Times of Crisis Even for the Prostitutes / Iván García

They are hard to convince. These girls in short shorts and tights; lots of cleavage and excessive lipstick does not stop the police harassment or the years in jail if they’re caught. Or sexually transmitted diseases.

Nor do they fear the cold winds and the dampness visited on Havana these days. There they are, on the hunt for clients. They stand in groups of three outside a nightclub.

In the 21st century, the hooker of Generation C (all of them were born with the Castro Revolution) are used to partying, drinks and sex with cocaine or a good marijuana joint with the tourists.

It’s desirable. Hook up with a ‘Paco’ (Spaniard) or an old Canadian. But these are times of crisis. “The Spanish who come here are cheap now,” says Yordana, 16, sitting in a park with some friends.

They take advantage of it to offer their services. Sex on demand. And not too expensive from the perspective of a foreigner or a Cuban loaded with silver who goes out at night fishing for whores. And they also promote themselves. “We are meaty mulatas silicone tits,” says one of them. For a blow job, 5 dollars, 10 for penetration, and 20 for a lesbian display.

Still and all, if you’re not up for that and are a little short on “bullets” (cash), and you treat them nicely and buy them some beers, as a bonus they’ll allow you to masturbate, but you can’t touch them.

The morning is coming in Havana. The cold wind has chased the Bohemians, sodomites and whore hunters off to their beds. But Yordana and her friends are hesitant to go home without money.

They walk the length of Linea Street, and stop at the entrance to each nocturnal attraction, at this hour full of boys and tourists who passed out drinks, to see if anyone is seduced by their hard flesh.

But it’s not their lucky night. The competition is fierce. A group of hookers, none of who are older than 15, have already “marked the territory” and taken the clients. Tired of walking, the girls take off their high heels and head for the bus stop, heads hanging. The cold gets into their bones. They hug themselves, trying to warm up.

On 23rd Street, four guys with a quart of cheap rum eye them lasciviously and make a proposal. Walking along with their working clothes and dried cement on their arms. The hookers were doubtful.

“Show me the money,” said one of them. An older gentleman showed them a wad of bills. “We’re bricklayers and we’re partying. We’re about to spend 300 convertible pesos (360 dollars,),” he said in a hoarse voice with his libido in the clouds.

they talked it over and Yordana, the leader, accepted. “They were a mess. But it’s the end of the year and we need money. And after spending a whole night with the cold and not even some cocoa or a nice drink of rum, we deserve to go home with some money,” emphasized Yordana.

The sun was coming up when they went off in a group, arm in arm, singing ballads along the Malecon. These are times of crisis, even for the hookers.

December 15, 2010