Behind the headlines

Each week, we at BrandX pore over all the weird, horrifying and occasionally sexy stories the world has to offer in a quest to make weird, horrifying and occasionally sexy observations about the world in which we live. Often these stories involve butts or some form of penetration – the jackpot is both – and very often they are silly. But often enough, they’re only silly in a superficial way; once you dig a little bit, you find there’s actually something serious going on.

Take this story out of New Hampshire:

According to the report, a “woman who described herself as an exotic dancer” called police “when a resident ordered a dance, but refused to answer his door when she arrived.” The hilarious thing is that, instead of helping the working woman in question, police mocked her.

“She never danced, so I would be hard pressed to say it was theft of services,” said very funny local police chief Mike Schwartz, who presumably has a podcast. “Now if she was a professional doorbell ringer . . . .”

Wipe the tear from your eye and, just for a moment, imagine you’re the woman in question. Maybe the rent’s due in a week and you’re coming up short. Maybe you have some student loans to pay off. Maybe you have a kid. Maybe you’re just like millions of other Americans: working a shitty job so you can pay the utilities on time. But thanks to a client who ordered your services but gets cold feet, instead of getting some extra cash in your g-string, you’ve just wasted two hours and a gallon of gas. Distressed, you do something stupid: you call the police, thinking they might help.
Instead: “I guess there are some people who would have a better dance than others,” the local sheriff tells the press. “Maybe you were expecting Mikhail Baryshnikov and you got someone looking like Mike Schwartz. I wouldn’t answer the door either.”

Know why that’s funny? Because the woman in question isn’t an opera singer or a plumber or a wedding DJ, in which case ordering her services and then failing to pay for them would indeed be viewed as a crime without controversy. No, she works a job that makes people smirk. She’s just a stripper; just a woman who “described herself as an exotic dancer.” And there’s no need to show much respect to a person like that, the subtext goes.

What the headline ought to be:

About Charles Davis

A writer and producer with whose work has aired on television and radio and been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Intercept, The Nation and The New Republic.
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8 Responses to Behind the headlines

  1. WIIIAI says:

    Of course the police chief justifying her not getting paid because she didn't get to do her job is himself not doing his job, so….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh please, I once did not open the door when I ordered a pizza, and did not have the cash/credit. Sucked to be the delivery guy, and it sucked for the dancer.

  3. I once did not open the door when I ordered a pizza, and did not have the cash/credit.That's a pretty shitty thing to do, perhaps mitigated by the fact it was Domino's taking the hit. It's an even shittier thing to do to a dancer, someone who's presumably an independent contractor and is taking the loss themselves — and who, according to accepted practice and law, would be justified charging for a missed appointment.

  4. Daniel says:

    Try calling in the police and deciding once they come there isn't really a crime. That usually flies, right? You'd never get hit with a hefty fine or even jail time for falsely reporting? Hell, they never even shot an unarmed black man reaching for his wallet, so I'd be hard pressed to say it was theft of services.

  5. NomadUK says:

    Yeah, well, New Hampshire.

  6. Coldtype says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Coldtype says:

    This doesn't quite qualify as Theft of Services Charles. While I agree that it was shitty for the guy to back out once she arrived without at least tipping her gas money he hasn't committed a crime here. Now should she have performed the dance and then he refused to pay up that's clearly theft of services. I think the officers could have made that point without mocking her though.

  8. ms_xeno says:

    You gotta' wonder: If the guy hadn't answered the door because something was gravely wrong with him, what then? Would it later turn out that she could be in trouble with these same cops for not calling them when she first knocked on the door and got no answer?Well, either way the cops were jerks. I guess we should be happy that the day ended with nobody being tasered. :/

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