The evil that men do: As an AIDS activist and AIDS educator, I would like to applaud Westword for publishing Laura Bond's "A Grim Prognosis" in the November 18 issue. I have seen the typical profile of a person with AIDS or HIV change from a single white man in the late '80s to now mostly attached or married women of all ages, races and sizes contracting the virus. I have tried for years to get certain bathhouses closed, because they are simply a breeding ground for the virus among married and attached men, but to no avail. Perhaps if the mainstream media had addressed this issue in the mid-'90s, we wouldn't have the dynamics that we now have.
Overall, women are very clueless about men's true sexuality. This article may act as a wake-up call. However, for the vast majority of the women now infected -- many of whom do not know they are infected -- the wake-up call came ten or fifteen years too late.
Los Angeles, California
The lowdown: I would like to thank you for informing the general populace regarding the reality of HIV in the Hispanic community. It is amazing to me that HIV is still considered a taboo subject and that homosexuality is, as well.
When I was reading The Down Low, a book about HIV in the African-American community, it dawned on me that eventually this situation, the down low, would come out in the Hispanic community. Then I saw "A Grim Prognosis," and it was sad to realize that my fear has come true. Hopefully, your article will bring it more into the forefront, and people can once again stop and think about their next step and how it will affect their loved ones.
Michelle C. Schultz
via the Internet
Escorting disaster: Regarding David Holthouse's "Bada Bing, Bada Boom!," in the November 11 issue:
Given the painful experiences in his past that David Holthouse has written about, I find it surprising that he does not bring up the potential dangers of the escort-service industry. Instead of interviewing Bada Bing's clients and employees to provide a broad view of the industry, he homes in on Ms. Lake and her agency, which makes for a read akin to a four-page advertisement. This article made me seriously question Holthouse's investigative-journalism skills.
Like many who ooh and aah at the sex industry, Holthouse gives credit to the woman who runs the business instead of the women who take on many risks for Ms. Lake's first million. I do thank him, however, for revealing Ms. Lake's true character with her comment, "My clients are loyal to me, not my employees." Indeed! Marketing language aside, I'd hope that Ms. Lake might consider monitoring her johns' behavior with as much rigor as she does that of her employees. Ladies, is this someone you really want to work for? I suppose we'll never know, since Holthouse failed to give you a voice.
And to the "Grim Raper" (a loyal client, no doubt): I can't imagine how many men and women await your painful demise.
It's my party: I am writing to correct inaccurate information that was presented by David Holthouse in "Bada Bing, Bada Boom!" The Halloween party was not sponsored by the Other Board, and the purpose of the party was not for the ladies to market themselves and solicit future business. There was an open invitation that I personally wrote and posted on the Other Board for everyone to see. I am the sole person who planned, sponsored and hosted the party, with the intention of it being strictly a social event, and I just wanted to have a party for the reason that anyone would plan a party: for fun. There should not have been any solicitation whatsoever, and if I had known Veronika Lake and her girls would be attending with the intention of soliciting, they would not have been welcome at my party.
If you claim to be a newspaper, then you must attempt to accurately represent the facts. I would suggest training your reporters in the basics of journalism so they can write articles that have truthful content, rather than opinions disguised as news.
Hobby lobby: It is gratifying to see this "hobby" spotlighted. Funny how the escorts and hobbyists, those who claim they are providing a public service and who heatedly maintain I'm not doing anything illegal, because I'm not selling/paying for sex, I'm selling/paying for companionship are frantic and running for cover. Apparently Veronika Lake's statement -- "I don't have anything to hide, and I believe in marketing wherever I go" -- doesn't apply to the rest of the Other Board and similar communities. They act astonished, as though they were betrayed and unjustly exposed by the Bada Bing article, and yet they advertise, discuss and review prostitution daily on a public Internet forum! It doesn't take much to read the glossary of terms and the linked guides, such as "Sex on the Internet -- How to Get Laid on the Web" and "Shy Girl's Guide to Becoming a Whore," and figure out what's going on!