Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Does She Have That Most Don't?

What $5,500 an Hour Buys

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, March 12, 2008; A19

Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace (and very soon, it seems, from power) raises a host of serious concerns, not least our ongoing and often ludicrous conflation of the personal and the political in matters of morals. But flawed mortal that I am, I confess I keep coming back to one detail as this gloomy tale unfolds: $5,500.

That's what Spitzer and his fellow numbered clients were shelling out per hour if they booked the Emperors Club VIP's top-of-the-line providers.

I've given serious thought to this over the past day, and I'm not sure that I've even had a sexual fantasy that, if actualized, would be worth $5,500 an hour. Of course, fantasies can involve particular, unattainable persons, and an economist might say that if the client has an obsession that only a certain provider could satisfy, that could drive the price way up.

But that doesn't seem to have been the case for Client 9. Of all the details in the transcript of the back-and-forth between Spitzer and the Emperors Club's traffic manager, the one I find most mind-boggling is when Spitzer, just before he hooks up with his hooker, asks to be reminded of what the lady looks like.

He's paying $4,300 for this experience and he needs a refresher on her looks? Four grand and change and he can't remember whether he booked tall or short, blond or brunette? We're not talking obsession here. We're talking positional goods.

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