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Is my neighbor a prostitute?
October 22, 2007 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Is there any reasonable explanation for my neighbor's behavior other than that she's a prostitute?

A single mother with four kids moved into my neighborhood about six weeks ago. Since then, my wife, several of our friends in the neighborhood, and I have observed behavior on her part that, along with other evidence, seems to lead to the conclusion that she's a prostitute, working out of her home. The evidence:
  1. She is home all day during the week while her kids are at school. During that time her car almost never leaves her parking space.
  2. During that time, every day, several cars will appear (one at a time), park in her other parking space, and one man (always a man, and always alone) will get out and go into the house. He will exit about 30-45 minutes later. He will not be carrying anything noticeable on either entry or exit.
  3. One of our friends, by pure chance, lives in the neighborhood where this woman and her kids moved from when they moved to ours. She has told us that the same rumor was bandied about that neighborhood, for the same reasons.
  4. My wife, our friends in the neighborhood, and our friend who used to live near her, have said "Hi" to this woman, asked her over for a glass of wine, and such, but she has, every time, treated them coldly. Basically, she doesn't seem to be interested in getting to know anyone else in the neighborhood.
We have been trying to come up with alternate explanations, but can't really think of much that makes sense. There are a few indications that she's not a prostitute--to my mind, the most notable being that these men who visit always use the front door, and it would not be difficult for her to have them use the back door.

I don't really care too much if she's a prostitute, because it is essentially a victimless crime. I'm somewhat concerned about the men who continually come to the neighborhood if that's why they're here, because there are a fair number of kids in the area (including mine) and if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they might do?

I will note that her kids seem to be well cared-for, and reasonably well-adjusted. The visits from the men always stop before her kids get home from school, so it doesn't seem as though, whatever she's doing, she does it with the kids in the house.

Please help us think of any other reasonable explanation that fits the facts! In case you should have something to say that you don't want to say publicly, you can email my throwaway GMail address at neighborho@gmail.com.

Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (113 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
She could be a massage therapist or have some other non-sexual home-based service job.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:45 AM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Masseuse? Maybe even the "full release" kind?
posted by 100watts at 11:45 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The all male clientele does make me think she's one of those "massage therapists".
posted by 100watts at 11:47 AM on October 22, 2007


Maybe she's actually a legitimate masseuse? Perhaps she is stand-offish because she is running a business out of a residence which is probably against local zoning ordinance?
posted by Doohickie at 11:48 AM on October 22, 2007


Therapist?
posted by drezdn at 11:48 AM on October 22, 2007


If you want my blunt, honest answer- I think you and your neighbors need to mind your own business.

As for MOST of your evidence... yes, it does sound as though she may be a prostitute. As for #4- what does that have to do with anything? I personally try to avoid my neighbors at all costs- granted, I live in an urban environment, but still...
posted by MiaWallace at 11:49 AM on October 22, 2007 [14 favorites]


I knew someone who gave haircuts out of their home. Not just to men, though. How are the men dressed? Could she be a seamstress, tailoring their suits?

She may not be a prostitute per se, but a pro dominatrix. If this is the case, I think you have a lot less worry about her clients. (Not that I think you have much to worry about from them in the first place - most likely they want to be discreet, and if they were actually interested in kids they wouldn't be paying for the services of an adult.)
posted by desjardins at 11:49 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


My former roommate had a friend who was a professional dominant who worked at home. Thirty minutes seems a bit short for that but it's possible, perhaps that your neighbor is doing something similar?
posted by pointystick at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2007


Stand by for people berating you for not being super-excited to have a mini-brothel next door. How dare you judge, etc etc.

I thought up a ton of jobs that would involve people visiting her at home for that time frame, but I'm struggling with the fairly short period of time she has each visitor and the fact that all her visitors are male.

It's hard to imagine why she might be a masseuse, psychic, acupuncturist, Reiki therapist, life coach, astrologer, etc. but only have male clients. I could imagine that she's a therapist who specializes in male clients for whatever reason, but 30-45 minutes is a bit on the short side for that.

I suppose she could be dealing, but the visits seem a little long for that, and again, why only the male customers? (Unless, er, she's some kind of underground Levitra baron.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2007


Well, besides "non-sexual business," another explanation would be that she likes a lot of casual sex. Which would be equally none of your business.

Assuming your suspicions are correct, why would you assume men interested in sex with an adult female are a danger to children?
posted by stevis23 at 11:59 AM on October 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


Uhh... maybe you could ask her?

Sounds like the whole neighborhood is watching this woman's house constantly; in such an environment, she could probably use a friend.

Why not bake some cookies and drop by some weekend to formally welcome her and her kids to the neighborhood?
posted by OlderThanTOS at 12:00 PM on October 22, 2007


Is it the same group of visitors? Maybe they're with social services, parole officers, child welfare, etc.
posted by jquinby at 12:08 PM on October 22, 2007


1. and 2. could be evidence of prostitution, or as others have said, masseuse, physio-therapist, or drug dealer. Next time you see her, why not ask?

3. and 4. have absolutely nothing to do with her being a prostitute. I wouldn't be interested in getting to know my neighbors if they were nosy gossips, either.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


My wife once had a high-end prostitute living next door. They were always curious about her (never talking much other than a casual hello) until it was confirmed when they saw her on 20/20 telling her story. That, ironically, allowed them to have open conversations with one another, and become better neighbors than they were before.

That in mind, ask your neighbor. I'd view this as an opportunity to not necessarily grow closer with your neighbor, but at least to clear up some of your suspicions...which will probably give you some idea how "safe" her visitors are with respect to your kids. It's your chance for everyone to get straight with one another, rather than wondering and gossiping.

Second the cookies route as your icebreaker.
posted by diastematic at 12:22 PM on October 22, 2007


If your only concern is that men visiting a prostitute maybe be perving at the neighbourhood children then you might want to rethink that idea.
These are men that are visiting a fully developed, adult woman for their sexual needs - it is highly unlikely that any of them will have any interest in children. Just because they are 'unsavoury' enough to visit a prostitute, doesn't mean they're paedophiles.

There are many legitimate things she could be doing, probably some sort of alternative therapy.

Equally, not wanting to make friends with her nosey neighbours doesn't make her a prostitute either, she might just be a very private person. Maybe she moved from her last place because of all these rumours.
posted by missmagenta at 12:23 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Basically, she doesn't seem to be interested in getting to know anyone else in the neighborhood."

Also, have you lived in a big city before? Not all neighbors are friendly. And what missmagenta said.
posted by special-k at 12:26 PM on October 22, 2007


A few years ago a woman moved in across the hall from me whose behavior sounds exactly as you describe. It turns out she was, in fact, a prostitute and was evicted by building management shortly after the police became involved (not due to any actions by myself FWIW).

The whole thing came to a head, so to speak, after several incidents involving "clients" gaining access to the supposedly-secure building via a door which she tried to keep propped open. Leaving for work in the morning was always a bit disconcerting when there was a john outside her door waiting for his turn.
posted by ScottUltra at 12:27 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Random thought: Wonder if she's independent or has a pimp. If she is a prostitute, that is. I might not object necessarily to a "working girl" next door, but I wouldn't want a pimp in the neighborhood.
posted by 100watts at 12:29 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not an expert in the area or anything, but it's my understanding that women in the world's oldest profession are *acutely* concerned about their security and safety, and I would be very surprised that a woman with four children would turn tricks at the same address she calls home. (Think about it from her perspective: if you were in that line of work, would you want your clients to know where you live? When you have children living there? No way.)
posted by ambrosia at 12:32 PM on October 22, 2007


If she's bringing lots of unwanted traffic on to a residental street, call your local police. Report lots of increased traffic and speeding. They'll likely park someone on your street once or twice a month, which might be enough of a presence to get rid of anything that shouldn't be going on. It seems like you have, not so much a problem with what she does for a living, but within the increase in strange people in your neighborhood. Ignore the people calling you a nosey busy body, I'd be concerned about lots of coming and going by people I didn't recognize as well.
posted by Phoenix42 at 12:33 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Search Craigslist and your alternative local papers for anything that might be her?

Don't discount the ad that says "learn piano, delight your wife." A former neighbor of ours made a killing giving piano lessons to men while scantily clad; 30 minutes midday with a businessman while dressed in a teddy and garters paid 3x what she could charge for kids lessons that took up her late afternoons, evenings and Saturdays, and she didn't particularly like children.
posted by Dreama at 12:34 PM on October 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


"Basically, she doesn't seem to be interested in getting to know anyone else in the neighborhood."

Maybe she doesn't like Gladys Kravitz busybody neighbors who have nothing better to do than:
- monitor her guests
- track her parking spot activity
- judge her parenting
- investigate her behavior in her former neighborhood.

Perhaps if you had something more interesting to discuss with her, she might be more inclined to befriend you. Unless you're writing her biography you have far too much interest in her affairs.
posted by 26.2 at 12:39 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


She could work out of her home as a chiropractor, massage therapist, psychic, acupuncturist, database/systems tech, barber, counselor, drug dealer, dance instructor, jewelry repairer, bookie, accountant, notary, or a hundred other possibilities. She could have her own business or she could work from home either out of preference or because of some sort of disability.

Also note that you have only observed solo men. Presumably you do not stake out her house 24/7.

if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they might do?

Perhaps you would likely be surprised at the savoryness of men who employ prostitutes. Also, as you are proposing that adult men are seeking the services of an adult woman, it would follow that your kids are pretty safe in this scenario. I wonder what's really bothering you...you didn't mention her appearance or the appearance of the men visiting her.

This is pretty vicious gossip, especially considering that she has school-age children. As a parent, you must realize that this sort of gossip is going to get back to her kids.
posted by desuetude at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Are they wearing suits/carrying clothes? When I got my wedding dress altered, I went to a lady's house in the middle of the day. She told me that 90 percent of her clients are men, and most of them wait there while she works. She would schedule multiple brief appointments at her home each day.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:42 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well if it's right to her door steady like that, there has to be something out there to bring guys in. Look on craigslist. Look in the local papers for her address. Maybe she's selling stuff out of her house that she doesn't want (unlikely). I think prostie but you might be able to find out for sure by searching want-ad like places for the address in question.

Or you can get a bored college aged cousin/friend of yours to flat out go up to her door and ask "is this-a the sex-a house?" all Borat-like.
posted by cashman at 12:45 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


How do I deal with my neighbors?
I just moved into this neighborhood a month and a half ago...


Dear Anonymous: I suggest you chat with your neighbors, accept that glass of wine and explain the situation to them. They are probably nicer than you think (there's only one way to find out) and I'm sure will be relieved to know a chiropractor is living next door. There's no reason for a trainwreck to occur. Diplomacy is about communication.
posted by vacapinta at 1:09 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is her last name Klopek? Did you actually see the old owners leave before she moved in?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:20 PM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Massage therapist? Psychoanalyst? Financial advisor? Notary? Graphic designer? Music teacher? Golf pro? Reporter? Travel writer? Person with a lot of male friends?

Good lord, the possibilities are endless. The fact that you assume she must be a prostitute says everything about you, nothing about her. If you want to find out what's actually going on, go ask her. Don't dick around offering wine or trying to trick her into telling you.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:21 PM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


What WCityMike said. Two friends of mine - wholesome late twenties women with healthy social lives - were once harrassed by their female landlord, who would show up on their doorstep at odd hours to accuse them of being prostitutes. Apparently the neighbours had told the landlord that the girls would - gasp! - have men over in the evenings. Sometimes the men would leave after midnight! (It seems the neighbours had never heard of dinner parties. Or friends of the opposite gender.)

I'm just saying, it's probably best to mind your own business. There are plenty of reasons why a woman might have visitors, male or otherwise, during the day. Perhaps she does private bookkeeping for local small businesses. Maybe she's a psychotherapist, or an unlicenced hairdresser, or a sports masseur. Maybe she's a dominatrix, or a copy editor, or a freelance illustrator. Maybe she has friends, and some of them are male. It's possible she has guests of both genders, but the more than the female ones.
posted by hot soup girl at 1:23 PM on October 22, 2007


She could easily be a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2007


I meant to say...

It's possible she has guests of both genders, but the nosy neighbours notice the male ones more than the female ones.
posted by hot soup girl at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2007


I'm sorry no one on here would be even the least bit curious if there was prostitute, conducting business out of her home, who also happened to be a mother of four? Come on, especially if you had kids?

This woman appears to be the best kind of prostitute, low key and discreet and she keeps her children out of it. However, prostitution often brings with it much much more seedier element, including violence and drugs. There is nothing wrong when given ample ample evidence that your neighbor is engaged in illegal activity within your proximity to at least pay attention. Now I don't think you should do anything or report her, there is absolutely no reason to interfere, but I would pay attention to the situation. No matter how selective one is of their clientele, or how careful, prostitution is a dangerous business.
posted by whoaali at 1:28 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seconding vacapinta. Despite my desires (and many people's delusions, apparently) we don't live in a Ayn Randian world where we can sociopathically ignore the lives of those around us.

1) Neighbors are concerned because strange men regularly show up in the area. 2) Neighbors are told to mind their own business. 3) Neighbors suspect the worst. She can either a) be friendly and open to allay concerns, or b) be secluded and cold and suffer gossip. I don't see why people expect any different.

Frankly, I would bet on her giving tax advice.
posted by FuManchu at 1:31 PM on October 22, 2007


I would be very surprised that a woman with four children would turn tricks at the same address she calls home. (Think about it from her perspective: if you were in that line of work, would you want your clients to know where you live? When you have children living there? No way.)

ambrosia, I'm not saying this woman is a prostitute, but you're off-base here. Plenty of prostitutes do in-calls - it means they're in a controlled environment, not wandering around town into apartments that they don't know anything about and without people knowing where they are. And it means you can turn over clients faster. And johns are not going to come around randomly when there are children around - you think they want the cops called on them? In other words, as Mitt Romney might say, WAY.
posted by Dasein at 1:50 PM on October 22, 2007


When you (or your wife) see a single male entering, wait about 10 minutes, then go over and ring the bell. Have an excuse ready--have you seen my lost cat, selling raffles for a fundraiser, setting tickets to church social, borrow some eggs, whatever. If she answers the door fairly soon, you might be able to assume that she didn't have to get dressed/changed. But then, if she doesn't answer the door, that doesn't mean anything, since she just simply might not want to be disturbed while she's preparing taxes. . .
posted by peachy at 1:54 PM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, she may well be a prostitute. But you say her kids appear well cared for and her business isn't conducted when the kids are around. Given that, I suggest that MYOB is the best course of action.

I'm somewhat concerned about the men who continually come to the neighborhood if that's why they're here, because there are a fair number of kids in the area (including mine) and if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they might do?

Er, what? You appear to be laboring under the impression that men who engage the services of prostitutes are more likely than others to engage in, what, molesting kids or something? That turns out not to be the case AFAIK. These guys may well be doctors or whatever, prejudice nonwithstanding.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2007


You could run a criminal background check on her. The Craigslist search seems like it could be fruitful.

Many of the signs point to prostitution. The time spent and gender of her visitors rules out a lot of the professions put forward. One more to consider, fortune teller, but then why only men? I think one of the strongest arguments against prostitution was ambrosia's, would a mother really want those guys knowing where she and her kids lived?
posted by caddis at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2007


For the sake of argument, she could be a therapist dealing in an area that primarily affects men. If I wanted to be a private speech therapist specializing in stuttering, most of my clients would be men. I think there are other conditions that affect mostly males.

If I were a professional working out of my home and I had any idea that my neighbors were watching me I'd be distant too so I could protect the confidentiality of my clients. If she says, "Oh yeah, I'm a therapist working out of my home with people with (fill in the blank)" then you'd automatically know that everyone entering her house has (fill in the blank). Not cool.
posted by christinetheslp at 2:31 PM on October 22, 2007


Maybe she reads palms.

Maybe she reads tea leaves.

Maybe she councils the bereaved.

Maybe she's got lots of brothers.

Maybe she patches holes in pockets.

Maybe she tattoos fellas with henna.

Maybe she's an alien, commiserating with other aliens in her private time.

Maybe she bakes really, really good brownies, and word's gettin' around.

Maybe she is a free-lance short-form editor.

Maybe she fixes watch bands.

Maybe does reiki, or pokes people with needles.

Maybe she is conducting research for her PhD in music therapy (these men are her test group. She plays them musical passages, then has them fill out a questionaire)

Maybe she shaves these men's faces.

Maybe she's part of an agoraphobic support group.

Maybe the men are all the same guy and she and her man are into some weird and protracted role-play.

Maybe she sketches caricatures, but only for guys.

Maybe she's stealing their souls.

Maybe she's trying to breed.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:36 PM on October 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


lordy I'd hate to have you and your neighbors as MY neighbors. get over it. Mind your own business, unless there is REAL cause for alarm. If so, call the cops.

Sheesh.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:50 PM on October 22, 2007


Put together a neighborhood collection to send a man (husband, son, handyman, grandpa, &c.) over with cash in hand and see what he gets out of her.
posted by breezeway at 2:52 PM on October 22, 2007


I have the same suspicions about my next-door neighbor. I live in an apartment complex and the doors to our one-bedroom units face each other. I have a dog that goes crazy barking at every outside noise he hears, so I have gotten accustomed to looking out the peephole and seeing different men (never more than one at a time) going into my neighbor's apartment several times a day.

What bothers me is that this goes on not just during the day but all through the night and has woken me up on many, many occasions. It was never really a problem until recently, when I woke up at 3 a.m. to screaming and glass breaking. A guy had kicked in her door and broke the living-room window. I don't know if the man in her home was a client, a boyfriend (I'd never seen him before) or what, but as a single female living alone, it scared me. I'm moving as soon as my lease is up.

As for everyone who keeps telling you to mind your own business... there's no harm in simply wondering, right?
posted by Ruby Doomsday at 3:08 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Trying to interrupt her during visits or sending a man over seems like an invasion of privacy to me considering the wide range of possible explanations. Even if she is a prostitute ("call girl" would be more accurate), I really don't think this is any of your business unless they're walking in off the street, hanging around, driving fast.

From what you're described, men drive to her house, go inside for 30-45 minutes, then leave. They aren't hanging around. (If they are visiting a prostitute, they're probably going to be discreet and enter and leave the house as soon as possible.)

I'm sorry no one on here would be even the least bit curious if there was prostitute, conducting business out of her home, who also happened to be a mother of four?

Sure, I'd be curious; I think most people would. I just wouldn't gossip about it to the neighbors or ask about it on a web site.

You could run a criminal background check on her.

Because nothing's better for breaking ice with the neighbors.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:15 PM on October 22, 2007


I guess I don't understand a couple of things. I don't see how you believe this is a victimless crime if you are fearful of what your children might be exposed to. Second, whatever anyone feels, prostitution is A CRIME. So that means it IS the neighbors' business, I guess. How to go about nabbing her, I don't know. Could be she is licensed as some sort of sexual surrogate or something along those lines. I, for one, believe she works for the CIA and her home is where she meets to exchange top secret coded messages. AND she makes really good brownies.
posted by MrFongGoesToLunch at 3:52 PM on October 22, 2007


My stepmother is a piano teacher who sees tons of kids at the house every day. One of the neighbors came over to ask what was up because they saw lots of cars coming and going all the time. No big deal. In your case and in that one, the context (neighborhood, kids) means that it's probably something far less sinister than you're imagining. Just ask.
posted by lhall at 3:59 PM on October 22, 2007


In one building I grew up in, there was a prostitute across the way. Her kids were my friends. She was friendly, took her kids to my birthday parties, etc., etc.

The biggest problem seemed to be that all the wives in the neighborhood were freaked that their husbands might go over there, so husbands who didn't want to get in trouble had to be all indignant.

You're nosy. So you won't have an issue watching for problems. With something like this, the cause isn't any of your business, but it's OK to keep an eye out for symptoms of other illegal activity that are victim crimes and complain about those. If you've got a neighbor like I used to have, there may never be any.

But the "think of the kids" argument is pretty weak. Either own the moral indignation or drop it.
posted by Gucky at 4:20 PM on October 22, 2007


Second, whatever anyone feels, prostitution is A CRIME.

Not everywhere.
posted by scody at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2007


a girl friend of mine used to do erotic massage from home.
i used to go over and visit her (i was at uni at the time) and sit in the back lounge room when she was busy.

i met a number of her clients... they were all boring men. none of them were threatening or horrid or exceptional in any way.

they wanted discretion as much as she did. i didn't care as it wasn't my home/suburb/life.... so i met whoever wanted to meet me (she was very up front that she had a girlfriend over).

she did have one problematic client in the whole 5 years she did erotic massage. he was a cop client.

she didn't tell her local council, nor get any permits, nor pay any tax, so she wasn't as effusive with the neighbours as she might have been. but she was always pleasant. she had a husband and two kids. all of whom knew about her profession.

in australia, "prostitute" is considered to be a pejorative term. we call them sex workers. because that's what they do. and there's no shame in it. my physiotherapist used to use her body to stretch my body in all sorts of positions after my car accident.... no different in my opinion.

and my felicity was not in to drugs and sex and rock and roll. she was as stunning 50+ year old. who drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney(ok, they are drugs)... and was a registered nurse. she told me she used to do the erotic massage to pay for her cigarettes. 5 years ago she used to spend $170AU a week on them!

anyhoo possum.... that's what i know, and what i think. i wouldn't be worried. most of those men are married/in relationships/outrageuously famous.... (well, they were in felicity's case) and were not going to make any trouble.
posted by taff at 4:30 PM on October 22, 2007


Two more explanations—

She could be a photographer. Friend of a friend is a woman who shoots nude guys and does a decent turn at it.

She could also be a transcriber. My friend's dad coordinates some 60 or so women who work at home, getting tapes dropped off and then typing them.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on October 22, 2007


What is so wrong with asking, Clyde Mnestra? It seems better that the OP gets an answer and moves on with his/her life than continue gossiping. She'll probably say "I'm a notary" and that will be that.

As has been suggested above, I think you should fire up the oven, welcome her to the neighbourhood and ask her what she does for a living.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 4:46 PM on October 22, 2007


If you mean that literally, candidate for the worst MeFi suggestion ever.

Why is simply striking up a conversation and politely inquiring about her stream of visitors a bad idea? Is the top of her head suddenly going to pop off and reveal a row of glistening fangs if you do? No, the worst that will happen will be she chooses not to discuss it, leaving the OP no worse off than he is now: mired in the depths of wild speculation and unproductive (as well as potentially damaging to his neighbor) gossip.

Adding to the list of possible professions:

-sex therapist
-voice coach

Or other teacher/coach/therapist who has chosen to limit her practice to males.
posted by jamaro at 4:51 PM on October 22, 2007


Didn't read through all of the posts, but why not just go over to her house 10 minutes in?
posted by peripatew at 5:07 PM on October 22, 2007


Oh, I also know through a friend of a co-worker, a woman who works at home coaching men on acting feminine (mostly queens and pre-op trannies).
posted by klangklangston at 5:08 PM on October 22, 2007


I also think it's none of your fucking business

(etc)

JESUS, PEOPLE. This person makes no mention of intending to DO anything - so it seems like curiosity, and wanting to know who your neighbors are. What is wrong with that? I'm curious about my neighbors because they LIVE NEXT DOOR.

I just don't get this attitude, nor do I get the rudeness.
posted by ORthey at 5:22 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Second, whatever anyone feels, prostitution is A CRIME.

In my state, prostitution is completely legal if it's inside a privately owned building. (i.e. no walking the streets)
posted by knave at 5:27 PM on October 22, 2007


There are a great many above-board services she could be providing. If she's evasive when asked, then your speculation might be warranted, but without asking...it's just gossip, and extremely harmful. If you want to know for the purpose of driving her out (if she actually is turning tricks and you and your neighbours have a problem with that) then you need to be direct and ask. Expect animosity, though.

IANAProstitute, except of the lingual variety, but I wonder what my neighbors think of the fact that I have predominately male friends, and they frequently stop over for a cuppa or chat when we are between lessons and my husband is at work. Sometimes 2-3 of them in a day.

I also know someone that actually is a dealer, and she has tea with clients while they catch up and sometimes have a taste of the product together...which takes roughly 30-45 minutes.
posted by squasha at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2007


MeTa.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2007


My neighbors exhibit almost identical behavior, except they don't have kids and the guys stopping by always go in through the back door. However I'm pretty sure my lady neighbor is selling weed rather than herself.
posted by supercrayon at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2007


Many of the signs point to prostitution. The time spent and gender of her visitors rules out a lot of the professions put forward.

Oh yeah? Why?
posted by desuetude at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2007


I used to be an independent web/graphic designer. All of my clients were musicians, and most of them were male. Because a lot of these guys were also computer-illiterate, they often wanted to come over to my place to go over designs instead of swapping e-mails. Nothing untoward was going on, but who KNOWS what my neighbors thought, seeing as I wasn't at all social enough to explain. I was polite when someone greeted me, but I never went to neighborhood parties or anything, and I didn't know a single neighbor's name. I'm just not an outgoing person.

So, is your neighbor a prostitute? Maybe. But it's just as likely that she has some other in-home business and that her clients, for whatever reason, are mostly dudes. Maybe she makes custom, personalized jock straps. Who knows?
posted by katillathehun at 6:12 PM on October 22, 2007


jamaro,

It was hyperbole -- I've seen worse advice, and probably even offered it myself. It just doesn't seem productive to pry with someone who's rejected entreaties of every kind, especially not in a way that asks her to explain the line of men traipsing across her threshold.

I'm not endorsing destructive gossiping as the alternative. Not an either/or situation.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:14 PM on October 22, 2007


we don't live in a Ayn Randian world where we can sociopathically ignore the lives of those around us.

Umm...perhaps not. I personally, however, do ignore the lives of those around me a lot of the time and my life is uncomplicated and drama-free as a result. Since I'm usually pretty busy working and such, I have no interest in what other people do.

I'm a photographer who sometimes does shoots out of my garage out of convenience and lack of budget. My neighbors always gawk at the models and sit on the front porches wondering what the hell it is I'm doing in there with them. I can only imagine what their dirty little minds come up with. I also keep a pretty quirky schedule (at home during the day, people coming and going at night). Nevertheless, I make sure my shoots don't become a nuisance to anyone while I do this.

I can see why this girl doesn't want anything to do with the rest of you. Aside from the men only thing, I see nothing else untoward about the situation. Go get a life and mind your own damn business already!
posted by arishaun at 6:27 PM on October 22, 2007


[this is now in MetaTalk, snarks or insults go there, not here]
posted by jessamyn at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2007


Maybe she's dealing drugs? A lot of drug dealers who feel like they're being observed make customers stay at their houses for 30-45 minutes.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


She might be a prostitute, or she might not be. You don't have enough evidence to make a conclusion. If more conclusive evidence arises, and you object to the presence of a prostitute, and her conduct is illegal, then you should take it up with law enforcement. Until then, you don't really have a right to invade her privacy.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:43 PM on October 22, 2007


Seconding drugs. Very surprised that it took so long to be raised as a possibility.
posted by Riverine at 6:52 PM on October 22, 2007


I'm not sure what to believe, but I disagree with everyone who is berating you for being curious about this neighbor. I'd probably be just as curious! Most people want to know what's going on in your surroundings - whether it's something illegal or potentially dangerous, or just something unusual/weird/gossip-worthy.
posted by radioamy at 7:00 PM on October 22, 2007


Maybe she's dealing drugs? A lot of drug dealers who feel like they're being observed make customers stay at their houses for 30-45 minutes.

Ala Weeds?
posted by ericb at 7:02 PM on October 22, 2007


I'm glad you're not my neighbour.

I work from home as a computer professional. Almost all of my friends are male, and they often stop by for visits during the day, or late in the evening, and leave and arrive at the oddest times. During the day, they don't stay for long, because well, I do have work to get to. I have a husband, who also works in IT, but he's absent all day, which is when I frequently have visitors.

I very, very rarely have female visitors, other than my Mum.

Y'know, I'd never imagined that such behaviour could be considered dodgy by a neighbour. These blokes are just my friends, and since a lot of them are students, they're free during the day to visit, so that's when they rock on over.

Obviously, I live in a different world.
posted by ysabet at 7:06 PM on October 22, 2007


"Many of the signs point to prostitution. The time spent and gender of her visitors rules out a lot of the professions put forward."

Oh yeah? Why?
posted by desuetude at 8:57 PM on October 22 [+] [!]


Massage, 30 minutes from time in the door to leaving? Unlikely. etc. Same with drugs. I have lived next door to these vermin. Ten minutes in and out. It would be better with sex as there are too many guns in the drug trade. Haircuts? OK, the time and gender work, but at the house? Give me a break. This lady is a hooker. If it bothers you turn her in. If it doesn't, leave her alone. If you are in between and your balls are made of brass, figuratively speaking, ask her straight u, "there is a constant stream of men visiting your abode for short periods, what is up with this?"
posted by caddis at 7:14 PM on October 22, 2007


. Haircuts? OK, the time and gender work, but at the house? Give me a break.

Actually, I go to someone's house to get my haircut.
posted by vacapinta at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2007


I lived across the street from a very busy prostitute/stripper when I was about 20 and lived on a very quiet, narrow suburban street in South Pasadena. There was very little about my neighbor that blended into the environment, and her associates DEFINITELY caused some safety issues. In comparison, it doesn't really sound like yours is likely to. If she is a prostitute, it sounds like your neighbor is probably a far more mature and higher class working girl. From the description, it sounds like she just wants to mind her own business and isn't endangering anyone. So unless she's creating specific problems, maybe you should just let her be. She sounds quiet and as though she's not asking for drama so you may find she may actually end up being a pretty good neighbor.

You never know... the next person who moves in could be a far worse neighbor in comparison.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:04 PM on October 22, 2007


We lived next door to a brothel once and didn't think a thing of it. Then one day a very famous person in that country was photographed leaving the brothel and the pictures sold for umpty million dollars.

So my advice is to get a zoom lens and a bunch of back issues of People. You never know.
posted by fshgrl at 8:13 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


My above post reminds me. Just ask the lady if the men you see are her "benifactors." This may be the politess way to your nosiness because no one can see threw walls.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:33 PM on October 22, 2007


Massage, 30 minutes from time in the door to leaving? Unlikely. etc. Same with drugs. I have lived next door to these vermin. Ten minutes in and out. It would be better with sex as there are too many guns in the drug trade. Haircuts? OK, the time and gender work, but at the house? Give me a break. This lady is a hooker.

These vermin? Which ones, the professional photographers, the transcribers, the IT people, the vocal coaches, the chiropractors? That you dismiss haircuts is bizarre -- it's a common home business. Nice how you ignore the many plausible jobs suggested in this thread.
posted by desuetude at 8:37 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your neighbour could be a prostitute. She could be also be a sex worker engaged in any number of associated lines of work that are not illegal where you live. She could also be any number of other things, some of which are listed above.

I would, however, encourage you to think outside your suburban middle class box:

I'm somewhat concerned about the men who continually come to the neighborhood if that's why they're here, because there are a fair number of kids in the area (including mine) and if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they mig ht do?

I'm interested in your assumptions about the kinds of men who visit prostitutes. The population of men who pay for sex is as varied as the population outside that subset. It includes doctors, lawyers, accountants, politicians, teachers, musicians, actors, programmers, and people who post on MeFi.

There are no studies to indicate that adult males who frequent prostitutes are any more likely to be pedophiles than say, you are. These men are unlikely to pose more of a danger to your neighbourhood's children than other random men who come into your neighbourhood, like the postman, FedEx guy or window salesmen. In fact, children are most likely to be at risk from people they already know; studies show that between 85% and 95% of victims know their assailant, so the people you should really be worried about are your friends, your family members, and your neighbours - not your neighbour's clients.

I would encourage you to re-asses the situation and pick out the parts that are really issues to you. Since you don't appear to be having a "ZOMG quiet, discreet prostitute!!!!!" knee-jerk reaction, the issue isn't what she does for a living. If it is the safety of your children, then please do some research and educate yourself, your wife, and your children about where the actual threat lies.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:16 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


DarlingBri,

I think all manner of reactions are appropriate to this question, if put moderately, and yours is pretty moderate. But stuff about "your suburban middle class box" is pointlessly patronizing, even if you write from the lofty perch of the tenement roof.

And as for the "it's someone you already know" move, you have no basis for supposing that the poster isn't already concerned about those risks and addressing them appropriately. Besides, that move says nothing about per-individual risks; the average neighbor, friend, family member may be far less risky than the average visitor, especially on a per visit basis. (If you don't believe that, next Thanksgiving, I'll sit you next to a convicted sex offender rather than Aunt Mabel -- assuming they're not one and the same.)

Like you, I simply don't know whether a prostitute's customers are more or less risky than the FedEx guy -- putting aside the risk of running over the child with the truck. You seem to say authoritatively that there's NO study, whereas I don't know whether there is or not. Are you aware of work showing no correlation?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:45 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, the question is 'what possible basis do you or the OP have for assuming correlation?' Otherwise you're into Jesus territory and requiring people to prove negatives.

"They pay for sex therefore they are more likely to molest children." Any version of that is rooted entirely in judgmental attitudes towards prostitution.

She gets to challenge that premise without being preached at.
posted by genghis at 10:47 PM on October 22, 2007


My take on this (but I could very well be wrong) is that the time frame makes dealing a higher likelihood than prostitution here. I would be a bit surprised that only single males come to call in that case, particularly if we're talking weed, but in any given set-up it's certainly possible. That being said, some of these other, legal occupations mentioned seem possible, so it needn't be anything to worry about, not that that stops people from worrying.

Since I'm getting "Should I be worried?" as the underlying question of your post, I really wouldn't suggest "MYOB" as in this situation it's going to do no one, including your new neighbour, much good. If you really feel that you can handle the answer with a modicum of tact and respect, go on over, briefly highlight the concern (though, please, not the paedophile concern for reasons listed above), and ask your question. If one of the many other answers is the correct one, you can do both of you a favor and kill these rumours yourself, and maybe pick up a new friend. If she tells you to mind your own business, nobody is really hurt, she learns that people are worried which is not a bad thing, and you gave it a shot. If she tells you the answer you're concerned about, or one that concerns you even more, then you've got a poser, but at least you've got information, and if she seems a nice enough soul -- and if you are, too -- you can then decide what to do about the neighbourhood gossip together.
posted by dreamsign at 11:01 PM on October 22, 2007


Simple, it's either drugs or sex. And I know from drugs; as our neighborhood group leader says, "We can smell them a mile off now. We have identified 21 drug houses and we have never been wrong, even when we were on them long before the police were."

I don't think being concerned about strange traffic is nosy; it's safety-related. Only you, of course, can determine whether this is really an issue.

If it's a regular business of some kind, there will be evidence of that as well. A shingle outside, for example, or a magnetic sign on the car. Meetings that come outside onto the porch or involve multiple people of multiple genders. Deliveries of equipment or inventory. It really isn't hard to figure out the difference.

I personally might leave this one alone, but it depends on your neigbhorhood and her clientele. Are men visiting a ho automatically child molesters? Probably not. But criminal activity tends to stick with criminal activity one way or the other and the existence of a pimp and/or drug connection can mean a higher risk than various virtuous prostitute scenarios from the movies.

If you feel there's a risk, don't be afraid to contact the police with your suspicions. Likely they have some sort of street crimes or even a vice unit that will file it and eventually do some investigation. If you see something overt, by all means, make the call.

As for the busybodies in this thread, they can stuff it; it's your fucking neighborhood.
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on October 22, 2007


(obviously my point about tackling the gossip together only applies if her actual occupation falls on your side of the comfort line but on the other side for the neighbourhood in general. Either way, however, apparently others are concerned, so you "minding your own business" doesn't end this.)

on preview: I'm not so convinced in the inevitability of signs of a legal business as dhartung, but I agree with the general bent of that post. It's your neighbourhood.
posted by dreamsign at 11:11 PM on October 22, 2007


Haven't read more than a handful of responses, but have you considered that she might be a beauty therapist, of the "back, crack & sack" waxing variety?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:49 PM on October 22, 2007


MrFongGoesToLunch writes "Second, whatever anyone feels, prostitution is A CRIME."

Not in Canada.

dhartung writes "If it's a regular business of some kind, there will be evidence of that as well. A shingle outside, for example, or a magnetic sign on the car. Meetings that come outside onto the porch or involve multiple people of multiple genders. Deliveries of equipment or inventory. It really isn't hard to figure out the difference."

Lots of people run home business yet don't have any signage. Either because doing so would incur the wrath of HOA/Zoning gestapo or because the nature of the business means they don't have to. And many service business have little or no supply chains, mine doesn't. It's strictly expertise that I'm peddling.
posted by Mitheral at 12:16 AM on October 23, 2007


These vermin? Which ones

drug dealers, sorry if that wasn't clear.
posted by caddis at 3:28 AM on October 23, 2007


She could be a bookkeeper. Or a freelance/virtual assistant. She could be a freelance paralegal. All of her work could be done on a flashdrive, and that's why they aren't carrying anything. She could be a hairdresser for men only. Maybe her specialty is haircuts for people who wear toupees or other hair implant system. I know lots of people who get their haircuts from someone in their house. I used to get my nails done by someone who operated out of her house.

Maybe she markets her services (hair cutting, assistant work, freelance bookkeeping, etc. at golf clubs, which would be smart). Perhaps she only works those hours because her clients will agree to keeping her hours and if she doesn't have to work when her kids are home, why should she. She could be a ton of things unrelated to sex-work.
posted by birdlady at 7:57 AM on October 23, 2007


follow-up from the OP:


Thank you to all the people who wrote considered responses to the actual question I asked. I'd like to clarify my question on several points:

First, I thought I'd made it clear that I don't particularly care about anyone of legal age, my neighbor included, engaging in prostitution. I live in the U.S., and not in Nevada, so it is a crime here, but, as I said, essentially a victimless one. What I care about is the fact that any crimes, even victimless ones, tend to attract the police and other crimes. I have young kids, and would rather that people with guns not be anywhere near them.

Second, I in no way meant to imply that men who visit a prostitute are likely to be pedophiles or pederasts or any such thing, though I can see how what I wrote could be misinterpreted that way. I am simply concerned that these are strange men who may be coming to the neighborhood for a perfectly legitimate business reason, but OTOH they may not be, and if they're not, they may not be individuals I would be comfortable having in my neighborhood.

Third, to respond to some questions people asked, the men are all dressed casually, and are not carrying anything noticeable at all, which would include a suit or other nice garments. So I think the possibility that she's a tailor is out.
posted by jessamyn at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2007


Maybe she markets her services (hair cutting, assistant work, freelance bookkeeping, etc. at golf clubs, which would be smart).

This made sense in my mind when I wrote it, but I feel like it might need clarification. I meant it is possible that she markets in golf clubs or other places where the majority of people seeing her ads/card would be male (yes, I know women like golf, too.). That would account for why her clients are male. If she cuts hair for people with toupees or hair systems (natural hair still grows in some areas), the majority, if not all, of her clients would be men.
posted by birdlady at 5:28 PM on October 23, 2007


I question the data.

My experience is that people tend to skew their memory of datasets to fit the theory they settle on. In other words, unless you tell me that you or some very trusted person has sat down and carefully samples whether there are female customers, I don't take it for granted that datum is accurate -- especially when the theory in play is such a pruriently attractive one.

(That said, a friend of mine lived in a fairly decent building where a couple of enterprising young women set up "that kind" of massage outlet. "They were always washing towels dressed in nothing but a sweatshirt and thong.")
posted by lodurr at 5:22 AM on October 24, 2007


(My observations about the data are also relevant to dhartung's hypothesis: If the prostitution theory is sucking up the oxygen, data like the type of dress, social group cues, etc., may tend to get lost. So they might lose the ability to notice whether she's a dealer by focusing on one attractive theory -- or, for that matter, whether she's an accountant.)
posted by lodurr at 5:25 AM on October 24, 2007


I'm all for "ask her".

The fact that noone gives a shit about their neighbors, what they do, and if they are alive or dead is one of the things wrong with America, not something to be proud of or to further encourage.

I'm not proposing that you take pictures inside her house or implant listening devices, but the fact that most people no longer know their immediate neighbors' names or occupations is not to be celebrated.

I'm shocked that so many of a liberal mind here would suddenly adopt a NRA'ish stance of "MYOFB".

What if the poster had said they suspected a neighbor of assembling a militia. Would all of you still be saying "MYOFB"? Doubtful. I expect there would be many more "call the police" exclamations, where there has been only 1 here that I can see.

And, I'm rather shocked at the naivete of so many of you here. MeFi has perhaps the highest aggregate intellect of any large internet community.

A hairdresser specializing in haircuts for toupee wearers or hair transplant patients? A bookkeeper that does all of their work on flash drives for only male clients? A web designer that has time to design web pages in-between continuous visits from male-only clients? Clients who for some reason need a web page but yet cannot view a web page remotely on their own computer? A tax accountant for only males who also do not have business partners and never need to bring any sort of documentation with them?

Really? That's your answer, hive mind?

As dhartung says above, it is either drugs or sex, and it is so obvious as to be absurd to even seriously consider other alternatives. The only one that is even plausible is some sort of masseuse. Everything else is simply flights of fancy.

And, it is perfectly reasonable for someone to know if neighbors are engaging in illegal activity inside your neighborhood. Again, if the person was stockpiling explosives, I doubt anyone here would suggest looking the other way.

Now, truth is stranger than fiction, and it could well be that she is a fantasy football league director for several regions and has to manage drafts or something.

But, come on.

Everyone knows what it is.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


A hairdresser specializing in haircuts for toupee wearers or hair transplant patients? A bookkeeper that does all of their work on flash drives for only male clients? A web designer that has time to design web pages in-between continuous visits from male-only clients? Clients who for some reason need a web page but yet cannot view a web page remotely on their own computer? A tax accountant for only males who also do not have business partners and never need to bring any sort of documentation with them?

Really? That's your answer, hive mind?

Huh, my mother was right -- I will ruin my reputation if I have boys over after school. Wow. This is sad.

- The likelihood of confirmation bias when spying on your neighbor is quite high. This casts suspicion on the "it is always men who never carry anything" observation.

- A number of people have pointed out that they run non-prostitution businesses or receive visitors in their homes similar to the pattern described by anonymous. Is it okay to assume that they are not prostitutes, or is that naive?

- "Several" in six hours or so is hardly "continuous" visits.

- Chiropractor, regular haircuts, and a number of the other more mundane suggestions are not absurd. The willingness to believe that she's "obviously" a prostitute based on the evidence provided is a whole 'nother flight of fancy, though.
posted by desuetude at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, forgot your medications today Ynoxas?

Anon had come up with possible solutions, in his words: We have been trying to come up with alternate explanations, but can't really think of much that makes sense.

Well, I gave possible solutions. They aren't out of the realm of possibility. Many people have indicated that they get their hair cut in someone's home. I worked for an interior designer who used a bookkeeper who worked out of her house. He faxed/emailed her files, but visited her every other week to pick up and sign paychecks. I suppose she could have sent them, but he liked to visit with her. There was nothing going on other than visiting, he was a gay man. A lot of his colleagues used her, too. It isn't hard to imagine that they visited her from time to time, as well. I knew someone who felt she was being sexually discriminated against at work, so she went to see an attorney, a male, who worked out of his house. His whole practice was representing victims of sexual harassment, I imagine he had women coming in and out of his house every day. Did his neighbors think he was a pimp? The answers I gave are POSSIBLE solutions. Do they represent what she is actually doing? Who knows, nobody is going to know for sure what it is that she does.

I'm shocked that so many of a liberal mind here would suddenly adopt a NRA'ish stance of "MYOFB".

What if the poster had said they suspected a neighbor of assembling a militia. Would all of you still be saying "MYOFB"? Doubtful. I expect there would be many more "call the police" exclamations, where there has been only 1 here that I can see.


The OP didn't ask what he should do about it, he was just curious what his neighbor does. So "call the police" really is an out of place answer for this question. Are you shocked that people are actually answering the question posted?

The fact that noone gives a shit about their neighbors, what they do, and if they are alive or dead is one of the things wrong with America, not something to be proud of or to further encourage.

Great, but that has nothing to do with this post. Unless he is going to go around and survey ALL of his neighbors and ask what they do and who they are, he has no business singling this one out. YES, on the surface, it does seem like drugs or prostitution. If he asks her, do you think she is going to say "I deal drugs! Name your poison." Or "I'm a prostitute! Name your kink, I do it." If she is a masseuse, do you think she's going to admit that "release" is part of the package? And what if she is a dominatrix? It isn't illegal, but do you think she's going to admit to that profession? And say "Why yes, I put grown men in diapers or make them lick my shoes. I can squeeze you in at 2:00 if you're interested"

At the end of the day, if she wants to hide what she does, she's not going to admit it, so asking is useless. If sincerely wants to welcome her to the neighborhood and and establish a neighborly relationship with her, that's one thing. If he just wants to go over there and satisfy her curiosity, he should mind his own business.

BUT again, he didn't ask what to do about it.
posted by birdlady at 12:17 PM on October 24, 2007


* and satisfy HIS curiosity
posted by birdlady at 12:20 PM on October 24, 2007


...confirmation bias...

Thank you. I always [sic] forget that term...
posted by lodurr at 12:47 PM on October 24, 2007


desuetude: you're missing the point so badly I don't know how I can even attempt to get you back.

This has nothing to do with "reputation" or "appearances". The poster went out of their way to say they didn't consider prostitution to be a big deal.

There are no moral judgements from either the OP, or myself.

I think it is important to KNOW if illegal activity is going on in your neighborhood. I did not address, in any capacity, what to DO, if anything, about it.

If you live in an otherwise quiet typical neighborhood, and you don't take notice of one house receiving 10x, 20x the traffic of the other typical houses, then you are either a fool or helplessly nonobservant. Neither is anything to be proud of.

If there were a couple of people coming over now and then, IT WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN NOTICED.

The poster says EVERY day, SEVERAL cars, with only lone men, arrive, stay for 30-45 min, then leave.

If it were the same cars (like friends or business associates) it's likely the poster would have mentioned "it's the same 5 cars every day" which would mean something very different.

Let's assume "several" means at least 5. So, there's 25 friends who just happen to drop by at regular intervals, for regular time periods, each week?

100 a month?

Come on. This has nothing to do with "having friends over" and you know it, except you are trying to make some sort of pedantic point. Yes, yes, she may be a bird trainer specializing in miniature, pocket-carried magpies that are only owned by men. Of course you can manufacture all kinds of incredible possibilities.

But there is more value in what is likely. Call girl is likely, drug dealer is likely, masseuse is somewhat likely, everything else is possible, but certainly a stretch.

Also, I don't think anyone else has even brought up the part about it happening in another neighborhood. Confirmation bias blah blah. But, an amazing coincidence no matter what.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:53 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, the other neighborhood is also vulnerable to criticism as potentially the result of confirmation bias. Think telephone.

You may or may not be right about what the woman does. I think it's most likely to be sex and drugs, but definitely? You're stating your case far too strongly.
posted by lodurr at 12:57 PM on October 24, 2007


Ynoxas, you know that there's a MeTa about this, right? Where you can bloviate to your heart's content.
posted by klangklangston at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2007


Drugs are a possibility, but the problem with this is that people who use drugs and visit the drug dealer don't limit their drug-getting to school hours. I can't imagine too many areas where drug dealers are so scarce that clients have to work around the dealer's schedule, not to mention, in many circumstances, the drug dealer makes deliveries because being a busy dealer operating out of your house is just asking to get busted. Also, it can't take 30-45 mins to do a drug deal. Maybe chatting with a long-time client or giving samples to a first-time client, but each client taking that long, in the middle of the day when they need to get back to work or whatever they do all day? Not likely. This isn't to say she isn't dealing drugs, but these issues are as reasonable as the ones that can be presented for any of the non-dealing possibilities.

As for prostitution, I have the same questions. I'm sure people visit prostitutes at all hours of the day, but having such a steady base of clients who are ok limiting their desires to school hours seems likely only in an area where prostitutes are few and far between. Are there many areas where prostitutes are few and far between? It would be seriously career limiting to confine her "office hours" to school hours. She's got to be pretty darn good to get her clients to conform to her hours.

These things aren't proof against dealing or prostitution, but I'm just trying to point out that those two possibilities aren't sure things.
posted by birdlady at 1:13 PM on October 24, 2007


> And, I'm rather shocked at the naivete of so many of you here. [...] A hairdresser specializing in haircuts for toupee wearers or hair transplant patients? A bookkeeper that does all of their work on flash drives for only male clients? A web designer that has time to design web pages in-between continuous visits from male-only clients? Clients who for some reason need a web page but yet cannot view a web page remotely on their own computer? A tax accountant for only males who also do not have business partners and never need to bring any sort of documentation with them? Really? That's your answer, hive mind?

OP: "Is there any reasonable explanation for my neighbor's behavior other than that she's a prostitute?"
posted by WCityMike at 2:45 PM on October 24, 2007


Just finished a conversation with a friend when I realized she exactly matches this profile. Four kids. Home all day. Men coming and going irregularly. Usually staying for 30 minutes. Too exhausted from kids and work to make nice with the nosy neighbors. Doesn't give a d*mn what they think of her.

Her profession? CPA/bookkeeper.
posted by OlderThanTOS at 3:09 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Any kind of bookkeeper/accountant/web designer has to be out, because if she's entertaining a half dozen people a day for 30-45 minutes, that leaves precious little time for any other work during school hours.

Seeing clients during daytime hours does not mean that this is the only time you are yourself permitted to work. Part of the advantage of working from home is being able to code in your PJs at midnight if you want.

Off the top of my head, I personally know a jewelry designer, a seamstress specializing in custom orders, a half-dozen IT people, several freelance writers, telecommuters in various fields, a hairdresser, a dentist, an investment counselor, a chiropractor, a nutritionist, and a massage therapist (non-sexual) who work out of their homes with no signage out front, little to no obvious deliveries, and no need for people to be carrying obvious stuff. Their visitors, while not all the exact profile characterized by the OP, would seem similarly suspiciously specific if you were keeping tabs on comings and goings.
posted by desuetude at 3:18 PM on October 24, 2007


[this thread is being discussed in Metatalk which means if you ware not answering the question but just arguing with other posters you need to do that THERE. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:31 PM on October 24, 2007


Likely, she's a hooker. Almost none of the alternatives that the hive are come up with make any sense given the timing and gender of the visitors. It's not proof, just the most logical possibility given the information available. Haircutting is a possibility, but easy to check on. Do the guys go in looking shaggy and come out looking spiffy? If it is hooking it will likely be the opposite, except for those big smiles they are sporting.
posted by caddis at 4:08 AM on October 25, 2007


"Hive" is an interesting term, and it's been used by two people who are critical of non-prostitution explanations. It implies mindless participation in groupthink. As opposed to, say, creatively tossing out alternatives to the obvious and noting why the obvious might not be as obvious as it seems.
posted by lodurr at 7:28 AM on October 25, 2007


I believe you are overthinking the term hive. It just implies that a lot of people are available to opine (and for all these minds, there has been one non-hooking activity that fits the time frame and gender limiting aspects - hair cutting).
posted by caddis at 7:46 AM on October 25, 2007


From my perspective, your response reassures me that I'm not overthinking it, because there have actually been several that fit the time frame and gender limiting aspects. Most notably, CPA. But various flavors of computer professional are also an option.

If, as has been suggested by several people, you discard the "only male" datum as potential confirmation bias, that opens up the realm of plausibility considerably.

If you were interested in denigrating those answers, you might describe the minds that thought of them as part of a "hive". Also, in general usage when referring to the products of intellect, "hive" is almost invariably negative. The happy-positive term for "hive mind" is "crowdsourcing" or "wisdom of crowds." The neutral way to put it would be "group", or even "all these minds", as you supply in your response.

So, no, I don't think I'm overthinking it. I think I'm just consciously reading it.
posted by lodurr at 8:16 AM on October 25, 2007


30 to 45 minutes seems pretty short for a CPA (but not completely out of the question) and why only men? Why would a computer professional have so many visitors, especially given the ease of transmitting stuff electronically?

Ignoring one large aspect of the observed data by claiming "confirmation bias" surely is convenient now, isn't it?

As for your definition of hive, have you actually read many askmes? People query the hive mind all the time. When they ask this way I do not think they are looking for a formulaic group response, but rather are looking to the number and diversity of readers here to find solutions that one person might not find. In any event, that is how I have used the term in this thread, and given such quantity and diversity of readers I find it interesting that few reasonable alternatives to hooking have been suggested. Interpreting the hive as you do would support your point though; if the hive is really all that dumb perhaps they just haven't thought of the real answer.
posted by caddis at 9:08 AM on October 25, 2007


Almost none of the alternatives that the hive are come up with make any sense given the timing and gender of the visitors. It's not proof, just the most logical possibility given the information available. Haircutting is a possibility, but easy to check on. Do the guys go in looking shaggy and come out looking spiffy?

Shall I repeat for you? Back, sack & crack waxer.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:33 PM on October 25, 2007


Interior designer would also be possible--most of the people coming by would then be architects or contractors or furniture/cabinetry fabricators, which are largely male-dominated fields; although that seems like quite a few people coming by for that profession, and you'd get some female clients mixed in as well. But you wouldn't need or want a sign out front for that, either.

It seems odd to me that the people always park in the same parking spot -- I would think they'd try to be a little more discreet than that if there was actually prostitution going on. All that said, it does seem like that's probably what's going on.
posted by LionIndex at 6:11 PM on October 25, 2007


Back, sack & crack waxer.

fits the time, I guess, but just men? What happens after the sack wax?

Interior designer

What interior designer never leaves the house, c'mon. Also, wouldn't they be carrying briefcases or other bags full of drawings etc.?

I still say there is no proof, and it would be best if she had some benign set of visitors, but really, the ideas presented in this thread do nothing to dissuade the OP from the prostitution idea.
posted by caddis at 6:28 PM on October 25, 2007


fits the time, I guess, but just men?

well, women generally don't have the same anatomy as men. and why couldn't / wouldn't a beautician specialise, eg by advertising in the gay press? maybe she just doesn't want to give women brazilians and has established enough of a niche market to keep the money flowing? bear in mind that good waxers for the private parts are in high demand amongst those who prefer that kind of personal grooming, because people don't want to go near a waxer who doesn't have the technique down pat.

What happens after the sack wax?

never had one myself, but i imagine there'd be a period of intense pain, followed by tenderness (not of the lovin' kind), and maybe some sort of lotion or ointment to prevent ingrown hairs & the like...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:59 PM on October 25, 2007


So, I guess we're not allowed to question the data. Even when we have reason to. Then it's settled: She's a prostitute. It's the only logical solution. No need to even confirm it.
posted by lodurr at 5:15 AM on October 26, 2007


Executive playmates indeed.
posted by caddis at 5:58 PM on October 27, 2007


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