THE LETTERS FROM THE UNDERGROUND PORTION OF THE BLOG DERIVES ITSELF FROM MY MISSIONS WORK IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING. NOT INTENTIONALLY TAKEN FROM DOSTOEVSKY, THESE ARE THE POSTS WHERE I STRAY FROM THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND GET DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY OF WHAT I DO ON MISSION.
It’s difficult not to be taken aback. By this time it was dark and neon signs tainted the white paint of the building’s exterior with their hue. The stern white, rot iron fence, at least six feet tall, guarded the Bunny Ranch with an unyielding fist. The gates remain locked unless the madam can clearly see your face in the spaces between the bars: Six inches of visibility between the arms of the iron fence reaching into the sky.
It was the odd combination of modern business and tacky nostalgia that I had grown to expect from the more reputable brothels in Nevada. The artistic statues of giraffe in the front yard and the well decorated rooms, upgraded kitchens and bedrooms…they were all an effort to portray respectability over a historically dis-respectful industry. The iron perimeter was merely an addition to the aesthetic. The Bunny Ranch’s own personal iron curtain, stained purple and pink alternatively as the advertisements for sex flashed in the window.
The symbolism is undeniably ironic.
People come and go through the gates all hours of the day and night. But the statement was made non-the-less. The iron curtain in Soviet Russia did more to keep people in than it did to keep them out. And the initial impression was that this fence might, perhaps, operate in the same way—A physical representation of the psychological reality.
It’s tempting, once inside, to believe the gaudy décor and the over abundance of red velvet. The light hearted demeanor of the women (some looked under twenty one, but who’s counting? Certainly not Dennis Hoff, the owner and proprietor) did nothing but tell a story of money and glamour—status even—among the working girls. It’s a narrative that society is ready to believe and so remains unquestioned and has become the propaganda for those who profit from it.
The girls are master students of this propaganda. Life has taught them to believe it as much as they wish it were true. But reality spills out through the cracks of abuse and addiction, self destructive behaviors, and cultic philosophies. The girls have learned the propaganda too well to deliver a poor performance, but I know that’s all it is: A masterful performance so the watching world wouldn’t get a whiff of the reality of the game.
That, I think, is why there are bars. The bars keep contained a performance that welcomes only those willing to buy, and discourages the girls inclined to leave. The casual observer assumes that the participants chose their roles. But the casual observers haven’t spent time on the inside of the bars, I suspect. Or if they have they have only casually observed the propaganda so masterfully spun to look as good as it can. Having been behind the bars, I’ve decided I don’t care how good it looks. I don’t buy it.