Unhappy hookers

by Tony Deyal
Barbados Nation
June 19, 1999

The Mayor of Port-of-Spain has declared that he will rid the city of prostitutes.

He is definitely not pussyfooting and wants every house of ill repute to come to a grinding halt. Like a prostitute with a doctorate in psychology, it is enough to blow your mind.

Port-of-Spain’s reputation goes back before Jean and Dinah. If it were a book it would be a flourish of strumpets and an anthology of pros. Now, male and female prostitutes, hookers and fee-males, even the pimps or forni-caterers will find it is no longer a business to do pleasure in Port-of-Spain.

Pros and cons

Not everyone shares the Mayor’s view. There are pros and cons. Some people agree in spirit with Polly Adler, a United States brothel keeper.

She maintained: “The women who take husbands not out of love but out of greed, to get their bills paid, to get a fine house and clothes and jewels; the women who marry to get out of a tiresome job, or to get away from disagreeable relatives, or to avoid being called an old maid – these are whores in everything but name.

“The only difference between them and my girls is that my girls give a man his money’s worth,” Joseph Heller, in the classic Catch 22, extols the benefits of prostitution to a young woman, “prostitution gives her an opportunity to meet people.

“It provides fresh air and wholesome exercise, and it keeps her out of trouble.” Another writer claims that theonlydifference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs less.

This is not necessarily so. There is the case of a tired traveller who arrived at a city hotel late one night. Very tired after a long day’s trip, he asked the clerk for a single room. While waiting to register, the man saw a beautiful woman sitting in the lobby. He told the clerk to wait and he went towards the woman.

Minutes later he returned with the her on his arm and said to the clerk: “Imagine meeting my wife here. Please change that to a double room for the night.” The next morning, when he went to settle his bill, he found that the amount was over $2000.

“What's the meaning of this?” he demanded, “I’ve only been here for one night!

“Yes,” said the clerk, “but your wife has been here for two weeks”.

Another time a couple stepped up to the desk clerk of one of the city’s waterfront hotels. “I’d like a double room for my wife and myself,” said the man. “I’m very sorry, sir,” said the clerk, “but the only room available is a single”. “Will that be all right with you, dear?" the man gently asked the young lady at his side. “Sure, mister,” she said.

Elaborate dinner

In another hilltop city hotel, the bellboy, after setting out an elaborate dinner for two with champagne, asked the guest: “Will that be all, sir? Will there be anything else.”

“No thank you,” the gentleman replied. “That will be all.”

As the bellboy turned to leave he noticed a beautiful silk negligee on the bed. “Anything for your wife?” he asked.

“Yes!” The man exclaimed, “that’s a very good idea. Please bring up a postcard.”

The police, of course, frown on prostitution. There is a story about two prostitutes who were riding around town with a sign on the top of their car which said: “Two Prostitutes, Fifty Dollars.” A policeman, seeing the sign, stopped them and told them they had to remove the sign or go to jail. Just at that time another car passed with a sign saying: “Jesus Saves.” The two women asked the policeman why he let the other car go and he said, "Well, that’s different. That is about religion.” So the women took the offensive sign and put up a new one: “Two Angels Seeking Peter To Enter the Holy Gates, Fifty Dollars.”

Perhaps the unluckiest person of all is a sidewalk vendor who got caught the same day the police apprehended three prostitutes and he was brought before the magistrate on the same day that they were being tried. The first prostitute was called up and she said: “It is all a case of mistaken identity, your Honour. I was minding my own business when this police car pull up...” The Magistrate angrily told her to shut up and stop lying. He charged her $1 000 or 14 days in jail. The second woman whined that she was on her way to night classes at the technical school when she was held.

Reward for honesty

The magistrate was livid. He stopped her and gave her the same option, $1 000 or 14 days in jail. The third prostitute was different. She said bravely: “Your Lordship, I plead guilty. I’m a prostitute. It’s not the living I’d choose, but it's the only way I can make enough to feed and clothe my family, so it’s what I do.”

The magistrate smiled and told her: “Finally, I have found someone who realises that a courtroom is a place to tell the truth. To reward your honesty young woman, I’m dismissing your case.”

The sidewalk vendor was paying close attention. “Your Lordship,” he said frankly, “I’m not going to lie to you either. I'm a prostitute.”

•Tony Deyal was last seen asking what do you get when you cross an elephant with a prostitute. A hooker who does it for peanuts and who never forgets you.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples