By: Tilly Rivers, © Copyright protected, 2004, all rights reserved.
I sat across from him and waited while he just looked at me. His eyes held a connotation that I wanted to decipher, what was it he was trying to tell me with his eyes?
“You’re very beautiful.”
Not what I was expecting. Not the reason I was there. He had contacted me, not the other way around; told me he wanted to tell me his story- wanted me to write it without using his name, I was intrigued, but was I foolish?-Was this just a way to meet me? Was I crazy, meeting a stranger in a coffee shop? A stranger that told me he sold his body for money and wanted to tell the truth about what it was like to be a male in the sex-for-sale game.
“Thank you.” I replied and he smiled, I noticed his voice was very monotone, he was stating a fact about my beauty, much like one would discuss the weather.
His laughter was full. “You think I am hitting on you?” his smile widened, and there was a light in his eyes for the first time in the past twenty minutes that we had sat in mostly silence. If you pay attention, you often learn more from the silence of another if you’re patient and don’t give into a natural instinct to fill the void with the sound of your own voice. Not today though, I had more questions, and no answers.
“It had crossed my mind.” I’ve always been one to speak the truth, in my line of work to tell lies had serious consequences, the truth, even if the other party didn’t like it, was always the safest option. “Are you?”
“No.” His voice was just above a whisper; however it caught my attention as if he screamed it across the room. There was a wishful note that captured me. Did he think that he had no right to flirt like the rest of the world does?
He looked at the light brown liquid in his cup, I never understood the need to add copious amounts of cream and sugar to your coffee, I always preferred mine straight up. I watched him watching his coffee much like a fortune teller reading tea-leaves analyzed the contents, and waited.
“Most of us do not remember how it started. The beginning is not what matters; it is the end that counts.”
“What is the end?”
“Right now. This very second the end continues. Sitting here with you and seeing beauty knowing you can never be part of it.”
“Why can’t you be part of it?”
“Do you know why I picked you to write my story? I’ve read your work and I can feel your passion. Passion has always eluded me, like a fairy tale or a myth, passion and love, they are like Santa Claus to me they don’t really exist. When you sell your body on the streets in order to survive you become numb to anything that resembles reality, you want to believe, you pretend, and some still carry hope, but the harsh truth always wins. You have never been touched by that kind of dark reality.” He looked up at me than, with those intense eyes of his and continued speaking in a hushed voice so I had to lean in to hear him.
“If I was to hazard a guess I’d say that when you share your body, your partner’s walk away not knowing what had just hit them…they haven’t a clue that they have been just touched with the pure essence of passion. Yet I am betting that they keep coming back…fight to keep coming back…and do not have a clue why…only that they have to touch you…touch the heat…one more time.”
“That is very flattering, but we aren’t here to talk about my sex life.”
“Do your partners wear a condom when you have shared your passion my dear?” He did not wait for my answer “Society pushes condoms; they are after all the miracle cure to all STD’s right? They protect you from AIDS, the magic cape that makes you superman. Untouchable.”
“Hell no! But I am against men and women not understanding that a condom will not protect you unconditionally. I am against society and the media filling our brains with the notion that buying a condom will make all your worries go away.”
“Most people realize that the only true protection is abstinence.”
He grinned “Do you abstain? Come on. Sex is as much a part of our nature as breathing and eating…more so.”
I could hardly argue with the truth. “You weren’t your average Gigolo though. You catered to high society.”
“Gigolo, cute phrase don’t you think? Makes you think of a life filled with glamour. I mean women in the sex trade are called prostitutes and hookers, and men get a cute upscale phrase like gigolo or escort. What I was sweetheart was a man…just a man…who cared so little about himself that he was willing to fuck anyone who could pay.”
I ignored the ‘sweetheart’ comment “Some have chosen this life-style and the money it brings them. Society has come to accept it more and more, some States have any legalized the sex trade.”
“You truly think that the sex trade is a chosen career path? Most were sexually abused and rationalize their actions with fucking bullshit like at least this way I have the power over my body and who touches me.”
“Men and women?”
“For me, yes. Older men. Young boys, who were experimenting, closet Gay men…as long as they had the money; men paid more, especially professional men leading a double life. As for the women, Cops wives, lawyer’s wives, wives of upscale professional men who are so fucking stupid that while he was banging his mistress he had no idea that his woman was buying me my new car with fuck money. Are they really so stupid to think they are pulling one over their wife or girlfriend? She knows, she just doesn’t give a shit anymore, she knows the relationship is about paying the bills and finds her happiness elsewhere, just like he does. The funny part? The men are so blind that they have no idea that they are being played, they think the little woman is happy at home.”
“Did you always wear a condom?”
“No. If my client asked me to ride him or her bare back, I did. For an extra fee of course.”
He paused ever so slightly before continuing “We are after all invincible right? It could not happen to me…AIDS, HIV; they are for other people right? I mean it is not like they did not know what I was, they were paying me for fuck’s sake, but somehow, some magic indestructible way it would be okay, and we are above disease.”
“Are you HIV positive? Have you infected one of your clients?”
“Client…how politically correct of you. Clients are for Investment Bankers. I did not start in this racket as a high class gigolo. I doubt anyone does. The illusion. The top of the line clothes, best apartment, best, fastest cars, drugs…. All window dressing. I began on the streets, a fuck for sale so I could eat, so I could sleep in a bed that night…it is the way we all begin.”
“How did you get on the streets?”
“Know one wants to listen…ever noticed that? The youth of our society, they do not need to listen…we are, after all talking through our hats right? Don’t know shit. Who listens? No one wants to admit that there is a dark side to each of us, that maybe it’s your husband having back-door sex with another man, that it’s your wife fucking a gigolo. The young ones are playing within the sex trade and don’t even know it, as simple as a few sexy poses on the internet, wanting to feel like they are a model or some such stupid shit- they won’t listen to their parents telling them to smarten the fuck up, they won’t listen to me, and they won’t listen to you. We all have a story, but no one will listen.”
“If you truly believe that, then why am I here?”
“I’ve read your poetry.”
“Stalk much?” That he knew I wrote poetry surprised me, few did, his comment should of made me uncomfortable, instead I was even more intrigued. Who was this man who read poetry while catering to the whims of high society men and women?
“You have an amazing insight towards life, but there is an innocence about you.”
“I’ve seen too much to be innocent.”
“No one will listen. No one wants to believe that the dark exists, that the hooker, the call girl, the gigolo…” he smiled and paused over the word, “Are someone’s child…someone’s mother, father, brother, sister. Lost souls in the dark, like some-sort of vampire living without the sun.”
“I’m here, I’m listening.”
“Have you ever known a fear so great that it has become your best friend: because it has blocked out the world? It has covered your sins in shadow; it has become the only thing you know? Have you ever been so desperate to escape the pain, to just escape…that you were willing to sell your soul if you could get one more fix?”
“Have you ever welcomed the dark, so you could just stop thinking, stop feeling…stop hurting?”
“Have you ever sold your body, so you could pretend? Close your eyes and pretend, that some one really cared…that someone loved you?”
“Have you ever watched your best friend die of AIDS? Have you ever been walking down the street and have a gun fired at the guy beside you because he could not pay his drug money that week? Watch his blood stain the sidewalk?”
“Have you ever taken your brand new sports car that was bought by flesh money: drunk, stoned, and drive it as fast as you possibly could into a hydro pole on purpose just to end it, because there is no other way out?”
He took my hand and kissed the top of it. “Keep it that way.” He stood “I’ve changed my mind about telling my story, it won’t make a difference, and no one will listen.”
I watched him leave, I knew he spoke the truth, no one wants to know, and no one would listen.