To Network or Not to Network

It can be lonely being a sex worker yet I’ve met a few ladies who prefer to stay away from any socialising online or in real life and keep to themselves. They don’t want any dramas despite the benefits that can be had from meeting and greeting with other working girls or clients. I can understand this – I’ve witnessed a few not so nice situations – but there are ways to go about it without your life becoming part of a collective train wreck.

Like it or not, if you’re a sex worker in an agency or working from a house with other indies, you will come into contact with other working girls.  Despite the cosy surrounds and the expectation that everyone should be bosom buddies, you can still fit in well without telling everyone your life story if you don’t think it’s anyone’s business. You should still be able to go somewhere and work and keep your own counsel.

Neither should you feel the need to open yourself up too much if you choose to attend social events. Networking or social events however have been traditionally used by other industries to schmooze and let people see another side of you, hopefully one that shows you in a good light (for business reasons).

And the same goes for online networking.  Previously I mentioned a fantastic industry forum for cam girls and in New Zealand, our adult forum has helped sex workers promote themselves and get amongst it, and clients enjoy a friendly, naughty R18 banter – almost like real life networking – so sex workers got to show another side of themselves not in their advertising (which is generally fairly cookie cutter) and clients got to experience the company of sex workers in an informal setting.  Times have changed on the forum but never mind, luckily sex workers are a resourceful group and have moved on to networking in other ways.

However, even the forums where fewer prospective clients seem to contribute, there are many more “lurkers” who are silently making decisions about which ladies to book.

I’d advise escorts to always put their best foot forward on all social media – don’t behave in a smart-arse way unless by some well-thought out PR strategy, it is congruent with your brand, because whatever you do online is part of your advertising. If you happen to think you’re smarter than many others online, it’s really not that smart to rub people’s noses in it. Be mature, belittling others is not cool (or smart). The same goes for clients online and in internet forums – don’t let yourself get angry or bully young women, try and keep that in check! Aggression isn’t funny or smart. It’s a turn off.

So can you really get to know people on these platforms? To form friendships?  I believe so. You can tell when someone’s values align with yours (or they don’t – occasionally someone reveals themselves to be someone you’d rather avoid) or their humour tickles your funny bone. Sometimes this will result in a booking with a client or maybe an invitation to meet if she is another working girl in your area. Obviously exercise caution – friendships can and do turn pear-shaped and no one wants to be betrayed. Yes, clients who become friends are in the same boat and must be careful.

Despite all of the precautions which are always advisable, I have experienced some true and wonderful friendships with both clients and fellow working girls which all began by networking online and off. I’ve seen enrichment, opportunities and uplifting care freely given with no obligation – just given privately without expecting acknowledgment from one good person to another for the pure pleasure of being a friend.

There are wonderful and kind people out there!  Find them or be them. Never be afraid to reach out to anyone, you may be just what they need at that moment.

So what would I recommend?  I can really only speak for myself. I’m not really a possessive person but I enjoy the memories of friendships from the past and with those I would love to spend time with at any time in the future who I am happy to keep in touch with – I definitely care for the friends I have but never feel a need to own anyone.

During the times I have worked, I have met some inspiring, creative, motivated and big-hearted working girls and clients whose friendships I will value forever. My door will always be open to them, I really treasure them and I am grateful for their friendship from the bottom of my heart, wherever life has geographically taken them.

So yes, I would recommend networking. Hopefully you will come across some of the true gems in this industry and you never know who the angels in life will turn out to be, or the positive impact hopefully you could have for someone else by the seemingly smallest, most insignificant action but that could mean a lot to someone else. They may be a lady or client you met the day you started sex work or at your first ever sex workers’ social event who turns out to be a lifelong friend.

I am blessed to have some great friendships even from my early sex worker days – I’ve noticed the essence of people never changes, even with the changes that life brings. Life is funny like that. For those I’ve lost touch with, my happy memories are still clear, and there is surely no such thing as too many friends.

The feature image is from the 70s film about an alternative network of ladies: Switchblade Sisters aka The Jezebels – I was inspired to explore more after enjoying Tarantino’s comments on the script.

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