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The Girls In Their Summer Hot Pants

Who says this isn’t a friendly town?

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Transsexual escort Allanah Starr is poised for conventional sex.  

Mistress Natasha, 29, a striking black-haired dominatrix in a midtown dungeon, had just finished flogging one of her clients when they began chatting, as they often do at the end of a session. “I mentioned that I had seen Fahrenheit 9/11 the other night. He asked me what I thought of it, and then he said he was voting for Bush again. It always surprises me how many of my clients are not just Republicans but Bush supporters. I think, You wanted me to force you down to your knees when you’re in a pink tutu, but you support Bush? Maybe that should be part of my punishment: ‘You’re going to vote for Bush? Now you’re really going to get it!’ ”

Like many sex workers in Manhattan, Mistress Natasha is anticipating a dramatic upswing in business late this month as 5,000 delegates—and an entourage of 45,000 others—arrive for four days of work and play. “August is usually slow, but I think I’ll be rather busy,” she says, planning to increase her hours. “I’ve already gotten several e-mails from men who say they’re coming into town that week.”

Transsexual escort and adult-film star Allanah Starr, 26, is even more confident: “I’m sure business will pick up for strip bars and escorts.”

Indeed, Manhattan escort agencies have been placing ads looking for new girls. According to a male operator at Playpen Escorts, “It’s the best time you can work. We’ll have 60 girls out a night instead of the usual 30.” The operator at Temple of Goddesses, an escort agency that offers naked housekeeping and body rubs, says, “The girls all want to work that week. It’ll be three times as busy as usual.” An adult-classified-ad rep at one New York publication says he’s certain that his sales will increase 20 percent by the convention, adding, “And I’m trying to bring it up 50 percent.”

To try to gauge demand, many New York sex workers have been looking to their Boston counterparts. A special Boston Phoenix Democratic National Convention issue included an adult section with ads like “Boston Welcomes You! Truth Escorts is offering the most beautiful bodies and faces of Boston’s finest ladies.” Reports were favorable on many escort review sites—consumer message boards that are the Epinions of hookerdom. One Boston escort posted that her $150 DNC GFE (“girlfriend experience”) special had filled so quickly that she was extending it. “After talking with people who own agencies up in Boston,” a New York escort-agency owner e-mailed me, “we are in the process of hiring two to three times the number of girls, as we have been told that business in Boston tripled during that time frame.”

If visiting Republicans choose to similarly let loose here, the sex workers who stand the best chance of getting business may be those who have their own rooms (or dungeons), as security at delegate-heavy hotels will be tight. With a strong police presence and the risk of political scandal great, a good portion of business may come not from delegates but from the thousands of other attendees. A Boston escort at Billionaire-Babes.com hadn’t gotten any delegates from her ad in the Phoenix supplement—but she did have two sessions with a cameraman who calls when he’s in town. “He works for one of the stations, though I won’t say which,” she says. “He fed me twice and paid me.”

To try to lure the politicians proper, though, some New York sex professionals are offering limited-time discounts. Veronica Vera, owner of Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls, is promoting a special deal at her cross-dressing academy during the convention. For $395, her “Delegate’s Delight” is a one-and-a-half-hour private class with a Polaroid portrait (imagine how much a tabloid would pay for that photo). “Have you dreamed of clicking your high heels through the corridors of power?” reads the pitch she posted on missvera.com. “The Delegate’s Delight is a new class designed for tourists on tight schedules or any visiting Republicans who long to be in ruffles. Miss Vera invites you to take advantage of this fast and fun way to bring out your femme-self. This quick but total transformation offers long-term benefits, reviving and rejuvenating your spirits. Come share our platforms. Vote Yes to Cross-Dress for Success.”

Vera, a gentle middle-aged brunette, points out that there is a long tradition of cross-dressing politicians. The J. Edgar Hoover rumors have become legends, and 64-year-old Texas Republican Sam Walls recently lost his bid for the State Legislature after photos of him in women’s clothing were found in a trailer registered in his name. “Republicans are in positions of power but have had to give up a lot to get there,” says Vera. “Along with that power, they’re in an emotional straitjacket. They want to be pampered and protected and be desirable sex objects.”

Another sex professional, 25-year-old Eve, says, “I don’t want to single out the Republicans, but they are majority male and a fairly wealthy group of people.” The on-again-off-again prostitute with streaked pixieish hair looks less like a hooker than a bartender at Galapagos—which made her ideal for one politically charged client last year. He’d asked her to show up at his apartment wearing a black hoodie with patches and no perfume or deodorant. “I said, ‘Do you want me to dress like a protester?,’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’ He tied me down, spanked me, and wanted to yell at me a lot. He said, ‘You bad girl! You smashed the Starbucks!’ He was a very conservative Wall Street banker, and he basically wanted to fuck the movement.”

New York is an extremely different stage for a national convention than it was in 1992, when there was visible street prostitution in midtown, and small sleazy strip joints like Billy’s Topless reigned supreme. Today the short-skirted women in stilettos are most likely just single gals in a weird Patricia Field phase. Billy’s has morphed into a bagel joint.

Still, for delegates seeking legal entertainment, there’s no shortage of options near Madison Square Garden. There are the peep shows and video stores along Eighth Avenue, plenty of pay-per-view in hotel rooms, and strip clubs by the West Side Highway. The establishments that survived Giuliani are the massive, corporate, high-end ones, like Penthouse Executive Club, Hustler Club, and Scores West Side. “Compared to the same time last year,” says Lonnie Hanover, spokesman for Scores, “we’re way ahead on reservations, at least 50 percent higher.” The private rooms—called, appropriately, the President’s Club—at both Scores West Side and the original branch across town are reserved every night from August 28 to September 5, and ringside seating is already full. “The girls are calling to make sure they’re booked for that week,” says Hanover. Penthouse CEO Mark Yackow says his club has 20 percent more reservations in its restaurant, Robert’s Steakhouse, “than if a convention weren’t in town.”


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