By Ian Daly
January 13, 2010
Today, a 25 year old from Los Angeles (by way of Alabama) will become the first legal male prostitute in this country's history. "Markus" (his working name) was fresh off the Greyhound bus yesterday when he granted Details an exclusive first interview in a cottage at the Shady Lady Ranch brothel, two-and-a-half-hours northwest of Las Vegas. His story is about to become a national sensation. Read on to find out why.
Q: So you'd rather be called a gigolo than a prostitute.
A: I think for a male, if you want to be successful in this type of venture, you're not a prostitute. You're a surrogate lover. You encompass everything that's required of you—not only emotionally, physically—but psychologically. Because women are wired differently. They're much more sensitive creatures. You actually have to enjoy what you do. You can't necessarily say, "Oh, it's just a job." You actually have to say it's a passion....
...Really? A woman who goes to a brothel needs you to say that having sex with her -- and most of the other women that request you -- is a passion? Huh. Who knew?
I also thought of a gigolo as more of an ongoing gig, so to speak. And, actually, less well regarded than simple prostitution; gigolo implies a certain deception of the client. (Though, granted, if you're telling her that your job is "a passion", the deception requirement may well be fulfilled.
OK. I'll give him the performance and craft aspect. After all, being a successful sex worker really does require you to develop both certain physical and interpersonal skills.
It's the bit where apparently prostitution isn't prostitution because you've developed those skills and porn performers haven't where he kind of loses me. I mean, porn is performance sex, by definition. Maybe done to a specific formula, yes, but nonetheless, still performance that requires the development of certain skills if you do it over any length of time.
But ... he works in a brothel. Maybe being a gigolo requires all those skills, and maybe it doesn't, but surely working in a brothel wouldn't let you exercise most of those skills. After all, as the middleman, the brothel is in it to make money, and time is money. You're not going to cram all that stuff plus sex into the 40 minutes for $200 that the brothel is charging for his time.
Q: What city?
A: I don't really want to divulge that because then people back in my hometown are going to be like, "Oh my God..."[...]
He's doing an interview in Details to which his photo appears to be attached -- in fact, there's a whole set of images of him with the article. Unless everyone in that town is actually physically blind, never uses the internet, never buys Details from a store or newsstand, I'm guessing that people in Alabama are going to figure things out pretty damn quick. And it appears that he's also blindsiding his family with all this, so one suspects that things will not go well on that front.
What really gets me, though, is this quote from near the beginning of the article:
Um ... it was about changing one line in a law in one county in Nevada.
That said, it kind of was about changing social norms, just a bit.
By Ashley Powers
January 6, 2010
Reporting from Tonopah, Nev. - Brothel owner Bobbi Davis got the go-ahead Tuesday to hire what her website cheekily calls "a few good men." Her Shady Lady Ranch is searching for "service-oriented" guys willing to become Nevada's first legal male sex workers. "I personally feel, as do the many other women who have made contact with me since I started this, that this is a service whose time has come," Davis said in a letter to Nye County officials.
A county board's vote Tuesday affirming that Davis could offer "shady men" to her clientele followed months of rancorous debate among the state's legal brothel community. The industry, in its own peculiar way, is somewhat conservative: Considered an anachronism of bawdy mining camps by some Nevada newcomers, it often balks at change.
Of course, new ideas in a business unique to Nevada (in its legal form) are a touch different. Adding porn stars to brothel lineups rankled some owners. Overturning a ban on brothel advertising, a battle Davis and the American Civil Liberties Union helped lead, also stirred up debate. Though neither change shuttered the state's 25 or so bordellos -- some would argue the publicity helped -- many owners still operate in an off-the-grid manner, wary of being shut down.
George Flint, longtime lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Assn., has said that allowing male prostitutes could be the industry's Pearl Harbor. He has hinted that brothels possibly offering gay sex -- a choice each prostitute, as an independent contractor, would be free to make -- might sour some legislators on the entire brothel system.
Nevada lawmakers are notoriously skittish when discussing the birds and bees. The Legislature, even when severely cash-strapped, has repeatedly declined to tax the brothels (which are banned in Reno and Las Vegas) for fear of, well, legitimizing the business.
"This is the first time in the history of the world . . . that men have been licensed to sell sex," Flint said Tuesday, his voice rising. "It's never been done!" [...]
Thailand's male brothels are both legal and notorious. Until 2009, both male and female prostitution were legal in Rhode Island, under certain circumstances. As I understand it, prostitution is legal for any consenting adult in Britain, although gay brothels themselves seem to be on somewhat iffier legal ground. Brothels with males and females are legal in Australia. So, "first time in the history of the world"? No. First time in the history of Nevada, however...
It's pretty obvious that the county commissioners in Nevada had a vision of a Big Gay Brothel dancing in their heads when they went through such angst and agony over changing the law. Clearly, that's not what happened -- not yet, anyway. However, I should imagine that the idea of the women they know going to a "gigolo" in a registered brothel would not actually ease their minds substantially. In fact, I'm pretty damn sure that asserting that a woman has exactly the same right to sexual relief as a man in exactly the same way would make them really uncomfortable. So, changing social norms? Well ... yes, if perhaps not quite in the way he meant.
Though I truly wish he hadn't invoked Rosa Parks. People will get distracted by that and discount the rest of his statement, which, if inartfully put, is mostly true.
But, seriously, I really feel sorry for his family. Not because of what he's doing -- he's a grown man, he should be able to do what he wants with his own body -- but because it sounds like he didn't have a horrible relationship with them before this, and you shouldn't blindside people you care about like that.Posted by iain at January 14, 2010 11:22 PM