I Was Offered An Escort In London When All I Wanted Was A Place To Eat

by joeheg

When I imagined my solo trip to the United Kingdom, I had several things in mind. I’d be able to book whichever flights I wanted, including flying in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.

a plane at an airport

And flying home on Norse Atlantic.

a group of seats with pillows on the side

I also was able to do all of the nerdy things I wanted, including taking a multi-day side trip to Wales to visit Portmerion.

a body of water with houses and trees

However, there was one thing that I didn’t have planned that happened during my trip.

I was offered an escort!

I want to clarify that I wasn’t actively seeking company for the evening when this happened. However, I can see how my actions might have given that impression. Even though I wasn’t looking, I have to admit that the proposal was well-presented, and was probably the politest offer for evening company I’ve ever received. I’m guessing that’s because I was in London.

Here’s the scenario. I had just finished seeing “My Neighbour Totoro” at the Barbican on a Tuesday night. There’s nothing near that theater, so I thought my best chance to find a late-night eatery was in Leicester Square. Since it’s close to the theaters, I figured I could find somewhere to eat after 10 PM.

I headed to one of our favorite places to eat, Tokyo Diner. While the website says the restaurant is open until 11 PM, I quickly remembered that in London, the closing time is not the last seating, which often is 30 or more minutes before. So when I arrived at 10:35 PM, they were not taking customers. I opened up Yelp and tried to find a place that was open later, but I wasn’t having any success.

So here I am, standing 1 block off Leicester Square scanning my phone. That’s when a man pulled up in one of those bicycle carts with the pink fluffy decor.

The Pitch

I’d walked past these carts many times getting from my hotel to the Underground, but I never had one of the drivers talk to me. He asked if I needed a ride, which was innocent enough of an intro. I said no, and that I was most likely headed back to my hotel.

That’s when he asked if I was looking for some company for the evening. It took a second but I realized the conversation I had unintentionally entered. I tried to politely say that I wasn’t looking for company. That’s when he said there was no obligation if I just wanted to take a look at what was available. He only received a commission if I decided to take someone to my room.

I was contemplating the best way to extricate myself from this situation. Even though I was wearing my wedding ring, I knew it wouldn’t hold much weight if I was out at 11 PM seeking companionship. I considered claiming that I wasn’t looking for a female companion, but then I realized he might have alternative options prepared for such a scenario. If I were in his position, that’s what I would do.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I decided the direct approach was best. I said I was only in the area looking for a meal, but I’d be heading to Sainsbury’s to grab something before heading back to my hotel and calling my wife in the US before going to bed. In fact, this was exactly what I did.

My new friend understood that I wasn’t interested, but as a true businessman he still asked if I’d want a ride to my hotel. If you can’t make money one way, you can always try Plan B. I wasn’t staying in the area and needed to take the Underground to my hotel, so I respectfully declined and we parted ways.

Why did I look like I wanted an escort?

While it wasn’t my intent, did I do anything to make it look like I was looking for company for the evening? While I don’t think of Leicester Square as a questionable place, I’ve always been walking around with Sharon or a group of friends. As a man walking alone at night, standing around looking at my phone, I guess I looked like someone who was trying to find someone or something for the night.

Fortunately, my new friend, who offered to find me a companion, was a professional who understood when I indicated that I wasn’t interested in the service he was offering.

Of course, I had to tell Sharon about this when I got back to the hotel and called her that night. She told me how her father, who was a salesman, used to come home and tell her mom about any women who tried to make advances on him. 😉

I’m not sure what it means when foreigners think I’m the type who’s out looking for company when actually all I was looking for was somewhere to eat. If my “friend” had helped me find that, I would have gladly provided a tip for his services.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


SMR May 21, 2024 - 3:14 pm

You think escorts or pimps rule people out who are wearing a wedding ring?! lol. SADLY thats is their main customers.

askmrlee May 22, 2024 - 3:18 pm

The wedding ring IS a sign of the target customer to them. Plus hanging around Leicester Square solo as a male late at night is another sign.

Christian May 21, 2024 - 3:45 pm

I suppose that solo males who look like tourists may be more likely to accept his type of offer after a certain hour. Don’t take it personally; nobody has tried that on me for decades so I’m not sure whether to be pleased or insulted although I’m relieved in either case.

Steven Cluck May 22, 2024 - 10:33 am

Discovered Tokyo Diner on previous trip to London. Great place. This last trip staying in Leichester Square area I had to for go late night meals after shows when I didn’t want pizza or bad Chinese. I guess I didn’t meet the profile of looking for escort. But unless I’m seated I don’t talk to strangers. I pretty much expect anyone approaching or getting too close to be a pick pocket.

Michael May 22, 2024 - 12:27 pm

Yes Soho is pretty much the heart of this industry – see the Wikipedia article “Soho walk-up” for some details. Love Tokyo Diner, great venue!


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