Dennis Hof changed the brothel landscape in Nevada, the only state in the U.S. where brothels are legal. Before Hof, working girls in Nevada’s legal brothels were more like slave laborers. They could not leave the property during their two-week shifts. They could not take personal cell phone calls or use personal email. They were required to service any customer that selected them. Prices were set by the house.
The women working in these brothels called them “pussy prisons.”
But when Dennis Hof started buying up brothels, he didn’t want slaves. He wanted strong, independent women who liked sex and knew how to make money.
So Hof changed the rules in his properties. In Hof’s brothels, the women make their own schedules to come and go as they please. They have the right to say no to any customer. They set their own prices. They are in this line of work because they like it.
I knew all of this from talking to women who work in Hof’s Vegas-area brothels (see Interview with Lydia Faithfull, Alien Cathouse Madam on the Menu). But Hof has published his own account of his life as a brothel owner, The Art of the Pimp—A Love Story, and many of his revelations are fascinating.
Before Hof was a brothel owner, he says he was the best timeshare salesman in history, and he essentially sees selling sex as selling timeshares on a body. So the biggest part of his job is teaching the girls in his brothels how to make money as a hooker.
In Chapter 10, “The Art of the Sale,” he describes exactly how he does this and it’s riveting. Hof’s view is that prostitutes aren’t selling sex so much as an adventure. He was a long-time consumer of brothel services before he became a brothel owner, so his understanding of the customer psyche is dead-on. You understand immediately how he ended up with seven brothels and hundreds of prostitutes who are themselves becoming millionaires.
That’s a chapter every potential brothel customer ought to read.
The book is filled with funny stories about the prostitutes and their sometimes odd customers. There’s a whole section of letters he’s gotten from girls who wanted him to sell their virginity to the highest bidder. There’s another chapter with nothing but hate mail he’s received through the years.
The book also contains short essays written by ex-girlfriends, showbiz personalities, porn stars, and business acquaintances. Some of these essays paint Hof favorably, some not so favorably, and some of the writers downright hate him. I’ve never read a book where the author wanted the reader to hear everybody else’s side of the story.
Porn legend Ron Jeremy tells funny stories about Hof, with lots of raunchy details included. There are also stories by or about goofball comedian Andy Kaufman, former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss, Howard Stern, Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson, Hustler magnate Larry Flynt, and Screw tabloid publisher Al Goldstein.
The final essay in the book is a 12-page “psychological evaluation” by New York psychotherapist Sheenah Hankin, PhD. She portrays Hof as a sex addict desperately in need of therapy. Somehow I get the feeling Hof is laughing all the way to the bank.
Cool book. $27 hardcover or $12 on Kindle. Get it on Amazon here.