bachelorstudent

What is an escort according to you?

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So a few weeks ago I put a questionnaire on here for my thesis and I am currently analysing the data and trying to find trends and so and so forth.

One thing that sticks out is that a large majority (32 out of 34) indicated 'escorts' as (one of) their preferred type of prostitute. After the research I have done, an escort to my mind is more than just a prostitute ('just a prostitute' being someone you pay purely for sexual services). It is my understanding that an escort is someone who you can also pay to go out to dinner with you, an expensive date if you will. Examples could include wanting a pretty girl/woman on your arm at a certain event. Now it is possible that 94% of my respondents really do all prefer going to escorts, but I have a feeling there's more to it than that, for two reasons.

First, one of my respondents stated that 'there is no difference between escort and call girl', which in my understanding there is, as a call girl is paid purely for services rendered and nothing more.
Second, this article shared to me on my first post by Magicalstory which details which words are used the most to describe working girls and so on, very interesting read (thank you Magicalstory): http://www.punternet.com/forum/index.php?/forum/2-uk-ireland-general-discussion/&do=add
One of the points the author makes is that the term 'escort' as opposed to referring to a specific branch of prostitution has changed to mean 'prostitute' while sounding less of a negative connotation.

I would like to get a sense if this is the case on punternet; do people see 'escort' as just another term for prostitutes or do people really see them as a smaller group within prostitution?

This is obviously not very academic, if I were to include any 'data' from this thread at most it would be something like 'there is some indication that 'escort' is used as a general term for prostitution etc.'. I'm mostly just curious, so please let me know your opinion!

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escorts, hookers, prostitutes, working girls.  all the same thing IMHO.

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Obviously it's partly a question of branding: someone who is wanting also to offer social services at events and dinners will not describe herself as a hooker or a prostitute (but, then, nobody does on their sites). But the term is now applied so generally that any distinctive difference has been lost. The only word that irritates me is "courtesan" as it sounds pretentious. (On second thoughts I hate "sex worker" as well, though I can see it might be useful for sociologists.)

The history of the word is well worth looking at. It began as a military term for a platoon or ship that would provide protection, shifted to the domestic sphere in the late 19th century, when it meant an older and trusted family member or family friend who could be relied upon to accompany and protect a young unmarried girl when she was out and about, to its final total overturning of meaning, when it now refers to the younger woman herself who is offering her company to the usually older man. There was some discussion on the forum some time back as to when this meaning became current. We certainly traced it back to the 70s, the earliest example being an advertisement The Vicar produced for an Escort car which seemed to be playing on this double sense (but I cannot now remember if it went back as early as the 60s).

I'm not sure either when working girl became current, though it must be more recent. Really, the intention behind both words is similar to that behind the word "bonk" (which seems to have gone out of fashion now), to provide a sanitized, non-judgmental term that no one need feel carries any offence about it. (One marker as to when this term might have come in is Sandy Wilson's musical The Boyfriend (1954), where the word is used very pointedly in the denouement, but quite clearly without our sense at all.)

By the way, your link doesn't work - but I don't know if that's your fault or just the teething problems of the new software on the site.

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I am willing to say, as a WG, that there is realistically no difference between an escort and a prostitute. Or any of the other words floating around. They are all terms used for people who provide a sexual service of some flavour for money. 

When it comes down to it, every sex worker provides a different service, so to say that an 'escort' provides X and Y while a 'prostitute' provides only X is silly. If anything the term came around as a way to step away from the prevailing negative aspects associated with the work prostitute. Like CB said, it's branding. 

As far as your academic writing goes, the generally agreed upon umbrella term amongst those of us doing the work is sex worker. It kinda covers all different kinds of work and is agreed to be a respectful term by generally everyone in the industry. Just FYI. :)

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Hi all, glad to have been of some help, bachelorstudent. To a sex worker I imagine there's no difference at all, as SweetSummers has explained. The difference is the perception to the punter at the more expensive levels i.e. branding, marketing and positioning versus other forms of sex work. My feeling, anecdotal of course, is that most men have to convince themselves a little and perhaps lie to themselves about what they're doing when they begin and a high-class/Elite/VIP escort might feel like a more acceptable first step than the naked truth (no pun intended) of a Soho walk-up. Then again, what do I know?

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3 hours ago, Colonel Bonkers said:

Obviously it's partly a question of branding: someone who is wanting also to offer social services at events and dinners will not describe herself as a hooker or a prostitute (but, then, nobody does on their sites). But the term is now applied so generally that any distinctive difference has been lost. The only word that irritates me is "courtesan" as it sounds pretentious. (On second thoughts I hate "sex worker" as well, though I can see it might be useful for sociologists.)

The history of the word is well worth looking at. It began as a military term for a platoon or ship that would provide protection, shifted to the domestic sphere in the late 19th century, when it meant an older and trusted family member or family friend who could be relied upon to accompany and protect a young unmarried girl when she was out and about, to its final total overturning of meaning, when it now refers to the younger woman herself who is offering her company to the usually older man. There was some discussion on the forum some time back as to when this meaning became current. We certainly traced it back to the 70s, the earliest example being an advertisement The Vicar produced for an Escort car which seemed to be playing on this double sense (but I cannot now remember if it went back as early as the 60s).

I'm not sure either when working girl became current, though it must be more recent. Really, the intention behind both words is similar to that behind the word "bonk" (which seems to have gone out of fashion now), to provide a sanitized, non-judgmental term that no one need feel carries any offence about it. (One marker as to when this term might have come in is Sandy Wilson's musical The Boyfriend (1954), where the word is used very pointedly in the denouement, but quite clearly without our sense at all.)

By the way, your link doesn't work - but I don't know if that's your fault or just the teething problems of the new software on the site.

I think it was a reference to a Volvo billboard ad that was making a play on the relative costs etc. of a bodyguard (the Volvo) versus a Ford Escort outwardly a car, but leaving the viewer to draw the analogy of other definitions of the word escort as a protector, companion etc.

It is very easy to get hung up on terminology and much of it is marketing, I too deprecate the use of the term courtesan, and too often it appears to be a pretext for charging higher rates.

In many respects sex worker covers it all because regardless of alternative labels the WG or sex worker is providing one or more sexual services, and the client would not be prepared to pay the equivalent amount of money in the absence of those services.  I would say that there is a perceived pecking order within the overall category of sex workers, essentially based on their economic circumstances and motivations for doing such work.  The most basic services can be found on the street, and sadly a significant proportion of the women doing so find themselves there through financial desperation, quite often linked to controlling boyfriends or pimps, the boundaries can be blurred as they often have a drug habit to fund too, it can be a pitiful scene to observe.

Beyond that there is the parlour girl, comes to work, delivers a service, goes home.  Relatively easy to compartmentalise the work from real life and essentially she is offering time for sex, perhaps some conversation, but not meals out.  the range of establishments and their quality vary greatly as do the terms on which the girls work.  At the bad end there is a risk of encountering exploited or trafficked girls.

To some extent separate to that is the independent WG (Indy or Indies), a fair number of these will have some experience of parlour work, but they have the wherewithal to manage their own work and consequently keep the whole fee.  For that latter reason in particular some (many?) of us prefer to visit indies.  An independent WG is free to set her own terms and working modus as she sees fit.  Some will choose to operate a business model close to that of a parlour, and if they are popular there remains the risk of a conveyor belt service.  One of the biggest difficulties of working in this business is the challenge of avoiding burnout or becoming jaded by it.  Some of the best indies imo do not seek to maximise their income in the short term, they take a longer term view and achieve a comfortable income with choices about how to fill the rest of their time.  As for meals out etc. this can happen, but it very much varies on the WG you choose to see.  I have in the past taken an escort or WG out for a meal, visited an art gallery, stately home too, had a picnic.  I'd be surprised if anyone in the place we ate at would have realised that we were WG and client.  It is worth noting that some punters regard other fellow punters who take WGs out for a meal as "fluffies", and that they are mugs to do so.  Essentially they prefer the nuts and bolts service with no food contamination!

As I'm not a WG I'm sure that some of the members here who are WGs will more than likely disagree with at least some of what I have written :o

 

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I think 'prostitute' now has negative connotations and to me sounds derogatory. It's not about the male client 'lying to himself' because I actually think it's offensive in regard to the woman who is offering her services as a sex worker. In fact 'escort' is a much more accurate description for the type of bookings I personally want and ideally prefer.

As for 'courtesan', I once met a French WG who described herself to me as that, but she was French after all! Really, I'm probably repeating what others have already said- it's just different terminology for the same thing.

However, going back to how 'prostitute' has negative connotations, I think this negativity is something that always applies to women more than a man. What do I mean by that? Think of all the words that are used to describe a woman who is promiscuous. 'Slut' 'Slapper' 'Whore' 'Slag'. Insulting, derogatory.

Now think of the words used to describe a man who sleeps with a lot of women. A 'Casanova', a 'ladies man', a 'player', 'a stud', a 'stallion' etc. Admiring words.

You see what I'm getting at?

Society has a problem with women who like to fuck, full stop. Never mind those who are selling it.

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I'd say the terminologies have changed/been mixed up. Probably 10+ years ago, a prostitute was just sex, an escort was a female companion with the possibility of sex. Now, prostitute are more commonly referred to as escorts. So all prostitutes are escorts, but not all escorts are prostitutes

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the only escorts who are not prostitutes are ones who go out to social occasions and NEVER EVER EVER for any reason under any circumstances have ANY sexual contact with the man they are escorting, not during after or before the escorted event. If they do, they are a prostitute because they wouldnt be there without the escort booking. 

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The term 'sex worker' is wider than 'escort' and 'WG' and covers a pornography models, phone sex operators, web-cam sex, lap-dancers and more. Its use in our part of the sex-work industry is an attempt to avoid derogatory terms such as prostitute.   

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Sex worker is the preferred term when writing formally or when discussed in terms of politics or sociology, for example on academic papers, in the media.It also includes not just escorting, but phone line workers, strippers, camgirls, porn work, dominatrixes and anyone who offers sexual services that don't always include full sex. Although some individuals in those lines might disagree because they don't want to be lumped in with people who have actual sex for money. But as a term to cover the entire industry it's the easiest and most understood.

Escort relates to sex workers who  have sex- other terms such as courtesan or call girl are mere marketing an individual chooses to use. 

Terms such as hookers, whore, prostitute are considered derogatory, but sex workers themselves might use them to refer to themselves or each other in a light hearted way. Rather like gay men calling themselves a poof but it isn't polite to refer to a gay man you don't know well enough as a poof. Of course some women don't mind, but generally it depends on context. 

Noone other than men on forums call us working girls any more! It's a bit dated! It doesn't offend, but it's just a bit twee, and is definitely to me preferable to being referred to as a hooker or a variation on prostitute including the abbreviation of prostitute I can't type because this forum changes it to WG!

 

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1 hour ago, MinxyLydia said:

 

Noone other than men on forums call us working girls any more! It's a bit dated! It doesn't offend, but it's just a bit twee, and is definitely to me preferable to being referred to as a hooker or a variation on prostitute including the abbreviation of prostitute I can't type because this forum changes it to WG!

 

Quite agree about it being twee. When you say it's dated, do you have any idea about it's history?

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1 hour ago, MinxyLydia said:

Sex worker is the preferred term when writing formally or when discussed in terms of politics or sociology, for example on academic papers, in the media.It also includes not just escorting, but phone line workers, strippers, camgirls, porn work, dominatrixes and anyone who offers sexual services that don't always include full sex. Although some individuals in those lines might disagree because they don't want to be lumped in with people who have actual sex for money. But as a term to cover the entire industry it's the easiest and most understood.

Escort relates to sex workers who  have sex- other terms such as courtesan or call girl are mere marketing an individual chooses to use. 

Terms such as hookers, whore, prostitute are considered derogatory, but sex workers themselves might use them to refer to themselves or each other in a light hearted way. Rather like gay men calling themselves a poof but it isn't polite to refer to a gay man you don't know well enough as a poof. Of course some women don't mind, but generally it depends on context. 

Noone other than men on forums call us working girls any more! It's a bit dated! It doesn't offend, but it's just a bit twee, and is definitely to me preferable to being referred to as a hooker or a variation on prostitute including the abbreviation of prostitute I can't type because this forum changes it to WG!

 

so your preferred term is escort then? 

I find that  confusing. escort means to me a girl who accompanies me out. then perhaps sex after.

 

but thats the trouble.  none of these terms have a precise meaning.  one mans escort is another mans coutesan.

 

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3 hours ago, Colonel Bonkers said:

Quite agree about it being twee. When you say it's dated, do you have any idea about it's history?

No, I should have said I think it sounds dated! 

Had a quick look and can't find anything that nails down a date when the term was first used but discovered someone called Dorothy Arzner wrte a film in 1931 called Working Girl's and used the term in both sense of the words- as a woman who works outside the home (more unusual in the 30's) and the euphemism for prostitute.  

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5 hours ago, MinxyLydia said:

Sex worker is the preferred term when writing formally or when discussed in terms of politics or sociology, for example on academic papers, in the media.It also includes not just escorting, but phone line workers, strippers, camgirls, porn work, dominatrixes and anyone who offers sexual services that don't always include full sex. Although some individuals in those lines might disagree because they don't want to be lumped in with people who have actual sex for money. But as a term to cover the entire industry it's the easiest and most understood.

Escort relates to sex workers who  have sex- other terms such as courtesan or call girl are mere marketing an individual chooses to use. 

Terms such as hookers, whore, prostitute are considered derogatory, but sex workers themselves might use them to refer to themselves or each other in a light hearted way. Rather like gay men calling themselves a poof but it isn't polite to refer to a gay man you don't know well enough as a poof. Of course some women don't mind, but generally it depends on context. 

Noone other than men on forums call us working girls any more! It's a bit dated! It doesn't offend, but it's just a bit twee, and is definitely to me preferable to being referred to as a hooker or a variation on prostitute including the abbreviation of prostitute I can't type because this forum changes it to WG!

 

I can say it because of my lisp. Its proshie xxx

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For the purposes of the Internet and good old google the preferred term is most likely 'Escort'    my own preference is Courtesan but it's more

relative to the wealth of a courtesans clients and I have no idea as to that, but I just prefer 'Courtesan.

Prostitute to me is an outdated term and 'mostly' used by those referring to the paid sex industry in a disparaging manner (usually the media)

or those seeking to sell a book/story/saga somewhere.

I doubt if any 'punter' looking for his next paid sex encounter sticks a random search into Google such as 'prostitutes'.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, MinxyLydia said:

No, I should have said I think it sounds dated! 

Had a quick look and can't find anything that nails down a date when the term was first used but discovered someone called Dorothy Arzner wrte a film in 1931 called Working Girl's and used the term in both sense of the words- as a woman who works outside the home (more unusual in the 30's) and the euphemism for prostitute.  

Thanks. I'd never heard of it or her. But neither the IMDB nor the Wiki article seemed to bear out that the word was being used in this way.

Intriguingly, the Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford film Working Girl, which isn't being used in our sense came out two years later (1988) than another film called Working Girls,which is all about Manhattan prostitutes. I'd been imagining that would be roughly when the term came in and it was probably still on the cusp then. It's odd though that nobody in Hollywood thought it necessary to change the title to avoid the wrong impression.

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16 minutes ago, Colonel Bonkers said:

Thanks. I'd never heard of it or her. But neither the IMDB nor the Wiki article seemed to bear out that the word was being used in this way.

Intriguingly, the Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford film Working Girl, which isn't being used in our sense came out two years later (1988) than another film called Working Girls,which is all about Manhattan prostitutes. I'd been imagining that would be roughly when the term came in and it was probably still on the cusp then. It's odd though that nobody in Hollywood thought it necessary to change the title to avoid the wrong impression.

No it was in use significantly before then. Here are some examples cited by the OED:-

1928   M. Bodenheim Georgie May iii. 236   H'm-m, scan'lously dressed... Might be a working-girl.
1952   J. Lait & L. Mortimer U.S.A. Confidential 163   She had a fine stable of working-girls who went to hotel rooms for fifty bucks a throw.
1963   Hutchinson (Kansas) News 16 Apr. 3/6   She told the jury..that she had heard of ‘a man named Mike’..from other ‘working girls’ in Denver.
1976   Globe & Mail (Toronto) 24 Sept. 8/4   He was a morality cop interested only in the activities of pimps and not concerned about the ‘working girls’.

 

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21 minutes ago, Carnival said:

No it was in use significantly before then. Here are some examples cited by the OED:-

1928   M. Bodenheim Georgie May iii. 236   H'm-m, scan'lously dressed... Might be a working-girl.
1952   J. Lait & L. Mortimer U.S.A. Confidential 163   She had a fine stable of working-girls who went to hotel rooms for fifty bucks a throw.
1963   Hutchinson (Kansas) News 16 Apr. 3/6   She told the jury..that she had heard of ‘a man named Mike’..from other ‘working girls’ in Denver.
1976   Globe & Mail (Toronto) 24 Sept. 8/4   He was a morality cop interested only in the activities of pimps and not concerned about the ‘working girls’.

 

are we sure 'working girl' means prostitute and not someone who goes to work, i.e  not a stay at home housewife, which was the norm on those days?

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10 minutes ago, Coventrypunter said:

are we sure 'working girl' means prostitute and not someone who goes to work, i.e  not a stay at home housewife, which was the norm on those days?

They all pretty clearly do, except (possibly) the 1963 one.

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I presume the OED editors saw the whole newspaper article from which the 1963 example was taken and would not have included it if there were any doubt. I seem to remember from the Victoria Coren "Balderdash and Piffle" TV series that the editors were pretty strict about rejecting any submission where the intended meaning of the word or phrase was in any doubt.

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4 hours ago, Colonel Bonkers said:

Thanks. I'd never heard of it or her. But neither the IMDB nor the Wiki article seemed to bear out that the word was being used in this way.

Intriguingly, the Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford film Working Girl, which isn't being used in our sense came out two years later (1988) than another film called Working Girls,which is all about Manhattan prostitutes. I'd been imagining that would be roughly when the term came in and it was probably still on the cusp then. It's odd though that nobody in Hollywood thought it necessary to change the title to avoid the wrong impression.

I always wondered if that film intentionally used that as a double play on the phrase- a bit of sly humour from the director/screenwriters.

Note how Melanie Griffith's character talks and dresses in the first half of the film, pretty much like a Bronx streetwalker in a fantasy secretarial outfit...she's shown screwing Alec Baldwin, while wearing stockings and suspenders. A sleazy businessman played by Kevin Spacey tries to get her to snort coke with him. This is before she becomes more refined as she climbs up the career ladder...also note how she picks up the Harrison Ford character in a bar. To me it's basically Pretty Woman but in metaphor! Her business in that film is 'finance' but really it's all wrapped up with sex...

In Wall Street Charlie Sheen's character really does go out on a night frolic with an 'escort', snorting coke with her in a taxi. Now, Charlie Sheen snorting coke with hookers...talk about life eventually imitating art.

Sorry for the 1980s Hollywood movie digression ;)

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17 hours ago, EnjoyEmily said:

For the purposes of the Internet and good old google the preferred term is most likely 'Escort'    my own preference is Courtesan but it's more

relative to the wealth of a courtesans clients and I have no idea as to that, but I just prefer 'Courtesan.

Prostitute to me is an outdated term and 'mostly' used by those referring to the paid sex industry in a disparaging manner (usually the media)

or those seeking to sell a book/story/saga somewhere.

I doubt if any 'punter' looking for his next paid sex encounter sticks a random search into Google such as 'prostitutes'.

 

 

Indeed, people will call others according to their experiences, personalities, mood or how low they want to make you feel, subconsciously a reflection of their status.  

People chose to assume that if a woman meets people once in while is same to meeting lots of guys per day in a flat or lots of guys per day in a car park for example - when meeting less people means you might do something intellectual or learning something that leads to increasing your IQ.  The reality is we are all different just the way a solicitor does different work that a lawyer or a barrister.  Some people call them all overpriced thieves, but not all are bad.

As I said we are all different but is not worth even beginning an argument with people who will always want to run others down, so you let them be.

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12 hours ago, Annabellexoxo said:

Indeed, people will call others according to their experiences, personalities, mood or how low they want to make you feel, subconsciously a reflection of their status.  

People chose to assume that if a woman meets people once in while is same to meeting lots of guys per day in a flat or lots of guys per day in a car park for example - when meeting less people means you might do something intellectual or learning something that leads to increasing your IQ.  The reality is we are all different just the way a solicitor does different work that a lawyer or a barrister.  Some people call them all overpriced thieves, but not all are bad.

As I said we are all different but is not worth even beginning an argument with people who will always want to run others down, so you let them be.

But surely whether a woman selling sex to one man a month or 10 men a day (whether in a car park or a luxury hotel)  is still a prostitute, or indeed a sex worker or an escort? Do you think the number of men and what someone does in their time away from sex work varies the word they are called?

 

Though, as a note to the OP the term indoor worker and outdoor worker are often used as respectful terms, to avoid using the term street walker. 

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