inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #51 of 183: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #52 of 183: 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..."
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #53 of 183: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #54 of 183: Jef Poskanzer (jef) Mon 24 Sep 01 19:38
    
Second printing!  Woo!
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #55 of 183: 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? 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #56 of 183: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #57 of 183: 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
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #58 of 183: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #59 of 183: 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...
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #60 of 183: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #61 of 183: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #62 of 183: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #63 of 183: 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.  
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #64 of 183: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #65 of 183: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #66 of 183: 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.  
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #67 of 183: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #68 of 183: Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Tue 25 Sep 01 15:41
    

  What did you think of the book "Cop to Call Girl", by-the-way?
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #69 of 183: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #70 of 183: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #71 of 183: 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. 



 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #72 of 183: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #73 of 183: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #74 of 183: 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
  
inkwell.vue.123 : Tracy Quan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
permalink #75 of 183: 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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