It’s rare that I eat dinner alone in Seattle. But two weeks ago, my partner had gone to Tokyo ahead of me, and I had eaten everything perishable out of the refrigerator, leaving only condiments and beverages. It was my last night in town, I was by myself, and I was busy, hungry, and desperate.
Turning to my computer, an email enticed me. Being solo, LivingSocial sounded like something I needed at the time. For just a dollar, I could enjoy a ten dollar meal via takeout or delivery from a number of restaurants. I decided to do takeout from Chen’s Village in Queen Anne, picking up “sliced pork Hunan sauce,” with broccoli, green pepper, baby corn, and carrot. I brought home my catch and slowly enjoyed the unboxing–just me and my Chen’s.
So what does Chen’s takeout teach us about sex?
It’s all about a night without intimacy and attachment.
That Hunan pork was my call girl of the evening, my escort. Doing takeout meant that I could be discreet; I didn’t have to get dressed up or put any real effort into the evening. (For even more discreetness, I could have done home delivery.) It’s like phone sex or Internet sex: fast, easy, and compulsive–though not a complete feeling, and in fact a bit unfulfilling. Similar to a stop by one of those bikini barista places, where you get a glimpse or a taste, but not the whole package. (Last week in Japan, I saw many maid cafes, which seem to serve the same function.) You get to know the outside, but not what’s inside.
So why do men use escort services? Some say they fill an emotional or physical void, validating a man if he feels insecure, or feeding his ego. There’s no sense of rejection. Escort services offer anonymity and no “after” issues, like questions of commitment or dealings with divorce. They offer convenience, as you can order by phone or Internet (perfect for a busy lifestyle), reading reviews and picking a time with precision. Perhaps best of all, you can peruse a menu and pick what you want, getting an order custom-made for a “have-it-your-way” preference: hair color, eye color, height, dress, language, “spice” level, etc. Each experience can be unique, offering variety, spontaneity, eye candy, and guilty pleasure.
As for my night with Chen’s, I felt little pleasure. The food looked good in the box, but was lifeless once unboxed. (And, and in this case, you don’t really want to get to know the inside of Chen’s. The tables were scattered and littered, with stuffed animals strewn about some. The carpet was dirty, and the fish tank looked frightening. I didn’t dare peek into the kitchen.)