Apparently, I’m living across the street from a whorehouse. I know this because my hairdresser, Chris, says so.
When I told Chris that one of his former stylists and a friend moved into the rental home across from me, he grabbed my shoulders meaningfully, and his mouth formed a perfect “O.” He performs this gesture at least a dozen times during the average haircut. We live in a small resort community, and he knows everything about everyone. So, any proper noun is sure to touch off a dramatic gesture and riveting round of gossip.
“They’re whores!” Chris said triumphantly. “And they’re running a whorehouse! And they’re not straight, either. They’re bisexual, and they put on sex shows!”
You’d think that I would have done a spit-take at that news, but, instead, I calmly sipped my wine, and nodded in agreement. It wasn’t all that shocking, because at least once every visit, Chris tells me of a local whorehouse operated by some desperate single mom.
On my last visit, Chris told me that my former tenant ran a whorehouse out of my house! According to him, my renter, who happened to be a massage therapist at Chris’s salon, was turning tricks right in front of her small son.
“It’s a good thing you kicked her out,” Chris said. “There’s a fine line between being a massage therapist and being a whore.”
“Not really, Chris,” I replied. “A massage therapist doesn’t sleep with clients for money. But a whore does.”
“Exactly,” Chris said, and then launched into a long, convoluted tale about a former Miss Tuliptime who lost her crown after a stunning fall from grace. Miss Tuliptime is the premier teen beauty pageant in the region, and, apparently, is little more than a whore factory. The pageant takes wholesome high school students; stuffs them into sequin-casings; and churns out generations of kohl-eyed, tobacco-stained, beer-breathed tramps.
Chris and his partner, James, deeply are involved in the local pageant circuit. They either are gearing up, winding down, or vowing to drop out of the circuit altogether to punish the small-minded, taste-deprived townsfolk who refuse to appreciate their talents.
“Let’s just see them pick out proper tiaras without us!” Chris threatens several times a year, wielding a rat comb in the air like a saber.
My favorite time to visit the salon is at the run-up to our town’s pageant, one of the qualifying rounds for the Miss Tuliptime Pageant. The salon is always flush with teen contestants who merrily give up any sense of self-esteem for the honor of being insulted and coiffed by Chris and James.
“Oh, honey!” Chris said, shaking his head sadly at one perfectly pretty high school student, as she skulked to his chair. “You don’t have a hope in hell of winning, so let’s do a ponytail, and go for Miss Congeniality.”
My girlfriend has begged me to switch salons. Every visit takes an average of three hours, she complains. It’s time that better can be spent mixing her martinis, and staring longingly into her eyes.
But I refuse to switch, because: (a) Chris is the only hairdresser in my long, troubled history who knows how to tame my hair; and (b) how else would I keep tabs on all the whores in town?
When I returned home that night, I peeked out at the whorehouse across the street. A lot of suspicious late-night comings and goings have been happening. The two tenants are busty, and have oddly colored hair, which certainly suggests sluttiness.
Frankly, though, I doubt that either is bright enough to charge money for it. Still, a good story is a good story. So, I called up the owners of the house, who happen to be friends, and happily announced the news.
“Thank God!” my friend exclaimed. “Maybe we finally found a tenant who will pay the rent on time.”