Find here at the New Yorker a short history of Ted Peckham, an entrepreneur in the first half of the last century known for his male escort service, indicted for the possibilities it opened up.

The escort “would have to remain the perfect cavalier, attractive, entertaining, and ingratiating throughout an entire evening, even if he didn’t like the woman who had hired him.” In other words, his men would have to practice the same tiring arts of flattery and fakery that women had perfected over centuries of boring dates on the arms of wealthy men.

The illusion of male dominance, however, needed to be maintained. If women were to pay the men directly—and, worse, pay their own checks—the role reversal would turn off both the clients and the escorts.

Casey Dayan is a Rumpus intern and musician. He is finishing up his undergraduate studies in literature and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he is working on a memoir and trying to one-up Jeff Buckley. Find his twitter here, @caseydayan. Find his band, “Moo,” here. More from this author →