No sooner had we set up lights on Cedar Springs to photograph this month’s cover story on prostitution than we were surrounded by local hookers and patrolling policemen. Bringing along our own models and police escort proved to be something akin to taking coals to Newcastle. Squad cars rolled up to check us out, “working girls” emerged from a nearby modeling studio (had they ever seen a professional photographer before?), and customers ambled out of an adult book store to gape. We even managed to uncover an undercover vice officer when he came out of the bushes (literally) to find out what was going on.

The steady stream of cars edging slowly down Cedar Springs took in our part of the street scene as if we were included in the price of some admission fee. Indeed, it looked like an uptown version of Lion Country Safari with carloads of pointers and gigglers ogling the variety of animals – prostitutes, cops, pimps, customers, one incongruous old woman with a shopping bag, and us – that dotted the neon landscape. The motorcade worked its way to the corner of Douglas and Cedar Springs where the serious street shoppers made U-turns and proceeded to check out the sidewalk merchandise on the other side of the street.

Occasionally someone would shout out the window at our models, “Prostitute!” or “Need a job, honey?”, but the girls took it all in stride. I don’t know if they were thankful we had a bodyguard with us, but I for one am glad that he interceded before another cop could aim his gun at photographer Moses Olmos. Moses was crouching in the shadows to get a good angle for a photograph, but all the cop could see was some guy with a dark object pointed at a fellow policeman. I guess Moses is thankful that one policeman didn’t shoot first and ask questions later.

When I think about writer Janice Tomlin who, armed only with a sense of humor, worked those streets and auditioned at massage parlors and modeling studios without benefit of bodyguard, all to get a good story, I marvel at her temerity. It is indeed a tough world out there.

My favorite character who emerged during the shoot, however, was the opportunist who pulled an Instamatic out of his car and began clicking his shutter at our model being handcuffed and led away by our cop. I guess he figured if one guy was photographing the event with the cop’s tacit approval, nobody would mind a second shutterbug. “And this one is of an actual bust that happened right before my eyes,” I can hear him tell his friends back in Amarillo. “You can really tell she’s a hooker.”

There is something about prostitution that makes one feel the need to moralize and philosophize on the subject, but we will leave the moralizing to Sunday sermons and Letters to the Editor. The chronicle that begins on page 78 of this issue simply reports the scene as Tomlin found it in all its fascinating variety.

With the closing of another leap year, I’d like to call attention to a great leap forward on the part of D Magazine. In a quick glance at our table of contents onpage 3, you will find that all of our major editorial pieces this month werepenned by women. Lest the feminists outthere start cheering, however, we mustconfess that, like most earth-shatteringstrategems which come to be regardedas historically relevant, this femininephenomenon occured totally by happenstance, although some of the morevirile editors around here were the firstto pat themselves on the back for such agreat show of egalitarianiam. I’ll remindthem of that the next time they expectme to pour the coffee.


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