Shady Lady seeks male escorts with staying power

A Nevada brothel is recruiting to take advantage of a law change and offer services to women clients

The job has its perks. Pay is excellent. Hours are sociable. The surroundings are clean and comfortable, if a tiny bit chintzy, and you're guaranteed to meet lots of fascinating women. The catch? You are required to have sex with them.

A Nevada brothel is seeking men with what its advertisement describes as a "good work ethic" and a "willingness to please," to join the ranks of the world's oldest profession and become America's first fully legal male prostitutes.

Bobbi Davis, the owner and madam of the Shady Lady Ranch, is interviewing applicants, who must be aged between 21 and 40, and have submitted two photographs ("a head shot, and a body shot, no nudes") plus a short biography. "I'm, looking for the 'it' factor," she says. "By that, I mean the intangible something, which only a few people have, that makes you really want to know them and be around them. We've had around 160 applications, from people from all walks of life, and I'd say only about 20 per cent of them have it."

The recruitment drive comes after Ms Davis, whose bordello sits on a remote stretch of highway to the east of Death Valley, 150 miles north-west of Las Vegas, successfully campaigned to secure a change in state law to allow male sex workers to receive professional licences. Previously, all Nevada prostitutes were legally required to undergo monthly cervical exams to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease. "Obviously, that was impossible for men, so we couldn't employ them," says Ms Davis.

The Shady Lady has employed women for years. But the tricky economy has prompted her decision to branch out. "There's a demand for it," says Ms Davis. "Since we started looking for men, I have received emails from at least 60 women who are potential clients. Their needs are simply not being catered for anywhere else."

Nevada has always stood alone among US states in permitting prostitution outside of major conurbations such as Las Vegas and Reno, where selling sex is common, but illegal. The rules represent a throwback to Wild West days, consistent with the state's liberal approach to alcohol and gambling. Until now, brothels have chiefly served long-distance truck drivers and miners, plus punters prepared to endure the long drive from Vegas.

Ms Davis says her decision to seek female customers brings with it two great unknowns. The first involves logistics: gigolos are a comparatively rare phenomenon, so Ms Davis has so far been unable to establish whether new recruits will be able to muster the "enthusiasm" to cater for multiple clients. "It's one of my first questions at interview," she says. "There are some men who reckon they can only perform once or twice a day, and others who say they can cater for two or three customers. Viagra might help, and we're also considering Cialis, a pill you can take once a day."

The other unknown involves pricing. At present, costs for male customers at the Shady Lady start at $200 (£125), for which you get a 40-minute "party." Female punters, however, are likely to demand longer sessions. "Our feedback is that they'll require at the very least a full massage at the start of a session," says Ms Davis. "It's one of the reasons we're still working on price points. We obviously want to keep it affordable, but at the same time we know women require longer time frames to achieve intimacy."

The Shady Lady, set in gardens in the high desert, boasts a parlour with a Provençal theme, a Chinese bedroom and a "famous" red, heart-shaped bath, or "love tub." It has always taken a pro-active approach to business, and, when oil prices hit record highs in 2008, garnered international attention by offering $20 fuel vouchers to clients.

Ms Davis admits that the move to male prostitution is more controversial. Betraying a moral compass, which could perhaps only exist in America, owners of rival brothels complained against the recent law change, because it could result in the promotion of homosexuality. She says, however, that for the time being, the Shady Lady will resist the temptation to serve the gay community. "Times are hard, and we certainly wouldn't rule it out, but we have done some research and discovered homosexuals are already pretty well catered for, in what you might call the grey market," she says.

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