Unemployment and a crappy economy will do funny things to a person. While some accept lower-paying jobs, auction off items on eBay or settle in quite comfortably on the dole, the more ambitious of the axed will start escort businesses. Oh. Excuse us. Classy companionship services.
A few days ago, The Village Voice wrote about the birth of The Austen's Janes Agency (get it? like Jane Austen but, you know, reversed), which as the agency's site states: "provides men with a companion for business events, parties, black-tie affairs, dinners, shows or simply an evening out. Our agency is not an adult service—but a way for sophisticated men to be accompanied by an intelligent and attractive woman of class." Prostitution: A Recession-Free Gig?
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The three originators, Cara, April and Julie, were all unemployed and after a quick little looksy on craigslist got their entrepreneurial wheels turning. They thought: why not capitalize on all the desperate men out there willing to shell out cash for a lady's attention? Voila! The Austen's Janes Agency was born and now the ladies have money to pay for "rent, groceries, and Metrocards."
While, yes, it isn't prostitution (sex isn't part of the equation) the agency has traces of escort coursing through its veins. But not the high-priced kind, mind you. The men sometimes pay as little as $60 for an evening. The writer of the Voice column pocketed $200 to accompany some guy to a baseball game. Which, to be honest, seems like a pretty awesome deal. One of the site's originators had a steady Friday charge who paid her to eat vegetarian food with him. That kind of stuff. Innocuous and innocent, but not so friendly the men don't have preferences for who they're seen with. No, sir. They want a hot lady on their arm. Regardless of whether or not he sees her naked at the end of the night. Prostitution in Primetime
The article talks about a guy who wanted a woman who looked like Uma Thurman. Other guys request Asians, while one man curtly told the ladies none of the girls were pretty enough for him.
But as the article mentions several times, all these men are relatively normal. No third eyes or hideous exteriors, none suffer from tourettes or weird mouth-drooling problems. So what gives? Why wouldn't they just trawl Match.com like a normal single, lonely guy looking for a date? At least Match.com may (if he plays his cards right) lead to sex. Or even a relationship.
That's an excellent question, really. And the only answer? It takes all types in this world.
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For example, Julie stumbled upon a happily married man with a "payment fetish." He met up with Julie, ordered food, wine, gave her the money and vanished.
Sometimes it's just that easy. Even in this economy.