by Hannah Jay
The first thing to know about the very notion of “Asian” is that it is vast and diverse in almost every particular. A first generation Han Chinese immigrant is vastly different from a fourth generation Californian who just happens to have Japanese ancestry. The second thing to know is that the Asian populations in the United States are overwhelmingly concentrated in a few large cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles on the West Coast and New York City on the East Coast together hold well over 50% of the Chinese population in the US. The Japanese population is overwhelmingly in Los Angeles and in Honolulu.
However, while these statistics tell part of the story, the other part is all about the sheer number of Chinese, and to a lesser extent, Japanese visitors to the US. In 2012 1.5 million Chinese tourists came to the United States. They spent almost 9 billion dollars. Add to that the huge number of Chinese business visitors and you have an idea of the huge market potential inherent in these numbers.
On the Japanese side, 1.4 million tourists came to Hawaii in 2012, and an additional 500,000 came to mainland USA. Japanese businessmen accounted for nearly 80,000 visas to the US in 2013. This constitutes another huge market.
Specializing in the Asian segment
There are many reasons why an escort or escort agency might want to specialize in the Asian market. Obviously, the sheer size of the market in some areas is a significant factor. Add to that the fact that Asians spend a lot of money when they travel and the tourist and business market becomes very attractive. Then there is the belief – whether true or false – that Asian men are easy, respectful escort clients. In all, this adds up to a niche which an ambitious escort may wish to explore.
The question is how to best tap this potential? Assuming that a girl lives in a city with a fair sized Asian population, a simple first step is to add the magic words “Asian gentlemen preferred” to a classified escort ad. It seems like a trivial thing, but it will let an escort gauge the response and decide whether to take the trouble to reach out to that market segment.
However, because “Asian” takes in the Indian sub-continent, some escorts are even more specific and advertise along the lines of, “Oriental” or “Chinese and Japanese gentlemen preferred”.
(And, while we are here, a note on prejudice. It is in the nature of escorting that encounters with clients are intimate and culturally bound. Stating a preference is very different from making a straight “exclusionary” statement. An independent escort has to screen her own clients and there are all sorts of reasons why she may have a preference for one sort of client over another. It is very much her right to choose.)
Assuming for the moment that this minor alteration in an escort’s normal course advertising is successful and she begins to attract Asian clients, it makes sense to pay attention to the nuances and preferences of this new clientele.
Formality as a cultural bridge
For the moment let’s consider the Chinese or Japanese traveler. Whether a tourist or a businessman, the traveler may bring a number of challenges to an escort encounter. First off the obvious: language. Whether it is booking the date or what to do on arrival, the language barrier is very real. Secondly, culture: how men see the escort experience is very much a matter of the culture in which they have been raised. The very concept of “escort” is deeply culturally laden. In China especially, there is a long tradition of sex for sale, however it can tend to be a very rudimentary transaction.
If a girl wants to specialize in, or have a significant exposure to the Chinese or Japanese traveler markets, it is going to make sense for her to invest a bit of time and effort in being able to bridge the cultural and linguistic gap.
No one expects an escort to be fluent in an Asian language. And one assumes that the business or tourist traveler is also conversant (to a greater of lesser degree) in English. He is, after all, responding to your ad written in English. However, if you are targeting a particular market it makes a great deal of sense to learn a few words such as, “Please”, “Thank you”, “No”, “Yes” as well as a few useful phrases to make any encounter go more smoothly.
At the same time, when dealing with a Japanese or Chinese client, make it easy for him to understand you. People who speak limited or minimal English need to be able to pick out the words you are saying. That means you will be better understood if you:
- use simple words
- use short sentences
- pause between sentences
- say the same thing in more than one way
- listen carefully to what your client is saying
- repeat back to your client what you think he said
- avoid direct questions
- avoid slang
- remember that humour does not always translate
At the same time, non-verbal actions can send a powerful message. Something as simple as bowing slightly when he first arrives at your in-call location will set a tone, and indicate that you understand and appreciate the culture he comes from. So will having tea ready. So is having a little tray of snacks. Asians have a love of ceremony and formality. They also have a natural reserve so act accordingly. And brush up on your manners, you are going to be using them.
Spending a few minutes sipping tea while asking simple questions like, “Where are you from?” is a good way to establish an comfortable atmosphere at the beginning of the date.
The critical thing is that just as in any other escort encounter, you need to establish that you are in charge, that you will be conducting the activities. Simply by beginning in a respectful but firm way, you can achieve the position which will make the rest of the date go smoothly.
Theory to practice
Lauren works in a large West Coast city and has made a specialty of Asian business travelers.
“I didn’t really set out to be an Asian-only escort but that seems to be the way things have worked out,” explained Lauren.
“It really all started when I met the concierge of a fairly large downtown hotel. I had a date in the hotel and he figured out that I was working. Anyway, as I was leaving he suggested that we get a cup of coffee. Which we did.”
“He was Chinese, from Hong Kong, and he suggested that he might be able to “introduce” me to some businessmen that he had a relationship with. He obviously guessed I did in-calls,” she laughs,” which is actually what I prefer. I don’t think he wanted me to work at his hotel, which was fair enough,” said Lauren “In fact, I think offering to refer clients was his very polite way of shooing me away.”
“A couple of days later he called and asked if I might be available to entertain a visitor that evening. I was and that was my first Mainland Chinese client. Quite a young man, late thirties I would say, and fortunately, he spoke quite a bit of English.”
“Very much a date like most others. My usual rates plus a $100 tip. I made sure to drop a very nice thank you card off to my concierge with a crisp $50 discreetly tucked in the card.”
“At the beginning I would see perhaps two or three Chinese businessmen a week. They almost always booked and paid for two hours but they rarely stayed more than an hour.”
“I am lucky. I have naturally blond, long, straight hair which these Chinese guys seem to love. But it turns out that the biggest thing they raved about to my hotel contact was how clean my place is. Once I realized how fanatical they are about hygiene, I make sure to have fresh sheets and towels after each date. A wrapped bar of soap for them to use in the bathroom, or pump soap at the very least. And I’ll tell you a little secret, I have hired a cleaning woman to come in once a week (I can afford one, now!)
The Asians are extremely aware of fashion and appearances, so it doesn’t hurt that I have a modern downtown loft to work from. I have redecorated it in a really chic, contemporary style. I have also upped my game in the wardrobe department, too. These clients notice everything, and are very attentive to details and quality. They love luxury, so my home is a haven of designer touches on a shoe-string budget. I’m a big customer of Ebay and vintage shops! I look successful; and I am.
“After a month or two, I got a call from another guy who mentioned my concierge and asked me to meet him for lunch. Nice man, also Chinese, also from Hong Kong. He asked me if I would be willing to learn a little Chinese if that meant getting more clients. I said sure, and a week later, I was taking basic conversational Mandarin lessons for a couple of hours, two afternoons a week. He wanted me to take Mandarin because most of the business men he worked with were from the Mainland. Which is funny because he spoke Cantonese as do most people from Hong Kong.”
“Learning the basics of Mandarin was hard, but it was very lucrative. The fact is that while the Chinese businessmen from Hong Kong spoke Cantonese, they often also spoke English; but the Mainlanders spoke Mandarin and very rarely had more than extremely rudimentary English. For the Mainlanders, having a girl who could say anything in even the worst Mandarin was a huge plus.”
“Almost all my Chinese clients have been referrals. Once word got out that there was a blonde who made a bit of an effort to treat Chinese men well, I was booked pretty solid. And they expect high rates and they are very generous with their tips.”
“In terms of the escort work itself, it was pretty seamless. In fact I think I probably gave them more for less than they were getting from the girls they saw in China. In China – leaving aside the absence of blondes – there is very little in the mid-range for escorts. Many of my clients were used to the rub and tug massage parlor routine or they were used to really, really expensive girls.”
“Although now most of my escorting clients are Chinese, I do get the occasional Japanese business referral. I don’t have more than a few words of Japanese but all of my Japanese clients have some English. Again, pretty straight forward dates but the one thing which a few of my Japanese clients have wanted to do is drink with me. And I am not talking a glass of champagne. I learned fast not to have those dates as in-calls.”
“Probably the easiest money I make as an escort is to go with one or two Japanese businessmen to one of the Japanese clubs or restaurants in town. I am really there to pour their whiskey. They have these little rooms with rice paper walls and sliding doors. My clients seem to love being seen with a blonde. They might paw me a little but usually I am there to laugh when they laugh and listen to them try to tell me stories in not very good English. Most nights they are way too drunk to do anything. But they pay my full evening rates.”
“For the Japanese men who are not fixated on drinking a bottle of whiskey in an hour and a half, it is very pleasant to make and serve tea. I was given a beautiful cast iron sake set with the flask and the little cups. (They are big on gifts, so be prepared to get a lot!) There is a lovely social ritual to serving sake. It is very easy to learn and it is very much appreciated by members of the Asian culture. The art to it, is that as the hostess, I only serve my client not myself. He then serves me. One minor thing which I had to learn was that it is wise to avoid finishing a cup of sake because your client will, immediately, feel he has to pour you another.”
I asked Lauren if having her clientele become almost exclusively Asian had altered anything for her as an escort.
“Huge changes. First off, I really don’t have to advertise which means I am not getting random calls at all hours from guys who are going to be no shows anyway. That’s a huge plus. Second, I make much more money. I have more than doubled my rates on the recommendation of the people who refer my clients. Both the Chinese and the Japanese see paying a high price for something as a way of ensuring that they are getting the best value. Third, my visibility as an escort has vanished – I took down my review profile, I don’t advertise and my clients are very quiet and respectful when they come to my loft. I don’t worry about the police because they really have almost no chance of even knowing I am working.”
“I also feel a lot more secure. My clients are being referred by people I trust. I can verify that they are staying at a good hotel. I don’t have to be worried that they are cops or dangerous. Plus, there is no chance at all that I am going to end up having someone I know arrive as a client.”
“The only downside is that you have to be very firm and upfront about money. Especially with the Chinese who live in a culture where the posted price is the place you start negotiations. Even clients who have been referred and who I have told on the phone what my rates are, will arrive and try to cut my price in half. I was pretty worried about that at the beginning but having pushed my rates up by more than double, I now can afford to haggle for twenty minutes and then, to save their face, knock 10% off which, almost always comes back with extra as my tip.”
How, we asked, should a girl interested in working as an Asian specialty escort get started. “Well, I was really lucky obviously. But the Chinese traveler market especially operates on introductions and referrals. So you really do have to figure out where the Chinese businessmen in your city stay and where they go to play. Then look for a way in.”
“Of course you can also advertise. Which does work. But if I were advertising now, I would do it two ways – with Chinese characters added to your Skipthegames.com ad, and go and take a look at the Chinese media in your city both online and printed. The classified ads are inexpensive. You will probably have to go in under massage but that won’t matter.”
“Whatever you do, try to get a little bit of a jump by learning at least a tiny bit of Mandarin.”
“Final point. Be aware that with Chinese travelers you are likely the only part of their trip where they will be on their own, away from a group or their business associates. They are making a huge leap to come into my home. Making that easy and enjoyable for them will mean you will fairly quickly build a great reputation with the people who can send you business. In the Chinese world it is all about who you know so make sure you have great introductions.”