“Don’t knock anything until you’ve tried it,” seems to be the motto of Northern Ireland grandfather John, Co. Antrim’s answer to “Pretty Woman.”

Gigolo John, 57, is on a mission to change the face of Northern Ireland’s male escort business. Through what he describes as the perfect dating experience, he wishes to change the public’s image of the service he offers openly online (for women only).

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the grandfather believes that women are now more willing than ever to pay for company and sex, thanks to more relaxed views of the sex industry in today’s society.

John’s goal isn’t completely driven by sex, however. He feels that he made this particular “lifestyle choice” due to a quest to enjoy female company and to offer women a “unique” experience, sweeping them off their feet to be arm candy for the night.

“I have more respect for what I’m doing and the way I’m doing it. I didn’t go into it for sex,” he insists.

“There’s nothing better than walking into places with a nice woman on your arm. It makes me feel good.”

As regards the change in opinion surrounding the sex industry, John comments that the subject is not as frowned upon now as once before.

“It’s been going on for years; it’s not a new thing, it’s not just a 21st century thing.

“Today there are a lot of women who are single and don’t want to remarry and there are the businesswomen who need company when they are in Belfast for a function and don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb,” he adds.

Although we should perhaps be questioning why a successful businesswoman should feel that they “stand out like a sore thumb” for being alone in this new progressive society John talks about, there’s no doubt that his escorting business has much to do with self-confidence.

The women paying John for his services are causing his own confidence to shoot through the roof. Despite confessing that he’s not the type to look after his appearance, not only is he being paid to accompany women for dinner, he’s also enjoying it.

“I’m not into bodybuilding and trying to make myself something I’m not,” he says.

“My friends say I remind them of a teenager, my confidence has improved. I’m not ashamed of who I am. We are all adults and have the right to choose our path.”

A daunting task for anybody to meet several new people in one week, John is helped along somewhat by his clients.

“Women are very simple creatures,” he says, “body language is important.”

“I look at it as a job. I can talk to most people about anything. With my client, I behave as if we are friends.”

John is still on the look out for Mrs. Right, of course, if she happened along. Unfortunately, however, he feels he may be too “stuck in my ways” at this stage of his life to do anything other than offer women an outlet for their needs.

Bernard Moss, another Northern Irish male escort, is in the same boat.

“I’ve never been in love – I don’t think I’ll ever settle properly as regards marriage,” he says.

“I’m scared to get into a serious relationship – look at these dating websites, it’s putting me off.”

His single status is quite unfortunate, as Moss believes that his time as an escort has given him great insight into the mind of the woman – he “knows what women want.”

Working as an escort for the past five years, Co. Tyrone painter and decorator Moss chooses to represent himself through sites such as Backpage.com, or international sites such as EscortEurope.com, instead of using an escort agency.

“The aim is to be the best escort in Belfast and have my own website,” he boasts.

Drawing in as many as three or four women a week, Moss always believed that he he had “the ability to make women pay” for his services, whatever those services may be.

“Some of it can be just a dinner date and a hug ... and I can do a sensual massage,” he says.

“Women want these kind of services. I meet clients visiting Belfast for business, and now I get flown to the UK for my services.”

It’s not all fun and games however. He told the Belfast Telegraph that, like every job, it has its ups and downs, but the most important thing to remember is to always sell yourself.

“You have to be able to sell yourself,” he says. “It’s that way with any job: The customer isn’t buying the product, they’re buying the show.”

Moss specializes in well-off women aged between 40 and 60 years old looking for an escort for various reasons, although a boost in confidence again seems to come to the forefront.

“Sometimes they are just lonely. Sometimes they just need to feel like somebody cares about them. Sometimes they’re just out of a bad relationship, bad divorce, sometimes it’s their birthday, sometimes they just have too much money and want to blow it.”

Despite this clear need for love and affection from some of Moss’s clients, he admits that most of his inspiration comes from watching porn. He will end each session with “a wee hug and a peck on the cheek,” however.

Moss also has a very definite answer for those who would criticize his evening job, “If it makes you happy and you want to do it, then go and do it. People can say what they want, but they don’t pay my bills.”

Although perhaps a step in the right direction in terms of society accepting a woman’s need to express her sexuality in the same way as a man, are escorts the best way to (re)gain confidence or to deal with feeling uncomfortable being alone? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.