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Saturday 10 October 2009

Callboys: Love and Money

Posted in: Safe Sex
By Craig Young - 27th April 2009

In DNA magazine, Cameron Jewell has uncovered a new aspect of the current recession and our collective experience - laid-off gay ex-finance sector professionals who get laid... for money.

Over here, it has mostly been investment companies that have crashed during the current recession, as it seems that the Clark administration of the last nine years was able to shore up our regulators sufficiently enough to prevent the sort of turmoil that has been occurring in Britain and the United States. However, it would have been nice if Jewell had done some additional background research and investigated how the legality or otherwise of sex work had affected the lives of the men involved.

Anyway, the call boy phenomenoninvolves laid-off gay finance sector workers who have decided to turn their hands (and other anatomy) to an alternative profession- sex work, given that there are no employment opportunities in (respectively) the occupations of mortgage professionals (US) and bank-based financial advisors (UK). As for why they're doing it, they have rents to pay, and the good life to live. While the US callboy interviewed wanted to return to the private sector as soon as the economy recovered, the Brit ex-finance advisor was enjoying himself too much. Both men said they liked their new work as self-employed professionals, and made good money, which both of them saved, as well as keeping good transaction records.

Fortuitously, I happened to be reading about ancient Greek hetarae (courtesans) in James Davidson's Courtesans and Fishcakes (1998). Hetarae were elite female sex workers who enjoyed relative independence in a highly misogynist period of antiquity, and received monetary rewards, lavish gifts and opportunities for glamourous liaisons with great philosophers, military and political leaders. They were often also well-educated and highly intelligent women.

So, are today's callboys selling themselves short? Surely, like the hetarae of antiquity, they are a quality product, and one should charge premium rates for quality product.


James Davidson: Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Ancient Athens: New York: St Martins Press: 1998.

Cameron Jewell: "Recession Ready Rent Boys" DNA 111 (April 2009): 64-71

Craig Young - 27th April 2009

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