The Art of the Pimp: One Man’s Search for Love, Sex, and Money

Written: July 3, 2015

This book surprisingly could be a simple success story about a talented salesman who first created a fortune in timeshares. It has a lot of simple success advice like being positive, taking risks, making a personal connection before the sales pitch, working hard, being honest, believing in what you’re selling, etc. But of course, it wouldn’t sell a hundred copies as such. This book is about the most successful, best known pimp in the world who brought his salesman acumen into the hidden, illicit, subdued world of legalized prostitution. Other than his sex addiction, there is nothing notable about his beginnings other than his talent as a salesperson and entrepreneur. Along with most everyone, I think you would assume he started out as some small time sleazy drug dealer or pimp and simply climbed the ladder, but his beginnings were rather bland, working at a gas station, buying a gas station, buying more gas stations, losing his fortune in a real estate bust in 1981, and then making another fortune in timeshares. Along the way he had two daughters who would betray him and steal money from one of his bank accounts and sell his home in Phoenix without his permission. This betrayal is sad, but there is always two sides to every story. Obviously, Hof is going to portray himself as a great guy who does no wrong besides visiting brothels a lot to feed his sex addiction.

While it is great to see Hof as empowering women and improving their work conditions like allowing them to reject a potential customer, you can’t help but feeling just a little off about it all. I’m not talking about being socially conservative and looking down upon the sex industry. I’m talking about the fact that in some survey, something like 9 out of every 10 strippers admitted to being a victim of sexual molestation at an early age. Now fact is, women are a lot more conservative about sex, and many do not want multiple sex partners or to be sexually promiscuous. This is not just the societal fear of shaming but biological. Of course, there are always exceptions. Just like there are guys who are asexual, there are women who are hypersexual. But the fact that most women are not hypersexual means that for them to agree to sell sex usually means they started out at some point having sex forced upon them. This means that for them, they don’t find it as off-putting to have sex with strangers, at least now they can make a living from it. Secondly, I think they make a psychological tactic of diminishing the “badness” or “shamefulness” of sex as a coping or defense mechanism. In other words, their logic is, if sex is not such a bad thing then being the victim of sexual molestation was not as bad as initially thought hence diminishing the trauma and impact. In making brothels more widely popular and even promoting it and bringing it out of the closet, Hof is helping these women find legitimacy in sex work and diminishing the idea that sex is bad or shameful, that only the element of forced sex is bad and shameful.

But as a result, as a guy, how do you feel about paying for sex first of all, and second of all, having sex more often than not, with a woman who suffered sexual molestation at a younger age? I personally believe in legal prostitution to keep female workers away from predatory pimps and the entire criminal element. Women will sell their bodies for sex legal or illegal, so you might as well make it legal and protect them. I still feel mixed about it just like strip clubs. I just don’t feel great about myself at strip clubs. I always think that the strippers view me as some pathetic dude who can’t get laid, but as Hof seems to prove, even if you can get laid every day on your own, you can still want to pay for sex. The thing about getting laid on your own is that the women would want a relationship. When Hof is in a relationship, that’s when he pays for sex. And so many guys who could easily get laid on their own, including celebrities, prefer to pay for sex to avoid all the stickiness of date sex. On top of that, many guys wind up paying just as much for a date as a visit to a brothel.

One of the most impressive things about the book is how Hof not only allows people in his life a few pages to talk about him, but criticize him as well. His admin assistant at the ranch calls him a micromanager. A Chicago DJ criticizes Hof’s assertion that there are no significantly more incidents of childhood abuse with prostitutes compared with the general population, that he questions women’s dignity when Hof can get them to jump under a table and give a friend a blowjob. It says a lot about Hof to allow such criticism. The thing about salespeople is that you’re wielding a double-edged sword. At the same time you have this powerful weapon to influence people’s behavior and convince them to give into temptation and part ways with their wealth, that weapon swings back and you can trick yourself into giving into temptation and parting ways with your wealth. Hof actually gets taken advantage of women. Think about it. You know Hof is a womanizer and gets into short term relationships and always spoils his girlfriends even after breaking up. All you have to do is have sex with him for two years, then nag him about being monogamous and then leave him and voila, pocket hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million or more. Perhaps it’s Hof’s guilt that makes him lavish his girlfriends with money he makes off other women laying on their backs.

I’m not criticizing women who feel that prostitution is the right career for them. As Hof puts it, you can work hard in a short period of time and given if you are hot, you don’t have to do it all your life. But just like the NBA, there are superstars and then everyone else. You may think a stripper or prostitute making $5K a week is big money but let’s break it down. As a prostitute, the house gets half, so she walks away with $2.5K. And she’s not working 52 weeks a year. Many only go for 20 or 30 weeks, so now we’re at $75K. After taxes, even if she cheats, now we’re at $65K a year. But she also has to pay for her own health insurance, let’s say $6K. So now it’s $59K. But she’s not working 30 years as a prostitute. If she works 10 years, she has to spread that $590K over 30 years which means $20K/year. Okay, even if you’re only working 30 weeks for 10 years, still, you have to live off $20K/year for 30 years unless you decide to work after 10 years of prostitution. This doesn’t include the health insurance you have to pay for the 20 years after prostitution. In other words, you can’t retire after 10 years of prostitution, you’ll have to find a job and it will be a low paying job, because really, you’re going to tell the employer you were unemployed 10 years not a prostitute for 10 years. I got this same sort of talk at a free enterprise camp where a former NBA player told us that trying to make a living off the NBA, even if you miraculously get drafted, is similarly difficult unless you’re a superstar. Even worse, both NBA players and prostitutes have never seen big money in their lives, and they don’t invest it or even pay taxes, many simply blow it all on luxury goods and being excessively giving to others. It’s worse that sad that many prostitutes give their hard-earned money to their boyfriends and family which aided and abetted in their abuse. My advice is don’t fall for Hof’s sales pitch that you can retire after being a prostitute, but I do applaud him for improving working conditions and dignity for prostitutes, his no drug policy, and teaching the prostitutes how to sell themselves so they can make more money so they don’t have to work as long in the industry. If you want a pimp, you want Hof.

I was positive about the book until the ending with two stories. The first is where a guy dressed as a nun enters and applies to be a prostitute. They charge you $300 for an application and then $600-$700 to give him makeup and hair. They put him out for six line-up’s and after he didn’t get called, they threw him out on his ass telling him he was better off working for Taco Bell. This is heartless. They completely took advantage of him, and for that matter, I imagine, they take advantage of countless women who aren’t attractive and leave $1000 lighter. Then another story, Hof is coaching a prostitute and he tells her to start off at $1500. Then go down to $1200. Finally, take $700 for two hours but then try to up sell him to $1000 for four hours. You also have to tip on top of that, I would assume the standard rate of 15% for good service 20% for great service. It all took me down to earth again. It’s like Disneyland. It’s all a scam. Sure they give you a wonderful, almost magical experience, but all along the way they’re trying to make you pay for it. When I went to Disneyworld in Florida, I didn’t even go inside the actual park but the mall areas right outside the park. Every square foot is methodically engineered to make you pay just like every square foot of a casino is calculated for earnings potential. Even Hof at one points wonders if he’s a fake and if he even knows who he is. The one thing America is good at is the sell and the fantasy. Certainly in America, you can make all your dreams come true, but at the same time, some dreams are manufactured for profit and it’s just as important to know your limits, live within your means, and enjoy the countless things in life that are free, most importantly relationships, and ironically, as one of the most social beings in nature, we spend the most amount of time trying to indulge ourselves in things that do not have a social payoff. It is almost as if a group of smart rulers realized this, that humans are more motivated by social rewards and avoiding humiliation than anything else even food, sex, and shelter. So withhold social connections from them and tempt them with everything but with the promise that these intermediaries that cost a lot will ultimately give them the social connections in the end. Many people wind up spending so much time alone studying and then working with the promise of fortune at the end which in turn gives us the materialistic powers to attract the high quality people we want in our lives, but this is all a lie. All we truly attract are sycophants, gold-diggers, and like-minded anti-social rich workaholics with little social aptitude or experience. Hof is right about saying the brothel not only sells sex but what men really want, relationships, a woman to listen to him and connect with him on a deeper level. He doesn’t get that from his wife or girlfriends or any woman so he goes to the brothel under the premise of only satisfying his dick when in fact, his heart craves a connection. So Hof coaches his women not only to sell the hot body but also the relationship, someone he can text from the office and share his feelings and problems. Just like Disneyworld sells the magic and illusion of youthful wonder, Hof sells the magic and illusion of a loving relationship.

The end of the book is shocking. I won’t give too much away except to say that two people rake Hof over the coals, and he lets them in his own frickin autobiography! It says two things about Hof. First, he has big balls. He is not completely self-deluded and I think it is a mea culpa and he really wants to be a better person, and this is his attempt at it, if you can’t admit a problem, you can’t fix it. Second, it is also indicative of his exhibitionist, promotional, masochistic tendencies. What is more humiliating than allow an ex and a therapist to air your dirty laundry in your own friggin autobiography? His ex Cami Parker, a snooty Canadian New Yorker portrays Hof as a dirty scumbag manipulative sadistic compulsive liar of a pimp. A therapist, in more professional terms, portrays Hof as a narcissistic, emotionally immature, codependent, histrionic, emotionally manipulative, sex addict with low self-esteem. In my wild imagination of writing my own autobiography after becoming famous I would never have thought to have other people, including critics, write anything. He also includes emails or letters condemning what he does. Who does that? Well, Hof does that. I’m not sure if it’s a first for auto-biographies but I consider it an artistic innovation that is notable.

Well, in the end, I think of the movie Life of Pi. Is life a horrible struggle full of pain and misery? Or is life a fantastic tale, floating in a boat with a tiger across the ocean? Which one do you want to live? It’s easy to explain why Hof will never find everlasting love. He is incapable of it, and he’s using a toolbox filled with metric tools for a machine with inch bolts. The women he dates are damaged and needy and codependent just like him with serious trust, respect, and accountability issues. Not only does Hof lie to others and himself but they lie too. The end result is Taiwan. What is Taiwan? Taiwan is a problem with no solution except status quo. China wants Taiwan but is not militarily strong enough to take it. In the meantime, they just keep talking about taking it back. Hof will keep on talking about finding that true everlasting love until he dies. But in the meantime, like all his prostitutes and johns, he lives in a fantasy world to escape the miserable thing otherwise known as reality. You have to ask yourself when you are drawn to strip clubs, brothels, or just crazy women, do you really like them because they give you a thrill or because you’ll find yourself in common company? I’d like to think I can always learn and make myself better, as such, I really should and do try to avoid strip clubs, brothels, and crazy women.…/1941393276


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