Refined Painted Ladies

Night improves Las Vegas.

Hot neon, sharp jumbo LEDs, and happy drunks loudly snaking along sidewalks and across the Strip present running tableaux of infectious merriment. This is a much preferable image to what morning reveals. Despite rosy fingers of dawn heralding the day, sunrise skies above the Strip are iron gray.

The vault above matches the streets below.

Crowds have vanished. Traffic has evaporated. Evening’s dazzling illuminations have faded into visual irritants.

Derelicts who’ve been shooed to Las Vegas’ darkest peripheries return to beg, maunder or impose their schizoid existences on daytime visitors strolling Las Vegas Boulevard. After the previous night’s glad-rag promenade and procession of gaiety, hollow-eyed, matted haired, filth encrusted, flesh and blood specters are the gaudy way’s jarring contrast.

During this transition from night into day, a less acknowledged though certainly more alluring segment of the Las Vegas mosaic begins crossing other thresholds.

Into the wan light stride courtesans. Not escorts. Not hookers. Nor whores. Well, this being America, we don’t recognize courtesans. Part of being a society still in its adolescence is inelegant language. So call these women exclusive prostitutes. Or “rewards.”

The highest regarded of an at-best ambivalently esteemed profession.

Unlike their lower echelon sisters, the male gaze admires these women beyond their surface charms. Appraisals are more fully formed. Rather than the usual rush for instant detached sex, the grace of such women further stimulates imagination.

Lust is insufficient motivation in this instance. Lust can be exhausted easily and cheaply. Especially in Las Vegas. The rolling billboards, the fellas lining the Strip distributing palm cards, social web sites, and even the old-fashioned up close and personal offers among casino machines or at bars erase most impediments to tryst.

However, a reward serves a certain prestige and the disposable income plumping that stature. Her company has been earned and thanks to considerable handy amounts it will be indulged.

That supply and demand dovetails nicely since her own renown derives through word of mouth and discrete promotion. These assignations transpire in what pass for swank establishments. Save the inexpensive romps for budget hotels and down-market motels.

The reward cultivates a devoted clientele on what’s presumed a one-way street. Gentlemen owe the lady zero loyalty, while she’s expected to maintain secrecy unto death. Yeah, it’s an unfair bargain but those are the accepted business terms.

Despite general societal reproach, haven’t rewards indeed achieved a lightly-spoken rarefied level? Yes. In outside circles what they perform, the services extended, infuriate. Usually critics of other people’s delights intensely condemn such conduct between consenting adults.

Naturally aren’t these often the same scolds who in their rare introspective moments vicariously wonder whether they themselves could ever find the nerve, thrive even, in the carnal marketplace so scorned? On the highest level at least, shouldn’t the idea of being adept enough to receive lucrative compensation for wily gratification displace the despised practices’ turpitude?

Rewards prompt satisfaction in manners the most voluptuous overtly signifying sex workers never could arouse. Their relatively stately presences sate aspirations. They signal the client has “arrived.” They’re just not pieces of indiscriminate tail to be had at then discarded. The pleasure of their company is to be appreciated, maybe even cherished.

Her makeup is artful artifice. The applied face mildly startles; the veneer nearly makes flesh and blood too perfect. These serene masks remind of Renaissance portraiture. Which is an apt comparison because plenty of those models improved their lie by horizontal commerce. To return the gaze within the frames sees illusions one should refuse to disturb. Yet isn’t that part of the draw? Besides the sex, I mean. Being frivolous with beauty.

Compared against her lesser sisters’ eyeliner, blush and lip gloss, the reward is a brighter flame which emits much less heat.

Attire and comportment distinguish her from lower-rungs lovelies.

Clothed demurely, the fashions worn still leave plenty residing in imaginations. So no slutty frocks whose plunging necklines tickle bellybuttons and ass cracks. Also skip any torso hugging shimmering blouses and pencil skirts with seams dangerously close to splitting. Rather than mincing in sky-high heels, the footwear is almost chaste.

Her hair is seldom a major production. No heaping cascades, no styles requiring engineering, but short sweeps easy to maintain which don’t cause distractions.

The reward’s demeanor upon entering the exchange is business-like, not harried or worse, anxious. Upon exit she is cool instead of frazzled. The biggest difference between rewards and other pleasure women? At the end of their assignations, the former doesn’t immediately scour cell phone inboxes for the next “date.” Or in her case “appointment.”

Never fails. Cheaper the talent, the quicker she scans her device afterward. Evidently dissatisfied, she’ll scowl all the while too.

A reward will hang fire. Keeping herself above how the morally-straitened and envious dismiss her, she may likely exchange knowing pleasantries with hotel service personnel quite aware of her profession. And no winks are passed. After all, their respective vocations share similar degradations.

Once a car has arrived to whisk her away only then in the backseat might she download any missed messages.

Departures for the reward’s sisters are showier and a lot more jittery. Leaving second tier addresses staffed by immature and duller personnel, conversations waver among familiar, jocular and disdain. There’s scant respect on either side. Viewed through leers with frequent murmurs of disparagement humming in the background, the women truly are judged as commodities.

Meats whose value continually sink in the eyes of their beholders.