Dear Matisse,

What's with these so-called escorts running around practically giving their stuff away? They ruin it for those of us who respect ourselves enough to charge a reasonable price. Do you have any ideas about how to make these girls get in line with the rest of us and stop undercutting other ladies?

Yeah, I have an idea: mind your own business. I've heard women complaining about this in every arena of sex work for my entire career. I'm sure other service-based workers do it too, but sex workers doing so really annoys me, especially when they use some moral/psychological lever like self-respect. I doubt that, say, plumbers attempt to control the business activities of other plumbers by implying that they're skanky whores if they don't charge the same fee for clearing out someone's pipes. Making money is a happy thing, but the idea that respecting yourself as a sex worker only comes at a certain price point is absurd. Plus, I'm always suspicious of a woman who rants too much about this. One suspects she's trying to get other women to raise their prices so she can then undersell them.

The economic systems of autonomous sex workers and their clientele is free market in its purest form. It is, essentially, a precapitalist form of business. Marx would call it simple commodity production, which means that the producers own the resources—in this case, their sexual attractiveness and their skills and labor—that they then trade for what they want. In such a system, the invisible hand of the marketplace tends to take care of any lack of equilibrium.

Price fixing usually ends up stifling the economic growth it's supposed to protect. It's also illegal—although it's hard to imagine a bunch of sex workers being charged with violating antitrust law. But economic theory aside, I've worked in systems of sex work in which prices were (supposedly) regulated by management, and I've seen people try to use peer pressure to do so. It's bad for morale, and it's also damn near impossible. You don't really know what another sex worker is getting paid unless you're with her when the cash is counted out. In casual conversation, competitive sex workers round up their incomes as readily as they inflate their bust measurements. You can't go by ads, either—avaricious ladies sometimes quote a low price up front and then up sell the client upon arrival. And crooked clients will try to score bargains by lying about how much they paid another woman.

I believe in being pleasant and courteous to one's sex-work peers, and I don't view all other sex workers—even other pro dommes—as being my direct competitors, because most women are very different from me in what they have to offer. And if I did think of someone as my competitor, then why would I give her any say in how I run my shop? I have been successful by staying focused on my own bottom line, not other women's. As one businesswoman to another, I recommend you do the same. recommended

Kink Calendar

FRIDAY 10/19


A BDSM play party for gay, bi, and straight boys. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746,, 10 pm—3 am, $20/$15 if you're in uniform, male ID required, members and their guests only.


Party at the friendly Eastside swing club—tonight's theme is Rocky Horror. Single men must request to be added to the waiting list; couples and single women can just show up. Eros Events, 425-868-8169,, 7 pm, new people must arrive by 6 pm, $50 for couples/$30 for single women.



The third annual Everett Fall Home Show is here, with over 350 booths of home-improvement products and services, plus professionals who can answer any and all questions about decorating, winterizing, and installing Balinese fuck-swings. Plus: free pumpkins for the kids! Everett Events Center, 2000 Hewitt Ave, Everett, 425-322-2600,, 10 am—6 pm, $6.50/$7.


What are the secrets of seduction and how can you feel more confident in the dating world? Veronica is a certified sex educator and the author of Sex Secrets of Escorts: Tips from a Pro. Learn more at Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746,, 2—5 pm, $65, male ID required.


A new show about the darker side of Eros. No-host wine bar. Little Red Studio, 750 Harrison St, 328-4758,, 9 pm, $30, reservations recommended

.TUESDAY 10/23


No matter what kind of polyamory you practice, we all have issues to discuss. How do we all schedule? How do we share? What is compersion? How do we overcome jealousy? This is your chance to see how others do it. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746,, 7:30—9:30 pm, $1 donation.



Want to meet kinky people and find local fetish events, but don't know where to start? Allena Gabosch, executive director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture, will cover places to go, events to keep an eye out for, what to wear, and proper etiquette. Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, free.