I just want to share with you an email I received this morning, from "Fred", we'll call him. You'll see my response and I address all of his problematic points, but then I want to talk about why the tactic he's using is manipulative.
I saw your ad on scarlet blue.
You are stunning!
I would very much like to spend some time in your company.
Here's a little about me.
I'm currently living and working on an eco camp for teens in the mountains. It's off grid and there's no mobile reception out there. I don't get much time off, but will have some next week.
Do you think we could meet in Albury?
I'm not earning mega bucks at the camp ($1000 a month). It's basically almost a volunteer position. I do it because I love it. The mountains, the positive effect on young lives. I'd love to meet you but I think I could barely afford an hour. I have an interesting proposal - would you like to meet for a coffee and chat? Albury has a wonderful botanic garden, 125 years old.
I enjoy meeting special souls and I feel you are one.
I'll attach a picture in the spirit of reciprocity.
"Aww, come on Sienna, he seems like a good guy!" He probably is, dear reader, but that does not mean I need to accommodate him. Read my response!
Good morning Fred,
I'm sorry to have to send this email, because it is going to be quite a lecture, and you're not going to like it. I'll be as kind as possible, but you do really need to be set straight on a lot of things.
Firstly, I am based in Canberra. I know how far that is from Albury, because I went to university there and drove back to Canberra weekends to visit family - I am not going to be driving three and a half hours to meet you for coffee, much less one that you do not intend to pay me for. I occasionally do Fly Me To You dates, and even ones where I drive to meet the client for a few hours, but I have a minimum time on those, and they are required to pay for my flight, or a nominal fee for my travel time in a car. This is quite apparently out of your budget. That's fine, I have no issues with people on a budget, but the expectation that I am going to make a six hour round trip, for free, for coffee, is ludicrous. This is my job, I also need to pay bills. It shows a disrespect for the profession, and that you do not think it is valuable or valid work when you ask for my time for free - the same as asking your accountant if she would give you a free consultation after driving to you for a few hours. Hilariously, I do offer a coffee and chat service for first time clients - it's $50 for half an hour, but I only offer it to local clients. My fuel costs more to get to Albury and back, before we even take into account my time.
Secondly, sexual services are a luxury service, and not a necessity. This means that simply because you have a smaller income, it does not mean sex workers are obligated to accommodate you out of the kindness of their hearts. Those clients I have who are on strict budgets save to see me for their desired time frames. If someone cannot afford my rates, they either opt for a shorter service, or they find someone who is within their budget. Here is a website that may find you what you need, or if you wish to stick with Scarlet Blue, Annabelle is based there, and apparently Juju will be there this month. I expect you will not haggle with them, as that is crass and tacky when they have their rates displayed.
Thirdly, sending an image of yourself is unnecessary. It does make it easier for me to track down social media, but you should not assume that by being reasonably conventionally attractive, you may make me forget about the pretty insulting offer of a free coffee. My clients come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, are a range of different body types and ages, and go from model material to generally conventionally unappealing; I find something beautiful in them all and I make their time with me special, as I do not much care what they look like. The only important things to me are their personal hygiene and their respect for me and my time.
In conclusion, thank you for your interest, but no, I will not be driving six hours out of my way on a long weekend that I'd rather spend with my family in order to do work for free with someone I know likely has no intention of paying me for my services in the future. If you are interested in me on a personal level, I do have a Twitter and a blog, and regularly interact with followers there at my discretion.
You've probably picked up by now that asking for free shit is just not on, but these kinds of messages are frequent and difficult to respond to. Why? Because they rely on an appeal to our "better nature", and almost any reply you give will often be met with hostility, because "why couldn't you just be kind?" It's an incredibly manipulative tactic to use, and for those who don't have the energy to draft coherent replies (or huge, long ass, unnecessarily detailed ones like me), it's really hard to send them a response that isn't, "Fuck you, pay me". Some of this is the "nice guy" mentality, which is easy to see demonstrated in a lot of online communities (I especially like reddit's r/niceguys) - "I'm a nice bloke, she should give me a chance."
Listen gentlemen. Women, especially sex workers in this context, do not owe you anything simply because you are "nice". Nice is the bare minimum standard for a functioning human. My friend's fiancé is nice, but he's also a bunch of other things on top of that, and that's why she chose him. In the current context, being nice is not going to be enough to get a sex worker to drive six hours return for free (and actually at a loss, because that's a full tank of fuel in my car), spend however long you want having coffee for free, with someone who has no intention of ever paying for services. This is like asking a plumber to drive from Sydney to Canberra in order to do some minor repairs for free, with a vague promise of a free coffee and good conversation, and no compensation for their fuel or driving time, just because you're a "nice person". You see how I always put this stuff in the context of other jobs? That's because sex work is a valid job as well. Nice people don't demand free labour or feel entitled to sex.
Please don't try to include a picture of yourself as a sort of incentive for me to see you. It's been pointed out eleventy billion times on Twitter already, but stating that you're a certain race (well, let's be honest here, "white", because only white guys do this), stating you're young, or showing me a picture of yourself is incredibly arrogant and presumptuous. You don't know my type - I'll give you a quick hint, actually: my type in my personal life has zero to do with which clients I will take, and which clients are my favourites. My favourites, in fact, are not at all what you'd consider conventionally attractive, but I honestly enjoy them so much, and love spending time with them.
It's also not enough to point out that you're poor. I have every sympathy for those who have less money to spend - I've been a uni student surviving on the government's incredibly meagre student allowance, living in a dangerous neighbourhood in a house with no insulation, eating a diet that was a mix between food bank food and a few bits and pieces from the grocery store. I get it, being poor really, really sucks, and honestly I want to make your life as easy as possible, but not at the expense of my own life. That is not to say that people who are earning less don't deserve treats every now and then! They absolutely do, it makes life bearable - but those treats should not be at the expense of someone else simply because you demand they be. People who offer services do not owe you those services for free or at a discount just because you cannot afford the full rate, especially when those services are a luxury like sex work is. I have, and I will, make every effort to help those less fortunate than myself, but that does not involve offering my services for free and taking a loss upon demand. My favourite relatable reddit forum for this is r/ChoosingBeggars - people who are picky and entitled when they don't want to pay the full rate.
Please do not use your situation, your appearance, or an appeal to our kindness as a tactic to get things out of us that you feel you deserve for free. It's crass, it's tacky, and it will not get you the outcome you desire. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you might have cottoned on to the fact that sex workers are far more diverse, intelligent, and savvy than you can possibly imagine, and we will not fall for just any boring manipulation.