Steven Fales

Steven Fales
Steven Fales -- Actor/Writer/Producer

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mormon Psychics and Patriarchal Blessings




As a Latter-day Saint teenager you are expected to go to your stake patriarch for a special "patriarchal blessing". This blessing is bestowed upon you by the laying on of hands. It is recorded, transcribed, and sent to you in the mail. It is to be considered personal scripture and revelation directly from the Lord. In other words, this is the one and only time you get to go to a psychic.

As I look back on this blessing, I feel a lot of nostalgia for the Mormon speak language. But there are a few things that I do believe the psychic got 100% right. And there are other things that are irrelevant at best. I'll take what I like and throw away the rest! The best thing about it is that it only cost my family 10% of their gross income. There are a lot of psychics out there that will charge a heck-u-va lot more.

Here's mine. Show me yours?

Keep smiling!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Temple Climax of 'Missionary Position'

This is the climax of my solo play Missionary Position: A Coming-of-Age Tale, Part Three in Mormon Boy Trilogy.





One by one I was reunited with my veteran family members as they reverently crossed through the veil. They embraced and congratulated me with tears of joy and thanksgiving. “Families are forever.” And the look in their eyes said, “Are you okay? Do you buy this? It’s alright. We don’t get it either. But our pioneer ancestors seemed to. Now let’s get out of these temple duds and go get some grub down in the cafeteria!”

As the others went down to partake of the Mormon banquet, I had this overwhelming urge . . . to save myself.

(Lights change for final fantasy sequence as he puts back on jeans. Mission Impossible music underscores.)


I raced back in time, and ran through the automatic sliding doors of the temple in my New Religion jeans.  Passing the Mormon Oompa-Loompas, I ran through the large and spacious building and up all the escalators, until I found my younger self in the Celestial Room standing there like a deer caught in God’s headlights. I started ripping off his toga. 

Younger: “Who the heck are you?”

Older: “I’m Steven Fales and I’m here to rescue you!”

Younger: “But I’m Steven Fales. And aren’t you a little short to be a storm trooper?”

Older: “Cute! But they’re about to make you Elder Zombie Fales if you’re not careful. Now take this crap off! This isn’t God. It’s all about the ego of Joseph Smith–a bipolar megalomaniac who stole all of this hocus pocus from the Free Masons. And who got himself shot to death because he wouldn’t stop fucking his followers and calling ‘em his wives. Now let’s get out of here!”

Younger: “But I don’t understand!”

Older: “I’m you, only older. And I’ve come to save your nineteen-year-old ass from all this bullshit!”

Younger: “Okay! Fine. But you don’t have to swear!”

Just as we were about to run out the automatic sliding doors of the temple, my younger self stopped me, “Wait! I can’t go!”

Older: “What do you mean you can’t go? You saw what’s going on in there. They’re taking you for a ride. It’s dangerous in there. Come on. We’re going back to the Boston Conservatory!”

Younger: “No! It’s safe in here. I don’t trust Boston. I don’t trust you.”

Older: “Look. I’ve been through all this and much more. Those chandeliers and mirrors in there, they’re not God.”

Younger: “And neither is rolling on ecstasy under a mirrored disco ball at seven a.m.! I’ve heard about you and your kind—from the prophet. All your drugs. And sex parties. And all the other proclivities and viruses you materialistic people have. Your life’s a mess. You have nothing I want!”

Older: “I don’t do that anymore.  Now listen, Steven. I know what I’m talking about.”

Younger: “Yes. You do like to talk don’t you? They warned me about you. What happens when we forsake the Truth. When we sell our signs and tokens for money! You’re just a fledgling secular humanist playwright desperately trying to make sense of all the wreckage of his past and pay his child support. You turned your back on God and look what’s become of you. Oh, the show poster of you is so cute. Blasphemer!”

Older: “I didn’t turn my back on God. God turned His back on me!”

Younger: “And you replaced him with the divinity you call yourself!  Well let me tell you something, Elder Fales. You. Are. Not. God. You’re not God!” (Pause) I’m staying. All our family’s here. Plus I’m hungry.”

Older: “I didn’t leave. They kicked me out.”

Younger: “Oh, be honest. You left long before that. And you left me.”

Older: “I’m sorry. But I’ve come back.”

Younger: “It’s too late! I’m staying. I’m going on a mission. I want the blessings!”

Older: “You’re coming with me. I’m twenty years older than you and I’m the playwright, remember?!”

Younger: “I’m not going! I’m not gay like you. I want a family. And a real career! You know the Church is true, Elder!”

Older: (Gently with compassion) “No. It’s not.”

Younger: “Then please leave the temple. Now!”

Older: “That Jolly Green Apron won’t make you straight.”

Younger: “GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE!”

Older: I walked out the sliding doors of the temple; and watched myself go back inside . . Fuck.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mission Call and Mission Release

This is what a mission call looks like, should you choose to accept it!

 
 
This is what a mission release looks like, should you choose to accept it!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Letter to a John" or "Mormon American Hustle"


"Mormon American Hustle"

 
 
 
 

From the book Confessions of a Mormon Boy: Behind the Scenes of the Off-Broadway Hit (Alyson Books, 2006), Lambda Literary Award Finalist

 

This is the actual email I mention in my play that I wrote coming down from my very first crystal meth binge. I hope to never do the drug again. Though much of this letter was the crystal talking (notice the length and thoroughness of some of the explanations and was written and re-written for twelve hours without a break!), it was the first time I realized that I had to stop escorting—for reasons I am only beginning to understand now. I hope the letter gives a bit of insight into the psychology of a sex-worker hoping to transition. It is a letter written while in the depths of hell. If you have a problem with crystal meth or any other addiction…there is help. You don’t have to do this alone.


New York City

Finished and sent Thursday, June 7, 2001, 11:18 am

 
Dear S--,

Thank you for your emails and your call directing me to them. Email is so tricky. It is easily misunderstood and I want things to be clear between us. The last email I sent you was written in haste. I should have taken more time to carefully organize my thoughts and write with more clarity. You and our relationship deserved a much better email than the one I sent. There are many escorts who wouldn’t think twice about losing a client and would not invest the entire night to write to you as I have done. But you very much deserve more than the typical client. I have written this with my heart. Please read it with yours.

Having re-read my recent email, I admit it comes across curt and flippant and does not give full resonance to the weight of what is at stake and the deep emotions at hand. I see it has made you angry. I hope this email will do you and myself justice. Know that this is my best attempt late into the night to explain how I see things and to apologize for any wrongs I have done or hurt I have caused. I’m sorry if it is too long, but I have some important things I need to say. Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors I make. Especially forgive the parts that seem pedantic. As I am writing this, it is in many ways for me to clarify and organize and make sense of some things for myself. You are an educated, smart man and I don’t mean to insult your intelligence or offend you in any way with my philosophizing, moralizing, or psycho-analyzing. Most of this I’m sure is bullshit. But I’m trying and trust you will glean what is true and what is a bit off, if not completely off-track, you will tolerate.

It is obvious that we both now realize the truth about our relationship. I admire you for coming to this truth clearly and so soon into our relationship. You are nipping it in the bud as you recognize that it won’t work and it will save yourself even more pain, anger, resentment and money in the end. This is not a new realization. You came to it when you took me to dinner a few weeks ago. I think we both tried to brush it aside that night. You wanted this arrangement to work emotionally. I needed this arrangement to work financially. So we gave it another try, but the truth remains that ours could never be a truly committed loving relationship like I knew you wanted it to be because, essentially I was being paid to be in it and no amount would change the facts or my feelings in any lasting, significant way.

The other truth is that you gave and I took more than the relationship was worth. I helped lead you to believe that we could have much more than an arrangement or “paid” relationship. I knew from the beginning, though not as clearly as now, that this was impossible. I now see that I was unknowingly, but still responsible for, trying to keep a charade going. I didn’t realize fully that I was playing it, but I certainly was. I must be accountable for my selfishness in keeping the charade going, which was not a caring or honest thing to do. I wanted to keep receiving your money and the generous gifts which you believed you were giving in return for a lasting, truly authentic loving relationship. One that you wanted, but which I knew could never be. You are no dumbie. You started seeing things for what they were and are while I kept trying to keep the charade going when it was only going to hurt you. The relationship that you hoped for and wanted was never going to be the only one that I knew it could be.

One of the most trite but true statements in the world is that though you may be able to buy sex, you can’t buy love or happiness. Escorts and all the rest of the pimps out there want you to believe you can get love ad happiness if you purchase the sex. You got hot sex, charm, and a smile from me, but then you mistakenly hoped if you paid enough it could grow into something resembling love and true caring and even fidelity. We wanted you to think that so you’d just buy more sex. But we knew the rest of the package would never come in the mail. I knew from the beginning that this was a false hope, but I didn’t say a thing. I aided you in your own deception for my financial needs. You then invested more emotionally and financially than was in your best interests. You didn’t get, and never would get what you wanted me to be. Unfortunately the buyer is not protected in this business. There is no money back guarantee and there are really no legal rights because prostitution is illegal anyway!

I understood why you feel so angry. You have every right to be. Like I said, you were taken advantage of by me (though not as methodically or maliciously as you may think). I did ultimately care more about subtly manipulating more and more money from you, than taking the high road and thinking of your true needs and very real feelings. I am capable of the high road and I sadly admit I chose the low. I feel badly about that because it hurt you. That is why I am not really cut out for this business. I’m not supposed to feel remorse for hurting or deceiving people. But I do.

It is such a simple fact of life really that we have to sift through the false advertising and deceit when making a purchase. Buyer beware. Capitalism to some extent is built on this cut throat selling gimmick. Everyone is trying to sell you something. Often we buy it because we want or need it, but so often there were red flags and fine print we didn’t take the time to read or examine and we get burned. Because we wasted our money on an imitation or wrong thing entirely. Sometimes we willingly forget this fact because we want something we don’t have badly enough. When you told me you were falling in love with me, or getting near that point, I should have stopped everything right then and there. It would have solved most of the anger and pain you are experiencing now. But I didn’t and I kept up appearances to make another sale.

One truth on the other side of the coin is that courtesans have no rights or security that we will get what we want. We can think we have a secure gig in a particular client, and may be told we will be loved and provided for indefinitely by that client, like in this case and many other great gigs I have seen blow away (especially a early client that liked to write me $5,000 checks! That promised me he would never abandon me! I as a fool to believe that lie.) the minute you think you have it in the bag, watch out. Your last incredible date/appointment that you thought would bring you the next (because you thought you kept him believing the illusion more than ever before) may very well be the last time you see him or his money again. Courtesans often have their own delusional thinking that causes them pain and lots of bounced checks! Believe it or not, some of us actually believe it is possible to find a life-long partner to love us in a client! There is no need to go into the faulty logic in that kind of thinking. It does not end in a happy union in the end.

I want to fully take my part in this drama by admitting that I always knew our relationship would ultimately go sour. I am a paid escort or courtesan (a male courtesan in this case). I know there are much harsher names for this, the oldest profession in the world, but please indulge my need to keep some sense of dignity. I have been selling an illusion of love and romance (thrown in with the illegal reality but expectation of esx) in exchange for money. Lots of it. Having admitted that, I, and all courtesans, in our desire to have the security of repeat clients have only one real apology to make to our clients. We deliberately fail to inform or remind (or warn) our clients that the illusion of our love (that they may or may not acquaint with sex) they are paying handsomely for is not real. Call it false advertising, plain lies and deceit or what you will. The courtesan does everything possible to keep the distinguished, wealthy client from believing, remembering, or admitting and sometimes even knowing to begin with that the magic in the magic show is just a trick. Anyone who hires courtesans is in more danger of forgetting the limits of the transaction whenever they start seeing one exclusively. In the end I knew that my feelings for you could never be what you hoped they were. Even up to my last email I was in one way or another, and not even meaning to really, trying to get you to believe the illusion.

As in sales of any kind and throughout history, customers are manipulated into buying so that someone, in this case the courtesan, can make money to live on (or it may seem in many contemporary courtesan cases today, to buy Prada). I think it is important to note that what the shrewd courtesan wants to assume is that the client purchasing the courtesan’s time (and talents) is fully aware what the unstated agreement is. That when the hour paid for is over, so is the relationship. And any feelings the client has upon leaving that makes him feel the relationship means more to the courtesan than money, has been cast under her/his spell (sell) and will end up looking the fool.

The client is an audience member, not an actor like the courtesan. And like all audiences, they want to believe the illusion. They all too often mistakenly think they are the leading man in the scene. When this happens, they find they are really just the clown and get no final bow with the leading lady (or male escort in my case). Is it really the courtesan’s right and responsibility to remind the client that he is not the leading man in the upcoming scenes but just the audience? Probably not. But when he is a genuinely good person, like you, I think the courtesan should watch out for him. But remember, to your credit, you caught on quickly and were not duped by the actor/courtesan Steven and prevented him from making you look like a clown.

Again, the relationship at times may seem real, but hiring a courtesan is much like watching a play on stage. The actors, the story, the whole production with scenery, props, lights, music and dance is an illusion for a paying audience of one. The fact, which has now been repeated far too many times, is that it is not real, but ENTERTAINMENT. What so often happens is that an emotional attachment muddies and blurs the lines, leading to heartbreak and a lot of money lost. At the end of every run of a show they strike the stage and nothing remains. The actors are now looking for new work and start rehearsals for an entirely new play. No run lasts forever. And no audience stays for every show. This is the great tradition that goes back for ages.

I failed to adequately remind you of the dead end you were coming to. I could see your jealously of my other clients. You thought some kind of open relationship would work. I knew it wouldn’t. You said things about being honest, but I knew you had a difficult time knowing if I was out with for example, the Ambassador, so I wanted to protect you from the truth. You wanted loyalty and exclusivity so I tried to give you that illusion, and at the same time, you would be seeing people as well. There would always be a double standard. So it was a nice idea, but you have seen very quickly that it was impossible. And even if you could pay me enough to be your exclusive courtesan, I would always be a kept man with all the conflict and turmoil that would ultimately bring, especially if I fell in love with someone I wanted to be with. That ultimately would have happened.

I would never be what you wanted and for you to be what I wanted, a sugar daddy, would cost me a large piece of my truth and much freedom. Imagine how that multiplies when one has many sugar daddies. I lose my freedom. I was to act like I loved you, even if I never said the words, but would never fully mean it I because my actions would betray me. To your credit and because you are very different from the others and much more handsome, I actually considered falling in love with you. But I couldn’t. because, although you were my favorite client, you were still a client. And though I may have been your favorite escort, I was still an escort. That’s just the way it is. And even if I tried to act the part of being your lover, I am not a very good actor in real life. Sooner or later my performances ring hollow. Especially with regards to my double life as an escort. I see already that both lives are blending into one and I’m afraid of what will become of me. Especially in regards to my relationships and the potential of a long-term relationship with another gay man. I’m afraid I will start playing my escort tricks and quoting lines that will affect my performance in the play I want to act well in more than any other.

I was overwhelmed with your generosity the first time we met through (agency). (What a tip! The biggest I had ever received!) How could I not be completely bedazzled at the possibility of getting so much for what seemed so little. But now I see that I have been a clown myself. I thought I could sell my affections and that they didn’t mean that much to me. I now know that they are very dear to me and cost me every time I casually give them to strangers. It diminishes me and depletes me—and ultimately hurts my clients, like it has hurt you. I can’t go on selling myself off. I fear I will be left with nothing, my spirit and my future happiness. I have been lying to myself, to you, and the others.

In addition to financial need, I have had an emotional need which gets met to some extent through escorting. That is a need for external praise that I am special and beautiful and talented and valued. Many of those needs are getting filled, I hope, now that I’m adjusting to life after divorce. But escorting is not the healthiest way to get these needs met. It all gets boiled down to getting paid for sex—and being objectified. I get paid for external beauty and charm but not for the real me. One small example is the way I have to hide behind my hairpieces. I know without it clients wouldn’t say half of what they say nor would I have the success I have. As an escort you are always putting on a show. It’s time to get real. As you see, I have these and many other things to deal with and sort out. I probably do need some therapy.

I started realizing these and other things last night when I saw the movie Moulin Rouge. I know I suggested we see it together, but I am very glad we did not have to sit through it side by side. It would have been torture for me AND for you. It called us on our faulty thinking regarding our relationship and helped me see many things about myself that I was denying. I think it is a beautiful film and we should both see it, but not together.

Moulin Rouge is the story of a Courtesan. I couldn’t believe the irony as I watched the movie. It was painful and jolting to watch so much of my life and problems and our current situation being paralleled on the screen. When you see the movie, this will make much more sense. Just like the courtesan Nicole Kidman plays, I have justified prostituting myself for the dream of becoming a great actor. (How perfect that you just wrote that you wondered about this “escort/actor thing!” It is a thing to be wondering about!)

I left the movie with my thoughts and emotions spinning in my head and my denials vanishing into the bleak truth of what I have become and thinking what I must do to change. The reality that  was starting to dawn on me made for a very slow walk home that lead me to a very dark, depressing, and terrible night and day which I do not care to go into or repeat again. When I finally returned home late this evening (I did not come home last night), your well-timed emails should have come as no surprise. All this lead to this reality: I must stop escorting or it will destroy me and any possibility of the future I truly want for myself, and in some way that I don’t fully understand, for my children. It compromises my true desires and feelings and takes away my freedom to be the man I truly know I am deep inside. The irony again is that I sacrificed so much, my church membership and my marriage, to be what I know to be an authentic part of myself. I cannot continue to discredit this triumph I hold so dear by continuing to be fake in ways that escorting continues to enforce in me. I must stop now before things get out of hand. Which is already starting to happen. I hope it is I not too late. I like to think my stint of escorting was a necessary evil that helped to get me on my feet. Remember, I moved to this impossible, ridiculously expensive, yet necessary-to-be-here city sixty thousand dollars in debt and with sixty dollars in my pocket. I had no one, not even well to do parents, willing to help me get set up and make my career, dreams, and new life happen. Not to mention I had no idea when I would see my dear children again because there was no way I could afford a plane ticket back to see them for what would be months and moths. I barely had a week’s money to eat or ride the subway with, let alone get new headshot’s printed and pay for telephone calls to talk to my kids in Utah. Escorting seemed the best and easiest way out at the time. It hit me as an idea out of the blue. I didn’t know a thing about it or how to do it. All I knew was that it would provide financial freedom so I would have the time, energy, and means to focus on and make my acting career happen AND to help provide for my children and see them on a monthly basis. And  it has seemed to do the trick up until now.

In the last six months, and in no small part because of you, I have exceeded my original expectations regarding the money escorting would make me. In addition to all the money, I have shopped, dined, slept, socialized with incredibly wealthy and powerful men at some of the finest stores, restaurants, hotels, penthouses, theatres and concert halls in the world. I’ve lived like a prince (or a courtesan!) going wherever and doing and buying essentially whatever I needed and wanted! I have been showered with gifts and praise and adoration here in the most amazing city in the world. To my surprise I found that I am a damn good escort, if not exceptional. Far better than most in looks, charm, intelligence, humor, style, and yes sexual technique. I could make quite a very lucrative career of it for years to come, due in no small part to my youthful face and those handy, expensive hairpieces (the escorting paid for!). So though I am thirty-one and my hair is thinning, with my face, fake hair and the help of a personal trainer (which again escorting has paid for with an occasional facial or two to boot), I can easily compete with the many young, handsome escorts desired and routinely hired by that disconcerting number of wealthy gay men in this city for quite a few years to come. Most of these men, like you, have been complete gentlemen. Since I first came to New York in January and immediately started working as an escort (in addition to waiting table mind you), I have seen and experienced some of the most fabulous things in the past six months that would take others from my social class and Mormon background six years, if not a lifetime, if at all, to encounter. In many ways this education in the ways of the world has been a blessing, in others, a curse. I am not quite the bubbly, optimistic young actor I first was when I got here. In some ways it serves me, but at the same time I can tell I am developing an edge that is not always a pretty thing and must monitor before it makes me bitter and jaded like so may here in NYC.

I am pleased to report that most of the money I have made escorting has been used for the purpose for which it was originally intended: paying off debts, launching my acting/writing career, traveling monthly to Utah to see my children, paying child support, and getting set up in one of the most expensive and toughest cities in the world. I found I occasionally had the money to help family members and friends in need and would give generously. And yet I must also confess, some of the money I’ve spent selfishly on clothes, parties, and frivolous items I bought to nurture myself and help me feel like I actually am with a few nice things. Perhaps I did this to counteract the internalized shame and self-criticism I often feel (and have felt from many in my family and the Mormon sub-culture that didn’t appreciate and support me as a gay man) in failing in my efforts to be straight and my recent divorce and excommunication. Time will tell if this escorting holiday I have taken from reality was worth the potential costs. I don’t know the answer. I just pray, in the name of Moulin Rouge and all that is holy, I don’t have some undetected, incurable illness waiting to take me from my full potential and my children before I get to find out.

It is uncomfortably clear that when I stop escorting, life will be harder financially, but I know I am capable of making money legitimately. Escorting has spoiled me to some degree and threatened my work ethic, but I have worked hard in the past and can do it again. I believe life will be happier and more authentic and free when I do things the old-fashioned way and not take short cuts. And who knows, maybe my acting career will take me to the financial and artistic heights, that before I became sidetracked, I ‘d been working so hard for years to achieve. If not, there’s bound to be something that with my master’s degree and charisma (and let’s not forget humility) can do.

This letter is now far too long. I started it Wednesday night and it is now 11:00 am Thursday morning. I have not slept now in 48 hours so I admit this attempt to be clear is now muddied in confusion.

I would like to think I am wrong, but I believe in the future I will end up paying harsh, previously unexamined consequences for choosing to escort. An obvious dilemma is if anyone finds out about it. As of yet, not a single family member, friend, or industry professional knows that I have essentially been a prostitute. I don’t believe anyone can judge me for what I have done, but if it does ever get out, I will have to deal with the shame it could bring to my children and my family, and the possible effects the stigma would have on my acting career. What is at the bottom of this lengthy letter, which I fear has become vague and masturbatory, is that I admit that I have hurt you, and that I am sorry. I can see that I will pay a price for this. I will lose a dear, wonderful, generous, loving, supportive man’s friendship and confidence. It has already happened. You are right in what you wrote tonight. It is not possible for us to just be friends now. There is too much pain and loss. But as any objective, outside party can see, we have at least both honorably fulfilled our ends of the bargain. I have performed, at least for a time, a role for you. You have paid the actor’s fee. The show, though beautifully presented (or not so beautifully presented—if not acted downright appallingly), is over.

You have already admitted your share of the blame for this charade. I hope I have now fairly acknowledged mine so the scales are balanced and that you don’t feel angry at me. It is my wish that we part in peace. I want you to know and believe, because it is the truth, that I do care about you. You have done so many wonderful things for me and my children. I will never forget your kindness. You HAVE been a godsend and have helped me so much on this challenging, confusing, and terrifying journey I am on. You have given so much of your time, talent, love, not to mention money. Thank you for rooting for me. I think you know deep down I have genuinely given something of my best self to you. At least a bit more caring, I hope, than your average boy from (agency). Because I do care about you, S--. Though the rules of the courtesan say this was a business transaction and that we escorts should lock our hearts and forsake emotions when it comes to getting involved with a client. Though it is in both of our best interests to now part ways and move on with our lives without regular contact, if any, I know in my heart that we both gave a little bit if not a lot more than was required. I hope you agree and that you won’t regret the investment you made in this relationship and that you will remember the good times we’ve shared. Our paths collided here in New York for a reason. (Even if it was to help me see that I need to get out of escorting and that you better not hire one ever again!) There are no accidents. Thanks for teaching me many important things. I am so glad I got to know you, S--.

I want you to know that if I can someday be of any help to you in anyway, it would be my pleasure to do something to pay you back for your kindness. Or just to do something for a wonderful person and a dear old fried. So don’t hesitate to let me know. You have my numbers and if I’m ever famous, just call my agent! One important decision I have made for both of us, if you haven’t already come to it yourself: I will not be accepting anymore money or gifts of any kind from you. It is not right for me to expect anything more, nor would it be appropriate for you to give it. It would be taking advantage of you for me to ask. And the reality is that I am and will be fine. Spend your money on those who will be able to freely return your love and affection. Whoever they are now or will be in the future, they are very lucky.

Please dissolve the trust fund you set up for my children.

The one loose end is the mobile phone. I don’t know what kind of long-term contract they had you sign so I don’t know if it is possible to discontinue the service on it without a penalty, but paying the penalty might be the easiest way to go. I would like to keep the phone, if that is okay, and at a later date, when I am ready, I will purchase my own plan and get a new number. It is not essential that I have a mobile phone right now. I’ve got my service number which is all I need for now.

So in closing…I don’t think it is a good idea for us to see each other now for quite a while. Oh, I’m sure we’re bound to run into each other sooner than later, but for now, we need a major time out. Just throw that terrible, stupid toothbrush away and keep the pictures you took of me in some envelope in your desk if you decide not to burn them which you better not! We are both now free. I don’t think we need to talk this through. Just let me know in an email what we should do about the phone and I will trust that you are well and happy and vice versa.

I wish you the best and hope you have taken this letter in the spirit it was written in. Again, I apologize for any condescending tone or poor wording in this or the previous emails that may have offended you or made you angry.

With admiration and appreciation,

Steven Fales

P.S. It IS, however, okay for ME to give YOU one last gift. It is small. Just a token. I have received much from you. You don’t have anything really from me. I would like to give you something and will send it in the mail. (It was the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge.)

This client told me he spent over $80,000 on me. He eventually lost his job and Upper East Side apartment after a long relapse on alcohol. We talk about once a year. As of this writing, he is doing well in recovery and lives in Florida. He became a friend and helped me transition financially out of the business, for which I will always be grateful. He financed the stand-up comedy workshop that helped me find my comic voice to tell my story. I hope he realizes that he made a good investment. I have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for LGBT charities since. I hope that appeases the IRS as well. Wink!

Excommunication Letter

Here is what an excommunication letter looks like. I received it a week after my Church Court where the official crime against me was "homosexuality". This is published in my book Confessions of a Mormon Boy: Behind the Scenes of the Off-Broadway Hit. A Lambda Literary Award Finalist, it is available on Amazon.com. If you didn't receive a letter like this, you weren't excommunicated. Accept no substitutes. Anything less is merely apostate. Trust the way of the heretic.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Got Sugar Daddy Syndrome?


At 30 at the height of my sex work experiment as I worked for the "A-list Escort Agency" in Manhattan. Flawless, loaded with cash, and quickly losing my light, I stopped smiling.


Adapted from a recent book proposal and still a work in progress.

          "My new pimp was nice--much more normal than I expected. He didn't try to have sex with me or beat me up. No drugs. The apartment was warm and comfortable--Tiffany lamps. We talked about show biz and then his biz. And how many respected professionals and hustled to finance their educations, careers, dreams. He's been an escort-slash-porn star in his early years and went on and on about his glory days, how much money he'd made, the apartment he'd bought:
          "Everyone's a prostitute at one time or another. Do you think everyone likes their job? Even housewives put out for security. They're just paying you for your time, remember. And furthermore, temple hookers were often considered sacred and holy in ancient times." --Confessions of a Mormon Boy


          What I think readers (and publishers) will find extremely fresh (and, ahem, marketable) is my perspective on my experiences as an escort in the penthouses of Manhattan. I did it intensely for nine solid months. The world’s oldest profession brings all addictions into focus. I've come to believe that as plausibly sympathetic as my story might at times seem (and actually be under the stressful circumstances), my voluntary sex work in New York was the ultimate in self-absorption and wallowing in self-pity. (I have learned to forgive myself. There's lots of compassion to be considered here.) But the queen of rackets, sex work, was not about being broke (which I was), it was about fear, anger, and resentment and a tremendous lack of self-esteem. I rationalized selling my body to pay child support, but I was really financing a ferocious adolescence that almost destroyed me.

          "My Japanese Lizard called me back the next three nights in a row! The agency said he'd never done that before. It was clear that I was a natural. Definitely A-list material. Other calls immediately followed. And they weren't all trolls like the Lizard. Some johns were downright husband material--hot, young, professional, rich, mysteriously unattainable. Gramercy Park. Sutton Place. Park Avenue. Fifth Avenue. The Four Seasons. The Carlyle. As the penthouses got higher, so did the pile of cash and gifts on my dresser at home. The adoration and money made me high. I could fetch $500 an hour. $2,000 overnight. Tax-free. And if I arranged it all myself, I could keep it all. I traded in my Payless shoes for Prada" --Confessions of a Mormon Boy

          Looking for my conservative father’s love, approval and acceptance behind every doorbell, the adoration and money did make me high! The sex trade nearly annihilated my work ethic that had once earned me two degrees and bought a house for my ex-wife and kids back home—laziness, sloth, entitlement, and a victim mentality took over. Broken and without boundaries, I slept with so many rich men they all blend into one dollar sign. Living large was living small. I stopped having choices. I felt deep down inside that any future I had really wanted and all the positive, authentic reasons for which I had come out of the closet where swallowed up in my new whore identity. I had left "Mormonism" for this?! I wasn't going to be committing suicide after all I'd endured. Ha! I went to the other extreme--a slower, steadier suicide.

          "As the calls came in, I couldn't say no. After all, I'd been trained my whole life to be nice and say, "Yes." I could do several calls in a day with the help of a little Viagra. And I got further and further away from auditioning. What was the point? I stopped seeing any real friends. Friends from graduate school or shows I'd done. My hours were screwy even by showbiz standards. And I couldn't tell anyone my secret--especially my family. Not to mention the new guy I started dating--each week. What would he think if he found out about my double life?
          And about this time, I stopped smiling. Just selling my time, right? But I can't tell you what it cost me to sell my smile.
         I needed to win their approval. I wanted to be like me. I wanted to be like them. To be noticed. I was invisible! No matter what I did or how well I did it I felt I was never accepted or appreciated for who I was! I felt I knew what it must be like to be a--"
         They didn't even know my name. I was more isolated now than I'd ever been in Zion. So I had a choice to make. No. I was out of choices. I'd made too many."--Confessions of a Mormon Boy

          After my big “a-ha!” after doing a cult-like, three-day transformational workshop in New York right after 9/11 (don’t laugh, it was the Landmark Forum!), I left sex work behind for good. I never went back. Choices returned.

          "Could I give up being 'right' about my stories about the Church, therapists, the gay scene, Emily, her parents, my mother and especially my dad? Could I stop being a victim? Something deep inside me said, "Yes!" And in that moment, I was free. Free to choose. I had millions of choices! I was free to stop looking for my father's love and money in the penthouses of New York, free to stop self-destructing, and free to start cleaning up my messes . . . "--Confessions of a Mormon Boy

          There were new unexpected opportunities for growth that followed. One hit during my escorting . . .

          "My legit theatrical agent started sending me out. I was offered an Off-Broadway contract--Naked Boys Singing. I turned the offer down--twice. I told my agent, "I didn't get an M.F.A. in acting to be naked eight shows a week." But the truth was I was a private dancer. I made more money in a call or two than an off-Broadway contract paid in a week. More in a week than a Broadway contract paid in a month. Who needs Cameron MacIntosh?"--Confessions of a Mormon Boy

         
          One later showbiz lesson hit hard when Broadway producers canned my show Confessions when I wouldn’t get full frontal onstage. Daddy wasn't a hooker anymore. It wasn't about the underwear coming off, the show was about getting naked in more profound ways, right? So I legitimately raised all the money (over $300,000.00) and produced it myself! The lead producer was a new form of john I learned to turn down. He once told me, "You know, you could raise all the money for your show just by laying on your back." I should have left the collaboration right then.
          I’ve deflected many “couch commitments” and “professional favors” that would have been trouble. “No, I don’t need a massage. Thanks!” Then there were offers to become a “trophy wife” or as the underwear mogul Andrew Christian would brand it, a "Trophy Boy". Somehow I had the integrity and courage to decline these seductive, camouflaged transactions. Let's just say I've missed a free trip to Lake Como many times. I could have all my student loans paid off by now. I could have my own restaurant right now on South Beach. But I would be drunk and high, too.
          I was taught and primed well by members of my Mormon family, in particular my youngest Mormon aunt (four years older than me and an “exotic dancer” she first planted the seed that I would make a good sex worker). Others in my family just hire! Indeed, to some extent sex work was the unofficial family business. I had come-of-age to the family secrets. This stuff doesn't just come from out of nowhere!
          Learning to stand on my own and be free to love (and create!) as I choose was a difficult, painful process. It takes time to detox from all the shades of sugar, but I’m doing it! Incidentally, many movements and institutions can trace their fiscal solvency directly to the sex industry. The Advocate would cease without its publisher’s sister porn empire. (Did I say that? I digress. Will I ever make it on the cover of the Advocate if I say that?)
          Sex work lowers the bar on human relationships. And we deserve more as a gay community now that marriage equality is winning the battle. Sex work is a temporary fix that leaves both parties cold. It destroys character and demolishes checking accounts and trust funds. The truth is, that most who pay can't really afford it!
          I try not to disparage the world’s oldest profession—it’s never going away and it did teach me a lot! I learned more in six months than most people learn about high society in six years. Nor do I denigrate johns in my work. Some were gentlemen—all were human. My fellow sex working brothers and sisters are also profoundly human--many still stuck but all with big dreams. Sex workers have guts and are some of the sweetest, most intelligent people I know. I've met quite a few off the clock. We break each other's hearts in the underworld.
          I had to learn to stop accepting unsolicited gifts and to stop giving off sparks that unintentionally, romantically intrigued, hooking men desperate to be loved--and used. It hurts both parties. And I have a keen sense now for when I meet someone who is still working and they play their tricks on me. "Don't hustle an ex-hustler!" It is cruel to make grown men cry—not with whips and chains, but with “innocent” Mormon charm that leads them on. It hurts me the most when I've been guilty of it. When you know better you do better. And I've met so many gay Mormons out there sex working--we missed this lesson in Sunday School.
          Learning to earn my way as an artist (on my own without shortcuts) and go without my former
affluent lifestyle (at times a car, cell phone, contact lenses, and at some points food!) was one of the best lessons I was ever forced to learn. You cannot buy true love or true art. Sex work stunts me as an artist. It makes for bad, shoddy, soul-less product. (Unless your art belongs in a “Sex Museum” which some of my old publicity photos might!) You can't spend filthy lucre fast enough, either. It's a black hole of shame. And the cost reveals itself long after the act--that is my fact.
          Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge mirrored to me that I wanted to be “a real actress” not a courtesan. I wanted the “bohemian” values of truth, beauty, freedom, and love. So far so good! They are returning to my life after over thirteen years of leaving sex work. The quest still continues to be fully Sugar Daddy Free. I insist that that is the real American Dream.
          As in "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" that goes into the psyche of a male sex worker, I want this book to more clearly show men and women that it is possible to recover from Sugar Daddy Syndrome. It was so hard during the Recession to lose “sponsors” from family members who just wanted to get to my legitimate investors by throwing me a bone or to stage door johnnies who wanted to “help” and thought they had a chance to win my heart or get down my pants if they “donated.” I find today that even having a lunch date with anyone I am not authentically engaged with is the most tedious hour I can spend. I'm getting real. And like Pinnochio after his wild ride on Pleasure Island, I so want to become a real boy, not just a Mormon boy.
          Fundraising for projects is not what it was before the crash. There have been “slips” when a romance turned into networking or he paid for dinner (nothing Eva Peron wouldn’t accept, right?). In financially desperate moments and being susceptible to “sugar”, I was tempted to pick up the phone and return to the dark side—but it was sure to take me out to a spiritually bankrupt sea, a tsunami of deep dark porn that I know I will regret in the morning.
          Sex work is a progressive illness—a sloppy, slippery slope. The sex work umbrella is wider than most people think. I won't list all the possibilities here, but I think, dear readers, you've bumped into it if you've ever picked up a gay rag. That Go-Go boy you're slipping a dollar to is just the tip of the iceberg.
          I’m just glad I got out when I did. The disease of addiction always whispers, “You can still go back. We don’t care how old you get! You deserve to be spoiled! YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE TO WORK AND EAT PASTA AND RED SAUCE LIKE ALL THE OTHER STRUGGLING ARTISTS” With human growth hormone and steroids and a little botox and filler today that is always a possibility. Ask the sex worker who is now the pimp or porn czar. There is a market for anyone willing to sell what they've got.
          Part of the hook of what I do onstage is to still look like I could escort but then at the end (spoiler), the hair piece comes off! Though I could use a little botox at this writing, I’ve still got “the goods.” (Wink!) I just don’t want to tempt fate and literally go back to hell—caught up in my own human sex-trafficking ring. I barely escaped the last time. I know myself now. To go back, for me, would be suicide. It's the one bottom line I cling to. Drug use would be certain to start up and skyrocket. After just one little transaction, cameras would roll again and again and again to my grave. I’d give in and give up. I’m either taking one step closer to Broadway and my dreams or one step closer to Van Nuys or Palm Springs. I don’t need “Porn Star” on my dressing room door when my future grandchildren visit. The legacy they will already inherit is confusing and embarrassing enough. Ouch. I am trying to turn it all toward good. I hope my kids will be proud of me someday.
          My solo play Confessions of a Mormon Boy goes into great detail and fills in the white space of this diatribe, but I will go further in the memoir. My point of view is clearly not to glamorize the business, but to encourage others to get out. I intend to confront, comfort and give pause. Mormon Boy is a cautionary wakeup call to prevent others from getting sucked in. “Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be escorts!”
          Memoirs by other men who were sex workers include Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star by Bob Jones University graduate Rich Merritt; Assuming the Position by Rick Whitaker (Four Walls Eight Windows 1999); British porn star Aiden Shaw’s My Undoing: Love in the Thick of Sex, Drugs, Pornography, and Prostitution (Running Press, 2006); notorious former escort/model/actor Rupert Everett’s Red Carpet & Other Banana Skins; and Young Man from the Provinces (University of Minnesota Press 2003) by Alan Helms who illuminates the high price of being a sex object in the midst of the elite in the pre-Stonewall era of “Leonard Bernstein’s” underground Manhattan; and let’s not leave out HBOs Hung and all the modern American Gigolo/Midnight Cowboy properties shamelessly glorifying the call-girl life on Showtime, etc. Porn sites provide the most vivid and popular expose of all.  Check out the in/out specials on Rentboy.com and tell me there isn't a story behind each and every review. There are many solo shows out there about the sex industry. Few take any real responsibility for entering the trade. Most have a bravado that prevents them from feeling any buyers remorse. When I sense that, I get the feeling they are not telling their entire story--titillation is what they are still selling. They aren't getting poetically naked. Enough young porn star obituaries are out there to take a second, closer look at what we have done to ourselves.
          Let me end this section by saying I am absolutely pro sex. We should celebrate our sexuality. Go ahead and film it all you want and send the link to your buddies on Skype. Heck, you can even send it to me. Just don't charge. Let it be for fun and for free. What I am most is pro relationship. I didn't find myself capable of love and vulnerability while escorting. I simply wasn't available.
          And let me add that I believe sex work should be absolutely, age-appropriately legal--if it is truly someone's "choice". But the libertarian in me insists that it not be taxed. You cannot legislate a body. And it's no one's business what's going on under that streetlamp, in that alley, or in that mansion in the Hamptons. And I'm gonna digress if I start to question how civilized the laws of Amsterdam really are. I'm getting way off track and I don't know all the answers here.
          But let sex be for free, otherwise, we are all guilty of enabling the horrors of the girls and boys who are being sold in the backrooms of Bangkok. No one wants that for their son or daughter. I don't want it for mine.

Critics that I'm a Puritan. Don't call my bluntness two-dimensionally judgmental. I don't want to sound like a self-righteous Mormon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Client Endorsement


 
"A vanity photo of me in 2001. At your service!" 

This was cut from my book "Confessions of a Mormon Boy: Behind the Scenes of the Off-Broadway Hit". It's on the narcissistic side, but I think it helps give my story and message credibility. It's hard to leave a business that gives you glowing reviews. I had to learn to earn them the hard way. And I have made a good start. And for the record, I used a different name when I worked as you will read.
 
 
I quit escorting before I got a chance to go into porn. (Dang!) But that is exactly where that road was leading. If I’d done that…or stayed in sex-work longer, I would have joined various Web sites or started my own. (My dark side still wants me to become a porn star in Palm Springs—no matter how old I get!) Instead of going that far, I will simply post this one endorsement from a former-client who is an Ambassador for the United Nations. (These are the reviews I was starting to collect!)  I did not write this myself. So for the record, since I will most likely never be in an XXX adult video, indulge me:

“Jason is VERY VERY VERY cute. Way cuter than Donny Osmond. Clean cut preppy look. About ‘6’ tall, a marvelous face, a flashing smile, sparkling eyes, a SPECTACULAR body (and I do mean spectacular), smooth and beautifully muscled. I am not at all into body builders (they actually turn me off right away). Jason is just perfectly worked out, with gorgeous chest and arms. Baby-soft skin. Nice long dick, too. He is one of the most wonderful kissers I’ve ever met (I am particularly demanding in that department, BTW, because kissing is one of my favorite activities). He gives great head, too. As for “versatile top”, I think he is a total top. I am more of a bottom myself, although I don’t necessarily go anal every time. With Jason, I’ve spent hours kissing and sucking, so I guess you will like him . . .

I am seeing him tomorrow afternoon for the fourth or fifth time since we first met in March, that’s how much I enjoy his company. Besides all his outstanding physical attributes, he is a smart boy, and carries great conversation. He is sweet.”

 
What you don’t get in this endorsement is his charming foreign accent.

This man was always a gentleman to me. He once took me on a private tour of the U.N. We didn’t actually have sex in the Security Council chamber, but I have been inside.

This Ambassador came and saw my show in New York. He bought a ticket and sat wide-eyed on the front row of the SoHo Playhouse. We spoke briefly after the show. He was only in New York visiting for a brief time (since he is now stationed in Europe) and had wanted to congratulate me on my success. I hope he and his boyfriend will be very, very happy for a very, very long time. I’m sorry that I did not feel like going for dinner after the show. I hope he understands.
 
Another client who always got the newbies right away had me over. He would write me $5,000 checks. I think he was roping me in to start making illegal deliveries for him. I was only with him a few times, but he once cursed me sweetly by saying, "You're tall, matinee idol looks, big dick, smart. You are going to have a very lonely, hard time in this city." It believe it is true. No one knows the loneliness of being a sex object like those who know.