BY ANDREA HOUSTON – Gerald Hannon almost convinced me to go into sex work.
I recently visited the award-winning Toronto journalist and retiring sex worker at his cozy Maitland Place apartment ahead of his big retirement party at Goodhandy’s tonight (Nov 25), and to research another story. We got talking about why he started selling sex in the first place.
Hannon entered the oldest profession for the oldest reason of all: money. “I had just left The Body Politic after 15 years. You don’t save any money working there, so I was broke."
At the time, he was living communally in a house with five other men. “I wanted to live on my own. And I decided to be a freelance writer, which, as you know, that takes a while."
Worried about what to do for income, he spoke to a friend, activist and sex worker Danny Cockerline (great name for a sex worker). “I was whining to him about how I’m going to make it as a journalist."
Cockerline told him to sell his body to pay the bills while his writing career got off the ground. “I was shocked. I said, ‘I can’t! I’m in my 40s. I’m not full of cum or very well hung."
Cockerline told him there are niche markets for men of all ages, sizes and quantities of cum. “If you don’t think there’s a market for guys your age with bifocals, you’re wrong."
With no moral objection, Hannon decided to give it a try. For his first client, he offered himself as a duo with a friend at a cut-rate price.
"Guys aren’t coming to make love. They’re coming to get their rocks off. Once it’s done, about an hour, sometimes more, I can get back to work writing."
But more than that, Hannon enjoyed the work. “It led me to worlds I would have never imagined visiting. Worlds of free-flowing male erotic desire.” He met charming, funny and sexy men, many of whom would have made wonderful dates otherwise, which likely would have ended with sex anyway.
As a fellow journalist, I can’t deny the prospect of this is tempting. Glamour! Money! Sex! Free-flowing erotic desire! An hour of “work,” then the rest of the day free! I could write a book.
He grinned and nodded playfully with a wicked look in his eye.
"As a fellow writer, think about it. If I can still corrupt you, given your reputation."
With 13 magazine awards under his belt and his place firmly cemented in Toronto’s media royalty, perhaps Hannon’s onto something.
Young journalists, take note.
If you’re in Toronto, join Gerald Hannon tonight (Nov 25) as he celebrates 25 years in sex work at Bone Weary: A Fond Farewell to the Sex Trade at Goodhandy’s on Church St. Please dig deep with a $5 to $10 donation (more is fine, too) — all going toward Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Worker Action Project.
Xtra’s Sasha Van Bon Bon interviews Hannon about his retirement here.