Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mobile Brothels Then and Now

I was looking at a copy of the latest free issue of Entertainment News just now while sitting at the Community Food Co-op, and I was reading an article about a local professor at Western Washington University who had written a book about the history of jazz music here in Bellingham, WA.  There was mention in that article of a book called The Brothels of Bellingham, by author Curtis H. Smith. That reminded me that the Old West in general was known for its brothels and its saloons with prostitutes aplenty. (Miss Kitty in the TV show Gunsmoke may have seemed wholesome in the days when I was a kid, but basically she was a cowtown ho, even if Matt Dillon seemed like a fine upstanding officer of the law.)

When I went online, I did a Google search on the phrase Old West Brothels, and I found the phrase "cat wagon", which gave new meaning to an old movie I had seen (with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin) named Cat Balou. Of course, the "Cat" in the movie's title was the shortened version of the name of the Jane Fonda character, whose first name was Catherine, so it might be stretching things to suggest that it had anything to do with the "cats" (prostitutes) who lent cat wagons their nickname. I do recall that a wagon seems to have played a role in that movie, and the Wikipedia summary of the movie says that Cat, who has become an outlaw, "poses as a lady of loose morals" as part of the movie's plot, so it isn't a huge stretch to suggest that if she did indeed ride in some kind of wagon, it was in one sense a "cat wagon".

Anyway, I got to thinking that if cat wagons were traveling brothels or bordellos in earlier centuries, that might still be a valid business idea today, especially in places (e.g., certain counties in Nevada) where prostitution is legal. I checked, and the domain name (as in "whore to go") is currently available. Register that domain name, forward it to your discrete free blog, get a QR code for the Domain name, get yourself a mobile house (such as the ones from Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. or Portland Alternative Dwellings or Zyl Vardos), find some ladies willing to compromise their moral standards, and take your bordello on the road, taking care to visit only those Nevada counties where you are unlikely to go to the hoosegow as punishment for your actions, as long as you obey their regulatory laws.

The way things are going here in the state of Washington, what with the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage, and what with Bellingham's well-documented history in relation to whore houses, it's surely only a matter of time before bordellos are once again legal in Bellingham. Meanwhile, you will have to content yourself with the photo here of a couple of young ladies who go under the name of The Good Time Girls, and who give guided tours of places of historic notoriety in the City of Subdued Excitement. Maybe if prostitution ever becomes legal here again, the excitement will not be so subdued!

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