Home

It’s Back to Work I Go … Diary of a Male Bartender Prostitute…

3 Comments

LArry the Bartender

Bartender? … Prostitute?

… synonyms really …

You didn’t know that?

Well, I didn’t either until …

Hold on, I don’t want to confuse you, so let me retreat a bit here.

A few weeks back, for some fun and variety, I spent 4 hours each day, Monday to Friday, at Bartending School in Kelowna. Plunk down $400 tuition and a week later you finish with an official Bartender’s Diploma.

Hour after hour, I mixed and poured about 5 billion drinks of coloured water that looked like fancy cocktails into chilled martini glasses and shooter glasses and highball glasses. “Would you like that as a double?

Bartending Certificate

Then, the following week, with my official Bartender’s Certificate in hand, I went to a few local Penticton restaurants and dropped off my resume asking for a day or two a week of bartending work.

Within hours of leaving my resume behind, one of my very favourite restaurants, a local Greek culinary landmark, interviewed me and, in a moment of obvious weakness – or perhaps heat stroke – they offered me a shot at being one of their bartenders.

Hell yeah”, I said.

And now, looking like Sam Malone in Cheers, I’ve run and sweated and poured and mixed my way through 3 bartending shifts.

And despite feeling exhausted at the end of each stint, I kinda like this stuff.

Especially the Prostitution part. Yeah yeah, I’ll explain that in just a minute.

It’s a hot summer here in the Okanagan Valley, so I’ve dished up a ton of chilly Pinot Gris wine and foamy Cannery Brewery draft beers and spicy Caesars and even a few Mojitos and GreyHounds and Gin and Tonics.

I’m still waiting for my first requests for the candy-coloured fluffy drinks – a Red-Headed Slut or a Cosmopolitan or a Singapore Sling, but I can be patient. Manhattans weren’t built in a day.

red headed slut

OK… now let’s go back to the beginning of this story where I told you that bartenders and male prostitutes are kinda the same thing.

Prostitutes offer a desired service that makes their customer feel warm and fuzzy and light-headed, maybe even a bit flushed and elated (I won’t go into detail of the services offered right here if that’s alright, you can paint that libidinous picture according to your own desires and carnal proclivities).

And then the client hands them cash in appreciation for the service. Right? Am I right?

Well, I’ve just discovered, bartenders do the same thing.

I stand behind the bar, wiping the counter with a bar rag, looking so understanding and approachable. My warm eyes tell you that you could rip your heart out, hot blood pulsing onto the bar top, and hand it to me and I’d just nod in empathy, all ears for you.

Then I pour my client a shot of Ouzo or Baileys on the Rocks. I know I’m helping to make that individual feel warm and fuzzy and light-headed, maybe even a bit flushed and elated.

When they’ve finished their meal and drinks and reached their happy place, they slip a few appreciative dollars to the gaggle of (mostly) female servers (pimpettes).

At the close of the evening when it’s dark and the humid night air begins to cool – after the satisfied customers have all departed with a spent sense of inner serenity, the (mostly) female servers come to me one by one.

Quietly, they each slip me a few $5 or $10 bills in appreciation for the “happy” services I’ve rendered their clients throughout the evening.

I smile at them and flush a tiny bit as I accept the cash they call “tips”.

I feel a tiny bit dirty accepting payment this way, but I manage to quash my moral “inner voice”, rationalizing – perhaps fooling myself – that no one is actually being hurt because of the services I offer.

In my head I whisper soothing things like what I do is keeping the economy humming along.

gstring $$

It’s always said that Prostitution is the oldest profession.

I beg to differ.

Alcohol and bartending surely must have been precursors to sales of the flesh.

Who believes that alcohol wasn’t served as a soothing prequel to the idea of paid passionate pairing?

Just watch any movie about bawdy houses, brothels, whore houses… they all begin with “appetizer” drinks served liberally around before couples slip away to private quarters for the “main entree”.

Yes, bartenders have been prostituting themselves ever since Jurassic beasts abandoned our neighbourhoods and we humans rose up on our feet and discovered fermentation.

Today, I’m proud to go to work in what truly is the world’s oldest profession…

And you can take those $$ to the bank.

bar tips

What’s Cooking in the Baths of Marrakech?

2 Comments

IMG_2370

I’m loathe to admit it, but I must be only moderately attractive because he obviously wasn’t aroused when he showed me his … you know … stuff.

OK, raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself sitting naked except for your Hanes’ boxer underwear on a hot, wet, polished cement floor, surrounded by men, young and old, who speak only Arabic.

Then one well-proportioned young fellow looks directly at you, right at YOU, and discretely lowers the band of his shorts displaying his junk with a come hither look.

But seriously, this was the admittedly surreal vision in front of me as I sat in a traditional Moroccan “Hammam” (Public Bath) within the Souk of Marrakech.

Let’s move on, we can come back to this later.

………………………………….

A Day’s Journey

Our day began bright and clear, the temperature sitting at perhaps 6C or 7C in Fez as we headed out with an early start.

The full-day driving journey from Fez to Marrakech took our group of 5 Canadians, Moroccan guide Redouane, and driver, Fouad, over the Middle Atlas Mountains through a schizophrenic set of agricultural fields and orchards. Our trek morphed from huge lush green fields of hay and orange orchards, to dry scrub land with prickly pear cactus in abundance.

As we climbed the grey morning hills, the air grew cooler and cooler, and then … surprise, we were in snowy terrain.

Maureen looked out the van windows and pointed out to us the spray of almond blooms hanging pretty pink, like delicate earrings in the trees, with white snow clinging to the branches and as a backdrop. Well constructed, rocky fences surrounded fields almost as if we were in the highlands of Scotland.

We stopped for a short break of cafe con leche in a white-enshrouded alpine town called Ifrane. Some of us frolicked, and froze our unprotected hands in a cold and wet impromptu snowball fight and then participated in the classic Canadian winter ritual of pushing a powerless car down a hill for a jump start.

IMG_2292

Not a scene we had anticipated in Morocco …

IMG_2296

Moroccan guide Redouane and I get our morning workout!

Within 15 minutes of leaving Ifrane, we were back into the green, sumptuous farm land we were more accustomed to – and had expected– in Morocco.

Sometimes small, often enormous flocks of sheep, scattered either side of the road, always, always, always accompanied by a solitary shepherd. One flock, one shepherd.

Concave, concrete water flumes, like the ones used years ago in our Okanagan Valley here in Canada, lined the fields for irrigation.

We were surprised to encounter our one and only visit to squat toilets at a fueling station along the day’s journey. My expectation in travelling to Morocco had been that the “western” porcelain toilets would be the exception, not the rule. And I admit to you, porcelain was a pleasant surprise for this comfort-seeking westerner, especially so for the women!


It was a full day of driving in the Mercedes van over good quality, but mostly winding two-lane roads that brought us into the early evening sunset and heavy traffic of Marrakech, the hometown of our eager young driver, Fouad.

Warm, Moroccan sun beamed bright orange through the front window of the van as we pulled up to the elegant entry doors of the hotel in the central modern core of this city.

Across the street was the impressive Gare, the train station. Far off in the western distance there was a hazy view of the snowcapped High Atlas Mountains, looking very Rocky Mountain’ish.

Pleasant, dry windy gusts blew warmly as we edged stiffly from the van after the long day’s drive. Tall, friendly palms waved as the sounds of busy traffic motored past on the spacious boulevard at front. I fondly remembered how special and exotic palm trees looked to me when I flipped through travel or National Geographic magazines as a kid (see, I noticed more than the naked Black women!).

As in each of our nightly stops in Morocco, the hotel was large and modern, like any 4-star European hotel. Even though they all lacked some small’ish detail such as functioning heat and air control systems, or occasional leaking bathroom fixtures, the beds were good, and the rooms were clean and well-appointed.

IMG_2368

Marrakech in the early evening sun with High Atlas Mountains in the distance…

Now We’re Cookin’!

The temperature when we awoke the following morning was warmer than we had experienced so far in Morocco. It was a delight to feel the sun and the low 20C temperatures, rather than the low- to mid-teens.

Maureen and I stood in front of the Cafe de France in Marrakech’s spacious main Jemaa el-Fnaa Square as carts of supplies and local trucks and vendors whisked in all directions to set up the small stalls for the day.

IMG_2355

Congestion in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square…

We waited, taking in our surroundings for a few moments, then a young woman approached and introduced herself.

Karina, dressed in jeans and blouse, jacket and knit scarf, was to be our Moroccan shopping and cooking instructor, charged with imparting the techniques of tagine cuisine to just us Canadians. On some occasions, she has conducted a class grouping of 18 people, but today, it was a private tagine session.

Oh, sorry, if you didn’t know already, tagine is an historically Berber dish from North Africa that is named after the type of earthenware pot in which it is cooked.

IMG_2383

Tagine cooking pots in Marrakech souk …

After our introductions, we walked out of the main open square and entered the souk, or marketplace. Much like the crowded and buzzing Fez Medina, but not so claustrophobic and tight, we zigged and zagged along the huge avenues of stalls and little foundries of metal workers pounding silver and tin over anvils and smoking coal fires.

Shortly we entered the “food” section of the souk. The first small stall we approached had a high glass-fronted counter – in behind were cages filled with live, clucking chickens.

Karina spoke to the small man behind the counter in Arabic. The fellow nodded, opened a cage door and grabbed one of the squawking birds and retrieved it and placed it onto the white surfaced weigh scale sitting just in front of us. Karina shook her head NO … too big!

He put the bird back in its cage and pulled out another, laid it on the scale where it sat pathetically and limply resigned. This time Karina was satisfied, and gave him the go ahead nod of her head. She turned to us and explained in English that a 1 kilogram bird was all we needed.

“We can go get vegetables and come back and it will be ready in a few minutes.”

Within eye-shot we spotted a vegetable “stall”, a patch of open ground on the side of the pathway where a selection of fresh produce was laid out.

IMG_2377

Karina grabbed a plastic basket from the shopkeeper man and asked us to begin selecting good tomatoes, onions, green peppers, lemons, oranges, coriander, and parsley. Rubbing elbows with a few elderly ladies, we chose a selection of produce, paid for it with just a few Moroccan dirhams, then returned to the meat stall for our now freshly killed, eviscerated and plucked chicken friend.

The butcher tossed the fowl into a plastic bag and we continued onwards for a couple more stops where we purchased some typical Moroccan flat breads, fresh mint, olives, bottled water, saffron, and olive oil.

IMG_2375

Paying for the just-selected live chicken …

Now, fully loaded with everything needed to make a chicken lemon tagine, we walked 2 or 3 minutes more to a riad (traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard) on the edge of the souk.

Along the souk’s passageway we came to a beautifully-carved wooden door- the entrance to the riad.

We crossed the threshold into a bright hallway lined with framed photos of typical Moroccan scenes that led to a terra-cotta tiled courtyard. The inner courtyard was open in the centre to the sun and blue sky above.

Around the edges of the main patio radiated a large dining section, some stairs leading to upper floors, a smaller dining area with a square table and bench seating, with a small galley-style kitchen to its left. At one other side of the courtyard was a small, deep pool, like a fishpond, but empty of water and filled with potted plants for the winter months.

Karina led us into the kitchen with our fresh supplies where she had us cover up with pressed and pristine white aprons, and then set each of us up at a small workstation with a cutting surface and a short, sharp knife.

Karina chatted happily away in well-honed English about her single Moroccan woman’s life and a young man she was corresponding with in England whom she hoped would become a more serious connection someday soon.

But before we got down to serious cooking work, we returned to the dining table where Karina showed us the preparation of sweet mint tea. We had seen many small cafes in our Moroccan travels where tables filled with men (yes, never women) sat, facing the street, and sipped mint tea as the drink of choice.

IMG_2399

Karina prepares the mint tea …

We went through the multi-step process of making the traditional tea using loose green tea, a large handful of fresh mint and two sizable chunks of white sugar. Soon, Karina began pouring the steaming hot liquid into small glass cups from-on-high style. We sipped the final result and enjoyed the sweet, hot, spearmint flavour.

Tea time over … back to the kitchen.

The orange-clay tagine pots sat before us and we began chopping vegetables and piling the chicken and vegetables into the flat centre of the container. With each ingredient we chopped – just as she had in the souk – Karina had us learn the Arabic word:

Tomato- matisha, onion – basla, chicken – djaj, saffron – zaafron, olives – zitoun, lemon – hamed.

What probably surprised us most in making the tagine dish was the sheer volume of spice added. For each of our small, one person tagine dishes, a full teaspoon each of pepper, coriander, cumin, ginger, and salt were ladled into the mix. Finally a 1/4 teaspoon of saffron, a handful of olives, fresh and preserved lemon, a few tablespoons of pungent olive oil and then a careful turning and mixing of the entire blend completed the dish.

IMG_2414

A work of pre-cooked art …

It surprised me further when we placed the tagine pots directly over the stove’s propane flame for the dishes’ 1 hour cooking.

While the tagine heated, we moved on to the prep of a Moroccan salad.

Each noon meal we’d had on our Moroccan journey consisted of a collection of extremely-fine chopped salads. Today’s salad would be no exception.

Karina had us mince garlic and red onion and tomato so that it appeared almost like a Mexican salsa in consistency. After charring a couple of green peppers directly over the stove’s flame burner, we removed the blackened skins and minced the soft inner flesh as well. The spice blend was lemon and garlic and mint.

IMG_2423

Our salad creation…

In my own personal cooking style, I have a tendency to freelance and use a recipe only as a general guideline. A splash of this, a dash of that.

But today I was in a room of pragmatists, and as I added my spices just a bit haphazardly, Karina sweetly and playfully reminded me that, “You must respect the recipe”.

“You Must Respect The Recipe.”

When the words came from her mouth it sounded like a much deeper life lesson somehow. I’ll have to ponder that over a glass or two of wine someday.

IMG_2413

Karina and Larry “Respecting the Recipe” !

We laughed and joked in English, sometimes in broken French, but always sharing in the fun of a cross-cultural experience with a woman who lived in a Muslim world that bridged a historic past and a western-influenced future.

The scent of the cooking tagine enveloped the riad and the mix began burbling over the clay lip of the pot so Karina tilted the lids to allow steam to escape as if we were boiling potatoes on the stove.

Finally, she declared the tagine meal fully-cooked and sent us off to wait at the dining table that she had set with placemats, a flower, and a small plate filled with the round flatbread that we had bought earlier in the day.

Moments later, she carefully placed our individual tagine pots in front of us, steaming and smelling exotically fragrant. We raised a glass of water to toast (alcohol wouldn’t have been appropriate in this Muslim culture) our creation and then settled in for the tasting.

I could describe the character and quality and the impressions of the dishes, but instead I’ll just let you use your own imagination to absorb and enjoy the complex blend of flavours of our wonderful tagines.

IMG_2425

…………………..

A Visit to the Hammam

Alright, it’s time we returned to the Hammam, the Moroccan public bath, I mentioned at the beginning of this story.

The hammam is found deep within the enclaves of the souk marketplace, and could be easily missed if you didn’t know what to look for.

Redouane, my Moroccan guide, showed me the small, open hole-in-the-wall where I would enter. He came inside the front entrance with me to negotiate with an old man in Arabic, the terms of my visit. I paid about $8 Canadian and was assigned a young “assistant” (I’ll call him Akeem) who spoke no English and only the tiniest bit of French.  From there on, it was just me and the Hammam.

As instructed earlier by Redouane, I took off all of my clothes except for my jockey shorts, hung them on hooks on the side walls of an open room and then was led forward by Akeem.

The hammam was old and steamy. We passed through two tiled rooms with domed ceilings, filled with nearly-naked bodies of Muslim men, young and old. In the third and final room we found some floor space, and Akeem gestured with hand signals for me to sit on the floor.

I gazed around, feeling the warm and wet polished concrete floors, looking up to the grey-white plastered ceilings arched 20 ft above, stained with brown rivulets of who-knows-what.

Lining the walls were long blue and red painted pipes, insistently dripping with piping hot or cool water from which he filled a bucket from the cool pipe and placed it in front of me.

Hammam Fez

It kinda looks like this inside the Marrakech Hammam…

He looked at me, said “dix minutes” (10 minutes), turned and left the room.

I sat there, trying hard and failing miserably to look inconspicuous as the only obviously white westerner. I was growing warm quickly so I started to slosh bits of the cool water from the bucket over myself, much like some others were doing.  I took a few yoga-type breaths and relaxed, feeling the humid heat, letting it penetrate my pores for what seemed like a long, long time.

It was during this heating period that my young friend mentioned at the beginning of this story showed me his private parts.

I had been aware in my peripheral vision that he had been sitting about 6 feet away from me, washing and scrubbing a little and glancing over frequently. Finally, when I turned to look directly at him, he extended his personal invite.

OMG! I instantly shook my head in refusal.

It’s funny, but it took a few minutes for me to absorb the nature of the little interaction. Initially, I thought he was just a friendly, slightly horny young fellow who found me attractive in a sexual way.

But quickly I came around to the more probable truth that meant a single westerner in a hammam might just be seeking out male prostitutes to have some exotic and inexpensive fun. DUH!

My little naive mind grew up quickly.

He wasn’t persistent, but I was casting a closer eye on all of my fellow sweaty roommates now, even the ancient, elderly guy with the torn, old underwear and the sadly sagging scrotum that protruded through the rips.  And now I was getting a tad nervous about the next stage in the hammam experience.

Ten minutes and more had passed before Akeem returned in his tiny, tight little shorts to do the hard part of exfoliating my skin.  He led me into a slightly cooler second room and then gestured that I should lie flat on my back, and he prepared to start with my arms.  I closed my eyes, trying to pretend there was no one else in the room, and determined to enjoy being washed and scraped, only to have them fly open again in shock when the scrubbing began.

This little guy put on the Kessa abrasive glove and started in – it felt as though he was rubbing me down with coarse sandpaper!  After a long few minutes I got used to the pressure and pain, and actually started enjoying it. I was a little mortified at how much dead skin he was stripping from me as he scrubbed every single inch of my flesh outside of my protected shorts area till it was red raw. But he didn’t seem surprised or bothered, so I tried to stop worrying and just enjoy. Plus I figured with all of that skin gone, I had discovered a tried-and-true way to rapid weight loss!

Once my front was done from top to toe, he had me flip over and repeated the process for my back and sides, using black olive-based hammam soap.  He even scoured my face and almost ripped out my eyes, and I was certainly radiating pink all over by the end. At one point he leaned his knee into my lower back and lifted my arms into a painful stretch as a bit of a massage.

Finally, with wads of skin on the floor and lots still clinging to me, he took me to one last room where he scooped little ladles of cool water all over as a final wash.

I exited the hammam with a tingling all over, mostly from the scrubbing.

But maybe, just maybe, a little bit of nervous tingling too, came from the unexpected encounter with a young man who had hoped to make a few extra dirhams in the hammam that day.

IMG_2286

Our Moroccan/Canadian group playing in the snow…Redouane (guide), Fouad (driver), Larry, Sydney (Toronto), Maureen, John (Half Moon Bay, BC), and John (Toronto)

I Want To Be A Prostitute Too!

Leave a comment

Have you ever had the Prostitute dream?

WHOA, what a dream.

For a man (perhaps other than Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, or George Clooney) it’s great to be an object of sexual desire to women. To dream that people might actually want to pay you to get naked and live out the porno world lifestyle? Try as I might, it’s all very hard to imagine and absorb.

Forgive my laughter because PROSTITUTION just isn’t funny.

But the dreams I have about being a male prostitute are.

Fred Garvin Male Prostitute

Women have all the luck…they get to be prostitutes.

Men climb all over each other -so to speak – to pay women to satisfy their carnal needs. And on the plus side, use of prostitutes is an egalitarian sort of activity. Guys paying for sexual services is a class-free, stationless event where the lowest of the low and the highest of the high partake more or less equally. There is a sort of Gucci vs WalMart approach as the price points and quality of services rendered vary tremendously (I’m told!).

It’s a strange quirk of nature that men begin the vigorous hunt of sexual partners from the moment they nudge puberty, looking to sow their seed in any and every flower bed they can find. Most women are taught by their mothers (and maybe even more quizzically so, their fathers) to hold sex as a judicious tool in their quiver, only to be unleashed at rare moments, like Sasquatch or Loch Ness Monster sightings.

It takes a mature man to look at the unfortunate lives of others who shovel in the sexual sandbox to pay their monthly rent bill and still find empathy and deep respect.

In today’s post, I just don’t happen to be that mature man.

You see I’m a typical sort of guy who only sees the romantic shiny veneer of something as dark as prostitution. The ability or opportunity to have sex multiple times each night is like … well it’s like offering sex to a man multiple times each night. I can’t think of a simile/metaphor to top that.

.

I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.”  Steve Martin
.

Woman paying for sex

What a peculiar world we live in where women, who as often as not, would prefer to cuddle with a one-and-only and yet have the opportunity and saleability to erotically nosh with just about any mouthbreather going.

So, what is it really like to be a prostitute?

Pay-for-Sex is more often shown in the TV and movie genres as glorious, enjoyable, desirous activity.  Just a few tidbits of fictional examples of prostitutes like Dan Aykroyd’s Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute on Saturday Night Live or shows like Belle de Jour or Secret Diary of a Call Girl show us how remarkably fun and joyous playing with others in the buff can truly be. Just who wouldn’t want to drink champagne and cavort on crisp, clean hotel sheets with another well-toned, libidinous looker, AND get paid all at the same time. 

Secret Diary of A Call Girl

There’s never any thought given to possible pregnancy or brothel sprouts, it’s all just good pristine fun and games shared with a desirable stranger without any clothes or hangups or back stories.

I live a very sheltered existence and rarely if ever encounter someone who is or has used the services of a prostitute. Of course, I did have some teenage male friends who claimed to have regular rendezvous with the fairer (professional) sex in back alleys and massage parlours. But, just as many men enjoy reading sci-fi fantasy novels as adults, I suspect my teenaged buds were living a touch of lustful fantasy world inside their heads at the time … just sayin’ guys.

The only real life moments even remotely close to the concept of prostitution occurred in my early years living in Yellowknife in the far north. I was shocked that “good” girls could be so forthright and forward in asking for sexual partnering. For a young, naive kind of guy, this was simultaneously shocking and splendidly exciting.

Part of my personal self-esteem is tied to the thought that I might be physically desirable to someone… yeah, anyone! It’s nice to be respected and desired for intellect or personality, but there’s a lower base sort of idea inside that says my physical products could still make the sale in the personal section of Craigslist or Cowboys4Angels.

No woman has ever thought to pay me to be her bed buddy! And truthfully, I don’t think that one ever will. This, despite my ability to pose languorously, seductive-like, and lick my lips just like the most expensive seasoned sexual pro.

I guess that my Happy Ending doesn’t involve pay-for-service, except late at night in the private sanctity of my whoring dreams!

Cowboy4angel