Rent Boy Qualms

Subject:

Hustling horrors

While in my 20s, I hustled during financially desperate times, and did so with no major qualms, which I see now as typical of the young. I’m now in my late 50s, and haven’t had sex for many years, a decision I willingly made.

Lately, I’m wanting sex again, and in fact, it’s on my mind a lot. But I’d have to pay for it if it were to happen, of course. I’m hesitant, due to conscience, since, with age, I have almost concluded that prostitution is self-destructive. If I pay for someone, I’ll be contributing to their possible “downfall”, and I’d also be a paragon of hypocrisy to boot.

What do you think? I guess I want you to change my mind, one way or the other.

Re: Hustling horrors

I don’t understand why you ever gave up sex, and certainly don’t get the reason why you believe you have to pay for it now that you want it again. I don’t care how old you are, or how fat or skinny or shy or maniacal you may be: There are other men who would date you, screw you, or get into a long- term relationship with you.

I suppose the real question is: would you want them? Maybe you only like young, hot, pretty things, and you feel you have to pay for those types, since they tend not to be attracted to older men. Even to that, however, I’d say there are young guys who like older men: put a personal ad on the Internet asking for your specific type and describing yourself specifically and you’ll be surprised at how much action you’ll get.

But let’s get to your larger question. Is hustling bad and should you patronize hustlers after you’ve condemned the practice all these years, having been a butt boy yourself long ago?

First off, I think it’s quite moralistic of you to claim that hustling is always “self-destructive.” Are some or many gay male hustlers self-destructive? Probably. Because it is against the law and frowned upon in many circles, hustling often does attract people who are “desperate,” as you described yourself when you decided to engage in it, and desperate people are often self-destructive. But that doesn’t mean hustling made them self-destructive.

For some gay men, hustling is simply easy work and a lot more glamorous and lucrative than waiting tables. They’re blessed with gorgeous looks and beautiful bodies, and they need to make some extra cash—and they have the guts to do it. I’m thinking, for example, of the many college students—yes, some of them at Harvard, Yale, and the rest of the Ivy League—I’ve known about who hustled on occasion or even regularly. This was their part-time work, while they put themselves through school. They gave it up when they embarked upon the professions they studied. They weren’t self-destructive, hustling didn’t destroy them, and they look back with fondness on their hustling. They could be a minority of hustlers, but they certainly underscore that hustling isn’t always damaging.

So, you’re not necessarily contributing to someone’s “downfall,” and people are responsible for their own lives anyway.

As far as your own “hypocrisy,” you need to lighten up. Unless you’ve railed against hustlers in print or tried to get them locked up, I don’t think it’s all that glaring. People change, they rethink their positions, and they move on. As long as you did no damage with your previous position, what does it matter? The real reason not to go to hustlers, however, is so that you don’t waste your money. Put up that personal ad first, and see just what turns up.

Subject:

Fag dilemma

I work for a newspaper in Pennsylvania and sometimes I hear the word fag used. Should I censor the people or is this a free speech issue? I am out to some people, but not everyone in the newsroom.

Re: Fag dilemma

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is a “free speech” issue. I’m sure the people in the newsroom don’t use the “n” word, nor make other comments that might be offensive to other employees. We all enjoy freedom of speech, but we also follow codes of conduct at work. Any of us is free to go work elsewhere and no one makes us stay in any job if we don’t like the code of conduct in a particular workplace.

It is unacceptable for an employer to tolerate language in the workplace that is abusive and demeaning to some employees, particularly if the employer does enforce a code of conduct, formally or informally. Since the employer would not allow the “n” word or allow men to call the women in the office “bitches,” for example, there’s no reason why you should have to put up with “fag” and chock it up to “free speech.” It is meant to delineate power and demean you, even if they don’t know you’re gay. It’s in fact meant to keep any gays from coming out.

You say you are out to some people in the newsroom. I’m hoping one of them is your boss or others above you. You need to take this to your superiors, and let them deal with it. You shouldn’t have to confront these fag-baiters on your own, nor should you have to disclose that you are the person who is offended. Hopefully the boss will understand the seriousness of this, and how it affects your work––which is how you have to couch it––and how it might affect the work of other gays and lesbians there, as well as that of straights who are offended by this kind of talk.

Good luck.

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E-mail Mike at mike@signorile.com

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