Brothel Days – 1976
I was 19 the first time I had sex with a prostitute. I had just begun my seafaring career. I suppose it’s fairly common knowledge that seafarers and prostitutes have a relationship that stretches far back in time, back since the days when men first began living on ships for long enough to begin mistaking manatees for mermaids.
Up to this point in my young life I had been quite successful with women and had been with too many to be able to list by name. Ordinarily, it would not have occurred to me to pay to have sex with a woman, at least not directly, but being “young, dumb and full of cum”, as they say, I was convinced by my shipmates that it was customary and obligatory for real seafaring men to go ashore, get liquored up and have sex with a prostitute.
Our ship docked in Bayonne, NJ and at quitting time we caught the express bus into New York City. We got off the bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, conveniently located 1 block off 42nd Street, also know as Peepshow Row. My shipmates knew their way around and appeared to be frequent patrons of this den of debauchery. I knew immediately that this was a place where I did not belong but at the same time I was drawn to the carnival-like atmosphere, with the beckoning barkers standing in dark doorways, the smoke, the smells of sweat, stale beer and fast food. Before making our way to brothel we stopped at a few peepshow parlors where we saw an assortment of delightfully disgusting videos. I had heard the term “golden showers” before but wasn’t quite prepared for the intensity of the visual experience. I’ll never forget seeing a woman down on her knees holding a man’s penis in her hand and blissfully directing the stream of urine over her face and then greedily swallowing big gulps of piss as if she were swilling cheap beer. I just stood there and laughed out loud with a nervous mixture of awe and disgust.
The brothel was a place called “The Dating Room.” I had no preconceived notions of what a brothel might look like or the procedures one should follow once inside, so I just followed along in a trance-like state. The price was ten dollars. I walked up to a caged window, gave my money to an old geezer and received a ticket in exchange. The ticket was the kind you might expect to find at a church carnival or raffle and as I stepped away from the window I turned the ticket over in my fingers studying it curiously and wondering what to do next. I was then directed through a doorway into a room where at least 15 women of varying ages sat on a bench against the far wall, some striking alluring poses, some filing their nails, chewing gum and rolling their eyes in bored amusement. At this point my discomfort with the whole scene was intensifying but I was committed to seeing the experience through to its conclusion. So I walked up to a Puerto Rican looking lady who appeared to be the least lethargic of the lot, handed her my ticket and followed her into a small cubicle-like room that had the ambiance of a physician’s examination room. I stood there feeling foolish. I guess I was expecting to begin the episode with some small talk about the weather or at least have the chance to tell her a lie about how pretty she was when she bluntly inquired, “What would you like?” I thought for a moment and decided the frankness of the question warranted an equally frank response, so I replied, “Well, I, I, I want you to suck me and then I want to fuck you.” She then asked, “How much will you pay me?” I had no idea that I would be required to pay any additional money. I had assumed the $10 included everything and I thought that perhaps I was about to be the victim of scam, so I discretely looked in my wallet and saw that I only had a $50 bill and 2 singles. This was back in the days when a beer cost 45 cents and I wasn’t about to part with the fifty or any fraction thereof, so I said to her, “All I have is two dollars.”
She thought about it for less time than I expected. I was ready for at least some token haggling when she simply said, “OK”, took the bills from my hand, directed me to remove my clothes and then left the room saying she would be right back. I guess in the course of a prostitute’s business day she meets an infinite variety of customers, some handsome, some fat and smelly, some dangerous and menacing. I was 19 years old, innocent looking and at least I wasn’t covered with oozing sores so I suppose $2 from me wasn’t such a bad deal if she could make it quick. She returned a few minutes later with a water-filled crusty gray plastic dish pan, the kind a bus boy would use to clear tables at a cheap diner, a bar of soap and a towel. She then instructed me to stand and hold the dishpan between my legs while she proceeded to wash my genitalia with all the intimacy of a pre-surgical scrub.
I willed myself into a state of arousal during the scrub and she placed an industrial strength condom on my member and proceeded to comply with the first part of my request. The condom was so thick I could barely feel any sensation at all and when she sensed I might be loosing interest she took off her clothes, directed me to the narrow makeshift bed and pulled me on top of her. She was a very poor actress and all her writhing and groans of feigned pleasure almost made me laugh. It was all getting too twisted and I wanted to get the hell out of there so I fantasized that she was Farah Fawcett or some other starlet of that era, just to get it over with. I don’t even think we said goodbye. I just got dressed and lurched out the door with a deep sense of regret, loathing and post-ejaculation remorse.