Today, a 25 year old from Los Angeles (by way of Alabama) will become the first legal male prostitute in this country's history. "Markus" (his working name) was fresh off the Greyhound bus yesterday when he granted Details an exclusive first interview in a cottage at the Shady Lady Ranch brothel, two-and-a-half-hours northwest of Las Vegas. His story is about to become a national sensation. Read on to find out why.
Q: So you'd rather be called a gigolo than a prostitute.
A: I think for a male, if you want to be successful in this type of venture, you're not a prostitute. You're a surrogate lover. You encompass everything that's required of you—not only emotionally, physically—but psychologically. Because women are wired differently. They're much more sensitive creatures. You actually have to enjoy what you do. You can't necessarily say, "Oh, it's just a job." You actually have to say it's a passion. I think it's the same situation as with anything that happens when you break apart a social institution. There has to be some kind of change in terminology to describe persons like myself. And it's more of a civil rights thing now. Basically this is the first time in the economy of the United States that a male has actually stood up and said, "I want to do this for a living." And be protected under law to do it. It's just the same as when Rosa Parks decided to sit at the front instead of the back. She was proclaiming her rights as a disadvantaged, African-American older woman. And I'm doing the same. I'm actually standing up now, and hopefully I can be supported by the male community and be understood as a person. This actually isn't about selling my body. This is about changing social norms.
Q: And how is it that you became the first legal gigolo in this country?
A: When I was 7, my father and mother applied for a divorce, and I was pretty much left sensory deprived for my whole adolescent and formative years. There was a deficit there—a sensory deficit—where I was left in a shell. There wasn't anything sexual about it. It was more, like, caresses—maybe a kiss on the cheek or a hug. Psychologists say a child should be hugged at least, you know, two or three times a day for him to be a functional human being. Then, once I reached adulthood, I didn't have any sexual relationships. So naturally, when someone is in the psychological state that I'm in, I don't think of it as a disadvantage. I think it's more of a prerequisite for what I'm fixin' to do. You're striving to make up for lost time, basically. You're trying to remake the things that you were missing out on as a young adult. Psychologically, Freud always said that every man inherently has an innate desire to copulate or have some sort of relation with his mother—regardless of whether he wants to admit it or not. I think this engenders what it means to be a gigolo. A gigolo is looking for a surrogate mother. And basically he's filling the need for someone, but at the same time, he's getting the respect and the compassion that he missed from an earlier developmental deficit.
Q: Are there other things that qualify you for the job?
A: I've been in the adult industry—I've only done a couple of scenes, but I realize it's very cold and calculated. What I experienced was that the male was just a prop—nothing more, nothing less. In the porn world, they say it's like a menu: BJ, double penetration—that's prostitution. That's not feeling affection or love. People say the adult industry is failing. It's not failing—it's stagnant. No one's really being progressive. I view myself as an artist, a performer. It's a craft, and it has to be learned. In porn, they have to have these degrading acts. I consider myself a classier person than going below myself to do that. This is much different. It's closer and more personal. Whichever woman may walk through the door, she's appreciated. A surrogate lover will love that woman for a whole hour, or however much we charge here [$200 for 40 minutes], and she'll leave feeling much more empowered, and much more confident in herself. I'm an equal opportunity employer. I don't discriminate based on race, color, creed, ethnicity, or skin tone. Notice I left gender out. That's for a reason.
Q: Why? Will you have a women-only policy?
A: I think gay people are very put-together. I think they're very classy, very well-organized people. They have great personalities. I have nothing against them, but that's not me. And as the first male that's entering this field legally in the entire United States, I'd like to assert my rights and say that I can sit here and have a decent conversation, but I draw the line at that. In the adult industry they said, "Well you're not going to make enough money. The equation's already set—you have to go gay for pay if you want to make the big bucks." So, that's prostitution, in my opinion. That's disrespect to the artist. My sphincter isn't for sale. But what is for sale is companionship—total appreciation for whoever walks through that door. I'm not saying I'm special. I'm not saying that I'm better than anyone, but I'm definitely unique. And I think it's a good thing.
Q: How are you unique?
A: There's five things I think that separate a gigolo from the average man: number one being the psychological profile—how he was raised, his upbringing, his thought, his morality, what he views as right and wrong. He must have the heart of a saint, the mind of a philosopher, and the skills of the devil—that's the second qualification. The third one is I never refer to any woman as a bitch, ho, twat, cunt, or any of those terms. It offends me. Women don't pay for sex, they pay for experience. And luckily for me, I don't have that much experience with sex, but I have the mentality and the emotion and gumption to make them feel the way they want to feel. And if I complete that through sex, too—which I'm a very good performer in that respect, too—my mission's accomplished. The fourth thing that separates a gigolo is a gigolo knows how to cook, clean, and do the things necessary to upkeep himself. He's totally independent. He can cook a 3-course meal, and at the same time, serve wine.
Q: Where did you get those five rules? Are those just things you came up with or did you read them somewhere?
A: That's my charter. It has to be developed because if anyone else is going to do this, they're going to have to have a charter set up. I knew if this was going to be a viable business, you have to have a level of discipline. I think that a gigolo should have no relations outside of the brothel because it's his playground. Through engaging with a female, he's actually rewarding himself in a way he's never been rewarded before. It's a very beautiful, almost holy experience. I'm changing the way people think. I'm not college-educated, but I'm well-read. That's the fifth thing that a gigolo must have. He must be literate, he must have a sense of honor and dignity to himself. He should just be an all-around good guy.
Q: Where did you write your charter?
A: I memorized it. I think the charter lays out what can actually be accomplished. Because this is going to be a tough job—don't get me wrong. There's going to be times where there's an ugly woman—ugly physically—but there's going to be something inside of her that has to be released, and if I can release it through sexual activity or just conversation and companionship, that's what I have to do.
Q: How did you come to Nevada?
A: I left L.A. because there was really nothing there for me. Everyone was so set in their ways. I just wasn't getting enough work through the adult industry. I came across the Shady Lady article, and I decided that this would be the best choice for me. It would actually utilize me and actually train me, so if I actually do get called up for another film, I'll be much more inclined and very much more experienced.
Q: How did you get involved in the adult industry?
A: Well, I've only been involved in two films, but I really didn't like it. I'm an artist. They try to reinvent it, but I think it just comes down to the fact that people aren't passionate about it anymore, so the market suffers. I don't think it has anything to do with the economy. It has to do with there's no more passion involved.
Q: How long ago did you do your first film?
A: About a month ago.
Q: Oh, so you're relatively new to all this.
A: Yeah, I'm relatively new and see, like I said, it's so set over there, they wouldn't even give me the chance. You couldn't even set foot inside the door. I'm from the same background as Larry Flynt. Larry Flynt was from the backhills of Kentucky. He wasn't a city boy. He wasn't a rich, high-class friggin' has-it-all type of guy. He was actually a fuckin' chicken farmer. That's where I come from. That's my heritage.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I'm from Alabama, sir. I'm from the great county of Lawrence.
Q: What city?
A: I don't really want to divulge that because then people back in my hometown are going to be like, "Oh my God..."
Q: When did you leave?
A: Well, I joined the military because I have a sense of adventure. I'm a very adventure-oriented person.
Q: How long were you in the military?
A: I was in it for 2 years but I got in trouble. I don't really want to get into it.
Q: Did you get deployed?
A: Uh, no. Was supposed to, but I didn't want to go. So because it was on a voluntary basis, I was like, "I'm gettin' out." It was the Marine Corps. The thrillers and killers. I was about 21 when I joined. I'm 25 now.
Q: How'd you get out of it?
A: I just didn't want to go. I told my commanding officer I didn't want to be a Marine anymore and he was like, 'Okay, we'll file your paperwork." I didn't get benefits or anything, but I got out.
Q: Did you get an honorable discharge?
A: No, I got "other than honorable." It's middle ground. But it's not like I failed. I kind of screwed up—I don't want to divulge anymore.
Q: Where'd you go after that?
A: I went back home to Alabama. There wasn't much goin' on there. I went back, grandma and grandpa were still living next to us, Daddy was still working at the paper mill. I knew as soon as I got back there wasn't any opportunity there.
Q: What were you doing before the military?
A: I was going to college at the University of North Alabama. I studied political science with international relations. I just got sick of college life. That wasn't for me.
Q: Does your father know you're out here?
A: Well, yeah, but he doesn't know what's going on down here. I don't know if he'll be surprised, disappointed, angry, upset, proud, or—I don't really know. But that's my choice, you know? It doesn't bother me. What I'm doing is perfectly normal.
Q: How'd you decide on California?
A: Because I was reading a book—How To Make Love Like a Porn Star by Jenna Jameson. Yeah, I was reading that book and I thought, "Hey, I want to do that. I'm a talented that way. I can hack that." And here I am. It's funny how things work out.
Q: How'd you get to California from Alabama?
A: I drove my car. A '98 Honda Civic. I was literally living out of the back of my car. I went to food drives and stuff to get food. It was very depressing, because I was like, 'What the hell have I got myself into?' I was literally a starving artist in the truest sense of the word.
Q: Did you try finding work in something other than the adult film industry?
A: I tried applying for anything from waiter to car washer to any of these menial odd jobs, and felt like I was really wasting talent and time on it. I felt that my youth was being wasted.
Q: Did you get any of those jobs?
A: Nope. It's just the economy. The economy sucks. So I ended up in a homeless shelter in the Santa Monica area.
Q: So how did you first get involved—did you meet someone who already was a gigolo or something?
A: No, no. It didn't happen that way. I was on the Internet, and there was this expose about how this would actually be the first legal male prostitute in the United States and they were hiring. So I decided, hey, I'll apply for it. I was in California and saw that this place was accepting applications.
Q: So tomorrow you go to get formally registered in the state—the country's first legal gigolo. All the camera crews are coming. You nervous?
A: Yeah. I think we're stirring the hornets' nest with this. I need a cigarette. I don't smoke, but I need a cigarette. Hey, you don't have a lighter do you?