Lagos bar where male sex workers hustle for clients
FEBRUARY 28, 2015 BY ‘NONYE AND TUNDE
The time was 7pm, penultimate Saturday. The venue was a hotel on Abaranje Road in Ikotun, a suburb in Lagos State. He adorned black denims on a black T-shirt. He said his name was Kenny, of course, he admitted it wasn’t his real name.
He sauntered into the hotel as if his main aim was to have a couple of drinks and maybe complement it with a plate of sizzling pepper soup.
But Kenny didn’t just come to only have a drink, Kenny is first of all, a male commercial sex worker and was looking for a customer that he would ‘service’ in order to make a quick cash for the weekend. One of our correspondents got to know Kenny through a regular customer, who had been patronising the motel bar for a long time and who once had a close contact with him.
Being a regular face in the bar as the place seemed to be his office at night, his presence was certain, and indeed, he came, our correspondent waited for him.
It is no news that bars and drinking joints are the right spots for many on weekends, and being at the centre of a busy road, this hotel seemed like a right place for many. The music blaring from the speakers was good and loud enough to entertain even those who were not within the premises.
With the perimeter fencing well-illuminated, passers-by could as well be tempted to stop by and have a drink. But for Kenny, he came on purpose. On hand were some guys in crested vests with ‘security’ boldly printed on them to ensure law and order in the premises.
Not even the crowd and almost non-availability of chairs could dissuade people as some, including our correspondent, had to lean on a car for some time before he could locate a seat.
“This is the way it is on weekends. Because a number of those who come here on weekends are in the working class, you don’t get to see them on week days, so, on weekends, the house is always full. Even at certain times, you may not have a place to sit, and the premises, including the car park, would be so crowded, yet, it’s safe,” Seun, who claimed to be a regular customer, told Saturday Punch.
But the loud music would not really be the only thing one would instantly notice, skimpily and scantily dressed ladies prancing from one end of the motel to the other would instantly hit your eyes as soon as you sit, stand or hang out anywhere near the motel.
Of course, one wouldn’t need a soothsayer to know that the ladies are commercial sex workers, looking for customers for the night.
Indeed, just as they are on the lookout for patrons, their male counterparts are not left behind.
Like Kenny, sitting at different tables, were young guys chatting, smoking and drinking and talking in loud voices. To the innocent eyes, they are just young men having a good time. But then, only a few would know that some of them are also commercial sex workers. They are available for women who are ready to have them in exchange for some cash.
Since the male sex workers may not readily own up or be identified as being available for ‘service’, one of our correspondents approached a female sex worker as if he needed a ‘quickie’ or ‘short rest’ so that in the middle of their chat, she could help in identifying a guy to service his ‘madam.’
“Babe, how far now,” our correspondent asked. “I dey o, wetin dey happen?” she responded. Our correspondent introduced himself as ‘John’ while she gave her name as ‘Debbie’ who looked to be in her mid 20s.
Our correspondent requested for a short service but that before proceeding to the room or the car, she would have to help in arranging a “strong guy” for his madam who parked outside the hotel.
“I brought my madam here so I could ‘arrange’ a guy for her, but since I wouldn’t want to idle away while they would be having a good time, we can quickly do a ‘short rest’ before they would finish theirs. So you go help me arrange man for am. I mean guy wey strong well well o,” our correspondent had asked Debbie.
“That one na small thing now, guys dey. Make we talk our own first. It depends on what you want or what she wants; maybe tall or short, fair or dark, they are all here and they are all very strong too. In fact, I have some that I can’t give your madam because they can ‘wound’ her. I hope say your madam go fit pay o and she go get body hold am,” Debbie responded swiftly.
She agreed to take N1,500 for the ‘short time’ service, with an agreement that our correspondent would pay for a room in the motel at the rate of N700.
“For short rest, a room is N700 but if it is till day break, it’s N4,000, but if you give me the money, they can take N500 from me instead of the N700 because I’m a regular customer. I just ‘rested’ a guy now, so they know me very well, and there are many rooms we can choose from,” she explained.
When the deal was sealed, she handed her drink to our correspondent and dashed into the crowd to look for one of the male sex workers.
A few minutes later, Debbie returned with five guys, averagely in their mid and late 20s. On arrival, they introduced themselves, which sounded like aliases. Among them was Water, perceived to be a strong and qualified guy for the job. Others gave their names as TK, Segun, Uche and Charles, all looking set for work as they gesticulated occasionally.
While thinking of which of them to choose, they all promised to ‘deliver’ more than expected.
On a closer look, our correspondent had sighted one of them in the bar, smoking, drinking and dancing, all at once, but nothing would have given him away as a sex worker. Though he appeared like a ‘bad guy’, sagging his jean trousers as if his boxers had to be a part of the party.
After taking turns to explain how much they could perform, Saturday Punch learnt that the average amount the guys collect from any woman who needs their services for a short time is N5,000. It could be more than one round, but not for too long.
“If it is till daybreak, we charge at least N8,000, and the woman would also pay for the room and a room costs N4,000 per night in this place unless she doesn’t want to use the hotel. We can go for as many rounds as she wants,” Water told Saturday Punch.
With an assurance that money wouldn’t be a problem as long as he could deliver and satisfy the madam, Water boasted that he had been doing it and ‘servicing’ big women for a long time and that he was very popular in the bar such that those who had been patronising the hotel knew him for his strength.
“It’s been a while I started doing this thing, even before I came here. And the truth is that the more you do, the better skilled you become. So chairman, relax, madam go enjoy my company.
In fact, because she is a new customer, I can give her discount and she should just give me whatever she has afterwards. I’m sure if she enjoys my service, she would come back looking for me.
“Ask them, all of them know me, and they know that I don’t disappoint. If she says we should go now, I’m ready, no stopping till mama calls,” he assured.
When our correspondent selected Water to meet the madam, who had been waiting outside in her car, his face beamed with smiles. He teased his colleagues, saying he had caught another big fish.
He almost led the way when it was time to go, basking in some euphoria. It was while walking to the car that he told our correspondent that he had been cash-strapped for some time. He said he would give his best so that he would be rewarded handsomely.
“Some of the big women I have ‘serviced’ before still call me till date, and once you do them well (sic), they won’t want to lose you. They can even call you to meet them anywhere and they would pay,” he added.
On getting to the car where one of our correspondents pretends to be the ‘madam,’ Water expressed a little reservation before going into the car alone with someone he had never met before, but with assurance that nothing would happen to him, he jumped in.
But then again, once inside the car where ‘madam’ was waiting to ‘bargain’ with Water, the young man’s confidence waned a little as he kept looking from one corner of the car to the other, apparently looking for what would give away the correspondent as not being real.
Asked why he looked tensed, Water said, “Sorry ma, it is not as if I am not used to this. But then again, I have to be careful. You know that this is not common. We are aware that women come here and ‘take’ our ‘destinies’ once we sleep with them. The money that we ought to make would be going to them.”
But ‘madam’ quickly assured him that his fears weren’t necessary by telling him, “I am not looking for a boyfriend. The guys I had dealt with stole my money and broke my heart even when I gave them love. I just want somebody I can have sex with and that is just that. I don’t want my heart to be involved at all.”
Satisfied with the explanation, Water quickly boasted about his sexual prowess.
“Ah! Madam! I will do you well. In fact, if I ‘handle’ you, I am not sure you would want to let me go. Just try me and you would find out that you have been dealing with the wrong boys.”
And of course, he didn’t waste time to tell ‘madam’ that he would charge N15, 000 for the night for his ‘services.’
“Madam, if na TDB (Till day break), na N15k I go take o, I no charge you. No be so we dey even collect. E get some people wey dey charge N20k.
Last week, na N25k one woman pay me. I just like you as you set, na why I wan collect N15k.”
The bargaining eventually ended at N7, 000 for the night but Water insisted that he wouldn’t be the person that would pay for the room.
“A room in this hotel is N4, 000. You will be the one to pay for it and my own money will be N7, 000. Na the last price be that.”
Apart from the money ‘madam’ was willing to pay, the young man had some other ‘conditions’ attached to his services.
“Madam, if you no wan make I use condom, that one will cost you extra. The N7k is with condom o.
Without condom dey sweet pass and na why we dey charge extra N2, 000 for that.
“Madam, you go first ‘ginger’ me well. Then we go come play. Na you go ‘ginger’ me before we play, otherwise my body no go fit stand.”
When our correspondent assured him that he would be ‘gingered,’ Water was all eager to set the ball rolling.
But our correspondent told him he would have to wait for her the following day, that she had just come into town.
Before they departed, ‘madam’ asked Water if he had other people who could ‘service’ her friends and he replied in the affirmative.
“We plenty nah. Ha! Should I call somebody for you now? Is your friend on her way? This is what we do. We are ‘hustlers’. Na so we dey make our money, we no be thieves and we are not criminals,” he said.
When asked if he would agree to a monthly or weekly allowance, Water agreed but not without saying, “Madam, the first night, we must do it here o. I am still not sure of you. So we have to use this motel first. Then, if you want me to come to your hotel later, I would agree. That one na small thing.”
While Water and ‘madam’ engaged in serious bargaining, Debbie appeared, seemingly impatient to have our correspondent, her ‘early customer’ all to herself. With a little tip, she agreed to stay for some time until the conversation between Water and the ‘madam’ was over.
“That guy is good if your madam can pay. I have slept with him before and he almost spoilt my tool of business. He took me home for ‘daybreak’ and I could barely walk the following morning. My legs were weak and I could barely walk home, and he still appeared very strong after all he did through the night.
Even though he paid me N6,000 for the service, I can’t sleep with him again,” Debbie narrated.
Debbie assured our correspondent that the chosen guy was a very strong ‘sex machine.’ She explained that the guys who do such are not always greedy about the money they want to collect because she had arranged guys for some women earlier, including the one she did for a woman the previous day.
“The woman called me this morning to appreciate me for giving her a good guy. She told me the guy was very good and capable,” she added.
When asked whether there were enough men that could satisfy as many women that might come in a day, she hissed in amazement, saying they were more than imagined.
“Some of those guys that you see hanging around are available for service, whether for short time or TDB but you won’t know they do such, you know how our society be now. Unlike our own, so they can’t really do much to present themselves as available. Besides, some women are too shy to come here but since here is safe and there is accommodation for just N700, they feel safe to do it here,” she said.
After a little familiarity, she confided in our correspondent that she had a beauty salon but that since business had been bad, she went into commercial sex to augment her income, more so because it doesn’t affect her work in the afternoon. “But if any of my customers calls me during the day, I will oblige him as long as he’s ready to pay,” she added.
While our correspondent promised to get back to Water the following day, he gladly gave out his number as he pocketed the N1,000 gift given to him to buy himself a drink. He however added that he would be expecting a call, beaming with smiles as he walked away.
While the conversation lasted, some of the other guys had been moving up and down around the car, hoping the ‘madam’ would need them as well. And, on the other hand, Debbie had stormed out of the discussion with our correspondent out of impatience, complaining that she was losing money as she stood outside chatting, but not without a cash gift as well.