Is The Price Of “Sex” Getting Cheaper?

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I was strangely surprised to see the following message as inline text from a long time information donator to T.S.O.T.S.B. from a long time personal friend of mine. Normally she sends me links, pictures, and/or ideas to pick and choose from once or twice a month. But this time, this time she sent “words” from some place and did not reference a source of any sorts. Meaning, therefore I didn’t have an opportunity to see where all this came from. In the end, she used it to ask me a question about the strip club industry, she wanted to know if the “economy” determines how much money I make as a bartender or how much money a stripper is paid.

I wish I had a simple answer. Just as well, she was only trying to help me to tie into my “Sex sells everything” experiment I have been doing here and she just wanted to “show” that sex sells sex sometimes. As a bartender in a full nude strip club I tend to see many things the “average” person isn’t even aware is going on in the first place. To begin with, I see the flow of money, the exchanges that happen casually to “purchase” that special experience. A trend I have seen and heard is that there has became a new meaning to the arts of negotiation because, let’s all face the facts, people want more bang for their buck while paying as little as possible, so hard core economics comes into play. Strippers have a bottom line, of course, but they have the skills to never have to accept bottom dollar for anything they have to offer, they will not sell themselves short for any reason since they are there to separate customers from as much of their money as possible.

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“They keep talking about recovery, but for many folks, work doesn’t pay what it used to. According to a recent report, Manhattan and Los Angeles counties lead America in falling wages. In the counties which contain Dallas, Phoenix, and Chicago, workers are also seeing their paycheck shrink. We can add sex workers to the list of people dealing with falling income.

Th Economist examined over 190,000 profiles of female sex workers on websites that feature customer reviews. Based on that data, which covered 84 cities and 12 countries (with the majority of workers in the United States), an interesting trend was revealed: the price of an hour with a female sex worker has been plunging. The average cost nationwide in 2014 is $260, down from $340 back in 2006.

What’s going on? What a sex worker charges depends on many things, including what types of services are involved, the location, and the physical attributes of the worker. Sex workers who conform to Western standards of beauty can charge more. Blondes get a premium, as do those with slim (but not too skinny) bodies and ample breasts. Getting fake boobs can really pay off in sex work: “For those not naturally well endowed, breast implants may make economic sense: going from flat-chested to a D-cup increases hourly rates by approximately $40, meaning that at a typical price of $3,700, surgery could pay for itself after around 90 hours.”

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Other ways sex workers can charge more is to provide niche services like having sex with two men at once, or providing S&M role-playing. Big-city sex workers in places like New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and London can charge more, too.

According to the Economist, the reason behind the drop in price is partly the 2007-’08 financial crisis. Other factors, like the migration of poorer sex workers into richer areas can also cause a drop in prices. This trend has been happening in Europe since the European Union expanded to include poorer eastern European countries, which has sent workers across borders. A 2013 article in Time magazine noted that Germany had become the “Cut-Rate Prostitution Capital of the World,” with thousands of brothels and “hundreds of thousands of prostitutes,” many from places like Romania and Bulgaria, dealing with intense competition and pushed-down prices. (Prostitution became legal in Germany in 2002.) In Berlin, oral sex from an Eastern European sex worker can reportedly be had for as little as $13.

The Internet is to blame, too, as more people are selling sex online. Because it’s easier and more discreet to sell sex online, women who in the past may have avoided such work are signing up. “More attractive and better-educated women, whose marital and job prospects are therefore better, are more likely to consider sex work easily if it is arranged online,” notes the report. Technology increases the efficiency and speed of matching client to sex worker: there are even apps which allow customers to filter sex workers according to specifications like breast size, age or height. A new German app even promises that you can order a sex worker the way you would order an Uber car, using GPS to connect client to worker.

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But changing attitudes toward sex work in our society are also part of this trend. The stricter a society is about casual and adulterous sex, the more sex work will be in demand. The acceptance of premarital sex and divorce mean that men are less likely to be driven to sex workers because they can’t get their sexual needs met anywhere else.

It’s a bummer to be a sex worker when prices are falling. But interestingly, it looks like incomes may not have fallen as steeply as the decline in prices would suggest, because sex workers have been able to cut expenses.”

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Neither A Fan Or Foe Of Cannabis

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To tell y’all the truth I don’t care either way. Cannabis (marijuana) just doesn’t happen to be in or around my life personally. As a personal note, just because I don’t agree with social drug use doesn’t mean I am an advocate against it. But, the business of drugs in the United States is huge and there is no shortage of people ready to part with their money. OK, where am I going with all of this? I’m looking for opinions, not anger, not justifications, nor the legalities, just opinions from everyday people. If your life involves the recreational use of drugs so be it, if your life doesn’t involve the use of drugs so be it, I personally don’t care, it doesn’t change my opinion of anyone. Are we clear?

Now we, in the United States, are at the dawn of something new, the age where states are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Many feel this is a great triumph and many see it as the further downwards spiral of the USA. Either way, its here today, it is happening today, and we are seeing a shift in the politics of pot. Its just where we are as s country. As a parent, I have my own concerns. Living in Texas, however, if you want to buy weed you must do it the old fashioned way, illegally. I was reading some news late last night about a company who is or has unveiled a vending machine to dispense marijuana in states where it has been legalized but so far has been restricted to the dispensing of medical marijuana. The printed facts out on the internet rage in every direction possible so it is hard to say what is what while being fair to everyone.

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Would a vending machine for weed be a welcome site in your neighborhood if it was legal to place it there? What concerns, if any, would you have about a vending machine to dispense weed in public places alongside soft drink machines, candy machines, and so forth? Do you think the weed dispensing vending machine will start out as s fad, a novelty, and then fade away? Not that my personal opinions matter, but I see it as a new tool for the criminal element to use. Wait, y’all thought just because weed is being legalized in a fee states that this was going to eliminate any and all criminal elements from the equation? It would be nice but I think we would be wrong in that assumption because drugs (legal and illegal) are big business and I don’t see anyone making money willing to back down and forego their profits for the collective ides of progress.

As more states have legalized medical marijuana and the first inroads are made into full weed legalization in the United States, a new crop of businessmen have positioned themselves to surf the rising market tide for marijuana and marijuana-related products, an economy that could grow to be as large as that of tobacco or alcohol. Is this going to be the next big American industry? I remind everyone, since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration. This lumps cannabis in with LSD, heroin, and MDMA as a drug that has a high potential for abuse in the United States.

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Nationwide, the classification is widely viewed as unreasonable and outdated. Medical marijuana is now legal in 18 states (as well as the District of Columbia), a growing minority that, along with the passage of the recreational weed laws in Colorado and Washington, could signal the coming end of marijuana prohibition in the United States. The day may soon arrive when any citizen in any state, as long as they’re over 21, can purchase weed from an accredited place and smoke til their hearts content.

Overall, in my little opinion on this matter, I don’t care for the idea of the vending machine. I have my reasons, some are even listed here. I just wanted to share this with y’all to see what y’all might be thinking. I do not wish to debate it as a right or wrong type discussion, I was just looking for the different opinions and why we have them.

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Homeowner’s Association Form Letter

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So, yesterday I walked the close to 1/4 mile trek out to collect my mail from the mailbox located out at the end of my driveway. Normally I would take the golf cart but I was feeling froggy and just decided to walk. I don’t usually “sort” my mail out here in the street but there was allot of crap that I was going to put in the recycle bin since it had not been collected yet. As I am flipping through it all I see a letter addressed to “Resident” with my address printed below it. It is a letter from our beloved homeowner’s association. Might be important so I went ahead and opened it. After reading it through the first time I was left asking “what the fuck?” and need to read it again before I got pissed all the way. After A quick review I can see that they are talking of my location, it has the correct block, lot, plot, and section. The address on the envelope belongs to me, so it must be my property being spoke of. The jist of the form letter is to inform me (property owner) that a complaint has been filed suggesting I am burning “trash” items too close to the street which is too close to neighboring houses. The date sited was 22 days ago. Too close to my neighbors? My nearest neighbor’s house is over 650 yards away. The letter continues to outline the “offense” by stating that I was burning tires and other accelerant fuels. Wait just a damn minute here. First I don’t burn anywhere except the rear of my almost ten acres of property. Second, I don’t burn tires or use gas or diesel to set such fires. The letter has me at a loss.

As I am walking back to the house to go make a phone call because they have assessed a $350.00 fine for the incident, I notice, which makes me remember, I did have a fire in my front yard about three weeks ago. The scorch marks are still visible as I walk by. I wonder if this could be what they are referring to in the letter. I haven’t written about this yet here so y’all are probably scratching your heads wondering what has happened. I guess this is a good place to put in what happened and the I will figure out why there was a complaint. In a way I guess an outsider could say it was a trash fire in my front yard but if a person was paying attention they would of seen it was my riding lawn mower that had actually burst into flames. Man, I loved that old mower too, I was sad to see it go out in a blaze of glory like it did. What happened? I was mowing in the yard in front of my house pretty close to my driveway when a giant puff of black smoke blew out of the front of the engine cowel. I jumped off and flipped it open and when I did it burst into open flames. I was able to dowse the flames with the garden hose but it was too late. As I stood there watching it smolder a bit I secretly was hearing TAPS being played off in the distance. It was almost a tearful moment for me, but I held it back. It truly was a spectacular show but at the same time I didn’t like seeing my old friend roast its own marshmallows.

In review of the complaints in the letter I can see why they would say I was burning tires and using an accelerant because the tires did catch fire and the fuel line did melt and feed the fire. But hold on, this means that my incident was visible to someone somewhere. So I stood in the spot and looked around 360 degrees to see if I could figure out who the bastard was that assumed I was burning trash in my front yard. Well, there is only one house in my view and that is straight across the street. That old bastard has the eyes of a hawk then because its a good 200 yards from the street in front of his house. And it only burned for 10-12 minutes anyways. I’m so confused. Anyway, I will deal with him later, I have bigger fish to fry. I went in the house and called the secretary of the homeowner’s association to discuss the complaint and the fine I was not ever going to pay. I invited him out to check out the burned out carcas and I was declined a visit. I was told to go to their website and print out a form which I could use to defend myself. Once filled out I am to mail it to them with supporting information and/or pictures if available to justify my case. I was also reminded to enclose a check or money order with my form so I could pay the fine. Ummm, fuck you, there will be no check or money order enclosed you goofy bastards. I filled out the form and enclosed some nice glossy pictures with my explanation of what occurred. When I was done I sent my son down to throw it in the mail box for pick up today. This is why I detest having neighbors.

This whole thing has served as a good reminder. Since my other rider (the back up) isn’t in that great of shape and isn’t exactly dependable, I think I will get dressed and go mower shopping. I wonder what I will come home with. Have y’all seen the commercials for all the different riding mowers lately? Maybe they have been the “sign” I have been looking for and just haven’t realized it. I better make sure the trash fire I have going currently is out before I go because I would hate for some snooper to say I left it unattended. If I get a new toy I will be sure to show y’all so don’t worry.

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Our Jobs As Teenagers

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My 17 y/o daughter and I had an interesting conversation over the holiday break which sparked my daughter’s interest into looking at what other teens make per hour at their part-time jobs. I tried to explain to her that she was very lucky making $10 per hour as well as only having to work 20 hours a week. She is actually pretty damn lucky because her part-time job is working at the church daycare as a teacher’s aide. She has had this job for a little over a year and half. She has never had to work at a fast food place or a place of retail so she knows nothing about how it actually is in a real marketplace for employment. She is lucky in other ways as well, like every bit of the money she earns is only earmarked for things she wishes to spend it on. She has no bills with the exception of putting fuel in her truck. In my opinion, knowing how I grew up, she is extremely lucky she can spend her paychecks as she pleases. She is smart with her money to a degree, she always puts some away in her saving account. She has a hard time comprehending that “most” teens her age with a part-time job are only making $7.25 per hour and work in less than ideal conditions sometimes.

She says I was lucky as I explained to her what I did for money when I was a teen. I made what I thought was decent money at the time back in 1983 because that is when I really started getting paid. I worked with my dad who was a concrete contractor for many years before for basically spending money but never anything to save. I learned many skills working with him that I still value to this day. I was never afraid to bust my ass working in the Houston heat & humidity and not see a dime for my efforts. When I needed money all I had to do is ask, well, most of the time. As the summer between 8th and 9th grade approached I had already obtained my driver’s license, I already had a truck (rebuilt from parts from the junkyard where I found it), I was dating, and all I needed was a part-time job to pay for all the things I wanted to do. Back in 1983 the state minimum wage was $3.35 or something like that per hour. Where I lived teens had a limited choice to part-time employment like working at a fast food place, the theatre (an old singleplex), the car wash, a grocery store, or out on the farms and ranches. My dad offered up $700.00 per month cash (over the summer) to keep working with him and when school started back up it was going to be $350.00 a month cash. Doesn’t seem like much by todays prices, but back then the money would last me a long time. So, no, I never had to go get a minimum wage job while in high school.

The conversation evolved back to today and the struggles over the minimum wages at fast food places. This is where I was told my asshole side came out to play. My daughter wanted to agree with the fight, the fight to change paying employees at least $15.00 to flip burgers, get my order wrong, and waste my damn time. Oh, wait, the money paid isn’t supposed to reflect the quality of service you receive now is it. More money does not mean the skill level and caring just went up. I think it’s a joke. And, no, I don’t know the struggles of the people working in that industry or any other for that matter. Plus, I’m not a fast food eater, mostly because I hate paying for shitty service, shitty attitude, and shitty food. No, you may not argue that everything would be better if these poor mistreated people made more money. You’ll never be able to convince me that paying $15.00 per hour will make the fast food experience better for the customer, and if you believe that bullshit it might be time to re-evaluate your past dining experiences. People, in general, want everything handed to them while they provide little or no effort. Why no, right? Society has been moving in this direction for many years, right? We are victims of our own bullshit, right? Wrong! Get a job, work your ass off, work your way up, try harder than the next person, and stamp out your place in this fucking society as a person that has something to offer back besides an open hand waiting for something to dropped into it. What ever happened to “earning a living” or “working hard” or “getting a job”? They don’t exist, people just sit on the couch and wait for the government check.

I sound a little bitter don’t I? Or do I? Don’t mistake my honesty about all of this for being bitter, just consider that I’m real tired of all the people who complain but are not willing to get a damn job and when they get a job for unskilled labor they complain that they are not paid enough. I can speak for where I live locally and the teens don’t want to work. The ones that do are not doing it for weekend cash they are doing it to help support their household. Those who aren’t teens, what should they be paid? Good question since working at a fast food place is still considered being unskilled labor. I don’t know anymore, it seems, at least on the surface, that the debate will continue about minimum wage, especially in the fast food industry. I guess people are no longer happy with the opportunity to merely have a job and unfortunately in our society there is an actual need for an unskilled labor force. If people want better for themselves then they need to better prepare themselves to be in a different job market that earns more money, not ask it to be handed to them like it is today in the here and now.

So, what should be the wages, the limitations, and the requirements? Hell, I’m in my mid-40s and had to have a second full-time job to make ends meet, and that is with a wife who is employed full-time. I didn’t know all I needed to do was whine a little and it would all be handed to me with no effort on my part. This is the world we live in, everything isn’t equal and nor should it be equal because we all don’t offer equal qualifications and/or work ethics. Be assured that the government will be forced to increase the minimum wage because of all the political pressure that is currently being applied. And, sadly, when the enablers get their way, we as a society, will once again take a few steps backwards. Where does the extra money come from? The consumer will be having the wage increase passed on to him/her through everything they purchase which is soon going to mean that what I make an hour won’t be enough, according to the same standards. Yea, I know, I can speak until I’m blue in the face and still get told I have absolutely no argument. Well, this has been my opinion and I think it will be a giant mistake and the people being served at the local fast food restaurant and at other places which use unskilled labor will soon be seeing a cost increase because the labor still has to be paid for by employers.

Where do we go from here? In my personal opinion, I think that this will just be another nail in the coffin for any business, large or small, here in the United States. Many places already operate on a shoestring budget just to keep the doors open and make some profit after paying the bills. Your right, fuck ’em. Why should I care what people are getting paid. Part of me thinks about the amount of blood, sweat, and tears it took me to get where I am at today. Part of me dislikes it when anything is just handed over to those who are not willing to earn it. I was raised different from that, I was raised in a manner that made me realize I needed to be able to provide something in exchange for compensation. I raise my own children the same way and not look for the free ride. Hopefully I’m alone in the way I raise my kids because if so then this next generation of people entering the workforce are truly fucked. I wonder what would be dropped in my open hand being a white male, 45, skilled, educated, and currently employed. Anything extra for me? I didn’t think so. But I already knew this fact. Anyway, as a society in the United States, we keep throwing money into the burning caldron, before long the people like myself that actually have to earn a living will be out of money and there will be no help, there will be only dust in the bankrupt coffers. Too melodramatic?

I never wanted to be a millionaire, I still don’t want to be a millionaire, and I doubt I will ever want to be a millionaire. Why? I like my life and the people in it. We work hard for what we earn and live a lifestyle which has been great for all of us, all too much money will do is corrupt what we consider to be perfect. Y’all may think one’s life revolves around money, I used to think the same way, but when you have nothing it always brings a smile to your face when you can put a little aside for a rainy day. I’m not saying the minimum wage is accurate, but I’m not the judge of that either, and it is called “minimum” for a reason. The only place people can go when they are on the bottom is up, many people acknowledge that the journey will be long and hard, others prefer to demand something without offering anything more in return. As much as we would all like to think we are worth our weight in gold, the reality is that if we were then we would no longer have value. I’ll leave it up to y’all because y’all should make your own decisions based on your individual opinions. The minimum wage is out of the hands of the “people” and will always be decided by politicians who take only their status into consideration. Fuck it, roll the dice. I hope everyone gets what they are expecting.

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