GOOD

Dealbreaker: He's a Prostitute

That night, I took a tour of Craigslist, clicking at its blue links until they all turned purple. I read all of his ads. He did more than "hang out."


In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair.

I was one year out of college and already felt stuck in the repeating playlist of my early adulthood—everything is possible, nothing ever happens. One Saturday night, I gathered all of my change, walked 500 feet from my apartment, and joined my most committed drinking buddy at a Miller High Life happy hour where drinks started at a quarter and climbed 25 cents every half-hour, a new game to help us all get drunk again.


By the time the bottles snuck out of my price range—$2, maybe—my eyes had fixed permanently on the curly-haired new barback circulating the bar, hooking, twirling, and stacking glasses as he went. My mind easily translated those skills to alternate situations. My friend told him I thought he was cute. When he went outside for a cigarette break, he signed his phone number to me through the pane of glass.

This was, in my limited dating experience, the most romantic thing anyone had ever done for me. It had been more than a year since I broke up with my college boyfriend. At least, that’s what I called him—he preferred me wordlessly following him up to his bedroom at the end of the evening and never touching him in front of his roommates to official “labels.” I had tried my hardest to steer our hangouts out of the drunken hookup zone and into a real adult relationship—I cooked him a steak, went down on him while he watched sports, and finally demanded that he treat me better or stop sleeping with me. He chose the latter. We remained friends.

Now, he was nesting with a pre-law student whose existence he acknowledged in public. Meanwhile, my personal life consisted of making out with guys who wore cut-off jorts, nodding into PBRs at my friends’ little music shows, and ingesting substances that would finally bury my childhood dream of applying to the FBI. Once in a while, I’d chat my ex-boyfriend to fill him in on what a craaaaazy time I was having out there on my own, my last bid to keep him close.

I called the barback when he was still outside. We eyed each other through the window as we made plans for later in the week. When we met late at another bar down the road, he quickly threw back a series of weird dad beers while I sipped Budweiser and fed dollars to the jukebox. He was charming, silly, broke, and—three drinks deep—intense. I had spent the entirety of my adult life writing made-up stories about down-and-out female protagonists with daddy issues and trying to figure out what I really wanted to dooooo for a living. He was a dropout with a broken attitude who kept moving to new cities until he scraped together enough money to move out to the next one. We had located each other at some tiny little point on the social Venn diagram where we listened to the same bands and liked the same drugs, and not much else.

When we ended up cross-legged on my tiny patch of bedroom floor, nursing a half-spent jug of wine he’d plucked from my kitchen, I assumed we’d make out. He wanted to talk. You know when you're so drunk that the connective tissue of normal human conversation begins to dissolve? Out of nowhere, he announced that he was the type of person who would do anything for money. Like have sex with a lonely older woman he picked up on Craigslist, or, theoretically, kill someone. Actually, he told me, he was bringing in some pretty good money hanging out with gay men in their hotel rooms, watching their televisions and chatting with his clothes on. One hour, $250, no sex—he wasn’t gay. This was not the type of drunk-on-a-floor convo I had envisioned, the one where we slowly inch closer together until our mouths are touching. He stumbled out my front door and made me promise not to tell.

The next morning, I opened my laptop and pinged my ex-boyfriend. “I went out with a male prostitute last night,” was my opener. “Tell me,” he shot back. I told him I met a boy who had sex with old women and not with old men, and that I wondered what they were actually paying for him to do in those hotels. “Amanda,” my ex responded, “he has sex with these men.” I conceded that murder was a red flag. My ex called him a “manwhore” and pressed me for details.

That night, I took a tour of Craigslist m4m, clicking at its blue links until they all turned purple. I found my barback’s ads and pored over each one—same age, same neighborhood, str8 boi, clean, small, fit, cute, free all day until his 8 o’clock bar shift. He did more than hang out. His services expanded desperately as his posts neared the first of the month. No sex. Only oral. Only on top. Anything goes.

Sitting there on my carpet, it was easy for him to insist and me to nod and us both to pretend that he was living how he really wanted. Seeing his reality spelled out for anyone to read made me sad and, unexpectedly, repulsed. I could feel my mind knocking on the door of its dark basement, the place where I push my most unacceptable thoughts and lock them in tight to keep them from creeping in to my clear, open mind. My irrational hatred of my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend bottomed out there, along with my deepest personal anxieties and all the residual shame drilled into me from years of Arizona sex ed. It was important not to spend time down there.

Then again, my ex-boyfriend had expressed real interest in my life for the first time in months. I cracked open the door. I copied the links to the ads and sent them to him, one after another. We spent a full hour batting our gleeful disgust back and forth.

When I saw the barback again, working at the bar like the night we first met, he looked different. His hair seemed longer, his face older, V-neck deeper, eyes crazy, not cute. My father once came across a man splayed out in a parking lot and helped administer CPR for several minutes before he realized that the man was a friend. They’d played a round of golf just an hour before. My dad told me that our features transform when the life goes out of us. This was different. I’d pushed this boy down so far in my mind that he turned under the weight of my judgment. It made it easier to look away.

Articles

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet