October 12, 2004
High-class hookers in NY
A totally surreal article appears in today's Times about the operations of an expensive prostitution service. The woman who runs the agency, single-handedly, is a Korean woman who goes by Mae Lee, who was adopted by Americans at age 6, grew up in an idyllic small town in Maine, then started running off to Boston to take lots of drugs when she was 13. At 19, she was managing a prostitution service using smuggled Thai women who were likely not in control of their movements.
Now Mae Lee has a fleet of 8 women who fly in from their hometowns for 5-day stints of whoring in New York. Here are some bizarre and creepy details about her business: she never writes down the email address or phone number of any clients, though each new client is required to provide their employer, work phone, home phone, and home address, which are all verified (she explains that this is how she weeds out undercover cops.) Hours of operation begin at 9 AM and end well before 9 PM, Monday to Friday only (these people want to hire a hooker at 9 in the morning?) She "runs a Christmas toy drive for needy children, tapping the generosity of her regulars." This one makes my skin crawl: one of her company's most popular services is "the girlfriend experience," described as "a slower-paced, affection-filled encounter that closely resembles a date. Her 10-page employment contract, signed by each woman, instructs them to cuddle, sprinkle flower petals on the pillow and never rush or make anyone feel rushed." Mae Lee snorts amyl nitrate while on the phone with clients.
So yes, prostitution in America is just as soulless and debased as you probably thought it was, even if transactions are conducted at the Hilton with wealthy businessmen. The writer of the article generally takes this madame and her business at face value, letting the anecdotes act as their own commentary, but the occassional wry remark indicates her true feelings. Like this one, about the effects on clientele of an employee not showing up to work that day: "The disappearance of Rachel meant that seven men that day would have their hourlong sessions canceled, turning their putative business meetings into aching voids of unrequited need." Poor babies!
By the way, Rachel who didn't show up for work did not get her thumbs broken as she might have by a more conventional pimp, but her boyfriend did get a call from an angry Mae Lee informing him that his girlfriend is a hooker. And her parents are going to be sent a CD-ROM of her promotional pictures. Vicious stuff.
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