Reader Mailbag: Gifts & Tipping

“Do your clients often give you gifts?  Is it standard to tip a pro-domme?  If she works in a dungeon, how is the rate split between her and the dungeon?  I’ve never done this before and don’t know what the etiquette is.”
                                        —random internet stranger        

      My clients seldom give me gifts, but it has happened a few times before.  Some dommes get more gifts than I do, but they actively solicit them via amazon wishlists and things like that.  I am too modest to ask strangers to buy me things.  

      The most common gifts are items of clothing that a client wanted me to wear for a session and gave me to keep afterward: shoes, leather gloves, a dress, stuff like that.  I’ve received flowers several times.  A summer dress from Brooks Brothers.  Most of my regular clients are Ph.D.s or some sort of egghead, so they give me gifts of books to read.  One man bought me a three year subscription to The Economist.      

       I allow the clients whose company and personality I truly enjoy to take me out to dinner off-the-clock.  The free time is a gesture of appreciation for their patronage.  It’s also allowed me to eat at some of the best restaurants in New York, which I normally would never be able to afford to do. 

       The strangest gift I’ve ever gotten was a folder of clipped, itemized drug store coupons (that client was neurotically cheap and an avid coupon-clipper).  And the battery for a hearing aid.  

        I can’t say that tipping is standard protocol, because it if was, I would be tipped more often than half the time.  Many of the clients who do not tip me come back and see me multiple times, so I know they are satisfied with the quality of my work.  About half of my clients tip and half of them don’t.  I would probably get tipped more often if I told them that I expected to be tipped, but I do not think that is dignified behavior.  Some mistresses don’t give a fuck and will stand at the door with their hand out.  They argue that if you don’t remind clients of how they are expected to act, they’ll get out of line.  This may well be true.  

        I can tell you this much: I think that tipping for a quality performance shows good breeding and your mistress will definitely appreciate it.  Especially if the session was very labor-intensive and now she’s got to peel off and clean a bunch of latex and put away twenty pieces of equipment.  

       I also think that clients would tip more often if they knew just how much–or, more accurately, how little–of the session fee goes to the mistress.  

        I have worked in three dungeons.  The house took 45%-60% of the total fee.  At my first dungeon, I believe the standard rate for a 1-hour domination session was $205, of which the mistress would get $90.  The house would take $100, and the phone receptionist who made the booking would get $15.

      I think $90/hour is a perfectly respectable wage, even if it is less than half of what an independent would make.  If you can pull off two or three sessions in a shift, you can go home with a tidy sum in your pocket for a 6-hour shift.  (A mistress can also earn a lot more money if she is willing to switch, especially if she can take pain, but most are unwilling to do this. Fine with me!  More business for yours truly.)  

       Buuuut…if it’s slow and you only see one client that day, then the extra $40 he gives you for a tip really makes a difference in your total income.  

       Another way you can show your appreciation is to bring in a bottle or two of champagne or wine for the House.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Believe me, they will be happy to drink your classy Little Penguin.  This will make you Mr. Popular, and you’ll be remembered the next time you come in.

4 thoughts on “Reader Mailbag: Gifts & Tipping”

  1. Hi Jeff!

    Re: Indy sessions: I’d say tipping is up to your discretion. It’s your discretion even at the commercial dungeons. Tipping is not obligatory.

    I personally never EXPECT tips. The only time I’m ever irritated that I don’t get a tip is when I have to execute a 3-ring circus of a session where the client wants 10 different activities/fetishes and demanding wardrobe requests and the room looks like a fetish bomb went off at the end and I’m sweating my ass off. It takes me at least a half hour on top of that to sanitize everything and put it away, and then I have to shower and re-apply makeup. In those situations, yes, I’d like a tip because I don’t think I’m being adequately compensated for my labor and expertise (creative talent).

    If you have a bad experience with a domme, or she is incompetent, don’t tip her.

    If you have a great experience with a dungeon domme…definitely give her a tip if you can. Even $20 covers her lunch and commuting fares for the day, and it also indicates goodwill and appreciation.

    When I do Indy sessions, tips are not a consideration whatsoever. I get tips sometimes…but the fee is so high that I feel very well-compensated. If you can afford it, be generous, but I wouldn’t feel badly/guilty about not tipping an Indy.

    Phone girls earn their cut. They talk with a lot of freaks.

    Hope this helps.

  2. I’m surprised more guys don’t tip for the commercial dungeon sessions. I’ve always done independent sessions, so don’t have direct experience, but I thought tipping was pretty much expected for the house scenarios. That’s at least what comes across on the various forums and boards. That suggests a lot of guys who session aren’t plugged into that kind of community and don’t research.

    Personally I always tip. I figure if I’m going to pay a wine guy 20% to pull a cork out and pour it for me, the least I can do is tip someone who has to deal up-close and in person with a naked me. If it’s someone new and the sessions isn’t good, I just don’t see them again. If it is good and we’re therefore likely to play together again, it can only help smooth out future scheduling.


  3. Hi paltego. Nice to see you here.

    “Not plugged into that kind of community” is a perfect description.

    I think that there are yet more reasons why some of these guys don’t tip the domme: 1) they are angry/resentful that they have to pay money for her attention (it’s ridiculous, I know, but I see this attitude a LOT), and 2) some men don’t think that sex work is “real” work and have a very low opinion of its value. They seem to be thinking “This lazy person is getting paid all of this money to have fun! I wish I could get paid to do my sexy fetish all day!”

    If they only knew.

    Thanks for the comment.


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