How does a good traditional Mormon boy and then father of two turn into a rent boy addicted to crystal meth, and how do you survive that and come out the other side? We sent Simon Savidge to meet Stephen Fales, a man who has been through just such times and turned it into a stage show, to find out.
This sounds a great story, so how did it all happen??
Well Simon, I think really it all started from me being gay, not that I think that’s a bad thing at all I embrace it whole heartedly now. But I hid it for such a long time. I mean if you are a Mormon you can’t even drink coffee, it’s a sin, so admitting that you want to have sex with men isn’t something you even admit to, even if I knew from about 12 to 13, when my hormones kicked in, that I liked other boys. I just hid it… it was against everything I had been brought up to believe in.
So you didn’t do anything about it until after you were married?
I can’t say that no, though I didn’t lose my virginity with a man until I was twenty nine. I mean I had a first experience or two when I was in a scouting troop, but people experiment I guess don’t they? Then when I went on a choir trip, of all things, it went a step further. I suppressed it, slammed the door on it if you like, and tried to carry on with my life and got married. I have two beautiful children which I don’t regret in the slightest, they are the joy of my life. Sadly the marriage didn’t, well it simply couldn’t, work out and that’s when it all went out of control. Do you want to know something weird? My father-in-law was gay; he died of AIDS so that was a huge additional complication to add to my own thoughts on my sexuality.
So how did the sex-work come about?
Well, after the divorce, which was acrimonious to say the least, I moved to New York to act. I wanted to be in Shakespeare or in one of the big musicals on Broadway. There was hardly any work, I was broke and really horny and so it seemed to make sense. In my head I started doing it for the child support, I know that sounds so bizarre, then it was to pay for the child support and dance lessons, then it was about those two things and buying Prada and ‘being fabulous’. I enjoyed the sex in the main but it spiralled out of control…
And is this where the crystal meth kicked in?
Yes, completely. It all started at a sex party I went to about six months in, I can’t really remember if it was for work or just horny pleasure now, anyway, I had lost my spiritual core and was feeling crap about myself and had become ‘a pleaser’. I started taking it because everyone was. Oh and here I should add I never paid for it, why would I buy it when I could have yours? But it was an experience like no other, you can just fuck all night… am I being too graphic?
No not at all, it’s good to hear someone being so honest about it…
So I could fuck all night. It was amazing. It totally looses you, you go from saying you’re ‘a top’ to thinking you wouldn’t mind sitting on a finger or two… then you want to mount the Empire State building. What’s that one you have in London? The one that looks like a perfect dildo?
Yeah, if I was on crystal meth and staying in London, as I will be soon, I would have been riding that morning till night. That’s what its like. It was overpowering and I became addicted. The thing is no one plans addiction, it happens when you are low, people might think you are happy and fabulous and have the perfect life but inside you feel like crap and have a need. Look at all those housewives addicted to prescription drugs everywhere. I was just out of a marriage, my kids couldn’t see me, and I had been excommunicated by my family and faith…
What pulled you out?
I was in the shower and it hit me. I called to God and I knew instantly, like a voice in my head, I had to call someone. I had a niggling feeling I might have caught HIV, thankfully I hadn’t, and the idea I was invisible had passed. It was hard but I had to take responsibility for my recovery and I did.
So why then write a show about it, what did you want to do in creating ‘Confessions of a Mormon Boy’? Isn’t it almost putting too much of you out there?
I think selling myself for sex was putting me out there too much. This is something else; it’s a message to other gay men, a message about religion, and a totally honest portrayal of what you don’t want to do with your life. It has also been a therapy for me in a way. I have explored what I did, why I did it, what made me feel the way I did. I also wanted to do something that told the truth to my kids no matter how hard that might be. I didn’t want to be erased from their history.
So where do you stand with religion now?
I am still a believer. I’m no latter day saint though. For a while I had a nervous tick every time I saw a steeple… but that has passed. God is so much bigger than a religion; I don’t want to sound all preachy though so I will say I have found my inner faith and love in faith again.
So where do you go from here, what’s next for the Mormon Boy?
Well this is the first show in a trilogy, and I am aiming to do the whole three shows each day off Broadway in 2012. There might be another book, I am thinking about that at the moment. I am also in talks for (laughs) ‘The Mormon Boy Cookery Show’, looking at all those recipes that are secret, I have blown a few lids off a few Mormon secrets in the shows, so why not go one further, and I really miss the food. Maybe I could start a chain of Mormon Boy foods, though not coffee of course (laughs) that would never do.
Confessions of a Mormon Boy will be playing at the Charing Cross Theatre from 4th – 24th September.
You can find more information by visiting www.mormonboy.com