My Club is in decline (and I should probably go elsewhere)

I did some math and realize that I’ve been making half of what I usually make at work since June. This is unacceptable.

I realized that this coincides with a beloved manager leaving. He was strict, but he ran things really well and he actually cared about the girls. If you respected yourself, he respected you. He gave me a hard time a couple times when I started working there, but I really grew to like him, like a lot of the girls did. And he was sharp. He was a very good-looking well-dressed man… always took pride in his appearance, always talked to the girls. He was on top of everything. The club was polished, classy, and well-run.

Well, he got offered a better job, allegedly managing some high-end restaurant. (And probably kicking ass at it.) Things at the club have been in decline. For instance, the clientele, the girls, the facilities, and the VIP staff. Let’s go over it.

Clientele – There seem to be fewer high net worth individuals coming in. I’m certainly doing fewer VIP rooms. Most nights I’d do at least one. On good nights, I’d do two. But lately, the guys are all “oh it’s too expensive to go upstairs.” Or “But I just get a dance upstairs… I want more than a dance… what can we DO up there?” Which is different from how it used to be.

Girls – There are more girls, and the girls that are hired aren’t as hot as they used to be. They’re hiring indiscriminately. The more girls that work, the more house fees are paid, the more the management takes home even if the club makes less money. It seems to be a tactic for clubs in decline.

Facilities – The club is more of a mess than it’s ever been. First of all, it hasn’t been cleaned in ages. Girls just leave things on top of the lockers that stay there for months. Last night on top of my locker, there was a hair iron, a green dress, random empty paper bags, shoes, an empty glass jar of cocoa butter… for awhile there were even fairy wings! This mess prevents us from putting our shoes or bags on top of the locker. And not enough girls have lockers so they leave their bags all over the place. There’s not enough space to sit or do makeup!

Furthermore, the locker room is regularly used as storage for management. A few weeks ago, there was a pyramid of chairs filling up a third of it. It was a hazard! I needed to get to something so I moved one of them and all of the chairs fell down! And they were big, heavy chairs. It was a hazard. I could’ve really hurt myself. Recently, they’ve been using the locker room to store excess liquor stock too. It’s a direct insult to those of us that pay “facility usage fees.”

VIP staff is becoming nastier and nastier –  The hosts are nasty to the customers. The customers rarely get out of VIP without spending around $600 (and this is on the super low end… this is for a half hour, with a small tip for me and the host, and 2 cocktails with a small tip for the server). That’s a significant amount of money. A customer at a decent restaurant or bar with a $600 tab would be treated with respect. Why are they treated without respect at the club? I don’t understand.

My customers tend to feel taken advantage of by the time they close out their bills. That’s a negative customer experience. Just because it’s a strip club doesn’t mean the customers should be harassed. It makes customers disrespect strippers by association and not want to return. There are nice ways of getting someone to pay and tip and there’s harassment.

I don’t understand why some of the hosts expect a 20% tip on the whole bill. That’s more than I often get! And I’m entertaining them in a thong! And if the hosts don’t get a big tip, they sometimes treat the customers and me very badly. This leads to that taken-advantage of feeling.

What should I do? I need to audition at a new club, but it’s just so far into December. I may have to wait till January when I have a higher chance of getting hired. I know, my look definitely increases my chances of getting hired at any club (I’m natural and caucasian). But I’m not sure I can handle the stress of navigating a new club and possibly not getting hired or not making money right now.  I may need to stick it out at my current club till January.  Oy vey!

Rent Boys, Craigslist’s NSA Casual Encounters and Security Clearances

I have a friend, let’s call him Micha… We met via OKcupid when I was hanging out in Berlin last summer. He just moved back to the US, without any money. He’s try-sexual, 6′ 5″, super-skinny, well-hung and blonde. Can you guess where this is going? I suggested he get into working on rentboy.com as opposed to taking a job as dishwasher. And he did. 

He’s living between another city and NYC, trying to save up money to move to NYC. Rentboy.com has been profitable for him. He’s straight, but is ok being “gay for pay” at present time. 

He was using his regular phone number for his rentboy.com profile.. until recently. He met a couple on Craigslist’s “casual encounters” section. The wife happened to have a security clearance. Her employers asked her why she’d been calling a number that was listed on escort sites. Red flag.

Needless to say, Micha got freaked out, cancelled that number and got a dual-sim phone with his rentboy.com earnings. So he can have 2 numbers on one phone–one for work, one that’s personal. I think that’s much better.

On Being Labeled Crazy / On Labeling Women Crazy

On Labeling Women Crazy

Part of the reason I ended up in an abusive relationship with a sociopath was because I was emotionally and verbally abused by my family for years. Abuse felt “normal.” Abuse was how your family–the only ones that truly loved you–told you the awful truths about yourself. My parents started with emotional/verbal abuse around puberty. It didn’t get bad until I went away to college and started making my own decisions. It ended when my father assaulted me when I was in my late 20s and my entire family blamed me for it and shunned me. (I must have provoked him and/or deserved it… but more on that and victim blaming later on.)

A friend posted the above link on Facebook, and it perfectly describes how my family treated me.

Gaslighting is when you abuser tells you that your reality isn’t happening, possibly that you are “crazy.” This makes you doubt your memory, perception, and sanity.

My controlling, narcissistic mother liked to tell me that I was bipolar, “crazy” and needed psych meds. She told me that all of my behaviours were derived from mental illness and were not true expressions of myself. This is directly at odds with the mental health professionals that I worked with over the years. They determined that I was not mentally ill and did not need daily medication.

Yes, with all of the illnesses I’ve suffered and the abusive relationships I’ve been in, I have had PTSD and several spells of circumstantial depression and anxiety. But I do not and did not have a mental illness that requires daily psych meds. Whenever a psychiatrist suggested medications, I took them. Three months of Zoloft coupled with 8 months of talk therapy got me out of my last depression. That depression was induced by being trapped in an abusive relationship for 4 years. I’m proud of all of the work I did to get out of both the relationship AND the depression.

I still have trouble sleeping (Shift Work Sleep Disorder) and very occasionally suffer anxiety attacks. I have Xanax on hand for that reason. I’ve downgraded from Ambien to Benadryl to sleep. But otherwise, my life circumstances have changed. I am not currently being abused by anyone, broke, sick, and/or homeless. In fact, I’m in an extremely supportive and loving long-term relationship, I have my health, a good support network of friends that care about me, a nice place to live and relatively consistent income. It’s amazing how having your basic needs of love, food, health and shelter taken care of can abolish depression and anxiety!

Now I realize that my mother would simply label behaviours that she did not like as “crazy” or “mentally ill.” Which behaviours were manifestations of my mental illness?

  • Teaching English in Asia
  • Going to Burning Man
  • Not taking an office job straight out of college
  • Trying my hand at entrepreneurship
  • Identifying as bisexual
  • Having an abortion in my early 20s (best decision I ever made, FYI)
  • Drinking wine on holidays
  • Going to nightclubs and seeing DJs on the weekends as opposed to hanging out at my parents’ house
  • Crying when Mother verbally abused, emotionally blackmailed and publicly embarrassed me on holidays and at family events

In retrospect, there’s nothing wrong with any of these so-called “crazy” behaviours. They certainly do not signify mental illness. They’re simply a young woman enjoying life, exercising her rights, making mistakes, traveling, becoming independent from her family and finding her identity–an identity that’s very different from that of her conservative family.

Anyways, while I’m sad that I don’t have blood family in my life anymore, I’m doing my best to create my chosen family. I’m glad that I don’t have my mother in my life anymore questioning my sanity. That caused me more mental instability than my synapses ever did.

The Financials and Industry: How Sex Work Works

Sex work is not just prostitution!

I’ve done several different types of sex work, these are: erotic massage, domination, stripping, and sugar daddy-ing. I haven’t done: prostitution, phone sex, cam girl work, live sex shows and pornography.

Erotic Masseur: This was my first foray into the exciting world of sex work. I was looking for jobs on Craigslist and I answered an ad looking for “open-minded girls.” I’ll tell you more about the interview process in a later post. The service is a 1-hour massage with a happy ending. They charged the customer around $160/hour. You saw $40 of that. $20 went to the phone operator for booking the appointment. $100 went to the agency. There was this implicit understanding that the customer would tip you at least $40 so you’d get around $80 per session. But then you had to factor in taxi, which they’d also generally pay for if you asked them. Most of the time I walked out with around $100 per appointment. If you did 2-3 appointments a day 3-4 nights a week, you could make a living on par with working full-time at a cafe. It certainly wasn’t a good living, but it gave you a lot of time to yourself.

When you were on call, you had to be available on 30 minutes notice. So you could be at appointments on time, the agency suggested you hang out during the day at their midtown office, close to their midtown in-call location. The office was a depressing scene. Lots of average-looking-to-pretty but downtrodden mostly immigrant and lower-socio-economic-level girls from the boroughs watching talk TV and reading tabloid magazines all afternoon. I lived in Manhattan at the time, so I had the luxury of hanging out at home and only going into the office when I had to pay the agency. Because of the subway and Midtown traffic, it was hard to get to appointments on time during the day. I stopped working afternoons in lieu of nights and evenings, when I could take a taxi from my apartment and be at an appointment in 20 minutes.

After the in-call location got raided by the police, I stopped working there. It always felt sketchy anyways. I did out-calls only at hotels and private residences, mostly upscale. This sounds like it would be unsafe, but I never had a problem. When it comes down to it, professional men have a lot to lose, and that protects you.

Pros:

  1. Flexible schedule.
  2. Cash income.
  3. Potential to steal customers from the agency.
  4. Potential to acquire high net worth individuals as benefactors.
  5. It’s a relatively low-risk behaviour.

Cons:

  1. You’re on call most of the time.
  2. Potential to get busted by undercover police–doing massage without a license is a misdemeanor!
  3. The work was seasonal; summer sucked. You could be doing fine in the colder months, then once summer came around you were broke.
  4. Erotic massage was never profitable enough to save money or have bad months. I was still making ends meet with credit cards.

Dominatrix: I knew nothing about BDSM, other than the fact that self-labeled submissive men admired me and said I was dominant. When I was 25, I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I became friends with the handful of girls at my studio. A few were into the fetish scene. As we became closer, they told me I could make $300 per hour wrestling men. I had been working as an erotic masseur for the past 2-3 years making $100/hour sporadically, so this looked like a much better deal. I liked wrestling and was very good at it, why not give physical domination a try?

I put up a profile on the internet and immediately started getting work. I began as a wrestling domme, then my repertoire expanded as I got more requests for other services: trampling, muscle worship, fantasy scenes, foot smothering, verbal humiliation, scissoring… Domination is very straight forward and I have only worked independently. I charge $300-$400 per hour, which is the going rate for an experienced and/or specialized domme. I still do domination work for select customers, but wrestling is no longer part of my repertory because it’s too hard on my body.

Most pro-dommes work independently because working for a dungeon is rip off. The dungeon charges the customer $300 per hour and the domme only sees $80 of that. What true dominant would put up with that? Furthermore, a lot of dungeons, especially the ones with inexperienced girls are known for sexually servicing the customers–mostly giving hand jobs, sometimes fellatio or sexual intercourse. That is generally not done in legit domination sessions because a dominant does not service a submissive; the submissive serves the domme. If a domme is servicing a submissive, the submissive is not being dominated and therefore it is not domination.

Pros:

  1. Flexible schedule.
  2. Cash income.
  3. Being dominant is fun and natural for me.
  4. Clients tend to be very respectful.

Cons:

  1. Work is inconsistent.
  2. Wrestling with people larger than you can be dangerous.
  3. Some of your clients are broken people working out serious issues. I’m a natural empath and I vibed dark and painful things from not all, but a handful of my clients.
  4. Domination can be emotionally heavy.
  5. Some of your clients are very needy, obnoxious and draining.

Stripper: I got out of sex work for awhile, but after I losing the business that I co-founded with my abusive, sociopathic ex boyfriend, I needed to work again. I was confused, anxious and financially ruined. My ex had broken my spirit, so I didn’t have the emotional strength and confidence necessary to be a dominatrix. Erotic massage wasn’t enough money to support myself and pay down credit card debt. I was dealing with an anxiety disorder, which had me randomly in bed, crying and incapable of moving for hours at a time. For this reason, holding down a job with a schedule was out of the question. I was running out of money until an ex-stripper girlfriend of mine suggested I become a stripper.

I first auditioned to be a a stripper was when I was 23. But at 23, my body wasn’t toned enough and I didn’t know how to get the “stripper look” I needed to get hired. Fortunately, at 30, I was in excellent shape from my breakup diet and tonnes of yoga. My friend coached me on my stripper look. She also taught me how to dance, walk and carry myself. I auditioned at an upscale Gentlemen’s Club in NYC two years ago, and stripping has been my primary method of supporting myself since then.

Every night when you arrive at work, you pay a house fee to the club. Depending on the club and the time you get in, this can be anywhere from $40-$200 in NYC upscale gentlemen’s clubs. Then, at the end of the night, each club has a tip-out scheme which is usually mandatory and can range from $20-$80 (DJ, Housemom, Hair/Makeup, and sometimes even Management takes a cash tip out from every girl which is extortionate and shady). Add in a taxi home and dinner, a dancer should expect that at least $200-$300 of her nightly earnings will go directly to the club and work-related expenses before she sees a penny. Some nights you make $1000+, some nights you go home negative.

Stripping isn’t what it was in the 90s. In the 90s, allegedly girls used to go home with $1000 a night, without selling the customers drugs or having sex with them. This isn’t the case anymore. I don’t make anywhere near that much. The girls that are better hustlers do better (I don’t have their nerve)… the girls that sell drugs and sex do the best (I don’t want to have run-ins with the cops or owe the VIP hosts anything or ever have to deal with the politics). The money in stripping isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still pretty consistent and more fun and less back-breaking than standing behind a bar all night taking drink orders and having an inflexible work schedule.

Pros:

  1. Most clubs that are worth working for have flexible schedules.
  2. You make a lot of your money in cash.
  3. It can be a lot of fun and sexually empowering.
  4. You can have very profitable nights.
  5. It’s more consistent than other types of sex work.
  6. It’s legal work.
  7. I like most of my co-workers.

Cons:

  1. Clubs with VIP/Champagne Rooms where big money is made have a lot of politics.
  2. Because the club takes so much money from you, on bad nights you work for the club for no pay.
  3. It’s unhealthy, exhausting, and draining to be drinking and dancing until 5am several nights a week.
  4. Customers can be very disrespectful, especially in the VIP rooms.
  5. Stripping is legal, but most of the big money is made from illegal activities (drugs and prostitution).
  6. Stripping is legal, but when clubs get raided, girls often get charged with “solicitation” by undercover cops.
  7. In the eyes of the management, you are always wrong and you are extremely expendable.
  8. After reading “Orange is the New Black,” I’ve determined that the culture of strip clubs is a lot like being in prison.
  9. Objectification.
  10. Despite exorbitant house fees and tip-outs, managers do not protect you nor act in your interest; they do what’s best for their bottom line and the club.

Sugar Daddy: I recently decided that I needed more time to work towards my career. Dancing is exhausting and I’m often too tired the day after I work to concentrate or get anything meaningful done the following day. Plus, running around in heels, staying up till 5am on work nights, and drinking with customers is hard on my body.

I decided to give SeekingArrangement.com a try. The website says the average sugar baby gets $3000 per month, but most of the guys I’ve spoken with offer around $300-$500 each time you “hang out” (have sex) with them. That works out to around $1000-$2000 per month, which isn’t enough money for me to entertain the idea of sleeping with someone I’m not particularly attracted to. Plus, you have to see them a lot and put up with them. And many of which are needy, self-centered, insufferable and/or cheating on their wives. (I’m a big advocate of open relationships. There are exceptions, but I generally do not respect cheaters.)

There are, however, exceptions to the $1-2K per month I’m consistently offered. Some SDs agree to more generous arrangements, which is what I’m after. I won’t settle for less than $3-5K/month and I don’t want to hang out more than once a week. If someone pays my bills and makes my life easier while I work towards my career goals, I’ll happily fulfill their sexual desires in return. That’s a fair trade. If they’re a good person that treats me well, then looks aren’t even that important to me after a few glasses of wine. With any luck, I’ll find a sugar daddy that understands my industry and can give me career guidance and connections too.

Pros:

  1. High earning potential.
  2. Potential for nice gifts, dinners, and travel.
  3. Socializing with powerful high-net-worth individuals is inherently valuable.
  4. Sugar Daddying gives me more time for me to rest, take care of myself, see friends, and, most importantly, work on my career and personal projects.
  5. Legal; It’s not prostitution if you have a relationship with the person.
  6. Many Sugar Daddies are powerful men, many of them are also married, so they have to be on good behaviour when with you. They have more to lose than you do.
  7. Sugar Daddies treat you better than men in strip clubs.

Cons:

  1. It takes time and patience to find the right arrangement.
  2. Sugar Daddies’ careers and families come first; they tend to be flaky and cancel appointments with you on short notice.
  3. Many sugar daddies are needy and/or insufferable and/or have poor social skills and/or are cheaters.
  4. Cheaters that disrespect their wives can’t be trusted to respect their mistresses. (Not all SDs are cheaters.)
  5. You become very aware of the imbalance of wealth distribution. It’s unfair and depressing.
  6. It’s insulting to get offered $200 for sex from multi-millionaires.
  7. Objectification.
  8. A lot of SDs say they want someone intelligent that they can talk to, but when it comes down to it most just want something attractive to fuck.

Hello World!

First of all, I’m not just a sex worker. I’m ivy league educated with two quantitative degrees (BA, MA). I’m also classically trained to high levels in various performing arts. I’m also a survivor of life-threatening illness, and familial and domestic abuse. But in the real world, these achievements and qualifications and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. If you’re lucky, after graduation in the 21st century you’ll be fetching someone else a cup of coffee during your unpaid internship while mommy and daddy pay your bills (or not, in my case).

Grisette: (from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. a young french working class woman
  2. a young woman combining part-time prostitution with some other occupation
Grimoire: (from Collins English Dictionary)
  1. a textbook of sorcery and magic

from French, altered from grammaire grammar; compare glamour

I consider myself a modern grisette. I’ve done many things in my life, sex work happens to be the best way to support myself while i’m working towards my goals. It beats bartending, waitressing, or working a god-awful 9-to-5 office job that causes me back pain. It is a means to an end, and I’ve been doing it off-and-on for about a decade.
They say millennials are too picky in terms of the demands they place on employers. I think we’re simply asking for what everyone else has wanted for years, but the technology wasn’t there to allow it. I want work where I’m paid decently to do things that aren’t mind-numbingly boring. I also want to be allowed to work remotely and/or set my own schedule. In 2013, with the advent of ultrabooks and the internet, this should be possible, especially for someone with tech experience and a mathematics background. But job applications have proved otherwise. Still, I’m holding out for the right scenario. I simply won’t show up for work if I’m unhappy in my job, because I can always do sex work to support myself.
This is a grimoire because I am a witch–not in the pointy hat and broom sense–but I’ve been described as a powerful and magical person. I’m very intuitive and a natural empath. I know how you feel by looking at you. I’ve had bizarre psychic experiences that I cannot explain. And I’m psychedelic–you know what I mean. In addition to being a journal, this is a sort of manual for the various sex industry niches I’ve worked in.
To add some double meaning, let’s look to the root of the word “grimoire” which is “grammar.” Glamour comes from “grammar” and I’ve been described as glamorous as well… So there you have it.
(disclaimer for future reference: names and details will be changed to protect my anonymity and the innocent)