of Sneakers

July 2000


Angels have been called, among much else, "Sons of Twilight." Some are truly Creatures of the Night: working boys (and girls). But "a conventional representation of an angel," as my dictionary put it, rarely depicts a prostitute.

Maybe never. They've got a bad rep. Once, describing Shel to an acquaintance who'd never met him, I said: "He was decent." He shot back: "Decent! How can a hustler be decent?"

My friend Paul Pearce once popped out: "You're always looking for the prostitute with a heart of gold!" Not an uncommon phrase -- so clearly some allow for the possible kindness of whores. And Paul had made that crack in jest: I'd been telling him of golden hearts just found.

I like hustlers. I've known quite a few (if dancing boys count; some would deny it, not selling "sex," strictly speaking, even in a private booth). Some I'll show you here, on a night at Sneakers before I found Will of Sneakers, reported to Jane Rule in a letter of June 24. It's the same letter that told of my penultimate encounter with Angel of Remington's, the scene here following directly on that one.

But of all those working boys, I've bedded just four. Two of them often -- if not often for sex. "What really counts," as I once told Jane (in the moment about Oliver of Remington's, glorious gift to the world), "is what you get beyond what you pay for: something of another person."

Here's a tale of one, very much his own person, in a letter of August 19 -- the same one telling tales of Nathan.

Angels are not innocent. Blessedly not.

Saturday, June 24, 2000, 7:30 pm

Not ready to call it a night [after Angel] I went back to Sneakers.

Over the pool table was a young man I've watched often: handsome in a quiet way (he looks like Noah Wyle, Dr John Carter on ER, if smaller and Italian), always in baggy jeans, untucked shirt and usually a baseball cap -- but most captivating for his easy grace: a calm, clear presence.

Last night I got up the nerve to tap him on the shoulder and tell him what a pleasure it is to watch him play. I said: "You seem to know who you are." Odd comment, but what I most wanted to say. He smiled and replied: "Most of the time." His name, he told me, is Joe.

After that Mike, a boy I've also watched play, asked what I was doing later. I asked, "Are you working?" He was. I said I didn't think I could afford him. He asked: "What have you got?" I said: "What do you want?"

"Whatever. I could give you a rate depending on time." Not an unappealing boy, but I suspected a bit messy. I left without getting rates.

It was 12:45 when I got home -- the longest night (with the most beer) I've spent out in ages. I'd kept meaning to leave, but it felt better to me than it has in ages -- perhaps aided by George Hislop, who often has the scoop on the boys there. There was quite a bouncy one, redheaded and running around shirtless. "That's Ray," George told me, "used to work at the Spa, still there all the time." As is George.

I told him I'd never been good at the baths, having gone maybe five times in my life. But if the Spa meant the likes of Ray, well.... George dug in his wallet and handed me a pass for a free room. I hesitate to use it, feeling I'd need to check with my doctor first about testosterone shots.

Friday, August 19, 2000, 3:30 pm

I've been putzing at the computer, tasks utterly mechanical, my mind not settled to any more intellectually gripping occupation. I contented myself with that last night, when I might have been out trying to occupy myself with boys, one in particular, named Will -- gripping in his own way, even intellectually.

I picked up Will at Sneakers three weeks ago yesterday. I'd seen him two nights before, at The Barn: a kid in tent baggy pants, football jersey -- "Player 00" on his back [I think making it a blank, name and number yet to come] -- and a cap, standing by the dance floor twirling glow sticks. Odd things: translucent plastic tubes on the ends of cords, two chemicals inside, one in a thin glass rod; bend them slightly and the rod breaks, the chemicals mix and fluoresce. They're big at raves.

I liked the look of him, in fact of many kids that night at The Barn, drawing more boys (and girls) than in my heyday there. But I just watched and went home.

Then on Thursday there he was, twirling again, at Sneakers. I watched again, trying to connect but for quite a time didn't. Finally he headed toward the front, maybe to leave. I followed -- but he stopped to talk to someone. I sat by the door for a bit, then left.

Just a block down Yonge I thought: What the hell? I went back. He was still there, moved gradually closer in his convivial rovings and then sat next to me. No slouch this boy: he'd noticed all my moves.

"So, what are you doing tonight?" he asked. "Oh, I don't know, going home I guess. What are you doing?" A subtle smile: "I think you know what I'm doing."

Of course I did. "So, how much would it cost to take you home?"

"Fifty bucks." I said: "I could do that." And I did. Will would be the first boy (or anyone) I had taken to bed in nearly five years. Later I told him so.

He said on our walk to my place: "I have to warn you about something right away. I'm very gentle. I don't like getting roughed up."

That was the furthest thing from my mind, gentle a delicious prospect. But it got us talking. "It must be odd," I said, "not knowing what you might be getting into." "Well, I'm pretty careful. I watch guys in the bar for a while, try to see who knows them, what they might be like." Obviously.

In fact, I do the same thing. A kid who seems to have no friends, intent on hitting up potential business as soon as he walks in, is one to avoid. "I'm so glad I'm 19 now," Will said, "so I can work the bars, not the streets" -- as he had, where likely clients are harder to suss out.

Then he asked: "Have you got a tape deck?" I said I did. "Good. I've got a tape" -- "trance" music it turned out, another rave thing, accompaniment for a home demo of his glow sticks, eager to show them off. He did: standing in the dark still dressed, twirling blue figure-eights and very proud of them.

"Here," he said, "you try it." I did, if without his skill.

He was gentle (as he'd said), considerate (as Gerald has said any good prostitute must be), waiting to see what I might want. I (as I would!) wondered what he might want.

I liked his ease with his body, more substantial than he'd looked under all those baggy duds; not over-muscled, more comfortably succulent. He lay down beside me, naked -- but for his cap. I asked if he wanted to take it off.

"Turn on the light," he said, and with a grin whipped it off, the long hair on top of his head (the sides shaved, the back to a point) flying out. Blue. He wanted me to see it.

Then: "Wanna see my butt?" He rolled on his side to show me, gave it a slap. Very nice. "But I don't get fucked," he said. "Never have." I didn't have that in mind anyway. "Why would I want to do something you don't want?" I said. "That wouldn't be any fun." (A point he seemed briefly to ponder; I later told Gerald I had perhaps confounded hustler etiquette.)

The rest of him was delicious enough. He was playful with his cock, seemed to like it, enjoyed me liking it, even saying once: "Use your hand again too, I like how that feels" -- that small insistence on his own pleasure, on himself, just what I most wanted.

His smooth stomach was subtly fragrant. I said, "You smell good."

"Just me. No cologne."

At one point, on his knees straddling me as I sat back (a position I love: the sweep of face, chest, belly, thighs, all before me; cock too, his pert in my face), he pulled up sudden: "Oh! -- I'm gonna fart."

I heard nothing, wouldn't have cared if I had. I was happy he felt free not only to fart, but to say so.

(Just now, unsure of the word, I looked up "pert" -- "1. Disrespectfully forward; impertinent; saucy. 2. Of fine appearance, handsome and lively." More apt than I knew.)

So: another oddly engaging and likable pup, if the first in a very long time (at least in bed). "I think you're a good guy," he said as he left, impressed in part that I'd paid him upfront in full; he usually asks for half before, half when done. "We should do this again," he said and I agreed -- if not, as he suggested, every two weeks or so.

But on a less frequent schedule he'd be more than worth the price. I thought he was a good guy too, a rare find, I suspect, among such boys. (Shel, I realize more and more, was quite a rare one -- and each of us telling the other then, as the highest compliment: "You're decent.")

I went to Sneakers the next Thursday (that and Friday, Will had said, his regular nights there), couldn't have afforded him again so soon but wanted to see him, let him know I like him, want to be with him again. But he wasn't there. I went later to The Barn. Looking at boys there, some quite lovely, I thought: But I don't want sex, really. I want Will.

When I told Gerald that he said: "Uh oh!"

Well maybe. The impulse is passing a bit. But he was a lovely experience, one I'd enjoy having again. I want to hold his smooth rich body, rub his virginal butt, caress his fuzz-&-blue-haired head -- and find out who he is.

"I've got a boyfriend," he told me; I said that was good. "I've got a girlfriend too" -- no surprise; I said "Well that's good too." But that's nearly all I know.

Will was clearly a knowing boy, in a way Nathan, to me, seemed not. But it felt to me a happy knowingness, not cunning, not coy, his boyish beauty -- not stunning, more comfortably appealing -- not just a thing to sell, a source of pleasure for others, but a pleasure to himself as well.

He seemed happy in himself, actually liking himself. Which is why I liked him as much more than a cock for hire.

What I had told Jane I wished for Nathan -- "that knowing, cherishing, and dispensing of one's own erotic power; revelling in it, celebrating it" -- was, I saw on reflection, realized at moments in Will.

He made me feel so good I went back into Promiscuous Affections, adding a bit on him to a chapter near the end: "History: The Bar's & my own." I had previously noted there the demise of my sex life. Clearly premature. Paul Pearce later told me: "Never say that. You never know!" He was right.

Some of the letter above ended up in that chapter. But not all of it. And not all I remember of Will is even there. In a late moment of that straddle I so loved -- up over me, cock pert in my face -- Will pulled back and said (professionally), "How do you want me to come?"

"However you like," I said. "As long as you come in my mouth."

"You want me to come in your mouth?"


"You're going to spit it out, right?"


He gave a quizzical look but leaned back in, back to his rhythm: pert cock wrapped in my cupped hand (the way he liked it), riding through it and in deep. He rode, rode, then -- "I'm gonna come... I'm gonna come."

He splashed my throat full. I hadn't tasted spunk in ages; I wanted to savour it. To savour him. I slid my tongue back: a brine-spiked pool, warm with Will. I slipped it down. And said: "You taste good."

I'd felt nearly obliged to a short safer-sex spiel: to counter the cautious excess of too much "AIDS education," the paranoid fear of "bodily fluids," the absurd advice to suck latex, not flesh -- as if all risks were the same, all sex equally dangerous.

I thought later I should have. Thought maybe I still could. If I could find Will again. But I feel wonderfully blessed to have found Will at all.

Postcript, July 2003: Make that six working boys I've bedded by now, two of them more than once. The second-last (twice, over two years) was lovely -- if in part for being friends with the one before and since: Will.

I found him again at Sneakers in August 2001. And just last night: Sunday, June 13, 2003. He did get some safer-sex spiel this time: I told him I have HIV.

His second coming (in 2001 he hadn't) was more avid than professional. He said: "I think you're the kind of guy who gets pleasure from other people's pleasure." I said: "Seems you got me." And, this time, Will got my number.

December 22, 2000, 11:30 pm

Sitting here last night at my computer, not putzing but writing, remembering, angels much on the mind, I did go try to occupy myself with them in life, not just in memory. Cold as it was, I went out.

At Sneakers I did see bouncy redhead Ray. I have often, enjoying his moves. He seems never to see me. There was another boy: tall, dark hair, pleasantly equipped (I got a peek in the can as he peed). But there was something stiff about him, almost preppy (unlikely in fact; he was quite familiar with the working boys). None of Will's radiant ease, his knowing forwardness.

And no Will. The buzz there just seemed wrong, an off night. So I left, 11:30 pm, thinking I'd try Remington's on the way home, see who might be working.

There the buzz was much better. Lots of new boys (I hadn't been back much since my last encounter with Angel), not a cram of customers (too cold out, I guess) and some quite appealing themselves, young; rare for Remington's. I don't often have reason to pay other customers there more than civil attention.

No Angel, alas. But -- three boys always in a gaggle, dancers clearly gay: blond in black briefs, black hair in white, both tall and thin, the third otter-topped, bottomed in white; not so tall, a bit more full, and succulent in black work boots.

On stage that last boy was playful, the long stretch from belly button to pubic hair (trimmed) showing nice contours, two slight tracks of vein. "Gentlemen, put your hands together for" -- the usual bumf on the PA -- "Tyler!"

I always try to catch the name; it can come in handy. I smiled at him later, twice, in passing, once with an easy "Hi, Tyler" -- hoping he'd take the hint. He did (in time), finding me at a table. A testing smile: "I'm Tyler."

"I know! I've been waiting for you. You're a doll!" Not a term I much like, but apt: his chipper face, the set of his mouth; he looked a bright puppet.

He beamed, snuggled in, arm over my shoulder. Mine slid the supple cant of his hips, hand rested to white cotton, a subtle swell of rump. (I had longed at a distance for his neat little butt.) I stroked his shoulder, tweaked his chin and said, "I wanted to see you up close." He beamed bigger, his pup face bright, engaged.

And engaging. He was a cheery boy: from St Catharines he said, just 20 he'd tell me later; dancing three months there, his sole livelihood. "I do alright." I asked if he liked it. He said: "I have a good time."

And, back in a booth, behind a closed door, we did. I'd come out with enough cash for someone of Will's rate at Sneakers; I spent nearly all of it on Tyler (two songs plus tip). His rich fullness was soft, lush curves pliable; his words often came in a giggle. I leaned in to snuzzle an armpit.

A light cologne (I got to take it home on my moustache). Nice. But not him, nothing of his own scent beneath it. And he wanted too much to perform. I wanted him to settle, straddle my lap, and tell me who he was.

Still, Tyler was a luscious boy. Maybe worth going back for (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday). But, I sensed, not an angel. Not Angel. Or Will. They had a magic, a knowing mystery, that he did not. Quite. Yet.

Not that I'm complaining.

In October 1994, reflecting on the death of an angel -- too many in fact though this one deeply wondrous, dancing vision Kevin Bryson -- I wrote: "I know I'll see magic and beauty again. It's all around: you only have to look -- to pay true, generous attention -- and you'll find it."

True, generous attention. Whereby some may entertain angels. Aware.


502 Yonge Street.

For an earlier tale of Sneakers, where I found the last boy I bedded before Will (an angel only if there's an Order of Sexually Confused Nazis), see Promiscuous Affections: 1995.

I was much involved in "AIDS education," a term you see I use warily. Now (at least here) it better reflects community values and erotic realities, resisting "oral sex panic" still too prevalent. See Promiscuous Affections: 1989, and the chapter titled Sex: Policing desire, playing politics, pushing pills.

This is the last of these twelve angelic episodes.
You can find Kevin of the Dancefloor, and Oliver of Remington's,
among the twenty four divine messengers in

Other Angels

Or go back to the Preface
Or to Promiscuous Affections: A Life in The Bar, 1969-2000

Or My home page
This page:
New Year's Eve, 2000 / Last revised: July 14, 2003
Rick Bébout © 2001-2003 /