Some links may contain explicit material of an adult nature.]
"Hey geek," said the curvacious petitte dark-haired bauty with the sultry Latin accent,"you want to have some fun?"
OK, I'll admit that most guys who visit Boy's Town in Nuevo Laredo
, Mexico don't sit at a table with a PowerBook blogging away. No wonder the young lady was curious about me.
What, you don't know anything about "Boy's Town?" No, not the one founded by Father Flannigan,
we're talking about what the Mexicans can the "Zona Rosa"
or "Zona de Toleracion."
Yes, we're talking, as you may have figured out had you clicked on the first hyperlink, about semi-legalized prostitution. Rather than allow these activities to get out of hand, the authorities restrict it to certian areas. And the Boy's Town along the U.S.-Mexican border have become a longtime part of the local culture on both sides of the border, a rite of passage for generations of young and not so young Texan men.
"Oy!" you are saying. "Conservative Apikoris, we know you are off the derech
, but to sink this
low?.... Don't you realize that prostitution is degrading to these poor women who are virtual sex slaves?..."
Well, first off, I'm not sure that visiting such a place is sinking all that low. As I learned while studying for my Bar Mitzvah,
the righteous m'raglim
(spies) sent by Joshua did exactly what I did -- the crossed over a river into a foreign country and headed straight for Jericho's equivalent of Boystown. As I have posted previously, I interpret the story to mean that if you are on a mission of vital importance to the Jewish people, it is absolutely permissible to do such things.
Second, while I would admit that being a "working girl" in one of these establishments would not be my first choice of employment if I were a young Mexicana
, the pay and working conditions, as described to me by the girls, were certainly better than most of the alternative opportunities. These young women might have to work on their backs doing something many consider "shameful," but they are not treated as slaves, they can come and go, and if they want to quit the business, they can certainly so so.
But what was I
doing there? Certainly Ms. Apikoris would not be happy, to say the least, had she known I was visiting such a place. But, rest assured, Ms. Apikoris had nothing to worry about. My behavior was blameless.
This excursion wasn't my idea, it was solely the work of Jesus. No, not that Jesus,
rather my esteemed colleague Jesus G____, south Texas native, with whom I occasionally work on my visits to the sunny south.
"You gotta see this," he said, "It's as much a Texas tradition as cowboys, barbecue, and George W. Bush!"
"What about the drug gangs?" I replied nervously. Nuevo Laredo had been hit lately with a good bit of shootings between rival cartels.
" says Jesus, "they only shoot up other gang members. If you're not involved in the drug dealing, they'll leave you alone. Besides, we'll take a taxi
from the bridge.
Which is what we did, a scarifying ride through what appeared to be cruumbling blocks of buildings to a compound surround by a wall with razor wire on top. A police station was at the gate. Well that's a novel experience, visiting a hooker and being protected
by the police, not arrested by them.
We entered one of the more "gringo-friendly" bars and are escorted to a table by a very polite and efficient waiter. Jesus ordered shots of tequilla. I'm the designated driver, so I order Agua Minerale. We look over the young ladies whose lack of tz'niyus
(modesty) in their dress would cause my frum
next-door neighbor back home to blow a gasket. We won't say any more about the activities going on at the dance floor. Anyway, Jesus quickly finds "Sonia," a skimpily clad lady with whom he negotiates a price of $80 for what is quaintly called by the locals a "sucky-fucky." I don't think I need to explain in detail what that involves. Anyway, as Jesus goes off for his tryst, I'm sitting alone, blogging away when "Rebecca," the curvy petite Latina described at the start comes over to chat me up.
So we chat, and I buy her a couple of watered-down $6 "ladies drinks" (from which she gets a kickback) to keep her interest, as my quasi-journalistic instincts make me want to try to understand where she's at.
Of course, Rebecca isn't interested in being a journalist's source. she wants me to pay her $80 (plus $26 for the room, plus $1 for the condom) and have a "fucky-sucky." I explain to her, that, while I'm a bit of a heretic, I am a sort of a religious commentator, so I'm reluctant to engage in such activities. As a consolation, and showed her my blog. She said, that's no problem, she understands, she goes to Mass every Sunday, and even gives some of her earnings as contributions to the Church. I pointed out to her the part of the Bible that forbids such earnings to be given to the Temple, and she responded by pointing out that the Catholic Church is not the same thing, so other rules apply. Oy! A Catholic pilpul
artist. I wasn't surprised when she told me that she went to a Jesuit school. I was
surprised when she told me that her school was noted for having the most number of graduates who subsequently converted to Judaism. Apparently, the Headmanster was called to Rome to have a little "conversation" with Ratzi about that record. She seemed to think it was funny, and mentioned a few names, one of whom is a guy who davens at my minyan! She asked me to send her regards to "Carlos," but I'm not sure how I would explain the circumstances under which I met his old school chum.
Finally, I knew I was taking up her time and interfering with her parnassah
, so I offered her $60 if we could go to her room and "just talk." I don't know whether that's a violation of "journalistic ethics," but considering what's published today, who cares. She seemed rather agreeable, so we went in back to what seemed like a pleasant college dorm room, and I showed her all the J-Blogs. She was very interested, and was really impressed with DovBear
and the Gadol HaDor
. She was especially interested in their struggles to cleave to their religious traditions, despite the fact that rational truth seems to indicate that it's all BS. Rebecca said she was struggling with the same things, only even worse, as no matter how hard she prayed at church, her only options were to work in Boystown (making a decent living in a life of shame), or be exploited in a manquiladora, or working for Wal-Mart Mexico, or sneaking over the border and making less than minimum wage as a maid. Even if she were to get a Green Card, minimum wage at McDonald's would be the best she could hope for. So why bother believing in God or Jesus, or whatever? She was really impressed that even "rich Americans" were thinking about such things.
or Gadol Hador
, of they come down here, I'll give them a special $60 discount for full service," she told me. Mis-Nagid, on the other hand, she thought was being a little arrogant totally rejecting his heritage, so if he came down, he would be on his own negotiating a price. She respected the opinions of Jameel, Classmate-wearing-yarmulke, and Lakewood Yid, but thought they were a little to smug in the certainty of their belief. "They should become Mexicans for a few months and see what their trust in HaShem would be like after doing that for a while." In all, I thought she had a very Jewish attitude, so it didn't surprise me when she told me that her mother locked herself in a closet every Friday night and lit candles.
"Oy!" I said. "You should see a rabbi immediately. You're probably Jewish!"
She said she might. "But I'm a little worried that if I do, the headmaster of my school will really get into trouble with the Vatican."
Anyway, all too sonn the half hour session ended and we went back out into the bar. Jesus was there, grinning from ear to ear. Apparently he had a very good time with "Sonia," and described the shmutzidik
stuff they did in great detail on the ride home. I was a bit embarrassed. After all, they guy's name is "Jesus," and the things he did...oy.
I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff. But I did bring back a bottle of $40 reposada
tequilla that only cost me $21, so I guess the trip was worthwhile.