Wednesday, 14 March 2012

And The Winner Is...


Many years ago I heard those words followed by my name, when the whole company of the play I was in at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe won the Stage Award for Acting Excellence. This time round, the talents I’m being recognised for are slightly different, but I’m no less thrilled to be considered. In the last few weeks, I have been nominated for two different awards. Firstly I was  nominated in the Best Bear category for the Raven’s Eden Porn Awards. According to Barry Cornelius, the owner of Raven’s Eden, nominations were based on customer feedback at Raven's Eden. Apparently I ended up in the "Bear" category because there was no "daddy" category this year and several of Barry’s customers placed me in the "Bear" category. “No matter the category, you are popular among my customers,” says Barry, which makes me very happy indeed. Voting has now closed and the ceremony will take place at the Raven’s Eden Fetish Fair in Wilkes Barre, PA on April 7th, at which there will also be a Porn Star Auction of Description: https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/images/blank.gifDVDs, posters, photos and even underwear donated by the various nominees. The proceeeds go to “Relay for Life”, which helps local people living with cancer. You can see the details at http://www.ravenseden.com/Fetish_Fair.php.

I was absolutley delighted to be nominated for the Raven’ Eden Award, so imagine how excited I was to then hear I’d been nominated for Best Daddy in the highly prestigious Hookies.  The International Escort Awards, also known as the Hookies, were founded by rentboy.com's Jeff Davids and Sean Van Sant. The first ceremony was held at the Roxy in New York City in October 2006, and along with others, rentboy.com is still the major sponsor of this award. This year’s event takes place at the Roselind Ballroom, New York on the opening night of the Black Party Expo and will be hosted by comedian, Alex Mapa. The awards process began in December 2011, with nominations starting online and continuing through February 15th, 2012 - nominations were open to anyone who logged onto a Rentboy.com escort profile, whether  a satisfied customer or an admirer. You could choose from your favorite escort listings to nominate contestants in one of 15 categories: 

Best Newcomer, Best Pornstar Escort, Best Top, Best Ass, Best Fetish Escort, Best Live Performer, Best Tattoos, Best Body, Biggest Cock, Best Duo, Best Boyfriend Fantasy, Best Daddy, Best Escort Blogger / Writer, Best Escort Agency, Mr.International Escort 2011

Nominations have now closed but you can still vote for the finalists and, naturally, I hope you will vote for me. 

It sounds as if it will be a great night and I really wish that I could be there – a little harder for those of us who live on this side of the Atlantic. However much fun the night will be though, there is a serious  side to the Hookies, as outlined in their press release. 

Escorts and bodyworkers are frequently stigmatized in the press, yet these courageous and skilled men provide an invaluable service, helping clients make meaningful physical contact, explore their fantasies, emotional needs, and desire for companionship. Rentboy.com has long been an advocate for a person's right to do what he or she likes with their body. We constantly reinforce the message that escorts should be proud of the services they provide and not marginalized or made to feel inferior to someone donning a suit every day and trading pork belly futures (see our manifesto at www.rentboy.com/rentboymanifesto). Today is the day we say come out and celebrate a unique occupation and above all be proud of how far we have come.
                                                                                                                                          
Anybody who knows me will know that I campaign continuously for greater acceptance, for the right of all of us to have the sex life we choose, without the stigma that religions and governments impose upon us. Even within the gay community, we often have to deal with prejudice and disdain. Many social websites ban escorts all together and some of those that do allow commercial profiles seem more interested in taking our money (a wapping £55 per month on Gaydar) than actually doing anything for it, like helping with marketing or promotion. Rentboy, on the other hand, is a model of what an escort site should be – there to cater to the needs of all its customers. They never forget that the escort is a paying customer and, as such, is entitled to customer service.

The Rentboy.com manifesto  states that, whilst this job may not be for everyone, it has its rightful place among honorable careers. There must be a reason why it is called the oldest profession in the world. Sex work is a valuable service like any other and should be treated as such.

We say, "Money can't buy you love, but the rest is negotiable." We hope to effect a change where gay pride extends to escorts as well as the mainstream gay community.

These awards (the Hookies)  make a difference, and whether I win or not on March 23rd, I support them wholeheartedly, though of course it would be nice to hear those words “and the winner is….” Followed by my name.

You can read my interiew on the Rentboy blog and please don’t forget to vote

Friday, 2 March 2012

I'm Coming Out


Ok, I’ve decided to come out.” How much further out can you get” I hear you ask. Well, we’re not talking sexuality here. We’re talking about something much more contentious and something that carries a whole lot more prejudice. Age.

My age is something I’ve purposely shrouded in a certain amount of mystery for quite a few years now. Look around the internet and you’ll see it documented as anything between 38 (on one or two rather old websites) and 55. The truth is something of a surprise even to me. If someone had told me when I was 20 that I’d still be gogo dancing, or making a living out of sex at the age I am now, I’d have told them they were mad. People of my age were old. They didn’t have sex anymore and they sure as hell never took their clothes off in public, except maybe at the beach, and then only to swim.

For months before my recent birthday, I’d been subconsciously dreading the event. I decided against a big party or any big fuss. I hid my birth date on facebook to avoid the inevitable deluge of birthday wishes from people I’ve never met. My intention was to let the day slip by much like any other day. 
 That way, I figured, I didn’t have to think of any big change occurring; and actually it worked. I don’t feel any different now from how I did before this momentous event. The day arrived and nothing changed. I was able to lift the same weight as I always did in the gym. I was able to keep up the same intensity in my cardio workouts. The mere fact that I am embarking on another decade of my life does not make me a different person. Anyway most, no all of those I reveal my true age to are open mouthed with disbelief. And indeed what have I got to moan about?  I’m fit. I’m healthy. I’ve finally got most of my insecurities out of the way. I actually like who I am. What’s more, I may once have thought that older guys didn’t have much luck in the sex department, but actually I find it easier to pull now than I ever did, and most of the guys who run after me are young enough to be my son, some could even be my grandson.  They all think I’m younger than I am, but when I tell them my true age,really that seems to turn them on even more. I’m trying to think of the downsides, but honestly I can’t . There surely hasn’t been a better time to be able to call oneself a “daddy”.

Of course, society has its version of what I should be like now, but I have no interest in it. Society likes to pigeonhole people, put them in boxes, but I’ve resisted all efforts to define myself by strict parameters all my life. Why should I stop now? Those multiple choice questions with little boxes you tick never seem to apply to me. I always need an extra one for the option “none of the above”.

The young guys at Soho gym, where I work out, think I should tell the world how old I am, more than one of them exclaiming, “I want to be like you when I get to your age!” “You’re an inspiration!” said another, “you should be proud”.  

So that’s it. I’m coming out. At least to those of you who read this blog. A few weeks ago I turned 60. As I said, I let this momentous  event slip by without any real fuss, but I did do something to celebrate. I was asked to gogo dance at a club and I did. I did this for one reason only – because I can. Well maybe there was one other reason. When I’m 70, or 80, or 90, I want to be able to say I was still gogo dancing when I was 60. For, you see, it is just a number. It does not define who I am or what I can do.  I am me and I will adapt to the passing years in my own way, not the way society would thrust upon me.