A simple definition that is fundamentally accurate, but does a gross injustice to the concept, would probably be a professional companion, friend, and confidant.
Ignoring nuances, a leytgelez is not a unique concept throughout the tri-galaxies. On Earth there were the geisha, the oiran, and courtesan. On Alluria there are the Yunahra or Namredhe. And a billion other titles throughout the myriad star systems. Some still exist and others do not, but they all are educated individuals versed in the arts, especially conversation, erotic, and healing.
A leytgelez is a student, ideally, of all art. In practice few species have the life span for such and so most specialise. All are well versed, as are/were their various analogues, in conversation and listening. Many visit a leytgelez, or a salon of leytgeleshi just for someone to talk to who can provide witty, intelligent, well read, thoughtful converse.
Most leytgeleshi are versed in erotic arts, though it would be a radical misconception to consider them prostitutes of any sort. If you were to come to a leytgelez purely for the physical gratification of sex, it would direct you to the nearest brothel of significant quality and even recommend individuals if they happen to be familiar enough with the place. There can be exceptions, but this is because there are roughly as many variations on what precisely a leytgelez is as there are leytgeleshi.
Still, cultured is another cornerstone of the leytgelez. They are familiar with all art even if they are not a strict adherent to some of them. They will generally be a student of philosophy, possibly of the sciences.
Few leytgeleshi work alone. Most gather at a salon run by an older leytgelez in what is generally that individual’s home. A leytgelez does not personally charge for her services, especially not in a salon, though some do if they work alone. However the more common is for the leytgelez working alone to be independently wealthy or to have some alternative means of income; still others live well off of gifts of money and goods offered to them from those who seek their company. Depending on various factors the salons may charge membership fees for unlimited access, while others are open to all. It is a mark of great shame in most Galfarran speaking worlds that have leytgeleshi to be asked to leave a salon, and an even greater social blackmark to be banned from such.
There are five salons in the galaxies that are rated among the most famous, most prestigious, and most exemplary of the craft. Four of them are in Galfarra: Lirukari’s Salon on Junil, Thalena Lhagr’k’s on Nahrill, Lord Niltada’s on Brodillu, Maxiri Ugragk’s on Flandreau. The fifth is Lady Salarissa’s Salon on Sweytz in the Milky Way.
In all of these examples there are counted among each one’s leytgeleshi a number of doctors, psychiatrists, spiritual healers, poets, painters, dancers, exemplary cooks, singers, philosophers, those thoroughly versed in massage, acupuncturists, literary scholars, and the most caring and loving individuals from, between them, some two-hundred odd species, and approximately eight genders.
Each of these five Salons are run purely for the love of the leytgeleshi’s friends (a leytgelez does not have clients, or patrons, he has dear friends) and fund them through carefully managed trusts invested from their own personal fortunes. Their leytgeleshi earn very generous salaries that permit a very comfortable lifestyle.
Leytgelez salons are a place for laughter, tears, joy and sorrow, and healing. Friends are to remember that they are invited into the home of the one who provides the salon and should behave with deep respect for all present, though beyond that there are often few other rules to follow as the rule of respect is presumed to suffice. Some will have rules for their own salons due to the conscience of the owner, for example Thalena Lhagr’k does not allow punning in its Salon because it deems such to be horribly offensive to the spirits, but at Lady Salarissa’s there have been known to be spontaneous punning contests among leytgeleshi and friends when certain individuals get together, though it is said Her Ladyship never engages in these personally. Others say she does on occasion but tends to avoids them out of a sense of fairness – she is easily an hundred times the age of the eldest person who visits her salon and has a remarkable store of such things. The author would like it known that, in his own visits he has never witnessed the Lady taking part, but that he is poor witness due to a habit of fleeing to the gardens when such contests ensue.