I realized the first week I didn’t make my extra thousand dollars working as prostitute that one of two things was going on:

  1. The economy was slowing down.
  2. Toronto’s market is saturated.

I wish that oh-so-capricious economy could eat this one, but somewhat cruelly, things are booming in Hogtown. Toronto bounced back like a toddler in an inflated castle. Or a drunk shoeless adult. We were all giggly and stupid again. People spent more than they earned again, stores sold us overpriced, useless crap again, banks lent money to unemployed teenagers again, and, once again the populace’s inner Dionysus/id/whatever it is the drives men to pay young gorgeous women for sex came out of hibernation after the long recession winter. So why was I at home, alone on a Saturday night, in stockings, heels and lingerie, waiting for the phone to ring?

I wasn’t really alone, I suppose. My kitten, McDuff, who shows a clear preference for Conor, acknowledged me haughtily as she dug through her own feces for the third time that night. Conor was out with some Irish ex-pats with whom he connected over a mutual love of tag rugby and barstools. Those were usually the nights when we would inadvertently meet each other at the door to the apartment building around 3:30; he would often haphazardly attempt to hold the door open for me and I would equally haphazardly attempt to carry him up to our apartment.

On any given night of the week, there are between 30 to 50 escort agencies operating in Toronto. Each of these agencies employs between 15 to 40 girls. The number of “indies” in Toronto is probably incalculable, as they tend to find their clients through both the traditional means and more surreptitious methods. Typical traditional methods include spending thousands of dollars on a photographer and website, answering e-mails, texts and phone calls around the clock, hastily dealing with perverts trying to spend your valuable time as a free-phone sex line and maintaining a downtown in-call location, which may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if you own it.

The unsuspected methods, for those escorts who choose not to advertise overtly, include connecting to wealthy clientele through personal networking, which means you have to go to gallery openings, financial fetes, benefits and high-profile, high-visibility chambers of power to build a portfolio of clients.

After all that is in place, after you’ve provided superior service, used all but ESP to please your client and maintain the highest quality girlfriend experience, you can start to make a quick buck in prostitution!

Which is not to say, quite literally, that all of this effort does anything but pay dividends. A dear friend works indie, owns her in-call location in Yonge & Dundas Square, greets her clients in Agent Provocateur and Etam and is on the speed dial of the head stylist at Holt Renfrew, who informs her of the latest sartorial masterpiece. In Toronto, though, she’s more the exception than the rule. The rule that sometimes a professional girlfriend has to watch Entourage reruns at home on a Saturday night with her kitten, who produces poop and contempt in equal measure. It’s a sad, sad day when you can’t make money as a hooker. It’s even sadder when it’s not because your looks are lacking or some unfortunate virus has gotten up in your business. The cause of my empty purse that night was just the most basic element of economic theory. To make money your demand must outreach your supply. It seemed, in Toronto anyway, on the pussy front, supply had vastly exceeded demand. Well maybe not demand, per se, but certainly the resources that could finance that demand. Even the most bounciest of our bounce-back elite only had a finite amount to spend on their hobby. All of this, this whole game is based on fantasy, so the reality was unexpected and unwelcome.

Adele told me that I looked like Jessica Stam only shorter (relatively for a supermodel, of course; my driver’s license says I’m 5’8") and bustier (again, relative to a woman who makes a living as a breathing clothes hanger), if you need an image. In the opinion of myself, my boyfriend and most of my friends, I actually don’t look like any celebrity. Unlike other girls at the agency, I haven’t been able to carve out a niche for myself. Some of the Goth, Dita Von Teese lookalikes have their clientele, usually self-loathing geeks who think a woman with black hair and tattoos will make their lives more exciting. The big beautiful women have their patronage, usually hot ripped frat boys whose love of a little junk in the trunk has to be kept on the down-low, as their simian bros would taunt them mercilessly for it. And then Asians. Even the Pilipino girl, Lucia, whose profile lists her as “Columbian,” if that makes any sense.

So I’m just another one of those blandly hot white girls, a little too tall for most guys, and I can’t find a niche. For a lot of guys, they’ve seen all they need to see of me on the website. That’s fine, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. And this would all be fine, if there weren’t hundreds of other blandly hot girls in the same game in the same 50 mile radius.

It makes a certain amount of sense that men who see escorts on a regular basis would form a community. They call themselves “hobbyists.” Their online community rates escorts on things like looks, service, and enthusiasm. Find one in your local area if you ever need to feel better about yourself. While I love hobbyists and attempt to make some of them regular clientele and realize that a majority of my business will come from their stellar reviews, they are, as a group, fairly reprehensible.

They praise girls who perform sex acts without condoms. They are merciless in their critique of physical attractiveness while being truly the dregs of manhood in terms of looks. There is always a subforum dedicated to these communities that review strippers. Those reviews will be truly miserable if said stripper does not perform unprotected oral sex on them. If that doesn’t make your stomach turn, it should, because I cannot think of anything more disgusting for both parties.

I’m told not to read these reviews, since Adele said that it might psych me out. She probably meant that I would end up disliking the market intensely. I take everything the hobbyists write about me and the other girls with a huge, industrial size, stable-use salt-lick grain of salt. Of course I read them. All of the girls do. Feedback from the clients is somewhat blurred, as it is difficult to give someone constructive criticism when you’re having an orgasm into her.

The only thing that puzzles me about negative reviews is the strange compulsion to post them. I don’t know if I would post something disparaging about an escort. It will only be detrimental to her business by deterring men who probably wouldn’t have seen her anyway, and if she’s attractive enough or a certain type, men won’t be swayed by a negative review. It’s a waste of the hobbyist’s time, to say nothing of the electronic trail to a hobbyist community that employers and wives would be interested to know about. All this to say that a tired 22-year-old philosophy student gives a bad blowjob? Truly, the customer’s mind is beyond me sometimes.

A good review, however, is worth its weight in gold. The clients will often mention them when they see us. The most agreeable part of it is that they are no longer nervous. Nothing worse than a nervous trick. He psyched himself out, the hydraulics don’t work and we both go through a humiliating hour- or multi-hour-long taffy pull. A good review usually means a good time for both of us. Once I have a reputation to live up to, I know where to start.

If you ever venture into this community, acronyms will be your friend. All of this is expressed through code. DATY means “dining at the y” which means the escort allows you to go down on her. BBBJ means bareback blow job, or a blow job with no condom. Greek means anal. MSOG means “multiple shots on goal” meaning that she’ll let you have sex more than once in the hour and the clients happily distance themselves from even admitting they get hookers, by calling us SP’s or “service providers.”

I usually get excellent reviews. The only one that was even a shade negative, the reviewer stated his preference for Asians and spinners. Maybe the hobbyists are smart enough to keep their negative thoughts to themselves, but I usually don’t worry about negative reviews. I use my typical formula for hooker success:

  1. Talk only if they want to.
  2. Be clean.
  3. Have sex with them as many times as they want even if that number is zero.

But that night my formula wasn’t proving successful, I was alone and not making money. It was an unacceptable situation and all I could do was take matter into my own hands. The last option, the Hail Mary play.

I wrote an amazing review of myself on the main review board for Toronto.

Using a fake account, I constructed the most erotic, ribald, titillating encounter the review board had ever seen. No detail was left unexposed, no act undisclosed. The imaginary partner performing all of the acronyms and code words upon my alter ego, and the ones I was performing on him with such skill and adroitness could have died and gone to Heaven. "Bianca’s body is slamming with a brain to match, she put a smile on my face that will take a long time to go away… " he/I wrote.

I sent the review to the site and watched it load on the page. The site counted page views and as I feverishly F5-ed the page, the page view slowly crept up.

Some replies came in the next hour saying “Thanks for the review, man!” and “She’s on my TDL (to-do list) now!” This review would set me up with tricks for the next few weeks at least. I turned the television back on and McDuff leapt into my lap. Sometime around 1 am, the phone rang. I straightened myself up and went out into the night. I had a reputation to maintain now.