It’s always risky, setting foot outside your front door. Now there are risks to travel that I will always be immune to. I don’t have to worry about someone drugging my drink at a bar, I’m unlikely to be kidnapped and sold into prostitution (there isn’t enough of a market for 30-something dudes of gravity to sustain the necessary infrastructure for a slave ring), and I’m never going to transport your drugs for you. However there is one little annoying pattern that I seem to be stuck with, and while it’s a far, far smaller concern than those single women may face abroad, it does wear on a person after a time.
This January a small but dedicated group of friends accompanied my young apprentice Patrick to Las Vegas for his 22nd birthday. Many, many good times followed, but there was just one little hiccup. Our flight was at the crack of bloody dawn and everyone was sick. A nasty flu had hit our little band of miscreants’ New Year’s Eve party and none of us on the trip made it out clean. It didn’t overly hold us back, but the fact of the matter is that most of the stuff you’re going to want to do in Vegas happens after dark, and if you had to be up for your flight before dawn while fighting a nasty cough you are going to be tired as balls. This sadly lasted for the first two days. Come Saturday night, following our official Fancy Dinner, all of us except one were just too wiped out to go clubbing. We struggled to persevere, not wanting to bail on Patrick on a Saturday night in Vegas, but when we returned to our hotel to hit the local club, our resident night owl suggested we go back to our rooms, change and meet back at the club in a half hour.
“Half an hour?” I said. “It’s already past 11!” I said. “That’s way too much time,” I said. I tried to warn them.
Momentum conquers all, and sure enough four out of seven of us collapsed in their rooms rather than return downstairs. Patrick and I decided clubbing just wasn’t in the cards that night, and opted to simply have a drink at the bar and call it a night. Well, after watching the pilot of Arrow. I mean, I was tired, but he asked, and I’m never too tired to make people watch Arrow if the chance arises.
As we sipped our drinks, a woman took a stool next to us at the bar. While there’d been many lovely ladies roaming around that weekend, finding one that wasn’t part of a group was a rarity, so when she started chatting with us we happily chatted right back.
You see, something I’m trying to work on is the way I tend to treat any unusual opportunity that crosses my path like a potential trap, always reluctant to embrace it and instead searching for the catch. Some people I know would say it’s important to stop thinking like that. The problem is there is always a god damn catch. And being able to spot it kept me out of a pyramid scheme some eight or nine years back and helped me duck a scam “job offer” just this week, so I stand by a certain degree of suspicion.
Sure enough, as the conversation continued, she managed to turn everything into sexual innuendo. We were in theatre? Oh, so we liked to role-play. I write comedies because I like to make people laugh? Well, she loves laughers but prefers groaners. It became clear. We were being cruised by a prostitute. A relatively high-end prostitute, compared to the scary hookers that lurked outside my old condo, but still. We made our exit as gracefully as we could.
A friend said this is a happy story. It’s not a story about how we looked like sad sacks in need of a night of rented companionship, it’s about how upon seeing us, she assumed that we were men of means, men who’d be able to afford her services. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t (the same friend was openly disappointed that neither of us were interested in her… proposed business arrangement, despite years of me saying in clear and definite terms I will never wish to sleep with a prostitute, ever, so he’s clearly not right about everything), but it’s a nice way to view the story. I’d rather she’d been thinking “He looks like he can spare three hundred dollars” than “He’s white and in Asia, must be a sex tourist.”
Which happens an annoying amount. As we’ll discuss in part two.
Join me tomorrow for “visiting Asia does not mean I’m a sex tourist, damn it.”