cancellation fee to help offset costs, so Isobel takes a

deposit for dates longer than 2 hours, just in case. “But people paying deposits are far less likely to cancel; if they do, they usually make it up.”

“It would be great to have a service that helps take care some of these issues — good marketing, deposits, screening, that sort of thing. When I heard you guys were developing PinkDate, I got super excited. Hurry up, will you?” Isobel jokes.

Luckily for her, we’re on track for our February 14th Toronto launch. This launch is invite only. To reserve your spot, email me at sarah@pinkdate.is.

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