You want to be nice. I get it. It feels like a gift, sharing something you enjoy.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

Being around my beloved clients is beautiful. It helps me keep my best self in practice as I take care with my appearance, behavior, and speech. There isn’t a moment I’m with you that a corner of my mind isn’t gauging the vibe and adjusting my words, behavior, expression, closeness… to bring out just the facet of me *you* find most engaging. It might surprise my lovers to know that I take the same time and care choosing my “wear whatever you’re comfortable” outfits as my “can you wear heels” outfits. It is a joy to be able to do that for my beloveds and a pleasure to know I’m doing it well enough that they’re happy with our arrangement.

It’s also why it’s so disappointing to be offered things like accompanied trips or services without also being offered appropriate compensation. This happens to all providers and these offers are rarely made in bad faith. Sometimes they even work out and in those cases, I am glad. I recognize that the intention behind offering a stay in one’s vacation home, an all expenses paid trip to Chicago, a week in a cozy Alaskan cabin, or a guided rafting trip is generosity, an outpouring of enthusiasm and the desire to share something joyous with a cherished friend.

Unfortunately, these things are not gifts. They are not gifts, because they come with *THE STRING* attached. *THE STRING* is my beloved, caring, doting, loving client’s presence.

Because no matter how much the client assures us (and we believe) they’ll be appropriate, no matter how well intentioned that is, no matter how sure they are that they can behave themselves, a relationship dynamic cannot be unmade. No matter how carefully we avoid certain topics and the exchanging of looks, we will never un-fuck each other. They will never be just my host. Despite their best intentions, I will never be able to fart freely in the presence of a client.

And why would I want to!?! I don’t *want* to avoid naughty glances! I don’t *want* to be frumpy in front of you! I don’t *want* to un-fuck you! It’s why I keep doing this year after year! I love my client time. I genuinely believe it makes me a better person. Which is why it’s so painful to have to reject it when it is *THE STRING* instead of an appreciated part of my work. I’m not ungrateful for the impulse, truly. And I’m not mad (though the more often it happens the more likely I am to become so). I’m just more and more sure I can’t accept.

Because, you see, I had to learn the hard way. I let myself be talked into a weekend trip for far less than my quoted rate and came home feeling taken advantage of; resentful and a little angry at myself. I’m still a little steamed at that client, in no small part due to him booking a same-day 90 minute foursome that cost him almost twice what he gave me for the entire weekend. Which he used money set aside for my fee to pay for. Scheduled for less than 30 minutes after I made it from the airport to the hotel. Which I had to make pretty for girls because it was all overhead lighting and sports on the TV.

I love my clients and prefer not to be annoyed with them. Which is why, when offered “free” trips and services that come with *THE STRING*, I decline. Not because I don’t like my clients, but because I love them, and I want to keep it that way.