Tuesday May 3 2005 My date with a legal male escort By Caroline Palmer

They say money can’t buy you love – but thanks to the male escort agencies if you have the cash at least you can buy a man. Just don’t expect him to come home with you at the end of the evening – these escorts aren’t selling sex. They’re flogging their company rather than their bodies.

Typing male escort into a search engine on the Internet, I’m convinced I’ll be faced with all kinds of dodgy sites. But to my surprise Cavendish knights “non-sexual” male escort agency is one of the first to pop up on my screen. Once I’ve logged in, I have access to hundreds of men for hire in all shape and sizes and all around the UK. Rob, 29, has a friendly smile and his profile fits the bill, so I contact the agency and arrange to meet him for dinner in a few days. I’m amazed to find myself worrying about what to wear.

I might be paying for his time but I still don’t want him to think I look like a dog’s dinner. When we meet outside the restaurant Rob compliments me on my coat. I might be a mug but his comment breaks the ice.

He has been working as an escort for a year on top of his day job as a consultant engineer. He charges £65 an hour with a three-hour minimum and averages two assignments a week. More than 50% of his clients, who include teachers and even a policewoman, are regulars. During the last year he has escorted women to everything from work functions to evenings at the theatre and even the Chelsea flower show.

By the end of the evening I’m beginning to see the advantages. There have been no awkward pauses in conversation and none of that tension that goes with trying to impress a genuine date. When it comes to paying the bill, however the pitfalls of hiring a date hit me. But if you haven’t found Mr right and have the Cash to splash, I can recommend Mr right now as an emergency stop-gap.

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