Monday, September 29, 2008
Sex workers of the past waited on street corners, outside bars, and around parks, and their transactions were fleeting and usually for a few dollars. Today's high-end sex workers see themselves as therapists, part of a vast metropolitan wellness industry that includes private chefs and yoga teachers. Many have regular clients who visit them several times per month, paying them not only for sex but also for comfort and affirmation.Uh, read the whole thing?
The cost may be thousands of dollars for an evening of leisure. Few people outside of the corporate work force can afford this price tag. And, in good times, Wall Street came calling.
But bad times seem not so bad either, at least in the short run. After the dot-com bubble burst and again in late 2006 when the housing market began to flatten, the high-end women I interviewed in New York and Chicago reported upticks in business. Their clients were coming to them for a mix of escape and encouragement. As Jean, a New Yorker and a 35-year-old former paralegal turned "corporate escort" (her description) told me, "I had about two dozen men who started doubling their visits with me. They couldn't face their wives, who were bitching about the fact they lost income. Men want to be men. All I did was make them feel like they could go back out there with their head up."
In (probably) related news, you may have heard that Hugh Hefner recently had to lay off a bunch of his Playboy bunnies, amid reports that his once-mighty porn empire is being eviscerated by the credit squeeze.