Vancouver
2 min

My career as a rentboy

One man's trash is another man's treasure

My career as a rentboy started at my own yard sale.

Sometimes I think nostalgically about the odd belongings I liquidated that day — the gifts from ex-boyfriends, the stretched out T-shirts and the grunge-era music magazines — but it’s reassuring to know that other people are enjoying these things now.

However, it was likely my final sale that made the buyer the happiest.

I had already decided to enter the sex trade, but I hadn’t started to advertise. It’s not like my sale was a flop and I needed to resort to desperate measures. I was just in salesman mode, and I could tell what this guy really wanted to take home.

He might have pawed over some five-for-$3 picture frames and inquired politely about some obsolete stereo equipment, but his gaze remained fixed on my crotch. I was being browsed.

I pulled him inside and told him the deal. Two hundred bucks an hour, firm, no “or best offer.” It was the easiest sale I made all day.

He wanted me “as is,” covered in dust and sweat and smelling like a Value Village. We arranged to meet after I finished.

For the rest of the sale, I stood nervous and giddy, surrounded by innocent artifacts from my past, but inside holding on to a dirty secret. It was like wearing a butt plug in church.

Every 30 seconds I checked my watch.

With my mind elsewhere, bickering with bargain vultures over the true worth of a stained spatula lost its appeal. At that moment I would have sold Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull for a toonie. The few items left at the end went to the binners.

I was covered in grime, but I forwent the shower as my client had requested. Now, for the first time, I packed my escort kit and got prepared to go.

It’s a physical and psychological ritual that has become so familiar to me now: pop a blue pill… rinse my insides… trim the nails… call a friend… tight jeans… lube… condoms… poppers… remember to bring the address… deep breath… and… another deep breath… showtime.

As I stood on his welcome mat, I recognized this as a pivotal moment. In one hour, I would be an official card-carrying man-whore.

There was no fooling myself into thinking that there wouldn’t be some baggage attached to my status and identity as a rentboy. It could be hard to ignore all of the people that might write me off as a repulsive, drug-addicted, emotionally fucked piece of trash.

But when that first client opened the door and greeted me with a bright and eager smile, I remembered the lesson I’d learned that day. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.