I’ve finally gotten all my stuff out of storage. The greatest joy has been unpacking my books. Legal Tender was bought in Vegas a few months before I set off traveling. It sat in my “read” pile until it was boxed up. Now that I’m working through my unread books, here it is.
First, my disclaimer. I’m personally prejudiced against the whole idea of brothels as practiced in the US. Giving 50% of my money from every booking to someone just for the privilege of renting a one-star hotel room doesn’t sit well with me. Being told what to do doesn’t work for me either (ask any former boyfriend about that). I’m a control-freak about my working environment and brothels go out of their way to wrest control from the girls working there. Then there’s the whole being-an-employee-without-the-legal-benefits, i.e. Nevada brothel-style “independent-contractor” status that’s accorded to the working girls. If I’m going to work within a heavily-regulated legal system then I want my legal benefits retained. The book looks at a lockdown brothel, so that’s what I’m going to be discussing here.
Rebuttal to my disclaimer is that I personally know several girls who have worked as indies and in Nevada brothels who thoroughly enjoyed their brothel experiences (though most still dislike the flouting of legal employee status and most were in non-lockdown brothels). They were happy with the money they made, happy with their working environments, happy with the brothel customers and overall have a positive impression of working within the strict bounds of their chosen brothels. I do not know any who worked in the brothel I did and had a positive experience. There is that.
I picked up my copy of Legal Tender when I attended a presentation given by the author Laraine Russo Harper. I said nothing, clapped at the end and purchased my book. I disagreed with a lot of what she said but I hadn’t read her book yet. So now I have.
Tags: criminalization, free range chicken, independent escorts, internet escorts, Laraine Russo Harper, las vegas, legalizing prostitution, lockdown brothel, nevada brothel, pimps, privacy, sheri's ranch
I’m trying to assemble my thoughts and feelings into some kind neat package for reading. A fellow activist and sex worker had an even worse experience than I did. I was shocked to read her posts. Frankly, I was hoping I was an anomaly. You know, once an indie always an indie. Or that I’m just a little princess (ex-boyfriends might agree with that one).
Mariko’s horrifying account at least makes me feel I’m not crazy.
Still, I didn’t have problems with the people there. I was welcomed. The problems I ran into were more systematic problems. And I’m well aware I’m the sort of person for whom the walls close in fast. This doesn’t make me the ideal candidate for a lock-down brothel, but I thought I could handle this experience.
I do intend on trying another brothel. Kit Kat, Wild Horse/Mustang Ranch, and Sagebrush seem like candidates. I will be researching before I go. It will probably be the end of September or sometime in October. Probably not soon.
Aug 19, 2008 Bella's (Nevada Brothel)
As I said, I woke up Friday morning tired and in a very bad mood. I felt trapped. I was dying to just get out of the brothel.
That morning, as I pulled out of the parking lot of Bella’s Espresso House (where I had taken to eating breakfast), I glanced up the open, traffic-free highway 93. The open road – and it led to someone I knew and wanted to see.
It took all my willpower to turn left and back to the brothel instead of continuing on. But I did. And I planned.
Aug 18, 2008 Bella's (Nevada Brothel)
Wednesday was a very good day for me. I saw four men and all were very nice. I made good money and had fun (one bought the small Jacuzzi room, which was much more fun than I had thought it would be).
Just a great day all around. Smiling was involuntary.
I woke up tired due to all-night bell-ringing, slamming doors, talking, shouting, etc into the wee hours of the morning. I hadn’t gotten a decent night’s sleep since I got here and I was waking up between 5:30 and 6:30am every morning whether I wanted to or not. It was beginning to show.
Then I had the brilliant idea of taking the day off and going to visit a nearby ghost town. I had my doctor’s visit (the local perv-doctor) then I was told I could go stay in a hotel! Sleep!
Aug 14, 2008 Bella's (Nevada Brothel)
Monday and Tuesday were extremely slow. Not only did the bell not ring a lot (I spent most of my time napping or doing my day job), but I wasn’t closing the deal. Too many Larry the Cable Guy truck-drivers who wanted the world for $100, ideally $20 if they could get it that cheap.
I wasn’t being a team player, but I needed to find the balance of feeling good about myself, making money and taking care of the house. It’s not an easy spot to find, especially since the house encourages you to go ahead and have sex at what amounts to street prices. If I wanted to be sucking dick in a car in an alley, I’d already be doing it. Yes, this is some of the class issues I was talking about. For an American in the US, it’s easy to spot class (might not matter or be so clear-cut in another country). And I know what sort of class of man I like best, and who appreciates me properly.
Besides, I grew up with those redneck, trailer-trash, KKK-loving bastards and I really have no intention of giving them pussy if I can help it. Not mine, at any rate.
No, some things I cannot put aside. That is me and has nothing to do with sex work.
The most disturbing thing so far happened Monday night. A man who had already seen a girl was in the bar while I did a lineup. He saw me and another girl came to get me for him. Not only was he full of bullshit (I could stop this work and come live with him – he felt he could cover my expenses – ha!), he had been drinking and was utterly annoying and cheap. But I finally got him to agree to my price for sex.