“Raunch Daddy,” is story #2 from Worker Names, and I read it in its entirety for ASMQ. It’s epistolary in sections, with diary entries and chat room exchanges. Nick’s been kicked out by his lover for being ’emotionally unavailable’ and has lost his job in the recession. He sublets a studio around the corner from his now ex. Facing uncertainty and loneliness, he cruises AOL chat rooms on a pirated WIFI signal. He soon finds that there are men in the chat rooms eager to pay for his company, and embarks on a career as an escort. His friend Dean has also entered into sex work—after getting kicked out of nightlife by the Giuliani administration—and acts as his mentor. Earnest Nick is transformed by his encounters with the titular character, a Mexican novelist with a nose for pleasure & tragedy.
Thanks to Leah at Mischief Media for the production expertise. ***Hello adult content***
I answered a call for “essays about the moments you saw yourself in pop culture” from Toronto’s Daily Xtra and my essay was accepted. It’s a tribute to Debbie Harry, and a diss on the film it served as theme. it chronicles the effects of hearing Blondie’s genre-crashing track “Call Me” on me at 16. #RepesentationMatters
I’d taken the lyrics as a sort of instruction manual in the absence of any other. Its beat, repetition, sultry coaxing, and charged inferences accompanied me as I navigated longing.
Thanks to Natalie Wee for the prompt, and to Natalie and Rachel Giese, Director of Editorial, for the thoughtful and thought-provoking edit.
Today’s the release of Volume 2 of the Anthology Hashtag Queer. My short story“Raunch Daddy” appears . Purchase print and kindle editions at the link. Loosely based on sex work experiences, the character “Dean” is based on the late Dean Johnson.
“I think I’m in love with Benito,” Nick confessed over a beer.
“Who’s Benito?” asked Dean.
“You set me up with him. The Mexican writer in the West Village?”
“Oh, raunch daddy,” Dean said with laughter. “You can’t go falling in love with your johns. You’ll go out of business!”
NewTown Writers hosted this reading at the Center on Addison. Bringing New York in the 80’s flavor to Chicago:
He’d been crossing through the Ramble by night for years, as Smart lived on the East Side and he lived on the West. He navigated its paths by moonlight, nodding to a few familiar huddles of men. Sometimes ambling through its shabby splendor was the only way to shake off Smart’s fixated gaze.
I’ve been attending NewTown Writers workshops in Chicago. NewTown has been actively workshopping and publishing since 1982. “Choke a Horse,” a short story based on an earlier short memoir piece of the same title appears in this year’s anthology, Off the Rocks #21 :
“What’s the charge?” Nick demanded as the cop handcuffed him.
“Indecent exposure,” the cop replied.
“Nothing was exposed until you came along with your flashlights.”
Thanks to Bruce Kamsler for facilitating workshops and Robert Klein Engler for the diligent edit and fine cover art.
The creators of Velvet Collar, a comic book series which examines the lives of male sex workers and the impact of the rentboy raid, are sex worker Bryan Knight and queer comic artist Dave Davenport. I interviewed Bryan in person and Dave by email for Tits and Sass.
Bryan’s describes his concept:
“..all five characters are based on workers or porn performers, active or formerly active. I wanted the characters to be inspired by real people and stories. Several are personal friends; they’ve signed waivers, legally allowing me to use their likenesses and names, although I stick with their performer names.”
Thanks to Caty and Josephine at T&S for the thoughtful edit.
On the night of the Summer Solstice, I filled in at the 🌈 PRIDE edition of Reading for Filth at Eastern Bloc. Told the story of being a gay sperm donor in my twenties:
Nurse Stern, who was separated from me by a Lucite wall, just like in a money bank, slid a stack of porn magazines and a little cup through the deal tray. The porn was all hetero, of course–one issue of Juggs, a Leg Show, the one on the bottom pretty hardcore. I wordlessly pushed the porn back at her, keeping the cup. We glared at each other for a hot minute through the speak hole, then she pointed towards a small room with a bench and a counter.
Highlighting the prevailing media treatment of women in sex work: “visual titillation with a side of moral rebuke,” LB discussed the rentboy.com shutdown, power narratives, agency, and the real harm of policies conflating trafficking and sex work.
A well-read sex worker knows that male prostitutes are rarely, if ever, written about, or spoken of, with such condescension. Dominick, a former escort who, for three years, wrote the popular Ask Dominick advice blog for Rentboy says, “The disparity boils down to sexism.” The “Pipe down, you poor, prostituted women, and let the real feminists tell you what’s what” tack is, he says, “trite heroic fantasy couched in paternalism.”
Dominick Reading for Filth is an illustrated chapbook with transcripts from live readings, published September 2013. Available in the US, UK and Europe from CreateSpace at the link.
From: “R U Available?” p. 59:
I’m willing to put it all out there, to own it, to be my whole self. I’m able to love this person with this story, today. In fact, I’m ready to love all the people who figure into this story: earnest President Obama, the feckless Bush administration, the angry teabagger mob, my dead sugar daddy, Dean Johnson, the Republican Undertaker, Arpad Miklos, the obese fisting bottom, the Caribbean cock gobbler, diligent, focused HedMaster, that hot mess from New Jersey, Gabriel, his Brazilian dentist, slutty Christian, Emo Boy, and the inscrutable Nurse Freddy. May you be honest, may your teeth be straight and may you love, care for and comfort everyone in your lives.
So to the question: “R U available?” The answer is: a little more each day.