Despite the adage that vice is recession-proof, even ladies of the evening are falling on hard times these days.
This once proud profession has seen earnings decline for most of 2008. Instead of patronizing many popular establishments, men are reportedly staying home and playing Grand Theft Auto, which features brothels and unsavory night clubs.
Egbert Krumeich, manager of Artemis, the largest brothel in Berlin, said the global recession had dented his revenue by 20% in November, usually peak season for the industry. Meanwhile, in Reno, Nevada, the multimillion-dollar Mustang Ranch recently laid off 30% of its staff, citing a decline in high-spending clients.
“I feel like I no longer have a purpose,” said one laid-off madame. “I’m going to pick up knitting again. Or maybe I’ll start a public company. At least then, I’ll be eligible for a bailout.”
All economic indicators of the health of the industry are down: the rate of STDs is decreasing for the first time in recorded history, Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood have filed for bankruptcy, and pharmacy giant CVS reported condom purchases were limp in Q3 2008.
Several high-profile prostitutes offered solidarity for the failing profession.
Free-agent major league pitcher CC Sabathia announced he will be turning down a 6-year $140 million offer to play for the New York Yankees. “I cannot, in good conscience, take that much money when the world’s oldest profession is in such dire straights. I’ve contacted the Dodgers, Giants, and Angels, to let them know I’m willing to take $100 million from any of them. It’s the least I can do.”
Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said he was forming a charity for the industry. “So many politicians are prostitutes themselves,” he said yesterday. “We should be banding together in this time of need. I’m putting my mouth where I used to put my money. I call on other politicians who patronized brothels in better times to join me.”
Actress Susan Sarandon said: “It’s the damnedest year. The Durham Bulls can’t lose, and I can’t get laid.”
When informed she was being interviewed about the troubled prostitution industry, not one of her old movies, she responded: “I don’t care. It’s still the damnedest year. And I still can’t get laid.”