Friday, January 08, 2010
I’m a guy with a problem.
More specifically, I’m a male escort with a problem.
It’s a problem that’s put me in a variety of wacky situations, strange positions and foreign environments: Seeing as I’m still here to tell the tale, it’s not as if it’s something nefarious and dark. It’s actually a problem that just involves one little word...
No. Nyet. Nay. Nao. Naheen... Saying it when it comes to my schedule has always been tough and my true resolution for 2010 will be to take more time for myself, my dogs and my personal social skills. This year’s tally for commercial travel on the airlines is 345,000 BIS miles (Butt In Seat, that is). While having a personal mileage competition with George Clooney’s character in 'Up In The Air’ is all well and good, it doesn’t allow much time at home to foster a healthy group of friends or regularly fall asleep with your pups (or a boyfriend, for that matter). Actually, it’s just about enough time to write another check for your housekeeper, make sure your luggage is in good shape and re-wash what you need for your next trip.
Sure, it’s glamorous for awhile, leading a jet-set life, but after 7 years you begin to feel the bitch slap of Tokyo’s time zone change a whole lot more than you used to. It doesn’t just sting anymore... It’s like a 300lb gorilla sitting on your chest. Excedrin doesn't make a formula strong enough for this kind of stuff.
Admittedly, in the times I’m allowed, flying private is truly a whole other experience: No TSA, you go when you want, a cabin crew of folks who truly appear happy to be there and seats (or sometime beds) that rival ANY commercial setup. Imagine walking onto a BBJ (Boeing Business Jet), sitting down for dinner, having a drink and then going to your private bedroom to sleep all the way across the Atlantic. It’s absolutely stunning... and stunningly expensive.
So, all summed up, this year will be my year for a little more normalcy. From the looks of my current schedule, I don’t think that’ll happen until mid-May. No complaints at having a full schedule here, but definitely looking forward to some 'me' time soon.
I ended up spending my holidays this year in Key West, deciding somewhat against my will (and better judgment) to forget the family and spend my days enjoying the 80-degree sunshine. Over the last year especially, the island has really gone from being a place I enjoy visiting to my home-away-from-home: I’ve met some wonderful locals who have really made this past year enjoyable on a much more personal level. I’ve also gotten quite defensive in how commercial Key West is getting and continues to get. While the cruise ship trade is down to 10 ships a week, it still spills an incredible amount of traffic on the main Duval drag... And unfortunately it’s usually a crowd the city doesn’t need.
They don’t eat at diverse restaurants. They litter. They think that the Duval bar-crawl is all that Key West is about and don’t even take the time to walk around and learn about the island. Worst of all, many are homophobic and think since they’re tourists that it’s acceptable behavior to make their opinion clear while they're on vacation.
Luckily, even with the city making a deal-with-the-cruiseship-devil, it’s still an awesome place to go. This last trip got me out to LaTeDa for dinner, as well as up into the cabaret to see Chris Peterson’s ICONS show. The show was entertaining, but his Judy Garland impression (vocals and looks) was just insane. I could have watched a whole show of him doing Garland. For those who have seen the great Jim Bailey do his take on Judy Garland, Chris is like watching Bailey in his prime. He’s just a great entertainer who has respect for the impression. Here are some vids of both Chris and Jim (respectively) doing their thing:
And now for your gratuitous, semi-nude self pic of the day...
I’ve been working my ass off in the gym for the past couple of months and it’s paid off. I’ve got stacked abs, lower body fat (7%) and am still at the 195lb mark, meaning I’m keeping muscle. Awesome thing. I’m also supplementing down a lot, cutting out most of my old stack and now just taking Ephedra and a vasodilator. Most of the change I’m seeing is thanks to cutting out all soda (diet included), putting more bulk fiber into my diet and slamming my system with protein two-three times a day. I’ve also had to quite comparing my body to those I admire in my gym, as it’s a waste of time and not realistic when you compare me to them.
They’re usually 5‘9-11“ and I’m just past 6‘3“. It’s easy to build a better body when you’re a the size of a keychain. Luckily, I'm not bitter at all about being born a giraffe.
A big shout-out to Randy Roberts who got some major screen time on this year’s gaymazing CNN New Year’s Eve program with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. While I didn’t hear him name-checked on air, he did have some quippy, smart one-liners and looked Chertastic. I’m sure if it wasn’t for the bevy of somewhat soft go-go boys behind him (and the fact that Anderson Cooper was likely pawing the screen and making obscene hand gestures off-camera), CNN would have showcased his spot-on vocal impression of the ageless wonder. If you haven’t seen him before, here’s some video of Randy in various states of Cher:
Boo. Broadway (ie, tourists) audiences can suck it. They, along with the gossipy bitches at various Broadway message centers, have shuttered the beautiful revival production of Ragtime. It might be closed by the time this posting is live, so here’s hoping that it’s recognized in some way at this year’s Tony awards. Ragtime was a musical that demanded your full attention and that’s somewhat of a hopeless thing in today’s business of Broadway: Without a massive set, live animals, robotic dragons, pyrotechnics, nudity or a familiar movie to base it off if, the audience often struggles to connect, leaving usually great shows to play for half-priced crowds or totally papered houses. Another great show, Caroline or Change, had the exact same issue. Brilliant writing by Tony Kushner and stellar performances by Tonya Pinkins and Anika Noni Rose, but crowds who didn’t know what to do with a musical that explored issues they were likely uncomfortable with.
They would rather pay top-dollar to see a green woman on a cherry-picker yell for nearly three hours. Lovely.
Yeah, and Michael Riedel (NY Post theatre critic) can suck it for his recent kicking them while they're already down column. Truth be told, someone should tell Riedel that people in glass houses shouldn't lob stones... If his various escapades with variant transient folks went public, I'm sure he'd pipe down a bit. There's nothing more fun than taking the bite out of someone's very shallow bark. *wink*
I’m going to wait to do a trip report on Spain and North Africa, as it was nearly a 15-day trip and there’s still images I’m processing, as well as things I want to physically jot down before writing. It was quite an adventure. One of the best hotel upgrades of my life came while spending time in Lisbon... I’m still trying to find a way to send flowers to the concierge at the Four Seasons for that awesome suite. I’d also like to mention that that same hotel houses the most beautiful gym I’ve ever seen at any hotel. All glass and located on the top floor. If you’re fair-skinned, you’d actually need SPF to work out there mid-day, as the sunshine just streams everywhere.
Some pics of the pool area and fitness center...
What I will describe in this edition is the serious cool factor of the Emirates first class suite, which I had the opportunity to fly in on my way to and from Dubai over the New Year’s holiday.
First, a quick look...
The most interesting thing about this suite is that with the touch of a button, walls raise to provide total privacy and sound isolation. It even lights up a ‘do not disturb’ placard on the outside of the door. The seat reclines to a full 6‘5“ position and offers retractable arm rests for those wanting to side sleep comfortably. Adding to the general sense of space, Emirates did away with overhead bins in the first class cabin, opening up vertical space and allowing tall folks like myself the ability to stand up and stretch without bumping into anything. Nice touch.
While I didn’t use them, the shower suites were an insane design touch. Imagine the ability to arrive anywhere in the world, showered, fresh and ready to roll. That, to me, is priceless. While I usually end up using an arrivals lounge to freshen up, it’s a true time saver if I could do all of this on-board before landing. Big thumbs up for that very luxe amenity.
Emirates is still pouring Dom and doing a caviar service, even as their contemporaries (ie, British Airways, Qatar, Singapore) are doing away with it. Granted, I’m not a fan of caviar and never drink while flying, but it’s nice to see that for more than $20k a seat, you’re still getting the very best they can get their hands on.
So, I got to Dubai without fail and spent my NYE there. While it wasn’t my first time there, it was my first time for New Year’s Eve. It took me awhile to get used to all of the 'non-alcohol’ events, as most of my ushering in of years has included at least one to three bottles of Bollinger.
Contrary to what American news media has reported, construction has NOT slowed down and the city continues to build at a breakneck speed. There’s definitely a feeling of Las Vegas scale when you’re there, but with the sheer amount of oil money going into every project, it makes Sin City look positively primeval. While most of the design is jaw-dropping, there is also quite a bit of garish, or- more appropriately- just plain ugly decor, reminding me that you can take the gold-leafing out of the Middle East, but you can’t take the Donald Trump out of the oil money. No matter how many ‘stars’ the Burj Al Arab (repeatedly) say they have when you check-in, their suites still make you feel like you’ve checked into an Atlantis resort on quaaludes.
Ski Dubai was pretty neat. With it being nearly 80 degrees outside, it was fun to be able to suit up and ski indoors on a rather large slope. Amazing building it’s contained within. Looks like something Frank Gehry would design.
... And speaking of batshit crazy design and loads of foreign money, City Center (partially) opened in Las Vegas: It’s a new hotel/entertainment complex from MGM containing 5 hotels, a massive new mall, yet another Cirque show and hopefully a newfound service ethic to wash away the usual crappy taste that MGM properties leave in my mouth. I still haven’t forgiven MGM for what they did to Bellagio when they swiped it from Steve Wynn. Bastards.
I haven’t yet had the chance to stay at CC, but the trip is already planned for late January and I’ve got one-night stays lined at all open CC hotels: A 1br sky-penthouse at ARIA, a panoramic suite at Vdara and an apex suite at Mandarin Oriental. While I’m a little scared of the opening reviews for Vdara, I’m willing to suffer through for the greater good... And that good would be seeing just how well MGM copes with the growing pains of a brand new property. I’ve done opening days for both Wynn and Encore, which turned out to be surprisingly smooth and am chomping at the bit to compare and contrast.
Look for a complete wrap-up of City Center sometime in early February. I’ll snap lots of pics too!
With 2010 now beginning, the last month was sprinkled with talk of ‘EOY’ honors (Escort of the Year) and who deserved what from whom. In full-disclosure mode, I was not mentioned on any of the major sites, but that’s neither here nor there: I’ve garnered my awards for my professionalism and continue to get name-checked in publications as the best in the high-end business. What was mildly funny about this year’s awards was that they weren’t really awards at all.
On Daddy’s Reviews for example, there was no actual vote taken and everyone mentioned on the published list seemed to appear out of nowhere and without proper explanation. Now, it’s fine with me if the owner of a site wants to simply name his favorite names and call it square... Frankly, it’s his site, his sandbox and his rules. What concerns me more about this situation is that a portion of the escorts named are also guys who quietly practice questionable sexual safety, both personally and on a professional level, putting their current and future clientele at great risk. Even when practicing safer sex (w/ a condom), the transmission of HIV is still possible and that’s not even to mention the risk of breakage.
I maintain that supporting anyone who actively hides their true HIV status while engaging in professional sex work is irresponsible, dangerous and just plain idiotic. What’s even worse is rewarding the behavior and giving credence to the unsafe activity happening on a repeat basis. Just because we function in a fringe industry doesn't mean we have to conduct business in fringe ways.
Well, it looks like the famous ‘if the GHB bottle don’t fit, you must acquit’ argument still works... Sources tell me that Seth Apper/Scott Adler has been released from the pokey, getting (again) probation time and an immediate, court-ordered stint in rehab. I find this all very interesting considering it was common knowledge in West Hollywood that Seth rarely overindulged in what he sold, preferring to make money off of his drugs. It sounds as if his defense attorney used an ‘addiction’ scenario to plea down his sentence from prison time. Nice move, but now Seth is in the delicate situation of having to walk the straight & narrow, as there are MANY out there who would like nothing more than to see him violate the terms of his very lucky parole. That means no more (public) escorting. No more posting on escort message boards (possible intent to commit a crime). No more Rentboy pool parties (because, let’s face it, there’s more snow at those events than in the French Alps).
Seth, if you’re reading this: Now is the time to make a real change. You’ve been given a massive chance to retool your life and start over. Don’t fuck it up.
Ah, before I forget, mi amigo (and fellow beautiful Texas escort) Noah Driver has started down the long and winding road of blogging. Congrats! I can only offer my sympathy and strength to keep it going as long as I have. My advice is to always keep it real and if you’re going to plagiarize from someone else, make sure they don’t have a Pulitzer Prize.
I kid, I kid... There's never an excuse to not originate.
That’s all I’ve got in me for this edition, so I’ll sign off with a hearty thanks for reading and most excellent wishes for a happy, prosperous and shagadelic 2010. I’m very much looking forward to a fantastic year and a whole lot more blogging. Just to make it a little easier, I changed my blog template to include my Twitter feed. If you want to ‘follow me,’ it’s as easy as clicking on the new button... Being this lazy has never been so much fun!