Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.
Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.
Occupation: Professional Escort
Overview: An escort is a professional companion, someone who is paid to accompany a client to a social event or out on a date. The escort is there to be attentive, converse, and share in the experience of the evening, making it as good as it possibly can be for their client. An escort can be a male or a female, and they may choose to engage in a sexual encounter with the client as part of their time together. As far as legalities go, in places where prostitution is illegal, the client pays for companionship and anything else that happens is “outside that exchange.”
Necessary Training: No training is required, but an escort must match the tastes of the client, which usually means they are attractive, physically fit, well dressed, educated, and able to speak on a variety of topics. Many escorts will work with a service who act as the intermediary, listening to the requests of a client and matching them to an escort who is physically appealing, has interests and experiences that allign, and if possible, is willing to fulfill a fantasy in some way. The service will then arrange for the escort to meet the client, arrange for call-ins so the escort can notify she has arrived, has been paid and everything’s fine, and in some cases, provide transportation for drop off and pick ups to ensure the escort’s safety.
When ordering an escort, preferences are discussed in a roundabout way with the service to ensure they send someone who will be a good match for the type of encounter the client is looking for. In addition to the companionship during an activity, some clients are looking to be touched, cuddled, held, or to have someone listen and be empathetic as they talk about things that are bothering them. Others are looking for much more. Escort services cover a large range, and some are simply prostitution by another name. In this case, the escort arrives at the client’s hotel or home with the expectation that the encounter will be sexual. Some escorts will have a background in certain areas of sexual interests or will have attended coaching sessions or classes (BDSM, light bondage, etc.) that may help them better fulfill certain client fantasies. In this case, if the client is looking for something specific, the “tip” expected for these types of encounters will be higher.
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, charm, exceptional memory, good listening skills, hospitality, making people laugh, reading people
POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, affectionate, charming, confident, cooperative, creative, discreet, easygoing, enthusiastic, friendly, funny, intelligent, meticulous, passionate, patient, perceptive, playful, professional, sensual, uninhibited
Sources of Friction: Clients who ask for things outside the escort’s comfort zone, arriving at a hotel and discovering the client is someone one knows, a client who invites others to participate without prior consent, a client who become violent or threatens, having one’s date not want to use protection, struggling with keeping up the lie of what one does for a living, struggles with intimacy because sex has become “part of the job,” relationship friction when one’s partner realizes they are not okay with the type of work the character does, a relationship failing because the character is afraid to be honest about what they do, self-esteem struggles and moral conflict over what one does for a living, being caught in a police sting and charged with prostitution, a client who doesn’t pay, trying to juggle escort work and school (or family and other daytime commitments), worrying about being seen out by someone one knows and then having to answer awkward questions, having a client become obsessed, clients who push boundaries and won’t take no for an answer, clients who are not hygienic, losing friends who are unable to move past one’s choice of career, developing feelings for a client
People They Might Interact With: Clients, dispatchers, drivers, doormen, hotel staff
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
Esteem and Recognition: A character in this career may at a certain point start questioning their choice of work and struggle with self-esteem and self-worth.
Love and Belonging: If an escort is in a relationship, they either often have to hide what they do (for fear the partner will not understand, even if being an escort is in the past) or, if they are honest about it, they may lose the partner because as time goes on their significant other resents this type of employment and is unable to move past their feelings.
Safety and Security: It is possible in this industry to discover one is in danger because the client turns out to be different than they put themselves forward to be. Characters with this job will have a set protocol to follow to be safe (like calling in to a dispatcher) but this doesn’t ensure they are safe if the client grows angry or violent
Common Work-Related Settings: art gallery, big city street, black-tie event, casino, hotel room, movie theater, nightclub, penthouse suite, performing arts theater, police car, police station, residential bathroom, therapist’s office, upscale hotel lobby, Vegas stage show, yacht
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype:
Escorts are often portrayed as women, but there are male escorts as well. Why not try this career on for size with a male in your story’s cast?
In fiction, escorts are often portrayed as individuals who fake interest outwardly as part of the job and internally they “think” about how they don’t want to be there. In truth, many escorts enjoy their time with certain clients, and even if they don’t, good escorts are professional and pride themselves in providing whatever the client really needs. Sometimes this isn’t sex…it’s holding them, listening to them, and even advising them on what they can do about situations that might be bothering them (including their marriage, career, or ways to be happy). Some clients become regulars and form a strong friendship with a particular escort that may even extend to when the escort chooses to leave their career. So think about how compassion, empathy, and a sense of fun can play into this profession.
Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.