The few Whores still working Rue St. Denis are a sad lot: every one I strolled by was at least 40 years old and they wore ridiculously cheap fur coats and knee-high black leather boots and most have huge tits and big asses and hard, angry faces.
Rue St. Denis is one of the oldest streets in Paris. It’s an old Roman thoroughfare — so old, it’s quite possible the first whores to work it serviced the grandsons of the Roman soldiers who put Christ on the cross. How’s that for a thought? Some horny Soldier of the Empire just forked over a satchel of coins and is bragging to the whore he’s about to bang that Grandaddy was muscle for Pontius Pilate and was right there at Golgatha when it all went down.
I felt bad for them, actually. Poor whores. Today was a cold and rainy day (it even hailed a bit), and no one paid attention to any of them, and they just stood in their doorways, staring blankly into the street.
Not one of them said a word.
I always do my best to blend into wherever I’m traveling, just so I don’t look like too much of a dork. I don’t like pickpockets, either. I must have done an exceptional job today, cause I didn’t get solicited once; in fact, not one of them even looked at me.
Did I do a good job looking like a Parisian…or did they think I was a big ol’ dork with no money?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Rue St. Denis is just down the street from one of my very favorite places on Earth, the 4th floor of the Centre Pompidou, which I had just left. The Calder show was fantastic, and I think I could sit in front of The Cacodylic Eye all day long, just trying to figure out who exactly signed that motherfucker…and imagine the party that was happening as they all did signed away.
I’ve been down Rue St. Denis more than once in my life, but I’ve never done any business with a French Whore. I have been in the porno stores, and this time, instead of checking them out, I decided to take pictures of them. I have no idea why, other than I just got a new camera, and I’m still learning it, and the best way to learn a camera is to shoot the shit out of it.
Which is what I’ve been doing.
Anyways, in front of the church of Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles, one of the dirty bookstore barkers got pissed. I was surprised it didn’t happen earlier, but, come to think of it, none of the other dirty bookstores had a barker standing there. Sure enough, the first barker I get to is pissed, but not cause I tried to take his picture.
He shouted at me in his very best broken English, “what are you doing!?”
I don’t know why he was so pissed, cause he wasn’t even standing in front of the store when I snapped the pic.
I asked him, in my very best shitty French, “Par-lay vooooo zon-glay?”
“Yes I do!” Then he motioned to the church across the street. “That is what you should be taking pictures of! Not this place…THAT place!” He pointed at the church again.
I said, “I want to take pictures of adult bookstores.”
“NO NO NO! When you are in Paris, you take pictures of this!” This time he took a few steps towards the church as he pointed at it.
“But I want to take pictures of adult bookstores.” It drove him nuts. “Besides,” I said loudly, “I have very many pictures of churches.”
How come we speak loudly — and in poor English — when we’re talking to foreigners?
At least I do.
As I walked away, he was still going berserk over my choice of subject. I kept snapping away as I strolled down the street. It seems they’re cleaning up Rue St. Denis. Last time I was here, I was shopping for Bestiality porno for Barbie Cummings. “Please bring me back some doggy porn from Paris, Billy!” Barbie pleaded. I didn’t, and for two reasons: the shit is expensive, and I was totally frighted about customs discovering my booty. Not that they’d arrest me…but cause they’d think I jerked to that shit.
There was a black dude barker at the next store, and he was much nicer. He didn’t speak English, but he was able to tell me he was from Africa. He didn’t care at all if I took pictures of his store, and he did a fairly poor job trying to get me inside. Maybe cause I said hello to him, and asked his permission to take a picture? Then I asked him if I could take his picture in front of his workplace; he politely declined.
There’s was a Russian-looking thug barker at the next place, and he was the nicest barker of all. He spoke English. He performed his job very well! “Why don’t you go in? Very nice women inside!”
I did not know there were women in an adult bookstore. This must be some sort of new marketing strategy.
“Oh yes! You’ll like them! They massage you, and then they masturbate you!”
Then I thought I was teaching him a new phrase: “We refer to that as a happy ending.”
But he already knew it.
“How much for the happy ending?” I asked.
“Fifty total?” I asked.
“No upsell?” I asked.
“No sir!” He smiled and walked to the door and pushed the drapes aside, but I declined. He tried to do his job a few more times before I finally walked away.
That’s when I came up on the whores. They totally bummed me out. They were so sad. I couldn’t even walk to the end of the street. I turned around and walked back towards the Pompidou and on to a great street that had all sorts of charming boulangeries and patisseries and meat stores (I don’t remember how you say those in French) and fish stores and oysters must still be in season cause there were tons of oysters everywhere and I took all sorts of pictures of food…mainly the totally gross stuff they sell here, like whole pigs and chickens with their heads still on and loaded with feathers and beef tongues.
But I suppose they sell that stuff just about everywhere, huh?