The Reality of Life as a London Escort
There are roughly three kinds of ‘working girl’ in the UK. The first can be found on the street. She is the classic prostitute: a night-worker, selling sex to men who pass in cars and on foot. She has low prices and high risks. The next works in a parlor or brothel alongside other women and she does ‘incalls‘ — men visit her place of work and she provides them with a massage and a happy ending of one flavor or another.
The last is the escort. She mostly does incalls but in her case the men flock to her apartment to indulge in pre-booked sessions of varying durations. The escort will either belong to an agency, which advertises her services, sends clients her way, and takes a cut of the money, or she’ll run everything herself — as an independent.
It was the independent UK escorts I decided I’d contact, for two reasons. My hunch was that I wouldn’t have much luck asking agencies to pass on my request to their catalogue of courtesans. I thought it would be better to bypass the middleman and reach out directly to the women I wanted to contact. The other reason was one of convenience. I knew that only a certain percentage of women I contacted would end up contributing to my research, so it was vital I get in touch with as many as possible—hundreds, in fact.
I found three massive directories of independent London escorts and set about harvesting their contact details. This is a good way of acquiring email addresses, but it isn’t strictly legal or respectable. In fact it’s tantamount to spamming, but I couldn’t think of any other option. I’d be as polite as possible in my email, make it clear that my intentions were strictly honorable, and hope for the best.
It was while collecting the details of thousands of women listed in the online directories that another idea occurred to me. Every one of these escorts had written a 100-word description of herself and her services for potential clients to peruse. There were 1,207 women. That equaled over 120,000 words I could analyze. I could therefore compare the words escorts use to describe themselves to the words punters use to describe them in their reviews, which I’d already discovered through my first investigation.
Would the London women emphasize the same traits men so often mention, like being slim and blonde? Would the women’s most mentioned height, bra size and dress size match the men’s? I decided I couldn’t pass up the chance to find out. I’d analyze the 1,207 self-written escort adverts while waiting for the responses to my spam email—I mean, my polite request for the ladies’ valuable input.
On the days she works, the average escort sees two clients, for two hours and makes £290. She works a 10-hour week, which puts her yearly salary at about £50,000. The question of how the women first entered the industry produced some very interesting answers. Quite a few responded to an advert put out by an agency after mulling over the idea for a while. One woman started after being offered (and accepting) £1,500 for a night of sex by a guy in a bar.
A couple of the women had more depressing reasons, like needing to support a child during hard times, and being forced into prostitution whilst homeless as a kid. Billie Piper’s TV portrayal of ‘Belle de Jour’, the high-class escort-turned-author, was also mentioned as a direct inspiration for getting into the business. However, at least five of the women said in other answers that Piper’s depiction of life as an escort was wildly inaccurate.
The women described the average client’s attitude towards sex as primarily being respectful, nervous and eager. I got the impression from the way the escorts spoke about their clients that they do respect the men who pay them for sex, but it’s mostly a professional type of respect, much like the kind any seller would have for a buyer.
This sentiment shone through in the women’s answers to two questions in particular: Would you consider being friends with a client? Most would, but only select clients. And Would you ever consider dating a client? 77% said no, they wouldn’t. Only 4 of the 30 had dated a punter. Whether this is because escorts tend to see their clients as being undesirable in some way is anyone’s guess. It could just be that, like in the rest of life, you don’t mix business with pleasure. Clients are clients.
When I asked why they think the men choose to pay to have sex with them, their responses were mixed but did contain one theme in particular: the men don’t get the sex and intimacy they desire elsewhere, or simply prefer it without the other ‘baggage‘ of a relationship. Read more about European escorts here.
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