|(Photo from wikipedia)|
I don't remember where I saw it, but this article, "America's most famous brothel is hiring secret shoppers, but for sex," popped up on my computer screen the other day. I got excited! When I skimmed over it, all I saw were the first sentence, "The Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada featured in the HBO series Cathouse, seeks to hire 'about a dozen' people to have sex with its prostitutes professionally," and this phrase, "then write about it."
I got so excited! Porn is not my thing, but ethnography is and I love to talk about sex, so yessiree! Sign me up. I've seen every episode of Cathouse, some more than twice. If you haven't, let me fill you in. It's a somewhat scripted, cheerful look at life on a ranch of prostitution in Nevada, where such things are legal. It's about hookers who all live together in a big building with rooms and a bar and an office and hot tubs and stuff. The show gives insight into a small, unique culture of happy-go-lucky prostitutes living under the kind, fatherly presence of Dennis (the pimp) ..... I guess you'd have to see it to appreciate it.
Anyway, I saw those words, and I thought Dennis was going to hire
But then I thought back on the episodes of Cathouse I've watched, and I started having second thoughts. Deal-breaking second thoughts. And I decided I really don't want to have sex with a prostitute, even one who seems to enjoy her job as much as the "girls" at the Bunny Ranch do.
I don't think the reason I backed away from the idea is because of the numbers of people they have sex with, although it's hard to separate that. I tried to be practical. I don't care how many customers the Kroger checker has checked out before me, do I? Nor do I care how many taxes my tax preparer has prepared, nor how many cars my mechanic has worked on. I'm not queasy about my doctor doing lots of surgeries before mine. In fact, I want him to practice on other people first. So, why should I care how many penises have been in my prostitute's vagina. Or so I told myself. (I'm still not sure.)
I did imagine what it would be like to walk in the door from the hot desert sun and cause all the girls (why are prostitutes always called "girls"?) to drop their vibrators so they could line up and pose in negligees and really tall shoes and hope to catch my attention. Yeah, that sounded a lot too awkward for me. Even though they do it many times a day, I wouldn't want to hurt anybody's feelings, even knowing they probably don't give a shit unless their rent is due. Knowing me, I'd probably choose the one I felt sorriest for though, and that's no fun. Or I'd feel guilty because I didn't choose the one I felt sorriest for. I'd probably stand there a long time and over-think that shit just like my mom always says I do. Maybe they would slowly drift away until I finally had to choose the only one left standing there.
|(photo from Gawker)|
Having watched all the shows, I know I could refuse to choose and instead go into the bar, buy some drinks, and let some of them try to woo me into the back where the bedrooms are. That could be fun for a while. But then, I'd still have to choose, and by then they probably would have shown me their boobs and I'd want them all --except the tragically enhanced ones. (Oh, admit it. You like boobs too. Everybody likes boobs.) Besides, I'll bet the drinks are expensive. I wonder if Dennis would pick up the tab though, since I'd be writing about it.
The thing that brought me to the biggest screeching halt though is that these women are too young for me to date outside of the Bunny Ranch. They're pretty and sexy in a mainstream way. But whether they're women or men, I don't want to date or have sex with people who are decades younger than I am, or who are younger than my oldest kid. So, I think I'd just feel like a dirty old woman, and who wants that shit? Not me. Well, sometimes ... but not in that context.
Of course, most of the men who come in are older than the women there. Hell, look at Dennis! And an older woman (late 60's) did come in and buy time with a girl in one episode, because her husband couldn't have sex with her or something. And I swear I didn't judge. But that's not me. I'd feel kind of pathetic.
Although there's Air Force Amy, who is older than I am, but also needs a lot of attention. And I wouldn't be there to take care of somebody's fucking ego.
I had to ask myself if I'd feel the same if they were men .... So I imagined a row of a dozen shirtless young men lined up and waiting for me to choose, and it took a lot of imagination, because men don't line up to be chosen like that, do they? But once I got the image going, I ran into the same problem. Too young. Too weird to point to one and be led back to a bedroom. Too awkward knowing they don't really want anything except my money.
On the other hand, I wouldn't have all that baggage about taking advantage of them and am I still a feminist and am I objectifying someone. It would just be a fuck.
So there's that.
It's not that there's anything wrong with paying for sex though. The laws against it cause more problems than legalizing it would. The bald fact of the matter is that some people can't get a hug, much less a fuck, and people need physical intimacy. Or sometimes they want something their partner isn't willing to do. So if they can't get it from people for free, why shouldn't they be able to pay a willing partner? I know it's trickier than that. Sex work is dangerous, and not because men need hugs. But a lot of the men on the show really just need some affection. And to get fucked by a pretty girl, of course.
And then there's the question of whether I, in this case, would be a prostitute too. Because I'd be getting a paycheck for having sex right? Only I'd be getting paid to get laid by a prostitute. How convoluted is that?
Surely, I told myself as I slowly lost my nerve .... surely doing it for the story would be different. Surely I could let loose and just have fun. Play the part. Fake it until I maked it. I mean, it might be nice to have sex with someone who was paid to pleasure me, to do whatever I wanted to do. That could be nice, right? All take, and no give unless I wanted to.
But, no. I'm really not looking for sexual relationships like that. Hell, I don't even accept one-night-stands with people I know and like. I sometimes wish I would just get over it, but I don't find sex without intimacy much fun, so it's not worth the possible complications.
So I talked myself out of it and stopped writing my application in my head, but I still went back and really read the article. And that's when I realized, Dennis is just looking for secret shoppers. He's not looking for an ethnographer at all. I wouldn't have gotten the gig anyway. After all that typical over-thinking, the offer to observe and write about and even fuck a bunny wasn't going to be extended to me.
Damn it! Now I want to fuck a bunny! I want to beg Dennis to please please please please please pay me to fuck a bunny. He wouldn't have to pay me to write about it. I'd do that for free, just like I always do.
Apparently Dennis has already been flooded with applications from all kinds of people. And, although he says he'd like to take a couple of women in the dozen secret shoppers he hires, I doubt he's looking for a middle-aged blogger who's somebody's grandma. So I'm not going to send him an email after all. My dreams of a Bunny Ranch ethnography are crushed, and I'll probably never get this chance again .... such that it was.
At this point I would normally ask what you would do. Trying, you know, to get a conversation going. But I suspect most of you wouldn't go to the Bunny Ranch and have sex (probably multiple times) with prostitutes. I'm probably alone in my purely academic fascination with the Moonlite Bunny Ranch.