A Star City Hooker

August 31, 2005 at 2:21am By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

No there was no exchange of money or bodily fluids. I live down by the unicameral, an area that some call “the ghetto” of Lincoln (a reference that always irks me for reasons not worth getting into now), and have always known that some of this shady business goes down after dusk in this part of the city. They used to hang out on 13th street near the CenterPointe building and Runza across the street, whom I would sometimes see on late night travels to the gas station by Runza. A local store owner told me that the cops chased them off and apparently they like to gather now on 11th street and south a few blocks (like 11th and D).

Well last night, I made a quick run to the gas station across from the county jail for some snacks and was followed by a very obese, physically unattractive woman in her 40s or so. She looked like a meth addict and asked me if I would be willing to part with $20 for some late night fun, which I declined. I went into the gas station, purchased some chips, and left to return to my place a few blocks away. I didn’t encounter her again on my direct way back home so I decided to go for a little walk south a few blocks past the little storefront on 11th and G and, lo and behold, ran into her again just hanging out in front of some apartment building. She recognized me, probably thinking I was indeed “interested” and made a similar proposition, which I again declined, and then turned around and went home.

OK so you are probably wondering “Gee Mr. T, why did you take a detour on the way back home if you weren’t interested in having sex with a prostitute?” Well the answer is: I’ve always been fascinated about the sordid night life industry as an amateur sociologist ever since working in Bangkok as a human rights educator, where I spent literally hundreds and hundreds of hours in gogo bars, karaoke clubs, coffee hous

es, massage parlors and brothels doing research into the sex industry and HIV transmission.

A part of me still is very interested in this aspect of human society, and I guess that part took over late last night. I was definitely NOT interested in paying her for sex. Instead, I wanted to learn more about her life, her motivations, her family. I wanted to know why she was selling herself on the street, how she came to do so, and what her future was. Well I chickened out and went home, because I was both tired and wanted to get out before it started raining. I wonder if my early 20s wildness has finally left me for good. 

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The Comments

Mr. Wilson August 31, 2005 at 5:02am

The jokes are just way too easy on this one, so I’ll take the serious route instead: with all your (indirect) experience with prostitution, I’m sure you have opinions regarding the morality, ethics, and wisdom of criminalizing the world’s oldest profession. Is it good that prostitution is illegal? Are the costs—not just financial costs—worth the benefits, both from the perspective of the individuals involved and society as a whole?

Mr. T September 1, 2005 at 2:31am

Yes I have actually thought about this quite a bit, although my experiences are based on observations of the sex industry in SEAsia, not in other contexts.

Morally, I believe that if a consenting adult freely chooses to exchange his/her sex services for $$$ that is fine. (The problem of course is structural most of the time: Does a person “freely choose” to become a prostitute when she comes from a dirt poor village, has an entire family living in poverty and has no education or vocational skills to seek other forms of work? Again, these are wider structural issues and a whole other topic of discussion.) 

As a matter of policy, I believe prostitution (again EMPHASIS on majority age) should be de-criminalized and, to a degree, regulated in certain arenas (HIV/STDs being an obvious one).  As it stands now, many prostitutes truly are exploited by pimps/criminal organizations (particularly if they are illegal aliens) and do not have the benefit of any form of basic labor rights and protections that the rest of the workforce takes for granted.

PTG September 1, 2005 at 5:47pm

Tough duty there in Bankok, eh? You might be able to find a skanky streetwalker in Lincoln, but where else but Bangkok can you get a suit and some shirts tailored for you and get your ashes hauled while you wait! I’ll admit the place has changed now that you can catch somthing you can’t shake, but, back in the day…

Mr. T September 2, 2005 at 2:29am

Back in the day….Well I was there from 93-97 and left shortly after the financial meltdown and before Thaksin went on his morals campaign and started sending out death squads to eliminate alleged drug dealers. A good friend of mine was a special forces guy during the war and has many tales of the Soi Cowboy of old.

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