Last night in Manhattan, on the eve of the Black Party XXXIV (with its worst-ever theme and graphics -- clowns), Rentboy.com presented the Hookies, honoring the world's finest male escorts. If any cultural significance can be gleaned from the event, perhaps it's that the finalists and winners are not particularly young -- several claim to be in their 30s -- contradicting shopworn notions about gay desire and priorities. The other point to make is that the victories are meaningless, as they were chosen by a public voting from photos without personal experience of all six nominees for Best Top, etc., in fifteen categories.
Best Newcomer: JD Phoenix
Best Kink: Draven Torres
Best Twink: Sean Caden
Best Daddy: Charlie Harding
Best Body: Trenton Ducati
Best Cock: Rafael Alencar
Best Ass: Tate Ryder
Best Top: Austin Wolf
Best Bear: Heath Jordan
Best Masseur: Andreas NYC
Best Dancer: Erik Rage
Best Blogger: Eli Lewis
Best Dressed: Josh Ryley
Best Boyfriend Fantasy: Samuel Colt
Best Porn Star Escort: Trenton Ducati
The best memoir on hustling is Rick Whitaker's Assuming the Position. But there's also Aiden Shaw's Sordid Truths: Selling My Innocence for a Taste of Stardom and My Undoing: Love in the Thick of Sex, Drugs, Pornography, and Prostitution.
This week Michael Musto posted "So Many Gay Porn Stars Have Died Lately! Why?" and turned to Sean Van Sant for these answers:
"I think all of these deaths are very different," he wrote to me, "so I do not want to generalize. I think sex workers suffer the same problems gay men do in general, with substance abuse and suicide rates high, and those problems can be even worse for sex workers, who lack support systems because of shame and stigma for their profession. But those factors are not new, nor are they suddenly worse than before.
"I think we should be looking closer at
1) Gay men in midlife crisis
2) Use of body-building steroids causing severe health problems and daily pain as men age (this has gone unreported)
3) Over-prescription of pain medications (how and why was it so easy to commit suicide?)
4) A poor economy for transitioning into other forms of work after a career based on physical labor and youth
5) And lastly there is a real possibility of 'copy-cat' syndrome where suicides inspire more suicides. Suicide rates are much, much higher for men than for women; and the U.S. military is experiencing an historical number of suicides among veterans."