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Randy Cassingham

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bullet  Moonlite Bunny Ranch

Last week I spoke at yet another Mensa "gathering" (convention), this one a regional affair hosted by the Northern Nevada chapter. I happen to know several Mensans in Nevada: some are readers, several are relatives of good friends here in Colorado. They really begged and pleaded for me to come and talk at the first Regional Gathering they were doing, and I finally relented.

I have to admit that something on the sign-up form intrigued me: the group was planning to sponsor a brothel tour. Nevada is well known for its casino gambling, and it's perhaps less known that several of its more rural counties also license houses of prostitution -- the only state in the U.S. where brothels are legal. And yes, the cathouses have billboards pointing the way to the front door.

Insert obligatory joke here about how Mensans have social skills that almost require paying for sex. Well, that pretty much is true for a subset, but it's definitely not the case for the majority. (I commented on some Mensans' lack of social skills in my first Mensa blog posting, after I attended this year's Denver AG. All in all, I've found most Mensans to be pretty "normal" people.)

One "abnormal" part of most Mensans is that they have terrifically open minds: they want to learn about just about everything, which is why they had scheduled a tour of the brothels in the first place. As for me, I've made a career out of exploring the human condition by observing the weird things humans do with life. I certainly hadn't explored the "world's oldest profession" in any depth, and I leaped at the opportunity to learn about it.

But after arriving in Reno we got bad news: the tour was pretty much an all-day affair, leaving in the morning and not getting back until the late afternoon, thanks to their using a shuttle bus that made a huge loop going all the way to Lake Tahoe. OK, I didn't have that much time to run around looking at cathouses -- I do have to work when I'm on the road. Kit and I bowed out of the tour, as did several others.

But then a buddy who was also there as a speaker said, "How about if we rent a car, hit just a couple of the places, and then head back to the hotel to get some work done?" That would only take a few hours, even with a stop for lunch. In total, five of us went: me, Kit, my buddy Russ, a gal who is quite high up in the national Mensa organization, and a friend of hers.

Now, you may be raising an eyebrow at two things I just said, and I'll take this opportunity to unabashedly confirm them. 1) The group that went was two guys and three gals; and 2) Indeed one of the women was my wife. Yep: I took my wife with me the first time I ever went to a whorehouse.

Kit looked up the address for the main attraction, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, which opened in 1955 and is known as the subject of the HBO documentary series, Cathouse. I've never seen the series since I don't have HBO, but I'm vaguely aware that there is such a show. Kit found the address in the phone book (remember, such places are legal): 69 (ha ha) Moonlight Rd, just outside Carson City, Nevada. The "town" it's in isn't incorporated, but is quite appropriately named: Mound House. Yes, really.

Bunnies humping street signWe plugged the address into our GPS navigation system and set out.

Even if one manages to miss the billboard along the road, the "road sign" on the way in (right) makes it clear you're nearing the place. And yes, it felt decidedly odd to go down their driveway. After you pass the helicopter landing area (for the high rollers flying in from Reno and Vegas), there is ample parking.

Even the parking lot elicited some amusement: there is not only handicapped parking (and supposedly the Bunny Ranch has spent several hundred thousand dollars ensuring access throughout the facility for handicapped customers), but there's also bicycle parking (shown in the photo below), which I suppose is for customers who have lost their licenses after too many DUI convictions. (They're not for Little Johnny: you have to be 18 to buy services here.)

The front of the Bunny Ranch

I noticed that no one seemed to want to park right in front. Including Russ.

We pushed the button on the gate, and a moment later we were buzzed in and met in the entryway by an employee who welcomed us in -- showing no surprise whatever that there were women in the mix. We told her that we were part of an arranged tour group, but had come separately. No problem, she said; the people on the bus hadn't shown up yet. She explained that several of the "girls" (their term) would do a line-up for us, and we should choose one of them to conduct our tour.

 
Way Out
Sticker: Thanks for Cumming!
Sticker on the back of the gate, so you can see it on your way out.
About a half-dozen of the girls lined up and introduced themselves. None were naked, or even nearly so; most were wearing some sort of lingerie. Some were clearly showing off nice bodies, some were "hiding" imperfections. My first impression: what a wide variety of women! Thin and heavy. Young and definitely ...uh... not young. White, black, and Asian. Blonde and brunette. Pretty and definitely not (though, of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, eh?)

When no one said a word after the introductions, the hostess (madam?) again invited us to choose one. Now, at 6'3" I'm a very tall guy, so I tend to stand in the back of groups. And every one of the four people with me, from my buddy to my wife, simultaneously turned around and looked to me to choose one of the girls. I rolled my eyes and chose the gal I thought was the best looking one of the bunch.

"Wendy" (not her real name) came right over and, looking straight into my eyes, firmly shook my hand and said she was glad to meet me (eat your heart out, Russ!) Then I got my first disappointment: no photos, please. She gave us a cursory tour of the place, ending in her room (which she did not call a "crib"). She plopped onto her bed and accepted our barrage of questions.

"Do your mom and dad know where you work?" Nope: and she has to be quite careful since she's a local, and her father is well known in the community. "What's your cover story, then?" She said she tells people she's a "personal assistant". Yep, those are some pretty personal services!

"What if the guy really, really turns you off?" The girls don't have to do anything they don't want to, Wendy assured us. Or, she said, she quotes a price high enough that the guy either decides to opt for a different girl ("beauty is in the eye of the beholder" goes both ways), or it's enough that it's "worth it" to her.

 
One More Stop
We also stopped briefly at another place down the road
We also stopped briefly at another brothel, the Kit Kat Guest Ranch, about a mile down the road. We pretty much had to, considering my wife's name is Kit. Here we are posing out front.
"How much does it cost?" Depends on how long you want to "party" -- the generic term they use for their services -- and what you want to do. Everything is negotiable; whatever she can get the guy (or gal) to agree to.

"Wait: you sometimes get female customers?!" Yep. And couples, too.

Once the price and "party" details are negotiated, the services are paid for up front -- and the house gets half. "Er, um, do they take credit cards?" Absolutely! It doesn't show up on your bill as Bunny Ranch, but rather "Lake Tahoe Cash Advance". (Pause while a bunch of wives run in to examine their husbands' credit card bills from their last "business trip" to Nevada....)

The cost question, not really being answered, came up again, so Wendy expanded on it. It's extremely variable, of course, but once partying, girls make about $2,500/hour on average, she said -- which we certainly didn't believe. That would mean the guy is paying $5,000/hr. But we would believe she could make that much, or more, on a good day. She said she was using her proceeds to pay for college (she's well into her schooling, and has no debt), and she said she had bought a business in Reno as an investment -- and she had only been working there for about a year.

"What are you studying?" She said she wants to be a (wait for it!) sex therapist. She'd probably be a good one, too.

"What was the hardest part?" Getting started, she said. She was added to the line-up quite quickly after she applied for the job. Not only was she quite understandably nervous, she had no training whatever on how to negotiate -- it was pretty much sink or swim.

"What about diseases?" The girls are examined by a doctor weekly, and tested for various diseases. The men must always use condoms (per state law). No licensed prostitute in Nevada has ever tested positive for HIV/AIDS. The girls also get a three-day class on detecting signs of STDs in men before they go into the line-up.

"What was the most difficult client?" An 80ish-year-old man who wanted to tie her up and tickle her. She hates being tickled, she said, so it was difficult to pretend she liked it. Apparently she did a good job, since by the end he wanted to have sex. "You can't afford it," she told him.

"What if he -- or someone -- got out of hand?" The rooms have conspicuous intercom systems. If the girl is at all worried, she can signal the office to listen in, and send aid at any hint of trouble.

"Are most of the men married?" No, she claimed; about 80 percent are single, she'd guess. We doubted that, figuring more like 80 percent are married.

"What have you learned about men?" They mostly want someone to pay attention to them, be with them, listen to them, appreciate them. This we certainly believe -- and figure that goes for most women, too. The beautiful, sexy woman pretending she's interested in the guy's dull life? Yeah, that would surely take a big price tag to suffer through that day after day!

While on-shift, the girls pretty much spend 24 hours a day on duty, as the brothels are typically open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (new holiday carol: "I Wanna Hooker for Christmas"...). Wendy says she works about 10 days a month, since she wants to ensure she has a real life on the outside, which sounds smart. Some girls work several weeks a month.

Wendy clearly enjoyed her work. I've never had a similar chat with an illegal hooker, but I imagine working in a legal brothel would be a lot less stressful. She clearly enjoys having control, she makes great money, she enjoys providing the fantasy and "adventure" her customers are looking for (sex is not the primary desire, she claims -- and I think I believe that), and she doesn't have to do anything she really doesn't want to do. She led us back to the entrance and took the $20 bill I slipped her as a thank-you with another firm handshake.

I imagine that other working girls, perhaps even some at the Bunny Ranch, are far more desperate, naive, and (dare I say it?) squalid. The entire group agreed: I chose well. I'm pretty sure that was a compliment.


An aerial view of the Bunny Ranch. (To zoom in, close the "bubble", drag the marker to the center, then use the "+" button to enlarge):

Note: The "Russ" in this story (his real name) is decidedly not "Rus" (also his real name) who is True's Official Consulting Pastor.

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50 Comments on This Entry

All comments in this blog are reviewed prior to being published. Spammers: don't waste your time. The posting criteria are simple: if a comment is worth visitors' time to read, it's approved. If not, it's not.


Posted by Dustin L., California on October 10, 2008:

Looking at the picture of the "bike" parking, I'm pretty sure it's for motorbikes - not bicycles. There's no place to lock up a bicycle right there.

I also like that the Kit Kat is open 25 hours. I assume that's eight days a week.

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One would hope! Yes, I'm sure motorcycles could park in the "BIKE" parking spots, but bicycles are what came to mind when I saw it, so I went with my first impression. -rc

Posted by Russ, California on October 10, 2008:

As the "Russ" mentioned in this story, I'd like to point out that I was driving to this area strictly for historical purposes to visit the marker less than 1/3 mile from "the ranch" that notes the ridge above the ranch was part of the famous Pony Express route from Hall's Station to Carson City. I was simply being a good friend to drive Randy et al to the ranch.

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Uh huh. I noticed you didn't want to wait in the car! -rc

Posted by David, Canada on October 10, 2008:

Shall we start calling you "Holden Caulfield" then, Randy? :)

(And, as a side note, as a cyclist, I'm with Dustin on the hypothesis of the "bikes" parking - another reason would be because unless they live in town, it looks like a long way to ride a bicycle from anywhere.)

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While I Catch your Wry reference, I'll demur since I'm not a fictional character. -rc

Posted by Beth, Denver, CO on October 10, 2008:

Thank you for posting this, Randy. It was quite an interesting read. I was surprised to read that they are checked weekly, but I'm pleased to learn that women that are working in that particular industry are taken care of in that manner.

Are there any brothels with male workers, either exclusively or co-ed? Is male prostitution legal, or only female?

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Glad you found it interesting. The "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss announced plans for a brothel stocked with men in 2005. I've never heard whether it ever got (cough) up and running or not, though. -rc

Posted by Tom in California on October 10, 2008:

I recall seeing a 60 Minutes interview with the owner of the Mustang Ranch (I believe it has since declared bankruptcy) who stated that she would love to have male prostitutes working there. The only catch - she couldn't find any men who could work an 8-hour shift.

Posted by Jeremy, Tigard Oregon on October 11, 2008:

Randy, you rock!

My wife and I, and her best friend, got a tour of the Bunny Ranch a few years ago - we stopped in for t-shirts but were offered a tour while we were there. While we primarily dealt with the one woman, conversations with the other ladies showed them all to be quite well-read and intelligent. Definitely the highlight of our trip to Nevada!

(yes, it was a little weird for me to tour a cathouse with two ladies 'on my arm' and one of them my wife; our tour guide had a little verbal fun with me on that account)

What I remember most - aside from the impressive business savvy of our tour guide - was the 'wet room' and the hobby horse, just in case you hit the same rooms on your tour that we did...

Posted by Mark - Melbourne, Australia on October 11, 2008:

Interesting. Reminds me of a friend who briefly worked in a similar institution when I was at Uni. She did it for the spending money, and had been first approached by another of her friends who worked there are a receptionist! Her main comment was that many of her clients seemed to be lonely - she had one regular client who paid for her time simply to talk.

Not certain if the establishment was legal or not, but remember her saying that regular check ups were the norm. I might add that this was before HIV/AIDS was well known - still widely thought of as an exclusively gay & intravenous drug user problem.

Posted by Lynn, Melbourne, Australia on October 11, 2008:

Here in Melbourne (and most of Australia) we have legal brothels, escort services, etc. While there isn't a brothel staffed exclusively by males, a woman CAN, through an Escort Agency, get a male, who will take her out for a fun time, as well as "private services". There are only a few Male Escorts for females (the rest are homosexual) so they are quite expensive, thorough & very much appreciated, so I hear (I drive escorts, but these males have their own cars).

Here, I think, they carry out a very necessary function, not just for the lonely, but helping the safety of innocent women [& men - believe it or not] on the streets (& yes, if necessary, escorts can legally file rape & assault charges, but it happens very rarely & there has only been one murder in the past 10 years - not escort related).

Posted by John in Lexington, SC on October 11, 2008:

I'm wondering if you had considered posting this blog in blue, but you might have thought that was trite...

Excellent reportage, Randy, it seems you did an (cough, cough) in depth study, and with your wife along. We'll have to call you Racy Randy, or maybe just Randy Randy.

Posted by Merlin, Kansas on October 11, 2008:

Thanks for an interesting blog! I'm surprised that the girls are checked weekly; I'd thought I heard that the interval was monthly. It sounds like they are treated very well, and well paid for their "services".

I've long thought that the US (and the states) should have really tried to learn the lesson of Prohibition - morality can't be legislated. At least if (like Nevada) you legalize everything, you can regulate it and provide for safety and quality control. Not just prostitution, but drugs and other "moral" choices, too.

Posted by Moongrim Oregon on October 11, 2008:

Seems to me that the Government would be better able to regulate versus opposing something that many guys want anyway. What sells it to me? 'and she doesn't have to do anything she really doesn't want to do.'

Wish my job allowed me to do that!

Posted by Charles, McKinney, TX on October 11, 2008:

Indeed, fascinating. While I wouldn't necessarily put it (going to a brothel) on my "Bucket List", my curiosity was along the same lines of your questions. Thank you for filling in those missing pieces of my "education". One question, though - Did Kit and the other lady find it "as" informative, or did they change their pre-conceived (no pun intended - really) opinions of the women that work in that profession?

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All three ladies were quite fascinated by the tour, and were not intimidated in any way. -rc

Posted by Mike from Dallas on October 11, 2008:

Great article; I enjoyed the reading. About the hours of operation, I used to pass a spa/massage parlor on I-10 outside of San Antonio that had a sign advising that they were open 23 hours a day. Which hour that they weren't open was up for question, but it was never important enough for me to stop and ask.

Posted by Ann from San Francisco on October 11, 2008:

My husband, a few friends and myself had a similar "adventure" to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch a few years ago, during the hype of the HBO series. All we wanted were T-Shirts but we were also greeted with a "line-up" of women after being buzzed into the building via intercom ...but not everyone was fully clothed for us! We felt terrible when we admitted we were just there for T-shirts!!! Luckily everyone was friendly, the ladies went their separate ways except for a few (of the clothed ones) and the hostess who chatted with us and showed us a variety of merchandise. Our group bought T-shirts, lighters and a shot glass. Before leaving, we took pictures by the signs out front while all wearing our matching "Hi Mom" trucker hats. That photo made great Christmas cards...which I only sent to the group of friends who had joined us on that trip!!! :)

Posted by Steven, Boulder CO on October 11, 2008:

Question to prostitute: "What was the hardest part?"

>> Insert easy-to-find punchline here.

But if it lasts for more than four hours, call your doctor. -rc

Posted by BAJAJORGE-BAJA, MEXICO on October 11, 2008:

Back in the late 80's, went up to the Reno, hot August nights and had a cousin living in Reno. He took me on a tour of the local cathouses and one was the Kit Kat that we went into. Had a beer and noticed most of the girls there were very young and good looking. Asked a couple of them if they worked there all the time. No, they were U.S.S.D students and only worked the summer months there to make money for their education. That was a shock to hear that many college girls work the Nevada cathouses in the summer months.

Posted by Steve, Evansville, IN on October 11, 2008:

You made one reference in your story that I must take exception to. You referred to prostitution as "the world's oldest profession". This incorrect. Farming is the world's oldest profession. There two differences between them. One is longer history: people have had to eat from the time Adam appeared, hence farming was here first. Second, they are both getting screwed all the time but the farmer doesn't even get kissed!!

Just thought I would point this out.

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Humans have been evolving for millions of years, but agriculture didn't start until around 100,000 years ago. I think it's pretty conclusive which profession is older. -rc

Posted by Fred, Australia on October 12, 2008:

It might be something to look up, if this is a legal profession, then the brothels can advertise for positions, but does that mean that when local women apply for welfare, they might find them a position there. A sort of you won't get welfare if you knock back a job.

Sounds nasty.

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I doubt that the state could require anyone to take such a job. -rc

Posted by James Orlando on October 13, 2008:

Very interesting how we view ourselves. You make efforts to point out that the group you were with was "abnormal" in their open mindedness then begin to list the very narrow views held.

"no one seemed to want to park right in front"

"once partying, girls make about $2,500/hour on average, she said -- which we certainly didn't believe"

"We doubted that, figuring more like 80 percent are married."

You go to a new place and then decide that the people you interview there are liars. Um, that would be the opposite of open minded.

And the humor throughout showed that titillation was about the only curiosity you had.

Not your best piece.

---

You confuse "open-minded" with "gullible". People have agendas, especially when they're trying to sell extremely high-priced goods. To swallow everything without any skepticism isn't "open-minded", it's stupid -- and the group was anything BUT stupid. -rc

Posted by Larry on October 13, 2008:

Sorry, Steve from Evansville. People lived as hunters and gatherers long before they started farming, so you and Randy are both wrong about the world's oldest profession. It's SALES, by five minutes!

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The "world's oldest profession" idiom refers to prostitution. Idioms don't necessarily have to be literally true. -rc

Posted by Will, VA on October 13, 2008:

Your report on the ranch was informative. Your comment on wives checking credit card statements, funny, yet also sad in a sense as it relates to the truth issue in marriage. My main reason for comment, I take issue with the statement made by a previous post. The statement was "morality can not be legislated". I would argue that only the pet issues of the day can not be (or are chosen not to be) legislated against. I would ask is it ok to do the following: rape, murder, steal, have slaves or beat your wife, all of which are moral issues but have laws against them. The arguement that government should not make laws to govern morality would, in my mind, raise the question where does morality (moral: pertaining to, or concerned with the principles of right conduct) come from then and who determines what is right and what is wrong. If the answer is, the individual,and we are able to do what is ethical, then why do we have laws against the previously mentioned issues and a host of others? If not the individual, then who,what or where? I am not commenting on my opionion of the right or wrong of the topic of the article because my opinion does not have bearing on my question of legislated morality. At the very least my rebuttal should be a thought to ponder.

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Rape, murder and theft are not "moral issues" in this context, they're rights issues. -rc

Posted by Cap'n Louie, Georgia, US on October 14, 2008:

I believe the argument about legislating morality vs outlawing crimes relates more to whether there exists an unwilling, and thereby harmed, victim. Clearly, rape or assault has unwilling victims, and is therefore not strictly a morality issue. Prostitution has no more victims than a shoe shine stand or a barber shop. You willingly hand money to another individual for a service. Its legality should be no different, also. For that matter, how different is it that I buy Sally dinner and jewelry, and she has sex with me, and perhaps no further contact? The only difference between Sally and "Wendy" is the form of the "payment".

Here's another example: I live in Georgia, where our state government has decided that I cannot walk into Bob's Package Store and buy a bottle of their finest rum on a Sunday. They pretend it has naught to do with religion, but many legislators admit that they are following fundamental Christian demands. Here's the hypocrisy: On Sunday, I can go into Bob's Restaurant, next door to the liquor store, and drink an entire bottle of rum if I choose, one drink at a time, completely legally. The governor has indicated that to him, it is definitely a morality issue. He has also said that he is helping us with "time management" by having us buy our rum on Saturday instead, therefore having us "plan better". (Disclosure: I am a Christian who has rejected the Fundamentalist notion that we should all be alcohol-free.)

I have never, and due to a satisfactory marriage, do not plan to, employ a prostitute. But I can not make that decision for anyone else. You can attempt to legislate morality, but all you really do is force people to lie about it. Most every large metropolitan city proves that people WILL employ prostitutes, but by outlawing it, the government is the one creating victims. By forcing this act underground, the victim is the girl (or guy) who has to work for the abusive pimps. Funny isn't it? Just like Prohibition, the Government is the one who takes a consenting act and creates victims.

Don't hand me the "wife/husband/family as a victim" of prostitution. Phooey. If a spouse isn't faithful, whether they hire a legal "Wendy", or finds just a local person willing to sleep with them, it's the same thing.

Posted by dave San antonio tx on October 14, 2008:

Very interesting article. How times have changed and remained the same. I made a visit as a single man to the Mustang Ranch in the 70's and had a very satisfying full hour visit for $40. Took three girls about 20 minutes to check me for a clear fluid (the std lookover) and a most titillating pleasant conversation. Made the trip mainly out of curiosity and never went again though I am in the area regularly. An honorable profession for those who can handle it and good learning experience about people.

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Well, you can't go back to the Mustang Ranch: it was famously taken over by the government, and is no longer in operation. -rc

Posted by Brian, Tucson AZ on October 14, 2008:

Cap'n Louie answered Will's statement very well. The basics of this argument can be summed up by the central tenet of Wicca (I paraphrase): "As long as you harm no one, do as you will."

While I'm not wiccan myself, this basic concept can be used by everyone to check if their laws, rules and regulations pass the "sniff" test -- appropriate for public safety or impinging on the liberty of others.

Posted by Sam - Cincinnati, Ohio on October 14, 2008:

I just have to ask, did this one overload the server? Well it comes down (at least for me) to either self control or imposed control. I have never been to a 'house', but then when younger never had any need to. Those who are outraged by this open access to serve human need seem to require official approval for their own actions. Some of us choose to judge for ourselves what is and is not acceptable. Save us from those who would dictate what is right or wrong by their standard! Nice write up Randy. thank you. I enjoy your "This is true" very much and hope to be able to read it for many more years.

Posted by Ed, Pueblo, Colorado on October 14, 2008:

Interesting comments, Randy. Fifty years ago I surveyed for the SP RR in Nevada during the summers I was going to college. So, I am familiar with the location of the houses in Wells, Elko, and Winnemucca. We also went by the houses in Fernley and Pyrimid Lake.

When in Vietnam in 1968, assigned to MACV in Soc Trang, the three engineers were tasked by the province Senior Advisor to design and build security for the MACV/CORDS compound.

After coordination with the 21st Infantry Division provost marshal advisor, we ended up with a plan that incorporated two brothels within our newly built security fence. Most the clients were GIs from MACV and the Soc Trang Army Airfield.

The four Corps of Engineers advisors living there had a small house next to the Province Senior Advisor's House. A small brothel of three cribs was located across the street from us. While I never visited a whorehouse, two of my housemates did.

One day I came down with some bug and was flat on my back in bed. The madam across the street, "Liz," apparently was an well educated woman knocked on our door and I told our maid to let her in.

She was carrying a huge tureen of chicken soup and said, "Captain Fritz says you are Jewish, and I know Jewish people get well on chicken soup. Enjoy!" Damned if it wasn't the best meal I had that year!

Posted by Glenn, Colorado on October 14, 2008:

There's really no reason to doubt the numbers "Wendy" gave you.

A good stripper in a club with a decent level of traffic can make $2,500 a day; if a woman couldn't make more money having sex than just by taking her clothes off, why would she ever do more than take her clothes off? Plus, if they have a helipad to accept high-rollers, that means they have a fair number of clients expecting to pay thousands, not hundreds. And if "Wendy" was the most attractive girl in the line-up (assuming your standards aren't wildly deviant from the norm), she could expect to get a lot of those high-rollers.

As for the 80/20 unmarried/married split, that seems likely to me, actually. Young unmarried men come to Vegas to party, and hit the local attractions in packs. Why not the whorehouses, too? Besides, my experience with cheating spouses (as a former couples counselor) is that most of them find their flings at work or in local bars; that way, they can tell their spouses (and themselves) that it "just happened". It's hard to pretend it "just happened" after you drive out to find the brothel, pick your girl out of a line-up, and lay out more money than you put towards your mortgage or car payment that month.

Posted by Bonnie Sheila, St. Petersburg, FL on December 27, 2008:

I'm too had to laugh at your piece that basically called the woman that was nice enough to give you a tour and answer your interview questions a liar on several counts. You replied to another similar comment saying that your scepticism was a result of her having a vested interest in overstating her income. I can totally wrap my head around your reasoning, but with no additional research on your part, no other interviews for comparison, and ostensibly having never stepped into a brothel before, it's a pretty hubris attitude. What about also dismissing her estimate of the married/single mix? I can't think of a way that lying about that would benefit her. And I really can't think why you would think that you would know better than her.

---

Well, here's what I find interesting: you, someone who is not a subscribed reader and thus has little idea of who I am or what my qualifications might be, are ready to pass judgment based on a few hundred scribbled words and without ever meeting me face to face or knowing my background, yet you feel qualified to say that I don't have any ability to make a judgment about someone I'm talking to face to face, while on the job and using my two dozen years of experience as a cop, a paramedic, and professional social commentator, to sort fact from fiction as uttered by a professional liar. As far as I can see, this leaves your credibility at nil, and mine unaffected whatever. -rc

Posted by Richard, England on January 17, 2009:

I found the article an interesting read, and would have liked to hear if any of the girls had ever had an embarrassing, unexpected encounter with anyone they knew. Wendy was taking care to keep what she was doing a secret, and that's probably true of many/most of the others. I wonder if any of them have ever walked into the line-up to find an unexpected friend or relation waiting for them.

Posted by Amy - Portland, OR on January 18, 2009:

I have to say, personally, though I do agree that a girl at a brothel could probably make quite an income, a "dancer" of the exotic kind would be LUCKY to pull out a $1,000 in a night due to the recession. Five years ago, maybe; ten years ago, most definitely. But the climate of the sex industry is very different these days. Just watching a girl dance nude only costs a few bucks.

Las Vegas is VERY different and a very competitive industry. People with money visit and people without. Though I can't say how much "dancers" make there, the rest of the country is very different and even a high class call girl would struggle to make what the girls make at those ranches (but they also are a whole lot pickier with their clientele -- if they don't want to be tickled by an 80 year old, they don't have to be).

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Yeah, things are tough everywhere these days. It used to be "sex sells", but lately.... -rc

Posted by Steve, Louisville KY on January 20, 2009:

I was a cab driver in Louisville KY some years back. A surprisingly "busy" town during conventions, Derby Week or especially the first weekend after "Basic" at near-by Fort Knox. I often had Hookers or their customers as fares.

I knew of two "houses" in town (there were probably more), and occasionally took someone there on request. Usually got a good tip, and a small reward from the "house" (only money). According to the "Girls" that I occasionally carried, both houses had a arrangement that allowed the girls to see who the customer was before they were seen. Nothing fancy; a row of plants, a metal screen. It is bad for everybody: the house, the customer, and the girl, to meet ones father, minister, or even neighbor.

Unlike Nevada, in Kentucky it was illegal. But you would never know it by looking. Twenty odd years ago, the houses, at least, were left alone. I've no idea who they were paying, or even if.

Posted by Neeltje, Namibia on January 22, 2009:

I rather enjoy this story. Me and my boyfriend also have that kind of relationship where we can share everything. Some of our friends think it is strange when I show him a sexy of skimpy dressed girl. Between the 2 of us we miss nothing and it is quit fun. If ever we get the chance to see a brothel or stripshow, I will be next to him. I'll probably cheer louder than him in any way.

Posted by Nick, Tri-Cities, WA on January 23, 2009:

I know it's an older post, but for those that argue AGAINST the statement that "morality can not be legislated," I think you might be misunderstanding the difference between legislating morality and having laws that enforce existing morals. Ask yourself this: Which came first, the law or the moral issue?

Murder and stealing have been immoral since at least the days of the Old Testament. The law was created later to enforce that morality and punish those who commit the act anyway. On the other hand, prostitution, gambling, smoking marijuana, etc. were common and accepted (if not necessarily welcomed) even within the last century. But the government has since TOLD US that these acts are illegal and therefore immoral, despite the fact that they don't affect the vast majority and most people today couldn't care less that they happen. See the difference?

Posted by Kris, Dayton Nevada on March 4, 2009:

As a former Bunny Ranch hooker, I can honestly say that you were treated to the "old show." I, too, took people on tours that ended in my bedroom. And I talked about the wonders of legal prostitution. You are (sort of) correct when you say that brothel life is not as stressful as street-walking. However, there are a whole host of other stresses that enter the picture when you're in a sales environment such as the one I was in at the Bunny Raunch. (No, not a typo) A boss who routinely, if you'll pardon my brashness, sticks his dick in the cash register; demeaning, meddlesome management, stupid film crews who are trying their best to SCRIPT a REALITY show, and drugs by the ton. No thanks. Never again. Two years was long enough.

- Kris (formerly Lexi Lovelace from "CatHouse: Season 2" and "CatHouse: The Musical)

Posted by Jay Tucson, AZ on March 20, 2009:

No need to be grandiloquent in you article... squalid??? Honestly? You're blogging on the internet, not writting your third dissertation on the machanics of human behaviour. Granted you're in Mensa, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for passing a test, but put the thesaurus away for about 10 minutes and just go with a simple yet very meanful word, like dirty perhaps.

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Hey, if your readers are idiots, then by all means you should "writ" down to them with simple words. Me, I respect my readers' intelligence and use the best, most "meanful" word for what I'm trying to say. That's what I've been doing for nearly 15 years now, and I'm not going to change for some semi-literate simpleton who doesn't even subscribe to my newsletter. -rc

Posted by Christopher, Nevada on March 25, 2009:

I'm saddened that Jay from Tuscon found the word "squalid" so pretentious. I guess some people aren't used to using a reasonably varied vocabulary.

Posted by Doug, Georgia on April 8, 2009:

I guarantee, the two oldest professions in the history of the world are flourishing just fine without any problems from this downward spiraling economy.

The other of course being... morticians.

Posted by Garrett, BC,Canada on April 14, 2009:

Hmmm..what's wrong with this sentence from Jay of Tucson,Arizona? "You're blogging on the internet, not writting your third dissertation on the machanics of human behaviour." Perhaps, a dictionary/thesaurus would do a world of good for him.

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He's so upset at being challenged to think just a tiny bit that he has to lash out and complain. As you saw, I rejected his call to lower my writing to a level where morons could understand it. -rc

Posted by Chris, California on May 25, 2009:

The economy of this country would be considerably improved if we were to grow up and legalize prostitution.

Legitimize the profession, tax it like all other professions, reduce law enforcement expenditure, and stimulate (OK, pun) the construction trade building all those brothels.

In Amsterdam, where they have legalized prostitution, it is reported that there is far less crime and police involvement and that the participants are far more assured of their safety. I guess they are just smarter than we are.

Posted by Jim, Las Vegas NV on May 30, 2009:

Brothels are legal in Nevada only in counties with a population less that 400,000. There are only 25-30 legal brothels in the state.

While "Wendy" may be able to occasionally negotiate fees in the 1000s of dollars, generally we hear of rates more in the range of $500-600/hour for straight sex. The nearest brothels to Las Vegas are in Pahrump (really!) about 90 miles west of LV. When a customer arrives in a taxi or limo from Las Vegas, the driver gets a cash tip from the brothel, about $100, and the rates for brothel services are higher than if they arrive by car.

Brothels have been legal here since the mid 1800s, but are still politically sensitive issues. Except for Clark County (where Las Vegas is) and Washoe County (where Reno is), Nevada is very conservative politically and religiously, and is also quite libertarian, wanting as little government involvement in our lives as possible. Interestingly, the brothel owners association has been lobbying our legislature for years to be taxed like other businesses. How often to you hear of businesses WANTING to be taxed? They feel being taxed like other businesses would legitimize them under the law. That's exactly why, for many years, the legislature has refused to do so, even in the dire financial circumstances our state government finds itself in now.

Posted by Ralph, Colorado on May 30, 2009:

I suppose you missed the days in Denver Mensa, when the elected local president of Denver Mensa was "Kit" Ketcham. She was gorgeous then, and probably still is, but most likely will not be seeking employment in Nevada.

Google however, was the search engine that I used some time ago that took me to this page, and since, I subscribed to "This is True". Welcome to Mensa. And if you can starch your shirts a bit stiffer, maybe you could join Intertel.

Posted by Terrence / Vegas on December 9, 2009:

I went to bunny ranch in Nov 2009. I arrived in a grey 2007 chevy cobalt. 8 girls lined up and chose a 30 ish milf. I negotiated a straight sex hour for $200. After becoming a regular customer (5 visits) I was given a complimentary 1/2 hr.

Posted by Bev, Arizona on March 2, 2010:

This was an interesting article. I did not find anything to be offensive or off-color in the least. It was a good review from an outsider's perspective and I plan to show it to my best friend. We've been talking about taking a long driving trip one day, stopping by to see the world's largest ball of twine or collections of frying pans. Now I think we might make a detour up that direction just to see the place and take the tour, just for the heck of it!

Posted by Rick, California on July 6, 2010:

I was a taxi driver, at Lake Tahoe, off and on for 15 years. All cabbies liked to get a "Ranch" trip. I've spent more time in the Bunny Ranch, the Kit Kat, and several other brothels, than some of the "ladies" who worked there. One trip, a crazy Russian got us kicked out of the Kit Kat the Bunny Ranch, and several other places. I could write a book.

Posted by Missy, Chicago, IL on March 8, 2011:

There is a lot of criticism on here, and I have a few comments. First of all, your opinion that Wendy was lying about making 2500/hr & the marital status of the men, I also agree sounds like fiction. I also thought it was pretty cool that I shared the same intuition as a Mensa member. Then I read the comments and realized I was not smart like a mensa guy, but I was as ignorant as one. In hindsight, assuming people of whom you know nothing about are lying is pretty closed-minded, and I appreciate those to bring that into light.

Secondly, my father always told me to never tell people you are wealthy and/or have money. This is not to say one should be hustling folks for cash, but that one should play themselves off as one of humble and modest means. No one will steal from you, and no one will try to borrow money. He also said he never told anyone he was in graduate school (when he was), and after graduation, never told people he had a PhD (besides those that had to know, like his cohorts, and later employers/ employees). He said this was inviting people to try to prove that you were not smart, or at least, not as smart as them. He told me, if you ever want to be made to feel dumb, tell people you are smart. You will be happier, have more fun, and feel more connected to real people. This blog somewhat supports that.

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Your huge mistake (apparently out of admitted ignorance): assuming I knew nothing about the people I met. Your type is a hooker's dream: according to you, you'd believe everything they told you. That's not being smart, that's being a mark. -rc

Posted by tara australia on March 24, 2012:

So she said she makes up to $2,500 per hour? So how much did you pay and for how long out of curiosity?

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As noted, I gave her a $20 bill. We were with her for at least a half-hour. -rc

Posted by Chris, Pittsburgh, PA on April 14, 2012:

I just watched the episode of the bunny ranch Please please get rid of the old black chick and the old white chick who bitched at the girl for being naked by the food, and the one who got into an argument with the cute black chick I mean who do they really think they are? they are a discrase I would not pay either of them 20 dollars for a fuck! Its time to retire anyone who would choose them over one of the young hotties is crazy I love all the other girls they are playful and beautiful its not the 20's anymore to the old white chick and your not attractive at all to the old black chick I no you won't post this I get it but you know I'm right thank you for actually having a site to comment on I've been looking for awhile!

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So, you came to this page and concluded that this site -- thisistrue.com -- is the Moonlight Bunny Ranch. Wow. All I can say is, it's a "discrase" that a total moron is able to afford cable TV, a computer, and an Internet connection, rather than living in a dumpster. "The old black chick" has more dignity that you'll ever be able to muster -- and I've never laid eyes on her. -rc

Posted by J. C., Las Vegas on May 7, 2012:

A recent news article brought out that about 70% of the brothel employees are married. This a good article for you. Get the percentage working to keep the family going. Also, there should be a number of great stories.

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I just like that your Internet provider is Cox. Heh heh heh. -rc

Posted by Mary Bellevue,NE on July 16, 2012:

I wish my ex would have used a legal brothel instead of his co-worker, who got pregnant and destroyed our marriage. I think I (maybe) could have understood his doing such a thing if I knew he was with someone free of disease and not mostly interested in getting money every month. At least I wouldn't be dealing with the health consequences of "everyone she slept with before him". Human nature is at least 500,00 years old, I found out the hard way it is pure hubris to think you can fight it...

Posted by Anney, Australia on July 16, 2012:

Here in Australia, we would say that 'Randy' was the perfect name for someone visiting a brothel!

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