This weekend, I had an adventure. In New York City. Oddly enough, those don’t happen much nowadays. Because I’m broke. Because I’m a hermit. Because I’m terrified of people. But I have a buddy who works for Rentboy.com and he was like “Do you wanna go to The Hookies?” and I was like “Um, YES!”
“The Hookies?” you ask? The International Escort Awards. For male escorts. Gay ones, for the most part. The 9th annual, to be exact. I’ve been aware of and curious about them for about half of that time, but I never really made any effort to attend, because it was never really a community I belonged to. It still isn’t, technically, but I’ve become more and more acquainted with men who work as escorts in recent years. And while I’m not a sex worker in the traditional sense, I do a lot of work with sex…so ya know, it fits well enough.
The event took place at BPM Nightclub in Midtown. The only time I’ve ever been to BPM was for the GLAM Awards, so naturally, I expected it to be a lot like the GLAM Awards. It wasn’t. Well, aside from the fact that it was full of homosexual men in minimal clothing. It was a much friendlier, more welcoming environment…which was funny because I’ve been a nominee at the GLAM Awards for three years in a row and I’ve never felt special when I got there, but I felt perfectly at home at The Hookies and I’m not even an escort.
I expected to feel really self-conscious upon entering this space, what with the plentiful 12-packs and biceps the size of basketballs, but no one seemed to bat an eye at the little impish fellow with glittery nail-polish and practically perfect guyliner frolicking about. I’m certain it helped that I was in the company of my good friend Matt Knife, who was sporting a long neon orange dress, and his husband Cubby Hall, who was the dapperest looking bear I’ve ever seen. We were hella cute.
Yes, I still say ‘hella’ and I refuse to stop. Deal with it.
I have to admit…I was a little star-struck. This doesn’t happen to me very often these days, especially in the context of gay nightlife, but the show was hosted by Alaska Thunderfuck, and well…I think she’s awesome. She did a great job, too. Although her co-host, comedian Brad Loekle may have stolen the spotlight a couple times…particularly when he dropped a zinger in Michael Lucas’s direction regarding his recent switch to bareback porn (which I think we all know how I feel about.) Then of course, there were the numerous porn stars that surrounded us, which is always a little overwhelming. But [BRAG ALERT] most of those that I recognized were people I actually knew and could comfortably strike up a conversation with, which of course made me feel very cool [END BRAG].
I was well-versed enough in the evening’s festivities to have a few people that I was rooting for, but not involved enough to get truly worked up about any of it. The most exciting moment for me though, was when they announced the winner for Best Newcomer. The award went to Viktor Belmont, who is the first trans man to be nominated for a Hookie. He had been nominated for two awards, and while he only took home one trophy, that’s a fucking big deal. There’s still a great deal of transphobia in gay culture, and the fact that a trans guy won an escort award shows a big-ass milestone in gay men including trans folk in their sexuality, and it’s about fucking time.
As you can see, I had an awesome time. I’m very grateful to the Rentboy staff for inviting me as their guest, and I applaud them for putting on a fun, organized show and manifesting a friendly environment for an operation that some might see as shallow or unnecessary. I don’t deny that I’ve thrown some shade in The Hookies’ direction in the past, but I’m really pleased with what they’re doing and they have my support 100%.