I had a long time regular tell me that my marketing strategy was unusual. When I asked what he meant he referred to my Twitter feed and blog posts, most of them about how much I appreciate my clients and my work. I realized that, because my attitudes are part of me, and I am my brand, publishing my attitudes was building my brand. I hadn’t thought of it that way before; I started talking about how overwhelmingly great my clients are because I realized just how rare that attitude was. I thought, because of my experience with the (egregiously exclusive but also very kind to its members) TRB community, that everyone felt that way about their clients. Certainly that’s how it seemed. But after socializing with my peers a bit (and reading up on TNA threads) I realized that feelings ranged from deeply appreciative to actively angry.

I do not wish to dismiss my colleagues’ stories or feelings. Many, particularly minorities, have been treated poorly not only by clients but by civilian men and even friends or family. I cannot imagine the strength and professionalism it takes to give a client great service when in truth all you feel is anger or fear, or even emotions as mundane as boredom. Their stories do NOT inspire contempt or feelings of elitism. On the contrary, I am humbled by the sheer willpower of colleagues who have experienced nothing but abuse and contempt from the men in their lives and yet persevere for their families or for themselves in the face of PTSD or worse.

But I am a sponge, soaking up the attitudes of those around me. I am a chameleon, adapting my mood to my companions without even knowing it. If I recognize that one of my colleagues is venting* I can listen and empathize. However, after that I need to take care of my self and my own attitude. That positivity, that appreciation, shouted into the void (or Tweeted. Whatever) is partially a response to the end demand movement which claims my clients are evil and exploitative and partially me taking care of my own mind.

It is said that you need ten complements to counteract a negative statement and so, after any venting, I try to make sure that I recognize the overwhelmingly pleasant, respectful, kind, humorous, appreciative, sexy, sensual, well-intentioned, enthusiastic, responsive, intelligent, communicative, willing nature of my truly beloved clients. Because where one client is pushy, a dozen need invitation. Where one is entitled, scores are polite. Where one is blacklisted, hundreds are welcome back with open arms. This isn’t a marketing strategy, though that might be a great side effect, this is me protecting myself, using you, my beloved client, your joy and admiration, your laughter and passion, as a shield against that anger and apathy of the world.

*Venting: recounting a specific, negative incident in order to diffuse negative feelings and receive social support. “This client was pushy and it bothered me” Different from bitching: General, sometimes constant, complaining about nonspecific behaviors. “I hate it when clients are pushy!”