Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sex Shops, Hookers and Pimps... Oh My!

I have just finished reading “Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins”, the autobiography from Rupert Everett. I enjoyed it a lot in spite of the fact I was not mentioned… Not even once. Oh well, most legends only become so after they are no longer around to enjoy in the spoils of their infamy, leaving other to capitalize on their memory, so I guess I should just accept my fate and let it go at that.

It’s quite a relaxing weekend here in Amsterdam. Even the working girls don’t seem to have very much work at the moment. I have a few of them working just down from my flat giving me the feeling of living in a rough and tumble neighborhood full of dodgy and shady characters. What always surprises me are the way men respond to the women. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and the girls, instead of walking the street like the common hookers who used to walk along 8th avenue in Manhattan before New York became disinfected and sterilized by some sort of Disney spray, cleansing the area of sex shops, drug dealers and pimps… All the things that made New York great. I spent on night out on 8th Avenue several years ago when it seemed like a scene from a Tarantino movie.

I was living on Long Island and had missed the last train back from the city. To make matters worse, I had taken out my daily limit in cash and could not get a hotel room. Not having anywhere to go, I decided to head to Times Square which was always crowded with people thinking that there would be safety in numbers. It was the one time in my life I found Times Square deserted. I was not really that familiar with the city yet and didn’t really know where to go. I found myself in my worst nightmare, alone in New York City wearing expensive clothes and having nowhere to go, no place to stay for the next 4 hours until the first trains started back out to Long Island. I wandered over to 8th avenue which was hopping. I was so obviously and painfully out of place I felt as though I had landed on another planet. Surprisingly, I had such a great night. I hung out with a couple of girls that were in between clients and they and a few of their friends kept me company and kept anyone from messing with me the whole night. It was a very eye opening experience and I went back a few times to see if I could find them, but I never did. In the Netherlands, they stand behind glass underneath a red light. If the red curtains are closed, that means she is currently entertaining a client. What I find funny, is watching the guys watching the girls. Even though the girl will be theirs for a price, they still stalk them like prey with a look in their eye that sys “yeah, you want me” and I think duh, of course she does. Grease her palms with a few Euros and she’ll call you daddy. Just the other night I was walking to the grocery store and there were two guys on a scooter with their chins on the pavement while the woman behind the glass decided to shuck the bra and give them a shimmy. It was a blur of silicon and nipples that caught even my attention for a brief moment.

There is one woman down the street that is somewhere over 50, always quite well turned out, wearing a fur in the winter. When I moved in, I would always see her standing outside an office smoking her cigarette. We would always exchange pleasantries and I would not have been surprised at all if she had presented cookies to the neighbours one day. It was a couple of months later when I realized that she belonged to the door next to the office and that she was, in fact, a working girl.

Yep, It’s a slow weekend here. Most of the people I would be doing things with are out of town. Marco is back from moose hunting or whatever he was doing in Canada and now he is in Lisbon with Nik for the weekend. Joe, taking his cue from Marco is in Canada, where I assume he is also moose hunting. I am not really sure what people do in Canada besides hunt and drink beer.

Ulco, who does happen to be around popped up from The Hague bearing gifts. I love gifts. This time was an addition to my collection of Mr. Potato Heads. I have the original Mr. Potato Head, Darth Tater and now, thanks to Ulco, Spudtrooper. Darth Tater comes with his own light saber which I assume is used to turn his enemy spuds into cottage fries and Spudtrooper comes with that most deadly of weapons, a laser potato masher. Camera back on Marco. I will say that Canada did have a positive impact on him. I stopped by his house to see him the day he arrived back and there it was, the Suri Cruise Vanity Fair. Marco is a great guy and one of my closest friends, but when it comes to fashion and trends, he is like Little Red Riding Hood, skipping through the forest, ultimately getting lost on the way to grandmother’s house so you can imagine my surprise when the most talked about issue containing the most awaited photos wound up in his living room. I would have thought he had been snatched by some Canadian pod people, but I took one look at what he was wearing and knew that he was the Marco we all know and love.

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