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The rise and fall of the B.A.R.’s well-known escort advertisements

In the LGBTQ community, the media that serve culture address the needs, wants and desires of that culture. One point of ambivalence is the open expression of sexuality and its manifestation in marketing. As long as there is demand, there will be supply.

What is interesting is that this also applies to sex. In my many years as a photojournalist, writer, and columnist, I’ve noticed the breakup that relates to accompaniment. Sex is also a commodity. So let’s sum it up.

One of the first publications of the LGBTQ community, the Bay Area Reporter has never shied away from expressing and exploring every aspect of the community. While browsing the BAR’s huge archives of escort advertising, the feeling of nostalgia and romance overcame me.

They all had big smiles and all appeared to contain 32 teeth, great personalities, and only slightly art-controlled bodies. Did any of them rock a waist over 32 inches? At least they were boyish on one end of the spectrum, very dominant and masculine on the other. We embraced body and facial hair. We had no problem with hippies at S&M.

Not only were there porn stars, obviously there were guys who were college students, plumbers, construction workers, and normal hot guys that you would see in the grocery store or walking down the street. The ads are between those for leather stores, safe sex, phone sex, and second hand adult emporiums. The men’s buyers also seemed romantic to me. I imagined wealthy middle-aged men who had chandeliers in their foyers or on vacation, a birthday present for a friend or a stripper for a party.

It all made sense at some level as it was a more direct way for customers to get exactly what they wanted without wasting time or enduring judgment and / or stigma. Money wasn’t an item.

Then I was brought back to reality by one of my closest friends, the local black gay cultural anthropologist Bob Mathis-Friedman, MA. He explained, “When I remember the BAR’s advertisements, to me they were very boring and homogeneous. They were definitely not representative of the city’s diversity. ”

I agreed, but concluded that the ads were about making money, not the United Colors of Escorting.

He agreed, but then added, “If someone with color took out an ad, what would they look like or would they be the same age, the same age?”

I’ve also looked at optics, but in a more positive way. As a photographer, I studied the images of the displays for lighting and posing techniques. For years, however, I have also noticed that the description of the models and their inclinations were also homogeneous, which poses an interesting dilemma for me. Bob and I have very sophisticated, sophisticated tastes, so I called another friend who has just made great strides in the porn and escorting industry to give his point of view on the escorting culture.


Jared Erikson

Sex, life
Jared Erikson is an award-winning porn star and producer who also accompanies.
“When I was a young gay man, my visceral reaction to escort ads was also romantic that it has to be a great life to have sex with men and make a living from it. As a sober person who doesn’t use nicotine, none Drugs or no alcohol, sex is the ultimate vice for me, so sex work would be the ultimate job.

But as I got older, I fell for the stereotypes that escorts are uneducated, trashy drug addicts who are lazy and can’t get permanent jobs, and that the men they hire are old, fat, ugly, desperate men, that I know now is completely wrong. In my career as a sex worker, I’ve found that reality is exactly the opposite. What determines that is money. ‘”

With technology and the virus resetting our sexuality, I’ve been thinking about today’s options. The proliferation of sex sites like rentmen.com, M4M.com and Onlyfans.com shows pictures available on your laptop and smartphone. with transactions made on your credit card.

A tide of romance is killed for the newspaper too. Gone are the days when there was a lot of flirting and teasing in the last few minutes before Monday when the men came to the BAR offices to personally pay for their ads. You had to love it!

Now of course the times and the currency have changed.

Jared said, ‘The customer-escort payment relationship has changed as we are now using money transfer apps that require both parties to use their real names. In my opinion, the negative of escorting today is that it is in great danger due to Kamala Harris’s SESTA / FOSTA law which has done great harm to escort and sex work in general. ”

These are serious realities, but as I looked at the ads, over time I missed the days of a man undressing and getting a passionate, astute photographer to create a sensual image that was the razor blade between this and hardcore -Pornography moving. Have it printed, staged and displayed in a beautiful newspaper. They took advantage of trends or bucked them, from hardcore leather fetish to Abercrombie & Fitch reality to Dolce & Gabbana hotness.

When I asked my two friends about the future of escorting and its ads in general, Bob concluded, “It’s hard to say, but sex work should definitely be used. Overcome it and tax it like any other adult activity. As for the ads, I see that no one knows what they are doing with their phones. It seems that in the world of imagery, Grindr doesn’t need much. ”

Jared replied, “ People want a serious moment of connection. It is really effective for closed gay, bisexual and bi-curious men within and independently of sex. In practice, the accompaniment will not go away anytime soon. It is not called ‘the oldest profession in the world’ for nothing. “

Jared added a greeting to the BAR: “Congratulations on your 50 years and your courage to be transparent about sex work as a culture and business.”

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going through these troubled times. To support local, independent LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.


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