In the Pynk
Jim Ironman wants to sell you the gift that keeps on giving. For two months now, Ironman (not his real name), a family man with the face of a deacon and the body of a department store Santa, has written, edited, and distributed the Pynk Pages from his Boynton Beach luxury apartment. With little money coming in, the photocopied magazine with the bright pink cover is still very much a labor of love.
A Consumer Reports-style guide to local hookers that recalls the "Blue Book" directories of Victorian-era bordellos in New Orleans, the Pynk Pages sells for $5.95 in 15 adult video and novelty stores; Ironman estimates that he's moved about 200 copies. With tourists starting to arrive for the winter, he expects more "hobbyists" (the word he uses for johns) to start picking up his 'zine.
When asked why a self-described regular Joe would publish a magazine for johns, Ironman is pragmatic. "You go to some of these websites and there are photos of a variety of girls who exist only in Brazil," Ironman says. "So you call them up and you think you're getting a little hottie, but the girl who shows up is some pork-faced weasel who has managed to knock the syringe out of her arm just long enough to knock on your door."
With a long list of the region's "providers" and their phone numbers, measurements, and specialties, plus ratings of their looks and performance (A+ to C), he has compiled a comprehensive resource for SoFla hobbyists. The magazine also lists girls to be avoided, dominatrixes, transgendered escorts, and hookers with special skills, all squeezed between articles and tips. A tip on page four of issue number 2 reads: "If a girl advertises that she has natural tits, believe her. Even the dumbest rubber-boobed girl quickly learns that lying about this results in nothing but grief."
Ironman, who asks that his real name not be used here because "some of these pimps are Evil McNasties," produces the Pynk Pages with the full knowledge and support of JoAnn, his wife of 26 years, and Rachel, his 23-year-old daughter. Sometimes the two good-humored Ironwomen even help. JoAnn says she delivered the second issue to the adult stores, and Rachel likes to offer Jim pointers on graphic design.
"Don't you think the print should be bigger, Dad?" she asks.
"Do you think anybody is actually reading the articles?" he responds.
The articles are informative and explicit, providing seasoned knowledge to novice hobbyists on how to avoid arrests and robberies while getting the most bang for their buck. As the sole contributor, Ironman has what seems to be a deep well of firsthand experience on topics ranging from massage-parlor etiquette to instructions for dating a stripper.
"My wife doesn't care what I do so long as I bring in money, right, honey?" asks Ironman, a former metallurgical engineer. Seated on the couch in the next room, JoAnn sighs and nods her agreement. "JoAnn gave up on me and strip clubs many years ago. I told her that if I wasn't looking at naked girls, I wasn't going to be much use to her. So JoAnn doesn't care. But Rachel finds me embarrassing beyond belief."
"But that's for other reasons besides this, Dad," Rachel yells from the next room.
For the ratings, Ironman has a fairly scientific system. He scans the Internet sites favored by hookers and johns for listings and reviews. He also scans phone books and local newspapers (like New Times, for example) for escort ads. Using the information gleaned from each, he compares the names and phone numbers to determine if an escort is working alone or through an agency. Some of the Internet sites provide Amazon.com-style customer reviews; Ironman says he bases his A+ to C ratings on these.
"I ignore any girl who has less than three ratings because typically the pimps and the girls write their own reviews," Ironman says. "The legitimate reviews written by the hobbyists usually say, 'She did real good.'" For girls with more than three reviews, Ironman averages the one to ten review scores to arrive at a composite number. "Being a quality-control weenie, I calculate a standard deviation and average," he says.
Though Ironman hopes more escorts will advertise, the second issue of the 32-page publication contains only one ad, from an escort named "Sindi." For $20 a month, which includes a photo of the very blond, very fit Sindi on the cover of the latest issue, she believes it's a bargain. "I'm sure I'm going to get exclusive response from it," Sindi says by phone. "I'm looking for a certain clientele."
With a voice like Kathleen Turner after an all-night chain-smoking bender, Sindi is definitely the kind of girl men would want to keep on the phone for as long as possible, but she's more interested in sealing the deal. To do so, she requires that her "dates" provide her with home and work phone numbers and their real names. At 45, Sindi is a latecomer to the hooking game and more cautious than younger girls. She's been escorting since April and says she really likes the work. Sindi says her clients are men looking for all the pleasures of a normal relationship without the responsibilities.
"We talk and get to know each other," Sindi says. "It's exactly like a blind date." Sindi figures that on a normal date, men would spend close to her fees. (This is likely an exaggeration: She charges $100 for half an hour up to $1,500 for a whole night.) She's a twice-divorced single mother of two, a former flight attendant, and a former business owner. Sindi says that she hasn't got the time or energy for a real relationship and that escorting suits her needs. "I don't want to be wined and dined. This way, I get maintenanced twice a week, and I get paid for it."
With the Pynk Pages, Ironman hopes to connect SoFla's Sindis with the hobbyists, whom he divides into four categories: out-of-towners, dweebs, divorced and damaged, or frat boys. "I want to reach all of them," Ironman says. "I'm looking to sell my magazine to any guy with a hard-on and 200 bucks." He also wants to offer advice from both sides of the bed, sharing knowledge gained from the working girls with the men who pay their bills, and vice versa. But mostly, he'd just like to make a few dollars for himself. "If this works like I think it will, I'm hoping to unload 3,000 to 4,000 copies a month during the season, and I make about $2 a copy," Ironman says. "That's not bad money."
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