Urban Legends

Prostitution Tricks

The Legend

Collected by John Mark in 1973

I used to work as a prostitute when I was in college and I never got arrested. You know why? Because I know the law and I know cops, that's why.

There are a bunch of ways you can know if a guy is a cop. For example, if he's got a beard or a mustache, you're okay. Clean-cut guys, particularly ones in cars with extra lights on the top of them, are a warning sign. If I'm not sure, I'll ask a guy to show me his money, and when he does I'll check if there's a badge in his wallet. Also, I used to keep a couple of doughnuts on a plate by my bed in the room, and if he kept glancing at them when I was taking it off -- cop.

And there are all sorts of rules for what a cop can say. For example, he can't just say, "Hey, here's $10, let's go upstairs and I'll [edited] you like a [edited]." No, he's got to wait for you to offer it, otherwise it's entrapment. He's got to get you to offer it. And if you ask a cop, "Are you a cop?" he has to tell the truth. Cops aren't allowed to lie. They aren't allowed to take their clothes off while on duty, either, so if you can get one to take off his clothes then he's no longer on duty and can't arrest you.

Really I don't see why anyone gets arrested. God, streetwalkers can be such morons sometimes.

Behind the Legend

The police in most parts of the United States are constrained by a code of conduct that can make their job mighty difficult. They can't do drugs, so undercover officers trying to infiltrate gangs and the mafia often fail an initial drug test. They must obey all traffic laws to the letter. And if they are confronted by an armed assailant, they 1) can't use a weapon of greater degree than they are being attacked with (e.g., draw a gun on someone with a knife), 2) must wait for an assailant with a gun to shoot first before returning fire, just to make sure it's a real gun, and 3) must try to shoot the gun out of an assailant's hand or, if that is not practical for some reason, shoot their target in the upper arm or leg.

Police trying to stop prostitutes are some of the most constrained. In addition to the restrictions listed in the item above, police are also required to solicit prostitutes with their own money so that official money does not become tainted, they can not offer a prostitute a wage outside of stringent government pricing guidelines, they are not allowed to touch anyone anywhere at any time, and they may not enter a room with a prostitute without being explicitly invited in.

Police under cover as prostitutes must dress conservatively as befits a government representative and are similarly restrained from bringing up the subject of prostitution, lying about their status, taking off their clothes, etc. This can make for a very interesting conversation when both parties in a potential prostitution transaction are really undercover police officers, since neither can say anything about what they really want to talk about. Sometimes this goes on for hours.

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