Posts Tagged vegas

Hookers

I figured I may as well be blunt with the title of this post and get right to the point.  I hope that’s ok with you.  This post ended up being pretty long, so settle in.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was in Las Vegas on business for a couple of days.  I’ve been to Vegas way more times than I can count, and yet I’d never had any interaction with a prostitute (knowingly at least).  Because of some people with whom I associate, that all changed on this trip.  The names have been changed to protect the…parties involved.

I wrote about how I got lost on my way to a dinner.  I had planned on walking with an associate of mine, but he called and said he was running late.  “Just head over without me,” he said, “And we have 9 people now instead of 8 so let them know when you get there.”  “Oh, who’s joining us?” I asked.  “Well one person canceled, but Jerry’s bringing two girls.”  Call it naïveté, call it what you will, but I naturally assumed that it was two females who Jerry knew at our conference from another company.

When I accidentally walked into the wrong place (quite possibly the same place I had just left), I ran into Jerry and we walked over to the correct place together.  “Steve said you were bringing two women with you,” I said.  He laughed.  “Yeah, they’ll meet us there.  I was giving my number to someone last night, and this one girl was sitting nearby and wrote it down too.  She called me and asked if I wanted to hang out tonight, so she’s coming and bringing a friend.  I just hope Steve will help cover their cost because I’m only good for about half of it.”  That was enough information to cause my naïvetéto wear off rather quickly.

We waited in the bar area with a few other dinner guests until the whole party arrived.  Jerry went out to the front desk area to wait when two young ladies came in through a different entrance and started looking around.  “I bet that’s them,” I said to another guy, but he wasn’t sure.  Then Jerry came back and one of them lit up, said hi, and gave him a hug.  That’s right, I know my hos.  They introduced themselves to us as Heidi and Katherine, shook our hands, repeated our names, and smiled in an over-friendly way that made me uncomfortable.  I quickly picked up my drink with my left hand to show off my wedding ring, then immediately laughed at myself since I doubt that would’ve been a deterrent for them.  (By the way, I didn’t change their names since they may have been fake to begin with.  That’s fair, right? And I’m totally guessing on how they’d spell their names.  I’d probably be more accurate with Hydee and Kathrynne, but I’ll stick with my first spellings.)

While I was introducing myself to the other guests who had arrived, Heidi leaned in and said to Jerry, “Can we speak with you privately for a minute?”  “Ah, hammering out the fine points of the deal!” I thought.  “This is just like on tv!”  The hostess showed us the way to a big, round table and we took our seats.  I was on the complete opposite side of where we left open chairs for the working ladies, which I both liked and disliked.  On one hand, I wasn’t very comfortable around them and appreciated the distance.  On the other, this was new territory for me and I wanted to hear what kinds of conversations they were going to have.  A woman from another company at the conference was sitting next to me (I’ll call her Dawn) and quietly asked who the two women are.  Since Jerry hadn’t been the least bit secretive about it, I told her the truth.  She laughed pretty hard and recounted the conversation she’d just had with Heidi.  It went something like this:

Dawn: So are you two in marketing also?

Heidi: Um, sort of.  I guess you could say that.

Dawn: Oh, what company do you work for?

Heidi: You ask a lot of questions!

Needless to say, I was pretty damn interested in seeing how this meal would play out.

Steve is kind of a big shot, and I know him well enough that I can make fun of him from time to time.  So after he ordered a bunch of appetizers (including a beautiful seafood tower) and another round of drinks for the table, I was watching as he spoke with Katherine.  I couldn’t hear him, but she alternated between laughing and making somewhat shocked faces.  Then I heard this unbelievable nugget from him: “You see, I’m in the business of selling things on tv.  Back in the day, people tried selling really expensive things, but that didn’t work.  The better idea is to give something away as a free trial, and then once they like it…” I decided the time was right for me to enter the conversation.  “Gee, where are you going with this, Steve?” Heidi answered: “I know where he’s going, and that’s not going to work for us.”  She smiled when she said that, but it was also clear that her business model didn’t support his “free trial” idea.

“Katherine,” I said, “If you can try to remember the three most outlandish things he says, I’d love to remind him of them tomorrow.”  She smiled and said she’d try her best.  Then Heidi nodded at me to get my attention.  I looked at her, and she mouthed something while tilting her head toward her fellow lady of the night.  “Excuse me?” I asked.  “I think you like Katherine,” she said.  On cue, Katherine gave me a faux-shy smile that she didn’t really pull off.  “Um, I’m sure she’s a very nice young lady,” I said, and then I immediately began a conversation with Dawn (the non-working woman) to my right.   “I’m pretty sure that was my last conversation with them,” I told her, and she agreed that that was a good call.

By the way, I’d been rudely texting at the table with my lovely wife the entire time, giving her a play-by-play of the event.  A guy named Dave sitting to my left was also texting, but as it turned out, it was with Katherine across the table.  She was asking what he was doing later, and he was trying to remain as noncommittal as possible while still keeping the e-conversation going.

At this point, I got up and went to the bathroom.  On my way back, I hoped that I wouldn’t run into the pair of ladies heading to the bathroom.  Maybe I’m too considerate, but I didn’t want them to waste any efforts trying to convert me into a customer when I had zero intention of that actually happening.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen.  When I got back to the table though, they weren’t sitting there anymore.  I figured I had just missed them and mentally wiped my brow in relief.  As it turns out, they weren’t in the bathroom at all.  During my brief time peeing out some of the alcohol I’d been imbibing, I missed a fight between Jerry and his…employees.  Apparently, they thought they had been clear that they were charging him by the hour, regardless of what activity was occurring during said hour.  Jerry had yelled at them, saying that he’d given them $1,000 already and that they should be happy to sit and have a nice dinner and drinks with us.  While Heidi and Jerry argued, Katherine apparently went up to Steve and asked if he could help cover their fees.  “No offense honey,” he said, “But I can find plenty of pretty girls who won’t charge me to take them out for a nice dinner.”  The two women stormed out, and Jerry called the waiter over to cancel the entrees they had ordered.  And I missed all of that!

Fortunately, Dave kept texting with Katherine during the meal.  She said that they were so embarrassed by how Jerry had yelled at them, but that Dave seemed nice and they’d like to hang out with him.  “Just so you know, we’re very high class.  $500 each,” she wrote.  I think telling someone you’re “very high class” before listing your rates for sex go together very nicely, don’t you?  Dave told her he wasn’t interested in a very polite way, and we all had a lovely rest of the meal.

But oh, we’re not done yet, friends.  We had a party to go to after dinner, hosted at a nightclub by a company I’ve worked with off and on for years.  Jerry and a few others went in a different direction, saying they needed to stop by a separate party first.  A friend of a colleague who I’ll call Mark asked if we could stop his hotel (which was mine too) for a minute while he ran up and got the ticket he needed to get in.  We were fine with that, so he said just to wait in the bar near the elevators and have a drink.  I’d had enough to drink by then that I was fine (especially knowing I’d have one or two more at the party), and no one else felt like ordering anything, so we just kind of mingled at the bar.  Dave started chatting with a young lady who had smiled at him while sitting at the bar.  “What are you drinking?” he asked her.  “Just a Coke,” she said.  In my head, I thought something like, “HOOKER! HOOKER! HOOKER!”  It was three things that set off my whore alarm (whorlarm?): she was sitting alone, she was biding her time by drinking something non-alcoholic, and she smiled at Dave.  Mark came down and introduced himself to the attractive blonde who had joined our group, and she said her name was Nicole.  Being the gentleman he is, he invited her to come to the party with us.  As it turns out, he’d secured a few extra entrance tickets in case he needed them for a situation just like this.  She paused to consider his offer, and he said, “Come on, it’ll be fun.”  “Ok,” Nicole said, and we moved as a group to the XS nightclub.

On the walk, Mark leaned over to me and asked if I thought she was a working girl or not.  “You have more experience in this than I do, but I totally think so.”  “Let’s find out,” he said.  “Hey Nicole, you out in Vegas with some friends?”  “Nope, just me.”  “Just you?  And when did you get in?”  “About three weeks ago,” she answered.  He looked back at me and simultaneously winked and nodded.

Once at the party, most of the group dispersed, leaving me with just Mark and Nicole.  There was a live band and they were huddled pretty close to each other, so I couldn’t hear everything they were saying.  I heard that she was from Omaha and that she had a two and a half year old son, but that was about it.  Mark was showing her pictures on his phone, laughing loudly at jokes (his own probably), and hamming it up.  I chatted with some other people for a while, had a couple of drinks, talked with a different group (including Jerry, who’d made it from the other party), and basically counted down the minutes until I thought it was reasonable for me to leave.  Shortly before hitting that magical time, Mark called me over.  “I’m going to the bathroom for a minute – entertain her until I come back.”  Awesome.

So I sat down and made the smallest of small talk for a couple of minutes.  Then I said, “You missed quite a dinner earlier tonight.”  “Oh he told me about it – sounds crazy,” she replied.  “Yeah, I guess our friend and the two ladies thought they had an arrangement but weren’t on the same page.”  “Guess not,” she said, before adding, “I never charge for dinner.”  Confirmation!  Now that she’d opened the door, I wanted to get as much info out of her as I could about life in her profession.  “Oh no?” I asked.  “No, if someone wants to take me out to dinner or a show or something, that’s different than what I’m getting paid for.”  Somewhere Jerry was waving an angry fist in the air.

“What else can I ask her?” I wondered.  She said her ex was in Las Vegas and that they had joint custody, so that’s why she moved out there.  After talking about kids a bit longer (and showing her pictures of mine), I felt comfortable introducing another topic.  “So you moved here from Omaha?  What were you doing there?”  “I was dancing at a couple of clubs.  Just dancing though, not…this too.”  “Oh, was that a hard transition for you once you got here and started doing…this?” I asked, using her terminology.  “Not really, I mean entertaining people is entertaining people,” she replied.  I can’t say that I agree with her on that stance, but she kept on talking: “I’m dancing here too.  I have two jobs, one at Sapphire and one at Rick’s, but if I have someone set up for this, I won’t go in.”  “Hold on,” I said, “You’ve been here for three weeks and you already have two jobs?”  She gave me a “duh” look and said, “It’s not hard.  You walk down the stage one way, take off your clothes, and walk back.  Actually, I just took off my top.”  “And that was enough to get the jobs?”  She gave me the “duh” look again.

A little while passed, and she asked me if I thought Mark was coming back.  “Yeah, I do,” I said.  “Knowing him, he probably ran into a few people on the way to the bathroom and he’ll run into a few more on his way back.”  That seemed to put her at ease a little.  “I’m pretty sure he’s interested, but he mentioned his girlfriend so I’m not positive,” she said.  “I can’t help you there,” I said. I texted Mark and asked if he was coming back.  Shortly thereafter, he replied with, “2 min.”  I showed Nicole and she smiled.  I didn’t see dollar signs in her eyes like in cartoons, but they were probably there.

The conversations get a little more serious after that.  She told me that she wasn’t working for anyone (i.e. a pimp, I suppose), so she got to keep 100% of what she earned.  “Does that make it scarier for you though?” I asked.  “Not really.  I have a friend who I can call at any time and she’ll be anywhere in a moment’s notice.  And if I don’t feel completely comfortable, I’ll leave.  Even if it’s in a hallway with a guy on the way to his room, if something in my gut says it’s not right, I’m out of there.  If all else fails, I have some ways to protect myself.”  She patted her small silver purse while saying that last line.  I went for it: “What do you have in there?”  “Everything.”  “You have a gun in there?”  She nodded and said, “But I’ve never had to even take it out and I hope I don’t have to.  I have a few other things that I’d reach for first if anything ever came up.  So far I’ve been fine relying on my gut instincts.”  I assumed that “other things” meant pepper spray or maybe even a knife, but left that alone.  “Wow, well please stay safe,” I said.  And I really meant it.

“Do you want me to text him again?” I asked.  “In a minute,” she said.  Then I thought, “What the hell?” and pushed all my chips into the middle of the table.  “Just to be clear, I’m not interested – I’m happily married.  I’m just curious, if you don’t mind sharing, what your services typically cost.  Or is there a sliding scale?”  “It ranges from client to client based on what they want,” she said, and I dropped that topic.  A minute later, her phone buzzed.  She held it up to me and asked, “Is that his number?”  I looked at her screen and saw two things.  First, it was a number that I recognized as Mark’s.  Second, it was his message to her: “I made a wrong turn and I’m going back to my room.  Please join me.”  Then he listed his room number.  “Yep, that’s him,” I said, and she put her drink down in preparation to go make some money within her range. Since I was staying in the same hotel, I said I’d walk with her there.  We chatted some more and got into an elevator together.  My floor was first, and as I got out, I told her it was nice meeting her, to have fun, and to be safe.  On the walk to my room, I sent Mark a text of my own: “She’ll be there in just a minute – have fun.”

The next morning, two funny things happened.  First, I ran into Jerry and asked how he was doing.  “Mark had some girl text me with her number at like 3am seeing if I wanted company, but I was already asleep.”  I guess Mark was trying to help out a friend after the first two ladies didn’t work out.  How sweet.   The second funny thing was when I ran into Mark a few hours later.  “Have fun last night?” I asked.  He smiled and tried to brush it off.  “She actually seemed like a nice woman,” I said.  “Which one?” he asked.  “Nicole…why, was there more than one?”  He looked like he was thinking about whether or not to answer that before responding somewhat sheepishly with, “Yeah, I called Katherine too.”  “At the same time?” I asked.  Even more sheepishly: “No, about half an hour after Nicole left.  I get stupid when I have too much to drink, and I had way too much to drink.”  I let that all sink in for a moment before asking if he had a good time with his prostitutes.  “Honestly, I only remember about a quarter of it, but yeah, I think I had fun.”

We walked together to the main ballroom in which the convention was being held, and I got some more information from him on the night.  Turns out Katherine had given him her number too, so she was angling for business even more than I thought.  I guess she sensed my “aw hell no” stance on further interaction with her and didn’t even try.  I also asked about Nicole’s pricing, since he was being open and she didn’t give me a figure before.  “I offered her $1,000 to stay the whole night, but after about an hour, I was ready for her to go and she only took $500.”  “And then you called Katherine?”  “I showered and was going to go to bed when I thought, ‘Maybe I’m not done after all’ and gave her a call.”  “And she was $500 too?”  “Yeah, I think so.”  Way to go, man, way to go.

So that, everyone, is my long (and only) story about interacting with prostitutes and the fun that ensued.  During my “information gathering” stage of the night, I paused once and asked myself why I was so interested in getting as many facts and stories as possible.  The answer came back pretty clearly: an eventual blog post.  Who needs to spend $1,000 on one night having sex with strangers when you can write about other people doing that for free?  Mark may disagree, but I think I come out way ahead in that scenario.  To hookers!

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From point A…

“Excuse me,” I said to the casino worker, “How do I get to the Capital Grille from here?”  She’d clearly been asked that before because her reply sounded almost scripted: “Just follow this walkway all the way to the end, go through the doors on your right, then cross Las Vegas Boulevard and it’ll be right in front of you on the second floor of the mall.”  I thanked her and started down the path, thinking that even I could handle directions that only had three real steps.  I’m horrendous when it comes to these things, you see, and even worse when it’s a place like a casino that wants it to be confusing.  I felt confident about this short trip though.

When I got to the end of the walkway, there were indeed doors to my right.  “So far so good,” I thought.  I exited, hoping to see The Strip right in front of me, but instead saw a huge semi-circle driveway filled with cabs and limos.  I took the sidewalk around the giant drop-off area and got to the street.  In a small sea of people, I crossed the street confidently and saw a building in front of me that looked like it had some shops in it.  “Aha, said mall,” I thought.  Once again, there was a huge and crowded driveway between me and my destination, so I took a long arc of a sidewalk around it until I got to some entrance doors.  I stepped in and stopped with what must have been an awesomely confused look on my face.  “The ceiling looks the same as the place I just came from,” my inner voice said.  My confusion got a break when someone called my name.  I looked up and saw a man with whom I’d soon be dining.  “You gonna head over?” he asked.  “I was…just trying to,” I said, “But I think I ended where I started.”  “What?”  More talking to myself than him, I said, “But I crossed a street!  How am I back here?  It was a real street too, with a flashing red hand and everything.”  He laughed and said, “Well I’m gonna walk over there now if you want to come with me.  It’s just across the street.”  I said that would probably be best.  About three minutes later, we were there.  “Wow, that was a lot easier blindly following someone,” I said.  

I’m still not exactly sure what happened, but it’s safe to say that I don’t exaggerate how incredibly shitty I am at getting from one place to another.  And seeing as how my lack of direction didn’t stay in Vegas, I’m sure this won’t be the last time something like this occurs.   I can’t wait.

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