The world’s oldest “hobby” The Sputnik March 25, 2010 FeaturesKevin Samuels (name has been changed to protect his anonymity), is average. You would not stop on the street if you saw him, and you probably wouldn’t be able to pick him out from a line of twenty-something white males. He works in an office – a job he hates – and he saves money by living with his mother. His long-term girlfriend is “dying for a ring,” but he’s not ready to settle down yet.On the surface, Samuels appears just like every other man. Except, this “average” man is heavily committed to his favourite hobby: paying and having sex with escorts.“I spend about $150-$400 a week on escorts,” he admits, saying that living with his mother “helps.”He is just one of many men who dabble in the escorting hobby on the side. While there are no available stats on just how many people use these type of services, or who they are, one glance at a popular escort review board will show you that just about any type of person can, and will, pay for sex.Board users include a 70-year-old husband married over 50 years, a woman looking for an escort for her “first time getting licked,” and a Laurier Brantford graduate. People of all ages and from all locations seem to flock to the sex industry.Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, and with the modern-day pervasiveness of the Internet, access to escorts is now right at our fingertips. In big cities, Craigslist alone can get hundreds of new ads a day from escorts looking for business. Under the “Erotic Services” section, you can find women (and rarely, men) offering “explosively hot times together” or “the best B.J. second to none.”With so many women offering their services, it is no surprise that there are a handful of escort review boards for hobbyists to share their success stories and to warn others of girls not worth the time, or the money. These boards create a sort of community for these men – a safe haven for them to share their most intimate stories free from all judgment. It was on one of these boards that I got to interact and interview some of the most passionate hobbyists.One told me he had to “run for his life” from two pimps when he refused to pay for a woman who didn’t look anything like her photo on Craigslist. “I thought I was going to shit my pants!” he says, after describing in detail the story of his escape (it involved a fire escape, an elevator, and a pimp running after a car).Another says he fooled around with an escort and within the next few days, both he and his wife had sore throats. He hasn’t been tested yet, but he says he’s been told it could be something as benign as a common sore throat, or worse, HPV.“Yeah, I’m freaked out and I’m not sure what I will do,” he says. “I don’t know if I will do anything that exchanges bodily fluids through the mouth anymore, but I enjoy kissing and stuff like 69 so who knows?”Along with these obvious health concerns, the financial implications can be just as high.For one hour, the price of an escort can range from $80 to over $200. Every escort will have her own “menu” of what she’s willing to do, and the more detailed the menu, the higher the price.“You can always tell from a girl’s menu what kind of experience you’re about to get,” says Dean Schofield (name changed to protect anonymity), a 45-year-old married hobbyist from Mississauga. “If she offers a safe menu, it’ll probably be more of a girlfriend experience. If she is open to stuff like anal, she’s more likely to offer a pornstar experience. But of course, those are more expensive.”As a result of these expenses, hobbyists like the Laurier Brantford alum have stopped paying for escorts altogether.“I got really caught up in it for awhile,” he says, asking to remain nameless. “I had just graduated and nothing was really happening in my life. It was fun, but too expensive for me to keep up.”For others, however, the high costs are not a concern.Kevin Samuels estimates that he has spent about $20,000 on escorts. Years of activity and “epic days” where he’s seen up to six escorts have certainly added up, but to him, it is well worth the price.“I like the variety, the adventure of it all,” he says. “I have a girlfriend that I love, but escorts break up the routine. My wallet is lighter, but at least my life isn’t boring.”Talking to these men, a common theme appears. All of them say they love their significant others, but the monotony of monogamy makes escorts so enticing. These men get the security of a loving relationship on one hand, and the thrill of paying for a romp with a total stranger on the other. For the most part, their hobby remains undetected from their loved ones, their colleagues, and virtually every other person they meet. It’s a completely secret life – perhaps that’s just another thing that adds to its appeal.