SCRANTON, PA – Eighteen months ago Brent Woods was working twelve hour days in his new profession as an iron worker scuttling up the sides of Pennsylvania highrise buildings with his spud wrench. After struggling the previous fifteen years as an unskilled laborer, Brent had embraced the iron worker trade with hopes of earning a decent wage and building a better life.
After decades of drug and alcohol abuse Brent had sobered up and gradually earned a reputation as a dependable and conscientious worker. Determined to secure a position with an established contractor where he could ply his trade, he worked every job he could find, confident that a full-time high paying union position was just around the corner.
But then the economy bottomed out. Investors began leaving town, construction of new buildings ground to a halt and contractors began laying off workers. Jobs were drying up and money was getting tight. In a few short months Brent found himself broke with few prospects. After several months the bills piled up and debt collectors were calling. Just two days shy of a year of sobriety, a dejected and cash strapped Brent wandered into a dive bar and began vigorously consuming alcohol. Later in the evening he purchased several rocks of crack cocaine and wandered into a dark alley to forget.
Brent’s savings were gone and he’d applied for food stamps. His phone and electricity had been disconnected, his landlord had begun eviction proceedings.
“At that point I realized that I had to do something,” Brent told the Daily Rash. “I tried selling drugs but I ended up just getting high and my supplier beat me to a pulp. Things got so bad, one time I tried robbing an old man of $20 at a bus stop and he knocked out two of my teeth. I woke up one day with a sum total of $1.67 to my name. With no money and nothing left to pawn I made the decision to become a prostitute.”
Brent admits the transition from gruff and macho iron worker to dainty seductress had its share of obstacles.
“I didn’t have a clue what to wear. I couldn’t afford sexy pumps or make-up, so I had to improvise. And boy did I improvise!”
“I don’t know how many times I was beaten. I quickly learned to avoid muscular guys with bad breath. Then one night I was purchased by a gym teacher from a local high school. After we finished he called me a fag and began pummeling me. After beating me senseless he pulled out more money and wanted to go at it again. I don’t know how long we were together. Quite to my surprise I spent the last hour holding him as he shared about his abusive alcoholic father and alcoholic uncles, scout masters, school janitors and postmen who’d ravaged him through the years. When I finally passed out from loss of blood he drove me to a hospital and gingerly lay my body in the parking lot before driving off.”
Brent said that he quickly learned to be more sympathetic with his paying customers.
“So many men have built-up frustrations that cause them to explode. Whether it’s a bad marriage, a failed business or maybe just because the home team is on a losing streak, I understand that they may need to vent. Just because I can release sexual pressure doesn’t mean they still don’t need to beat somebody. Sure, I get knocked around pretty good sometimes, but I’ve learned to ease the pain, theirs and mine, with soothing words, a soft caress, a shoulder to cry on. Hey, it’s a living.”
Brent leaned back and laughed genially.
“Sometimes, if they are smaller than me or really drunk, I beat the sh*t out of them!”
Studies show that more and more men are turning to prostitution to see them through these tough economic times. Brent Woods says he’s learned to endure the beatings and shake off the “overwhelming agony of shame and humiliation.” Today he’s got a new girlfriend who doesn’t judge him, his bills are paid on time and he learned he’s got what it takes to survive tough times.
“It’s so weird how life works,” Brent sighed, puffing on a Virginia Slim Menthol Light. “Just a couple of years ago I was a gruff iron worker who watched football games, went bowling with the boys and banged as many harlots as I could.”
He laughed heartily.
“Now I’m the harlot being banged by iron workers. Who’d a thunk?”