Hustling - John Preston
(A Gentleman's Guide to the Fine Art of Homosexual Prostitution)
In the States
I thought this was a semi-novel, but it actually is a book about hustling. Very informativeÖ. Iíve learnt how to set up my phone; how to run an ad and what to say; how to greet clients; how to practise safe sex and how to manage my earnings.
Pity Iím not gay or a man really; Iím clearly missing out on a lucrative career.
Can it really be this easy? Sure, the author isnít writing about street hustlers. Heís talking about college educated beautiful men who make money doing what is, after all, their main hobby: having sex. Think Brian Kinney charging for itÖ. Except, of course, that clients rarely turn out to be the men youíd have sex with by choice. Often with kinky tastes and desires, the male prostitute has to be all things to all men: sometimes a top, sometimes a bottom, a master, a slaveÖ.
I found the book interesting from an anthropological sense, and can almost see it becoming mandated text on a gay-studies course.† Itís an easy summer-day read. But it didnít capture my emotions at all, so probably rent if you can rather than purchase.
Basically a how-to manual for the would-be male prostitute, this is written by a man who knows what heís talking about because heís been there- 14 year-old Preston inadvertently sold himself to a travelling salesman and discovered he liked both the sex and the money.† Because his experience was a long time ago (late 50s and early 70s), Preston got input from contemporary hustlers when he wrote his book in the 90s.
†Prestonís world is a long way from the sordid and sleazy existence of the rent boys in TWIST.† As a leatherman, an aggressive top, he was in demand, for his good looks, great body and sharp mind.† The kind of hustler Preston talks about isnít the desperate street kid looking to earn enough to score his next hit.† The subtitle says it all:† a gentlemanís guide.† This is PALACE OF VARIETIES territory.† Preston is an educated man, from good family.† A former Advocate editor, he returned to prostitution during a spell of unemployment because it was so easy to make money and he loved the work that had to be done to get it.
Preston discusses safe sex and insists condoms MUST always be worn.† I suppose thatís why heís still around to tell his story.† But there are vulnerable kids turning tricks who arenít in his position to say no when a john insists on bareback.† THATíS reality, and itís not part of the remit of this book, entertaining and informative as it is.†
Preston treats hustling like any other job, gives practical advice and essential information needed to stay in control and safe.† Stuff like who uses hustlers and why, whatís expected and how to behave, how to find clients and what to do with the cash.†
I loved his story of how, when he couldnít explain to his parents where all the money came from, adolescent Preston stuffed bills into envelopes and mailed them to charities and museums.† Clearly he was never your average prostitute.
Preston has a point that all labour can be exploitative and degrading- McJobs for e.g.† And itís true that whoring leaves a lot of time free for poetry, prayer and meditation.† †But itís not a profession youíd want listed on your CV.† I doubt itís quite as easy as he says to take the money, enjoy the sex and laugh all the way to the bank.† Fine if you can do it, but not every youngster is a John Preston, and what about those that end up brutalised or dead, or their self-esteem so low they sink deeper into drug addiction and crime?
It leaves the impression hustling is a perfectly fine way to finance a college education or fund a lifestyle beyond the reach of your normal 9-5:00 job.† However, I still wouldnít want MY sons selling their bodies to avoid student debt.† There is one very brief chapter covering the downside of prostitution, but itís not exactly a balanced account.
What I liked most about the book was how Preston conveys the joy of sex, and the pleasure of being gay.† If not that it might encourage them to follow Prestonís example, this would be an excellent book to give any mature young person struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.† Itís eye-opening, full of fascinating details, a very enjoyable read.† John Preston is a gifted writer.† This is the first book of his Iíve read, and I want more.†
**Afternote:- Apparently, John Preston died of AIDS in the same year Hustling was published. Our thanks to Dusk for letting us know and for pointing us in the direction of this great site on the author: