"The Gigolo Blues"
Two weeks after I landed my dream job--packing X-rated videotapes into shipping crates at a warehouse in California's San Fernando Valley--I was fired for what my asshole boss called "property theft." Ridiculous. While it was true that I was caught loading up the trunk of my car with blowjob videos, any normal person would take it for granted that free porn is a fringe benefit to a low-wage job at a XXX production facility.
A Hot-Blooded Stud Who Seeks Employment as a Male Escort Stands a Very Good Chance of Being Screwed--But not by a Lonely Housewife With an Itch.
Lament by William Campbell, as Told to Dan Kapelovitz
Illustration by Jaime Hernandez
Pink slip in hand, I trudged home to my crummy apartment on Van Nuys Boulevard, deep in despair. I had $950 in the bank. How was I supposed to pay my rent, stay off bread lines and keep feeding hard-core porn into the insatiable slot in my VCR?
I dutifully picked up a local weekly newspaper and flipped through the HELP WANTED ads when I spotted a job notice that looked for all the world like a ticket to an even higher level of nine-to-five Nirvana than working in a smut factory:
"MEN WANTED! MAKE MONEY providing INTIMATE SERVICES to lonely ladies. $500-$750 per week possible. We also provide names, addresses and photos. Send $1 for info to Royce, Attention Lori."
Why should women take all of the good prostitution jobs? I thought. I'd wasted my sexual prime working shit gigs when I could have been making good money fucking lonely ladies, just like Richard Gere in the film American Gigolo. It floored me that escort work hadn't occurred to me before. With my charm, good looks and not-so-Protestant work ethic, I was born to slave over a hot snatch for a living. I sent Lori my dollar--a small price to pay for a new career. I now had $949 to my name.
Every day for a month, I checked the mail for something from Lori. Instead of a passport to male whoredom, a tidal wave of junk mail flooded my mailbox. One offer hawked a book on how to pick up chicks at the supermarket; another dangled a list of Russian women looking for western husbands; a third was for a manual on how to start a nude photography business. One colorful packet came from a place called Toni's Love Emporium, with a sales pitch for Attractant 10, "the scent that attracts women without them knowing it."
While I was willing to invest some cash in my male whoring career--after all, it takes money to make money--I wasn't dumb enough to buy a love spray. Lori seemed to have spread the word that I was a chump who was desperate enough to suck up any product or service that promised to score me some pussy. I shot off an angry letter to Toni's Love Emporium, explaining that I wasn't some gullible rube, and I wrote to Lori, demanding that she send me "info," as promised.
Lori's slow response gave me time to think about the consequences of whoredom. Is escort work illegal? I wondered. Do the cops crack down on male prostitution? I called the Los Angeles Police Department and talked to an officer in the media-relations department; he thought a gigolo's chances of being tossed in the cooler were pretty slim.
"I heard of mostly female escort services possibly involved in some sort of prostitution sort of deal," said the flack cop. "Even that's not a big problem, because we don't have any victims. No one is going to call up and say, ‘Yeah, I hired this escort service, and she gave me a good time.' Would you report that if you were the person?"
Since the likelihood of my being arrested in a vice bust was next to nil, I decided to try my luck at finding escort work by way of the local Yellow Pages. I opened the book to "Escorts" and found an agency that is "always hiring." As I dialed the toll-free number in the ad, I noted with satisfaction that the service hired both male and female tarts. A jaded female voice answered my call.
"I'd like to apply for a position as an escort," I said.
"Do you do men, honey?" the woman asked. "Ninety percent of our business is male-for-male."
"Doesn't that mean that 10% of your business is women who are looking for men?" I pleaded.
"Barely. Not even that. We're lucky if it's that. It wouldn't even be worth it to hire you."
All of the escort agencies I called out of the phone book told me that the "clients" I would be "servicing" would be gay men. No homo, I returned to the escort listings in the back of my local alternative newsweekly, where I originally read about Lori and her lonely ladies. There was no shortage of places that were hiring men for apparently nonhomo escort work.
"MALE ESCORTS AGES 18-45 NEEDED for area women. $1,000+ per week. Full or Part Time. No experience necessary. WorldAxis Professional Resources."
WorldAxis listed a toll-free number; so I called them right away. A prerecorded message informed me that an "adult-services program" would provide me with a "verifiable income opportunity that is guaranteed to be mutually beneficial to both you and the women that you service." The price was a mere $34.59 (plus shipping costs).
Fortunately, I hadn't paid my rent in two months; so I had some cash reserves. Even so, buying food and renting X-rated videos had whittled my savings down to $638; the expenditure of 40 bucks would hurt. But I was anxious to start screwing for a living. Besides, the WorldAxis program was "guaranteed." Since I was new to the male-prostitution game, it made sense to learn as much as possible about the business. After all, I could make my money back with just one date. I mailed away the moolah.
In less than a week, the "WorldAxis Professional Resources Adult Services Program" arrived in the mail. My pulse raced as I tore open the thick manila envelope. My euphoria was short-lived.
For my $34.59 (plus shipping costs), I now owned ten pieces of paper stapled together. To be fair, WorldAxis is in the business of selling information, not sheets of paper, and the ten pieces of paper did have writing on both sides.
However, the writing befuddled me. It made no sense that a primer on how to break into the escort business advises gigolos to turn down sexual advances from their tricks. If a potential client insists on having sex, WorldAxis recommends that the escort demand a $20 cancellation fee and leave immediately. Other pearls of wisdom include "maintain a professional appearance" and "understand the art of conversation."
To earn WorldAxis's advertised rate of $1,000 per week, I would have to rack up 50 cancellation fees every week, which seemed like a lot of work.
The final page of the ten-page packet was a seven-step guide to "Getting started as a male escort," but the steps were moronically basic:
1. Determine hourly rate.
2. Plan advertising strategy.
3. Establish voice mail service.
4. Place ads.
5. Check voice mail.
6. Focus on establishing and maintaining the most desirable clients.
7. Look for ways to build and expand business.
Six weeks had passed since I first decided to rent my genitalia out to libidinous females. The Yellow Pages and the WorldAxis guide were both duds. I was beginning to lose hope when I finally received a letter, sealed with a bright red, lipstick-print kiss, from the mysterious Lori. This was more like it--the dollar I had spent looked like it was going to pay off, big time.
"Some women are willing to pay men to provide them with private intimate encounters," Lori wrote. "Once you accept this unique offer, you will be part of an elite group of gentlemen who enjoy the pleasures of more women than most guys ever dream of in a lifetime."
Lori pitched an informational package on the ins and outs of male whoredom that was going to put me back about $34.90. She signed her letter, "Lustfully yours."
Something told me the $34.90 would be money well spent. Even if her how-to-be-an-escort program was a ripoff like the WorldAxis scam, Lori seemed like an easy lay. I cut a check. I had $563.10 left in the bank.
Three weeks later, I was still checking the mail for a package from Lori. Her intimate-services program was taking its time finding me, but the junk-mail stream continued unabated.
One scam came to me from an outfit in Wauconda, Illinois. For only $99, I could learn how to conduct myself at a swingers party.
"Dear sexually hungry," the letter began. "You have too much respect for yourself to waste time and money chasing hot babes for sex; you are not a loser!"
I didn't need anyone to tell me that I wasn't a loser--I already knew that. But Lori was treating me like a schmuck. I was fed up. Out of spite, I placed a call to the Los Angeles branch of the Better Business Bureau. An operator there informed me that five other would-be escorts had lodged grievances against Lori.
"Complaints allege products were not received after money was sent," I was told. "Some callers indicate that after sending in a small fee for information, a larger fee is required to obtain a list of companies who might hire male escorts."
The evidence suggested that Lori was a crook, but my gut instinct told me that she was just misunderstood. Lord knows it sometimes takes me a long time to return letters. Lori was slow, and inefficient maybe, but certainly not dishonest. Just to make sure, I contacted the fraud division of the United States Postal Service. Much to my surprise, they too had received several complaints about Lori.
I decided to take matters into my own hands. I rode my bike to the address on Sepulveda Boulevard where I had sent my $34.95 (having traded my '77 Camaro to my landlord for the back rent I owed, I was down to two wheels). After a long bike ride, I was disappointed to find myself at the Redi-Quik Mailbox Rentals. Next to the service window was a small, laser-printed sign:
"There is no person by the name of Lori or Royce who lives here. It is mailbox #200, not apartment #200."
Playing it cool, I asked the woman at the counter how much it would cost to rent a mailbox. Then I casually asked if Lori was around.
"People don't understand the concept of a mailbox," the woman sighed.
Everywhere I turned in the gigolo world, I walked into one scam after another. I was beginning to doubt that I would ever find a woman willing to pay me for sex. I was running out of options, but I figured I could trust the escort services I found listed on the Internet.
One Web site, Hoopermen (www.hoopermen.com), looked promising. They claimed that their male escorts pull down $10,000 for the average date. Hoopermen, with offices in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, is an online service that "provides the most handsome, intelligent, and cultured male companions for VIPs and the extremely wealthy." Sounded great.
Hoopermen charges women $5,000 for a three-month membership, which includes unlimited access to the Web site's photo and biographical sections, along with a personal travel coordinator who arranges commercial or chartered jets, helicopters, and limousines.
I called Hoopermen's toll-free number and learned that, in the extremely unlikely event that I was admitted into Hoopermen's elite stable of studs (Hoopermen must be between the ages of 18 to 24, good-looking, and speak two or more languages fluently), a request from a high-paying female executive for my sexual services might never come.
"I get a lot of calls from men wanting to work for Hoopermen," said a male representative at Hoopermen's U.S. phone number. "But in the last month, I haven't had any booking calls."
Male Escorts Online (www.male-escorts.com) looked like a better opportunity. The Web site charges escorts $9.95 per month to carry contact information, a picture and a profile.
"Unlike most other agencies, we don't charge you for the amount of bookings you receive," boasts Male Escorts Online. "We believe that ALL the money you make should be yours to keep."
But 100% of nothing is still nothing, I reminded myself. By now, I had become skeptical and jaded because of my past failures. Plus, I was down to $248.15 in savings. (In the past three weeks, I had spent about $100 on porn rentals, and another $100 for other essentials, such as beer, cigarettes and beef jerky.) What the hell? I shrugged. I paid the $9.95 (plus a $5.00 processing fee) and posted my personal information on the World Wide Web. In order to maximize my chances of snaring paying pussy as quickly as possible, I used the exact wording from the Male Escorts Online sample profile: "Likes dining out, clubbing, playing golf, reading, enjoys other people's company, country walks and cycling."
A couple of weeks later, not a single horny female had taken so much as a nibble at my ad; so I E-mailed some of the guys listed on Male Escorts Online to see if they could give me any advice. They weren't having much more luck than I was.
"I stopped my ad. I just wasn't getting any business," said Zack, who advertised with Male Escorts Online for two months without receiving a single response. "You know, women aren't as sexually motivated as men are. Or, it just might be [Male Escorts Online] doesn't advertise enough. Or it could be a scam."
"I got a couple calls, but neither one has followed through," said David, a student in Colorado, who had been paying for a listing with Male Escorts Online for about a year. "One lady wanted to fly me out to Puerto Rico. She called me on the phone, but I never heard from her again. Another one was a guy and his wife. They were gonna pay me $500 an hour for 48 hours--like 24 grand, but they never called me again."
I wrote to Lorraine, the Male Escorts Online administrator, about the sad fact that Zack David and I weren't finding any action.
"A number of [the male escorts] do [complain that they haven't received any calls]," Lorraine admitted to me in an E-mail. "We generally find that those who aren't getting the calls have posted nude pictures and uninteresting profiles. Women don't want to see naked bodies on escort's profiles."
Naked bodies? I didn't run any nudie shots on my site. In fact, the high-school yearbook photo I posted made me look quite handsome and distinguished.
I finally found a male escort who claimed to be working regularly. Jamie, who has chiseled features and a thick shock of brown hair and resembles a Chippendale's dancer, works for Global Escorts (www.globalescorts.com.au.), an outcall agency in Melbourne, Australia, that caters to men, women, and couples. Of the agency's 20 male escorts, three cater exclusively to women. Jamie, one of the lucky trio, recounted his good luck to me in an E-mail.
"I happened to be watching a television program featuring an interview with three male escorts," Jamie recalled. "The lifestyle and the income these men spoke of seemed too good to be true, and I was skeptical. But it sparked my interest, and I called to set up an interview. I started work the very next week and I've never looked back. It is rare for me to go a night without working."
Just to see if Jamie was making shit up about screwing chicks for a living, I asked him to tell me about some of his experiences.
"After three years in this job, nothing surprises me anymore," Jamie replied. "Husbands want to watch me have sex with their wives. Someone was turned on by the sound of me sneezing. Another wanted to lick my boots. There are some who like golden showers. I've even had one who gets excited if I have a bowel movement."
Although I completely failed in my own efforts to become a gigolo, I met at least one guy who makes a living by doinking chicks, assuming that Jamie was telling the truth--he refused to supply me with the names and phone numbers of his female clients.
Just as I was about to give up on my goal of getting paid to get laid, I received my long-awaited package from Lori. In return for the $34.95 I had put in the mail three months before, I received an "Underground Swingers List" and a book with a chapter on starting a male-escort business. This chapter was less than three pages long and contained even less information than the WorldAxis Program. At least the Underground Swingers List included two semi-nude photos of Lori (along with an offer to sell her panties). As part of the bargain, Lori tossed in a pitch for a book that teaches how to "get girls into bed with hypnotism" (only $14.95, plus $3.95 shipping).
A book on hypnotism might just be the thing to kick-start my escort career. I could use the power of suggestion to compel women to sleep with me, and while they were under my spell, I could command them to pay me handsomely for my services. I wrote out a check for $18.90, sealed it in an envelope and said a prayer. The $229.25 I had left to my name was going to have to keep me fed until the hypnotism booklet arrived. If this scheme didn't work out, I might be forced to not prostitute myself just to pay my rent.
(This article first appeared in the April 2001 issue of Hustler Magazine)
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