There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. - unknown origin, popularized by Robert A. Heinlein
It should be obvious, yet many reasonably intelligent people refuse to recognize it; one cannot get something for nothing. It’s a basic law of the universe; everything has to come from somewhere. In human terms, if someone offers something at no apparent cost to the recipient, it means that someone else has borne that cost; if the giver and recipient are close friends we call this a “gift”, but if they are strangers or near-strangers it nearly always means that the donor wants something of value from the recipient. In most cases, what he wants is both obvious and fair; for example, literal “free lunch” buffets at bars are subsidized by more expensive drinks and draw increased traffic to the business. But when the goods being offered for “free” are very expensive and the donor’s motivation is not readily apparent, it would behoove the recipient to be very wary and to remember another popular adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Case in point: this October 16th story from the Los Angeles Times, called to my attention by regular reader Gorbachev:
David Dutcher met Sharon on Match.com in late 2008, a few months after separating from his wife. ”We had a lot in common,” he recalled. Sharon loved four-wheel-drive trucks and sports…[and] was tall, slender, blond and beautiful. She moaned that she had not had sex in a long time. She told him he had large, strong hands and wondered if that portended other things. She described his kisses as “yummy.” “It felt a lot like Christmas,” said Dutcher, 49, a tall, burly engineer with wavy red hair. On their second date, Sharon suggested they join one of her friends “who was partying because she had closed a real estate deal,” Dutcher said. They drove to an Italian restaurant…[where] Sharon’s friend, “Tash,” was…pounding down shots. The women fiddled with Dutcher’s tie and massaged his neck and shoulders. [Tash] unbuttoned her blouse to reveal generous cleavage. ”I am way over my head with these girls,” he remembered thinking. ”I hadn’t been out dating in a while.”
Sharon had trouble finishing her tequila shots and asked Dutcher to help…[then she] suggested going to a house with a hot tub that Tash was housesitting, Dutcher said. He followed them in his truck. Within a few minutes, a flashing red light appeared in his rearview mirror. The officer said he had been swerving. Three months later, Dutcher’s wife filed a motion in their divorce case, telling the court that her soon-to-be former husband had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and that she feared for their children’s safety. The judge ordered that Dutcher’s visits be supervised.
Then, earlier this year, Dutcher received a letter from…[the district attorney which] contained a transcript of a police interview with Christopher Butler, a private detective and the subject of a state and federal criminal investigation…[The letter said that] the women…worked for Butler’s detective agency. Sharon…was a former Las Vegas showgirl. A man who once worked for Butler…told authorities Butler arranged for men to be arrested for drunk driving at the behest of their ex-wives and their divorce lawyers — and that entrapment was only one of many alleged misdeeds. Butler, 49, a former police officer, was arrested in February. In addition to setting up at least five DUIs, he sold drugs for law enforcement officers and helped them open and operate a brothel…Butler said his accomplices reasoned that they could shield their illegal businesses because any complaints would be investigated by a state-run narcotics task force, which one of the officers headed.
…In May, the FBI took over the probe, interviewing Dutcher and other ex-husbands arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. A federal grand jury indicted Butler and two of the officers in August and September. The charges included drug dealing, running a prostitution business and illegal possession of a weapon. More indictments are expected. A third officer, implicated by Butler in the DUIs, faces state charges of accepting bribes to make arrests…Butler paid his decoys $25 an hour for four-hour minimums. The women worked in pairs. One drank heavily with the target and the other drove. Butler videotaped the encounters from a nearby table. When the man got into his vehicle, Butler tipped off police…
[After getting the letter from the D.A.] Dutcher…contacted others he had learned had been set up, including Declan Woods, a contractor arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2007. Woods’ ex-wife was represented by Mary Nolan, the same divorce attorney who worked for Susan Dutcher…Woods’ ordeal began with a call for a kitchen remodel estimate. The prospective client turned out to be an attractive, flirtatious brunet [sic]. She told him she was new in town, a writer, and wondered what he was doing that night. He said he planned to grab dinner at a local cafe…The woman showed up with a friend that evening. They went to a nearby bar, where the three drank…the brunet [sic] was so aggressive he twice pushed her off his lap…Looking back, he said, he should have realized something was wrong. “Things like that don’t happen to blokes like me,” said the British-born Woods. ”But the alcohol kicks in, you are having a good time, and you think, what the hell.” The women suggested going to a house with a hot tub. Woods hopped into his truck and followed them. He was pulled over almost immediately…
Prosecutors offered to help Dutcher and Woods remove their DUI convictions and approved the dismissal of charges against the three other men. Dutcher obtained a court order last month to expunge his conviction. Even though the men had been drinking, prosecutors said Butler’s stings violated a little-used 19th century law that makes it a felony to conspire to subject another person to arrest. The female decoys have not been charged…
Before I get to my main point, I’d like to call your attention to a few details. First, that “Sharon” and her friends have absolutely no self-respect, selling their sexual services for half of what a cheap streetwalker might charge. Furthermore, they demonstrate the topsy-turviness of the American legal system; being paid to flirt with a man, lie to him and set him up for arrest in a sleazy plot to deny him visitation with his kids is apparently legal, but being paid a mutually agreeable fee to honestly provide sex isn’t, and I’ll bet “Sharon” thinks she isn’t a whore. Furthermore, why haven’t the lawyers who paid Butler to frame their clients’ husbands been charged with conspiracy along with Butler and the cops? And though it’s almost a throwaway detail in the story, here’s another example of cops doing the sort of things they get paid to nail other people to trees for doing.
But the main lesson is this: Guys, Penthouse letters are fiction. “Things like that” don’t happen to blokes like Woods, Dutcher or anybody else. The Myth of the Wanton is just that; a myth. Women who look like Las Vegas showgirls don’t advertise on Match.com, and if they say they haven’t had sex in a long time they either didn’t want it or else they’re lying. They don’t throw themselves at dumpy, goofy-looking, middle-aged guys who aren’t rich or famous, and they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT offer three-ways in hot tubs with their gorgeous friends on the first or second date…unless they’re whores. And if they haven’t asked you to pay them, somebody else has. Free pussy is every bit as mythical as free lunch; if a strange woman offering sex doesn’t ask for cash, she wants something else. If that “something else” is obvious or you can figure it out, and it’s a price you’re willing to pay, by all means go ahead and I hope you have a great time. But please, think with the big head; if you know a chick is out of your league and she’s acting in a way no other woman has ever behaved toward you before, you need to recognize that something is wrong. Sooner or later the bill will be presented, and you may find it’s a lot more than you bargained for.
One Year Ago Today
“Jezebel” starts with control freaks who get off on policing other people’s sexuality, moves on to the lady whom the column is named after, and ends up with the website of the same name. All that, and adult cartoons, too.