By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Once upon a time, practitioners of the planet's oldest profession could give their clients the most perfunctory sexual performances with very little chance of being held accountable. But the Internet may soon change that. There are now several locker-room-style Web sites run by and for prostitutes' customers that offer reviews of the women and (on one site) therapists who counsel the contributors on all matters sexual.
The concept is simple. A "hobbyist" (one site host's euphemism for what sex workers call a "trick" or a "john") goes online to submit a review of a prostitute he has spent time with, describing in vivid and gory detail exactly how he felt about the performance of the hired object of his lust. Thus worldsexguide.com, heavenorhell.com, lastpage.com/ sexmessages, and "johnsactionguide" (220.127.116.11/ default2.html) have become cyber-fraternity houses, where men who spend a great deal of their discretionary income on women who are willing to compromise their dignity for pictures of dead presidents can log on to share information.
As all these sites are part of the World Wide Web, prostitutes from every city, town, and village could presumably fall under the salacious eye of the group. But not surprisingly, the vast majority of posted material deals with sex workers from the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The World Sex Guide, which includes critiques from as far away as Guam, has a section labeled "Minnesota"--which contains a single, not terribly flattering, entry. An excerpt: "I went to [a massage parlor] in downtown Mpls., and I was disappointed. First off, the place is a dump. Secondly, I made the mistake of assuming prices I've experienced from going to places out-of-state and on this site would be about right. I got it half right. It must be the real estate values downtown, because it was fucking expensive!"
For the joyful john, these sites provide valuable information in a business fraught with deceit. For the prostitute they provide an opportunity to let the world know exactly how proficient she is within the realm of sexual performance, thereby enabling those fortunate enough to get rave reviews substantial income growth almost overnight.
In the sex-for-sale business, many advertising vehicles require a picture to lure a client. And often the hooker behind the ad would rather that the world not see a photo of her attached to this line of work. Hence, a likeness from a foreign girlie rag is scanned and used as a facsimile representation. While this is great for the working girl, it is not so great for the client--who either caves in, spending big dollars for someone other than the woman he anticipated, or cries "bait and switch," rejecting the encounter when he and his fantasy lady actually meet.
The john Web sites tend to be cluttered with warnings about certain women or escort agencies, as part of a collective effort to educate the legion of enthusiastic consumers who contract for sexual services. With the new wave of cyberreview sites, dozens of bogus agencies and individuals are in the process of being outed every day. One nameless escort-service owner, infamous for sending anyone available in lieu of the woman pictured in an ad, confides, "I hate those sites." And understandably so--if he's sending fakes at $300 per hour.
But the bait and switch isn't limited to fake pictures; it involves fake women as well. One recent forum on the johnsactionguide site questioned the true gender of several women whom the hobbyists suspected might have been born men. "Everyone out there should be very careful with this," cautions one man on the site. "It's pretty amazing how real many of these post-ops look. And when you're horny, you tend to see what you want to see."
Another says, "I am always more careful in checking out female providers who are over five-eight. If I notice anything funny, like a wig, a weird voice, thick wrists, no hips, or sometimes just that certain angularity that men tend to have, I call it off real quick."
Given the popularity of these sites, a couple of good or bad reviews can make or break a house or a sex worker. Fatima, a pleasant and attractive New York sex worker with a full-time day job, says the sites are "fabulous," and adds, "Ever since I got a couple of good reviews, guys have been calling off the hook to see me."
But not everybody is so happy. Sometimes the commentary on the sites is graphic, salacious, and malicious--and can be extremely disturbing to those maligned. One very pretty but somewhat overweight Anna Nicole Smith look-alike was reviewed with the passage, "She was so fat I had to separate the folds and flaps to fuck her." When the woman learned of the posting, she burst into tears, according to her house mom.
Since the onslaught of the sites, some worldly-wise working women have changed their ways, opting to give full and good service to all their clients. Stacy, a Manhattan sex worker, says, "I've never been the type of working girl to give a client a bad session, because I make most of my money from regulars. But with all these review sites, I make sure to give each and every guy the time of his life."