This article is an excerpt from the latest issue of The Spectator, out tomorrow.
I am not surprised that Keith Vaz has been caught sleeping with male hookers. I’m one myself and so I know that overweight married Asians are our staple. We often joke that without Indians and-Middle Eastern guys, we’d all be broke. They are always married. I’ve always been sickened by the way they betray their wives, but they aren’t paying me for my judgment.
There are different types of rent boy. Some are very young, slim and smooth. They are called twinks. I am dark, hairy and muscled, which appeals to certain clients who want a ‘real man’. I’ve been escorting for nearly four years, and I’ve had hundreds of different and weird experiences. I see men of all different ages and backgrounds. I meet lawyers, businessmen, all sorts.
I see a few politicians, too — from the House of Lords and the House of Commons. One has a nice car and he collects me, then drives me back to his flat. He has a house outside London but he uses the place in London for dangerous liaisons. (This is common.) The man is married but I don’t think he has much of a relationship. The politicians think I don’t know who they are, but I’m not stupid. I watch Question Time and the news.
I met one member of the House of Lords, a man who used to be married many years ago. Before he was ennobled he was MP for one of the poshest London constituencies. He told me he was in the closet then. He was married and had a son. Now he is a grand-father and open about his sexuality. I liked him. He wasn’t interested in intercourse. He was more into wrestling. It was a safe-sex habit he picked during the HIV panic of in the 1980s.
Lots of my clients are far less nervous of Aids, and want unprotected sex. Either they don’t realise that HIV is common in London, or they like the thrill. They are crazy. Most escorts don’t oblige. Those who do say yes are either HIV positive or-desperate for the money — often because they are on drugs.
I am gay and Muslim and I was an asylum seeker in this country. I came here because some of my gay friends were killed back home. My family do not know why I was granted asylum here and they do not know that I am gay. They keep asking me when I will get a wife. I will not get married, even though it would make life easier. It’s wrong to do that to a woman. It annoys me that people still get married because they are too scared to accept who they are. That said, closeted men pay well and use lots of escorts, so without them I would be much worse off.
The work is often quite boring. Some clients bury their heads in a pillow, others are so high on drugs that they don’t really have a clue what is going on. Often I get my phone and start texting friends to make the time go by.
In fact, the whole process of being an escort is rather tedious. You have to sit around a lot waiting for bookings. Each morning I log on to the escort websites I use, then wait. Then at about 11 a.m. I get up and go to the gym. You have to drop everything at short notice when you get a booking, so it’s difficult to make plans.
The busiest time for escorts is Sunday evening. I think it’s because people have been at home with their wife and kids all weekend and it’s driven them mad. Hiring an escort is their way of coping with having spent the rest of the weekend in Ikea.
You can make a lot of money if you work hard. London is full of people with cash to burn. Some regular clients give you presents and bonuses. A friend of mine has just been given £10,000 cash from a man he sees. It’s common for clients to get confused and think of you more as a boyfriend than an escort. They take you on holiday. Those ones can be a bit needy.
I doubt Keith Vaz was that sort. But he did conform to another stereotype: the risk-addicted politician who seemed bent of self-destruction. Strange as it may seem, even immigrant rent boys value British democracy and the standards expected of MPs who uphold it. I have indefinite leave to remain; I’ll soon be a British national and I hope to go to university. And then settle down in this country — which has saved my life.
Mohammed Ashfaq is a pseudonym