Thou rascal…hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust’st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp’st her. - William Shakespeare, King Lear IV.vi.
As I mentioned in my column of August 4th, many cops seem to have some kind of weird issues with condoms. I suppose it springs from the more general lunacy that only “bad girls” use condoms, which is of course why in the developed world the incidence of all sexually transmitted diseases is as much as 5 times higher in promiscuous amateurs than in professional girls. This dangerous prejudice is certainly the basis of police claims that a woman carrying condoms in her purse constitutes “evidence” of prostitution (New Orleans police procedure is to refer to such condoms as “prostitution paraphernalia”), but it goes far beyond that; in my experience and that of other girls, many cops seem to consider the very existence of condoms to be a personal affront to their masculinity.
Many men become completely irrational where condoms are involved. The general consensus seems to be that condoms interfere with their full enjoyment of intercourse, and though health officials deny it vehemently how could it be otherwise? Besides, I’ve had plenty of men whom I trust (and who were not trying to convince me to let them ride bareback) tell me the same thing. But even if it’s true, why in the world would any sane, educated man want to risk unprotected sex with a whore? Yet they do, and constantly; I daresay any working girl will tell you that at least one out of six customers (some girls say as many as one in three) will try to talk her into unprotected sex. Some even offer more money for the privilege; I let my girls know that I would instantly fire anyone I caught consenting to this. Venereal diseases and HIV are nothing to take chances with, and venereal warts nearly always lead to cervical cancer later on. But despite these things being common knowledge, and despite the false but popular stereotype of the “dirty whore”, some 16-33% of men are willing to risk serious disease in order to increase their sexual pleasure for a few minutes. We hear it over and over again: “It’s like taking a shower with a raincoat on,” or as Englishmen say “It’s like eating a sweet with the wrapper on.”
As soon as a client started this stupidity with me the kid gloves came off; in response to the oft-repeated line “I trust you,” my usual response was “Well, you shouldn’t; you don’t know where I’ve been.” If necessary, I would add “Remember, any girl who agrees to let you have her without protection has probably already agreed to the same thing with lots of other guys.” That usually shut them up, but sometimes I had to go beyond that to “It’s this or nothing.”
So, given that cops are men first, it stands to reason that they would be just as averse to condoms as other men. Other men, however, are not in a position to turn that aversion into de facto public policy. The very fact that cops use condoms as evidence against prostitutes tends to discourage the more ignorant type of streetwalker from carrying them, and groups ranging from health officials to AIDS prevention charities to prostitutes’ rights activists have complained about cops’ incredibly irresponsible habit of confiscating as “evidence” the free condoms distributed to streetwalkers. The collective belief of the police that persecution of victimless misdemeanors is more vital to society than prevention of disease is certainly no more imbecilic than the ordinary man’s disregard for his own health and that of his wife, but it affects many more people. In other cases cops seem to take sadistic glee in destroying condoms; the whore-turned-activist Gloria Lockett described two separate incidents in which cops searched her car, found boxes of condoms, and methodically punctured each one with knives before letting her go while laughing, “Let’s see you use those now!”
During my time as a stripper in late ‘90s New Orleans, the cops came up with a no-win game involving condoms. A plainclothes vice cop would approach a woman he suspected of being a prostitute and ask, “Do you have a condom?” If she answered in the affirmative he would arrest her for prostitution, and if in the negative he would arrest her anyway and claim she had offered to have sex with him without a condom (a felony offense if she tested positive for hepatitis, HIV or venereal disease). This odious practice only stopped because they were getting far too much bad publicity from arresting ordinary housewives or even professional women who in their ignorant little minds “dressed like hookers.” One such incident involved the mother of one of the other strippers with whom I was friendly; the poor thing almost became hysterical when her mother called her from Orleans Parish Prison to tell her daughter she had been arrested as a streetwalker! But even though the condom question was later forbidden, the tactic itself was still used for several more years; I once had one of these scumbags try me in an elevator with “Are you working?” Luckily I recognized the pattern and understood the peril of answering with a simple yes or no, so I directed a withering gaze at him and in my haughtiest tone huffed, “Excuse me, but I don’t ‘work’!”
I have been told by a number of cops (some of whom had engaged my professional services) that the majority of them dislike or even look down on vice cops, whom they consider sleazy. Obviously I have no way of knowing whether this is true or not; the speakers may have merely been projecting their own feelings onto most other policemen. But if it is true, I can see why; I imagine most cops like to think of themselves as the “good guys”, and would therefore have difficulty identifying with men who enjoy tricking people, victimizing women and raiding video stores to steal porno movies. And enjoy it they do; the stories above demonstrate this, as does my arrest (described in day-before-yesterday’s column). And if that weren’t enough, I also heard it directly from a retired vice cop.
He made an appointment for incall (in other words, he came to my place) and paid as soon as he walked in the door. Then since it was a hot day and he looked flushed, I offered him some iced tea. We were standing in the kitchen while he drank his tea, when he said “I need to be honest with you about something; I’m a cop.” I must’ve turned white, because he immediately followed that with, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not here to arrest you; I’m retired.” That made me feel slightly better, but it was still a damned uncomfortable situation. Still, I had a job to do and he could already arrest me just for taking the money, so I put on my best professional manner and tried to break the instant ice-pack by asking what sort of police work he had done.
Then he dropped the second bomb. “Vice.”
“If you were a vice cop, what the hell are you doing here?” I asked with commendable restraint.
“My wife is sick and doesn’t want sex any more, but I still need it,” he said. “We’re human too, you know.”
“I don’t doubt that, but you made a career out of persecuting women who were trying to make a living providing exactly the service you are now trying to buy.”
He laughed. “You don’t think we believe in that, do you? It’s just a game. Most vice cops wouldn’t give a damn if prostitution were legalized, and most hire hookers just as often as the next guy.”
“Then turn around and bust them the next time the department decides it’s time for a crackdown.”
“We don’t usually do it in the same place,” he said, then repeated “It’s just a game.”
“Not for the girls,” I said. “Your ‘game’ can have serious consequences for them.”
“We can’t help that,” he said. “We do our jobs, just like you do. So why don’t we get to it?”
Some calls are barely like working at all; others are hard, draining work. This one was as difficult as anything I’ve ever done professionally, not only because I considered the client morally reprehensible but also because the whole time I was working on him, he kept up a constant monologue of all the tricks and scams in which he had participated to catch whores. It didn’t take me long to get his number; his so-called “honesty” was in actuality sadism. He had derived sadistic enjoyment from deceiving whores, getting sex from them and then arresting them, and now that he was retired the only way he could get a similar pleasure was by hiring a girl and then regaling her with his disgusting war stories while in bed with her.
I wasn’t at all surprised when he called again a few weeks later, nor when he requested a different girl, nor when Cynthia (to whom I gave the call with a warning about him) called me back to tell me that he started telling her about his vice cop career in the initial phone conversation. After that I basically put him off; I wasn’t going to subject any other girls to that, and I couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t grow increasingly more sadistic with time, but neither did I want to get him angry by turning him down cold. So, I would pretend to assign the call while actually doing nothing, then call him back after a while to say there was nobody new available (he wanted a different girl each time, of course). But even if his sadism alone weren’t enough excuse for me rejecting him as a customer, there was one more reason which (since you’ve read this far) probably won’t surprise you in the least: He had, in addition to everything else, tried to bribe and trick both Cynthia and myself into letting him have us without a condom.