Shockingly this morning, I drew a blank when telling the Mercury's editorial staff I was interested in writing about the history of Portland's rent boy scene. "What's a rent boy?" people asked.
Rent boy="hustler", "working boy", "trade", "call-boy." Then there's "gay for pay" or "rough trade," just hit up Wikipedia. Given Portland's reputation as one of the world's rent boy capitals, after Amsterdam and Manchester, I was amazed nobody had heard the term before. So, what did River Phoenix play in My Own Private Idaho? A "male prostitute," I was told.
PHOENIX: RENT BOY!
If there's an American term, I'd like to hear it.
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