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Ok. I’m 25 this year. I have an older sister and a mum, my father passed away when I was younger. We’re close enough. Right now I’m doing my comms degree, but I really don’t know what I’ll be doing after I graduate. It’s a little bit worrying.
You’ll have to take it step by step, I suppose. How did you get introduced to this job?
It was through a mutual friend. I used to host these gay nights at this bar in Bugis. I can’t remember what it was called, it was such a long time ago. The owner of, um, the boutique hotel with the bar – it was a boutique hotel with a bar inside – yeah… so I used to host the gay nights there.
I’d just sit around, say hi to people, buy them drinks, talk to them, pretend I care about them. The owner of the hotel was like, ‘oh, I have friends doing this social escort thing, I’ll hook you up.’ And I said ‘sure, why not?’ I was broke, so I did it.
There wasn’t any hesitation?
It was mostly because I was broke, and my pimp was like, ‘It’s really up to you if you want to have sex with them [the clients] or not.” So I thought, I’m definitely not going to do it [have sex], I’ll just go in there, get the money, and then fuck off.
I see. What’s the selection process like?
I haven’t even met my pimp [in real life]. For him, it’s really about money; there’s no selection process, if you want to do it just do it. He said that if I meet with clients I can do whatever I want, say whatever I want. He doesn’t push me to do anything at all.
My pimp is actually a lawyer, so this is just his side project, and it more or less runs by itself. Because it’s just texting and putting people in contact with each other.
No selection process? How do you guys communicate?
He messages me. He’ll be like ‘oh, there’s this guy who’s interested…’ And then he’ll send me a photo, we’ll laugh about it. It’s a friendly sort of dynamic.
So it’s almost like a freelance thing. Do you tell your friends or people whom you trust?
Yeah! Most of my friends I’m not actually embarrassed about telling. There was this time when my pimp said that there was a talk show on Channel 5, and they wanted to feature people with alternative careers. So they asked me if I wanted to go on TV and do it. I thought it’d be really funny if I did go up there and told a bunch of lies about the job.
What I had planned to do was to go on TV and paint this completely different picture. Maybe something like… my main clientele is lesbians who want to me as a ‘boyfriend’ for their family gatherings. Like, spin a tale. I told my sister and she freaked out: family name, all that stuff. She freaked out and then she told my mum, and that’s how my mum knows.
And I take it your mum isn’t cool with that?
Yeah, she was like, ‘Don’t do it’. I am still doing it.
Do they know you’re still doing this job?
They don’t talk about it. It’s my life.
Was there a similar reaction from your friends?
They were very interested to know what it was like, and the sort of people that I meet. They jokingly call me ‘prostitute’.
But it’s more of a ribbing thing. What are the costs and benefit like?
(Laughs) Yeah, it is. The benefit is definitely the money. I get about $400 plus for an hour, and it’s set such that a date is 2 hours minimum. So each time I go out I get about $800. My pimp gets, I think like 30%. So the $400 plus is after he takes his cut.
Downsides would be more like [pause], sometimes it just gets awkward? There may be like strange, old men. I’ve went out with one before. But it doesn’t bother me too much, because ultimately it remains more of an act.
The most I’ll go is I’ll get naked, just no bodily fluid exchange. That may be a bit unpleasant. But I feel like… I feel bad for them
You put up a facade?
Yeah. I actually went out with a writer from Cosmo once, as part of a story that she was doing. My first question to her was “Who do you want me to be?” What’s my name? What’s my background? She was just like ‘be yourself’.
The clientele, is it mostly guys?
No, it’s men and women. I imagine that I’m not exactly a hunk. Women generally want a hunky guy, someone traditionally good looking and well put together. Which is also maybe why I don’t get as much jobs.
And also because I don’t put out. If you put out, then you’ll get people calling you again and again, but I don’t do that.
So… the whole, putting out part. It’s almost like customer retention?
What do you mean?
In the sense that if you put out, you’re more likely to get repeat customers.
Mm, yeah, of course. I mean, why would I pay $800 just to see this guy who doesn’t put out right? But for me it’s just about the fast money.
Would you be comfortable with complete strangers knowing what it is you’re doing? You were saying you had been comfortable with the idea of going on TV.
It depends on the context. Because when you tell someone you’re a social escort, all these preconceived notions come into play. I might reveal it if I thought it were somewhat beneficial to me, like if I thought this person thought I was more interesting because I’m a social escort, than maybe I would do that. But you don’t want to go around to like a job interview telling people you’re a social escort.
What preconceived notions do people tend to have?
That you’re a prostitute and that you’re cheap.
How long would you consider working in this line, and would you do it full time if given a choice?
Actually my pimp wants to pass me some shares in the company, so I may stop doing this and become a full time pimp. I’ll try to be a part time pimp and see how that goes. He’s looking to open a women’s version [of his business] as well.
If you don’t mind me asking, why particularly yourself?
I really don’t know. I think…well, he wanted to send me for the TV thing because he thought I was well-spoken, so maybe he thinks I’m more business savvy. We’re friends on Facebook and Instagram and he knows my life.
What was your first date like?
I was nervous but I really wanted to do it properly. The first time I did it was actually with a Cosmo writer for a story she was doing, so that was nice because I know she had no ulterior motive, she just wanted to see what it was like. It was a very comfortable introduction to this kind of lifestyle. They wanted to feature the company, so yeah.
And your date after that?
It was with this much older man. He was short, he was stout, he had body odour, probably in his 40s. And our meeting point was at a hotel. I was like ‘shit, okay, this is getting real.” So, I met up with him, he looked me up and down and he was like ‘mm, okay’. We went into the room and he took out this plastic bag from his backpack, and in it was like, a whole bunch of sexy underwear? And he wanted me to wear it for him. So I did.
He wanted more but I said no.
Was he pissed off?
I guess he was a little disappointed and upset, like he’s paying so much but he’s not getting any.
But because it’s not explicitly stated anywhere that you have to put out, there’s not much he can do about that.
Yeah, exactly. He was a script writer for Mediacorp, so I thought that the same kind of programs that children and families are watching, it’s the same guy y’know?
So he revealed a little bit about himself to you?
Yeah, I asked him questions, to make it interesting for myself.
What are some of your other experiences?
There was this really rich Indonesian girl, probably, mid-late 20s. She was enquiring about me to my pimp. She said she wanted a boyish, slim guy, so I was like ‘damn I’m perfect’. And then she asked about my height and my pimp told her ‘he’s 185’. And she was like ‘oh damn, too tall’.
The latest client has been someone I’ve recently been going out with. He’s this rich old guy in his 50s. He just wants dinner, drives a fancy car. So we go out for dinner and he drives me home. We’ve been on two dates, he’s very lonely and I believe he just wants a friend. He’s not married, single, gay… but he looks like a really fit 50 plus year old guy. He used to be in publishing, was the managing director of a magazine, I can’t say which one. Chinese. We do two hours, but if it drags on it’s not much of an inconvenience. He’s actually quite intelligent, so I do enjoy talking to him as well.
What sort of temperament or skills do you think it takes?
Umm… I think, just the ability to carry yourself well, and if you want, to put out for customers.
I don’t know, it’s different for everyone, and I can’t speak for the other escorts. But for me: Look hot, smell nice, say funny things.
Do you think the stigma is an age thing? Like, older people being more conservative?
I would consider my sister young, and she still thinks it’s a prostitute thing. So , no I don’t think the stigma is an age thing.
What do you think are some misconceptions you’d like to dispel?
It’s less… it’s not as fun as it seems. The only good thing about it is the money, but… I’m speaking for myself. Others might find it more fun to go out and meet people and shit. But like I said, I feel like I have to do something.
Do you think you’d be able to be friends with your clients?
It really depends. But probably not. I mean, maybe… but it’s hard to say. It really depends on the client. But probably not. What kind of person would you have to be to pay for company? I feel that says a lot about you as a person. Or who knows? Maybe they just like paying for company.