"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Free At Last - Washington Hookers Out Of The Closet And Diversity Completed

Lucinda Shepherd had been a Las Vegas chorus line dancer ever since she was discovered, quite by accident and good fortune, by Abe Saperstein, theatrical agent, impresario, and Times Square fixer who knew a good thing when he saw one; and he knew that the girl bringing him lox and bagels at his table, was it.  

A perfect fit, dimly bright enough to learn the routines, pliable, eager, and with enough spirit and energy to do the Can-Can numbers the casino featured in its reprise of the Moulin Rouge, but not smart enough to do much else. Abe had read somewhere that Greyhound bus drivers were chosen with just enough intelligence to shift gears, but not enough to make their minds wander; and so it was with chorus girls. 

He had his come-on down pat - respectful, honest, and sincere.  He knew that girls like Lucinda who had come to LA hoping for Hollywood would be receptive.  He was not unattractive in a Jewish kind of way, the Arthur Miller type that Marilyn fell for after Joe, and and he had honed his introduction until it was as smooth and rich as Park Avenue. 

Of course he knew that he needed far less of the Cary Grant 30s foulard, double-breasted tailored suited charm to do the trick.  These girls were from the farmland, stubborn stock; but as long as they had that look  - that Victoria's Secret parted-lips, rosy tongue look - they would do just fine. 

She mumbled and shuffled a bit when he told her she would have to live in Las Vegas. Too far from her Mom, she said, but the buttered bread was too inviting, and all expenses paid, she was on the first flight west. 

Now, the casino where she was employed was not the Golden Nugget or the Sands; but it was Vegas and the opportunity of a lifetime, so she worked hard on the synchronized leg kicks, balletic turns, and the bum-up, pom-pom routines that had become a staple of the house.  She was a good learner, worked hard, and soon was comfortable with her pole position, head of the line, and first on stage. 

She had never suspected that her job would go any farther than the footlights; but when the manager singled her out for special assignment, she readily accepted.  A high-roller and major client of the casino wanted company for the night and had singled her out from among all the starlets and dancing girls in Las Vegas.  He was a good sort, the manager assured her, from Taiwan, and very wealthy; and she would be paid for her company. 

The manager had not lied nor exaggerated.  Mr. Chen was indeed a gentleman, courteous, respectful, and admiring; and when he suggested that their company take on a more intimate note, she readily agreed.  He was certainly far better than those piggy boys in Ohio, and she was no dope about these things.  Mr.  Chen might not be Mr. Right, but he was the first step - a very polished and accomplished one - towards her goal. 

She never knew what the fuss was about.  Sex was a routine affair, a matter of commerce regardless of whether money changed hands.  Barter or cash, women always had the dealer's hand, men were such suckers, so if she had a chance to make a profit for little effort, why not? She was not holding her precious, rosy flower for anyone in particular. 

One thing led to another, her reputation as a complaisant, willing, and generous lover preceded her, and she and the house made money.  Her career as a chorus dancer had stalled - she quickly found out that there was no way up and out from there, that Hollywood was a distant dream, and that she would drop in her traces before some better opportunity came along. 

She confided this to Abe who already knew of her extra-theatrical success thanks to the stage manager who had enjoyed her company and hoped that if she were to leave the show, he might be compensated for his loss.  Sex and dancing were businesses, after all. 

What would she say to a lucrative position in Washington, DC,  Abe asked her over drinks at the Lido, one which would put her in touch with the best and the brightest, the comers and influencers of the Nation's Capital? Just as she showed herself to be the most companionable sort for the likes of Mr. Chen, this offer would assure her friendship with la creme de la creme. 

Washington had always been a pay-as-you-go sex-for-hire town.  Despite Henry Kissinger's claim that power was the greatest aphrodisiac, the ugly old man was as often a frequenter of Mme. Arthur's establishment as any other Washington player.  Hers was a top secret brothel, one which guaranteed tight lips and young pussy and which made millions both from the most seasoned legislators and drop-in millionaires.  Hers was the only game in town. 

Her women could easily pass for Senate aides or House interns, appropriately tailored and proper, for those men who feared straying too far from their wives.  For the more fantastical minded, Mme. Arthur gave them tarts, S&M, and every possible variation on the gender spectrum.  Lucinda would not be required to do any leather if she didn't want to, so accommodating was Mme. Arthur; and she quickly accepted the offer with a considerable signing bonus, unheard of in those days, but much more common now that amateur athletes are being remunerated for their revenue-generating value. 

Her particular good fortune was that given the new, progressive diversity-equity-inclusion ethos, and given the desire to acknowledge all those Americans who had for far too long suffered the ignominy of exclusion and marginalization, prostitutes were now given their full due.  They were sex workers, no longer tarts and hookers, respectable members of the community engaged in a commercial enterprise equal to all others.  Not only could they ply their trade openly without fear of arrest, but they were entitled to generous federal benefits. Overnight, thanks to Congressional fiat, prostitution became the equal of investment banking; and about time. 

It was boom times for Mme. Arthur and the many spin-off wannabees in the capital. Now, clandestine only to the wives of the randy men who frequented them, these now legal brothels prospered as never before.  While some of their cachet disappeared with legality and recognition - many men like the idea of secret adultery - cash registers rang with the demand of johns from all segments of society. 

There was even a post-HIV/AIDS retro condoms-off policy at the higher-priced establishments.  The free market was at its best.  Sex was now a freely-traded commodity no different than pork bellies or frozen orange juice; and women like Lucinda were among the beneficiaries.  

Sure, she had to close her eyes at times - the junior Senator from Nebraska was a grizzled, warty, hairy backed offering - but all in all she banked enough to get off her back in years, not decades. 

Diversity wins! shouted the new Association of Midwestern Sex Workers whose photograph was taken with their gay, black, trans, and Latino brothers and sisters 'Hookers Rule' was another in the heady times of final sexual liberation. 

The White House was tempted, it was rumored, but never confirmed and doubted given the wobbly, unsure footing of the Chief Executive. 

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