Where were all the prostitutes at the DNC?

"I wish I'd been hooking in Denver for the DNC."

Right now, everyone is hard at work dissecting the various successes and failures of the DNC. They’re talking about the dearth of cabs, the profusion of really ugly T-shirts for sale, and who ate what and where and when.

Me? I got just one question: Where were the whores?

Before the DNC hit town, I was hearing reports of up to 40,000 hookers being choppered in to service the needs of lonely pols far from home. There were church groups on hand to try and save the prostitutes, cops ready to roust the prostitutes, an entire machinery of commerce, aid and law enforcement all built up around this magical notion of a decent-sized army of working girls descending on Denver and hurling themselves, crotch-first, at any ambulatory male they could find.

I saw precisely one. Through all the parties, all the events, walking (and driving) the streets from fairly early until very, very late, there was just one: a young woman with teased hair and high, red wedge shoes, a very mini miniskirt and a red, white and blue halter top stumbling out of the back of one of those white convention SUVs, hastily shoveling one boob back into her shirt and immediately hailing a cab on the corner.

Now, either this was the hardest-working working girl in the history of the world’s oldest profession, a kind of WonderHooker, single-handedly doing the work of a multitude, or else this 40,000 number was, like the estimated number of protesters due to arrive or the estimated amount of profit the city was going to see from this hootenanny, a complete figment of someone’s overheated imagination.

There were not 40,000 prostitutes in Denver, even though churchy types had warned us they were coming, and even tried to save the girls.There were not parties where Hollywood glitterati were sinking their faces into Tony Montana-sized piles of blow and punching coat-check girls. There were not drunken delegates standing on street corners with their pants around their ankles and ridiculous red, white and blue top hats on their heads screaming incoherently about how John McCain was going to sell off ANWAR to the oil industry and allow lobbyists to drill for moose in the Gulf of Mexico. In other words, this city has forgotten how to party. Seriously? This was probably our one big shot -- our one moment in the sun, a chance to show the world that we could get just as weird as anyone in Manhattan, Vegas or L.A. -- and we fucking blew it.

We had a thousand free bikes to give out, environmentally friendly water bottles for any knucklehead who could stick out his claw, but not one shot of a wasted ingenue flashing her lady parts as she gets poured out of a cab in front of the Brown, not a single Nick Nolte-style mugshot of some debased public figure in a Hawaiian shirt, black eyes and crazy crank hair, not a single Baldwin or Hasselhoff getting caught on tape saying something pricelessly stupid while under the influence of two Big Mac’s, a pint of Bushmill’s and a mouthfull of ibogaine.

And blah blah exploitation of women, human trafficking, drugs are bad, violence is not the answer, blah. Fuck off. Thomas Hobbes -- the dude who more or less invented the George Bushian notion of sane and reasonable governance by social contract so, therefore, a dude whose words ought to be listened to with some specificity while in the depths of a national political campaign -- said once that the lives of men are often “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” You know what can alleviate a little bit of that oppression? A decent party in the midst of all that suffering, the thrilling rush that comes just before Sean Penn punches you in the face, the sense that -- even in this day and age where all things seem on the verge of collapse and everything feels worse than it did yesterday -- someone, somewhere is just not taking it all so seriously.

Well, that or 40,000 hookers. And I think that next time an event like this comes around and it looks as though Denver is not going to get the number of whores it truly needs, maybe the city would do well to send a few of those free bikes out to the working girls so that the poor dears can actually make it to the city before everyone of note has already packed up and headed for home. – Jason Sheehan

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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