The Es­cort Next Door

Hello Mr. Magazine - - NEWS - Text by Blair Mish­leau Art by Dan Gluibizzi

He told me his house was near the Metro sta­tion but wouldn’t tell me more un­til I got closer. I ped­aled my bike through the foggy evening. A pit de­vel­oped in my stom­ach, and a car­nal ex­cite­ment gnawed at me ¬– the kind you get when you’re about to try some­thing new.

I was meet­ing up with a mus­cle-wor­ship es­cort I had met on Grindr. Me, a Mid­west­ern school­teacher, just get­ting his sea legs in DC. The es­cort’s pro­file was vague, with a com­man­deer­ing up­ward-look­ing photo of his chest and face. It didn’t men­tion any­thing about pay­ing to have him toss you around, and I still can­not say what ex­actly in­spired me to mes­sage him, let alone agree to meet up with him at 11 on a work night, $100 in cash in my front pants pocket. When I got nearby, he texted me the ad­dress. “Hurry up, fag­got. I just got done work­ing out.” “Ready to swal­low this dick?” He sent in a fol­low-up text.

Yes, the sex was amaz­ing. There was a lot of ex­cite­ment around do­ing some­thing that felt taboo, around be­ing in a to­tally sub­mis­sive role. I was un­versed in the nor­mal rou­tine of such an en­counter like this – pay, plea­sure, leave. Af­ter we fin­ished, the jour­nal­ist in me un­wit­tingly started throw­ing out ques­tions, one af­ter the other. As I sat at the end of the bed ty­ing my shoes, I came to find out a few things about him. He did vol­un­teer work at his church, had just left a long-term re­la­tion­ship, and had a mas­ters in English from NYU. As he walked me down the stairs to his front door, he touched my shoul­der and told me to “get home safely.” As I biked home, I felt very aware of my pre­vi­ous as­sump­tions about the man I had just got­ten to know.

This led me down a rab­bit hole. Un­til not long ago, the term “sex worker” lived in the space in my mind la­beled “ex­otic,” “po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous,” and “of in­ter­est to me.” I knew lit­tle about sex work – about call girls, es­cort agen­cies, brothels, win­dow work­ers in Am­s­ter­dam, sex work that home­less youth use to sur­vive, sex traf­fick­ing, phone sex, geishas, mas­sage par­lors – any of it. But I knew ab­so­lutely noth­ing about the “ev­ery­day sex worker,” one who does it as a side job. It was this im­promptu in­ter­view with a mus­cle-wor­ship es­cort that led me to find out more about who a “sex worker” could be.

Hours were spent scrolling through gay hookup apps search­ing for will­ing can­di­dates to dish on what brought them into the field. There were dick pics and prom­ises of un­par­al­leled plea­sure. Cash, PayPal, and ma­jor credit cards were ac­cepted. In-calls, out-calls, meet­ings in pub­lic.

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