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Gay for pay January 28, 2008

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

“Darling, do you think my haircut makes me look like Hitler?”

“Absolyut not,” answered the Russian with conviction bordering on the complimentary. Odd for him to miss the chance for a bit of an insult. Telling me I looked like Hitler would have been a forfeit-free chance to say I was a bit of a wanker. “You don’t look heterosexual at all.”

“Not gitera (hetero), Gitlera (Hitler), you silly billy (if memory serves me rightly).”

“Oh, yes, yes, you look like Gitler.”

I went to a gay bar once. Alone. I’ve mostly stumbled from one long-term relationship to another but I think I managed to squeeze in ten seconds of singleness when I was about 9. Not that I haven’t gone to bars alone as a married man. No-one thinks you’re a prostitute in the gay world if you go to a bar alone. Unless you go to a bar alone when you’re 17, that is, and everyone else in the bar is 80. Then the punters would be justified in suspecting rent. But I’ve always been perfectly sanguine at going to a bar alone to drown my indifferences.

So I went to a bar. Drowned my indifferences. As ever, in the gay world, the bar was strewn with other indifference-drowning solos. Bars are our churches and I happened, on this one occasion, to have pride of place with our high priest, the barman. It’s a rather public confessional but we gays are as promiscuous with our words as we are with our affections and there’s no room for prudishness where the gay soul is concerned. Except our churches blaze trails and our confessionals can easily see the high priest confessing to one of his flock.

“Wan’ anuvva?”

“Oh, go on then… A bit quiet tonight, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, they won’ all arrive for anuvva while yet, will they.” He polished a glass with disdain. “Tend to come ‘ere a bit later, dun’t they.” Glanced over it and hung it up on the sticky-out rack. “Why, ya bored? You can get up on the bar and do a dance f’rus if ya like, can’tcha?” He chuckled and went off to serve anuvva punter.

“Is this your bar then?” I went on unimaginatively as he reappeared with a dishcloth flung nonchalantly over his left shoulder.

“Yeah, had it for years now, inni. Was in Spain before, wunni, wiv Brian,” I quickly played back the conversation thus far in my head – I’d forgotten my dictaphone – and was sure Brian hadn’t come up, “but come back ‘ere now, inni. Anuvva cuppla years and then I’ll give it up.” He shooed away the bar with his hand. “Do summink else then, wunni.” I nodded along consistently without proffering any suggestions of my own. “‘s all right doin’ this when you’re young, innit, but I don’t still wanna be doin’ this when I’m owld.” His brows and mouth made one complete revolution at the mention of the profanity. “And Brian died, didnee. Car crash. Just like that. Can ‘appen that quickly.” He polished some more. I contorted my face as the occasion demanded. “Naa, ‘s OK when you’re young, this, but not when you’re owld… Oh ‘ere’s a few more come in, look. Ya wun’t be so bored now as ya was, will ya?”

A few more punters had indeed trickled in. Amongst them a dish of cosmic proportions. A huge, great lumbering thing. A hint of shyness. He only looked up from his beer out of the corner of his glassy eyes. He examined his finger-nails with undeserved thoroughness. I changed my order to the beer he was drinking to increase my attractiveness. Needn’t have bothered as the late Brian’s other half was soon leaping to my assistance. “‘ere, whassyer name?” If beer hadn’t been taken I’d have minded where this was going. “Broke,” I said, unmindingly. “‘n whass yours?” he asked the cosmic dish, predictably. “Mmwike,” said Mike, combining shyness and aggression, his eyes darting left to right and lips stretched to breaking point.

The introductions done, Mmwike and I bumbled through conversation. Nice enough, it turned out, though his beauty meant any judgment I made couldn’t possibly be objective. I’m a pathetic flirt and invariably turn into a helpless himbo. “Um, Mmwike, sorry, I mean, Mike, so what’s a nice boy like you… [internally, “No, bugger, bugger, you can’t ask that. That’s Christmas-cracker-level chat-up. Um, pay him a compliment.”] Um, Mmwike, sorry, Mike, um… [internally, “Oh, for god’s sake, just carry on bumbling along.”] Um, Mmwike, sorry, Mike, um, er… you don’t seem gay, really, not that gays seem anything and, erm, of course it’s all just stereo…”

“Naa, I ain’t.”

“Oh [internally, “fuck”].”

“Well, I am a bit.”

“Oh [internally, “yippety doo-da”].”

“I mean, only in the way all men are.”

“Oh [internally, “oh, he’s insane. What a pity. Most men aren’t a bit gay, are they?”].”

“You don’t seem speshly gay yerself.”

“Oh [internally, “oh, he actually is insane].”

We chatted on. He told me about his girlfriend. His ex-girlfriend. His daughter. His ex-girlfriend’s gay uncle whom they’d discovered the gay bar with. He liked it and came back (presumably when he was in one of his a-bit-gay moods). We drank. He told me about his drinking problem. Said he was a social worker. Then offered to drive me home.

Was this a prelude to one of his a-bit-gay moments?

I accepted heroically. “Sure it’s no trouble?”

“Naa, ‘s on me way.”

We drew up at my front door. For tradition’s sake, I thought I’d better check where on the hetero-scale he was currently positioning himself. “Um, would you like to come in?”

“Naa, gotta get back. Workin’ in the mornin’. But it was nice talkin’ to ya.” True. It had been perfectly nice. “Gotta pen? I’ll give ya my e-mail.” (E-mail must have pre-dated mobiles.) We fumbled around and between us managed to exchange e-mail addresses. I probably hadn’t removed my coat before firing off an e-mail saying how nice it had been to meet.

A few days later, an e-mail appeared from Mmwike. I was secretly thrilled. Then berated myself for being so pathetic. “Broke, get a grip. He’s straight. He’s got a girlfriend and daughter.” But his beauty overrode all that.

“Thanks for your e-mail,” began his e-mail. “You met me on a bad day.” Oh, I hadn’t realised. Maybe he’d been there to drown real sorrows, though he hadn’t alluded to them in our chat. “I won’t have a chance to go out for a beer again soon.” Oh, that sounds final enough. Never mind. “But if you ever want to book me, one-on-one, for a couple of hours, let me know. To put it in plain English, I’m a male whore. Hope you don’t mind. See ya.”

Heterosexuals. Honestly. No morals.


1. Mr D - January 28, 2008

How much?

2. pleite - January 28, 2008

Mr D, do you know, I never asked. I should have, as it’s important for one’s ‘culture générale’ to have knowledge on a generous breadth and depth of topics. My ex, being silly, once leant out of his car window and shouted at a prostitute, “‘ow much for a suck and a wank?” (Darling, I do apologise.) “Fuck off, four eyes,” she hollered back, which he thought rather a ‘touché’ answer.

3. Geoff - January 28, 2008

Closest encounter I’ve had with a prostitute (female variety) was when I spent a week working in Leeds, and I was followed down the street by one who wouldn’t leave me alone. After all other attempts to get rid of her had failed I told her I was gay – to which she replied, without batting an eyelid, “that’s alright duck, I prefer it up the arse”.

4. Billy - January 28, 2008

The only difference between me and a gay man is I don’t really fancy men.

5. annie - January 28, 2008

Geoff made me LOL. And so did you, BiB.

Do you still have his email? *cough*

6. d.z. bodenberg - January 28, 2008

Was this in Ruislip or in Kennington then?

7. IsarSteve - January 28, 2008

dunno, but it sounds more like Kennington (Vauxhall), wunnit…

My first experience was also in a Vauxhall pub “well under age” .. with drag miming to “Hey Big Spender” on the bar.. we had to remove our glasses for the show… from the bar silly.. not our eyes.. anyway, s/he opened up her blouse and where her/is “appendages” should have been.. “Camp Here” had been written in large letters in lipstick… the older men in the pub shuffled and laughed, but I didn’t understand the joke and felt young and immature…
Easter 1969 in the Royal Vauxhall Tavern..

8. marshaklein - January 29, 2008

IsarSteve: Was it an Easter 1969 uprising?!

(P.S. Yes, yes, I know it was 1916, really)

9. IsarSteve - January 29, 2008

sort of.. It was the first night that I stopped out.. an “awayday” so to speak.. my parents were not amused..

10. pleite - January 29, 2008

Isar, and the Vauxhall Tavern is still going strong. The Russian and I even popped in there at some point last year, and perfectly fun it was too. My first ever gay venue was The Bell in King’s Cross. I can’t describe the excitement of going into a gay place at 16 or 17. Such a cliché, but seeing other whoopsies was mind-blowingly wonderful. Went back years later to see if the old magic was there but I was a hardened old cynic by then and the pub’s day had long since gone.

Marsha, for the second time today I type, “Matron!”

DZ, by Ruislip, do you mean Berlin, and by Kennington, do you mean London? In which case, Kennington, but not actually Kennington. I wondered why you’d written Kennington and had forgotten about Vauxhall, if Vauxhall and Kennington are the same thing. (Do people know that Russian for ‘station’ is ‘vokzal’, allegedly from some tsar or other coming to London and Vauxhall being the first station he visited? Don’t know if that story’s apocryphal.) But, anyway, no, other side of the river.

Annie, alas, his e-mail address is lost. But so wonderfully dishy, if bits of rough still too young to really be rough yet are your bag. He could obviously swing both ways but I don’t know if it was as clear cut as ladies for leisure and men for money.

Billy, your metrosexuality is legendary. Of course my interlocutor’s subsequent e-mail put rather a different spin on things but, and, believe me, there was nothing obviously metrosexual about this gent, except that he was happy to drink in a gay bar, if that gives you metrosexuality points, do you think there was anything in what he had to say about all men being willing to give the gayers a bit of a go? I didn’t go into full detail in the post, as I already write much too longly as it is, but he was quite insistent. (Presumably by ‘bad day’ he meant day when he didn’t have the balls to admit to potential client that he was a rent boy.)

Geoff, along with Annie, that makes two of us. I guffawed like mad at your comment. What a charming little vignette! I suppose I’ll look back in 20 years, if looking back will still be possible, and tut with disgust at the times we lived in. But today that tickles me pink. If Narrowback sees this, he’s got a good gay+prostitute story too which I’ll let him tell himself.

11. narrowback - January 29, 2008

ah Bib, don’t know if the dialog’s fit for this “family oriented” blog (your own characterization at Stille Don if you recall)…on the drive home I’ll ponder whether if the tale can be cleaned up a bit…then again after a few barley pops I may not care…

12. pleite - January 29, 2008

Admittedly, Narrowback, it is a bit naughty, but I bet Geoff and anyone else who happens to glance its way will cope admirably. We’re all grown-ups. Well, apart from me. I’m not a grown-up at all. I was just saying to the Russian that it’s a shame I haven’t been endowed with a growing-up gene. He was very quick to agree.

13. narrowback - January 29, 2008

ok, at your urging here we go

some years back a friend and I were leaving one of the more ‘notorious’ gay establishments in washinton dc. it was located in a pretty dicey area (an’ back in the 90’s what part of dc wasn’t? besides the white house & the capitol) – anyways…

one of the working girls who strolled that street attached herself to us and despite our – initially polite – refusal(s), followed us down the block, attempting to convice us that we needed her services…

after our polite rebuttals were ignored, my 6 ft. 2in. 200 lb hockey playing friend spun around, put his hand on his hip and literally barked “Bitch. I suck dick. I do it for free and I probably do it better than you!”…the working girl slunked away

hope the barley pop didn’t make me too verbose

14. narrowback - January 29, 2008

should that be “slinked”?

15. Annie Rhiannon - January 29, 2008

“Gitlera” is Russian for Hitler? What is “Annie” in Russian? Can you ask him please.

16. IsarSteve - January 29, 2008

BiB, I didn’t know beforehand about the russian connection with “Vokzal”
It does get a mention on Wiki.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vauxhall
I do know that the “Royal” Vauxhall Tavern stands on the site of the earlier “Pleasure Gardens” at Vauxhall.. Maybe that’s where the “Royal” in the title comes from? BTW, the gardens started off as a very “chic location”, but were eventually closed down because they became infamous for people “pleasuring” themselves there.

Narrowback, it should read: …she slunk off… but the linguists will be able to explain it better:
Slink (Slincan) is from Old English & Middle Low German: Slink -> Slunk. Sort of similar to the plurals of: Goose -> Geese, rather than the usual “Gooses”, (Gans -> Gänse), Mouse -> Mice, (Maus -> Mäuse)

17. Ed Ward - January 29, 2008

I was thinking “slanked” might be better…

18. pleite - January 29, 2008

Ed, Urban Dictionary came to my assistance with slanked, although it has a number of definitions, more than one of which might apply here.

Isar, so, and if we trust Wikipedia, the Vauxhall-vokzal connection appears to be based on fact. Not a bad old factoid, is it?

Annie, but as I’m sure you noticed, he’s only Gitlera in the accusative/genitive. Otherwise he’s just plain old Gitler. (The Russians don’t really do h, though they have got a loch-like ch. But Edward Heath, for example, was simply Git in Russian.) You’d become Enni, but they’d probably russify and cutesify you to Anya or An’ka or Anyechka or Anyushechka. The possibilities are endless! (But don’t accidentally move to Russia purely based on this information.)

Narrowback, not too verbose at all and I’m sure everyone’s coped admirably. It’s no naughtier, after all, than Geoff’s own charming little tale. I completely fancy your friend.

19. Arabella - January 29, 2008

I’ve been calling Hitler ‘Gitler’ for years and never knew! Always wanted to learn Russian, me.

20. d.z. bodenberg - January 29, 2008

There’s some terribly translated book about the Red Army’s graffiti in the Reichstag which translates some scrawlings about “Hitler taking it up the arse” as something roughly like “Guitar-bumfuck”, due to the ‘clever’ translator not knowing what a Gitler is. Or something like that.

I was actually referring to Berlin, as in Pankow=Ruislip, hm, Kennington=Schöneberg. When it comes to reasons for things/places being called what they are, that reminds me of the myth (I think it’s just a myth) about the Enfant de Castille / Elephant & Castle. I can’t be arsed to do any Wiki searching though. But that’s enough about Jim Davidson taking it up the Elephant and around the Castle.

Also (email title) “childish and amusing”

21. d.z. bodenberg - January 29, 2008

Oh, I see the approx. 200 comments on that restaurant review (all ‘amazingly’ similar) have been deleted. Hmm. But some of them seem to be here: http://www.readytogo.net/smb/showthread.php?t=306331

22. Mr D - January 30, 2008

Out of interest, what would you have done I’d the young man had come up to the flat? Whisked him past the Russian, explaining in passing that it was just someone you’d pulled for the night? Or shared your booty?

Social morals gone amock, I tell you!

23. Mr D - January 30, 2008

“if”, not “I’d”! iPhone keyboard tries to predict everything I write!

24. pleite - January 30, 2008

Mr D, no, it was all years ago. In one of my three-minute periods of being single. To be honest, I can’t quite remember when it was, and am trying to whittle down the possibilities. To have been out alone in London, I reckon I was escaping from my mother on a trip when visiting from abroad. I wonder if she’d accused me of treating the place as a hotel to bring male whores home to.

DZ, I’ve got a feeling that Elephant-and-Castle thing might not be an urban myth. Though it might be. Isar, can you confirm or deny? But, anyway, I’ve been waiting for EVER for the perfect opportunity to upload this song, which I might have to put in a post as I don’t want people not to see it tucked away in the comments box, and Oxo Tower seems the perfect introduction. Thank you old friend in London who sent it to me whom I didn’t even see at Christmas because I’m so hopeless. Listen and relish.

Arabella, you khev Raashan soul. Now to make sure your Gitler’s Russian-sounding enough, make sure your ‘git’ is ‘geet’ and your ‘ler’ is ‘lyer’ with a single trill on the final r. Thank you.

25. Mr D - January 30, 2008

Oh, right – sorry; my misunderstanding! Phew, I thought that would be too much sordid detail for this day and age. I should learn to read. But as I’m currently finding it hard to remember my own name, so sieve-like has my memory become, then improved reading skills will have to wait.

I’m not too bad at using varied punctuation, though. See the first sentence of this comment as an example! I even managed to change the hidden-through-ellipsis subject on either side of the semi-colon. (I need to get out more, it seems…)

26. d.z. bodenberg - January 30, 2008

I’d even heard that before – here http://www.dradio.de/dkultur/playlist/352301/720601/
have you heard the rest of the album which it’s on (“From the closet to the charts – Queer noises 1961-1978” – http://www.trikont.de/basics/archiv/895/ ) – could be interesting. If I worked in a record shop I could probably get it for free, but I don’t. Perhaps the one of the “non illegal, honest/yet maybe illegal afterall in fact” Russian websites has got it for download? Hmm.

27. IsarSteve - January 31, 2008

Oh dear.. he’s soon going to nippoff to nippon.. another one bites the dust..

28. MountPenguin - January 31, 2008


29. pleite - February 1, 2008

Penguin, are you denying all knowledge? You don’t secretly owe Herr Isar a fiver, do you?

…if he does, Isar, dash and get it back off him quick as he really is about to jet off to the Land of the Rising Sun, with capital letters and everything. I think I hate Berlin today so I say it’s a good move.

DZ, I haven’t heard the other songs. Will get round to it this weekend when I plan to sit at home and be ill and have the heating on really high and not leave the house at all, if I can find it, of course.

Mr D, I used to think I was a linguist, but I’m really not one at all. I’ve got a feeling I may even have flirted with the idea of tackling Linguistics at some point but the lowest mark in my whole degree for an Introduction to Slavonic Linguistics course 70 years ago put paid to all that. Time for me to retrain now so that I can get a job. I wonder if I could plumb…

30. IsarSteve - February 1, 2008

BiB.. why do you hate it..? Were you stranded on the “Insel Pankow”? Strangely, those who live on the “Schöneberger Insel ” had more luck.

I was out and about today and must say I found walking along streets I normally ride past without a glance, really interesting.

31. MountPenguin - February 1, 2008

I thought it was me wot woz meant, but due to the subject me not previously occuring in this thread, I did wonder. Not often male prostitution and myself pop up in the same context. (Though back when I was selling newspapers in certain areas of Schöneberg, I did get the occasional offer).

Fortunately Penguin HQ is almost next to an S-Bahn station, unfortunately today was earmarked as clothes shopping day and I don’t think I’ve changed so many times at Friedrichstraße before. Still, the crowds were good practice for Tokyo.

32. pleite - February 3, 2008

Penguin, this site doubles as a support group for all former male whores. You need have no shame of your past as a gigolo here. I’ll put the kettle on and we’ll have a group hug. I’m still bracing myself for when I finally get round to facing the challenge of being an ex-whore. (Where was this in Schöneberg? No-one ever offers me anything, but then the offerers probably had their straightdars on and there’s cachet in being a het.)

Isar, I’ve forgotten now. It must only have been temporary hatred as I’m perfectly sanguine about the old place again now. I loved the strike. I walked south on Friday and thought, “Gosh, Pankow’s really coming to life.” But then remembered it was only because people were walking. Lovely seeing some of the untouched pavements getting dirtied with human for once.

33. MountPenguin - February 3, 2008

On the offchance some future biographer is chasing down my historical online utterances, I should point out that I felt obliged to gently refuse all proposals due to a general lack of financial or other interest on my part (the newspaper selling biz was, at the time, much more lucrative than it seemed). No idea exactly where in Schöneberg apart from the general vicinity of, but not in, the Fuggerstraße; but I must have been 18 or 19 at the time and (literally) fresh off the boat.

34. pleite - February 5, 2008

Penguin, youth is wasted on us. Or perhaps not. Fuggerstraße is absolutely rent-boy central. You could have earned a fortune. Unfortunately, or perhaps not, by the time I first ever went out around there, which I haven’t done for about 40 years, the young gents would ask me if I’d like to be the paying party in a two-man transaction. I declined politely.

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