Porn Slappers

It’s late afternoon and I’m taking notes for my upcoming book in front of the Paris Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard. But I’m not the only person working “The Strip” today. Several Latino men and women wearing t-shirts proclaiming “Hot Ass Escorts” and “Girls Direct to You in Twenty Minutes” are cruising the sidewalk trying to hand out picture cards of naked women to the tourists gawking at the faux Eiffel Tower towering above us. In order to gain people’s attention the hucksters quickly slap a single card against the thick pack of cards they’re holding in the opposite hand, creating a sharp, annoying clicking sound that makes you want to grab one just so they’ll cut it out.

As I watch these men and women do their job, I notice that different passersby elicit different numbers of clicks. If an elderly person walks by they’re lucky if they get one click. Married couples and middle aged guys like me gets several clicks. Two girls in short skirts walking arm in arm get ten or twelve – and a wolf whistle. But when a herd of drunk male twenty-somethings stumbles by, the clicking takes on the masturbatory ferocity of a nymphomaniacal hummingbird.

As I watch porn barkers work, I notice one of the men doing the clicking thing differently. Holding a card between his thumb and index fingers, he rapidly flicks it with his middle digit while fluttering the card near the noses of unsuspecting pedestrians. I walk up to him. Noticing me he maneuvers the card near my face. I snap it out of his hand. Surprised, he steps back.

I look at the picture card. It’s of a busty white girl named Simone. She’s all mine if I call 702-555-5555.

“The girl in the picture,” I ask the guy. “She really look like this?”

“No habla ingles?” the man replies, shrugging.

“La chica se parece a este?’ I ask in mangled Spanish.

The guy looks at me sharply. “What do you think, mister?” he says.

“I didn’t think so.”

The man walks away and I put the card in my pocket. If I called that number some poor Central American girl probably be’d sent up to my room. I shake my head. Sex is everywhere in this town. You can’t escape it. Above me a giant billboard featuring the perfectly formed ass of a Vegas showgirl looks down on the illegal immigrants huslting to make a buck from perverted tourists. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no prude. I like a bit of erotica as much as the next guy. But sometimes this town makes me feel like a nausesous kid who’s eaten to much candy.

I turn my attention back to my notebook and start writing down my impressions of Caesars Palace and the Mirage Hotel across the street. Just as I’m coming up with a snazzy observation on decadence and illusion I hear a female voice ask.

“Excuse me, but aren’t you Stephen Dublanica?”

I look up to find a petite, friendly looking woman standing in front of me. I must admit I have a slightly terifified expression on my face, You see, I can count the number of times I’ve been recognized on the street on the fingers of one hand. I’m just not used to it. And, to be honest, I’ve always been worried about running into some nutcase.

Then my common sense/media savvy brain kicks in. Here I am, 2515 miles from home, and some person who’s read my stuff wants to say hello. “You should be flattered Steve,” I think to myself. “Drop the paranoia and be polite to the nice lady.”

“Yes I am,” I reply, extending my hand, “How nice to meet you.”

“I read on your blog you were going to be in Vegas the same time I was,” the woman says. “But I never thought I’d run into you!”

Turns out the young woman’s a homemaker from Seattle taking a mini-vacation from her husband and two small children. I’m sure glad she didn’t run into me when I was holding one of those cards advertising prostitutes. As we talk my comfort level increases and my defensive media persona sloughs off. Soon I’m just plain talkative me.

“So how old are your children?” I ask.

“Five and seven,” the woman replies.

“They’re still small.”

“Yep.”

I look down at the pornographic cards littering the sidewalk.

“Too young for a place like this,” I say.

“I wouldn’t bring my kids here,” the woman says. “Too much adult stuff.”

“Yeah, you’d spend most of your trip explaining things you don’t want to explain.”

“Exactly.”

In my mind’s eye I can see my future unborn child looking up at me with great big innocent eyes and asking “Daddy? What are hot ass escorts?”

“Ask your mother,” I reply.

“No, you’re right,” I say, returning to reality. “They’d have to be in their twenties before I let them come here.”

The woman giggles, “That’s for sure.”

“Do you know what they call these guys handing out the dirty picture cards?” I ask.

“You mean the porn slappers?”

“So that’s what they’re called?”

“That’s what I’ve heard them called,” the woman replies.

“Interesting,” I say, jotting down the term in my notebook. “You’ve been very helpful.”

“So how’s the rest of your research going?” the woman asks.

“Great,” I reply. “I’ve talked to two strippers, a dealer, a doorman, a shoeshine guy, and a cab driver. And that’s just in two days.”

“Who else are you going to talk to?” the woman asks.

“I’m trying to talk to some casino cocktail waitresses,” I say. “But I’ve had no luck so far. Whenever I approach one of them they think I’m a perv.”

“Have you ever heard of Cocktail Dollie?” the woman asks.

“No,” I reply. “I haven’t.”

“She’s a Vegas cocktail waitress with a blog,” the woman says. “People make pilgrimages to see her.”

“Really?”

“Try contacting her. She could be a big help.”

“That would be an immense help.” I say. “Wow! I’m glad I ran into you!”

“Me too.”

“Well enjoy the rest of your trip.” I say.

“You too,” the woman says. “Good luck.”

I return to my notebook and jot down a reminder to email this Cocktail Dollie person as soon as I get back to my hotel. Then I lean against a wall and watch the throngs of tourists file past me. In Las Vegas you’re allowed to carry open containers of alcohol in public. As a result, quite a few of the people I see are drunk. Not happy drunk, but sweaty, high blood pressured, red faced, unattractive drunk. There’s a big, big temptation in this town to overindulge and be someone you’re normally aren’t. That can be fun in measured doses, but nothing comes in measured doses in “Sin City.”

Suddenly a wave of exhaustion hits me like a freight train. I’m not an experienced traveller, so I neglected to factor recovering from jet lag into my schedule. As a result my sleep and nutrition cycle is all messed and I’m prone to bouts of powerful weariness. I look at my watch. I have an appointment with a blackjack dealer in an hour so I can’t knock off now. I decide to go over to the Hawaiian Tropic Bar and get a bite to eat. Because the waitresses there wear bikinis it’s not a hard decision to make. What did I say earlier? Sex sells in this town.

As I push off I look at one of the porn slapper cards lying on the ground. Despite the wet shoe print staining it, I can see a young Asian girl named Miko promising me a world of delights if just call (702) 555-5555. Suddenly I wonder where Miko is and if she’s all right.

Knowing that’s a question I’ll never get an answer to, I leave the porn slappers behind and head off to get a burger from some bikini clad waitress. What a town.


Comments

Porn Slappers — 47 Comments

  1. Interesting post. While I don’t think sex is inherently bad, I do feel awful for the people who are caught up in it — Miko, in this case — when it’s pretty likely they’d rather not be.

  2. “. . . the masturbatory ferocity of a nymphomaniacal hummingbird . . . ?”

    Remind me again why I loved that book. ‘Cant wait till waiterrant part deux hits the bookstores.

  3. Back in the 80’s Vegas tried to become family friendly and every casino had an amusement park. Vegas learned that it would be better off embracing it’s “Sinful” side and adopted the slogan “What happens in Vegas…” You know the rest.

    I have been going since the 80’s and I find that people now go out of their way to be as obnoxious as they can, try and create moments that belong in Vegas and as Steve put it, “be someone you’re normally aren’t.” It’s hard for me to not be embarrassed by my species after a four day trip to “Sin City.” I’ve seen some real stupidity in my days.

    Let me also add that, from personal experience, no those woman on the cards look nothing like the women that show up to your room. Yikes!

  4. My husband and I spent a total of 19 days in Vegas over a two year span. We love it there but damn, those porn slappers (great term!) get annoying real fast. When we went though, what always ended up happening was they would often reach past me to try and shove the card into my husband’s hand. At first it was funny, but as our trip wore on, it grew tiresome very quickly. Soon we came up with a perfect solution that made them back off. We would go down the line of them (because they always stand in groups!) and take a card from each one of them. When we got to the end of the line, we’d look back and catch the eye of one or two of them and then drop the cards into the nearest trashcan. We know they have a job to do, but holy hell they were annoying!

    Totally love the hummingbird bit! You rock, Steve!

  5. These JO’s really ruin it for Vegas! You know more than 99% are not interested in what they have to offer. Really, if I was, I sure as hell wouldn’t get the idea from a street vendor!

  6. I can’t wait to read your 2nd book! And hopefully one day I’ll see Las Vegas in person. When the casinos open up in Singapore soon, I wanna try being a cocktail waitress too, just for the fun of it even though I wanna be a teacher eventually, lol. :D

  7. The ugly side of the porn slapper/sex trade is that many of the escorts advertised are not there willingly, but are victims of human trafficking.

    (I don’t have any moral opposition to prostitution, but forcing someone into it is 13 different kinds of wrong.)

  8. Waiter–Steve–what you saw was only the proverbial tip of the iceberg….

    Want to really “git in da shit”?

    Go down behind the Stratosphere Tower to Naked City–but not at night– even Metro (local for the “Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department”–nobody here [except n00bies and tourists] say they’re gonna call “the Police”– here you say you’re calling “Metro”) won’t go there at night.

    Anyway, have fun.

    P.S. The “real” numbers on winning in Vegas?

    5% are winners, 15% break even and 80% are LOSERS.

  9. We always called the ‘porn slapper’ guys ‘slap slap’ guys. I feel sorry for them because it’s probably not a job with benefits or tips and you know they are hoping that INS isn’t patrolling for them. You are right about how in Vegas, you get the creme de la creme of tourists who took that whole “What happens in Vegas…” thing far too seriously. You see bad fashion, bad behaviour and just bad wandering around. We have friends who worked at the hotels who told us horror stories of those who come to town…

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  11. When I stop to consider the alternatives, and how lucky I am to be able to choose my profession, being stiffed on a table or two doesn’t seem so bad (not that I’m condoning non-tippers).

    Glad to get a little perspective now and again. Thanks for the post.

  12. This reminds me of what my High School Librarian said to me a couple of months ago. I had lent her your book and she had lent it to a middle school teacher she knew who used to be a waitress. The first thing he said when he gave it back to her was, “and a STUDENT gave this to you!?”

    Apparently, he thought your book was too naughty for my poor, 18 year old virgin, pure eyes.

    How dare you ruin my poor, virgin eyes, Steve.

    lol. I’m glad you had fun in Sin City.

  13. Visiting that place is like stepping inside a cartoon. You know that it can’t possibly be real, but there you are.

    It’s a hard place to take seriously, and it gets more difficult the longer you’re there. Pass the 3-day barrier, and you’re ready for a detox to get rid of the saturation of not-so-subtle innuendos and in-your-face sexual imagery.

  14. Vegas might be the most unpleasant place on Earth, barring open sewers and Scientology center.

    Why would we, as a culture, erect a place so saturated with money but so lacking in value, an autonomous city-state devoted to the fine art of mitigating defeat.

    It doesn’t matter how many times you go to Cirque or how many bouts of minor joy you have at the blackjack table, the entire city is bloated with cynicism and self-loathing.

    Can’t believe I almost moved there.

  15. And strangely enough there are 2 million people who call the Las Vegas Valley home, including 294,131 students in the Clark County School District. There’s a whole lot of families who live in Vegas, with a varying degree of contact with the Strip itself. Locals don’t go there every day unless they work there. However, you can’t avoid casinos altogether since there’s one in the front of pretty much every grocery store and mini-marts. Even a lot of restaurants have gaming machines.

    Yes, my son has figured out the “hot girls direct to you” thing.

  16. Are you interested at all about people who tip? I have a conference during NFR each year (in Vegas) and I tip at my hotel, cab drivers, bell staff, maids, and anyone else who can make my experience work to get best service. That includes the cocktail waitresses in the bar. I tip strategically to make sure my suite gets the best maid service and bell service and limo service. Shoot me a note if you would like to discuss. Even outside of Vegas, I have a tip strategy. Loved your book, by the way.

    FYI– I am not a high roller. Just a regular person who likes prompt service.

  17. The last time I was in Vegas was 1980 something. Sounds like things have really changed. I don’t think I want to go again. Loved your first book, can’t wait for this one as tipping has always confused me in certain circumstances. I’m sure I overtip, on the other hand I get great service and I’m a happily single woman. My bartenders protect me from “pervs”, I get my nails and hair done on my time schedule. I don’t make a lot of money but I spend it wisely (I think). Your book’s going to help me with that. Keep up the great writing you’re the best!

  18. I just got back from Vegas, and my sister & I made it a game to see who could collect the most cards. They made the perfect joke souvenirs for male friends. I do have to say that my luggage was about 5 pounds over on the way back.

  19. Sex trade saddens me to such a high level. How many people treat the escorts or those selling them like human beings – beyond the sex aspect? It seems more like animal instinct kicks in, and I firmly believe that our moral spirit distinguishes us from the animal kingdom.
    How dare we use our lust for an excuse to fornicate and masturbate in another person! A real man would take his time and cultivate a relationship, not just “conquer a woman.”

    I ask you, what is real conquering? sex, or a relationship? Also, what is more satisfying?

  20. At least it’s not as bad as New Reno, for all my fellow gamers out there (Fallout 2). All I know is if the world goes through an A-Bomb war, we’ll most likely still see all the good and bad stuff from the previous era survive to the next, in varying doses mind you, but without the institutions we had beforehand.

  21. Thanks for the term. Those folks do get very annoying, very fast. But I can’t get irritated at them specifically; it’s just a low-end job and it’s whoever hires them out that I direct my ire at.

    I usually ignore them and try to tune them out. But, you might want to try keeping your ears open next time you walk down a line of them. What I overheard was just regular conversations, like you’d hear between folks at a bar or barber shop; all the slapping and handing out cards was kind of on autopilot.

    Enjoy your trip. Try out one of the restaurants in the Venetian if you can–I’m curious if you’ll enjoy the food there as much as I did.

    Oh! That reminds me. Perhaps you could interview one of the gondoliers at the Venetian. K

  22. Las Vegas is a factory town. The Strip is the factory. It’s ugly. We who live here do not go there if we do not work there. Or out-of-town relations show up and don’t rent a car, so we have to go to them.

    I’ve waited tables and never made good tips. Then they put me in the kitchen, where I thrived!

    I should tell you that I had to tip $20/cat to get them shaved nicely instead of choppy. And there were several cats.

  23. Dear Sir:
    Regarding your use of the derogatory term “masturbatory ferocity of a nymphomaniacal hummingbird”. As a card carrying member of the Trochilidae family, I find the reference both defamatory and non-sensical. During my (albeit short) lifetime as a Lesser North American Hummingbird, I have known my fellow Hummingbirds to be neither nymphomaniacal, nor particularly masterbatory! Oh sure! Occasionally after consuming darn near ones own body weight of partly fermented sweet nectar from the odd over-ripe honeysuckle, even WE gentle, graceful, aerial acrobats, feel the sudden urge to “flog the Bishop”! Well, excuuuuuse US!!!
    If, once in a great while, the irresistible urge to “wax the dolphin” means I must take half a second for some pleasant self gratification, does that make me a pervert? I think not! If you find the near-invisible blurr of my 0.5 seconds of “sharpening the pork pencil” disgusting, maybe you should try watching a sloth attempt to pull off a quickie! Yeah, thats right, 4 hours on a good day! Or better yet, watch Jumbo the Elephant “rubbing one out” sometime and see if you sleep easy ever again.
    My point is, don’t begrudge us the occasional “pud pounding”. It’s tough enough trying to find a little time for self in this crazy world, and I’d like to see YOU maintain a stable hover while beating one wing 600 times a minute, and beating your meat with the other.
    Thanks

    Harry Hummingbird, Esq.

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  25. vegas is something you can’t even comprehend, it’s cold and sterile, but sunny and warm; it’s transient, but has a long history; it’s so large, but so small (we run in to people from the small town we’re from all the time), it’s corporate but family oriented… it’s a living, breathing conundrum. It’s something you have to live and experience to really understand. I’ve been out here 2.5 years and i don’t even understand it yet. as much as i hate this town sometime, i would still say, don’t judge us too harshly.

  26. I can’t wait to hear about the encounter between you and Dollie. (She already told me she met up with you, so I know it happened!). The convergence of two of my favorite bloggers will surely be so awesome as to shake the foundations of the Internet.

    As for Vegas, I make it out there about 3-4 days at a time, maybe 3-4 times a year. Over the years I’ve found it’s much more pleasant to stay off the Strip. The only reason to go there is to drop by where Dollie works and hang out with her. :)

  27. On one trip to Vegas, I was told that the reason that they slap like that is due to a Clark County by-law that forbids them from speaking. So they slap the cards or whatever to make a noise and get attention

  28. “the masturbatory ferocity of a nymphomaniacal hummingbird.”

    Brilliant.

    I’ve never been to Las Vegas, it’s somewhere I’d like to go to say I’ve been there but by the sounds of things-I won’t like it very much!

  29. Is this a Vegas thing? I admit to being naive on this subject but that’s pretty impressively direct advertising. I too wonder and feel bad about people – not just women or young girls in prostitution but people anywhere who are forced to give up their dreams and chase shadows. But this has to be one of the worst things and yet, if this is their only means of livelihood – I know this will be probably be controversial – but I would much rather they had the business than they didn’t. Unless, that is, they had other options or some way of getting out.

    I am sure you know this but the way you write is amazing – you are a natural storyteller.

    Venus Reinvented

  30. Look at the cards, the girls on them are not naked. Or maybe they are and the girls here are different; born with little stars on their breasts where nipples should be.

    Yes, locals usually stay off the Strip. But where else, if I feel like it, can I visit Paris, New York and Rome all in an hour? I can take a vacation any time I like.

  31. You, of all people, should realize that there is more to a book than the cover. Vegas is what you make of it. You want smut? You get smut. Obviously that is what you’re looking for if that is all you see.

    There is a vast amount of entertainment, symphony, art galleries, theater, broadway plays and other cultural exploits in addition to the overt sexual ones you seek out. That is on the strip alone. Have you gone into the artist community? For every negative stereotype you can name I can name 3 positives.

    Take a visit 20 mins West and you will find Red Rock Canyon. It’s a national park with wild mustangs, burros and all sorts of wildlife. It has some of the most amazing and awe inspiring scenery I’ve seen anywhere in the world and I’ve been many places in the U.S. and abroad.

    So, if you wanna plunge yourself into a degenerate state of depravity enjoy- but why drag down a city of 2 million people (who are here only to indulge and make you “the tourist” happy)?

    Most of my friends work in the service industry. WE LAUGH at people who think like this. At the end of the day we go home to our COMMUNITY and families- We go to church, pta, picnics in the park, skiing at the ski lodge, movies, fairs and whatever else is fun, just like everyone else in every other city.

    I hope you take the time to get some insight into what your motivation is. As I said- you will find just what it is you want to find. There is nothing happening here that isn’t happening in any other large city in America. It is just easier to find.

    Bon Chance- since you’re at the Paris :)

  32. 中国公文网There is a vast amount of entertainment, symphony, art galleries, theater, broadway plays and other cultural exploits in addition to the overt sexual ones you seek out. That is on the strip alone. Have you gone into the artist community? For every negative stereotype you can name I can name 3 positives.

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