By Jena Ardell
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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" (22.214.171.124/default2.html) have become the cyberfraternity houses where men who spend a great deal of their discretionary income visiting women all too willing to compromise their dignity for pictures of dead presidents log on to share information.
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, 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, confided, "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 who 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 5'8". 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 sex worker with a full-time day job, says the sites are "fabulous." "Ever since I got a couple of good reviews," she says, "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 look-alike was reviewed with the passage, "She was so fat I had to separate the folds and flaps to fuck her." When she learned of the posting, she broke into tears, according to the 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, an uptown 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."
While there are two sides to every story and the reality of he says/she says applies in the old-fashioned world, sex workers have not caught up with their tricks in the cyberworld. There are as yet no sites where prostitutes can log on to dump on the slobs who patronize them. But that could change soon. Lisa, a very successful downtown madam and sex worker, is so adamant about these sites, she's already planning on turning the tables. "It's really disgusting the way these guys go online and discuss every stretch mark, every implant, and every mole on a girl's body," says Lisa, who generally receives very favorable reviews on the Web. "Some of these guys are so horrible. . . . Their breath stinks, their asses stink, their underwear has skid marks, their penises are ugly. . . . They have a lot of nerve talking about my girls the way they do. When I get the time, I'm gonna start my own Web site so the girls can review the pigs who think they're so smart. Then we'll see how they feel."