Career Tips for Future Whores of America

2.12.2008

By Josh Kilmer-Purcell

In my day, male escorts were seen and not heard -- unless you paid for role-play. There was an honor system among whores: Don't bite the dick that pays you. Recently, however, mouthy male escorts have become mainstream media darlings. Even my mother now knows about Rentboy.com. Famous alleged and admitted escorts such as pastor masseuse Mike Jones, Fox News pundit Matt Sanchez, and White House boy toy Jeff Gannon are famous enough to have traded in their escort agencies for PR agencies.

Nowadays, whenever there's a whiff of mystery in a news story, rent boys burst on the scene like superheroes without the spandex. When U.S. senator Trent Lott resigned late last year, giving no reason, rumors immediately swirled around an escort named Benjamin Nicholas -- rumors fueled mostly by Benjamin Nicholas. The blogosphere generally ignored the more likely reason for Lott's retirement: a looming legislative deadline that would have prohibited the retired congressman from immediately becoming a filthy-rich lobbyist. That a Republican was accused of whoring before thieving shows how out of whack the world has become.

The idea of escorts as celebrities worries me. Not in a 'family values' type of way, but as career counseling for future whores of America. Sites like Craigslist have lowered the barriers to the world of escorting to the point where almost anyone can make a little extra spending money. Short on rent? Post an ad offering a 'ma$$age.' Got your eye on a new pair of sunglasses? Put up a listing looking for a
'generous' man.

Over a decade ago, pre-Internet, I dated and lived with a male escort for nearly a year. He made a good living off a few discreet ads in the back of the local gay rag. A great living, in fact. Those who got into the business had to treat it like a business in order to survive. Back then you could get arrested for admitting to being a prostitute. Now you're invited to White House press conferences and Ann Coulter's cocktail parties. Through my hooker boyfriend, I met many successful, well-balanced career escorts. I also learned that hooking is hard work. And successful hookers knew that rule number 1 was keeping their mouths shut (except, of course, when an open mouth was contractually required).

But now that we have prostitutes appearing on Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight, I'd hate to think that a young person contemplating making a few extra bucks from a closeted married guy at the Marriott wouldn't fully weigh the consequences of his decision. And when the media portrays the consequences as landing a regular gig on Fox News, well, it's more than a little misleading. What's next? American Escort, in which a dozen hookers demonstrate their talents in front of a panel of celebrity judges?

Getting out of the business is far more tricky than getting into it. This is not a career you make, it's one that makes you. In reality, there are really only two career paths for successful hooking: (1) Get out as soon as you've paid for college, or (2) Cultivate a loyal clientele who will still hire you past your 'best by' date, and continually be on the lookout for your sugar-daddy soul mate.
Mike Jones and his celebrity hooker peers are not 'successful escorts.' They aren't making millions off their pundit appearances. Their books don't make the best-seller lists. Blogging doesn't keep one in condoms. They broke rule number 1, and that'll cut into their client base more than a receding hairline. They might be having their 15 minutes of fame, but when you're used to getting paid by the hour that's quite a pay cut.

Not that I don't revel in some schadenfreude toward the hypocritical clients some of these celebrity hookers have taken down. A few of these celebriwhores have performed a valuable service for the LGBT movement. Maybe we should set up a retirement fund for our gay and lesbian 'service' men.

But let's not continue to glorify what's essentially a blue-collar job. For those who choose it, work hard, and stay safe: Congrats and good luck. And for those considering it, don't fool yourself -- happy endings are a job, not your fate.

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