Calling All Call Girls

In search of discretion in the world’s oldest profession

Not long ago, I was solicited by a prostitute. At least I think she was one. She had her pale hair pulled back in a proper bun and a trench coat buttoned to the top. We were on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, and after I asked her the time, she quietly asked if I wanted some company. It was a little surprising, but not because she was soliciting me. What was surprising was how discreetly she did it.

It used to be that going to a hooker was a safe route for secret sex, and a far less corrosive way to have it than doing it with your secretary or the woman next door.

Now you call a call girl and pretty much assume you’re going to end up on a reality TV show. Look at Irma Nici, the ex-call girl who was paid for her accounts of sessions with David Beckham. She recently told the New York Post that Eliot Spitzer wore white socks during sex, not black ones. “He couldn’t last as long in bed as his one-hour CNN show,” she added.

Most people I know couldn’t last that long either, but other than Dr. Ruth, who would discuss it? Meanwhile, Nici’s former boss, Kristin Davis, is now running for governor, of all things, and Ashley Dupre has become a celebrity sex columnist. In New Orleans, a former prostitute is lending her voice to a campaign ad against David Vitter, who is running for U.S. Senate.

I know that a girl’s got to make a living. But does she have to talk about it?

In Europe, a hooker would be lucky to get anyone to listen. Here, entire governments grind to a halt each time one goes public.

It’s not like we’re living at the time when George Bernard Shaw wrote Mrs. Warren’s Profession. The play, about a madam who does extremely well, was seen as a moral outrage and censored for years. Shaw had the nerve to show a mother with the smarts and gumption to make a good living using sex.

I wonder what she’d think about the attack California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is making on Jerry Brown. She won’t let him forget that one of his campaign workers once referred to her as a whore in a conversation. In a debate last week, Brown apologized again for the incident. Whitman remains indignant.

Meanwhile, prostitutes, take back your code of honor. Practice discretion. In a world in which we’re all busy trying to figure out how to prostitute ourselves in one way or another, we really don’t care what you did at work last night and with whom.

You’re the world’s oldest professionals. You’re also old news.

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