Chattanooga prostitutes. Note the location-specific title. Coincidence? No. Chattanooga-area prostitutes have a unique distinction from all others across the country as judged by an extremely qualified and extremely objective group: A past crew of the Fox television staple “Cops.”
These cats crisscross the country year round and work cities from 100,000 to 11,000,000 in density. And what was their one defining distinction for Chattaboogie? “Good GOD, guys. You have the ugliest hookers we ever seen. I’m serious. What the hell kind of tourist town is this?!” a grizzled cameraman (ironically named John) said.
Having never solicited prostitutes in other towns (much less worked their beats as a cop), it had never occurred to me before that prostitutes were anything other than “fugly,” as granddaddy Zug Teach used to say.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize the far-reaching implications this has on a town, both socially and economically.
Think: What does it say about the median income of our local populace? It says they are broke, or at least cripplingly cheap customers. When a customer is cheap at a restaurant, they tip poorly. Poor tips mean wait staff quit for better pay elsewhere, and they’re replaced by inferior workers. Inferior workers mean customer dissatisfaction and therefore fewer customers patronize the place and the business struggles.
Same thing with hookers, except in this case the business failing is represented by a systematic loss of teeth by the staff (no pun intended) and an increase in the percentage of their bodies covered by grime and sores. And so go the prices, and so goes the quality of the product (or at least its marketability).
Second, this “Hookernomics” then has a direct impact on out-of-town businessmen who our chamber of commerce goes to a great deal of trouble to lure here.
You take your average guy, subject him to long days of airports, cramped seating and the general irritation of travel, then place him in a hotel room he didn’t pay for in a town where no one knows him. How could he be expected to not solicit a prostitute? And what does he get? The chick from the “Grudge” movies. And “boom”, Chattanooga just lost its next rubber dogshit factory and I don’t get a raise again. Great.
Now let’s continue to break down the column title: “Prostitutes.”
Despite the many different names for them, “prostitute” is my preference because the formality of the name is made ironic when put together with the hideous local specimens, and it’s also appropriate to use that word around children.
Where to spot them? Well, out of decency to the people trying to live and raise their children there (and therefore, after the first few times I saw kids playing with the used needles and condoms they leave in their yards, I do not consider prostitution a “victimless crime”), you only have to look for dirty hitchhikers in narrow roadways off of East 23rd Street. The chick with the glassy, vacant eyes, invariably dirty, sandaled feet, and a purse that it looks like she lives out of it? She’ll be the one speaking to an older minister or preacher who, if caught (again) will just insist he was trying to “preach” to her (with his nah-nah involved in the sermon, apparently).
It’s an ugly world, and it takes quite a few missed dance recitals to wind up in that vocation, but they are there, and Richard Gere isn’t going to be driving by anytime soon in his Lotus to romanticize this dark vocation.
Alex Teach is a full-time police officer of nearly 20 years experience. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/alex.teach.