There is things I wouldn’t believe to happen in my life. Like this now: a great deal of our current income is based on prostitution. Directly.
Let me explain how this happened. As you might know, Sasi has been working in one of the fanciest hotels in Beirut. This luxury hotel has mainly costumers from Gulf countries, stinky rich Arabs who come either on business or to party and shop in liberal environment here in Lebanon. For the most of the male costumers it is a habit to have “massage” when they come.
Sasi tried to keep out of this massage business as long as he could. Until his boss toke him aside and basically intimidated: he is either to be fired or he has to call the girls. “We just offer massage services for costumers”, he claimed, “its between them what happens in the room, its the girls who make the choice”.
So now he calls the girls if needed. She goes up to the room, does the business and charges 100USD per hour. Half to the girl, half to the front desk personnel to be shared. It means at least 500 USD extra to us in a month. For me, its quite strange feeling. My feminist-oriented mind has difficulties to cope with this. But my comfort is that the girls are truly business-women, and obviously doing that without any forcing – if we dont count the male-dominant, fancy-lifestyle society where normal salaries are not enough to live like princesses.
Lebanon has a long roots of being a safe heaven for luxury prostitution. The phenomena is so widely spread and common that the major Lebanese French-speaking women magazine Femme wrote long article about it in its August edition – and sort of praising how good money that is for the student girls. Costumers are not only from tourists but also from local politicians, Army officials, businessmen… Pretty and highly educated girls can earn 500 – 1000 USD per a man in a day, even more, and precious gifts on top of that. So now I have an explanation of all the label items I have seen. Prostitution is so wide that even I personally know some Lebanese people who have had sex for gifts or money – and they are not even trying to hide that.
Sasi tells about the normal life in the hotel: A man from the room XXX called to as massage at 5 afternoon, and “please, can you ask Cat to come”. So he phoned Cat, and she mused: “From room XXX? That guy AGAIN?” Obviously the man sends his wife to shopping every afternoon and takes “a nap” in meanwhile…
Girls are rather busy these summer season months. Once Cat came to hotel swiping sweat from her forehead: “Am so tired, haven’t slept for two days, too many costumers: 8 in X-hotel, 6 in Y and now 2 in here!” She can earn 1000-2000USD per a day, easily.
Sometimes the girls get lucky. There is a true Pretty Woman story on Lebanese style: Madame N used to be a call girl, until she met a Saudi prince. Prince married her and now she is a real princess, with title and all. And she haven’t forgot her old friends: Sasi knew her already from the time he was still living in Lebanon and working in a smaller, cheaper hotel, where Madame N used to bring high-profile costumers on hourly basis. Sasi’s job was just to close his eyes. Now, when she saw Sasi again, she gave him a tip of 100USD. And I spend that money on my trip to Syria! Weird…
Now I just have to hope my husband don’t bring work to home… :)
A bit confused, Maiku