January 20th, 2013

[ANON POST] British Army Officer Backgrounds and Daily Life, 1860-1885

I've googled and wikipedia'd various combinations of "british army," "officers," "victorian," "daily life," "19th century," and the like, and while I've been able to find all sorts of information about British army life for regular soldiers, I'm coming up short for officers beyond the fact that most were from aristocratic backgrounds. Specifically, I'm wondering:

1. Why they joined: Were they second sons of noblemen? Upper middle classes looking for status? Following family tradition? What other motivations might someone have to choose a military career?

2. How they advanced through the ranks: I know that commissions were purchased until the Cardwell reforms in the 1870s, but did promotion occur any other way? Did a majority or a minority of officers go to Sandhurst? Just how wealthy did someone have to be to purchase, for example, a colonelcy? How did promotion happen after the sale of commissions was abolished?

3. About daily life: Beyond actual wars and battles, what was life like? How often did they train/drill? What did they do for fun? How did they socialize amongst themselves and with civilians? Were they expected to maintain a certain lifestyle? What kinds of behaviour might get them into trouble/cause a scandal? What kinds of things did corrupt officers get away with?

4. About retirement: Was it more common to retire or to serve for life? How did someone go about retiring and what did they do afterwards?

I'm especially interested in the British Indian Army, but information about the plain old British Army is fantastic as well. I'm also trying really hard to grasp the Victorian class system and where army officers fit into it, so information along those lines is very useful too.

[ANON POST] Information about male escorts

The setting is a large non-specified US city (probably NYC, but I am not planning on it being relevant to the story, as the story will focus on the motivations and thoughts of the main character rather than anything specifically to do with the setting). It will take place approximately around the year 2002. My character is a young man in his early twenties, who is a bit of a con-man and trying to make his way in the world. He’s charming, good-looking, a quick study and can talk his into (or out of) quite a lot of things. He somehow ends up as a more or less high-end male escort, both as a way to make money, but primarily because he is curious about the thrill, and the skill it would take.

My questions:

- Would it be plausible for him to become a male escort with a high-end escorting service, having a somewhat dubious past (which he would be hiding – he would have an alias which would pass muster if you didn’t dig too deep), or would a thorough back-ground check of some kind most likely be required? How might he find himself with such a service – might they advertise, might they somehow scout out potential employees, or…? Is sex likely to be required or optional (or discouraged)...?

- Regarding clientele, would he exclusively have either male or female clients, or could he plausibly have clients of both sexes?

- How easy would it be for him to be a “freelance” high-end escort? Is there a medium between high-end and “streetwalker” (I’m assuming yes, but I have no idea – I’ve always seen it portrayed as either one of the other in media).

- What sort of terminology would most likely be used by him, his clients, the agency if he would be a part of such (would “rent-boy” e.g. be considered condescending)?

I know nothing about the escorting business, and I’m a bit at a loss for how to find my answers. I have looked through the “prostitution” tag here and not found the specific answers I’m looking for, and I’ve read the Wikipedia article on “male prostitution”, as well as googled “male escort” and found useful bits and pieces, but I’m still uncertain. I would google some more, but I’m a bit at a loss for useful search terms that will give me reputable sources. Either specific answers to my questions, or suggestions of useful references or useful terms to use in my searching would be much appreciated!