Biphobia, male escorts and Cowboys 4 Angels

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

On Monday night a PR person got in touch with me to offer me an interview with her client, Garren James. He’s a former model who runs a male escort agency – Cowboys 4 Angels – to provide services for straight women. In her original email, she said something so bizarre I couldn’t help but wonder if this was genuinely the opinion of her client, or if she’d gone a bit off-piste. Was this just an individual being ignorant of her own prejudice, or was it a company that genuinely built its services on biphobic principles?

Let’s find out.

What is biphobia?

There are lots of things that fall under the category of biphobia – many of them equate to ‘making ridiculous/incorrect/offensive assumptions about bisexual people.’  See if you can spot any in this quote from the original email she sent me.

“Garren James, a former model/actor/escort started Cowboys4Angels when he noticed there were no agencies that only catered to women and felt it was a bit of a turn off for women to know that the men are bisexual or possibly even Gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that haha). Garren feels women who pay for this service deserve to be with men who are 100% heterosexual so the experience is genuine.”

Did you spot some? I did. The key assumption being, of course, that men who are bisexual are not able to have a ‘genuine’ experience with a woman, and by extension that bisexual women can’t have a ‘genuine’ experience with a guy either. It conflates ‘being bisexual’ with ‘being gay’ – two things which are poles apart. And hahahahahaha of course there’s nothing wrong with being either lol hahahaha. But saying that doesn’t make the conflation of the two any less ignorant.

I replied:

“Why does he think that bisexual guys would not be ‘genuine’? What’s more, why does he think that women would (could, even) be turned off by guys who are bisexual? You say there’s ‘nothing wrong’ with guys being bisexual, yet at the same time imply that it’s not ‘genuine’, and that women might be turned off by it. Are Garren’s clients biphobic? Or is he making assumptions that they are? Or is he himself simply biphobic?”

I’ll spare you the details of the back and forth – you can read that on twitter if you like. In her responses, the PR rep repeatedly stated that she wasn’t biphobic, yet also tried to back up her client’s choice to not hire bisexual men because she herself would be ‘unsure’ if they were genuine. Which is a bit like saying ‘oh I don’t think badly of Starbucks staff, I just don’t trust any of them.’ It’s oxymoronic, ignorant, and so obviously illogical it’s almost impossible to argue against.


Biphobia and male escorting

I don’t want to focus on her personal views, so I asked the PR to forward my original questions on to Garren – owner of the male escort agency and apparently the one with a super-biphobic hiring policy. I told her I’d happily publish his statement in full (along with a link to his site) here, so here goes:

“I just never envisioned a classy heterosexual woman wanting to spend quality time with a man who spent the night before with another man.  It seems like that has been the case.  About 10% of the calls say and not your sure he is not gay right?

“I do believe there are men that can definitely be equally attracted to both men and women. I don’t think the fact that a man can be equally attracted to women or men is the problem.   I think the problem is more with the consumer which is the female client.  I think on average women are attracted more to a very straight masculine man.  I am sure there are plenty of women out there that don’t care wither way.  I just think women just might think in the back of their minds that experience is not as real if she also thought the guy was attracted to men.  She may get the feeling that men can’t be bi and that he must just be gay and is faking this experience. I think women are very cerebral and so any hint of a man that also like men might just affect her self esteem.  Like he is being paid to with a woman but he secretly would rather the client be a man.  That could ruin the whole experience for them”

Let’s unpick this, shall we?

“I never envisioned a classy heterosexual woman wanting to spent quality time with a man who spent the night before with another man.”

There is absolutely nothing about sleeping with someone of the same gender that detracts from your ability to be good company the day after. Besides – you’re running an escort service. Your male escorts are, surely, professionals, who are unlikely to spend the entire date talking about the client they had the night before.

“About 10% of the calls say and not your sure he is not gay right?”

‘Gay’ and ‘bisexual’ are not the same thing. To repeatedly conflate the two, as Garren does here, is spectacularly ignorant. If Garren were to tell me he were straight, and I repeatedly insisted on referring to him as ‘bisexual Garren’, not only would it be rude, it would also be incorrect and make me look (quite rightly) like a twat.

“I do believe there are men that can definitely be equally attracted to both men and women.”

How magnanimous of you to accept that bisexual people exist.

“I think on average women are attracted more to a very straight masculine man.”

Why are you suddenly equating ‘straight’ with ‘masculine’? Can bisexual dudes and gay dudes not be masculine? If Garren truly thinks this then, when he’s eventually managed to dig his way out of the 1950s, he might like to go and meet some gay and bisexual people.

“I just think women just might think in the back of their minds that experience is not as real if she also thought the guy was attracted to men.”

Why – do you think that women are bigots?

“She may get the feeling that men can’t be bi and that he must just be gay and is faking this experience”

She? Or you?

“I think women are very cerebral and so any hint of a man that also like men might just affect her self esteem.”

According to Garren, women are not only bigoted, but are also apparently so lacking in self esteem that we could never have sex with someone who might at some point have fancied someone else.

“Like he is being paid to with a woman but he secretly would rather the client be a man.  That could ruin the whole experience for them.”

OK. So this sentence touches on all the assumptions we’ve covered already:

  1. Assuming that bisexual dudes are actually gay – check
  2. Assuming that any of the escorts on his books would be unprofessional enough to spend the date chatting about who they fancy other than their client – check
  3. Assuming that women feel uncomfortable about bisexual guys – check
  4. Assuming that, in order to run a successful business, one must pander to the bigoted whims of your clients, with no regard for whether they’re actually correct – check

The first three need to get utterly fucked. The fourth deserves more analysis because I think it’s easy to accidentally set up a false dichotomy where you have ethics on one side and business on the other. Marketing professionals can sigh and say ‘oh, well we just HAVE to do this because our clients want it.’ While there are often compromises you might need to make in the name of business, happily this isn’t one of those areas. In fact, unless your company is specifically catering to bigots of a certain type, I think bigotry is always bad for business. Lemme explain…

Bigotry is bad for business

By making statements like this publicly, you make it clear that you think your customers (in this case straight women) hold certain prejudices. Personally, I would never use a company that made those kind of assumptions about me. On top of this, you drastically limit your pool of potential escorts by saying that not only must they ‘be 100% straight’ (How do you even know this, by the way? Is there a litmus test?), but that they must also fit your definition of ‘masculine’. In short: you bring your own prejudices and judgments to the fore, regardless of what your customers actually want. It would be like a book shop owner deciding to only stock books they personally like.

In the statement he made, Garren says that about 10% of the calls he receives ask about whether the escort is gay – he doesn’t mention whether callers care about bisexuality. So strike three: not listening to your customers.

Look: I am certain there are women out there who want to hire an escort who is ‘definitely 100% straight.’ These women are likely labouring under the same bigoted assumption Garren is: that ‘bisexual’ just means ‘gay’. But I am willing to bet that there are plenty more women who either understand what bisexual actually means, would refuse to use a company that assumed they were bigots, or would take offence at the implication that if they enjoyed spending time with bisexual guys they weren’t ‘classy.’

Let’s not forget also that a proportion of the women who hire male escorts will be bisexual themselves, and probably be similarly angry about the ignorance displayed by Garren’s policy.

Further reading

If you’d like to find out more about bisexuality and biphobia, here are some cool things to check out:

Right of reply

I sent this post to the PR in question to see if Garren would like right of reply. At this time she’s sent me nothing but a string of increasingly bizarre, rude emails. If I’m honest, I was so shaken by them last night I considered just scrapping this blog post totally. But after a bunch of discussion with friends and a long hard think, I didn’t want her behaviour as an individual to detract from what I think is genuine and legitimate criticism of the biphobia exposed in Garren’s statement. 

If Garren is reading this – offer to a right of reply is, of course, still open.


  • Mardi says:

    I clicked to the website, and there’s this gem:

    “Being a former international runway and print model, I have come into contact with the most alluring men in the world, and I know what women want and desire which is a perfect gentleman.”

    Listen to customers? What is this absurd thing you’re suggesting. He knows what women* want and desire. He’s been places.

    * “classy” heterosexual women. Who knows what slutty bisexuals want? They obviously don’t even know it themselves.

    • Sounds like he knows very little about what *anyone* wants.

      Also, I have a personal prejudice against giving my custom to sites where the copy is appallingly written and obviously unedited. I tend to think that such sites are run by fuckwits who don’t care about their customers.

      I think this bellend and his organisation are evidence in favour of my assertion.

  • As a guy, I only ever take my custom to 100% straight female escorts — that way I *know* they’re genuinely attracted to me, and not just faking it for money!

  • Emily says:

    There seems to be a link missing on the last bullet point in “Further Reading”.

    Otherwise, excellent, incisive post!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you! No idea what went wrong with that – half the sentence had disappeared too. It’s in there now and thanks for pointing out x

      • Emily says:

        Oh that’s excellent. I helped write that document and I am really pleased people are finding it useful!

        • Girl on the net says:

          Awesome! I found it a really helpful overview and hopefully lots of other people will read it and share after this post!

  • Alex says:

    ‘Like he is being paid to with a woman but he secretly would rather the client be a man. That could ruin the whole experience for them”’

    Also sort of ignores the fact that these women will be employing people to have sex with them for money. Surely implicit in that is the fact that the escort wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the fact they were being paid (ie. the escort doesn’t secretly want to be with a man – instead he secretly wants to be home catching up with iplayer in his pants, but needs to make a living)? Although I’m sure plenty of sex workers like/are attracted to their clients, but I’m fairly certain that’s not universal.

    Not really relevant to the whole biphobia thing, just…sort of funny.

  • Josephine_kk says:

    I can understand that there maybe women out there that are turned off by the thought of a bi-male, has had sexual contact with another male. But how are you to know if that guy is being 100% truthful.


    Whatever his personal beliefs are, he should keep them private and not air them for all to see!

  • Amy says:

    Well done for being brave and going ahead with the post despite the PR’s backlash, I have so much respect for you challenging these views.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    One of the funny things here is, I can imagine female escorts’ agency using bisexuality as a selling point – “Yes, our escorts swing both ways!”. Interesting how bisexuality is often seen as a positive attribute in women, but a negative one in men.

    (Possibly related to how some people think bisexual men are ‘really’ gay, while bisexual women are ‘really’ straight.)

  • PorscheNut says:

    Hey, GOTN, I think YOU are the Bigot. It’s HIS business, why are you so bent on making him run it YOUR way, not his?

    Sorry, I guess this is just a Yank’s bias on freedom (of enterprise).

  • Thank you so, so much for posting this. I was following along with the story as it went up on Twitter, and I have to say — it was a wild ride. I have rarely seen a company as bizarre and offensive as this one, and I’m glad that their behaviour is being called out.

    One thing to add: um, why on earth would employing only heterosexual men = guaranteed “real” experiences for women??? This PR rep (and likely also the company’s founder) seems to be completely forgetting the fact that you can’t actually pay someone to be interested in someone else. They’re majorly screwing the pooch on the orientation thing, but man, even if they weren’t — it’s literally a moot point.

  • jh says:

    I am an entirely-and-I-feel-somewhat-boringly straight man aged 44 and I’ve been reading you for ages and this is the post that finally made me say this:

    In a completely fannish yet not-particularly-fetishy way — I love you more than I can describe. Fucking preach, you fucking legend. :)

  • Excellent post and fantastically unpicked in your own inimitable style, GOTN.

    Having looked at all the stuff you’ve (re)posted here, a message I’m getting from his words (other than the raging biphobia) is that he equates, not only gay-and-bisexual men (they’re the same thing, after all!) with failing to be masculine, but also straight men with always being so, because lulz they’re straight!

    Who’s he trying to piss off here? Everyone ever?

  • Valery North says:

    There are definitely women who seem to get squicked by the idea of male bisexuality – just going by the number of male-seeking women on OKCupid that I find have answered “Have you had sex with someone of the same gender?” with either “Yes and I liked it” or “No but I would like to”, but have also put these as “unacceptable” answers from a match.

    So it really does seem to be male bisexuality that is the problem. Two girls = hawt but if a guy has been with another guy (or even thinks about it) it means his dick is tainted forever?!

    Which is a different explanation than the one offered by the business in the OP (which again implies that they don’t know the first thing about what people want) – it may be that there is in some cases that sort of thing going on, but it feels like a deeper disgust for male-male sexuality.

  • Dan P says:

    Reminds me of that bit in Asa Akira’s book where she talks about the stigma against actors who do both gay and straight scenes (because if they’ve been with a man, he surely is HIV positive or some nonsense like that).

    Also, he seems to be making here a pretty shoddy assumption that if 10% of his customers are asking if the guy is gay, he would automatically lose 10% of his business if he didn’t verify that…

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