As a bisexual female who grew up abroad, I’ve always been pretty open-minded when it comes to dating and sex. But now that I’m juggling work as a part-time chef and culinary school, I’m often spent by the end of the day and simply do not have time to date, much less sleep with anyone. And I’m not fond of fishing for prospects in clubs and bars or using dating apps like Tinder, either. I’ve been in the dating world long enough to know that people aren’t always what they make themselves out to be—and you only realize it once you’ve wasted a significant amount of your time on them.
While I now prefer to keep things uncomplicated on that front, I do admit that, as a single woman living on her own in Manila, there are moments when I feel alone. It was in a moment of loneliness mixed with boredom that the idea of hiring an escort randomly came to me.
I knew nothing about hiring an escort and knew no one who had done it before, and I wondered, “Are there actually escort services in this country?” So I opened my browser and typed “Manila escorts” in the search bar, purely out of curiosity.
The results that came up first were listings for female escorts, but as I clicked away, my search shifted to male escorts. As I browsed one site and found no one to my liking—most of them were targeting gay men or were not my type—I began to feel foolish at the exercise. I was about to close the browser when one guy whose name was listed as R* caught my eye.
R described himself as a fun and friendly European gentleman who was great at conversation, had excellent hygiene, prided himself in being “safe,” and took the work he did very seriously. His bio was very well-written in English, his photos were professionally shot, and he was offering his services to women—but there were no rates published.
Curious about his rates, I rang R’s number on Viber. He wasn’t picking up, so I left it at that and went about my day.
R described himself as a fun and friendly European gentleman who was great at conversation, had excellent hygiene, prided himself in being “safe,” and took the work he did very seriously.
Later, I got a message from R; he apologized for missing my call as he had just been on a plane. At this point, I was still operating out of pure curiosity, so I just asked him what his rates were. He told me he charges 500 USD (around P26,000) per hour, and 1,000 USD (around P52,000) for one night. My eyes popped out of their sockets. I thought, “Holy sh*t, women actually pay this price?!”
My curiosity fed, I thanked R, but respectfully declined his service. He asked where I was based, because if I was near his location in Manila, he was willing to give me a special deal.
He told me he charges 500 USD (around P26,000) per hour, and 1,000 USD (around P52,000) for one night.
After an hour of mulling it over, I said to myself, “F*ck it, you only live once and you need to treat yourself once in a while.” Before I could stop myself, I made arrangements to have R stay over at my condo that same night.
I was a mixture of nerves and excitement, but as I got my place ready for the night, I was more preoccupied thinking of all the questions I had for R. I knew nothing about the life of an escort, and I was looking forward to learning about it.
Finally, it was time. I went down to the lobby, and there I spotted a handsome, well-dressed man sitting on the couch with a small luggage by his side. R looked at me, broke into a big smile, and stood up to give me a hug. (He smelled very fresh.)
Once we were drinking wine on the couch in my living room, I began to ask R questions. What was his job like? What kind of women availed of his services? What experiences has he had with his clients?
R told me that he was hired mostly by rich businesswomen who would fly him over to wherever they were in Asia. He told me that the women who hire him are all beautiful, in their late 20s to early 50s, and that I was one of the youngest ones.
R’s clients have different reasons for hiring him: Some of them want revenge on cheating partners, some of them just want a vacation companion, sometimes couples hire him for group sex. Some clients have fetishes that they can’t easily open up to their partners about for fear of being judged, and hiring someone with whom to indulge that fetish helps them freely explore their desires. Then there are the single women who, like me, simply have more money than time on their hands.
R was warm, interesting, intelligent, sweet, affectionate, and a gentleman, and as we talked on that couch, touching and kissing occasionally, I let myself get carried away. Things heated up, and we moved to my bedroom.
There, I understood why women paid so much to spend time with him. R knew his way around a woman: He knew how to talk to me while getting intimate, he asked me what kinds of things I like in bed, he paid close attention to my reactions and level of comfort, and he could keep going all night.
Throughout the night and the morning after, we continued to talk. I asked R what he really thinks about his clients and if he fears getting attached to any of them. He said he has trained himself to have full mental independence so he isn’t bothered by the prospect of getting attached, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a special bond with his clients. To him, they’re more than just clients; they’ve become friends since he usually sees them more than once. He also explained that he has clients he enjoys spending time with more than others, but he always makes sure that he remains professional in all his transactions, still doing his best to make any client’s experience with him worth it.
I understood why women paid so much to spend time with him. R knew his way around a woman: He knew how to talk to me while getting intimate, he asked me what kinds of things I like in bed, he paid close attention to my reactions and level of comfort, and he could keep going all night.
I personally walked away from my experience with R feeling like a queen, but I’m no fool: All the while, I knew what I was getting into. He told me how some of his other clients had tried to start drama because they had developed feelings for him—and I was determined to not be one of them.
While people will frown upon what I’ve done, I’ll never regret it. I had a great time, treated myself to a great guy, and as a girl who loves to learn, found the experience enlightening because it made me see sex differently. Seeing how R was able to preserve himself emotionally despite sharing himself physically with others has made me rethink how I view my own sexual encounters. Stripped of meanings and expectations that may all just be in my head, sex could be just that, and still be pleasurable.
In our time together, R and I got to talking about the industry he moves in. He told me that he takes pride in what he does and he wants to break the stigma that escorts are “dirty” and “cheap” and that the people who hire them are “horny” and “desperate” because, from his experience, there’s often more to the story than that. And he’s right. I’m not just a horny, desperate woman, and he’s not just a dirty, cheap hooker.
Still, I’ll be the first to caution others against doing the same. It’s not for everyone; I would never have done it myself if I hadn’t felt lonely, if I hadn’t grown weary of dating, if I didn’t have the money to spare, and if I didn’t think I was grounded enough to see my night with R simply as what it was. Because let’s be real: In the end, he’s just a man I paid to spend the night with me, and I’m just a woman who can afford his service.
*Name has been changed