Marching Orders For...

Marching Orders

The Gay Marriage Movement

Marchers

Straight Guys

Lesbians

Crystal Meth Dealers

Gay Drug Users

Queer Health

Gay Parents

The Writers of 'The L Word'

Gay People Who Have to Go to a Lot of Straight People's Weddings and Baby Showers

Seattle Homos

Bisexuals

The Media

Gay Rights Groups

Pride Calendar

Michael Wertz

Being a sex worker isn't getting any easier. Gone are the days of Miss Mona and her Chicken Ranch. Late nights on Christopher Street and in San Francisco are a lot quieter than they used to be. Numbers in L.A. will soon be a thing of the past. Guys looking for some "hired help" have so many more options thanks to the internet, escort review websites, and the advent of escort listing pages. But change is good: With this new technology comes additional safety for escorts and more accountability for clients.

So here are my marching orders for gay escorts. My advice is for guys out there who wish to lead fulfilling careers, invest wisely, embrace stability, and most of all, respect themselves and those they see. Anyone can slap on an overly tight T-shirt and sell his ass for a dime in a chatroom, but a select few take it the next level. My marching orders are for them.

• Go outside and take a good look around. Imagine sleeping with EVERYONE you see walking down the street: young, old, slim, muscled, obese, handicapped, etc. It's the most realistic thing you can do for yourself. I've seen guys who were 19 years old, hung like horses, and simply beautiful. I've also seen gentlemen who were so obese that they literally had to have help rolling over onto their backs. Your job is to treat everyone with equal attention and respect. If you can't, then it might be best to take that telemarketing job Mom told you about last week.

• Image and marketing: If you're looking to sell the product, then you've got to market the product. Find a look that best suits you (exotic, preppy, boy-next-door, ethnic, gangbanger, twink, jock, etc.) and run with it. Get a good set of images that show you in the best possible light while also showing off any versatile looks you might have. If you want a professional clientele, then you're going to need to come across in a very put-together way. The biggest complaint I've heard from guys I've seen has to be escorts who don't look anything like their pictures (AKA sending a fake photo). I cannot stress enough the importance of good images, a slick personal website, and consistent e-mail response habits.

• Your health: I don't care what your personal safety preference for fucking is, but realize that once you go pro, you're not only looking out for yourself, but for everyone you're sleeping with as well. Slap on a condom EVERY TIME. No excuses. It's not only a sign of respect for yourself, but for the guys you're seeing too. I have full blood work done on a monthly basis. A bit anal, yes, but I want to know if something's wrong immediately. At the very least you should get tested every few months or so, while always remaining well versed on what STDs are out there, what they look like, and how (or if) they can be treated. Knowledge is power.

• Stiff upper lip: Ignore personal attacks on escort review websites or chat rooms, and keep focused. It can be tough to ignore people who lie, cheat, and steal, but remember that playing it on the straight and narrow, all while pressing forward, is always a good formula for long-term success.

• Respect: Aretha had a point—respect those you see, but most importantly, respect yourself. Have enough respect to protect yourself. Respect your fellow escorts and lend a hand if someone's hitting the skids. Respect the fact that what goes around comes around. Respecting yourself also includes showing up for work sober, taking care of your body, and realizing that you can only promise what you can deliver.

• Versatility is the key: Chips, dips, chains, whips—I'm not just talking about in the bedroom, but in all aspects of this industry. The more you can offer someone, the more likely he's going to see you and not Brand X. While I don't recommend going out and trying every nasty-pig sex act you can in one week, I will tell you to keep an open mind. You just might find a sexual turn-on in yourself that you didn't know existed before. Some of the more interesting fetish acts I've participated in are giving piggyback rides, a sex and cars fantasy, popping balloons with my bare ass, using vast amounts of food in the bedroom (splooshing), and showing up to a hotel room door dressed in full baseball-player garb (including bat and cleats). Now THAT was a real challenge.

• Use your common sense. Escorts usually begin by doing hourly appointments, eventually working their way up to longer dates. Always keep in mind that you're still breaking the law in the eyes of the local police department no matter how often you claim to only be selling your "time." Hourlies have the most statistical risk of you being busted by a police sting, so it's only logical to want to reduce that risk. How? Well, you can work your way up to only taking longer appointments and bookings that require a flight to get to your destination. I don't know of too many PDs that would shell out that kind of money up front just to write up a misdemeanor offense ticket. Also remember to go with your gut feeling on anything you think is sketchy. I canceled a handful of hourly meetings in the beginning of my escort career simply because I didn't feel they were legit. Something felt wrong. I don't hesitate when it comes to my safety, so I simply made the call and politely declined the hour. Yes, I could have possibly made a great deal more money on those canceled meetings, but my safety will always remain the first thing I think about.

• Vulnerability: The guys you're seeing aren't always "in control" of their gay lives. Some guys are only just coming to terms with their real feelings about their sexuality. You may be their only lifeline to the gay world, so it's your responsibility to make sure they're informed on various levels. I often carry popular gay lifestyle magazines for my closeted guys to read and also ask them if they have any special requests they'd like me to bring. A good escort sees it as his responsibility to make sure these guys are not only comfortable with the "water temperature" in gaydom, but that they're going out into the world with the correct information. It's unfortunately pretty easy to take advantage of these people, but that's also what separates a good sexworker from a bad sexworker. So, are you a good witch or a bad witch? If you're the latter, watch out for falling houses...

To sum up, escorting can allow you to pay the rent every month or it can allow you to explore parts of the world with a newfound friend. It's nothing short of perfect if you're willing to put some legwork into it. My "marching orders" for gay sexworkers are pretty damned easy to follow. Just make sure to keep your head on straight and if you plan on having any Joan Crawford-esque breakdowns, just try to keep the screaming (and shoulder padding) to a minimum. It tends to frighten prospective clientele.

Well, at least those who don't have arched-eyebrow and floor-scrubbing fetishes. ■

Benjamin Nicholas is a male escort and the author of the blog 15 Minutes, which can be read at www.BenjaminNicholas.com.