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Short Rounds

Servicing Uncle Sam’s Nephews

During World War II prostitution was quasi-legal in Hawaii. 

About 250 women were licensed by the police, each paying an annual $1.00 to be registered as an “entertainer.” They were required to report their income and pay taxes, and had to undergo periodic medical exams. In return, the police and the provost marshal provided protection, so that pimps were unknown and incidents of physical abuse rare.

While there were some unofficial high class prostitutes around, most hookers worked in one of the 15 “official” houses in the Islands, mostly in the Hotel Street-River Street district of Honolulu. The women worked at least 20 days a month, and some reportedly could manage as many as 100 tricks a day, though this seems very unlikely. To improve turnover, many houses had the women rotate among several tiny rooms, so that a man might be getting undressed in one, while the woman was with another man in a second room, and in a third room a John was getting dressed, while a maid tidied up a fourth room.

A trick cost $3.00, about $60 today on the “minimum wage” scale. The woman kept two for herself and gave one to the madam. Despite this, a busy woman could earn up to $40,000 a year (20,000 tricks, an average of nearly 55 a day), out of which she had to pay room and board, plus medical expenses. They also had to tip the maids, who cleaned up after each trick, escorted the customers, brought help if necessary, and so forth, and could themselves make up to $125 a week, an impressive sum for the times. Madams could make $150,000 a year.

The “industry” was one of the largest in Hawaii during the war, bringing in an estimated $10 million a year, more or less compensating for the lack of tourism.

Note:  Further information on this most interesting subject can be found in The First Strange Place: Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii by Beth L. Bailey and David Farber (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, 1994).

 

" . . . A Hundred Men Like You"

Following the disastrous outcomes of his campaigns of 1812 in Russia and 1813 in Germany, Napoleon fell back on the line of the Rhine. Making his headquarters at Mainz in early November of 1813, he issued orders for the remnants of his armies to regroup and cover vital areas. Engaging in diplomatic maneuvers, he prepared to hold off the onslaught of what were certain to be greatly superior Allied forces by calling up fresh conscripts and recalling retired veterans.

One evening, around November 5th, Napoleon was discussing possible enemy courses of action with his marshals and senior generals. When Marshal Auguste Frédéric de Marmont suggested that the Allies would cross the Rhine at Basel, in Switzerland, and march on Paris, Napoleon called the idea “crazy.” Marmont noted that there were not enough French troops to stop such an operation. Napoleon appealed to the other commanders present, but by their silence they indicated they agreed with Marmont

Annoyed, the Emperor turned to General of Division Antoine Drouot, loyalest of the loyal, saying that what he really need was a hundred more men such as he..

In a quiet, respectful tone, Drouot replied, “You will need 100,000, sire.”

 

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