PPP (persistent pervert problem!!) looong, sorry!

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PPP (persistent pervert problem!!) looong, sorry!

Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 9:03 am

I posted about this problem previously here:
http://www.bodyworkonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5394

I took all of the advice into stride. Since this posting, I have:

- taken down internet advertising and bought reputable advertising in my local magazine

- taken my photo completely out of my advertising

- started making photocopies of ID in addition to intake forms

- start the verbal description of my services with "I do many different types of massage, from PREGNANCY massage to geriatric massage." I also use words like "medical massage", "rehabilitative massage", etc.

- started advertising more female oriented services, like salt scrubs and cellulite reduction massage

- politely instructed same day unknown males that I would not have appointment available until at least 48 hours time had elapsed, to cut down on impulsiveness

- made sure that my fiance' was on hand at all in-call appointments and that the client was aware of it

- started dressing VERY professionally, ie: SCRUBS. I have even begun to wear a bandana with my hair in a bun. I wear NO makeup or jewelry at all. I want to be anything BUT attractive to these men.

Despite all of these things, I am still having very serious problems with inappropriate behavior from male customers.

I had a gentleman call for a 90 minute massage the other day. I felt good about it, because he wanted a longer period of time, and most "pervs" ask for the shortest, cheapest amount of time they can get. The massage went without incident, and the customer paid and left. He called back yesterday and told me that he wanted to rebook, but he would require me to massage him without the sheets! Very disheartening. I told him that sheets are required by law, and he declined to reschedule.

Then, the other day, a man booked a 60 "very light swedish" (red flag for me!), and came to my location. My fiance' was on hand to greet him and give him his paperwork, and I made a photocopy of his ID. I showed him to the room, instructed him on what to do, and left for him to undress. When I came back in, he was lying naked on the top of the sheets (red flag). I told him he needed to be under the sheets and left again. Upon returning, within two minutes, he started complaining about the sheets. Then he said that his "previous therapist" would give him a "manual release". I immediately left the room and told him to "get up, get dressed, and get out!"

I am starting to feel very hopeless and depressed about my prospects of working in this town (Nashville) as a reputable massage therapist. Many of the people I have spoken to, even in day spas, report having similar problems, especially with "the more attractive" therapists. I have even had customers who would mention during their treatments that they "dislike massage with an unattractive therapist".

ALL of my calls are from men. I am now getting around 14 calls per day from men, and the vast majority of them ask if I use a drape, if I do "FULL BODY" massage, etc. I even had one guy come right out and ask if I did "sensual full body massage"!

Is it hopeless? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
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Postby Masthera on Wed May 31, 2006 9:40 am

I am sorry this keeps happening to you dispite your attempts to stop it.

Sounds like the area and mindset are a large part of the problem. I don't think there is much you can quickly do about those issues. Maybe brainstorm with other therapists in your area to come up with something. Health Fairs or Massage Events, etc. Educate the public as much as possible.

When I worked at other businesses, I had to take whoever was scheduled for me and I came across a few inappropriate requests or inquires.
Now that I work at home, I only take clients who can tell me of a specific person that I know who referred them. The male clients are usually the husbands of someone who is currently a client or is a friend of a client. I haven't had a single inappropriate anything.
I don't take same day appointments (unless they are a current client), I don't advertise (I am listed on ABMP, but most "bad" clients won't know to look for me there - if so I can just screen them out.), if someone calls for an appointment they need to tell me the name of the person they were referred by. If not, I don't take the appointment. I might decline an appointment from a legit male client without knowing (because they can't remember the name), but I would prefer not to take the chance.
If they are legit, they will find someone else.

I do think that if your business is visable and you have advertising in the area, you will come across some uneducated people. Those who think they can just get what they want (inappropriate) from any therapist.
Hopefully after your efforts you listed your rate of bad clients has decreased somewhat. Not that it still doesn't make you mad when you get even just one let alone many.

Can you do some type of referral reward promotion with your existing clients? Possibly get you some legit referrals and clients. A promotion even if you already have a reward program. Something to get your phone ringing with real clients and not bad ones. That could help with both your personal frustration and with building your business.
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Postby fudja / aka Greatlakes on Wed May 31, 2006 9:44 am

I really think it is odd that you are getting all these men who want the same thing... where are they getting the idea that you might say yes??

14 calls a day??? That is a ton of calls for a small time operator. I wonder if someone didnt write your number on the wall of a mens room or something...

This might hurt for a while, but have you concidered changing your phone number?? Tell all your regular good clients you are changing your number of course.

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Re: PPP (persistent pervert problem!!) looong, sorry!

Postby mush on Wed May 31, 2006 9:57 am

maubast wrote:I had a gentleman call for a 90 minute massage the other day. .... He called back yesterday and told me that he wanted to rebook, but he would require me to massage him without the sheets! Very disheartening. I told him that sheets are required by law, and he declined to reschedule.

Then, the other day, a man booked a 60 "very light swedish" (red flag for me!), and came to my location. ...... When I came back in, he was lying naked on the top of the sheets (red flag). I told him he needed to be under the sheets and left again. Upon returning, within two minutes, he started complaining about the sheets. Then he said that his "previous therapist" would give him a "manual release". I immediately left the room and told him to "get up, get dressed, and get out!"

ALL of my calls are from men. I am now getting around 14 calls per day from men, and the vast majority of them ask if I use a drape, if I do "FULL BODY" massage, etc. I even had one guy come right out and ask if I did "sensual full body massage"!

Is it hopeless? Does anyone have any other suggestions?


about the 1st guy. why get pissed? he is fishing, and misinformed. and all it is serving to do is get you upset.

about the 2nd guy, i confront red flag phrases on the phone. i, too don't offer fingertip or feather or light massage. period. once i tell them that, and if i get that 'questionable' vibe from him, i ask, "are you looking for sensual massage?" it really knocks them. either they backpedal, which is a tell, and deny; or they say that yes indeed, they were. sorry pal, not on the menu.
again with the drape, he's fishing. if i let this guy get an appt after asking for a 'light massage', i am sure to be particularly direct about covering with the provided drape. when he whines like an impetulant child about not wearing one with his other therapist or getting more than a massage, i tell him, then why are you here with me when you can get that with the other therapist? it floors them when you are so direct and have the tome in your voice that is of utter boredom with this line of questioning.
you were right to boot him, but you have to stop getting bent about these people.

face the fact, conquering your market is going to be a great challenge. some markets have been "ho-ed" up and it's going to take resolve to outwit and outlast these inquiries. and it may mean that the growth of your business will be slower than you thought. you're the "new" masseuse and the group of guys there that are into that kind of thing are testing you out to see if you're "their" type. the 'inquiring minds' will trickle off when the realize you're not a prostitute and soon they will go away.
and you could be the sunshine falling over the mountains.. john butler
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 10:08 am

I don't think it has anything to do with my number. I've been working in day spas before now and rarely EVER had this problem. According to some of the info I've been getting from other locals, I'm not the only one.

I'm advertising with the Nashville Scene, which is where a number of other reputable therapists advertise. They told me to get ready, and that my phone would ring off the hook, and it HAS, but not like I want it to!

I have no idea why any of these people would have the slightest clue that I would say "yes" to them. I'm extremely professional and very on guard about what I'm saying, my body language, etc. I think they are just "fishing", honestly, hoping someone will just TOUCH the dang thing

In response to the previous post, I actually made my business cards with a "referral" box on the back. I give an extra few cards to each customer, and tell them to write their names in the box and give them to friends. If I get two of them back, the person who referred gets a free massage. If I get one back, the person who referred can choose to take 1/2 off.
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Re: PPP (persistent pervert problem!!) looong, sorry!

Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 10:14 am

mush wrote:face the fact, conquering your market is going to be a great challenge. some markets have been "ho-ed" up and it's going to take resolve to outwit and outlast these inquiries. and it may mean that the growth of your business will be slower than you thought. you're the "new" masseuse and the group of guys there that are into that kind of thing are testing you out to see if you're "their" type. the 'inquiring minds' will trickle off when the realize you're not a prostitute and soon they will go away.


AHHHH...I certainly hope you're right!!

It all sucks so bad, because I've been doing this for SO long. I have so many good customers, but their business "belongs" to the spa I worked at, so I can't legally or ethically call them!

I tried advertising with my picture, so that my old customers would recognize it and call me! I dunno why, but my name doesn't stick in people's minds! Anyway, it was a VERY bad idea.

Another thing, and I don't know if it's part of the problem, and I mentioned this before, but my last name is "Dickie". DON'T LAUGH!! YOU'RE LAUGHING!!

Alright, go ahead and laugh. It is pretty funny.
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Postby Masthera on Wed May 31, 2006 11:13 am

In response to the previous post, I actually made my business cards with a "referral" box on the back. I give an extra few cards to each customer, and tell them to write their names in the box and give them to friends. If I get two of them back, the person who referred gets a free massage. If I get one back, the person who referred can choose to take 1/2 off.


While this is great, couldn't there be something else to get them more motivated? An Open House with different rewards offered. Just something to get a load of new referrals coming from your existing clients instead of waiting for them. Clients can talk up a storm about you and you may still not get the referral, maybe an open house would work to bring in the potential clients (so they can meet you in person), educate the area, and possibly gain you more work.
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Postby KneadedMassage on Wed May 31, 2006 1:27 pm

Okay......I will admit it.....I did chuckle......sorry!

I notice that where Login name appears, it says "Fresh Hands". Not sure if you use that somewhere else, but that would definitely give someone the wrong idea.

What good is this paper you are advertising in if it is bringing the wrong kind of clients? If I advertised in "Old Folks Weekly" it might make my phone ring off the hook, but quite honestly, I don't really want a practice filled with the elderly, so it wouldn't be of much good to me. Perhaps it's time to pull the ad from that paper since obviously, the people who are reading it are not your target market.

Is there another successful massage therapist nearby who does NOT advertise in that paper who would be willing to talk with you and give you some suggestions? Maybe you can find someone who can look at your advertising, your appearance, your office, etc. and give you an honest opinion about the message it is sending out.

It sounds to me like the problem is this paper you are advertising in. Your phone number may not be written on a bathroom wall, but it may as well be if these are the types of people calling you.

If in your advertisement you do put your last name, this could be a problem too. People may think that you made it up and that it is part of the way you advertise what sort of services you offer. Perhaps you can come up with a business name and use that.

I've never been a big fan of advertising with my picture. I think it gives the impression.....look at me, do you think I'm attractive enough to get a massage from? If it matters to someone what i look like, then I don't want them as a client. I understand that your purpose was so that past clients might recognize you from before and say "oh, that's how i can get in touch with her." How they don't remember your name, I have no idea! It seems quite memorable to me!

My suggestion would be to decide what types of clients you want, figure out where they hang out and start marketing to them. Network with some chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, personal fitness trainers, hair stylists. I think that at some point, we all get a call or two from someone testing the waters, but I do think you can cut it down dramatically by not advertising in the paper.
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Postby Masthera on Wed May 31, 2006 1:31 pm

I notice that where Login name appears, it says "Fresh Hands". Not sure if you use that somewhere else, but that would definitely give someone the wrong idea.


This is a set rank for someone with a certain number of posts.
Once past that number they are listed as a registered member.

Just wanted to clarify! :)
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 3:06 pm

The Scene is pretty reputable. I'm beginning to think that I'm just dealing with an uneducated public. I've got a feeling I could have put my ad in the yellow pages and I would get the same phone calls. I am looking at other sources of advertising.

The clients are weird here. If you work in a day spa, you get almost all female clients, and the male clients are mostly respectful, although I did get a few pervs. If you work on your own: all dudes, mostly pervs.

I have thought it might have something to do with my last name, but my old customers do know me by that name. My paper ad has only been out for a week or so, so I do want to give it time to see if any of them find me.

I have thought about advertising as a "business name" instead of my name. I just have to come up with one that clearly states "THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE" and not "SHOW ME YOUR WILLY". lol

My mother and stepfather were thinking of investing in a day spa a few years ago, and we were trying to think of names. My sis is an esthetician, and my brother is a hairdresser, so we basically have the basis of a spa in the family! The best name I thought of was "Good Hands", but in my case it just sounds BAD.

I honestly wonder if a name change or a business name would do anything at all. I think it's just deeply imbedded in the local consciousness that massage = something sexual. I never heard of any of these problems really in FL, where I am from, but I think since there are so many resorts there, people are more familiar with what a massage is. No offense to anyone, but now I'm in the "bible belt".

I just can't believe there are this many pervs in one area! What is wrong with this place!? I got another inappropriate call just today! I just paid all this money for advertising, and I am nervous to even answer my phone. I don't trust ANY of the people who call.

I'm just going to have to look into other advertising sources that target other customers.
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Postby Intuitouch on Wed May 31, 2006 5:46 pm

Two things come to mind right off the bat. First (((and I know you aren't going to like this but)))....loose the last name. It isn't helping you. Can you use just your first and second name for the time being until you are married?

Second, start doing as much education of your local area as you possibly can! Find out if you can get the newspaper to do a story on you, complete with pictures of you and your space. Discuss the fact that you offer therapeutic massage and that you have been receiving phone calls from people who want illicit services AND YOU DO NOT OFFER THAT!!

I'm sorry this is happening to you. It is very disheartening.
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Re: PPP (persistent pervert problem!!) looong, sorry!

Postby melb on Wed May 31, 2006 6:24 pm

maubast wrote:ALL of my calls are from men. I am now getting around 14 calls per day from men

It could just be that women just don't think of looking for a massage therapist, they just think in terms of a day spa for massage. Could be abit of a problem. I know when I first started, part-time, in'97, I did no paid advertising, only my own web site and listed on the school's site for various specialised massage techniques and in www.dmoz.org I would say that pretty much 99% of my calls were male, and most of them were looking for more than a massage.
I started promoting pregnancy and stone massage more, and dropped promoting lomi lomi as much (the bulk of 'my previous therapist didn't use a drape' comments would be from people asking about lomi lomi) It took over 6 months before I noticed a shift in calls, but it did happen eventually.

I mentioned in the other post, that your own website is a wonderful way to attract new clients, a LOT of people look for things on the web. Someone new to the area will look on the web before using an ad in the local paper. A web site gives you a lot more space to explain what you do and why they should want to see you, a lot cheaper than a printed ad, and you can make it VERY clear what you offer becuase you can have a lot more words.

The other thing to consider is that there is a review of you on one of the dubious web sites... Use Yahoo or MSN, not google, and search for your name/phone number(in different formats)/ 'redhead'/'amber' with your location. You may find there is a review of you along the lines of 'hot readhead, not full service, but potential. Very discrete. She hinted that more would be possible next time.' - in his dreams. Just one review like that could have them phoning all day.

Do you ask how they found you? It might be worth trying to find out if the paper you are using is the source or something else. Good luck identifying where they are coming from! Not everyone has to deal with this type of thing, location is a big part of it, once you get more genuine clients it will become easier. I still get about 2 dubious phone calls per month, but they're much easier to shrug off when they're outnumbered by the genuine calls..
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Postby KneadedMassage on Wed May 31, 2006 7:40 pm

I hope you don't mind, but I looked on line at the Nasvhille Scene. Didn't spend a lot of time looking at the contents of the paper, as it is late. However, I did find your ad. First, whether it's fair or not, when I see an ad for massage in the "classified" section, I'm always skeptical. Some are obviously offering other things, and some appear to be legitimate, but I wonder. The fact that your ad appears directly under one for "Tantra Bliss" may also lead people to believe that they can get "release" from you for $45 and not have to pay the $100 that the Tantra folks charge. My mother always told me that people will judge you by the company you keep.....and unfortunately, your ad is right under this Tantra Bliss thing and it makes it look like you are offering the same tyep of service. It does appear that other people are offering legit massage, but they charge more than $45. A person may think you don't charge what a legit therapist charges because perhaps you are not a "real massage therapist".


Also, in the ad, you are offering salt scrub services by a massage therapist. You say nothing about the massage services that you offer. Yes, I did scroll down a bit and found another ad for your massage work.

The wording that you "perform" the salt scrub may lead people to believe that there's something more being offered.

I believe it is common practice for people who are looking for "extra services" to look in the classified section to find it. The fact that there are those type of people advertising there lumps you in with them. Combine that with your last name, the low price, the "perform" language and the fact that you will travel to them....I think that it would be very easy for someone looking for "extras" to assume that you are indeed providing them.

I think that people who are looking for legitimate massage services are usually looking in the yellow pages, asking friends for referrals, picking up info in a health food store or at another health professional's office and a lot of other places. I'm guessing that if I randomly surveyed 100 people and asked them if they needed to find a massage therapist how they would go about it, I'd be surprised if many of them said they would look in the classified section.

I still think that getting out of the newspaper will cut down the calls dramatically. I highly recommend other marketing efforts. You will get less calls, but they are likely to be higher quality calls. What good is a ringing phone if you are afraid to answer it, and when you do you have to deal with pervs? You can build a legitimate business much faster by receiving only 14 legitimate quality calls a month than you will receiving 14 calls a day of the sort you are now receiving.

Best of luck to you. I do hope I haven't offended you, but I do feel you came here looking for some good sound advice for your problem. And I feel I have given my most honest opinion.
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Postby terab on Wed May 31, 2006 7:53 pm

(wrote this post before kneaded but after reading thought i'd add) excellent post by kneaded massage. the worst place to be is in the classifieds. bad, bad idea.
melb has a great suggestion! before you even begin answering any questions, ask where they heard about you or how they found you. the main source of the problem will soon show itself. then ditch that advertising source. (guessing it's probably the paper)

you don't have to "make yourself ugly". most days i try to look my best. i wear clothes that aren't totally professional (i do not like the look of scrubs - i'll typically wear a mt t-shirt or a tank top and a pair of jeans/capris and of course...flip-flops) and i usually like to have on makeup and have my hair done and wear a bit of perfume or other light scent. i rarely have a problem with pervs. if they're calling you, making yourself "ugly" isn't going to make a different over the phone. i think in order to feel good about yourself, you've got to look good. i feel the most on top of my game when i'm freshly showered, hair looks great, fresh makeup is on, have super cute earrings in :wink: , wearing my favorite pair of flip-flops and my teeth have just been brushed :lol: .

don't get down on yourself or your career. keep searching for ways to educate the knuckleheads in your community. get ahold of a news channel and suggest they do a "piece" on women. have them include you and your business. give them something interesting to make them want to do a story on your business. you can make that happen with a little effort.

purchase a mailing list that is female based and send out some fliers. do some chair massage at craft events or somewhere there are more/mostly females attending.

and last, i'd drop the dickie and just use D. as in "Jane D. Massage Therapist" i've been to some other professionals where i'm not sure how the heck they've inherited their name but should have thought about changing it. truth of the matter is, something is bringing in all of these calls. there is no way that you're receiving that many phone calls a day and there's not SOMETHING out there that's making those perv's pick up the phone to call you. we all get them...but 14 a day? something's going on there. (ps. yellow pages ads will have pervs calling too) get a really nice website with some great info about your services. you'll be alright. hang in there. i can't imagine how tough it is for you....sorry about that. btw, i wouldn't suggest www .dickiemassage. com sorry, just had to poke a little fun. :wink: :P
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Postby Breathe on Wed May 31, 2006 8:07 pm

I also checked out the newspaper, but haven't had time to respond before now. FWIW, in any other venue, I think your ad would be okay. But the "Scene" seems to be the type of newspaper where people can find prostitution services advertising under "legitimate" ads. We have a paper like that in Portland called the "Mercury." Everyone knows you can get sex from the "Merc," so most legitimate therapists steer clear of advertising there, and the ones that do use the Merc are prepared to field scads of inappropriate calls for the chance to bring in a little bit of legitimate business from an alternative market.

Backpage ads tend to be questionable, so it's not surprising that you are getting calls from people seeking sex. In addition, the "Scene" seems to be somewhat of an entertainment paper, further tying you to non-therapeutic massage.

As far as your looks being the catalyst, I think a woman could look like Atilla the Hun and still get propositioned if she is seeking business in the wrong place. Being so certain that it is your good looks causing the problem is overlooking the fact that your target market, though unintentional, seems to be the exact group of people, (men) that are looking for sexual services.

Take some time to get a little clarity on what your target market is. Then find an appropriate way to target that. IMO, uglying yourself up is not the answer. Being hard and mean is also not the answer. Perhaps seeking referrals from other professionals is an answer, maybe doing presentations to chiropractors, health groups, senior centers? Perhaps you could offer your "spa" services as packages to wedding planners for bridal parties, or talk to some florists about doing a massage and flower bundle...

If you don't want to limit your practice to women, don't. But market to women. If you are a good therapist, they will refer their husbands and male friends, and you will end up with a diverse practice.

Just a few ideas, but I agree, you need to get your ads out of the "scene."
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 8:23 pm

KneadedMassage wrote:I hope you don't mind, but I looked on line at the Nasvhille Scene.


No, I don't mind at all. I just found out that when you list a paper ad, they give you a complimentary online ad as well. I actually haven't gotten any response for salt scrubs yet.

Yellow Pages is the next step.

IE: Ugly-ing:
I've addressed this before, and it really does seem to be a factor. I hate to say it, but time and time again, looks get drawn into it. It's not that I'm trying to "uglify", so much as "sterilize". I like to look my best, but I'm VERY curvy (DD cup!) and I don't want to accentuate those features in an already strained situation, where I'm feeling untrusting.

When I spoke to the ad people at the Scene, they were very reassuring that they don't allow illigitimate posters in the mag, etc. I do ask where the person found me, and it's 9 out of 10 from the mag itself, not online.

I've got two spa job interviews tomorrow. I hate to go back to it, but these type of callers are not only insulting to me professionally, they are also a potential danger to my safety. You see, my incall is done out of my home. I have a very large house with a dedicated massage room. Obviously, I don't want to do this anymore, at least right now, because I don't want these people knowing where I live!

Now, I know I'm going to get a lot of raised eyebrows about it, but the house is very nicely kept, and I've got diplomas hanging all over the walls in the massage room. I've done my best to put up a professional appearance. I know quite a few other therapists in this area who have worked from home for years, and seem to be a success at it. It seemed like a really good idea because the house is so large and nice, but I guess not.

If I can start getting more "well behaved" customers, I will have no problem using the room here again, but I need to get to that stage first, I think.
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Postby Breathe on Wed May 31, 2006 8:38 pm

Well, the fact that your looks are an issue to YOU, makes it an issue to your clients, perhaps more so than otherwise. If you are hyper aware that you are especially attractive, and you must hide it, otherwise men will be incapable of keeping it in their pants, (it's not their problem, it's just that you are sooooooo attractive,) then you're probably right. Your looks are the problem.

For what it's worth, I'm attractive, and curvy. My officemate is VERY attractive, and curvy, and the girl we are thinking about hiring is pretty enough to do a magazine spread. None of us have a problem with solicitation, nor do we expect to. Naturally, there is the occasional inappropriate request, but it hasn't seemed to turn into the problem for us that it has for you.

As you keep stressing, this would have nothing to do with where you are seeking business, and everything to do with your extraordinary attractiveness...
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 8:59 pm

I see where you are coming from. But, trust me, I'm no beauty queen! It was never an issue for me before people began acting this way. I'm in no way trying to say "Oh woe is me, I'm too pretty and I'm getting treated like a trollop!" Please don't misunderstand! But I'm obviously trying to COVER ALL THE BASES of what may be causing this persistent problem.

As I've said before, I've had numerous customers make comments about the appearance of their therapist. Maybe this is a regional thing? I don't claim to understand it, but believe me, I am not being irrational with this.

It's disheartening to me, trust me. It's not something I'm happy about at all. I don't like being frumpy, but, believe it or not, dressing more "professionally" (ie: new scrubs, sneakers) has changed the demeanor a lot. It's not that I dressed "suggestively" at all before, but I figured that dressing more "casually" might be making people act more casually. I don't see where this logic is so far off in so many people's opinions? First impressions mean A LOT.

I just got a PM from a customer who brought up an interesting point: that people may be doing an internet search for "massage" and the - aherm- area that they would like addressed, and may be coming up with my last name!

But, my question here is:
Why does everyone seem so eager to condone changing, disguising, or hiding my (legitimate) last name, but it seems "wrong" to "dress the part"? Does this seem like a strange double standard to anyone?
Last edited by maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby akb on Wed May 31, 2006 8:59 pm

I remember my husband telling me about this happening at The Scene, thankfully many years after he left the company.

Prostitution in Nashville is a big big thing.
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 9:04 pm

I just also wanted to mention, I just contacted the Scene and I'm withdrawing the ad tomorrow. I had NO CLUE that it was seen as an illigitimate source of advertising. Everyone I know has been doing it!

I think the Scene is making a real point to clean up their act. They contacted me weeks ago about advertising in a new "health and wellness" section they created to draw in more massage ads. It sounded like a great idea, and I went for it. But I guess the Scene has a few more "fleas" to shake off, and it's not as easy as just changing your format.

Sigh!

This is so disheartening. I gave my first massage in high school, and I'll be 30 this year. I hate to think of leaving it, but it's so out of hand, no pun!
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 9:14 pm

BreatheBodywork wrote:As you keep stressing, this would have nothing to do with where you are seeking business, and everything to do with your extraordinary attractiveness...


And, I've just gotta say, this statement bugs the heck out of me. I made ONE statement about this in a virtual SEA of information I provided in my first post. Are you suggesting I'm some kind of egomaniac? I never claimed to be "extraordinarily attractive"? I have no idea where this came from?

ARGH! That gets under my skin! I'm here looking for legit advice, not to bellyache about my ego. My appearance is ONE small part to play in this situation, and I would be remiss if I did not address it. I mean, we are dealing with MEN acting in a SEXUALLY inappropriate manner here, are we not?
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Postby Breathe on Wed May 31, 2006 9:23 pm

FTR, I don't recommend hiding your last name. Personally, I think offering massage under just a first name, or a first name + initial is a sign that men look for when seeking sexual services.

I've just observed that this issue has been ongoing with your for awhile, and it seems that you are fixated on your appearance being the catalyst, but many of these men are calling you and making inappropriate requests without ever having seen you. This leads me to believe that there is another problem, other than your looks.

I can't help but wonder if your continued focus that it must be your looks that is responsible for most of the problem, is making you miss the real issue?

Incidently, dressing down is not the answer at all. Many years ago I used to live about 2 blocks from one of the main prostitute pick-up blocks in Portland. Most of the girls wore jeans and sweatshirts, or scrubs and sneakers. They ALL had their hair pulled back, and I rarely saw one in makeup. It was a rare evening when I saw one of the stereotypical sex workers in a short skirt, halter and heels.

How you are dressed, and whether or not you are wearing appropriate makeup is unlikely to have any impact on these solicitations. How you comport yourself is far more likely to affect the situation.

I am a firm believer in the phenomenon that what you expect is what you invite. You are expecting that the people calling you will be men who are incapable of behaving appropriately, and it seems that you are indeed drawing just those sort of people.

So rather than trying to make yourself "ugly," keep doing the "professional" look. Professional women do fix their hair, and they do use make-up if they feel it is appropriate. They dress and groom themselves attractively, but not provocatively.

Tighten up your framework. If you practice in your home, block off the hallway/staircase with a screen. Continue phone screening heavily. If a man passes the phone screen, when they arrive at your home, greet them and shake hands like a businesswoman, then hand them a professional intake that requires name address and phone number. Continue photocopying driver's license. Do a pre-massage interview to find out what needs treatment, then explain how your session will proceed.

If you are doing all of these things already, find some mentoring or supervision and have some direct talks about your entire business framework, including your own personal attitudes and actions, to see if you can pinpoint the issue.

And above all, stop advertising in the local entertainment rag. In the "bible belt," there are less resources for men looking for prostitution. This paper seems to be one of the primary sources.
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Postby maubast on Wed May 31, 2006 9:31 pm

Trust me, it's not an issue for me. I do some work for a spa that is in a cosmetics store, and I'm the least vain person there! They are always trying to get me to "do a makeover" with them sometime!

I promise, I'm totally NOT fixated. But, when you've just kicked someone out of your place for flashing you, you're about to pull your hair out from frustration and despair, you start thinking of ALL the little things. It's like some kind of sick puzzle or something. What am I missing? What could be contributing? Of course, you are going to consider how you look, as ONE option to correct.

What I'm most "fixated on" right now is: what part of my ad or message could be saying something I don't mean it to, and is this normal? Apparently, for this area, it is. The more local therapists I speak to here, the more I hear this. One of the spas I'm interviewing with tomorrow asked me why I'd want to go back to a spa instead of working for myself, and I told them flat out. The woman who owned the place paused for a moment, and said, Wow, we've been getting that too. AT A SPA!

There must just be a pervy wind a-blowin in Nashville. Sheesh.

Speaking of which, I've decided to do something highly unorthodox tomorrow. I am literally going to call other therapists in the Scene and ask if they are having this problem. All the can do is tell me to F off, right?
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Postby Breathe on Wed May 31, 2006 9:46 pm

Spring has sprung. If you want to use advertising, I recommend using a medium that has other clearly legit therapist advertising already. Then provide more information, not less.

Some of the inappropriate ads look a little like this:
RELAXING massage. DEEP tissue. Evening appointments available. Jane.555-1234.


And a legit therapist from Craigslist. (Which is well-monitored in the Portland Market.)

I am a female therapist specializing in treatment for women.

Gift Certificates are available.
60 minutes for $50
75 minutes for $60

I offer very intuitive and heart-centered sessions that give the body an overall sense of peace and wellbeing. I've also had plenty of experience working with a more treatment specific approach for such syndromes as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, chronic fatigue, carpal tunnel, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD). I would love to help you or the special woman in your life as well. My home office is very close to Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Thanks,
S******** M. H******, LMT #7***
503.7**.****
**************@comcast.net


A quick look at CL in TN shows that it is not well used by legit therapists, so I don't recommend that for your area.

Granted, TN is probably a good decade behind attitudes in Portland regarding massage as therapy, so you will probably always have a higher percentage of solicitation calls and inappropriate behaviour on the table. It might be helpful to find someone to talk to who has already built a successful home practice and has developed a way to deal with the continued requests for sexual gratification. They may have some good tips.
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Postby Breathe on Wed May 31, 2006 9:53 pm

maubast wrote:Speaking of which, I've decided to do something highly unorthodox tomorrow. I am literally going to call other therapists in the Scene and ask if they are having this problem. All the can do is tell me to F off, right?


Not unorthodox at all. It's a good idea. A couple of therapist friends and I go occasionally during the school term to speak to classes about issues facing LMTs. This is always one of them. Also, I've gotten calls from other therapists or from students who want to know how my website is working, or this ad or that... I've called other therapists looking for the same information, and except for one woman who was really odd and paranoid, (she thought I was trying to figure out how to steal her clients,) everyone I called was chatty and helpful. One person even spent quite a bit of time helping me get my insurance billing protocols in place, and I have been able to pass that assistance on myself.

Good luck with the calling, it's a great idea.
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