Confessions I, Part 3: Pimping, penance, and poverty

Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC /

PREVIOUSLY: Jeff Taylor told readers about how he struggled to find intimacy and love as a “semi-closeted gay male” in D.C. after moving from Peoria, Illinois. In Part Two, he confessed to not feeling sympathy for people experiencing homelessness and told the story of losing his job at a church after embezzling money to pay for prostitutes. When the story left off, Jeff was explaining how he had just found a new job… 

As I’ve said throughout this series, I like to think I’m a good person and I want to make sure I’m not BS-ing myself about that. I know I’m far from perfect. Like, really far, as you’ve seen. But when it comes to trying to live by the golden rule (and not without a few major stumbles along the way), I’d give myself a solid B, maybe B+. That leaves room for improvement and I’m willing, by the grace of the greater universe, to work harder at being an a**hole even less of the time. To that end, my confession continues.

I was a pimp


There was a time during the very slow off-season when I decided to try managing my own male escort agency, Centaur Male Entertainment. I envisioned a business where clients and escorts would flourish when treated decently and fairly by myself and by each other. It was a whole golden rule kinda thing. 

It was an interesting experiment. There were good and bad clients and escorts alike. Although there was a snake or two to deal with, most of them were really good guys: clients who just needed a little affection and intimacy; escorts who were happy to provide a valued service. As for the snakes, they were generally escorts who simply weren’t cut out for the job. They wanted the money while providing as little service as possible. 

It was mostly fun while it lasted, but when my regular job kicked into high season it was too much to manage the agency as well. All it took was being too out of touch with clients and escorts who were desperate for d*** and dough and they went around me, cutting me out completely. It was frustrating. I did my part. I spent hours and hours creating and continually updating the website, posting ads, managing the emails, answering the phone calls… ugh, the phone calls! But that’s what ultimately killed the business, the inability to immediately respond to phone calls and messages. My regular job simply wouldn’t allow it. And since the agency didn’t bring in more than enough to be considered a hobby, it wasn’t too difficult to decide which one had to go. Oh well, like I said, fun while it lasted.

My penance


I’ve written extensively in the past about my friend Alice Carter, so I won’t spend a great deal of time writing about her now, only as it is relevant to my own story. 

I rode one hell of a roller coaster with my friend Alice Carter. I’ve yet to figure out if my sticking by Alice had more to do with the compassion I felt on hearing her story or with a sense of obligation to give continued second chances because I’ve been given continued second chances. 

The more I got to know Alice and have a pretty good understanding of what it must be like to live her rough and dangerous life, my already shaky faith finally collapsed. I eventually evolved into a devout atheist. I just couldn’t reconcile that concept of an all-loving God in light of Alice’s torment. Or that of my grandma Taylor who had Alzheimer’s. Or each and every defenseless child who suffers any manner of abuse. Bless all the dear children indeed!

Now don’t get it twisted just because I gave up on God. I didn’t give up on Alice. I risked and lost one job and my housing twice out of love for her. I gave up on God but not the teachings of Christ, at least not where Alice was concerned. 

Alice had moments when the only thing I knew what to do with her was to put her out of the apartment. Never in rain, never in the freezing cold, but yes, out the door when she got to be too much to handle. But she always came back and I always welcomed her back in with a hug.

She would get high on cough medicine. I witnessed her having conversations with invisible people, talking about killing me and taking over my apartment. Yet night after night I laid down to sleep next to her.

She once threw a large ceramic vase at me. She snuck people into the apartment while I was at work who stole stuff. It wasn’t all bad living with Alice Carter but it certainly had its challenges.

Becoming homeless 


Living with Alice took a bit of a toll on me psychologically. It stressed me out dealing with her, worrying about her. I took time off to look after my own mental health. But when I felt ready to go back to work, my employer had decided I was no longer needed. My position was to be dissolved soon anyway. There’s more to be told on that specific issue, but they wouldn’t be my confessions to reveal. At any rate, I was then officially jobless.

I kept the phone/internet and cable until the money I had saved from not paying rent ran out. I got a food stamp card but used it to get cheap-a** filtered cigars at the corner store. I ate by boosting food from the neighborhood CVS and Whole Foods.

Having Alice in my life had seemed like penance enough for the pain I caused the people of that little church. But there was so much more to come. I really didn’t want to be homeless. It was my greatest fear. I decided to contact my two last resorts first to give them a decent heads up. My last resorts were my parents and my best friend, Betty Hicks, a former co-worker from Lenscrafters. 

I met Betty the first day I walked into Lenscrafters. I hadn’t even stepped into the office for my job interview yet and I sensed she was special. I learned so much about life and more accepting worldviews from her and her four beautiful, free-spirited daughters.

While I met Betty in Peoria, she was originally from the upper peninsula of Michigan. After retiring from Lenscrafters, she returned to Iron River, Michigan. When I went online to find her number, it came up. But so did another piece of information: the word “deceased.” 

I was in shock. My best friend was dead and I had had no idea. The last time we talked was probably 2004 or so at something like 2 a.m. She drunk dialed me. She was in her mid-70s. And boy could she tell a good dirty joke. I miss her.

On to my last resort. Mom and Dad were very leary, to say the very least, at the idea of my coming to their home. Though I had no intention of bringing Alice along, Mom and Dad didn’t want to take any chances she’d somehow manage to follow me. I thought that was pretty absurd and I said so. It was a conversation between my mother and me that would have blown over as I came to better understand their concerns. But Dad had to butt his d*** nose in it and it became a whole thing. I wasn’t able to talk to my mom for nearly a year. At any rate, my last resort was a no-go.

I had gotten behind on the rent before living in the pricey Logan Circle neighborhood but always managed to get caught up. My landlord had apparently either grown accustomed to that and therefore trusted I would catch up, or they had really bad lawyers. I managed to live there rent-free for an entire year before the day in late April of 2013 when all that I couldn’t pack in two suitcases and a shoulder bag was left on the curb for neighbors to anxiously scavenge. I ain’t gonna lie, I had some nice stuff; well worth scavenging. 

So I was then officially homeless. It was a new chapter in my life and Alice was still very much a part of it. Much more can and will be written about this former middle-class, conservative, Midwestern kid who came to the big city and was nearly eaten alive by it.

This concludes “Confessions I” by Jeff Taylor. 

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