Spitzer is teaching us a lot about the habits of men who pay for sex, the savvy of the tech-age women who provide it, and about the super-rich and their...hangers-on. Who knew Econ 101 would come in so handy?
According to Slate, when Giuliani drove hookers off the streets, he just drove them inside. There, the savvy ones, the ones who'd never populate street corners, saw their prices skyrocket; middle class men could cruise the personals and escort ads, rather than stroll in vice squad territory. Though figures are obviously difficult to come by, Bob from Accounting seems to be venturing online for sex a hell of a lot more often than he was willing to go down by the docks, and today's computer-savvy working girls are making him pay through the nose for greater invisibility. Did any of Giuliani's whiz kids see this coming?
Of course, once the average guy started ponying up for call girls, the super-rich had to up the ante. Now, it's not unusual for men to put their favorites on $10,000 per month retainers, or pay $10K per "session." Apparently, paying a year's worth of private school tuition for an hour of sex is the new diamond-encrusted yacht. Let's see Joe Average get one of these! According to the Wall Street Journal:
"...a sizable percentage of the super wealthy use escorts. [Researchers] surveyed 661 people who owned private jets, and found that 34% of males and 20% of females had paid for sex."
"The most popular reason was "unique experiences" (71%), followed by "higher quality experiences" (57%). Conventional wisdom says that the rich visit escorts to avoid messy break-ups or extra demands for cash. But the study shows otherwise: "No strings attached," ranked last as a reason."
"With the wealthy," Mr. Prince says, "it's all about power and control and new experiences."
Or maybe it's just about conspicuous consumption, since sex seems to be an afterthought. Writes the Slate sociologist, who's studying high-end prostitutes in New York: