Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Empty Promises"

So what is a dry hustle? Kristal defined it in two words: "Empty promises."

A guy doesn't get what he paid for. He got set up.

An easy version of a dry hustle would be: the mark approaches you. He thinks you're a whore. He gives you some money up front, because you have to pay the baby sitter, or you can't get into your apartment to retrieve some cool sex toys and outfits because you owe $X in rent, or your husband is there but if you give him enough money to go out and get plastered all night, then the place is free for a romp, etc. etc. Then you give the mark a phony address, or you never show up at the place where you've agreed to meet.

But Kristal would never deign to play a whore. That was beneath her. Her theory was, the man was more invested if you made him think you never do this kind of thing, have sex with someone you only just met. You're a respectable woman, and the only reason you're making an exception in his case is, a) you're really, really horny or b) you're unbelievably sexually attracted to him, or c) you're falling in love with him ("there's something about you, it's crazy, I've never felt like this").

The latter line is what you use on a man whose fantasies are not merely sexual but also romantic. This type of man is sweet and credulous, the most profitable kind. You can keep the scam going for days, weeks, even months; as the relationship deepens he's buying you presents and lending you money, while you withhold sex because you insist you want the moment to be special. Maybe you want to lose 5 pounds, maybe you're waiting for that perfect nightie to arrive in the mail. (Oh no! It's the wrong size! He has to wait some more because you have to exchange it! Otherwise your first night of passion won't be perfect!)  He'll wait because you've pledged your love for him, and it may be that he's fallen for you, too. As time passes, he is certainly going to get more and more tightly wrapped up in the story you've invented about your life.

He's lucky if he gets even a kiss.

And then...what else? disappear.

Kristal herself was a romantic, in her way. She dreamed of finding that perfect mark who was rich and willing to marry her. Love was beside the point. Maybe she wasn't capable of it anymore anyway. So romance for her would be a husband who was crazy about her, lavishing money on her every whim. In short, he would be a mark for life. How romantic is that?!

This is wicked stuff, and pretty hard to stomach if you really like men, which I do and did. Call it my fascination with the devious mind of a criminal.  But more, I liked the revenge angle: the prostitute turns the tables on the trick, taking his money and giving nothing of her body or self-respect to him. She no longer gets hurt. It's his turn.

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