Canberra in July

2016-07-21 21.12.45Two weeks ago I was in Melbourne. This week I’m in Canberra for a couple of day!

2016-07-22 10.16.28 20160722_110630I haven’t been so lucky with the weather – it’s pretty wet and blowy down here today – but it just makes it a nice day to sit in a cafe, drink tea, and write. Something of a luxury really.

The aesthetic of cities changes with the season. Having lived in Canberra a couple of times, the thing I remember most about winter is the stark beauty of the European trees, stripped of their leaves by the cold…

Walking to the cafe this morning I saw a bus with a bike rack on the front (and two bikes attached). I have never seen this before and it struck me as a very clever idea! Especially in a city like Canberra where public transport and you intended destination may not line up well. Being able to take your bike “on” the bus seems like a splendid idea.

A black truffle

It’s truffle season here in Canberra – and while I am not traditionally a fan of truffle oil – I have been sampling some fresh truffle and found it quite delightful. If you love truffles then Canberra is a great place to be in July, not just to eat truffles, but I am told that there are people who will take you out truffle hunting in a Truffière (the French name for a truffle orchard).

Since truffles grow underground on the roots of trees (often oaks), the hunt is conducted by truffle hounds (yes dogs! What can’t they do I ask you?) – or some people I have heard off use pigs (who love truffles too). The dogs can smell the truffle from above ground and lead the hunters right too them. It’s a rather quaint kind of industry, but given the price that black truffles fetch in restaurants (up to AUD$3000 per kilogram), it also a very serious business.

So, if you were thinking of a trip away somewhere for a weekend and are happy in a cool climate then I think that a truffle tour in Canberra would be a lot of – tasty – fun.

John.

April in Melbourne – part one

I have just flown back to Sydney, having been in Melbourne for only two days – it felt like a lot longer though thanks to interesting people, a vibrant city, and catching up with family and friends.
I tweeted a lot of the trip because I was excited to be back in Melbourne and feeling a connection with it.  So I thought I would share those tweets…

I flew out of Sydney eventually, but only after Jetstar cancelled my flight and moved me to a qantas flight instead.  More aggravation than I needed and it left me lucky that my Monday afternoon booking had cancelled! Continue reading

Times change – women seeing sex workers has becomes much more common

February and March are typically quiet months for me. Christmas is done and everyone is back at work, summer is ending, and it’s all a bit glum perhaps, so few women contact me.

This year however, it’s been busier in February and March so far than it was even before Christmas. Something that is quite unprecedented for me!

What I do know though about this industry is that it is constantly changing. In all of the years that I have worked as a male escort no two years have been the same. Early on, many of my clients were women who had divorced a year or two earlier and were looking for an experience to let them build their confidence in themselves to start dating again. Later, it was predominantly women still married, who wanted to fill a gap in their lives, while maintaining their relationships. Then for a while there were many women looking for a more therapeutic service and the opportunity to learn in a safe environment and increase their skills and knowledge.

The list goes on, as the years go by society changes little by little, knowledge of, and interest in the services of male escorts changes and the job that we do and the service that we can provide becomes better known and more widely accepted.

As a result different groups of women seem to come forward at different times, making my job ever changing and forever interesting.

What is most notable though is that over the years more women each year seem to be ready to seek out the services of sex workers like myself. It seems to me that slowly the imbalance in our society – and the myth that paying for sex is only for men – is being addressed.

More and more women are realising that they can choose the sex they want, when they want it, and even to pay for it is ok and in can be a powerful way to find pleasure, address fears, take control, or just have fun.

John.

Pain and pleasure

Contrary to what the title might suggest, this isn’t a post about BDSM or Fifty Shades of Grey.

It’s about life and how we exist in the world as human beings, as social creatures. And how we experience a world where all too often the things that really matter are lost to the things that are expected of us.

I had an experience recently that was the catalyst for me writing this post. I have lived with “a bad back” since I was 15 years old and it’s been a problem that has gradually gotten worse over that time. Recently my GP recommended that I have a CT scan guided injection of cortisone in my lower back to help reduce inflammation and make me more mobile. I had never had such a thing and in spite of my innate mistrust of needles, I went to the radiology clinic and had the injection.

It was – to say the least – a profoundly traumatic experience. Very painful, downright scary really, but worst of all, it was an experience that was disconnected from the rest of humanity – and this compounded the unpleasantness significantly. The staff who performed the procedure were competent and perfectly nice, but the experience was exceptionally isolating physically and mentally. Laying on the bed of a CT scanner, unable to see anything, and not being told much of what was going on was hard. The accumulated effects of isolation and the very real pain of my back, the needle and the injection actually brought me to tears toward the end of the procedure.

The radiographer, seeing this (I assume), put her hand on my arm to comfort me. Until that point I didn’t really appreciate just how alone I felt. The simple action of a comforting hand on my arm was almost overwhelming. A visceral flood of emotion that nearly carried me away.

I believe that in that brief period I had an experience that is similar to that of many of the women who come to me. Deprived of touch, of human compassion, and living with emotional and sometimes physical isolation, it can be a profoundly moving experience to have someone do something as simple a be nice to you. It’s little wonder that like me, some people end up in tears when they come to see me – which is always, to my mind a sign of progress and a good thing, even if they may feel embarrassed.

Perhaps the first thing to note is that it is very, very difficult to understand another person’s pain, be it physical, or emotional. If you haven’t been there – and recently – you can only guess. We have evolved the ability to forget just how bad pain can be for good reason – remembering all of our pain vividly would be crippling.

But empathy combined with the shadow of our own experiences is a powerful social took. It allows us to value someone else’s suffering even if we can’t quantify it exactly ourselves. Unfortunately not everyone empathises well – witness much of modern politics.

Being on the receiving end of a lack of empathy, from wider society, friends and family, or a partner can be profoundly isolating and damaging. I see it too often in my work, but I do like the fact that I am in a position to give women a non-judgmental environment where they can be themselves without fear and start to take back their lives.

I’m likely to need more cortisone injections in the future, and I am most definitely profoundly grateful for what modern medicine can do for us. But I think that a little more attention paid to the human aspect of the treatment would have given a better result. Likewise, I would like to see our society spend less effort and time on the material and invest more of itself in the social and the compassionate.

John.

Shaving soap

Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t have much in the way of whiskers, in fact I couldn’t grow a beard to save myself.  However, what I do have still needs regular shaving, and along with few whiskers I also have quite soft and sensitive skin.

As a result, shaving (with anything other than the sharpest razor) is likely to result in not the closest shave, and plenty of razor burn.  My face is smarting a little just at the thought.

Commercial shaving foams are an effective solution, preventing the burn and giving a closer shave, but I have never really liked the idea of buying pressure packed foam just to shave a bit of stubble.  It seems wasteful, and I have no idea what they put in the stuff.

However my soap making friend Chelsea (of Cherry Blossom Soap Company), recently gave me a sample of her new hand made shaving soap.  I was skeptical, but decided to give it a go.

The results: I am really quite surprised and delighted with this soap.  It gives a soft, slippery lather that allows the razor to really glide over the skin.  I get a very close shave, and almost no razor burn.  In a word, I am impressed well beyond my expectations.

And I am sure that it would be just as good for shaving legs and bikini-lines as it is for my chin!

You can buy Chelsea’s shaving bar here:

http://cherryblossomsoap.com.au/2015/06/shaving-soap/

It gets my stamp of approval.

Back on the road!

Image

It’s been a long time coming, but finally my (almost) new 2004 Triumph Daytona is back on the road.  After some very un-hilarious mixups over some repairs that it required everything is sorted out, fitted, adjusted, tuned, and fixed.  Now I just need some good weather!

If you would like to take a ride with me one day, just drop me a line.  It would be my pleasure.
daytonaJohn.

Bubbles of fun for your bath

Cherry Blossom Soap Company - Bubble BarI have a friend who is an artisanal soap maker.  Recently she has started making a “bubble bath bar”.  It’s a crumbly soap bar that your drop under the tap to fill the bath with foamy bubbles!  It is made using natural ingredients and comes in two scents (lavender and vanilla), and I have two of each for lots of bubbly fun!

So, if you are thinking of booking a date and like the idea of sharing a nice bubbly bath with me then I have just the thing for you.

You can buy the Bubble Bar and many other hand crafted soaps here:

http://cherryblossomsoap.com.au/

John.

Be fit, be healthy, have good sex

Our lives are far too busy. I for one find myself beset by the devil of lack of routine. From week to week I can never know what I will be doing day or night, as a consequence I try to walk each day, at least. It makes getting regular exercise hard and while I am quite happy with my body, I know that I would benefit from being fitter and stronger. So it’s time for a change!

Earlier in the year I was swimming regularly in preparation for the Sydney Skinny, which was great. It gave me good aerobic fitness, increased my energy levels and built muscle. But winter isn’t conducive to swimming (even when it’s indoor in a heated pool). I used to be a capable runner, but recent back trouble means that the impact of running may be destructive for me.

So, so for aerobic exercise, it’s back to the bike for me. Pushbike that is. I have loved cycling since I was in high school and used to regularly ride hundreds of kilometers each week. I found that it makes swimming and running easier as well which was an added bonus. Unfortunately, just before Christmas my good road bike was stolen, so I am currently without a bike, which is very frustrating on a day that is glorious and sunny and just begging for a few laps on the road around Olympic Park!

I am currently saving up for a new bike and am hoping to buy one in time for spring.

Unfortunately life always seems to be pushing us away from doing the things that are best for us, like getting enough sleep, getting proper exercise, eating well. When I look at the things that I have valued and enjoyed most in my life, it has never been the long hours at work (prior to being a male escort!) that have made me happy. It’s been spending time with friends, family, and partners. It’s been good food and drink. It’s been time and space for doing creative things. And of course time and energy for good sex.

John.

Winter is coming…

I have to say, I am really glad that I am not heading home from Sydney today!  I have had enough of riding in the rain.

cropped-2015-03-30-09.44.26.jpg

Five minutes after I took this photo, these beautiful moody clouds began dumping a torrent of rain on Sydney.

So, here’s hoping that if you are in Sydney (or anywhere else that the weather is inclement), that you are tucked up warm and dry like me.

John.

The Sydney Skinny – 2015

Well, the Sydney Skinny has been and gone for another year!
I swam in the fifth wave (I think) this year, which (totally accidentally) turned out to be the Body Image group.  It somehow seems appropriate given “me”.  Anyway, it was, as with last year, a fun group of people who all stripped off on the beach and swam either 900, or 300 meters.
Sydney Skinny 2015

I found the swim a lot easier than last year, but it was still a lot harder than I expected.  There was a reasonable amount of chop and some bigger waves (of perhaps 50cms) from ferries or other boats.  My main problem was that I actually started to feel sea sick about one third of the way through!  I was trying to move with the waves, rather than bashing through them and it turned out to be a pretty sickening rythm.

So, next year I am thinking that I need to do more open water swimming in preparation.

Anyway, it was a fun experience yet again and great to see so many people getting out and enjoying the sunshine, the water, and the freedom of being nude!

John.