Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Trope Down Memory Lane: Men for Sale

The hooker with the heart of gold: that character type has been a Hollywood staple for decades. As has the scheming, cold-blooded, or even murderous whore.

No wonder many of us find men in the sex trade . . . well . . . sexy. Exotic dancers. Porn stars. Escorts. Rent boys. Maybe it's the ambiguity built into the lifestyle that appeals to us. It can simultaneously be glamorous, tawdry, and dangerous. The men brashly put themselves out there, yet have (we suspect) an underlying emotional vulnerability. Sizzling physical appeal and sexual prowess are often coupled with intelligence, creativity, and/or sensitivity.

Frankly, I love these types of characters. I love exploring their complexity. The psychologically scarred Daren Boothe in Xylophone is a gender-fluid erotic dancer, and Faron Weaver, the Amish MC in A Hole in God's Pocket, has often depended on sugar daddies to get by. Below are two more of my men for sale.

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Mobry's Dick (now on sale at Loose Id!)

Late-19th-century illusionist Alain Mobry, a short, homely man with a clubfoot, is known primarily for his elaborate clockwork automata. But his private life is even more complex than his mechanisms. Mobry is a homosexual and a member of the Green Carnation Club, a secret gathering place for gay men of the theater. He’s also dabbled in “real” magick. There are hints of it in an illusion called the Fountain of Youth—in which a beautiful youth called Puck, never seen in public, emerges from a diorama and disappears back into it—and in a profane automaton Alain has devised specifically to entertain the Green Carnation’s members. He would like his creation to be for one man in particular, a fellow magician with whom he’s infatuated.  But he never gets the chance to offer his gift . . .

Over 100 years later, a peculiar item turns up at an outdoor flea market. It looks something like a blunt-nosed artillery shell to Cameron Waters, the young real estate broker who buys the piece out of curiosity. It looks like the legendary automaton known as Mobry’s Dick to Paul Patrillo, a graduate student who’s been researching the history of stage magic. It looks like a blessing as well as a curse when it brings the two men together.

While Cameron inches his way out of the closet and Paul struggles to free himself from a sugar daddy who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, the unlikely pair grow closer as they tackle the mystery of Mobry’s Dick -- with startling and nearly tragic results.

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It was just an amateur porn video, like thousands of others on the Internet. Like hundreds Jonathan Wright has seen and hundreds more he's ignored. He hadn't intended to watch it. In fact, he hadn't intended to go anywhere near his home office. He was simply on his way to the bathroom—the only sensible destination, aside from bed, in the middle of the night.

Jon's fuck-buddy for the evening doesn't think so. Much to Jon's annoyance, his trick is having some solo fun in front of the computer as he watches a lithe, blond young man doing naughty things with a bearish, older man. When Jon gives in to his curiosity and watches the same video the next day, he's seduced too…and feels like a pervert afterward. The youth in the video seems a little too young, despite the fact he also has his own escort service. Worse yet, Jon gets the nagging feeling he's seen "Justin Time," aka precious_boy, before.

One of Jon's former lovers, a college professor eleven years his senior, is the connecting link between that vague sense of recognition and the hot bottom whose screen name is precious_boy. When Jon takes the defining step of meeting Justin in a Chicago hotel room, his past, present, and possibly his future begin to converge in alarming and confusing ways. There’s no escaping the resulting dilemma: Jon must decide just how involved he wants to get with a sweet kid, all grown up now, whose life has turned sour, and with an ex-lover who seems to care more about his own needs than those of his lost son.

The resolution lies in trust that was established and faith that was betrayed seven years earlier. And it won't come easily.

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