There is a common misconception that if you work in the escorting industry that you have ‘ended up’ here after a long and turbulent journey through problems and childhood trauma. People paint images of the scarcely clad disheveled, selling blow jobs on street corners in the dead of winter. Of controlling pimps and manipulated men doing dirty deeds in suspiciously stained hotel rooms. I myself, had watched enough hyper-Americanized television in the wardrobe sized room I had occupied during my university days, to have once shared this opinion at a time. The truth, as is so often the case, couldn’t be further from this widely accepted imagery.
This is not a story of angry pimps with wafer-thin mustaches sporting trilby hats worn regrettably at jaunty angles. Nor is it not a tragic tale of a young gay man who was coerced into entering the sex industry amid a frantic saga of desperate misfortune. If it was a dramatic sob story you were expecting, about a man who lost his way, you will not find that here.
This is a story about an everyday guy who built a successful business out of what is to many people, considered the underbelly of accepted societal norms. Simply, about a man who learned invaluable lessons in life and business, and had a hell of a lot of fun doing it.
I had led a mind-numbingly bog-standard life up until the moment I met Alex. I spent my childhood attending a catholic grammar school in a quaint respectable town just outside of the city. I would wake in the morning, kiss my mother after eating a bowl of shreddies and cloak myself in an oversized blazer before leaving the house – not unlike any other child growing up in suburban south London.
I grazed my knee’s playing football on Saturdays. I kissed girls in dark corners of house parties, then bragged about it to my friends afterwards in the hope that they would think I was just like them. I attended to the University of Manchester, graduating with a first-class honor’s in International Business.
I had done well in my studies; graduating with a first-class honor. The problem was that I had attained student debt as potent as the qualification itself. So, I embarked on a mission to get a cash-dense graduate job that would utilise my entrepreneurial skills as well as help me set myself up post university. I worked for a couple of start-up companies that never took off. I worked in marketing for a cowboy company that later went bust. I would work long hours for difficult people on a less than average salary. I was tired, fed up and deflated. It was around this point that I decided that I wanted to start my own business. I just needed an idea that didn’t cost a lot to start up, something I could build myself from the ground upward. It would be the perfect way out.
That night that everything changed, I went to unwind with a drink in the cities financial district with the intention of manifesting some kind of lucrative image or persona. In no uncertain terms I was faking it before I made it. The entire establishment was coated in white and grey marble and was lit up brightly with luxurious copper light fixtures.
A part of me had hoped I would encounter an accomplished business owner who would take me under their gold-plated wings and give me the on-the-job schooling I thought I needed in order to succeed – my eager and expectant mind also wouldn’t have said no to free private healthcare and a company car. So, I put my best foot forward. My hair was perfectly slicked back. My dark Italian features stood out against my meticulously ironed white shirt. A splash of creed sunk into my neck, not too much, just enough to leave an intoxicating scent in the air that filled the steps behind me.
I was waiting on an overpriced old fashioned when an unapologetically cultivated, strikingly attractive man, dressed almost identically to myself, came and sat next to where I was stood at the bar. I could feel his eyes burning through the side of my skull as though he was trying to pick the locked door that guarded my brain. I slowly turned my head, hoping to both settle the uncomfortable feeling that lay in the pit of my stomach, and feed the curiosity that ignited my eyes. He was already facing me, sitting patiently with a smile, waiting to be greeted.
“Are you okay?” He asked. I nodded. “Alex Porter” He said as he put his hand out to shake mine.
“Alouicious”, I replied, matching his hand with mine.
Alex laughed to himself in a way that suggested I should feel defensive “Alouicious? That’s perfect, alright Alouicious, I have a proposition for you.” I was intrigued. “Keep your mind open, and listen very carefully.”
Before I could interrupt him to tell him that I don’t sell drugs, he had begun his pitch.
“I am a gay escort” he said confidently “I rent my companionship to those who require my services. I need help, and you look right for the part.” I thought – well, this is a plot twist. “I have a client I can’t see tonight. £150 an hour to take them to dinner, and we go from there?”
I was struck by his forwardness; I was fascinated by his proposition. There was a writhing knot in my torso that was urging me to tell him to leave. But I was a perfect combination of fed-up, intrigued, open minded, and ready to go – I obliged. I figured, what’s the worst that can happen?
This was the moment Alex’s life quite literally catapulted into mine, like an asteroid heading toward an unsuspecting planet out in the stillness of universe, about to ignite life and change everything.
“What is their name?” I asked. Alex smiled.
My first time on the Job.
“Alright, so here’s what you need to know.” Alex said. He leaned in until his lips were but a centimeter from my ear, words tip-toed out of his mouth and danced their way into my ears in a way that raised the hair on my skin. Tantalized, I listened intently. “You will meet him here, at this exact spot in approximately 25 minutes, I’ve arranged it all.” His name is Steven, he works in finance, his nipples are sensitive and he’s a Taurus – if you know what I mean.” I didn’t.
Alex continued with his brief. “He drinks overpriced craft beer because he thinks it makes him different from the other middle-aged post-divorced men, but he will treat you to overpriced vodka cocktails so, apples and oranges. He’ll most likely open a discussion about your favorite car in the first ten minutes just so that he can show you a picture of his latest proud purchase. Just go with it, it keeps him sweet. He always smells great and he’s a good man overall so, just have fun!” I couldn’t help but feel a little like a baby sitter listening to the frantic listings of a child’s bedtime routine by their freedom-deprived mother embarked on her first night out in a year.
Alex scribbled his contact details on a whiskey dampened napkin before folding it up and placing it in my hands. “If you have any problems – give me a call.” I was in it now, there was no turning back now. Well, I probably could have turned back, but for a reason unknown to my consciousness at this time, I wanted Alex to like me.
I suppose I was approaching it as more of a blind date than a job. If I looked at it any other way, would I be considered a sex-worker? And if so, was I comfortable with that? As I minimized the experience to overcome my self-judgment as much as possible, my mind meandered down an alternative path. I couldn’t help but wonder what happens if he doesn’t like me, does he get his money back? How does this work? Is there a money back guarantee on my time? I was midway through composing a frantic and lengthy text message to the number that had been scrawled on the napkin Alex left behind when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
To Be Contunued…