The online diary of a gay courtesan.

Rant: Livelihood vs career

In light of what is happening with Rekers there are a great many conversations out there dominated by people who should shut the fuck up.

“Escorting is a livelihood, not a career.”

Oh, really? Well, look who knows so much.

Let’s take a moment to evaluate whether or not escorting is a career. A career is that work one does for which one is paid, and it is generally supported by personal investment, training, expertise, and networking. I would like to address each of these in turn as a proof that although escorting can be “only” a livelihood, it can also be a full-fledged career.

Personal Investment

As Dolly Parton said, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” Let me just tell you what I have to pay in order to play the part. Equivocate this to paying for college if you will; however, know that careers generally involve a huge investment on an individual’s part, and adult entertainment is no exception. This is what it costs me to maintain the Devon Hunter brand:

  1. Personal training at $40/hour, 2-3 times/week
  2. High quality food at $100 – $150/week
  3. Products from Aveda (because you may was well eat what you put on your skin) at $150/month
  4. Therapeutic massage to break down muscle and remove toxins at $65/hour, 1-2 times/week
  5. Supplements such as vitamins and muscle maintenance at $125/month

If you want me to keep looking like I look, it’s going to cost me about $1500/month. At about $18,000/year, that is a college education. This doesn’t include the in-kind spa services that a friend treats me to (I probably got $500 worth of hair coloring, teeth bleaching, and face peeling yesterday). I am investing in my profession, so that I can remain competitive in a glutted market. I have to offer what employers want. Period.

Training

I cannot speak for all escorts, but the best among us study and train. We hire at first, in order to emulate, or associate with high quality escorts who help us avoid pitfalls. We learn a code of conduct. We talk to people who hire escorts to understand the culture of the interactions. We are honed into the equivalent of courtesans in Europe and geisha in Japan. We are artists with a variety of techniques and skills of many types and purposes. I happen to be a very vocal and open escort (concerning my thoughts and my humanity), but you are na├»ve if you think my experiences differ all that much from any others’. There is a process to becoming an escort. Any tramp can be a two-bit whore who throws his legs in the air for $20 with 10 minutes notice. It take time and skill to be what we are. Art is what makes it look easy.

Expertise

Every career has a set of skills unique to it which require a submission of the self to the technique. It goes without saying that a skilled escort will have honed his expertise for a particular group of clients. I happen to focus on the Boyfriend Experience (BFE). It’s what I like, and it is what I would want for myself. And that makes it easy for me to offer, and it makes it pleasurable for me to give. I would be a terrible fetish escort. I would fail at it. It isn’t my area of expertise. I am very gifted at emotional and personal connections. I am good at it. Other escorts have learned the safety issues and refined practices for whatever it is they do (e.g. S/M, B/D, water sports, extreme play, etc.). They practice their skills and learn the body. We, all of us, learn about people in intimate ways that rival the intricacies of professionals in other fields. And we charge professional fees accordingly. If you want a two-bit fuck, then go pay $20 for one. They are available, and it might be what you need. But… If you want an experience that goes beyond this… Well, you pay for that too.

Networking

Whether it be through advertising, introductions at social events, or any other method of contact, a professional escort has to build and maintain a network. The best escorts see the same clients over and over and over and over. Why? Because we’re professionals! In whatever industry you are in, how much of your sales come from established accounts, and what would happen to you if you were not to maintain those relationships? It should go without saying that professional adult entertainers of all types are highly organized, savvy, and professional people. My rant here doesn’t make me less of a professional, in my opinion. I would equate this entry to making the outside world privy to the break room banter that I would have with any other professional in my industry when something is vexing us.

You have just witnessed what I would say to any escort or exotic dancer when some stupid ass tells me that my profession is “only” a livelihood.

8 comments

1 christopher { 05.07.10 at 6:28 pm }

I think that often the most is learned about/from another when they let their hair down and vent in the form of a rant. I find this instance no different as you have demonstrated that you’re not only a handsome man, but one o character and diligence.

You make me proud to read your posts and discover the man behind the beauty.

2 Charlie { 05.07.10 at 8:23 pm }

The personal investment may not be cheap but the end result is just outstanding. If you were any cuter, this state would require you to get a license to get out in public.

As for the massage, it may not be as theraputic as your specifications require, but I will gladly give you all the massage you can handle at absolutely no charge.

3 Justin { 05.08.10 at 9:33 am }

Honestly, how is it any different from any of the other ‘service’ professions. Ask anyone who thinks otherwise if they have a favorite mechanic, dentist, hair stylist, and on and on. We latch onto these people because they do good work and, arguably, more importantly, we trust them. We trust that they know what they’re doing and that they have our best interest at heart. I’d say given the work you do, all of the above gets knocked up a notch or two.

Ummm, sorry for the mini-rant of my own! LOL!

4 Justin { 05.08.10 at 9:36 am }

Erm, quick follow-up. A little ‘parable’ I heard recently from someone who was trying to tell me I was worth what *I* charged.

Wealthy man goes to a famous artist and asks for a sketch of himself. The artist agrees and whips up a sketch in about 5 minutes.

He gives it to the customer who admires it and asks, “How much?” The artist says “$5,0000.” The customer sputters, “$5,000?! That took you just 5 minutes to do.”

The artist calmly replies, “No sir. That took me a lifetime.”

5 Devon { 05.08.10 at 11:51 am }

OOOOOOOOOO! Justin, now THAT is why I love artists! How very eloquent… I love it. And thank you, guys, for your sentiments. Sometimes I just have to say aloud what I know inside. Charlie: I will hold you to that massage.

6 Pete { 05.08.10 at 1:48 pm }

Devon, this is a wonderful explanation of the hard WORK that the best escorts put into their careers, of which you are among them. The physical requirements alone are pretty incredible, which I bet most clients have not really considered, if at all. I worked for years in a profession-dealing with the public-which required enormous amounts of time and energy to do it at the highest level, and yet I fairly often would encounter “customers” who acted as though ANYBODY could do my job-even minimally-and who said things that clearly reflected that attitude (plus you could see they were looking down their noses at me!). No matter how hard I tried, it was impossible to not be affected negatively by such insensitive louts, so I can appreciate how you feel. The break room became a valuable place to let off steam, and I thank you for letting us be in YOUR “blog break room” and listen to yours. But please know that a lot of us “get it” and respect you and how well you do what you do.

In your case, I’m so glad you’ve taken the time to write this out for everybody, since clients need to learn how to be good clients, just as you worked (and continue to work) hard to learn to be a good escort. I hope your words will help educate folks here.

If you carefully read the ads in escort-listing sites, it’s pretty clear that not all escorts approach their work with the great care that you do, hence they get no where near the category of “the best.” Some say things that make me shake my head-and are easy to pass by-but unfortunately, sometimes they say the right words but don’t live up to what they say at all.

LOVE the Dolly Parton quote….

7 Paul { 05.09.10 at 4:22 pm }

This incident brings up the question of confidentiality. Though Rekers’ companion did speak to the press, given the extensive press coverage the comments seem superfluous. At what point does the client’s actions warrant a breach in confidentiality: an an attack on human rights (such as with Prof. Rekers)? an attack on the escort? endangering another?

At any rate Rekers gets no sympathy from me; he brought this upon himself.

8 Devon { 05.10.10 at 8:21 am }

Hey Paul,

It’s an interesting turn-about, n’est-ce pas? Normally it’s the clients who do all the worrying that an escort will not preserve discretion; however, whenever I hear about a scandal involving a Rentboy it’s always the CLIENT who has not been careful, and has exposed the escort to criticism… Funny how that works. But yes, I agree: Rekers was bad enough for being a hypocrite (and a liar if what the reporters who listened to his speakerphone conversation with Geo have reported accurately), but he was even worse for being arrogant enough to be careless. You know, he gets paid tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for “expert testimony” when he does his work in the courts to hurt gay people. I certainly hope he didn’t balk at the boy’s rate. He sure as hell better have tipped ALOT too.

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