The Escort Next Door
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.