SWAMP of SQWISI "From the Diary of a Male Sex Worker", Respect Magazine, 1992
January 1992, SWAMP of SQWISI
From the diary of a …. Male Sex Worker
My first weeks as a professional
PART 1: The Decision
It’s Wednesday night and it’s raining outside. I’m sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor (I’m too poor to be able to afford furniture) listening to some groovy music and slowly drinking myself into a coma on a cask of Lambrusco.
I didn’t think it was possible to be so stressed! You seek I’m a full-time student and have exams in less than two weeks for which I have done precisely no study, and to top it all off, I have to find some way of paying my $50 phone bill by next Monday.
So feeling particularly self-pitying and pathetic, I casually flip through the latest OUTRAGE getting more and more depressed about how many beautiful men can one magazine possibly cram into its 30 or so pages, and why aren’t I going out with any of them. Suddenly, a full page ad for an escort agency catches my eye. For a good 5 minutes I just stare at it through a pleasant, mind-numbing alcoholic haze. It’s not the photograph of the semi-naked man who’s so nauseatingly perfect that he has no right to exist outside the realm of wet dreams, that I’m interested in; it’s the fine print at the bottom that says …. STAFF WANTED …. and hence the fun begins!
PART 2: The Interview
I drag the phone into my room and before I realise what I’m doing, I’m dialling. “DON’T DO IT!!!!”, my mind screams. My God, it’s ringing! (Please, please don’t let me slur my words!)
“Good evening,” says a very pleasant male voice. (Goodness, he doesn’t sound like a Bellino Brother at all!!)
Before I realise what’s happened, I’ve volunteered my vital statistics and an interview has been arranged for the following evening. I sit there in a shock for a while, thinking that it couldn’t possibly be this easy, after all I don’t look anything like the man in the photograph!
All the next day I wander from my desk, to the fridge, to the toilet, and back again, thinking what the hell am I going to wear! (Where can I get a full-length overcoat and a pair of really dark sunglasses at such short notice?!)
Suddenly it’s time to leave and I think I must have a bladder infection or something, because I’ve never in my life been to the toilet so many times in an hour!
(Please God, don’t let them open the door and burst out laughing!)
There are a couple of guys and they’re all very nice looking, and friendly too. Suddenly, I feel much more relaxed. The “boss” ushers me into the study and we have a really great talk. He eventually asks me if I’d mind just taking my shirt off. Visions of “couch auditions” flash through my mind… (why the hell didn’t I spend more time in the sum this Summer… if he asks me to get an erection on command, I’m going to faint … I feel like I’m a stud bull on show at the exhibition … I wonder if he’ll want to look at my back teeth!!!)
He smiles and says, “That’s great! You’re a nice looking guy. I don’t see that there’ll be any problems. If anything comes up would you be right to do a booking tomorrow night?” We chat for a while longer and then I get up to leave wondering if my head’s too big to fit through the door!
PART 3: I’m Working
So here I am! It’s Friday night and I’ve been staring at the phone for about 2 hours and I can’t decide whether or not I want it to ring. IT’S RINGING!!!
After I’ve scraped myself from the ceiling, I answer the phone only to discover that it’s actually for one of my housemates. For the first time in my life, I’m beginning to understand why people take valium!!!
Finally, at about 9.30pm, I get a booking. I’m feeling scared and relieved at the same time. On the way to the booking, I sit in the car chewing my lower lip imagining (quite vividly too!!) myself having to perform unspeakable sexual things with someone (or something!) that looks like they’ve just stepped off the set from a Star Wars movie!! I’m plagued by thoughts of being struck completely impotent. By the time I get there I have a smile on my face that looks completely plastic and my palms are sweating.
Without going into any juicy details (bad luck huh!) the whole booking went along quite smoothly and quite to my surprise I found that I could remember how to speak fluent English and I could even maintain bladder control. By the time I get back home I’m feeling particularly pleased with myself, and then the phone rings and it’s my boss. I panic for a moment or two thinking that I’ve only done one booking and already got a complaint! To my surprise, I discover that the client thought I was absolutely wonderful and suddenly I have my first regular client. Modest aren’t I??! I am then informed that I am not allowed to go out this evening in case I get another booking. I happily say that this is fine, inwardly groaning and asking myself who this man thinks I am; Cerano de Bergerac?
All this melodrama aside, it’s easy now to sit back and think about the things I was thinking at the time of my first booking and the misconceptions I had about what it meant to be a male escort. Bu the fear and nervousness is quite real, and even now I still get butterflies on the way to every booking. I also still have conflicting feelings about being a male escort. I’m merely a student who cannot find a job elsewhere and I need to support myself through my university studies.
Even though I don’t consciously think of myself as such, I sometimes sit back and say, “My God! I’m a hooker!” Whenever I think of it like this, I usually get a funny, excited feeling inside, almost as if I’m living the ultimate fantasy, or that in some slightly wicked way I am being totally rebellious. Most of the time, however, I sit back and think that being a worker in the sex industry is just like any other job except the pay is better, and the work far more interesting than pen-pushing in the public service.
I think it would be wrong of me, though, to overly glorify being a worker in the sex industry. Not only is the legality of escort agencies still a political hot potato, the dangers of being abused and molested are quite real, although I have been lucky enough not to have experienced anything like that.
So here I am, a month after I started working, with all my exams finished (which I passed, by the way), my phone bill paid, and I still have money left over to go to the movies, to buy some records, to go out to dinner every now and then, and I’ve even managed to buy a new pair of jeans. I have 3 regular clients now and I really like all of them. For me now, doing a booking is just like going to visit a friend. I can sit down with my clients, drink coffee (or scotch), and talk about the music of Grieg, the economic recession, ancient Greek culture, or even “The Importance of Being Ernest.”
I guess I have to admit that I really enjoy “working” and the best thing of all is to have learnt that being an escort IS NOT the same as being a street hooker from a tacky American Detective program. God knows even though I am a worker in the sex industry, I am still a nice guy with a very good career ahead of me. In the years to come, I think that I will look back on the time I spent as an escort, and will remember the fun of youth, the trials and tribulations of emotionally maturing to adulthood, the real sense of professional cohesiveness amongst fellow workers, and of course – the sex!!
In the not too distant future, I will be a “professional” of quite a different nature, and hopefully will have a nice steady boyfriend and maybe we will even live in the country in a little white cottage with a white picket fence and daisies on the window sill. Until then, however, I am quite content to continue studying and working in the sex industry. In just a month I have learnt more about being a person, about growing up, and about loneliness and friendship, that I could ever possibly learn from a text book.