Why Escort? - Dr. Christo Franklin

Why Escort?

Gentle Reader, it is a poor psychologist who does not learn from his (or her) patients. From women who escort (more specifically, from those who consult me as their psychologist), I have learned much. And one of those things I recommend is their mentality in answer to the question, “Why escort?”

Unless there has been a frank sit-down-and-talk-about-it between an escorting woman and her family, family members think they know the answer to that question. And in various degrees of alarmed, or judgmental, or blaming tones, they tell each other, “Unresolved sexual trauma! Daddy-issues! Easy money! Slut! Drug habit!” But, to a woman, not one of the escorting women consulting me has ever said that is why she started. Instead, they say, more or less, they chose to go into escorting business because that was the self-evident, self-respecting thing to do.

This assertion, when I relay it to people who don’t escort, initially draws raised bourgeois eyebrows. Self-evident? Self-respecting? Yes, these women argue: While growing up they saw their parents work themselves hard. Maybe double shifts. Maybe under an abusive supervisor. Maybe without job security (which means without financial security). Maybe in a job that gave them no pleasure and no future. Maybe in a job that was dangerous, or shouldn’t have been but for the employer’s disregard for worker safety measures.

And for what? What could her parents get for their labor? Why should the kind of home they could afford, the kind of neighborhood they could afford, and kind of opportunities to explore life be acceptable to any working person? Why aren’t their parents as deserving of a decent standard of living as the richest 10% have? Why wouldn’t any woman, whether a woman who chooses to escort or not, want this for herself and the people she loves?

These women know how others will respond: Society says, “Yes, but our exploited and poor livelihood is at least honorable. We put in an honest day’s work…for 45 years. We didn’t take the easy path.” And in some cases, they’ll recount the years of advanced study they put in to be able to afford what they have.

Yet to women who escort this is exactly the point. Seemingly there are no more than two options for their families (and maybe not even two): Either one gets no opportunity to earn one’s way to a decent standard of living, or one has to spend a lifetime striving to acquire and maintain that standard of living. Bottom line—and a radical idea—the options their families were given are just not acceptable to these escorting women. In effect, each has said to herself, “Let’s stop kidding ourselves that the status quo is honorable, or even acceptable. My family has been, in fact, exploited. It’s just that no one calls it so.”

Thus, what I see here is a mentality, a willingness, to opt out of a conventional viewpoint, itself a part of a bourgeois (including progressive) morality, that disparages escorting as self-exploitative while turning a blind eye to the reality that most humans face only self-exploitative options. I find this mentality heartening in so far as there’s nothing so motivating to make change as the realization that there’s a problem.