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The Talk

A true story about dating someone working in the sex industry.

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I decided to take a risk. He was stretched out on his couch. I had just stepped out of the shower, so I climbed on top of him and straddled his torso.
“Talk to me,” I said “I want to know how you feel.”
“What do you mean?” he asked
“Couldn’t you have at least given me a card on Valentine’s day?”
“Valentine’s day?” he said “I was busy working all week. We went to a show and I made dinner.”

“I know, but I really wanted the words. You could have staffed picking out a card for me from an employee at work. I wish you would have handed me something so I can read the words. Words are important to me. I need to see them or hear them.” I picked up my cellphone and I pointed to the screen saying “the few texts that I get from you are the only words I ever get to see. Talk to me Mark. I don’t even know how you feel. I like you Mark, I like spending time with you. I like being with you, I have a lot of fun with you. But sometimes I don’t feel like you feel the same way. I feel like you’re embarrassed of me sometimes. Do your friends even know that I exist? I just don’t feel important, I feel like you’re trying to hide me or something.”

His words were “I’m giving you ALL that I can.”
He brought up the Trevor Project Fundraiser we went to in the fall. Some of his acquaintances were asking me about what I did for work. I remember responding that I’m in the food and beverage industry but I never specifically said where I was working. These days when a stranger asks, I tell them I’m a writer and that I own a condo in Orlando. It’s really none of their business how I make my money. I can’t worry about what other people think because it’s really more about what I think of myself and I think I’m a pretty awesome guy. He told me that his friend Jim found my Rentboy ad and forwarded it to him in an email. Mark said he didn’t even open the ad. He didn’t want to read it or see it. He responded back with an email saying “Yeah, I know.”

I told Mark “I think I’m being the best Rentboy that I can be. It’s not just about the sex. I really kind of feel more like a therapist. They open up to me and they tell me things that they don’t tell anybody else. I give them pleasure and a safe environment. I don’t judge them. They leave my apartment better then when they came and for some reason I can give them something they’re not getting anywhere else. They slip back into their lives now with something.”
“Yeah, but I wonder how many other guys have you done this with this week. Sitting on top of them…rubbing their chest. Five others? I don’t want you sleeping with other people.”
“Well you’ve never said that.
“I would think that’s a given, that should be obvious.”
“Well now that you’ve said that, I know how you feel and it might change something in me. You haven’t said those words before.”
“I’m just traditional. I think you should only be with one person or else you’re cheating.”
“But I’m only cheating if I give away my heart and I’m not. I’ve been saving that for you.”
“But how can you sleep with someone else and not give them that?” he asked
“You haven’t slept with someone before just for the sex?” I reminded him, “This is how I make my money Mark. I’ll bet you probably like MY job about as much as I like YOUR job.”

2099-the-talk-escort-dating-400x370He said “It irritates me because I don’t think you’re living up to your potential.”
I told him “I never wanted a career. One time in my life I enjoyed working at Starbucks, but if I started up with them again, they’d pay me like $14 an hour. I can’t afford to live in Manhattan at that rate, so I would have to get a second job to make ends meet. Then I’d end up working 60 hours and I don’t want to do that because that then I can’t enjoy my life because I’m too busy working.”
and he said “Well that’s just what people do.”
and I said “But why do I have to do that? I hate that you work so much Mark. Where is your pleasure in life?”
He said “I work hard so that I can take trips and I can have a good time while being out on vacation because I work hard for it all year.”
and I said “and I want to enjoy every day and take time to care about myself and go to the gym
Mark said, “I still think you’re taking the easy way out.”
“Easy way? I don’t think it’s necessarily an easy way. I just don’t want to work all day all night and then only be able to spend like to three hours with you because you get home late or I get home late or I’ll have to go to bed early so I can get up early and go be at work the next day. I don’t just want to spend a few hours with you at night on the couch and watch tv. I want to work on something together and create something together.”
“I do too” he said. “Once this place is paid off I want to maybe get another place and I don’t want to have to pay for everything myself. I want to retire. I’m working hard now so that I can retire.”

“Look Mark, I have a condo in Florida if you want another place. I’ve asked you to come down there with me and see it. I want you to see that side of me. I want you to see my Dad’s place, because his house is probably going to be MY house someday. It’s definitely going to stay in my family. And my condo? I can do something with it someday. I don’t have to keep that one specifically. I can do whatever I want with it.”

He asked “Your parents stayed together forever right? Don’t you want what they had? They were there for each other, they each worked hard.”
I said “Yeah but our parents had a common goal of raising a family. And you don’t want to have kids, you’ve made that clear. I’ve dated guys in the past and if we don’t have a common goal- we usually won’t last very long. We’re getting older Mark and I know that I can’t change you. And you can’t change me. I have to accept you for who you are just as much as you have to accept me for who I am.”

We moved into the bedroom and both climbed under the covers. I started again saying “I have a feeling I snuck up on you because you didn’t plan on hanging out with me for as long as you have.”
Mark said “That’s a fair assessment.”
I continued “I’m not saying I am going to do this for the rest of my life, but it’s giving me the opportunities to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. I didn’t go to college. I don’t have a degree. I never wanted to. But now I can afford things like I can buy us tickets and we can go see Broadway shows, and go out to dinner like tonight. I can go drop $800 at the dentist and I don’t have to struggle.”

It got quiet for a moment. I added “I’m glad we had this talk.”
“Yeah,” he said “We kind of needed it.”
“Somebody had asked me if I have a boyfriend and my response to the guy was that I’m dating someone but that I don’t have a boyfriend. Is that about right?”
And Mark agreed and said “Yes that is fair statement.”

Our conversation ended. We closed our eyes and eventually fell asleep. I remember in the wee hours of the morning when I turned over on my side and I felt him put his arm around me and he held me really firmly. That was real. He held my body close up against his. He kept a very firm grip on me. Firmer I think, than he ever had before.

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