IT might sound strange, but from an early age Leo had big plans of taking on the oldest profession in the world.
Leo, not his real name, is a male prostitute based in the south-west.
The 30-year-old began working in the industry at 21.
Leo told The Standard of the enormous difference between the work of male escorts and female escorts.
“It’s a completely different kettle of fish,” he said.
“I’ve got to be attentive. It’s about talking and companionship and getting to know each other.
“A woman can put an ad in the paper advertising for males and be booked that day.
“A lady contacted me and said she saw my ad a year or so ago and I’ve seen your website – it takes a while (to make contact).”
He said he was kept busy with regular clients and so far this year had picked up seven new clients.
“And more than half want to book me again,” he said.
“(With) most of them you have to get to know each other first and that can happen each booking.
“Getting to know each other and getting comfortable even if I see them over a few months.
“For some, once I know them then it’s like that first booking, we’ve got all that out of the way so it’s straight into sex each time and then talking afterwards.
“Most of it is like a normal date together.
“It’s just getting to know each other and then being intimate.”
Leo said one recent nine-hour booking involved him attending a music concert.
He said for that stint he earned more than $1000.
“I went to the hotel she was staying in,” he said.
“We stayed there for a few hours. She’s a regular client.”
Leo said he worked around the south-west, as well as Geelong, Ballarat and Melbourne.
He said the majority of his bookings were from women in their 40s.
“Most of my bookings are probably late 30s, 40s and 50s,” he said.
“It’s that age when a woman might of had enough of things as they are.
“They might be separated or just get to that point in life where they try something new and get confident.
“I saw a new client a few weeks ago who was in her early 20s. That doesn’t happen as often.”
Leo said he was happily single and had been for the past nine years.
The main thing I like at the end of the day is making someone feel great about themselves and that’s what I’m all about.Leo
He said he was known as ‘Leo the love doctor’ and women often found him via the internet.
He said only two people knew that he worked as a prostitute.
“I’ve got a couple of close friends who know, but I really just keep it quiet,” he said.
He said although he developed friendships with clients, his lifestyle often meant that he was living in two worlds.
“I’m all about discretion,” he said.
“That’s how I operate.
“That’s how I know it is and that’s how they know it is.
“I have to make sure it’s always clear.
“But at the same time I’ve got a client over here, a client over there.
“I do have to make sure to keep it professional and make sure no one thinks I’m their boyfriend or they’re my girlfriend because it can occasionally happen and I don’t want to break anyone’s heart.
“I’m not hurting anyone. I leave a big smile on their heart, their body and they feel great.
“They’ll message me afterwards or a few days later and say they feel on cloud nine.
“I’m all about making people happy and it’s not about money.
“I do have bookings pretty much everyday, tomorrow I’m off to Ballarat and the next day Melbourne and the next day Geelong.
“I only do one booking per day so that I can give my full attention. And so that I’m not rushed and I’m not worn out as well.
“And I can give my full energy and attention, that’s the main thing.
“I wouldn’t want to see... (a woman) and say oh I’ve seen three women today, that’s pretty yuck.
“I’d never do something like that.”
Leo said the majority of his clients were in Melbourne and he had a good client base in Warrnambool.
“When I’m not with a booking I pretty much just want to stay at home with my dog and not talk to anyone,” he said.
Leo said the stigma around sex workers had improved considerably since he started and people were becoming more accepting.
“It’s definitely becoming more acceptable,” he said
“The average person on the street might not be that accepting but there are a lot of people who might like to have someone who looks after them.
“My sole focus is to please whoever I’m with and make them the centre of the universe and that’s not what other guys really do, even with their partners unfortunately.”
Leo said some women can be looking for companionship or a person to take to work functions.
“A lot of my bookings might be to dinner and plays and concerts and different places,” he said.
“I go to people’s houses or hotels.
“They might be visiting from somewhere and want to get away from home and book a hotel and go somewhere no one knows them. Something like that.
“There’s nothing I don’t do.
“The main thing I like at the end of the day is making someone feel great about themselves and that’s what I’m all about.
“One of my mantras is that I’m making the world a better place one smile at a time.