A Rose is a RosePosted: July 22, 2011
I wasn’t going to write today. I needed a week off. Thinking about my days in the chop shop tend to make me ill, and I was already battling a bit of the virus us whiskey-drinkers call hangover. But then I saw something, and I had to share it with you.
There was a woman sitting on a worn down orange upside-down milk crate where the highway off-ramp meets the wide street that I was turning on to this morning. She looked to be in her mid-twenties, and she was fairly attractive despite the obvious, which was that she was likely wearing someone else’s clothes and probably hadn’t showered in two weeks (this, during a heat wave no less). And of course, she had a sign. They all do. And by they, I mean those people we all ignore at the red light when they offer to wash our windows or sell us white gym socks or peanut M&Ms for their “varsity basketball team.” But her sign was different than most I’ve ever seen. It read: If you give me money, I’ll love you.
It was plain and simple. It didn’t make me pity her or want to wash myself when I got home. It did, however, make me want to give her money, because in the end, like most people, I just want to be loved. But then I had a thought, and, as usual, I quickly became confused. Did she mean that she would be full of love for me if I helped buy her next meal? Or was her sign just a code for selling her body for money (i.e. I’ll love you for money)? Let’s face it: ever since Phillip Markoff left that poor girl dead in a Boston hotel, it’s a safe play for most prostitutes to avoid using Craigslist at all costs. Maybe highway underpasses are the new Craigslist.
This got me thinking about a girl I once knew who actually did prostitute herself on Craigslist. She lived with a friend of mine who worked with me at the chop shop. We’ll call the whore Candy (because she really was sweet and, of course, you could eat her). Candy worked out of her house as a freelancer. As you might imagine, her business model was pretty simple. She would post her offerings on Craigslist and wait for the gentlemen callers to roll in. And they did. I mean, who could resist this sort of marketing: Summer blowjob for 80 roses. The roses were code word for money. I assume that was the collective attempt by Hooker Nation to pull the wool over Johnny Law (no pun intended).
Candy saw anywhere from five to fifteen men a week. Some wanted more than others. There were those that came over for a few minutes, because, well, that’s all it took. There was something honest in the I’m-just-here-for-you-know-what-and-then-I’ll-be-on-my-way sort of guys. Then there were others who took their time, got to know her, shared some things about themselves and got the full girlfriend experience. These were the big spenders. The big spenders always interested me because they paid Candy the greatest sums of money, but they wanted to pretend as if the money didn’t exist, as if she honestly liked them for who they were. In truth, from what she told me, those were the guys that creeped her out the most. They bought her shoes, clothes and jewelry. One guy bought her a new Mercedes. That must be some blowjob.
Eventually Candy up and married some Mexican guy and they had some inexpensive yet elaborate wedding in Mexico with an obscene amount of lace and fireworks. They had the wedding down there because his family was too poor to come to Chicago. The husband also didn’t have much money. That always fascinated me. Here was Candy, a woman who loved money so much that she’d pull the semen out of strange men with her mouth just to get her hands on it, yet she married for love. What does that say about her? Or what does that say about love? Or about money? Probably different things to each of us. But what it says to me is that love and money are mutually exclusive. A whore is a whore. And a spouse is a spouse. You may be one at times and another at other times, but you will never be both at the same time.
That brings me back to my sweaty little flower of the causeway. Just as the light was turning green, I looked at her sign again and knew that we were never meant to be. I would find love elsewhere, and she her money. I still didn’t pity her, and I still didn’t need to wash myself when I got home. We were probably both the better for it.