By Peter Berton
Devon Delacroix is a professional writer, and a sex worker catering to male clients. He is also the retired author of Xtra’s ‘Hard Labour’ column (still available online).
Hard Labour provides readers with fascinating insights into the real life of a male sex worker, the pantheon of sexual tastes they serve – and some unique adventures that are eye-opening and insightful.
I have long been impressed by Devon Delacroix’s work, and regret the ending of Hard Labour. (There is nothing else quite like it on the web, as far as I know.) So I took a chance and contacted Devon if he would talk with us at NakedTruth.ca ... and he did!
Peter Berton: Please tell us a bit about yourself, and why/how you became a male escort.
Devon Delacroix: I’d never really considered entering the sex business before I started. And it wasn’t something I thought would last. As I detail in one of my earliest columns “The Beginning” (https://www.dailyxtra.com/hard-labour-3-65600) I’d already been working as a writer for several years and had finally managed to get to the point where I could make ends meet each month. But in the years since grad school, I’d racked up some credit card debt, mainly when I didn’t have enough cash to buy groceries. I’d found out that a friend of my ex (a forty-something silver-haired daddy) was a part-time escort.
Prior to this, I’d assumed male sex workers all looked like Chippendales, so it wasn’t something I thought I’d be able to do. But I figured if he was doing it, maybe there was space for a scruffy, lanky guy-next-door type like me. I decided to try it for a few months and, to my surprise, I found that I actually liked it. I’ve been at it almost fifteen years now and have no immediate plans to quit.
Peter Berton: How did your ‘Hard Labour’ come to be?
Devon Delacroix: I was already a regular contributor at Xtra (mostly writing arts and entertainment stories). I’d been thinking of writing about sex work for a while, but wasn’t sure what format to follow.
Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about doing first person stories. Would people actually want to read another whore diary?
I approached the editor at the time and asked if he might be interested in a couple of columns on the topic. He was incredibly open-minded and supportive, giving me total freedom to do whatever I wanted, and the format just gradually emerged.
Peter Berton: How did writing this column change you, and what did you learn from doing it?
Devon Delacroix: It was exciting to have the chance to write something more narrative, since nearly all of my previous writing work leaned more towards reportage. I think the big discovery was that there was actually an interest in the subjects I was discussing.
Before I started the column, I’d spent some time scouring the internet, trying to find other guys writing about sex work. With the exception of a few rarely updated blogs, there just wasn’t much else out there, so it seemed like the column was potentially filling a void.
One of the things that’s been interesting is that, in terms of reader responses I’ve received, I’ve never had anyone who identified themselves as an escort approach me about the column. I’m actually kind of curious what other escorts think of it, whether it parallels their experiences in any way, and if it’s inspired any of them to share their own stories.
Peter Berton: What are the misconceptions about being a male escort that you were trying to dispel with your column?
Devon Delacroix: I don’t know that I was trying to dispel misconceptions, as much just share my own experiences.
I definitely had certain ideas of what a “typical” male escort looked like before I started working. But now I know there’s really no such thing. We run the gamut from barely-legal twinks to sixty-something daddy bears. In my case, I think I do break certain escort stereotypes in that I’m pretty well educated (having just completed a second masters degree and preparing to start my PhD) and that I’m the furthest thing from a party boy you can imagine (you’re much more likely to find me in yoga class than a nightclub).
I think maybe the biggest misconception people have about sex work is that they don’t think they know anyone who’s a sex worker. A lot of us are closeted or semi-closeted about our activities, because we don’t necessarily want our friends, relatives, or employers (because many of us have a second career) to know what we’re doing. No matter who you are, I can virtually guarantee that you know someone who’s turned tricks, whether or not they’ve told you.
Peter Berton: How has your perception of your clients changed over the years?
Devon Delacroix: I can’t say that the way I perceive my clients has changed much, though my clients definitely have. When I started out I was in my mid-twenties and nearly all of my clients were significantly older, mid-fifties and up. Now, in my late thirties, I probably have an equal number of clients who are younger than I am, including some guys who are nineteen or twenty.
I would also say that I’ve become a bit sharper over time, more able to judge what people like and which clients to avoid. Part of that may just be sexual maturity. As you have more sex and more sexual partners, you just get better at it.
Peter Berton: Why did you stop writing Hard Labour? And are you still in the business?
Devon Delacroix: After four years, it felt like the right time to step back and make some space for other folks who wanted to share their stories. I’m not sure what my immediate steps are writing-wise, though I’ve received a couple of arts council grants in the last year to work on a book.
I’m still working as an escort with no immediate plan to stop. When I started, I figured I’d do it for a few months to get my Visa bill under control. I decided to stick with it as long as I enjoyed it and I’m still enjoying it. I don’t know if I’ll make it to fifty, but you never know.
About the Author
Winner of the NakedTruth.ca award for Favourite Adult Journalist, Peter Berton has written for Adult Video News, Klixxx, XBIZ, Xtra, and YNOT.com. He likes to interview sex workers to tap into their vast knowledge about human nature, business marketing, work/life balance and succeeding as entrepreneurs.