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1
Being a huge fan of Gandhi, I found this article pretty fascinating. It is interesting to watch his life take a turn 180 degrees, and have Gandhi's philosophy have been a part of it, especially in the middle of the war.  /clap2

My Country Right or Wrong: Conscientious Objector Josh Stieber on Being Wrong About the Military
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2010 1:03 PM | By Kathryn Schulz

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a 13-year-old kid named Josh Stieber vowed that as soon as he was old enough, he would join the military. His goal: to help protect his country and spread its values of freedom and democracy around the world. With the war still on when he graduated from high school, Stieber enlisted in 2006 and was deployed to Baghdad in 2007. A devout Christian and a staunch political conservative, Stieber became troubled by the gap between the values he was told the military embodied and those he experienced on the ground. Partway through his deployment, he realized that his perspective had changed so drastically that he would rather go to prison than remain in the military. Instead, he learned about, applied for, and obtained Conscientious Objector status. (For more on conscientious objectors, see my interview with J.E. McNeil, head of the Center on Conscience and War.)

In the interview below, Stieber, who is now 22, spoke with me about how his expectations and his experiences of military life collided, what it feels when "everything you've defined yourself by has fallen apart," and how George W. Bush and Gandhi each played a pivotal role in shaping his military career.
***
Tell me a bit about your background.

I grew up in suburban D.C. in a pretty religious family and went to an evangelical Christian school. My family was very much involved in the church, and my father's pretty political; when I was in high school I worked with him on the Bush campaign.

How did you think about war as you were growing up?

The high school I went to was supervised by the church that my family attended, and one of the books we read in government class was called The Faith of George W. Bush. Bush was presented as an example of what a strong Christian man should look like, and the global war on terror was presented as an opportunity to rescue an oppressed people and spread democracy through the Middle East, along with Christian and Western values.

What was it about Bush that exemplified the ideal Christian man?

A lot of it had to do with his assertiveness: the idea of moral certainty, the way he spoke in absolute values of good and evil, and the idea that you don't negotiate with terrorists, you don't talk to people on the other side. You're right, and you have morals on your side, and you're willing to be outspoken about them and willing to criticize others for not living your way of life.

What made you decide to enlist? Do you come from a military family?

Both my grandfathers served, but my dad didn't. I would say that Bush book influenced me a lot. By about midway through high school, I was pretty certain that that's what I was going to do.

What about your classmates? Were many of them enlisting as well?

No, that was one of the interesting things. Everybody in my class agreed with me religiously and politically, and it kind of frustrated me that no one else was putting it into practice. Toward the very end of high school, I started asking a lot more questions and becoming more critical of the system, because I saw a lot of people talking a good game but wondered why I was only the only one really doing anything about it.

Why do you think you were the one putting your beliefs into practice?

My parents are both people who act on their beliefs. I don't always agree with how they act, but they definitely demonstrated for me a correspondence: If you believe something, you need to act on it.

What was your experience like after you enlisted?
Pretty quickly after I got in, I started to see inconsistencies between how the military was talked about in such glorified ways [when I was] growing up, and then how it was acted out in training. Training was very desensitizing. We screamed slogans like, "Kill them all, let God sort them out." We watched videos with bombs being dropped on Middle Eastern villages with rock and roll music in the background. People really started to celebrate death and destruction, and that definitely didn't match up to what I'd expected. I'd told myself that I was willing to kill if necessary, but that wasn't the same as celebrating it.

Were other people around you noticing these inconsistencies as well?

To varying degrees. I think a lot of people didn't really feel it, though. Honestly, at the time I didn't realize how psychologically influential that kind of thing is, either. You know, they do it in kind of a discreet way; we would march and sing one song and it would be perfectly harmless, and then the next song would be about killing women and children. So you mix it up back and forth and I guess you don't really realize the implications. But later on when you're in action, I think it does play a role.

How did you handle it at the time? Were you feeling uncomfortable and actively wrestling with these issues, or was it more of a background concern?

At the time, I kept telling myself that the ends justified whatever questionable means we were taught. I had kind of a moral back-and-forth around that. And then I went back and forth politically between whether or not we were keeping the higher ideal of spreading truth and democracy or just cleaning up the mess we had made. But I still just went along with things and said to myself, "Even if I disagree with a lot of different aspects of training, it's OK so long as I don't let it influence me.

Did you tell anyone about your concerns?

I did write back home to family members and different leaders in my church to say, "This kind of thing doesn't seem to match up with all these things I was taught." The answer usually was that same thinking葉hat the ends justify the means.

Part of me felt that they couldn't understand, that they didn't know what I was going through and couldn't relate. But at the same time, I didn't know what else I could do. They didn't have a great answer and neither did I.

When did your willingness to go along start to shift toward a sense that you couldn't remain in the military?

That didn't take place until I actually deployed and was confronted with making crucial decisions. One of the values I'd been taught and that you hear all the time in the rhetoric of political and military leaders was that democracy is a good thing and it thrives on the will of the people.

That came into question a couple of months after we got to Baghdad. We were moving off the main base and going to live in an old factory in the poor industrial part of town. As we were moving in, the local population came out and held a large peaceful protest and told us very straightforwardly that they didn't want us in their part of town. We ignored that and pushed them out of our way and established ourselves in the factory. Within a couple of days, we had built a large barrier around the full city block that we were living in and continued to displace people who lived and worked there. So this idea that we were there to liberate the common people and help their will flourish葉he way we handled that situation seemed to be the complete opposite of it.

What kind of reaction to that did you see on the ground? If you perceived the discrepancy between American rhetoric and American actions, I assume many Iraqis did, too.

Yes, absolutely. They had tried telling us nonviolently that they didn't want us in their neighborhood, and when that didn't work, they tried telling us violently, by using snipers and roadside bombs and that kind of thing. And once they started to get violent, we started to get violent, too. It went back and forth and each attack seemed to be more severe than the last one. Eventually the escalation led to a kind of desperation on the part of a lot of soldiers. There's really no way to defend yourself against a sniper shot or a roadside bomb, so some of our leaders felt that the only way we could defend ourselves was to intimidate the local population into preventing the violence in the first place. So our battalion commanders gave the order that every time a bomb went off, we were entitled to open fire on whoever was standing around.

The way I interpreted that was that we were told to out-terrorize the terrorists. That was really troubling for me; I found it wrong both morally and strategically. If that happened to me, that wouldn't make me more likely to help out whatever army was doing that; it would make me more likely to oppose them. I was in a couple of situations where I was ordered to do that and I refused that order. So that was when I was really forced to make a decision about what I stood for.

So much of military life is about discipline and hierarchy葉he willingness to follow orders and uphold a command structure and community cohesion. Given that, how did you decide to refuse the order, and what were the consequences?

It was a split-second decision. When I heard the initial instruction of what to do if that scenario happened, I had just kind of hoped it wouldn't happen. But in the moment when it did happen, I couldn't justify shooting an unarmed civilian. I said I wasn't going to do it, and got criticized by a number of my leaders. But it was something I just felt I couldn't do. In terms of the consequences, I eventually got fired as a gunner and got placed as a radio operator instead.

Were you talking with others about your misgivings?

Yeah, I was trying to talk to as many people as I could and tell them why I thought it was wrong and pretty much a recipe to turn the entire population against us. Some people were willing to discuss it and others were not. When it came down to it, most people said they were going to do whatever it took to make it home alive.

That's easy to understand. Fear is a great corrosive to ethics. Did you worry about your own safety, and did it affect the decisions you made?

Yeah, I thought about it a lot. And there were things I did that I didn't feel comfortable with. Standing by when a prisoner got beaten葉hat kind of thing was a decision not to speak out, and I made decisions like that. So even if I wasn't actively doing something that I thought was wrong, I was definitely passive in cases where I shouldn't have been.

Eventually I just got to the point where I was so torn up about what I was taking part in that I really stopped caring about my own physical safety. You know, when everything you've defined yourself by has fallen apart, you don't care that much what happens to you. And I definitely went through a time like that.

That sounds like a pretty good description of depression.

Yeah, I went though a phase where I had a lot of the symptoms. I didn't really sleep, I didn't feel like eating much, when we were on patrols I didn't care about protecting myself. To a large extent, life really lost its meaning for a while.

Was there a tipping point when you realized you had to get out?

One night, I was guarding a prisoner with a friend of mine, a guy I had gone to church with before we had deployed. So we're sitting there and my friend starts making threatening statements about what he wants to do to the prisoner. It wasn't too uncommon to abuse prisoners, but I didn't feel like it was right, so I asked my friend about the American ideals that we grew up hearing about. I said, "Why would you do that to this guy? Isn't one of the values that we were raised with is that somebody's innocent until proven guilty?" My friend said, "No, this guy is Iraqi, he's part of the problem, he's guilty, and here's what I want to do to him." That wasn't unusual. It had gotten to the point where most people blamed the entire Iraqi population and said that if they would just fix their own country, we could go home.

I thought back to all the stuff I'd heard sitting next to this guy in church, and I asked him, "Well, even if he is guilty, what about the idea of loving our enemies and returning evil with good and turning the other cheek? How do you reconcile all those teachings?" My friend said, "I think that Jesus would have turned his cheek once or twice but he never would have let anyone punk him around." Hearing him say it that way just made it sound so ridiculous. Here we supposedly had faith in this guy who very clearly was punked around, and ended up living and dying with sacrificial love. From then on, I really had to face the fact that I couldn't have it both ways. Either I was going to try to find this inward reality where sacrificial love was possible for a higher goal, or I was going to let self-defense be my ultimate value.

How did you make that choice?

At the time, as much as I wanted to live up to my ideals, I didn't really see any practical ways of doing it. That was a kind of lack of faith on my part. But then I learned a lesson, pretty much by accident. On the base there were a couple of shops that sold bootleg copies of DVDs, and they'd have eight videos on one disc. One time I bought a movie I wanted to watch, and the DVD had the Gandhi movie on it too, so I went ahead and watched it. And I thought: You know, the stuff that we're doing violently is only making the situation worse, so maybe this guy was onto something. Maybe there are other ways of solving problems.

I understand that before you learned about conscientious objection, you'd decided to go to jail rather than remain in the military.

Yeah. I came to that decision after having read about a lot of the things that Gandhi did and seeing that you could do something about the situation you were in. You weren't just stuck in it. It really came down to this idea that I wouldn't want other people to do to me or my family or community what we were doing on a regular basis to other people. This inward reality that I had started to explore and that had started to bring meaning back into my life用reserving that became more important than preserving my external reality.

I had a couple of weeks to spend with my family and friends back home, and I told them about my plan [to go to military prison]. My parents kind of flipped out and did a lot of research and found out about conscientious objection, which I didn't know about, or didn't know was still an option in the military.

When you say your parents flipped out, were they mainly concerned about the idea of you going to prison, or were they unhappy about your rejection of military life?

My immediate family was kind of shocked by it all. I think it took a lot for them to really think through it and try to reconcile it with what they already believed. On a personal level, they were supportive of me and said that they'd help with whatever decision I made, but on a philosophical level, they couldn't really hear me out. That was pretty much true for my friends and community, too. Overall, people were supportive of me personally, but I don't know how much it changed the way they view things.

Is that still the case葉hat your family supports you but disagrees with what you did?

For the most part, yeah. We have respect for each other, but we're pretty far apart in terms of beliefs. Both my parents are still firmly convinced that the war was the right thing. My dad's pretty involved in the Tea Party movement, so things get kind of dicey whenever we talk about politics or religion, but so long as we stay away from that, we're able to be pretty respectful. I've got a younger brother who I was able to talk to a lot throughout the process and we've grown close and see pretty eye-to-eye on a lot of things, so that's been positive.

Even so, it sounds tough to have most your family not really understand you. Are you lonely?

Yeah, that's definitely a challenge. One of the things that makes it really hard is that some of the underlying ways that I think, I do attribute to my family in positive ways. The idea of responsibility悠 remember when I was a kid and would get in trouble and try to blame someone else for what I'd done, my parents would always tell me to focus on myself first rather than going around criticizing others.

I think a lot of what I've done has been a manifestation of those values, and to see the people who taught them to me enact them in such different ways, or at times it seems other things have taken priority over those values葉hat can be challenging. Of all the people in the world who should see things the same way I do, who should be passionate about the same things I am and offended by the same things I am, it would make sense that it would be the people who taught me to think this way. When that's not the case, that can be very hard.

What about people you knew in the military? How did they respond to your decision to seek conscientious objector status?

At the beginning there were a couple of leaders who were pretty upset at me. I was ridiculed by some of them. One in particular got really upset at me and called me a terrorist and a traitor and a lot of other names in front of the rest of the company. I tried to practice what I had learned in Iraq葉hat responding violently often made the situation worse, but that by sitting down and trying to understand people who thought differently than we did, we were able to create progress. So even though he said a lot of hurtful things, I tried to be patient and reach out to him, and slowly he went from being angry at me to being slightly friendly and then actually encouraging. When I finally got approved [for conscientious objector status], this guy who had been about as angry as I had ever seen a person actually gave me a hug and wished me good luck.

One thing that's tricky about changing your mind about such a huge thing is that it can undermine your faith in other convictions, too. Like: "I no longer believe X thing that I learned growing up, so what about Y and Z?"

Yeah, I definitely underwent that process. I started from a point of assuming that I had all the answers and that people had to live my way of life. I was pretty convinced that I was right on all the moral issues and the traditional political stances. Now I've become a lot more open and tried to appreciate other ways of doing things. I've realized that I don't have the final answer on everything.

What's next for you?

I'm going to school full-time now and debating between becoming a history teacher or going into social work. And I'm also doing some writing on the side; I'm hoping to get out a book about my experiences.

If you could hear anyone else talk about being wrong, who would it be?

I guess for me personally, the most interesting would be to hear from the people who came up with a lot of the justification and rhetoric of the war that I so strongly believed in. Somebody like Colin Powell would be really fascinating, but I know getting something candid from someone that high up is pretty difficult.

http://www.slate.com/BLOGS/blogs/thewrongstuff/archive/2010/12/16/my-country-right-or-wrong-conscientious-objector-josh-stieber-on-being-wrong-about-the-military.aspx

2
Eyjafjallajokull

Can anyone pronounce that?

Anyway- such a shame about the stranded people in Europe!

Here are some bits from a recent article:


81,000: Flights cancelled since the volcano erupted

30: Countries that closed or restricted airspace

$200M Daily lost revenue for the airline industry

7 million Passengers stranded

4,000 km Taxi trip, in progress, for 10 Italian skiers to get home from Norway might cost as much as $19,000


3
Library / 'wOw Friend' Betsy Prioleau: Calling All Casanovas!
« on: February 27, 2010, 12:25:59 AM »
Editor痴 Note: Betsy Prioleau is the author of Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love.

What痴 happened to all the ladies men, the great seducers who were 登nto women, knew the ropes and love-addled us for life? Where are they now when we need them?

Male approval ratings are at a record low. Women are disappointed in spouses (over half want to stray), the dating pool and our sex lives. We池e single longer and pickier increasingly peeved with players, slackers, clueless suitors and partners on autopilot.

Times like these call for the ladykiller. History痴 legendary lovers, with their forgotten moves and mojo, can pull us out of this funk. They can wise up men and answer women痴 prayers.

Their secret? Clearly something beyond sexual science. Most lacked money, status, stability and looks. Italian poet and adventurer Gabriele D但nnunzio, the celebrated 泥on Juan of the fin de siecle, was short, 砥gly and usually poor, but the queenpins of Europe fainted at his feet. He had 妬t, the basic requisites: brio, libido and a sweet spot for women. He also had the craft of enchantment down cold.

D但nnunzio, like other ladies men, ignored the playbooks and practiced love as an art. The goal was grand passion to conjure and keep it. The techniques go back centuries and can be mixed to taste, even used piecemeal. They池e that powerful.

Physical lures are the minor spells, and maestros knew that passion requires a dash of drama. Casanova finessed this to perfection. Eighteenth-century Venetian romancer, spy, scholar, writer, musician and man of parts, Casanova was the quintessential seducer. He dressed to kill in purple taffeta waistcoats and rings on every finger; he learned movement from a ballet master; he wore signature jasmine scent; he played the violin; he stage-set assignations in customized rooms and was supernatural in bed.

But psychological charms are the big erotic magic; love is a head trip, a soul heist, a skyjack to an altered state. 鼎ool doesn稚 cut it. Take fifties jet-setter Pakistani Prince Aly Khan. When he struck, he plied women with praise and wore his heart on his sleeve. He once turned to a dinner partner he壇 just met, the Hon. Joan Guinness, and said, 泥arling, will you marry me? She promptly divorced her husband and did. Rita Hayworth, his second wife, followed suit ten years later.

Khan delivered another kiloton aphrodisiac: festivity. Women described his courtships as 殿 flight aboard a magic carpet laughter, treats and kicks where 妬nhibitions fell away like retreating landmarks.

Ladies men, too, 堵ot empathy and conversation. Napoleonic 摘nchanter Chateaubriand, politician and author of such French classics as Atala and Ren, enamored women 都uddenly and forever with his full-on sympathy. And forget the strong, silent lotharios of macho lore; speech is seduction. Swashbuckler Sir Walter Raleigh word-spelled the world (including Elizabeth I) with his verbal legerdemain, as did Lord Byron, David Niven and countless others. One of Niven痴 many inamorati swooned, his funny stories were 殿s delicious as French pastry.

More to the point: women-charmers remained interesting. They treated love as a verb a continual tango of yes-no, delight-difficulty, elate-sedate. Grand master of them all was eighteenth-century 塗ero of the boudoir, the duc de Richelieu. Soldier, litterateur, diplomat, wit and friend of Voltaire, he was an inexhaustible pinwheel personality whose amorous inventions (he loved disguises), mercurial moods and movements kept his 田ountless adorers perpetually enrapt. Such was his allure that two noblewomen once dueled for his favors in the Bois de Boulogne. The ladies took aim, fired off pistol rounds and the comtesse de Polignac felled her rival (nonfatally), the marquise de Nesle. But neither won. This arch-fascinator remained a law unto himself and 妬rresistible into his nineties.

But today? Who痴 seen a certified heartthrob recently? Aside from the few Warren Beattys and Jack Nicholsons, they池e a dying breed going the way of the snow leopard. Guys are abandoning the mating effort, babe-trolling or boring us blind. Unless we turn them around.

It痴 our call. We can mold men to our wishes. As neo-Darwinist David Buss assures us: if women want men to walk 登n their hands, soon 塗alf the race will be upside down. Come now: we can give men something better to do with their hands and heads. We can take the seducers secrets, inculcate them, put them to positive ends hot monogamy and female bliss and transform the slouches into love studs.

With greater female leverage and autonomy in the future, we値l increasingly demand men of this breed. Vanguard sociobiologist Geoffrey Miller argues in The Mating Mind that alpha women have always chosen ladykillers who 電eliver the greatest rapture over ho-hum providers. He calls this the 泥ionysian effect and believes it accounts for the evolution of human culture and creativity.

So, let痴 bring on the ladies men, the Dionysian pleasure pistols with their sizzle and sorcery and inside track on what lights our fires and keeps them lit. With our twenty-first century charms, we can recapture and corral this sexy beast. Haven稚 we earned a Casanova of our own by now?

http://www.wowowow.com/post/wow-friend-betsy-prioleau-calling-all-casanovas

4
General Discussion / Woohoo! Miguel's site is finally live!
« on: September 23, 2009, 10:41:51 PM »
And it looks great, and he looks yummy!

Congrats, Miguel!  /party /thumbsup /cheekkiss

Let me know as soon as you have a banner, and we will feature it on CdM!

5
General Discussion / Happy Birthday, Nattie Boo!
« on: September 23, 2009, 10:11:27 PM »
I just looked at the calendar and realized it is your birthday!  Yay!! Hope it was a great one!! (As you're in UK, it will be over by now, but we're still celebrating it in Pacific time for two more hours! :) )
  /party /rock

6
General Discussion / The trouble with Brian and "Roger": a public discussion
« on: September 07, 2009, 01:16:37 AM »
Dear all,

As you know, someone named Roger posted to Brian's introductory thread (and another ten places) a mean and spiteful post. We left the original post up, but removed the subsequent 10.

For whatever reason they have a lot of time on their hands and are pretty hateful, and believe Brian owns everything his name appears on, including this forum. They seem to be out to get Brian because Brian listed them as a scam on his forum, maleescortforum.com. Roger (I will continue to refer to him as Roger) posts as Sara1981x on that forum, and posted the exact same post as he did here. Roger has been running all over the web trying to sabotage Brian wherever he finds him. But now he is using our email "press at conciergedumonde.com" to email other folks to sabotage Brian.

Most recently he is out to get escortmenow.co.uk. I am presuming that Brian has a profile on their site.

Here is the form Roger filled out on the site using our email address:

Quote
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 23:29:21 +0100
To: [removed]@hotmail.co.uk
Subject: Escort Me Now - Male Escort Booking
From: press [at] conciergedumonde.com

Escortmenow.co.uk - Female Escort Booking Form:
Full Name: Is it true your escorts have herpes?Telephone: You're a scamAddressBuilding: .Street: .City: .Postcode: .Escort RequirementsAge: Height: Build: Hair: Eye: Date: Time: Venue: Location: More Info: How's your paypal account going cocksucker?Event Info: Found you easy through the reviews, hahaha, lol.How did you find us: Google

This is the response I received from Ashley from escortmenow.co.uk:

Quote
it explaines a lot when an individual has not enough work in that they have to spend their time contacting the superior competition so bitch, nevermind eh,, many thanks form the team at Emn

This was my response to Ashley:

Quote
Dear Ashley,

My name is Holly Brooks, and I run Concierge du Monde.

There has been a terrible misunderstanding. There is someone out there who is out to sabotage a particular escort named Brian (www.vipmaleescort.com) for personal reasons, and believes Concierge du Monde is run by him simply because we feature his profile. This person (who posted on Concierge du Monde's forum as Roger here) is running all over the internet trying to ruin Brian everywhere he finds him. His (Roger's) IP address when he posted on CDM is [removed] . I am sure you will find that whoever submitted to you the vile form below has the same IP if you have the ability to log IPs.He also posts as Sara1981x at Brian's forum, www.maleescortforum.com. He's also posted as Miguel elsewhere.

I am so sorry you are being dragged into this as well. Please understand that this has nothing to do with us, but the person responsible for all of this believes Brian is behind anything his name appears on. So I am presuming that Brian must have a profile on your own site, and that is why he is trying to also sabotage you:

He has used our email, press at conciergedumonde.com, to also email Paypal, to report what I presume is your paypal account. The email "Holly Brooks" received back from Paypal is below. Once again, I am so sorry you are being dragged into this too. I can't believe how far this jerk is going to try to ruin Brian. (I am presuming he is a man because women don't use the term "cocksucker".)

Please feel free to email me back if you have any questions.

Warmest,
Holly
---------------------------------------------------
Dear Holly Holly Brooks,

Thank you for contacting PayPal. The website(s) you have reported will be
reviewed by us and we will determine if it is (they are) in compliance with
our Acceptable Use Policies. Your provided information will be kept
confidential and we would like to thank you for your cooperation.

If you have any further questions in relation to PayPal's Acceptable Use
Policies, please contact the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy Department at
euaup[at]paypal.co.uk.

Sincerely,
Kuba
PayPal Acceptable Use Policy Department
PayPal, an eBay Company

---------------------------------------------------------------
PayPal  (Europe)  S.  r.l.  &  Cie,  S.C.A.
Soci騁  en  Commandite  par  Actions
Registered  Office:  #th  Floor  ##-##  Boulevard  Royal  L-####,  Luxembourg
RCS  Luxembourg  B  ###  ###
 
Original  Message  Follows:
------------------------
Form  Message
customer  subject:  Adult  Sex  Site
customer  message:  The  URL  (web  address)  of  the  site  that  is  selling  the
items  (optional):  'http://escortmenow.co.uk/male/bookings.html'
The  email  address  of  the  seller  (optional):  'enquiries[at]escortmenow.co.uk'
Additional  Information:  'I  can  buy  sex  using  PayPal  at  the  following  site.
http://escortmenow.co.uk/male/bookings.html'

Roger has also posted as "Sara" and as "Miguel" at the Escorts or Ice Cream article, where he describes all male escorts who feature on CDM as "diseased and flea ridden."

So my question is, what should we do about this?

[edited to remove email addresses and other private info]

7
General Discussion / Congrats to Jan on his website!
« on: September 03, 2009, 11:50:21 AM »
Jan, I just had the pleasure of looking through your website- congratulations! Very tastefully done, and very handsome photos! Yay!!! /clap /clap2 /cheerleader /thumbsup

Let me know when you have a banner (or if you'd like me to make you one) so we can do exchanges! I see you already have ours up.  :)

8
Library / Rent-a-fling
« on: August 25, 2009, 07:06:35 PM »
(link sent to me by Amanda)

Rent-a-fling

it seems that Japanese women are hiring escorts - most aren't doing it for the sex but rather the dinners and massages. They just want someone who appreciates them and caters to their needs. I could see that.

Japanese women looking for a little bit on the side are shunning host clubs and instead partaking of "rent-a-fling" services during the day, according to Shukan Post (2/2).

Precious, an operator of a rent-a-fling service, claims to have about 1,500 male escorts registered on its books in the Kanto area.

"Our customers are mainly women working in the adult entertainment business, but following them are housewives and office ladies in their 30s. Recently, we've also noticed an increase in housewives in their 40s and 50s," Haruki Kamisato, the head of Precious, tells Shukan Post.
Women pay a basic fee of 10,000 yen for a two-hour session, but some women will also pay more to have the escort give them a sensuous massage.

"These guys are better than a host club because you can call them when you want and not have to rely on the club's operating hours. I use the escorts about once a week. And, at the clubs, it's really hard just to have a host to yourself, but with the escort he's all yours for as long as you want," a 32-year-old Tokyo housewife who frequently uses the escorts tells Shukan Post. "We normally go out on dates, have a meal and then I let him either take me to a hotel or, if I'm at home, call him up for a quickie. The escorts won't betray you as long as you keep paying them. And there's also the added thrill of paying to play around."

Unlike men who use paid escorts primarily because they want to relieve sexual frustration, women into the rent-a-fling caper are seeking something a little more philosophical.

"Just seeing the faces of people who notice you walking around with a gorgeous guy on your arms is enough. My husband treats me like little more than a maid, so the attention I get when being with a cute young guy makes up for that," another housewife, this one a 40-something woman, says. "I might get the occasional sensual massage, but we never have sex."
A male escort working the rent-a-fling business explains how he sees the appeal.

"Basically, we work with a lot of women who aren't getting the attention they need from husbands or lovers who are too busy to give it to them," the escort tells Shukan Post. "Most of our customers don't want us just for sex, but they all do yearn to be cuddled and have somebody with them."
Rent-a-fling services stress that they are not lending out lovers.
"We strictly forbid sexual intercourse," Kamisato, the service operator, says. "We make our escorts write notes promising not to go all the way."
Kamisato adds that another distinguishing feature of the rent-a-fling services is that they're staffed by men of all shapes and sizes.

"Host clubs usually only employ really good-looking guys, most of who are in their 20s," the rent-a-fling service operator tells Shukan Post. "But we realize our clients' needs are more varied. Escorts on our books include men who resemble young students, others who look like ordinary salarymen and men of more advanced age who look like typical old guys." (By Ryann Connell)

http://dodsonandross.com/node/1304

9
Library / It's About Time Women Paid for Professional Sex
« on: August 25, 2009, 07:04:24 PM »
(Link sent to me by Amanda :))

Betty Dodson: Sex, Love, Feminism, Politics Lifestyle

It's About Time Women Paid for Professional Sex

Posted February 27th by Betty Dodson

in Lifestyle nonmonogamy prostitution

Sometimes you just want to pay to have the job done by a pro who knows what he's doing and then he goes away until you call him for the next time.  No hounding, obsessive phone calls, love notes.  Just a good fuck when you're in the mood:

It's not just men who pay prostitutes to sleep with them. For some women, paying for sex is more convenient than cruising bars and clubs trying to find men. "They don't want to be found out. They want to do something private - it's their own world, a part of their life that they want to be secret."

Nicole runs a high-class escort agency in the West Midlands, whose clients include women as well as men. Her male escorts host "in-calls" for female clients at a large country cottage, three quarters of a mile away from the nearest town. The exterior gives no clue as to what goes on inside and instead looks more like a French chalet.

Male escorts know that some of their clients aren't single. One says some women don't think paying for sex is cheating, in the same way that having an affair would be.

For women who are attached, the risks of going to a bar or a public place to meet a man are often seen as too high, and so having a discreet hide-away can be crucial.

"They need to be coming to somewhere where they won't be seen by somebody passing who knows them or a neighbour," Nicole says.

When Catarina took the decision to see an escort, she was petrified.

"I didn't think I'd ever want to see an escort. I always thought it was other people who did that kind of thing - not somebody like myself."

But she is just one of an unknown number of women in the UK who are willing to pay for sex. Born with a disability, sex had always been painful and uncomfortable for Catarina. Her ex-boyfriends had made her feel guilty about not being able to enjoy sex, and left her confidence at rock bottom.

Superman role-play

Andrew changed that. After just one session, Catarina says she felt "high as a kite".

"I was able to have sex that was completely pain-free. My self-esteem grew. My confidence grew. If it wasn't for Andrew I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be as confident as I am, as sexually aware as I am. I think I grew up as well."

It's not just women who have a disability or partners at home that are choosing to pay for sex, rather than cruising night clubs or bars for male company.

Catarina's escort, Andrew Rosetta, has written a book about his 10-year career called Whatever She Wants and he says women come to him for the chance to be selfish.

Sitting in his plush flat in London's West End, which he owns outright thanks to his sex work, he recalls a solicitor who used to be a regular client.

"She's very articulate, bright - she's a partner in her firm. But after session three she told me this guilty secret: that she'd really like to take advantage of Superman.

"I would arrive at her house in a suit. I'd go along in glasses; underneath my suit is a Superman outfit and we would go through this role-play.

"She would at one point bring out a green rock on a chain which was kryptonite - that makes Superman begin to lose his power. And of course when Superman loses his power, he's available to be taken advantage of."

Male escorts say women choose to pay for sex for all types of reasons - to gain sexual confidence, to experiment and some are busy business women who just don't have the time to meet men.

Daniel has been working part-time as an escort in London for the last year, lured by the prospect of making some extra cash in the economic downturn. He was educated at one of the city's best private schools, and like Andrew is highly articulate.

"It's no more seedy than somebody going out to a bar, getting a bit drunk and then ending up going home with a complete stranger. What's the difference? With what I do, you know what you're getting, there's no illusion. You pay your money. You get what you get. You meet some guy at the bar, you don't know what you get - he could be anyone."

So how much do these services cost? In London the top straight male escorts charge at least 」100 per hour - often more.

But Nicole says that in the West Midlands, the men on her books offer rates of around 」60 because of a shortage of work at the moment. In this economic climate, times are tough, even for the male escort.

http://dodsonandross.com/blogs/betty-dodson/2009/02/its-about-time-women-paid-professional-sex

10
Just curious. Is this little world something you would discuss with your friends? Have you discussed it with anyone before?

11
Library / Male escort services - a different experience?
« on: August 17, 2009, 09:23:21 PM »
Male escort services - a different experience?

I have recently used the services of a male escort for the first time and wanted to gauge some feedback from girls on 1) what they think of the male escort concept in general and 2) what their experience was like if they had any.

I am a business woman, down to earth, separated, in my early 30s. I lead a busy life and at the moment do not want to commit to a relationship. A friend of mine had suggested that I use the services of a pro male escort to get a different feel like experience. So a few weeks later, having put aside my inhibitions, I decided to go for it.

Looking back at it now, I had a really fantastic time. Having dated other men before, I never had as much fun as I did with a pro. It was stylish, comfortable and fun. Sex was great! I also explored some of my fantasies I was shy in engaging in with other men. So, on the whole, I had no reservations in paying for the services.

I guess the experience depends on who you pick and how well you bond, but on the general side, I think it's great that there are pro men who offer such service and allow women to actively go after their own pleasure. Don't get me wrong I have no problems in getting a man, but as I found out from my personal experience there is a fine line between having a good time and a great time :)

What's your view?

See the replies here:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/chat/f/t-10008606/p-1/index.html

12
Library / The market for male escorts (in Taiwan)
« on: August 17, 2009, 09:14:39 PM »

13
Library / Tragic Confessions of an Incompetent Male Escort
« on: August 17, 2009, 09:09:36 PM »
Tragic Confessions of an Incompetent Male Escort

A little blog:

http://tragic-confessions.blogspot.com/

Doesn't look like he lasted too long. :-\

14
Library / Straight Male Escorts from SW5
« on: August 17, 2009, 08:59:31 PM »
Straight Male Escorts

    It's true: some women pay men for sex and companionship.

    But the number of women who do so is nowhere near as many as the number of men who pay women... or even the number of men who pay other men.

    Anyone who says otherwise is after your money.
    But the nice people who want my money say...

    Adapting the words of one of the most famous escorts of the 20th Century, Mandy Rice Davies, "Well, they would, wouldn't they?"

    If you look at the websites of some of our least favourite 'agencies', you'd be forgiven for thinking there is a huge market out there, and a desperate need for more 'straight male escorts'.

    In fact it's such a large market and the need is so great that... they want to charge you, the wannabe escort, money.

    Why? Because they can't make a living out of charging women clients to meet you!

    In reality, nearly all of them are advertising sites - you pay them to advertise your details - and most of them are bad places to advertise. Really staggeringly bad places, in some cases. They'll happily take several hundred pounds from you and then not let anyone else see your ad!
    Are there any agencies worth working for?

    Yes. Some agencies that primarily have female escorts do have some male escorts too. We've no idea just how much work they get, but it must be enough to cover the time and effort in promoting this side of their agency.

    Before you rush off and offer your services, remember these agencies will be able to pick and choose which men they take on and very probably already have enough for the demand they experience, so be prepared to be rejected.

    For non-sexual work, there is at least one agency that passes our basic test of not charging its staff - even for the cost of 'security checks' - and only making its money from finding them clients. Currently, they are only operating in the London region. Again, we've no idea how much work they get, but it's not costing the escorts anything.
    Working as a couple

    The market is not as large as for single escorts, but both men and women book 'mixed' (i.e. one man, one woman) couples.

    For some clients, it is a chance for voyeurism and exhibitionism (watching and being watched), and for others, it is a chance to explore their bisexuality. While you may like the idea of being with two women, if you rule out having another man as the client, you are rejecting over half of the possible bookings.

    You will need to find someone prepared to work with you though, and any woman already working as an escort probably gets offers to work as a couple several times a week. They may not welcome yet another man apparently after some free sex with them.
    DIY

    The alternative is working independently. Registering your own .co.uk domain costs about 」3 a year, and you can find free webspace easily. Or you can place your own ads somewhere, or 'troll' chatrooms, or...

    However you advertise your services, you should be up front about looking for payment, even if this has to be done discreetly at first (looking for someone 'generous' is one common euphemism).

    Again, be prepared for things to be quiet - a significant proportion of work for straight male escorts is gained through word of mouth. Imagine how good you have to be for a woman to tell her friends that she's paid for sex... and it was worth it.

    You also need to consider how appealing you are. A book we like on being a sex worker suggests that women considering escorting pick up someone 'average' in a bar and have sex with them, and seeing how that feels.

    For men looking to escort women, the equivalent test would probably be to go to a bar and have every woman in the place willing to go home with them. If you can't do that through a combination of looks and attitude, you may find it tough going.
    It's not just men...

    Incidentally, the situation seems to be much the same for female escorts who only want to have women clients. While there are women who pay other women for sex and companionship, most of the responses to escort ads in the lesbian press are apparently women wondering about becoming a lesbian escort themselves.

http://www.sw5.info/straightmen.htm

15
Library / Cons from SW5 Part II
« on: August 17, 2009, 08:54:57 PM »
See Part One Here:
http://conciergedumonde.com/forum/index.php?topic=150.0

Men for All Occasions

Another extremely expensive place to advertise which also wants clients to pay to see the ads, this one also includes chauffeurs and models. We don't believe any will get any business as a result. The terms and conditions include the following amusing lines amongst the usual dubious 'once you've paid your money, you can't have it back, no matter what' sections:  This site is owned, run and administered by C Kelly trading as 杜enforalloccasions.com whose address is .... [sic!], and who is the contracting party to this Agreement. You can contact Ms C.Kelly at this address. [sic!] and 3.2 For security reasons, we currently do not accept credit card payments over the Internet. Being cynical, we suspect that it is more to do with no-one letting Ms Kelly take credit cards - they don't seem to accept cards by post or in person either - or her being unwilling to pay the costs involved. Or perhaps it is the number of 'chargebacks', when unhappy customers ask the credit card company to become involved in a dispute, that she's afraid of.

MenRequired.com

Although the graphic design is slightly different, the actual content - and awfulness as a place to advertise - is very very similar to Men for All Occasions above. This suggests that they are either the same business (although this one does supply a different name and an actual address in its contact details) or they both bought the website design and morally dubious business plan from the same place. Amusingly (or not, if you've paid them money to advertise on it) this one points American visitors to "our US site, www.menrequiredus.com" - faq.php Feb 2006  ... but when you try to look at it, you cannot even see its home page without a valid username and password! As they say: "Expect the same quality services as you get from us here in the UK" - faq.php Feb 2006 It also uses the name malerecruitment.com for its AdWords.

AllMaleServices.com

Making it more likely that there is indeed someone selling the basic site design, this is the third 'escorts, models, security and chauffeurs' site we know about, but it's just as bad as the others. Again, you pay them lots of money - more than enough to have your own website - and they will... only show your ad to women who have paid at least 」30 to them. Again, their US site fails to work.

connectionsescorts.co.uk

A newcomer, registered in January 2006. It doesn't make it immediately apparent that it is going for the 'straight male escort' market, but it's clear from reading the surprisingly familiar FAQ that this is what it is intending to do. In March, it had a total of... one escort advertising there, possibly also the owner of the site. In order to see how much he charges, never mind actually book him, you'd need to pay at least 」9.99. Who's going to do that? Quite. As alluded to above, they've attempted to save costs (to put the politest spin on it) by copying whole chunks from some of the other sites here. For example, compare and contrast: "Q: AM I THE RIGHT AGE FOR THIS SERVICE?  "A: There is no right or wrong age for this service. As you can Imagine we have a wide variety of clients that are right across the age spectrum and they in turn need Escorts of a corresponding age value. [..] The general age guidelines that we tend to stick to are between 20 and 70 years of age. These are not cast in stone however above and below these two ages are seldom requested." - Network Escorts FAQ Mar 06 and "Q: Am I the right age for this service? "A: There is no right or wrong age for this service. As you can imagine we have a wide variety of clients that are right across the age spectrum and they in turn need Escorts of a corresponding age value. The general age guidelines that we tend to stick to are between 20 and 70 years of age. These are not cast in stone however above and below these two ages are seldom requested." - faq.php Mar 06 This site doesn't seem to use Google AdWords yet (or indeed, be findable via Google, yet another major reason not to advertise on it) but they do have a Freepost address which will cost them money anytime anyone sends anything to it.

Other Google AdWords clients

easyrealityrecruiting.com

Apparently the recruitment site for discreetvacation.co.uk which hopes to get women to pay an Eastern European (it's not clear whether it's based in Hungary or Bulgaria, both are claimed in different places) business money for a male escort. Unlike their holiday home rentals site, it was initially not advanced enough to actually ask for money. They are currently seeking men to come to Spain's Costa del Sol, pay them 450 Euro and undergo a training course to become a 'Sol-mate', escorting women in the area. Since Google has nothing about this, it is likely that they do not have the large number of clients they claim - it is possible that the course consists of paying to serve them in various ways before being rejected as not of sufficient quality to work for them.   If you do decide to try it, we'd love to know what happens.

Cavendish Knights

Also known as siguk.co.uk, this advertises itself as an agency offering women straight male non-sexual escorts. Unlike most of the 'agencies' above, this makes a single charge, of 」17.75 for a security check on the identity of prospective escorts. This is supposed to be refundable on the first booking. However the female 'membership' figure they claim is really just the number of people who've ever said they're female in order to get to look at the men. (We're probably included in that figure more than once, for example!) There's also an interesting discrepancy between the 'become an escort' FAQ:  "Yes, we have over 10,000 fully signed up female members (1/11/05) and grow by around 20% per month" and the 'become an escort' front page: "We now have over 10,000 fully signed up female members (1/1/06)". If the growth rate were correct, you'd expect them to have over 14,000 'members' by now. But even that level is unlikely to be able to provide much business to most of a claimed escort membership of 1,400.  It's also odd that there is hardly anything on them on Google that they didn't write. You'd expect some real escorts and clients to have said something, somewhere, but with the exception of one woman in Singapore saying it's a good idea... Looking at some of the media coverage quoted supports these doubts: "Chris looks nothing like his photograph and is sweating abundantly. ' You're my first job and I'm a bit nervous,' he explains." - Evening Standard "It turns out I was his first 'client.'" - She Other coverage is better, but some of it reads more like PR 'puffery' rather than real journalism. We seriously wonder how many men get any bookings at all. The site makes it clear that women clients would pay them to book a client and they later share the money with the lucky escort. Yet if just one woman a day made a booking with them, it would put their turnover over the point where they would have to register for (and charge) VAT, yet there is no VAT registration number on their site or mention of VAT in their fee structure. That suggests that each escort gets, on average, less than one booking every four years! The feedback we've now had suggests that we're right - we have yet to hear from anyone who's found work through them.

Rebecca's Nationwide Male Escorts

Although the online application form says its escorts have male as well as female clients, their website concentrates on signing up men looking to escort women. It wants them to pay 」20 (or an unexplainedly higher 」35 for those who offer a massage service as well), then 」5 per month. It also wants to invoice escorts for 10% of any fees paid by clients. So, an advertising site that also wants a commission - an attempt to have its cake and eat it. We doubt the commission will be very large, despite the sample typical 'first month' in the application form suggesting earnings of over 」1,700. Prospective clients can't see anyone on the site, what services are on offer (one "Services offered by Male Escorts" link points to a file on a PC used by a "Gavin Marsden") and the "Contact us" page is devoted to recruiting new escorts rather than finding them clients. (There is a 'Money Back Guarantee' which promises your fee back if you're not offered a booking with 48 hours, but the feedback recieved suggests that this is avoided by offering an unsuitable or otherwise fake booking.)

Regal Escorts

Regal Escorts are another new site using Google Adwords, which, as ever, costs them money if you click on them. It's also another advertising site pretending to be an agency (the 'biggest' one again too) and, as ever, we don't think it will be a good place to advertise.  They make a point of saying how it's free to have a profile, but pretty soon admit there's a monthly "admin fee" (and it looks like there used to be a "joining fee" of fifty quid too). It also appears as if there is another fee to be paid before you can receive messages from any potential clients. Although the site includes both male and female escorts, the basic aim of the site - to extract money from gullible men - is shown by the way the first four of their five sample "successul escorts" are men, who are supposed to have had "loads of bookings" earning 150 quid an hour, and all of the "satisfied clients" are women. Indeed, by the end of October, there were 541 male escorts offered to anyone signing up to their 'book an escort' membership, of whom only forty two of them were willing to see men. That leaves 499 very very optimistic men. This compares to just twenty seven women advertising. Again, the 'Am I the right person to become an escort' question is answered by "The general age is between 18 and 65 years of age" and they're looking for "all types all types of men and women from all types of backgrounds, and from different parts of the country."  In fact the most honest bit on the site is the claim that "Looks and age are not important" - because it's your money they're after and they'll take anyone's.  The domain was registed in January 2006. Interestingly, the site is said to be "operated under licence from Touch Networks Limited". (The other such site is SingleMuslim.co.uk)

Touch Networks  was registered as a company in June 2005 and has the same Wakefield address as the registrant of this domain, MB Trading House Limited, who was registered in June 2003... as a clothes retailer! They presumably haven't been very successful at the rag trade (they've earnt so little, they haven't had to file company accounts) so are they trying their hand at less honourable ways of making money now?

Comments? Queries? See our message board: http://www.sw5.info/board/archives/00000003.htm

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