I never considered paying for sex until I started getting paid for sex. As a preacher's son, it was merely an unspeakable teenage fascination. Then, it became an experiment in transgression, under the guidance of my roommate in Brooklyn who was an escort. Eventually, I developed a way of rationalizing it as an exercise in which superficial sexual desire was replaced by the equally vacuous lust for money. I became less and less capable of love, both because I was a straight guy with a gay secret and because I was obsessed with casual conquests, which affirmed my straight orientation against my accusing subconscious. However, after a few years of being a kept man, I began to view the exchange more as a sacred act of compassion than a commercial transaction. I administered to my client. I showed him tenderness that he could not get from anyone else. I ran my fingers through his hair. I stayed over. And I never mentioned money.
Nevertheless, even as I attached higher meanings to our love/money-making, an insidious and demoralizing paralysis was creeping into my soul. As many others involved in the sex-industry can attest, the degradation of it surfaces at unexpected moments, as when I would stand outside his building, not wanting to ring the bell or when I desperately longed for the softness of a vagina instead of a hard dick digging into my hip. My benefactor blew a hundred grand on me during four years. We both knew it was twisting us into spiritual knots, but we were both addicts. We agreed that Buenos Aires would be our final sortie, and, on this auspicious occasion, I decided to patronize an escort myself.
Considering the fact that I fervently prefer girls to guys, it was socially awkward to be gay for pay. It cast doubt on my integrity, not to mention my oft-professed straight orientation. For me, gay sex was alluring because of the transgressive aspect of trading the demure of women for the relentless lust of a man. It also taught me a lot about the relation between the creepy objectification of masculinity and the feigned aloofness of femininity. At the same time, selling my body was strangely easy, in part because I only ever had one client, a highly intelligent and reserved concert pianist who could never say no to a friend. Sadly, no one wanted his affection; they just wanted his money, and I was no exception.
In Buenos Aires, my benefactor, James, put me up in the Park Hyatt in the posh district of Ricoleta, while he stayed in NYC for a few more days, attending to his obligations. The room was extravagant, from the frivolous novelties, such as the silk shoe bag, shoe horn, suit brush, and the safe, to the useful amenities, like the remote-controlled lights, heated tiles, bidet, and bathrobes. Every little thing had its price, however, and, before James arrived, I had racked up a bill to the tune of 800 bucks, by organizing a party in the hotel and having an expensive dinner with a hot girl I met on couchsurfing.com, financed with James' corporate expense account. Nothing resulted from the dinner except a sob story about an absent boyfriend and stomach cramps from the hardy Argentinian filet mignon. Instead of despairing, I went out to a club and, after a few failed attempts, I ran into a drunk 19 year-old who, without one word of introduction, proceeded to make out with me and give me a hand-job openly on a couch while I fingered her. I awoke with her name and number scrawled across the length of my forearm in permanent marker.
I digress. This story is about paying for sex. It was time to pay. I scoured the internet for hours, trying to find the best prospect at the right price, and finally settled on a girl named Florencia. Her picture on the website showed a blonde with pigtails and an adorable face, which in no way resembled the girl who showed up a few hours later. Her teeth were jagged and pointed in all directions. Although blond, she had not been blessed with beauty, but since she was already there, the bubbly was poured, and the bubble bath was running, I decided it was too late and too cruel to bail.
We jumped in the tub, sipping champagne and kissing. Her kisses were artless and disorderly, like kissing the blades of a garbage disposal. When she got down on her knees to please me, I really began to wonder how she made her living as an escort. Her teeth were all over my dick, and, before long, I had to make her stop. Then, we moved on to the bed, and, after donning the jimmy hat and lube she supplied, we got busy. It was a blast, because it was absolutely devoid of meaning and obligation. She was an empty vessel and I, the seminal demiurge of nature. I got behind her doggy-style and exorcised my lust, as I had so many times before. This is purely sport, I thought as I slid over so that we were both on our sides, and not significantly different than the way I treat girls I get for free. It is evident how unfamiliar to me love and intimacy had become that this thought did not surprise or alarm me.
I continued thrusting and reached around to stimulate her with my fingers. The main difference seemed to be that, in most other sexual experiences, the pleasure of my partner was an overriding concern. Part of the beauty of paying for sex is that it is unnecessary to consider the pleasure of the other. Only those whose love is sought by no one else will try to please a prostitute, and this attempt by the client is more likely to elicit pity and play-acting than pleasure. I should know. This was clear when she said, breathlessly, "Me vas a matar," or "You're going to kill me." At that point, I realized I might be hurting her, so I dispatched my load into the condom.
We lay around for another fifteen minutes, until my time expired, speaking somewhat tenderly about the sex industry. We compared prices. Mine was more than four times more, but, I told her, "The cost of living is four times higher in my country." She was paying her way through nursing school and lamented that she had no time to sleep, which had caused the years to take a heavier toll on her than they should have. We talked about her clients, and she said, "No son como vos," or "They're not like you." I pondered the meaning of this statement for a moment, looking around at the fancy furnishing, the uninviting post-modern design, and my own detached expression reflected in the cold glass of the shower. The kicker came accidentally, as I was shutting the door. I meant it as a sort of industry joke, but it came off as an insult. As the door shut, I said, in Spanish, "Next time, you'll pay me."
published 21 January 2012