Sunday, March 11, 2012

They Only Want Sex

I've lived in Albuquerque just over a year.  In that year I've been scared, concerned, mystified and sometimes creeped out by cars approaching me, slowing down, pulling over, honking at me and/or the drivers looking intently at me, or rolling down windows while I am walking at night.  I've written about it here before (Going My Way? Hablas Espanol?), though I've noticed it far more times than I've written about.  Friday night... I figured it out.  They think I'm a prostitute.

Okay, I admit I feel a little silly taking a whole year to infer this.  I guess hooking just isn't on my mind a lot.  But I saw it all in action Friday night.

Guess where I was!

If you guessed waiting for the #66 bus, you are right!

Friday night was cold, windy and generally miserable.  A woman stood on the corner.  She looked Hispanic, her dark hair pulled back severely into a pony tail.  I was pretty sure from the start she was a prostitute.  It's not an uncommon place for me to see prostitutes.  She wore no obvious make up, a shapeless coat and regular pants.  She was talking to a guy who was perhaps her roommate? Pimp? Boyfriend?  A white SUV turned the corner onto Cardenas and pulled ahead far enough to not be seen from busy Central Ave.  The woman walked back to meet him.

Just after that I saw a police car turn up Valencia, one block down from Cardenas.  I winced thinking of the whole thing as a set up.  The roommate/pimp/boyfriend saw too.  "Aw shit" he said.  "You better go save her" I offered.

He yelled to her to get away, something about the cops and a few choice words about the urgency of the matter.  She stalked back looking fit to kill.

"Why'd you do that for?" she yelled.
"D' Fuckin' Cops!!!  They just turned up there!" he yelled back.
"I was gonna take 'im to th' apartment!" she countered.
"Well, den fuckin' GO to the apartment!" He was perhaps a little ticked at his reception for trying to do something nice.
"You lost me my Fuckin' Lick!" she accused.

(Is that what we're calling a trick now?  Or was she planning only a blow job?  Anyway, thanks for the vocab lesson.)

They both stalked off together after that, maybe going to 'th' apartment.'  I waited on for the bus.  Soon, a light silvery sedan pulled up to the stop sign at Central and Cardenas.  The driver was a white man, with a shock of white hair; his skin sagged slightly.  Had I been close enough, I imagine he had blue eyes.  He waited at the stop sign a bit too long, staring at me, beckoning with a very slight but unmistakable head movement that I should join him on the passenger's side. 

It was my "a-ha" moment.  Light shone down from unseen celestial bodies, giving my mind the glow of enlightenment.  I stared back at him, bemused and enthralled.  It seems he couldn't figure out if I was or wasn't going to join him.

I recognized at this point how media has ruined me for my expectations of hooking.  Why didn't it occur to me before that drivers were presuming (or hoping) that I would sell them sex?  Because I never felt I was advertising.  I mean, you want to sell something you have to advertise right?  I looked down at my current advertisement: large, shapeless dark brown hoodie; a multicolor/green turtle fur head band; a large red, wool scarf; fashionless white sweatpants (they weren't gathered at the hem, but still, not hot at all); and black leather gloves -the kind that look like severed gorilla hands.  Pretty Woman I was not.  More like the colorblind-stay puffed-michelin man.  I wondered briefly if I should don a neon sign advertising as how I am actually not selling sex.  "Not for Sale" or "I don't do it for money" or "I have syphilis AND herpes."

I want to be clear.  I don't have a problem with prostitutes.  I wish prostitution was legal.  I have a problem if someone is forced into it.  I have a problem with people being unable to be honest about it, doing or seeking.  I have a problem with people getting hurt by doing it, buying it, or being sexual with someone who has come away with more than s/he bought.  I have a problem with the amount of resources that are taken by prosecuting and holding prostitutes, also circumstances that give people such limited choices for income that they might turn to prostitution without wanting to.  Still, it's an age old profession and not one that needs to be as dangerous as it currently is.

I admit, as I have had some trouble finding steady work, having someone practically offer me a job was tempting.  I wonder what going rates are these days?

But my realization is enough for me. 

I stood somehow warmed and set apart, that roaring and turbulent night, by my recognition that cars pulling up to me in the night are probably not looking to kill me or kidnap me.  This is, ironically, what I smiled about then, when the next car driving past me, honked and the driver looked expectantly in his rear-view mirror.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. People watching is my favorite thing, and I enjoy vicariously watching through your eyes.