Category — Career Advice
A few hours ago, Federal Agents raided the offices at Rentboy. I was trying to figure out how to talk about this entry, having just done Part 9 of 13: STDs only a few days ago. Part of what I mentioned in Part 9 of 13 is risk tolerance and risk reduction. I knew I would have to address risk again in this entry, but I didn’t realize it would be under these circumstances. I personally know some of the people named in the indictment, and I am appalled. These are people who have invested in helping escorts to work safely, and who have started a program to give assistance to escorts needing help paying for school. I have known Hawk since 1999, and he is one of the most singularly kind, intelligent, daring, brave, accepting, and creative people I have ever met. He is amongst the people I met during my graduate school days who struck me as being a genius. I sincerely hope they all will be okay, but I am thinking especially about my friend. Here is a response from an attorney in Florida about the situation.
This is infuriating. Actions like this do nothing to undermine human traffickers, and they do nothing to “rescue” anyone. What I see is the individual agency of private citizens being undermined in an absurd attempt to score PR points. With everything else happening in the world, THIS is what gets attention, energy, and human resources? I feel like I’ve never not been criminalized just for being alive. When I was young it was the sodomy laws that essentially made it illegal for me to be gay. Then it was the convoluted laws creating opportunities for the authorities to attack me for dancing in clubs. Now this. How can anyone equate “right,” “fair,” “legal,” and “just” when none of them have anything to do with each other?
I had been trying to figure out how to say this, but at the moment I think being blunt would be best: As of 2015, you have no rights or protections as an adult entertainer. Taadaaaah! Know this going forward: The best way to avoid legal problems is to not get caught in the first place. There is a reason I have vetted hard. There is a reason I have made myself difficult to meet. There is a reason I am very quick to stop responding when I even think there might be red flags. There is no situation that cannot be made worse by involving the police. They are not your friends, and they are not on your side. As much as possible, avoid getting their attention (unless you are an activist, and specifically want to make a point).
I’m not a lawyer, so I cannot give you sound advice. Also, there’d be no point in my trying to do so, because every jurisdiction is different. Your state or country will be different from mine, so there’s nothing I can offer except, “pay attention.”
Before you decide to go forward as an adult entertainer, you have to accept that you will be marginalized in practically every way you can think of (and some ways you cannot). If you are caught, you will be at the mercy of whichever institution has detained you. This entry is short (and probably not very practically helpful by comparison), but there really isn’t much to say. In fact, that is the best idea in this: Say nothing until your lawyer is present. If possible, try to put some money on retainer with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense.
August 25, 2015 2 Comments
Let’s get something very clear up front: I am not a doctor. Also, I’m not telling you to have sex for money. I’m not even assuming that you’ll have sex with your clients/club patrons/phone callers/Skype watchers/etc. (though it’s a given, if you choose to shoot videos that involve other people being in the scene with you). What I propose to do here is supply you with some no-nonsense advice. That’s all I’m able to do. Educate yourself. Make informed choices.
Risk Management. There’s no way around this: You have to get used to tolerating risk (more on this in “Part 10: Legalities”). Adult entertainers are marginalized in practically every way imaginable. The best way to survive is to understand risk. Respect risk without fearing it. Understand how to minimize it, and accept that you can never truly eliminate it (N.B. This is true about life in general.). If you cannot tolerate risk, then this isn’t the career for you.
Compatible Primary Care Physicians. It’s vital that you find a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who’ll work with you without judgment, regardless of your profession. This becomes even more important if your private or work life is unconventional. You’ll need to speak frankly with this person, so it’s crucial that you see someone who doesn’t have prejudices that will interfere with your care. Seek out references for PCPs who are known to be sensitive to your needs.
PrEP. HIV is now manageable to a degree that was only imagined not long ago. This is excellent, of course; however, it’s also become common lately for people to be “Neg and on PrEP.” Frankly, that is a red flag: It’s essentially saying, “I want to fuck bareback.” PrEP is intended to be part of a regimen of risk reduction, not the sole shield against infections. I don’t use it, but I don’t feel I need it. PrEP is supposed to be the back up, in case a condom breaks. PrEP provides zero protection against anything except HIV transmission. Forgoing condoms will elevate your risk for everything that’s mitigated by using them. You should be simultaneously using a variety of strategies to reduce risk of exposure to STIs. If you feel PrEP is helpful to you, by all means take it; however, don’t be deluded into thinking it’s the only tool you should be pulling out of the toolbox. My line of reasoning is this: If I use condoms, I won’t need PrEP; however, if I use PrEP, I’ll still need condoms.
Immunizations. I’ve chosen to be immunized for those infections that can be largely prevented. Some people have criticized me for “overkill,” but I think they’re idiots. End of story. If there isn’t a contraindication preventing immunization, they’re an excellent way to reduce risk. Ask your PCP about vaccinations, and explain why you’re at elevated risk. If you don’t tell your PCP bluntly why you’re interested in these shots, you may be advised you don’t need them. My PCP knows my situation. In 2013, he brought up immunizations when there were deadly outbreaks of bacterial meningitis amongst gay men in New York City and Los Angeles. He encouraged me to get the shot, and I said yes. Airports have made the world a very small place… Your PCP may not think of this, so be sure to ask.
Frequent screening. Your situation will define “frequent.” For me, I get screened and tested every six months. Your PCP might suggest a more frequent schedule; however, my PCP has told me that monthly visits are ineffective and expensive. But perhaps you need to go that often? Some people go quarterly. You have to evaluate this with your PCP. But you definitely should stay current on all the facets of your health and wellness.
Do you post your status or not? One of the methods by which people can reduce risk is to sero-sort (to have sex only with people of the same HIV/STD status). I’ve chosen to keep my HIV status publicly posted and updated over the years for a few reasons: 1) People would notice if I went past the six-month mark, so it obliges me to stay on top of my health monitoring; 2) I want to encourage people to know their own status; 3) most people are HIV/STI-negative, and they want to sero-sort. There’ll be people who’ll criticize this choice for their own post-modern rationalizations concerning HIV stigma. That’s fine. I know HIV is now manageable (by taking a pill every day for the rest of your life that costs +$1,000/month). Politically correct messaging aside: HIV is not yet curable, and infections shouldn’t be so cavalierly dismissed. If you’re Poz, you’ll likely know firsthand that managed HIV is still HIV+. I know plenty of people who are Poz, and not a single one of them has ever said, “My life is so much better now that I live with HIV.” If you can avoid getting it in the first place, do so. This isn’t an endorsement to be rude, dismissive, mean, or hateful toward people who are Poz. This is an endorsement to mitigate risk, so that when you have Poz partners (known to you or not), you’ll be less likely to seroconvert. Something else to consider are laws in your area that require you to inform your partner(s) about your positive HIV/STD/STI status. Knowingly exposing people to HIV without informing them in advance is a felony in many places.
Symptoms & Communication. So, what do you do when you’re exposed to an STD/STI? Get treated immediately! As soon as possible after/Simultaneously to this, discreetly alert the people you’ve seen within the timeframe of your exposure until the present. Don’t have sex until you’ve completed the prescribed treatment. People may be upset with you after you tell them, but most will likely be glad you told them. People have to accept their own part in exposing themselves to risk, but you have a responsibility to inform them, so that they can take necessary action. Also, if you don’t alert your partners, and they don’t get treated, you’ll be re-exposed if you see them again. If you think they’ll be mad when you DO tell them about cooties, what do you think they’ll be when they find out you knew and didn’t tell them?
August 19, 2015 No Comments
I came back feeling much better than before I left, and coming out of that funk made me realize that I need to be more proactive about taking care of myself emotionally. I was diagnosed Bipolar II in 1999, but I hadn’t had symptoms (that I could recognize) since 2011 or so, and I hadn’t had therapy since 2005. When everything started slowly unraveling in my family, traces of the emotional cycling began. Then I lost several people in short order. Then current events (and people’s posts about the events on social media) began piling on top of me. Eventually I was in the midst of a full-on funk. I was in a very dark place for a few months. I can hardly function during those nadirs, which is why I took nearly all of May and June off this year. It’s July, and I’m only just now starting to feel like I can begin a lighter travel schedule again. But part of what I did decide while I have the clarity of mood, thought, and energy is that I need to seek help from a therapist WHILE I FEEL GOOD. I will not do it while I feel bad, so I have to do it NOW. In this way the relationship and resources will already be in place when I eventually downshift again. I will see my new councilor for the first time on Monday. So, I feel productive for finally taking this step after more than a decade of avoiding it. Also, it was time to do my semi-annual HIV/STI test, and I needed to do a follow up after my horrible cholesterol results from January.
I have Hypercholesterolemia.
What the fuck???? I exercise 3-6 times per week, depending on how motivated my moods allow me to be. But when I do work out, I go intensely. I drink a gallon of water every day! I went practically fucking vegan these last couple months! GRRRRRR!
7/31/2012: In 2012 I was already in the midst of a weight gain phase that lasted from 2010 until 2013 (see progress pic at left illustrating 2009 vs 2014). I was purposefully and specifically avoiding cardio/dance and eating vast amounts of food (much of it junk, meat, and dairy), as I purposefully added 30 pounds to my frame (much of it as body fat, not muscle = “doing a dirty bulk”). I was focusing on gaining mass. The doctor told me to increase my cardio, but I put that off for six months.
1/6/2015: In 2013 I started a protracted leaning phase. I began 18 months of intermittent fasting, and started doing High Intensity Interval Training three times per week. I think the fasting and cardio training must have radically improved my triglycerides and VLDL, but I can’t explain why the LDL would spike (I was eating LOTS of Chipotle in 2013/2014, but food cholesterol isn’t supposed to be affecting serum cholesterol).
7/9/2015: Anyway, after I got the January 2015 results I immediately cut out Chipotle, cleaned my diet up SIGNIFICANTLY, but then cleaned it up even more in May when I went practically vegan on the advice of my new trainer (see progress pic at right illustrating 2014 vs 2015). In the last six months my triglycerides and VLDL improved again, but my LDL went up slightly in spite of everything. Ergo: Time to look at options for pills when nothing the body does on its own is enough.
The reason I am posting this is to impress that no matter how you appear, regardless what you think your fitness levels indicate, you really must get your annual physicals. While I was without insurance, prior to the Affordable Care Act, I tried for many years to just do the best I could with diet and exercise (1999 was not only the year I was diagnosed Bipolar II, it was also the year I got my first cholesterol test, and it was already at +190 way back then – I had insurance while I was in graduate school at UCLA). Driving blind is what landed me in my 2012 situation, which I then assumed I could “fix” on my own with diet and exercise. I waited nearly three years to check on it again, and suddenly my doctor was threatening to put me on statins. Six months later, and I was assuming yet again that the improved diet, training, and aesthetic results would indicate all is well. Nope.
Assuming you know everything about your wellness can lead to dangerous health risks going unmonitored. No matter how conditioned/fit or deconditioned/fat you are, do make sure you are getting as full a picture as possible of what is happening inside your body. My dad suffered multiple strokes, but I wasn’t surprised: He still abuses his body and neglects his health/wellness. The worst thing about his strokes may be that he survived them. He is utterly debilitated and miserable. I do NOT want that for myself.
July 10, 2015 8 Comments
I have been dreading it for one year. I have been resisting it for two years. I have been considering it for three years. But now I really have no choice: I have to raise my rates.
The fee schedule I originally created has been in place since 2010 – it has been untouched for over five years. I’m going to keep the structure essentially the same, but the base rate upon which I generate all the multi-hour discounts ($250 for a one-hour in-call) is no longer enough. In this entry I will explain again how I think about fees.
I see a maximum of three clients in a day. I space them out by at least one hour, but prefer two or three hours, whenever scheduling permits. This keeps me fresh and upbeat at every appointment. As I said in Part 8 of (the unfinished series… yes, I know I need to complete it) “Establishing a Career in Adult Entertainment, Economics:”
Over the course of a week I am looking for 7 – 12 billable hours during trips away from home (and only 3-6 billable hours if I stay in Charlotte for the week). I need two billable hours to cover hotel and food; one or two to cover airplane fares; three to amass the money I need that week for living expenses; and then the difference goes toward savings, personal/creative projects, and/or spending money. This means that out of a maximum of 12 billable hours in a week (this is one way I avoid burnout!), a quarter of the money goes immediately back into my travel expense account, a quarter goes towards bills, and half goes to me.
That same formula still applies; however, the variables have changed. Inflation happens. From 2009 – 2013 there were more carriers flying out of Charlotte. Now USAirways has integrated with American Airlines, and the merger has resulted in consistently and significantly higher fares to many of my cities. A roundtrip flight between Charlotte and NYC had been $200-$300. I’m in NYC as I write this, and the flight this time was $500. Yay for unchecked capitalism! Also, from 2009 – 2012/2013 people weren’t traveling as much for work. Not only the airlines, but hotels were desperate to get butts into seats. For years I was able to get deeply discounted hotel rooms by using a corporate code from a friend. I could get into good hotels for only $35-$99/night. Now, even in places like Little Rock, the rooms start at $75/night, but they average $125. With the discount. In Little Rock. Arkansas. Think about that. Also, parking, ads, food, etc. have all increased since 2010.
Whether I like it or not, I have to adjust up. There are other concerns too:
- For years I was priced at the uppermost range of what most escorts were charging. This vetted out cheap, dickering time wasters. Lately I have been getting more messages from these unpleasant people. I went online, took a gander, and behold: Without me realizing it, my stagnated fee had become “average.” Oh, no, no, no, honey… Uhn uh. No. Don’t you ever use the word “average” about me ever again. No. I used to raise my eyebrows when someone’s base fee was $300 or higher, but now that range is common. Time to bump up and maintain connections with clients I can afford. Average??? Me?! Pfft!! LOL Have you seen my booty??? Okay then… It costs a lot of money to maintain the appearance people want and expect from me (which brings me to point #2).
- I keep getting fitter and fitter. For real: My new trainer is Charlotte’s only vegan body builder, and he is cleaning me up and whopping my ass! This dude, the large amounts of organic food he wants me to eat, and the vegan supplements he wants me to use all cost way more than the trainer, food, and supplements I was using in the past. (I need to figure out how to update the pics in the carousel on my gallery page – those pics don’t look like me anymore.) Not to be a bitch, but I’m turning out to be one of those dickheads who keeps getting better with age. AND THAT COSTS MONEY TO MAINTAIN. If these silly, lesser heauxxx can charge more than me (and yes, many of them are silly, lesser heauxxx), you can bet your ass I’m not letting them leave me in the dust. No, sir. Nope. They’re not hotter than me. They’re not smarter than me. They’re not nicer than me. They’re not funnier than me. They sure as shit aren’t more transparent than me. They’re not more educated than me. They’re not more experienced than me. They’re not more reviewed than me. THEY’RE NOT BETTER THAN ME. Their videos are more current, but I don’t happen to give a damn about the “prestige” of gay porn. If the top dudes are charging $300-$400 nowadays…
- My grandmother died recently. And that fucking sucks worse than I can possibly convey to you. I have been struggling lately to even function. She was like a second mother to me. Because of the relationships ruined between gramma and every individual person in the family (except me), I have had to grieve alone and between work obligations. The rampant dysfunction in my family became an all-out feud once gramma passed away. She had six children, but chose me to be the executor of her estate and her personal representative – what does that tell you about my five worthless uncles? Also, as I dig deeper into gramma’s choices over the four years after grampa died in 2011, I learn more and more about her that tarnishes my memory of her. One of the reasons I have taken so much time off from work these last six months is because I have not been emotionally viable as an escort. I’ve finally wrapped my head around the family situation, and I’m back on track (though dented, dinged, and a tad more cynical). At any rate, I absolutely cannot contend with the estate and rampaging family drama and also be stressed out about the eroding value of my out-dated base rate.
June 5, 2015 5 Comments
Some time back I made a trip to Philly to visit my friend Dean Sage. He is a very talented and creative writer, producer, and artist. While I was visiting we did a series of photo shoots and video interviews. This video is a short explanation concerning the problems that can come from going into adult entertainment for affirmations and/or approval. I hope you will find it helpful. In a nutshell: It is a mistake, because whether or not you get the affirmation/approval you seek, it will have very little to do with you as a person. It is far better to go into adult entertainment with your sense of esteem, identity, and self already in place. It is best to find your approval inside yourself, rather than dispempowering yourself and putting yourself at the mercy of strangers, trolls, and other anonymous people. They will randomly build you up and tear you down at their whims.
April 4, 2015 2 Comments