"Gigolo" isn't a job title. Many male escorts, including myself, will use the term "gigolo" in reference to our profession. More often than not, such use is the easiest way to clarify that our clients are women -– that we are heterosexual. Technically my profession is "escort," although I think the term "companion" is much classier and also more accurate.
Before the TV show Gigolos — the reality series in which I star — began airing on Showtime in 2010, the world I inhabit in my professional life was completely unknown. Three years (and 5 seasons) later, my world has been glimpsed by millions and the term "gigolo" has found its way into the common lexicon. The question I field from people who first encounter me, however, has not changed.
It's almost impossible for me to know what someone means when they ask me, "How did you get into this?"
Are they asking how I wound up on a TV show? Do they want the story of how I met my agent? Could they be interested in how I acquired the skills to even be qualified to work for my agent in the first place? Then there is the possibility that they are wanting to know how I acquired the mindset to pursue the path that brought me to this point in my life.
I have often compared the life trajectory of a high-end straight male escort to that of an athlete. You might expect a Major League Baseball player to be confused if asked, "How did you get into this?"
I expect his basic answer to be not so far from my own: I fell in love with the game, became really good at it, people noticed, now I get paid to play.
The world shown in Gigolos, the reality show, is a glamorized and stylized version of my actual world.
The portrayal is not inaccurate, but it is, by default, an edited version of events highlighting the most exciting, humorous and sexy parts of my profession and lifestyle. I am glad that the viewing audience has had such a positive reaction to the show and, by extension, to my comrades and me. However, even the most dedicated viewers tend to come away with some misconceptions about the life of a gigolo.
The most common misconception about my profession is that it is "all about sex."
When our show premiered four years ago — and even now, years later -– many people were incredulous. Why would any woman pay for sex when she could just show up at any bar and get it for free?
If by "sex" we mean "sexual intercourse," then I would wholeheartedly agree that women do not pay for sex (at least not enough women to support an industry). Most of my time "on the clock" is spent in appointments of between 6 and 48 hours each. I take it as a great compliment that someone would think I have the sexual stamina to "go" for 24 or 48 hours straight. What is it, then, that makes a day of my companionship worth thousands of dollars to my clients?
An escort, at the top of his (or her) profession, provides a service of almost incomparable psychological worth.
When we think of our ideal relationship, most of us envision a partner who arouses us with their physical presence, stimulates us with their mental prowess, demonstrates affection and attention to our needs (at times before we know what we need), and accepts us for who we are –- flaws and all -– without passing any judgment.
I regularly have clients tell me things they "have never told anyone before."
Time with a talented professional companion creates a space where clients can feel free to lay bare their biggest fears and insecurities, knowing that the escort's primary goal is that client's happiness. In terms of therapeutic value, a great escort beats a psychologist any day of the week. Hell, when was the last time your shrink held you in their arms? Would you want them to anyway?
I detailed my personal philosophy on the art of love and my prescribed path to "gigolodom" in my book "Tao Of The Gigolo." I've now taken my art one step further by forming an agency, Companion Concierge, with the explicit mission of finding the most talented companions and connecting them with clients who appreciate the kind of intimate one-of-a-kind service that I have personally been providing for years. I believe that, in an age where we feel increasingly disconnected and constantly judged, women, especially, can benefit immensely from the kind of genuine connection that can be created when they seek out a high-end male companion.
I often refer to myself as a "professional dater."
I think it's a pretty fair assessment of what I do. If I'm at work, after all, I'm also on a date. I take great pride in my work, and I am always striving to be the best dater I can be. Men often ask me for dating advice, but my clients, many of whom are just getting back in to the dating scene when we first meet, seek my counsel about dating and relationships frequently as well. Although each of us has our own challenges when it comes to having a fulfilling romantic life, there are a few tidbits of "gigolo wisdom" that have proven to be helpful to the women I have advised on the subject of dating.
The most potent advice I can offer to any woman seeking to improve her lot in the dating world is: DATE!
For many women, the thought of being in the dating pool is scary. The concept carries, for a woman, the implication –- generally accurate -– that she is "single."
Even with the cultural strides that have been made just in the last few decades, the societal, and even biological, pressures for a woman to be in a long-term committed relationship are omnipresent. I know it can be sometimes be easy for people to wallow in the fact of being single because I "haven't found that special someone" — easier than it is to expend any real effort to find a compatible partner. I assure you: All the "good ones" are most definitely not "taken."
I call this the arena the "sexual marketplace." I use this term as the catch-all for the rules and norms –- the economics, if you will –- that govern the human mating game. If you want to find the perfect mate, you will need to start walking the aisles, browsing for potential matches and taking more than a few test drives.
At the same time, you need to take daily action to build up your "sexual bank account" so that when you find a good match, your value will be as obvious to him as his value is to you. That value is going to be made evident to him mainly through your attitude and confidence within yourself. Taking focused, daily action that is solely focused on your mental and physical health will, in very short order, reduce stress and insecurities and help you to express your inner and outer beauty more fully.
I would be professionally remiss if I didn't, finally, note how useful a companion-for-hire can be to jump starting your dating life. Unfortunately, many people find their dating life to be a series of confrontations, with each party jockeying for position. Many of my clients find it both enjoyable and educational to be able to have a series of dates where they know that I (their dating partner) has nothing but their enjoyment and pleasure in mind.
In that relaxed environment, a woman is able to find her true self. She can explore those things which arouse her on every level in a safe romantic setting. Being able to provide such a service has never been a job.
I have always considered it a calling.
This piece originally appeared on xoJane. Republished with permission.