Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:12
Oops that last answer was about Mnemo's advertising query. Crystal raises the question of pimping, pandering and consent. The mythic pimp and the real person accused of pimping or pandering under the law are two different things. Of course, it is always better to work for yourself -- if you have the talent to run your own game! But not every prostitute has that executive ability and there is a role for madams and managers to play in this business. Good and bad managers abound, as in other industries. Pandering itself is more ethical when the prostitute is there by consent. Clients can also get away with unethical or dangerous behavior when there is no management standing guard. Many working girls, like Nancy in fiction (and me in real life), have found that to be the case! I want to add that the language we use has a lot to do with high profile cases that get into find that their the media. After Heidi Fleiss, the verb "pander" became widespread, even in New York State where the prostitution laws call it "promoting prostitution." But somehow "promoting" sounds quaint and East Coast (even to my quaint East Coast ear) and "pandering" sounds like the thing itself. I don't know if that is the power of TV or what.
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:17
Sorry about typos in the second sentence. I meant to say, "the language we use has a lot to do with high profile cases that get media attention..."
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:25
I just want people here to know that Amazon seems to be running out of books but there are other booksellers online who have stock -- and Crown is doing a second printing of "Diary." So Amazon should soon be resupplied with 24 hour availability!
Jef Poskanzer (jef) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:38
Second printing! Woo!
Crystal Blues (sangfroid) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:49
>The mythic pimp...... Are you saying that there is no such thing as a pimp on the high end of the sex biz?
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:59
Not at all! I'm saying that the word Pimp can conjure up larger than life images of brutality, coercion and fear, whereas the real human beings who function as pimps -- at any income level -- may be quite ordinary or varied in their behavior. Put another way, maybe I need to ask what you mean by the word Pimp because it means different things to different people.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 24 Sep 01 22:55
E-mail from E: Dear Tracy, I have just purchased your fabulous new book, and although I am not through with it yet, I must say it is most stimulating indeed. Question for you and your guests: Is it possible or plausible for a sensuous, sexy woman in her 40s to become successful as a hooker?? Thanks, E in California
Daniel del Solar (dsolar) Tue 25 Sep 01 01:28
She took her share of risks as a teenager and now she wants her life to be as pretty as possible. we all want our lives to be as pretty as possible and, responding to the e-mail from E: "plausible for a sensuous, sexy woman in her 40s to become successful as a hooker??" there is a lot of factors...do you have a head for business? have you dealt with, can you deal with, what you will face... it is not simple, non-com sex... Tracis' book lays out some of the challenges...did you pass the "tests" implicit in the situations described. etc. i cant tell you to try it, but have you tried it? was it okay? and what about the others...will you be able to "fall in love" during and after... i love this book because it brings to the surface so much that is closeted, through the centuries. And for us mere mortals, it is good to see the "high and mighty moral people turn out to be, even less moral than we are...all because some wonderful woman has decided to go into business, despite a male-dominated state which makes that business madly dada-esque.
Daniel del Solar (dsolar) Tue 25 Sep 01 07:06
Pardon the mis-spelling of Tracy's name above...the price of a late-night post...
Crystal Blues (sangfroid) Tue 25 Sep 01 07:09
>what you mean by the word Pimp because it means different things to different people. I would guess that unless you're a pimp it's a bad word? The girls you describe actually seem to be more like Courtesans than street walkers and separated from more sordid aspects. Do you think that women might however fall into the "Pretty Woman" trap confusing the different classes of sex workers? As a follow up, do you think that your book glamorizes prostitution as the movie "Pretty Woman" did?
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Tue 25 Sep 01 10:16
Q: Is it possible or plausible for a sensuous, sexy woman in her 40s to become successful as a hooker?? A: The short answer is "yes, certainly." In real life, it's more likely that a successful working girl in her forties is someone who started earlier, so that when she is in her forties she already has established her following of regulars, and she has had a chance to really learn the trade, grow into it. One of the things I liked about the business was having older role models -- women over 40 who looked very good, enjoyed their emotional and sexual freedom... Working girls or madams over 40 were very helpful to me in talking through some of the issues that boggle the emotions of younger hookers. They had been there and done that, and they knew what we younger girls were going through.
Anthony Cagle (jonl) Tue 25 Sep 01 10:24
Email from Anthony Cagle: Um, just how does a hooker deal with the IRS? Frankly, I'd be more afraid of *them* than the local vice squad. List all income under 'Tips'? And what do you put under 'Occupation'? Contemporary Conversation Consultant?
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Tue 25 Sep 01 10:27
dsolar says, "we all want our lives to be as pretty as possible" I'm glad you feel this way, but I don't know if all people want that. I've met girls from very privileged backgrounds who became heroin users, adopted the street culture, and who seem to reject the prettiness that Nancy would embrace. It's a deliberate aesthetic choice, as far as I can see, and there are a lot of people who go out of their way to reject the prettier life... Like some of the women at the NYCOT meetings (in the novel) who make Nancy nervous and infuriate Jasmine.
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Tue 25 Sep 01 10:53
Q: I would guess that unless you're a pimp it's a bad word? A: For me, it's a fairly neutral word -- it covers a multitude of activities (which some people regard as sins.) One dictionary I have defines it as "a man who solicits customers for a prostitute or brothel, usually in return for a share of the proceeds." In the popular press, it's often a bad word: I knew a guy who worked on the phone at an escort agency, who happened to be in the office of the agency when the police came in and shut it down. He was described in the newspapers as a pimp, and charged with promoting prostitution (a felony.) He had more in common with a dispatcher at a car service. The women and men who worked for the service as escorts did not feel coerced by him in any way -- and I guess I should add that he'd never been called a pimp before. It was pretty startling for him -- he was just a young musician picking up some extra cash by working a phone job. If you didn't know him and read the reports of that bust, you could have a totally different impression. On the other side of things, we have Dennis Hof who runs a legal brothel in Nevada. He jokingly calls himself a pimp, but when I was on a radio show with him recently, I suggested a more PC label -- Male Madam. Dennis the "pimp" wants prostitution as legal and regulated as possible so that ruffians won't be able to run brothels and the industry can assimilate into mainstream culture. Frankly, I thought he was being ridiculously middle class and pretty much told him so. He shouldn't assume that every prostitute wants the sexual equivalent of a 9-to-5 desk job. It was a fun radio show.
Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 25 Sep 01 15:12
It sounds like it. Isn't it interesting that the dictionary definition says that pimp is a man. I would have thought it would be anybody who brought two people together for the purpose of a business transaction, and took a percentage for doing so. Another word might be "broker." Tracy, how likely is it that the kinds of girls we find in the novel will get into trouble with the law, and how would it come about? (Is Heidi Fleiss the exception?) They don't solicit on the streets, although they do collect business cards at industry events. How would they make clear what their business is at those events?
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Tue 25 Sep 01 15:37
Sangroid asks: Do you think that your book glamorizes prostitution as the movie "Pretty Woman" did? My thoughts: I don't think Pretty Woman glamorizes prostitution, though I realize this is one reading of the movie. It is, rather, an irreverent semi-pornographic update on the Cinderella fable. Cinderella as a streetwalker, the fairy godmother as hotel manager/concierge. Cinderella has been presented as ballet, as opera (Rossini's La Cenerentola), in animated film for children, and in this romantic comedy called "Pretty Woman." We think of it as a child's story but it seems likely that it began as an adult folktale. It's fitting, then, that corporate raiders, condoms and crackheads would figure in the updated version (Pretty Woman.) This website explores Cinderella in great detail, including a "multicultural" Cinderella, an Appalachian Cinderella and some stuff by Bruno Bettelheim -- if only Cinderella had a shrink, she might not need a fairy godmother! http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/cinderella.html I saw Pretty Woman recently and was struck by how funny it is, how corny and yet how knowing. A streetwalker who is taken to La Traviata (her first opera) by a john who thinks he's Henry Higgins: This is hilarious because the plot of La Traviata concerns a fallen woman who renounces her wayward life for a man she loves -- only to get screwed over and die. "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" is, in part, a response to the enduring power of the Cinderella myth -- so, yes, it has some thing in common with Pretty Woman. But I think it would be short-sighted to say that either story "glamorizes" prostitution.
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Tue 25 Sep 01 15:39
Q: Just how does a hooker deal with the IRS? Answer: By hiring an attorney and an accountant and learning as much as possible about her legal rights and responsibilities as a taxpayer.
Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Tue 25 Sep 01 15:41
What did you think of the book "Cop to Call Girl", by-the-way?
Daniel del Solar (dsolar) Tue 25 Sep 01 18:32
Your choice of the first of Bush's cabinet to be found on a hookers lap, or with a hooker on his/her lap? (A pretty arcane shot at social truth-telling) dsolar quoting tracyquan "we all want our lives to be as pretty as possible" i'll take Tracy's caveat and recast: "we all want our lives to be as pretty (or ugly) as possible."
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Wed 26 Sep 01 07:55
Q: Do you think that women might however fall into the "Pretty Woman" trap confusing the different classes of sex workers? A: I think people do conflate different kinds of prostitutes -- but why shouldn't they, when we all have one thing in common: selling sex? The distinctions between street and escort, bar girl and call girl, have a practical meaning to prostitutes and their customers. For other people, looking at it from a distance, there may be a lot more symbolism involved.
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Wed 26 Sep 01 08:05
<Rab> mentions the book "Cop to Call Girl" by Norma Jean Almadovar. I organized a small event for her book when it first came out -- I think she may have been a little peeved over the invitation I sent to PONY members which read "Go to jail, Do not collect $200." Norma Jean spent 18 months in prison and I think it radicalized her -- she was an activist before all that happened but I think her time in prison made her extremely single-minded. She is extremely devoted to the cause and has ten times more energy than any of us when it comes to organizing.
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Wed 26 Sep 01 13:00
Q: How likely is it that the kinds of girls we find in the novel will get into trouble with the law, and how would it come about? A: One fear that plagues Nancy a bit is that a girl from an escort agency might cross over into her private circle. If the crossover is not permanent, if the girl is constantly hopping between the private world and the agency world, she could get busted while she's on an agency call -- and her entire address book could end up in the hands of the police. Some people read this as sheer snobbery but, like a lot of snobbery, Nancy's is also about safety and survival. And the biggest snob is one who has "been there" herself. So the line between private hooking and advertising is like every border -- imperfect. Q: (Is Heidi Fleiss the exception?) A: Indoor madams and call girls who become famous for their troubles are always the exception -- but I will say that, when Heidi was arrested, there was a noticeable groundswell of support for her in the media. Though I hated to see her life turned upside down like that, it was gratifying to see magazines like Vanity Fair and Interview taking such a sympathetic view of her. There has been a tendency to vilify and demonize people who act as agents, brokers, pimps or madams -- while viewing prostitutes themselves as innocent victims. But for me, the vilification of the madam or pimp comes from the notion that the prostitute's money is somehow "dirty." I'm glad we have been getting away from that in recent years.
Jef Poskanzer (jef) Wed 26 Sep 01 14:36
So Tracy, has the book been getting good reviews? You forwarded excerpts from one that I thought was excellent. Let's see, do I still have that? Yes. New York Press, 9/19/01 p.27 Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl Review by Jennifer Blowdryer In *Diary*, "hairdressers are clued in to the ever-changing, temporary nature of happiness. They know there are only good hair moments. A good day may consist of many such moments strung together like beads..." I've been waiting for this genre -- one in which hairdressers assume their proper role in the social hierarchy. They were the first people I met who hinted of a place in the world that included me, before I myself had a chance to grow into a promiscuous pill-popper. In Algeria, which according to the waitress at the Mona Lisa Cafe is "not a free society," hairdressers were slain first during the revolution. It turns out there is more to the world than an intriguing dye-job: Tracy Quan has taught me, as a mannered citizen, to look at my scandalously unwaxed pubic hair with new horror.
Tracy Quan (tracyquan) Wed 26 Sep 01 15:23
Q: has the book been getting good reviews? Well, some reviewers have said the book isn't dirty enough -- a complaint I'm more than happy to pass on to my parents... but -- Ha!! This just up! The full text of La Blowdryer's review. For about a week, the New York Press site was down. Here 'tis: http://www.nypress.com/14/38/books/books.cfm
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 26 Sep 01 17:50
I went to Las Vegas several years ago on business, and one evening I was in the bar of our hotel with my then-boss. He claimed that there were several hookers in there. I looked around, and danged if I could tell who they were. He said it was because I'm not a man, but men can tell. I honestly didn't see even a remotely likely candidate. Was he in fantasyland, or was I? Is it possible that a hooker is only evident to her potential market (or to other hookers?) Is there a give-away, perhaps?
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