Leave Reno east and you fall of the planet. Arid and barren The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, and I would have loved to stopped somewhere and do a good hike, but no, I was on assignment. I, David Perry, intrepid gay travel writer, was off to the Mustang Ranch, arguably the most famous brothel on the planet.
Nevada is famous as the only state in the Union allowing prostitution, but not all municipalities are so forward-thinking. Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City — the message is the same: No sex, thank you.
Consequently, brothels tend to be really out-of-the-way, perched on distant city limits. The Mustang Ranch may as well be on the Moon. But, hey, who doesn’t love the Moon? So I got up early, hopped in my car, and with my trusty iPhone companion Siri giving directions, headed off into the lunar landscape of the High Desert.
And headed and headed. Wow, I thought, this place is really far. So far, in fact, that Siri cut out. Uh-oh.
And did I write the directions down? Of course not! Did I even have a map? Oh, pshaw!
So there I was, the gay travel writer on assignment asking the guy at the very lonely Chevron station how to get to a brothel. I didn’t even try to explain.
Amazingly, I got there early. It was 9:30 AM on a Tuesday, not exactly a “peak hour,” so when I pulled into the parking lot, I was the only guy there. Well, not the only guy. Walking up to the front door, I was greet by three security guards that could have doubled as aircraft carriers. I think what set them off was the fact that I had a camera on me; I don’t think I blurted out my credentials, and that I was expected, and was to have a tour, so fast in my life. Don’t worry about me, boys, I will do whatever. You. Say.
Although I didn’t have to do much, aside from not take any pictures of the girls or the lounge. No problem there; I figured I’d keep the shutterbug in me under wraps until I was officially on the tour. I just pulled up a chair in the lounge. Walking into the main building, I didn’t know what to expect, but what I found wasn’t it. Would there be trapezes hanging from the ceiling? Would everything be made of rubber? Would all the girls be sad-eyed, strung-out wraiths?
No, no, and God, no.
First off, the lounge I was in was…well, a lounge. Kinda “70’s Western” in feel. Dance-y muzak. Large sitting area, bar, dancing platforms on said-bar (OK, that wasn’t a surprise). The chairs were rather plush; I felt that when I sat down, I disappeared from view. The back wall was rather conspicuous, looking something like a firewall, and I knew that there had to be more, way more, to the property than I was seeing. I saw it from the outside; the place is huge.
A few girls were milling around, but being a Tuesday morning, only a skeleton crew was on call. In fact, I think I was the only civilian there. Nevertheless, it was still surprisingly diverse: There was the Asian Girl, the Tattooed Girl, the Young Girl, the Venus Girl (very voluptuous), the Glam Girl, etc. You never know what kind of client might come through the door or when they come through it, so the Mustang has to be prepared for almost anything. Venus Girl gave me a wave.
I was a little terrified that I was going to get solicited and look like a particularly idiotic deer in the headlights babbling, “I’m a gay reporter…”
Of course, nothing like that happened (well, maybe the “idiotic” part). These women have seen it all, nothing I was going to do was going to throw them, even if I didn’t do anything at all. Which is exactly what I was doing. But I probably was not the first guy to walk in, sit down, and have no idea what to do next.
Which was precisely when my guide showed up. Her name is Riley, she is awesome, and she’ll kick off Part II!