opinion
6 min

Romancing the whore (Part 2)

Sex work and dating disclosure

. . . the reality of the situation starts to settle in. I’m sort of in a relationship. And while I’ve told him about my writing work, we haven’t touched the subject of my other profession.

Credit: Michael Taggart/Flickr

“Where do you want to go?” he asks.

“That’s up to you,” I say. “I’m ready for anything . . . ”

We walk into the chilly Warsaw night. It’s my first visit to the city and I’ve intentionally avoided making plans or doing much research in advance. I did of course check to see if and where any saunas/sex clubs might exist, since I often write reviews when I travel. But beyond that, I’ve kept myself intentionally ignorant of the city. Our encounter seems like fate. Perhaps he’ll introduce me to the best bar I’ll ever experience in my life

We chat as we walk, the conversation slightly stilted. I’ve realized his command of English isn’t as good as I’d originally thought, which means talking is less casual than you’d normally want it to be with a stranger you just met in an airport an hour before. I try to focus on pronouncing my words clearly and structuring my sentences simply. At one point he apologizes for his lack of fluency. I just wink and squeeze his shoulder.

“Don’t worry,” I say. “I’m here for a week. We have plenty of time to work on your English.”

Our first stop, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a vodka bar. There’s no name outside, but the wide windows reveal a mass of college kids knocking back shots and munching on pickles. He quickly orders two shots of something I can’t pronounce and two bottles of a beer I also can’t pronounce. We clink our glasses and I vainly muster “Na Zdrowie,” the Polish equivalent of “Cheers.”

“Oh,” he says with a smile. “You speak Polish very well.”

I blush.

“I only know the word from a friend who used to date a Polish girl,” I say.

“It means ‘good health’,” he says.

“Hmm… appropriate,” I say. “Vodka’s great for your liver.”

I’m not sure he gets the joke but he smiles widely and I’m struck for the first time by how handsome he is. I flash briefly back to the moment in the train, where his thigh rested so comfortably next to mine. Is he just being friendly and showing me around? Or is there something else going on here? We chat about work and the Polish political situation. It turns out he’s also a journalist, though he mainly does TV. I drop the names of a few places I’ve worked, fully cognisant that he won’t have heard of any of them. Preparing for a possible rebuff, I decide to drop the G-bomb, just to see how he’ll react.

“I do mainly entertainment stuff,” I say. “And a lot of work for the gay media.”

He doesn’t flinch and I wonder for a moment if he didn’t hear me correctly.

“We write about the gay and lesbian community, arts, news, stuff like that.”

“Ah,” says. “You can send me the links. I will like to read that.”

I’ve clarified he’s not a raging homophobe. But I also have no idea where his own sexuality sits. What am I even thinking? I just met this guy in an airport an hour ago. We’ve barely even conversed and I’m already thinking about getting into his pants. I shrug it off and ask if there’s anywhere we can get something to eat. By now it’s after 10 pm and there’s not much open. But he guides us to an elegantly appointed tapas bar and orders a spread, along with two more pints.

I haven’t eaten for hours and the first two drinks have already left my head swirling. But I figure whatever happens, I’ll still manage to pour myself into a cab at the end of the night. As the booze kicks in, the conversation flows more freely. He gets less concerned about his English and my speech naturally slows down. We chat about where we’re from, what our families are like, if we have any pets. He has a dog named Rocky that lives with his parents. I have two plants.

At some point, the subject of age comes up. He’s 23, substantially younger than I would have guessed. He says he thought I was 28, which I’m liable to guess based on his youthful lack of experience is an honest statement, rather than an attempt to flatter. Somehow we come back to my writing and the subject of homosexuality. It’s a big moment in Poland, he says, as there are a number of pieces of anti-gay legislation making their way through parliament.

“How do you feel about that?” I ask.

“Well, I guess it is hard for me,” he says. “I mean I’m bi so . . .”

He pronounces it “bee,” as in honey. I’ve had several moments in my life where I’ve been the first person someone’s come out to. I wonder for a second if this is one of those. But it’s not. Not really. He’d had a girlfriend for a couple of years in university. He’s been single since, though he’s had sex with nine different men. He seems to have more or less accepted his desires, but he’s also never told any of his friends or his family. His job as a journalist means he can’t be out publicly. Not only could he get fired, he also couldn’t cover any stories relating to gay rights, currently a hot topic in the country.

Then out of nowhere, he says:

“I saw you on the plane, and I thought you look interesting. I thought I need to meet this person.”

I admit my total ignorance of his existence until the moment at the ticket machine. This guy just cruised me on a flight and then picked me up in an airport. Not bad for a 23-year-old who can count every one of his sex partners and not run out of fingers.

“So,” I say after knocking back the last of my beer. “Should we get the bill?”

He nods yes and a few minutes later we’re back on the street. I hadn’t said anything about going back to my hotel but I realize he’s assumed that’s what’s happening and is steering us in that direction. After closing the door to my room behind us, I put my arms around his waist, pull him close to me, and press my lips to his. After a long kiss, our mouths part and we stare into each other’s eyes.

“There,” I say. “Now you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll get to kiss me.”

He smiles and we make our way to the bed. The sex is a little delicate at first, but he relaxes and feels freer with encouragement. After sucking him off, I roll a condom on and ease my ass down on his dick. His hands gingerly grasp my hips as I ride up and down on him, but I grab them and hold them firmly in place.

“It’s okay,” I say. “I’m a man. You’re not going to hurt me.”

Though he’s not a virgin, it’s clear he’s unsure how things are supposed to go exactly. After brief ride, I roll off him and we kiss while jerking our dicks until we both cum. It’s not the most elaborate sex I’ve ever had. But he’s so endearingly sweet. We see each other three more times that week.

On my last night, he comes to my hotel. I cook pasta on a tiny hotplate in the room. We drink a bottle of wine and watch House of Cards on my laptop. Cuddling on the couch as we watch the hours tick by, finally I tell him he needs to leave.

“If you don’t leave now, I’ll just try to keep you here all night,” I say. “And you need to work in the morning, so that wouldn’t be good.”

“Yes,” he says. “But I hope I will see you again.”

“You will,” I say.

I watch him from the window as he walks into the distance, his black form gradually disappearing into the city streets, soft snow falling around him.

We talk almost every day for the next month; mostly by text, but with a few Skype and phone conversations mixed in. After a couple of weeks, we begin discussing a return visit. I’ve just clicked the “Agree” button on the discount flight website, when the reality of the situation starts to settle in. I’m sort of in a relationship. And while I’ve told him about my writing work, we haven’t touched the subject of my other profession.

As the days tick by I get more and more nervous, making deals with myself about how to proceed. I’ll meet him at the airport, go for a drink, and tell him then. No, I’ll wait to see how the weekend goes, and then if it’s good, I’ll tell him on the morning that I’m leaving. No, I should leave us some time to process. I should tell him the day before I leave, so we have at least one night to sleep on it and then we can have an honest, in-person conversation about it before I go.

Walking through the exit doors into the arrival area, I find him waiting for me; same wide smile, same rumpled black suit. I think at first he’ll want to shake my hand since we’re in public but he willingly embraces me. Soon, we’re back on the train, our legs touching without any mystery about what it means. There’s no easy way to have the conversation that has to happen. But I resolve to just try to enjoy the weekend and not think too much about the moment when I have to say what I came here to say . . .