by Mighty Mouth

André Fernandes

    As I usually state at the beginning of each episode, everything I wrote is true and not exaggerated.  In March of 2001, I was surfing the Internet in my little penthouse apartment in São Paulo and decided to do a search on acompanhantes masculinos (male companions). Today, fifteen in years later, there are dozens of these sites on the Brazilian Internet, with thousands of male hustlers, called garoto de programa in Portuguese. At that time there were only one or two.nd-3 I found a site called Olimpos, with pictures and descriptions of dozens of nude young males and their cell phone numbers.

    I phoned one of them, but hung up as soon as he answered. But he had caller ID and immediately phoned me right back. I was too frightened to talk to him, and quickly ended the conversation. I had never done anything like this. But I was happy to have found a new diversion and looked over all the available material. One in particular caught my eye, perhaps because he resembled the men on my mother’s side of the family. But I didn’t phone him from São Paulo.     

    When I got back home, I got up enough courage to call him. I explained that I was phoning from New York, and that I would be in São Paulo again in June and wanted to invite him to dinner. At that time I was spending two or three weeks in São Paulo, then six weeks in New York, all year long, alternating between my townhouse in New York and my penthouse in São Paulo. He said that it would be fine and to phone him when I arrived. His name was listed on the site as André Fernandes.

I talked my friend Mike from the Log Cabin Club into making the trip with me in June. Within a day or so of our arrival, I phoned André and asked if he remembered me. He said yes, so I issued my invitation to dinner and told him to meet me on the corner by the restaurant I had chosen. He told me that he couldn’t arrive before 8:30 p.m. because of something in São Paulo known as rodízio de placa. In order to alleviate the impossible traffic jams, the city passed an ordinance that between Monday and Friday, certain cars could not be driven during the morning and evening rush hours. On Monday, it’s those cars whose license plates end in the numbers 1 and 2, and so on during the week, until Friday, when cars with plates ending in 9 and 0 cannot be on the street during the designated time. By just having dinner with him, I wasn’t risking very much, and if I didn’t like him or didn’t trust him, I could always say goodbye after dinner and we would each go our separate ways.

I arrived about five minutes early, and waited outside the restaurant. Exactly at 8:30, a tall, fabulous guy walked by me and I knew it was him from his photos. He was more striking than his pictures on the Internet, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked, "André?" and he said yes. We entered the restaurant and within ten minutes I decided thatin  I had a winner. I asked him if it was OK if I posed some questions about him, and he replied that I could ask anything I liked. I queried him about how long he had been on the site, how often he went out with people, etc. He was completely straightforward and honest with his answers. He was twenty-four years old and had been a hustler only about five months. He asked if I felt sorry because he was a male prostitute, and I told him no, because he had freely made the decision.

I had agreed with Mike that he should be away from the apartment until at least 10 p.m. During dinner I decided that André was completely trustworthy and invited him back to myapartment. The sex was disappointing. He couldn’t even get an erection. So that got dispensed with rather quickly, and Mike got back at 10 p.m as scheduled. When he walked into the door, André became very nervous, since Mike is such a big and tough-looking guy. André thought that he had gotten himself into a bad situation. After André left, Mike told me that when he came into my apartment he saw an angel sitting there. But as I was to learn later, André was afraid that he had met the devil incarnate.

    I met André on a Tuesday. The next day Mike and I left for two days in Rio, but I took André’s phone number with me. I couldn’t get him out of my mind. On Thursday I  phoned him from our Rio hotel and asked if he would be willing to meet me for dinner again on Friday, when we got back to São Paulo. He agreed, and Mike made 24 other plans for Friday dinner. André arrived at the scheduled hour and I decided to take him to my favorite São Paulo restaurant at the time, Le Chef Rouge. We went in his car, an imported Porsche, which he had bought from his proceeds as a hustler. The restaurant is charming and small, with fire-engine red walls mostly adorned with mirrors. It is so cleverly planned that from almost any seat, one can see most of the other diners reflected in the mirror beside the table. One can also look into the mirror and see one’s dinner partner sitting across  the table. At one point André looked into the mirror at me and smiled with his innocent deep blue eyes. That look sent electricity through my body. After dinner, he drove me back to the apartment. I didn’t invite him up, instead explaining that we were leaving in two days and I would not be able to see him again before we left. I got all teary eyed, and the look on his face told me that he couldn’t believe some one could feel so deeply about him after only two meetings. I asked if I could keep in touch by phone, and he told me of course.

  Once back in New York, I began to phone André every day. He kept me abreast of his daily activities, stating on occasion that no one had phoned him for sex in two or three days, or telling me about his family. I, in turn, told him about myself, my business, my life in general.

  I was back in São Paulo two months later, in August. We lunched together the day I arrived. He told me that André Fernandes was not his real name and showed me his ID. I told him that I had already suspected that. He explained that he was tiring of his life as a hustler and would soon push André "off a cliff."

    He became a daily visitor to my penthouse, spending four or five hours with me per visit. We were having better sex and he was pouring his heart out to me, claiming I was the only person he could talk to freely. He is a great prankster and loves to role play. Once, we returned to the same restaurant where we first met and he got up to use the bathroom. When he returned, he assumed a totally different pose, deliberately swishing up to the table. He said that he had observed me sitting with a good-looking young guy who had left, and asked if he could sit down. I immediately fell into the rhythm and answered yes. He asked if he could home with me, but I said that was loyal to the guy I came with and couldn’t do it. So he left the table and shortly the [email protected] came back to sit down.

    On another occasion, he pretended to be a reporter in my apartment, doing an interview. He asked all sorts of intimate questions about my sex life, and he soon had an erection. I think I had the idea to play another game in the Irish bar across the street. I told him my plan. I would take a seat at its sidewalk café. He was to come along later and sit at a table next to mine. He left my apartment first and I decided to look as touristy as I could. I put on a T-shirt with a stick man figure that said "born to be wild," and donned a baseball cap I had been given at a New York Gay Pride Parade, with "Pride" printed on it.

    When he arrived and sat down, we both played our roles expertly. I could see that it was difficult for him not to crack up, as it was for me. We both kept straight faces. He ordered a drink. I was having champagne. After a bit I began to chit-chat. I said I was a tourist staying in a friend’s apartment across the street and invited him to go up. He agreed, and I paid for our drinks. Not until we left the bar did we both break up in laughter. On one occasion, he insisted we go to a motel, an experience he often had as a hustler. The room had a mirrored ceiling and showed porno movies.

    We spent as much time together as possible when I returned to São Paulo again in October and December. By this time he was saying how much he liked me, etc. When I returned to New York after the December visit, I decided I would sell my company so that I could at least spend six months a year with him. I put it on the market in early 2002, and closed the deal in May, continuing my bi-monthly visits until October of that year. Each time I left São Paulo he would take me to the airport. My departure was traumatic for both of us. I decided to buy a two-bedroom apartment from the proceeds of the business sale, where we could live together. My little penthouse was too small for two people.

    When I sold my business, I no longer had to spend time in New York. Thus I began a routine of spending six months in New York and six months in São Paulo. I was still using a tourist visa, and could not stay in Brazil for longer than six months at a time. When I arrived in October, I began to look at apartments. In addition to being spacious, I wanted a fantastic view. I looked at 35 apartments, but none of them pleased me. I gave up in despair, but my broker phoned to say that she had found the apartment I was looking for, and it was only a half-block from my penthouse. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew I had found my apartment. It has one of the most fantastic views of São Paulo. From my terrace I can see literally thousands of tall buildings stretching to the horizon. It has three bedrooms, and is in a  luxury building

     I closed the deal in October of 2002, paying all cash.  But I decided to keep my penthouse for sentimental reasons, and I still own it to this day. André did not see the new apartment I bought until February of 2003. I wanted to get some furniture in place before he saw it. I didn’t even tell him about it. My penthouse furnishings stayed put, so he noticed nothing different when he came to visit me there. I wanted to play one of our games. The day I decided  to introduce him to my new digs, I phoned him and told him to met me at an address other than the penthouse. He thought it must be a hotel. I told him to ask for me when he got there, and then come up to "room" 154. When he walked into the apartment, his eyes grew wide with wonder. "Whose apartment is this?" he asked.

    I answered, "Mine." He ran from room to room, squealing in delight. I told him I bought the apartment for us to share. He said he would be willing to move in, but wanted to stay there year-round, including my annual six month stay in the States. Being at times a cautious person, I told him that at the moment it was not possible. He said, AOtherwise, what will I tell my mother? That I’m moving out and then move back home six months later?@ This made perfect sense, but I was adamant. So our relationship continued as it was.

  Some months later, we went to a resort city on the shore, Guarujá, to spend the weekend. This was probably the pinnacle of our relationship at that time. We had soul-searching talks that in spite of the fact that we related well, the difference in age was overwhelming He  was twenty-five, and I, seventy-three. The relationship continued, but was less intense.

    He decided to give up his "profession." He said that one morning he got up, looked at himself in the mirror, and said he would never go with a stranger for money again. And I believe he fulfilled that self-promise. He got a legitimate job as a wine salesman. He is intelligent and resourceful, having learned a lot about wines from having lunch and dinner with me. At some point in early 2005, he told me he didn’t want to see me any more, and I began to cry. But he walked out the door,  just like that. When I returned to New York I tried often to phone his hustler cell phone, which he still kept, but always got his voice mail. When my book about George Washington  appeared in mid 2005, I sent him a copy via my friend Rosa, since I had mentioned him in the acknowledgments.

    In early 2006 I phoned the wine shop where he worked and told them I was an old customer of his and wanted to speak to him. He was surprised, but didn’t hang hang up. I said I wanted to visit his store and buy some wines. How could he refuse that? We once again renewed our friendship.

    I started the every-five-year party idea with my sixty-fifth anniversary (sixteen people) and also held a big bash for my seventieth, hosting twenty-nine people for dinner, always at an Italian restaurant. I decided to celebrate my seventh-fifth at a party in São Paulo in February 2006, instead of the real date in July. That is because I planned to invite family and friends from the States to a warm place so they could escape the cold for a bit. I invited André, and he accepted. I had told my sister about him and she got to meet him at my fest. She had traveled with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law for the event. The dinner lasted from 7 p.m. till 1 a.m. My guests emptied countless bottles of wine, since I had taught most of them the pleasures of imbibing. At one point my sister pointed to André and whispered in my ear, "What a hunk!"

    Soon afterward, André once again cut off the relationship. While in Kentucky through the summer of  2006 and São Paulo in early 2007, I tried his cell phone, but less and less often. By 2008 it was no longer working. But I couldn’t get him out of my system. I decided to try one last time in late 2008. I sent him e-mail at his company, and to my surprise he phoned me. It was obvious that by now he had undergone a complete change of heart. He had matured in the seven years I had known him. That’s when I told him there was someone else in the picture, namely Willy, who will be discussed in the next episode.

    If anyone wants to read a free copy of my book, “Memoirs of a Gay Rights Maverick,” I’ll send it to you as an email attachment.  Advise me via email: [email protected]

I can also send a photo of André to anyone who asks via email.

Mighty Mouth


Mighty Mouth


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