Time + Emotional Labor = Pay MeCategory: General   Jul 19th 2016  03:14PM   0

My rates are based on time spent, not activities undertaken. I've written about that ad nauseam and won't drone on again here. What I do feel needs to be reiterated is that time passes continuously, every minute of every day, and not just during in-person meet-ups.

Time itself doesn't stop when we're in separate locations. I never have more than 24 hours/day and 7 days/week available to me. My time is valuable (literally) and I stand to lose huge chunks of it randomly socializing with every past, current, or potential client who wants my attention via phone or email during hours he's not paying for a date with me.

I may not have to do my hair and makeup to chat on the phone. I'm not expected to wear lingerie, strip, kiss, or otherwise engage physically. I am, however, forced to interrupt the vital flow of my standard 8-10 hour workday. 

I have what amounts to a day job now (launching a new business that happens to be demanding as hell), so days I'm not chained to my desk working on that I'm chained to it working on other things, most notably my art. I'm on the verge of a major achievement there, which means doubling or tripling my dedication to it. Both endeavors involve deadlines and require extreme focus in order to do well. To be honest I'm loving every minute of it, however the new business and this (three year long) art project are consuming my life right now. Also, I work for a living, which means I have what amounts to three jobs, at the moment...two part time, one full.

When my flow is interrupted my art and work suffer. Since I insist on being fully present with clients, I have no choice but to take myself out of the flow to communicate or correspond with them. I don't rush calls or emails, ever. I'm not superficial, fake, or distracted. But to be fully engaged with another person like that is a form of emotional labor. When you combine that energy drain with cost of time spent doing it, it's damn near as taxing as an in-person date. 

I'm not going to charge $500/hour for it, but I do expect something in return. 

I love my work, thrive in my art, and am passionate about my new business venture. I'm deeply invested in all three things and enjoy a satisfactory return on investment from each. Every hour on the phone or hour exchanging emails is an hour I could be using to create art, build a business, or generate income. I don't have a rate list for correspondence and phone calls, but it doesn't take a genius (just a moderately thoughtful person) to come up with a fair price if he puts his mind to it. 

My best friends have to make appointments 2 weeks in advance to get a smoothie date out of me, and even that only happens every few months. My own parents don't hear from me more than on birthdays and major holidays. Except for one sister, I haven't spent 5 minutes this year emailing or texting other family members.

Meanwhile, I get weekly requests for chit-chat from men who've seen me once or not at all. Do I randomly hit up total strangers or clients I've met once ever for free cash the way they hit me up for free time and emotional labor? Nope. Yet somehow they think it perfectly acceptable to usurp my time without offering compensation. 

It's not that I don't enjoy keeping in touch, because oftentimes I do. I have at least two past clients I'm in touch with of my own volition...meaning I reach out to them to talk, they don't presume to have the option. 

The nature of professional companionship is that my time is exchanged for your cash. No matter how much I'm enjoying myself during it. In short, unless you're a long-term patron or a current regular client providing income on a monthly basis, don't expect my time and emotional labor for free. I guarantee you I have WAY less time and energy these days than you have cash in the bank. It's not only obtuse to expect free attention from a professional companion, but offensive.

The next time you wonder why women always seem so tired, irritable, or overloaded, ask yourself how much free emotional labor they're giving to every single person in their sphere. It's not just husbands and kids who expect it, but colleagues, coworkers, clients, bosses, acquaintances, friends, lovers, and strangers. (God forbid a pretty woman say hello to the guy next to her on a plane, because sure as shit he's going to expect her undivided attention, conversation, and nonstop emotional labor for the duration of the flight.)

As a companion, I have numerous men in my life. Most men have 1-3 women at best. Right now, I have three jobs and half a dozen men draining my energy. Exactly ONE of those nine things is providing an income stream. You do the math. Then write me a check.*

*I don't take checks, darling. Cash only.  

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