“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”
You walk into a dimly lit bar, not quite knowing what awaits you inside. What manner of creatures have been coaxed out from their lairs. Sure, you’ve lived on this planet all your life, you’ve seen some strange things, but nothing can prepare you for the motley collection of losers, freaks and bad skin.
The Hobby Party. The Meet & Greet. The Pinch & Grope.
If this is your first time attending a Meet & Greet, you may be unprepared for the array of socially awkward misfits and wannabe pimps. Sure, if you’re an escort you’ve encountered these types on an almost daily basis, but it’s different when they’re all gathered in one place. Sometimes it’s not enough to flirt with hookers online. Sometimes you need to get up close and personal for all your inappropriate comments and inartful leering.
Just about a coupla weeks ago, I went to another “hobby” party. They pop up from time to time. It gives the party organizers an opportunity to present themselves as big movers n’ shakers in the world of whoring. I swear, these guys who put together these meet & greets see themselves as erudite bon vivants. In their minds, they’re not in a some bar surrounded by a bunch of hookers and johns handing out name tags and free drink coupons. They see themselves as the ultimate high society host.
The parties, whether its a cocktail hour or a luncheon, are often in some slightly seedy, slightly cheesy bar or Mexican restaurant. Sometimes a hotel meeting room, sometimes that local downtown broker’s watering hole. This particular one was part of the recent trend towards more ‘upscale’ doings. A trendy joint in a trendy part of town. Unfortunately, it was also in a part of town known for its gang activity. A lot of the hobbyists attending were a bit taken aback by all the police cars cruising the neighborhood. Specially in light of recent sting operations in other towns where cops have infiltrated a meet & greet. To try to counter that, the organizers have started instituting a cover charge for the guys. I guess they figure if you’re a cop you’re not gonna shell out $40 to join the party. Sure, that’ll work.
If you’ve spent any time at all on the escort discussion boards, you know that there’s a serious lack of tact and discretion and critical thinking skills. When you meet these guys in person you realize that they also have a sever lack of social skills. of course, that really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. If these guys had skills, they wouldn’t be hobbyists. Oh, they might still be paying to fuck hookers. But they wouldn’t be “hobbyists.”
When I arrived at Mos Eisley,I decide to skip the valet parking (I’m pretty sure a lot of other guys did, too. A $40 door charge plus valet starts getting steep) so I park across the street at the grocery store. I pay my cover charge ($40!) and take a pass on the table with the name tags. Look, I ain’t wearing a name tag. Besides, I use a different handle on each of the several boards I belong to, so it’s either no tag or… well, my chest isn’t big enough for all those names.
Inside the dimly lit bar, the party is in full swing. That is to say, There’s a bunch of loud, inappropriately dressed gals circulating and a bunch of shy, awkward, overweight dudes in khakis sitting around like the chess club at the prom. True story: I once saw a guy at one of these parties, a guy who was a constant presence on the discussion boards, who would take every opportunity to comment on every single goddam topic of discussion and always–always–act like he’s the smartest guy in the room. This guy, in real life was so socially inept, that the girl he was with had to treat him like a 5 year old, showing him how to put things in his pocket so he’d have both hands free to hold his drink, wiping shrimp cocktail sauce off his chin. Had she not decided on a career in escorting, she could have been a kindergarten teacher.
Then there’s the other subset,the guys who are too cool for the room. The guy who makes sure everyone sees him drive up in his custom hot rod, or the guy years past his prime who makes a point of showing up fashionably late so everyone can see him arm in arm with the high-dollar gal. The guy who finds a strategically placed table and proceeds to hold court like Jabba the Hutt.
Being a gentleman is apparently unheard of. I guess most guys figure that having paid a hefty $40 door charge just to get in, they don’t need to be a gentleman and buy a drink for a lady. They don’t even need to be polite and have an actual conversation with an actual flesh and blood woman. And every girl there is there just for his amusement. Every girl is there to get felt up by sweaty guys in Hawaiian shirts and Dockers.
When I first got involved with the whole hobby culture, the meet n’ greets were a low key affair. Usually, one of the board bigwigs would get everyone together in the meeting room of some airport Ramada or some such. The thinking was that a “business lunch” would be an easy sell, a plausible excuse for the married guys to get away in the middle of the day. I thought it was a bit funny, naive and in its own way kinda charming that attendees were told to dress in business casual attire and tell anyone who asked that they were members of an Internet based business networking group. That thin veneer of respectability would be shattered as soon as the first girl showed up wearing something more appropriate for the bedroom than the boardroom. So a bunch of guys dressed like traveling plumbing salesmen gathered in a hotel with a bunch of hookers dressed like… well, hookers. Yep. Nothing suspicious there.
Now, the meet and/or greet is more likely to be an evening shindig. The casual hobbyist finds it harder to come up with an excuse to be out for the night. But the scantily clad girls draw less attention.
The message boards are an often anonymous way for hookers and johns to interact, and too often that anonymity is taken as a license for some nasty, ugly behavior. So you would think that when they step out from behind the keyboard and actually come face to face with those real people behind the screen names that there would be more civility. Well, you would think that if you’d never met a hobbyist.
Oh, and Han shot first.