HUSTLERS: A Buyer's Guide

By "Lone Some Krip"

"Burning with Desire," Collage by Robbo ©2001


Throughout my twenties I didn't have an awful lot of luck with sex. I was horny all the time; I thought about calling a hustler, but the idea made me real nervous. Not out of a sense that it was wrong or bad, I just had a lot of anxiety about exactly what the interaction would be like, what kind of person would show up at my door if I called. So I didn't explore it until late in 1994, when I was thirty years old. I had a boyfriend then, but the sexual relationship was kind of not there; we were still warm and friendly, but sexually, for whatever reason, it was going nowhere. I just decided I wanted sex, specifically with younger, cute guys, the kind of guys I'd never had success attracting on my own.

So . . . I started to call hustlers, mostly from ads in the Bay Area Reporter, because they publish photos there and people seemed pretty accessible and it was easy to find lots of choices. The first several experiences I had were really not very good. Not in the sense of people being malicious or trying to rob me or anything like that; they just weren't satisfying. The first guy I called was nice enough, but just not my type. It was awkward. He actually showed up when Greg, one of my helpers, was on his way out. I told Greg. "Oh, yeah, I called up this hustler, he's gonna come over," and Greg, who's straight, thought it was pretty funny. So this guy comes in, he was like "Tenderloiny," his hair was a real fake blond. He was not horribly unattractive or anything, but I just wasn't that into him. And he obviously was not that into doing anything. I found later that some of the guys are pretty horny themselves and seem to like the sex as much as the money. But he was not in that club. He was obviously into delivering as little as possible for the money. So what I ended up doing was having him give me a bath-we didn't have sex at all! He gave me a bath and I talked to him about being a hustler.

My second experience was on a trip with a friend to LA. I was looking in Frontiers and saw an ad for a guy named Troy Steel. My friend said, "Yeah, he's got a really great body. Call him up." So I did. He was a nice guy and I was pretty attracted to him, a lot more than the first guy, but he was not into affection at all, not into kissing, only sucking and fucking. I think I gave Troy a blowjob and he gave me a blowjob, and we hung around his house and he showed me some of his glossies ( he was some kind of minor porn star), he signed one of the glossies—I've shown it to a lot of people. So in some ways that was one of my more fun experiences, although he wasn't all that affectionate, like kissyface, and I didn't come or anything. But it was fun because it was the Hollywood thing and he was sort of a character. I mean he was a nice guy. He wasn't a mean person or anything. I think he had drawn a line for himself that he wasn't going to cross and kissing, for him, was on the other side of the.

Although I didn't fully realize it at the time, I don't have any fun unless there's some expression of affection, unless there's some kind of huggy-kissy action. If all they want to do is get it over with—for me it doesn't work, although I know that's what a lot of guys want. It took me a while-duh!-to figure that out for myself. That's one of the ways that buying hustlers was good for me in kind of an educational way. Aside from whatever fun (or not) I had with them, the experience got me a little more in touch with what I wanted, or needed, from people.

When you stop to think about it, if you're expecting affection, or at least a simulation of affection, I guess that that might be more difficult for most hustlers than the old in-and-out. I think it's easier for the hustler to depersonalize hustling when he's just letting a guy fuck him, say, when he's basically just being an orifice. Kissing is real personal. There were a lot of hustlers who made kissing an optional thing for them. After I learned that's what I wanted, I'd make a point of asking over the phone, "Do you kiss?" or, "Do you let guys kiss you?" And they might say, "It depends" And I guess what it depended on was whether they thought you were fairly cute, or had a nice personality, I'm not sure exactly what, but at least you knew from the start that they weren't automatically going to rule it out. No one who said "it depends" ever turned me down for kissing, which, of course, felt good. But it took me several encounters before I realized that I had to ask for what I wanted, or I was going to end up feeling, like, bitter and frustrated.

One kid, whose hustling name was Zack, I ended up calling a bunch of times. He was really cute, at least I thought so: short blond hair, lots of tattoos and piercings. Maybe the best thing about him, though, was that he loved to kiss; that was his favorite thing to do.


Expectations are the thing.
If a hustler was very cute and very friendly, I was disappointed if he didn't get off. After a while I began to add up my expectations and I realized what was making me unhappy about hiring hustlers was that I wanted a boyfriend. And a hustler is never a boyfriend, simple as that. No matter how sweet, or cute, or nice he is, he's not your boyfriend. He's providing a service you're paying for—which is something you might want to forget. Part of the reason I wanted a hustler to come if I really was attracted to him was so that I could tell myself he was enjoying it as much as I was.

I don't regret seeing hustlers, but I think it took me a year or more to figure out what my real feelings were. The bottom line is, I hadn't been able to separate the desire for love from being horny, and I think some people can separate them. Maybe the line is always blurry, maybe some people can separate the two some of the time, but I wasn't able to separate them at all. Even to the point of being semi-friends with a couple of hustlers.

There were two in particular. This guy, Tim and another guy, Richard-both of whom expressed an interest in doing things with me other than getting paid for sex. I went to a movie with Tim once, he helped me move from one apartment to another, so we were friendly, but then it ended, I think partly because of the tensions in the hustler-client relationship. Just as with the client there's the tension between wanting to be loved but knowing you're just paying for sex, with hustlers, some want to be loved or liked for themselves, apart from their sexual marketability. There's some touchiness there if they feel there's any confusion about that. With Tim, I really did like him as a person, but I was also horny and wanted sex with him. I think he wanted our relationship to change from my being one of his Johns to being one of his friends. But I wanted to mix and match. As things developed, I guess I wanted to turn him into a boyfriend, someone I fucked because I liked him. Although he never said so, I'm convinced now that he found that disturbing, confusing.

With the second guy, Richard, a similar thing happened, although I never did as much with him. Richard also showed interest in liking me apart from being paid. Then I called him once when I was really horny and wanted to have sex, and he said, "Well, I really need money," so I said, "OK, just come over and I'll pay you because I like you a whole lot." So he came and saw me as a client. That seemed alright at the time, but our friendship never really went anywhere after that.

One other thing I learned to do was mention being disabled when I called a guy for the first time. Nobody seemed to have a problem with it. One thing surprised me: I expected it to be a fairly common experience-I mean for hustlers to deal with disabled clients-but I found out it was not. I knew that a lot of hustlers see older guys (although I learned that the client range is a lot wider than I thought), but very few had had a disabled client. A couple of times it was a problem and then it was very awkward. I had this one real young Asian guy, maybe nineteen or twenty, come over, one of the most attractive hustlers I ever met, and boy did he need therapy. He'd had a cousin who died of Muscular Dystrophy. Even though I don't have that, I reminded him of his cousin. He was also one of the few hustlers I met who was up front in his ambivalence about what he was doing. We ended up not having sex. In fact I guess I played therapist. That was one of the few times I regretted the whole thing, even though I felt sorry for him. Later I felt like a fool. I mean, I ended up paying him $120; he should have paid me!

I'm still curious that none of my hustlers had any other disabled clients. Maybe I've overestimate the need that disabled gay men might have to hire hustlers. Maybe it' not as common an impulse as I thought But I know there's a lot of social isolation among disabled gay men, a lot of us aren't out mixing. Maybe some guys don't do it just because, even though you're paying for it, it does take a certain boldness. After all, I was afraid to pick up the phone for ten years.

Another factor is money. A lot of seriously disabled guys are on SSI and let's face it, buying a hustler is not like buying a six-pack; low-income guys don't have the means to buy luxury items like a $100 whore. One of the many reasons I cut down and then gave up on hustlers was the money. I'm employed, but the cost adds up. For a while I was using guys twice a month.

But my other reasons are probably more important. Not only is there the embarrassment, there's also the fear. How do you know what kind of person you're inviting into your house? I guess I've been lucky. Apart from some guys not performing very well—the limp dick problem—I've never been ripped off and I've certainly never run into someone I was afraid of. You've also got to remember that simply because you're paying for it doesn't mean that things are going to go the way you want them to.

Just handing the guy money does not guarantee anything. You may think that in a sense you 're buying a commodity, but it's not a dish detergent. There's only so much you can buy of another person, and then the human element overtakes everything else. In that way buying the services of a hustler isn't any different from hiring the services of a masseur or a doctor. Or a lawyer. If the client and the lawyer don't have at least some minimal degree of human compatibility, it's not going to be very satisfactory.

Another thing I learned about hustlers was that they weren't very together people—big surprise! There was lots of drug use, lots of abandonment by families; there was always drama in the background, lots of drama. The one boy, Tim, the one I became sort of friends with, claimed he had none of those things, and that seemed to be the case. He was bright, he was employed, he was good-looking, but he seemed pretty lonely. That's pretty sad and disturbing. Here's somebody I'm hiring for sex, somebody who looks to me like he's "got everything"—and it turns out he's no happier or better adjusted than I am. The other danger is the danger of disease or infection of some kind, even if you're doing your best to play safe. The worst thing that happened to me was scabies and yes, it's as bad as people say it is. No—it's worse! It's a nightmare.

On an even more serious level, I pretty much always had condoms ready to use. There was one guy, though, who was not very concerned about safe sex. He wanted me to fuck him without a condom. And I went along with it for a few minutes. But then we weren't connecting very well and I stopped. In retrospect I can't believe I did it. I'm not a dummy. I know all about safe sex. I got tested a couple of times afterwards and never did anything like it again, but it was a disturbing episode. The point is even if you're well-informed, it's easy to be stupid when you're horny, lonely, and with someone you want to like you. This boy was really cute and within seconds my resolve crumbled.

When I first started buying sex I was really curious about prostitution, but when I think about it now, I think my hustler days are probably over, because, like I said earlier, I discovered that hustlers can't deliver what I'm after. Over a period of eighteen months-and about twenty guys—I learned a lot about it. And I learned a lot about myself in the process.

© 2001 BENT on behalf of "Lone Some Krip"


L. S. Krip is a government employee living in Northern California.
You can reach him c/o BENT.



BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/January 2001