Thursday, March 18, 2010

Who Are These People?

I reckon every major city in America has something that calls itself an "alternative" newspaper. I know I've seen them all over the country. They are mostly-left-wing publications that buy feature columns of a certain slant -- an alternative slant, of course, from the generally-more-conservative "mainstream" media -- and have mostly second-rate local reviewers of food, movies, art, and so on, with an emphasis on counterculture. (Well, let's face it: anything that hasn't been noticed by the "mainstream" is, almost by definition, "countercultural.") In my home town, the local weekly rag includes such features as:

  • "The Que Que," a locally-written review of stories that ought to concern taxpayers, but that seem never to make it into the public consciousness. This is the type of muckraking column that is the raison d'ĂȘtre for alternative media; when I read it, I feel like there is a beneficial purpose to having this piece of crap freely available city-wide after all.

  • "Reasonable Doubt," another locally-written column, this one dealing with legal issues, and written by a populist local lawyer. I particularly like that column, because he often reports on and analyzes issues that I have only thought about and said, "Somebody ought to do something about that." He takes it at least one step farther than I do.

  • "Ask A Mexican," a vulgar, often racist nationally-available column celebrating the oppression of the noble Mexican people by white people, which it slanderously and routinely labels as gabachos -- a term the column's author admitted was the equivalent of "nigger," but which he uses as a default term. I guess we white people are too polite to express our displeasure by threatening his cojones in any meaningful way.

Otherwise, the paper features restaurant reviews of questionable reliability -- their primary use to me is in pointing me to new places that I otherwise wouldn't hear of -- movie reviews of no reliability, and local music and art events, always with gushing praise for the crap that passes for art in the postmodern era. Occasionally a nugget of quality, but then I understand sometimes people will still pull lumps of gold out of streams in California too. It's about as likely as finding recent art of any quality in this cultural backwater I live in.
Anyway: all that by way of introduction. What I really was wondering was, Who are these people who spend so much of their discretionary dollars on sex? Because this throwaway weekly alternative newspaper is chock full of advertisements for sex-related businesses and services. How can there possibly be enough money being spent on such things, to justify the expense of these advertisements?

And what is it they're really offering? Take, for example, the ad that asks, "Looking for excitement?" I admit, my curiosity was sufficiently piqued that I checked out the web site named in the ad for the city's "premiere couples-only private club." Now I really have to wonder what goes on there, and just how many people are willing to pay a membership charge of $1,850 per year to do whatever it is they do. (I think I know what they do; I just have to wonder why they would pay good money, and lots of it, to do it.) (I also wonder if they allow smoking inside.) Because unless there are lots and lots of other members willing to make their attractive bodies available for my amusement (and provide current medical information), it wouldn't be worth that to me. Especially since I'd still have to bring my own liquor.

Or how about the ad that promises, "Hookup [sic] with HOT Men Fast! Gay & Bi Cruise Line!" One of these days I'm going to call one of these places and find out just what it is they're offering. I mean, are they just providing conversation of a prurient nature for lonely guys? Or are they really fronting for an escort service or call-boy operation? I have to wonder.

And right next to that is an ad that says "Meet hot Latino singles NOW!" Apparently aimed at straight Hispanics. And right next to that is a picture of a hot chick, wearing only a bra, asking "Are you ready to experience more?"  And another ad says "Chat with 100's of HOT naughty girls!" Twenty-five dollars for 50 minutes. I guess that's a good way to practice your talking dirty, in case you ever do actually get laid. And another says "All real, all local ... singles in your city!" Like there was actually a chance one of these girls would meet you for coffee and not charge you for her time. Also $25 for 50 minutes.

Then there's another one offering something called a "table shower, $10 off with coupon." Maybe one of these days I'll need "stress relief" enough to take them up on whatever that is -- I hope it's not related to a "golden" shower.  Or how about the one that promises to provide "the REAL information you need to know" about professional escorts? I actually tried that URL ... and got the message that the page could not be displayed because the web server was too busy. It also shut down my browser.

I suppose back when I was single, in the last century, there were times when I might have given some thought to ads that told me where to find "attractive & sweet Chinese girls" or a "full body rub by beautiful transsexual." Hell, to be honest, I did actually think about it; but I was too cheap to do more than think about it, and still am. But what does "Pretty Valerie," the "busty Hispanic beauty, sweet, friendly, fun," offer to "select clients only, mature gentlemen preferred" that's "nonsexual"? Is she like the hooker in that Tom Cruise movie, where he danced in his underwear to Bob Seger? The ad for "Nicole" ("be a guest in my home") makes me picture those Hollywood-version 19th-Century whorehouses where respectable gentlemen went to be served drinks by scantily clad women with unnaturally blond hair, before going upstairs for a quick roll in a creaking cot. (I notice all these ads, which are obviously for prostitutes, include the disclaimer "Non-sexual." They must think that means something, legally speaking, like the sign on the back of the dump truck claiming a lack of responsibility for cracked windshields.)

Well, I must be naive. I just can't picture who uses these services in such quantity.

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