The Pitfalls of Being a Courtesan. December 2017.

Dear Rowley,

I have in my time been offered more than a few indecent proposals very few of which I have accepted. However, I am noticing a trend in the vie de bohémè for young and old enough to know better men going out of their way to find what is commonly called a Sugar Daddy. I heard the funniest story the other day about a talented young musician who decided the SD route was a matter of urgency. There was a thirty-year age gap between the musician and the art dealer he reeled-in and dated which should have raised alarm bells that shriek louder than Maria Callas.

Passions were high and within days and said art dealer was begging the musician to accompany him to Switzerland for an art auction. The musician demured and love’s young dream returned from Geneva with the promise of a petit cadeau that had to be delivered in person. Our hero was imagining a tiny Titian, perhaps, or a substantial gold Rolex or, at the very least,  pretty cufflink in a Cartier box.

The art dealer arrived on his doorstep armed with flowers and a pretty gift bag tied with ribbon. It weighed as much as a baby chimp making the musician’s heart palpitate with avarice. He unwrapped the gift with eyelashes aflutter only to discover  - drumroll – a giant Toblerone.

Oh the wages of sin! Many women and not a few men have entered into unholy alliances for a joint account and a blindfold for the few occasions when payment on account was necessary. I have to tell you, fortune hunters, it never works. There was another poor boy of my acquaintance who met an older man on an, ahem, infamous gay dating website who went by the moniker Handyman.

As you’re well aware, Rowley, a certain amount of role play and euphemism is necessary when fishing in the murky ponds that are Grindr and Scruff. Well, our hero started flirting with Handyman and got the impression he was Sugar Daddy material from the set of photographs exchanged that would have made a hooker blush.

The conversation via text turned as blue as a Burma sapphire. Handyman was asked if he had any big power tools and courting reached the stage when Handyman agreed to do a house call for an estimate. When Handyman appeared at our hero’s apartment he looked every inch the groomed, handsome silver fox dressed down for the weekend in combat pants and a vest. Our hero made a pass only to be told Handyman didn’t ‘mix business with pleasure’ and was under the impression that the liaison was to measure-up his flat for a shelving unit.

Many a slip between cup and lip, eh? Whether ill or honestly gotten, a Sugar Daddy’s loot isn’t earned by someone who came down with the last shower. Businessmen instinctively know how to get the best return on the smallest investment and I am afraid that gold-digging young gays are ill-equipped to negotiate. Personally, there is no way on God’s earth I would enter into an indecent proposal with a man for whom you’d need an emergency bucket by the bed and chloroform to lie with.

Of course now I have reached the Sugar Daddy age I am afraid I am too old to practise what I preach and learn from others’ mistakes. The funniest Sugar Baby story I heard recently concerned a young barman who thought he could charm an American customer who would have made The Dukes of Hazard’s Boss Hogg look like the Slimcea Girl. The old rogue told him he was in possession of a Kandinsky that he would like to will to said twinky barman.

Would the barman like to see it? Well might you ask. The indecent proposal saw our hero on a train heading over the Alps to an undisclosed bank vault in Innsbruck. Of course he was buggered from Bruges to Lech only to find out that the Kandinsky looked like a finger painting executed by Guy the Gorilla. The road to being a successful Sugar Baby is fraught with scam artists who can spot a greedy young queen at five thousand paces and flatter their egos in order to remove Calvins in the shortest possible time.

Sex might well be the oldest profession but it is not one that can be conducted without asbestos for emotions and a complete disconnect between inclination and action. I take my hat off to the adventurers and adventuresses who have the cojones to do it. For every Pretty Woman there are a million comedic scenarios whereby the predator becomes the prey.

As you can see, I am flashing my Entertaining Mr Sloane theatre poster credentials one more time. Never going to miss an opportunity, right? Well, that poster is a case in point. I was at Newcastle university when invited to pose after a Boucher nude for a Newcastle Playhouse production of Sloane that I wasn’t even in. I did it for the money – and the kicks – and that poster was all over town come graduation. My parents must have been awfully proud.

The point is we all have a price. I would have stripped for the price of a cocktail peanut when I was at college hustling in the Tyne Theatre for about ten bucks an hour. Strike that, your honour. I meant hustling as in working hard behind a bar. I have always stopped short of being celibate as in ‘sell a bit here, sell a bit there’. It isn’t worth the plummeting self-respect. Granted, if the indecent proposal came from George Clooney I would have been swinging naked in a hammock in a second. But sadly most Sugar Daddies look like Jabba the Hutt with a hangover.

Much better young ladies and gentlemen to go for love where you find it and accommodate the bank balance if it’s a goer. Take it from a spiritual tart with a heart who knows what he’s talking about.