My destination was about 30 miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport. I drove along I-580, to US-395 S., to US-50 and took exit 39 and as GPS Lady said, “Take a slight left onto US-50 E, a left onto Red Rock Road, and a slight right” that brought us to our destination—Mound House, a small barren town that’s home to the Bunny Ranch, the most famous Ho House in America.
I pulled into the parking lot and said out loud to myself, “That’s it? This is the famous Bunny Ranch? It’s a trailer!”
Actually, it’s two attached doublewide trailers. The business’ name, Moonlight Bunny Ranch, is prominently displayed in bright pink letters just below the roof. It looks like some princess’ home built by Disney.
There was another sign posted on the front of one of the trailers that alerted all visitors that “No Tops Allowed. Bottoms are Optional, But Frowned Upon.”
I sat in the car reviewing my notes. Dennis Hof is the owner and the Madam’s name is Suzette. In order to legally open a Ho House in Nevada, it has to be in a county whose population is under 400,000. The Bunny Ranch is located in Lye County, which has only 50,000 residents. In all, Hof owns seven Ho Houses in Nevada, three of them in Nye County.
I walked to the front door of the ranch, rang the bell and Madam Suzette appeared 15 seconds later.
I recognized the Madam from her internet photos. She’s a heavyset, upper middle-aged woman with blonde-bleached hair wound up on top of her head, resembling a beehive. She is not a sensuous woman, at least to my eyes. She’s like the woman-next-door, nothing extraordinary about her, except, of course, that she’s the pimp’s assistant.
“You must be Barry Schwartz. From Rolling Stone.”
“Yes, hello Madam.”
“Come in, please, how about we start with a tour.”
“A great way to start out, Madam.”
“Please, call me Suzette. Anyway, I’m technically the general manager here.”
“I think Rolling Stone is very wise to send you here on our sixtieth anniversary,”
As soon as I enter the Ho House, I see eight Hos lined up in a semi-circle. They tell me their names, left to right: Brooke (I read that she’s Hof’s girlfriend and used to be a social worker), Kitty, Britney, Sabrina, Logan, Abbey, Alexis, and Air Force Amy (yes, she was actually in the Air Force). They all recite their names with deadpan faces. Suzette picked up that I was perplexed about this, and tells me that the girls have to follow the rules of the lineup–no flirtatious gestures, no winking, no rolling their hips, not even a suggestive smile.
Suzette told them I was a reporter from Rolling Stone doing a story about the Bunny Ranch. When they heard this, some of the Hos metamorphosized from statues to young women who just received their first Barbie dolls. The ranch has a lot of media attention, but the Hos apparently can’t get enough of it.
I’m a modern furniture type of guy. This main room we were in had that ornate crap. I saw some women sit on this hideous red couch as Suzette and I left the room. If the bell rings, up they go back in the lineup.
“I’m giving Mr. Schwartz a tour, and later on I’m sure he will want to interview you girls.”
Suzette then took me to the gift shop. You don’t have to be a prospective John to be there. Anyone can hang out in the shop. I looked around and saw the goodies: the Bunny Ranch logo (a male bunny mounting a female bunny) emblazed on t-shirts, shot glasses and hats, DVDs of the “Cathouse” HBO series, and of course, adult toys. Guys who only come to the bar are called “tire-kickers.”
Then we stepped into the adjoining bar, where women were on stage beginning with bikinis that were slowly removed, exposing their super-firm bodies.
Suzette shows me what she calls a “menu” of services. She hands it to me and I read one menu item that’s called a “Viagra Party” for guys who have erectile dysfunction. Other selections include Dungeon, Around the World, and Sybian Experience.
We then took a tour of the bedrooms. This surprised me. They looked like any other bedroom, with the exception of one room that had about 20 varieties of condoms on a wall shelf.
We entered Britney’s room. She was watching some reality show on TV and filing her fingernails.
“Mr. Schwartz, I’m not really her mother. That’s what the girls call me.”
“Hi honey. I’m giving this gentleman a tour. He’s a reporter for Rolling Stone.”
“Where’s your camera? That’s a cool magazine. Think I could end up on the cover?”
“Actually, a professional photographer will be here in a week or so.”
“Well, make sure you have the correct spelling of my name. It’s B-r-i-t-n-e-y.
Suzette sits down, invites me to do the same, and begins her PR speech.
“We’re open twenty-four-hours a day, three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year. Our girls are independent contractors and it’s up to them to decide what services they provide, and the amount of money they charge. We have some superstars, such as Air Force Amy, who has a huge clientele and a steeper price. I know this because the girls must give the money to our cashier, who they affectionately call the ‘Hooker Booker’.” I laughed, and she said, “Oh yea, it’s often very funny around here. The girls have a lot of fun. At any time, we have forty to fifty girls working here, though we have only twenty eight rooms. The girls aren’t working all the time, so it works out fine. There are about five hundred girls licensed with us, and we get a thousand requests to work here every month. The girls average a thousand dollars per party. We get fifty percent of the money the girls bring in. But that includes licensing fees, daily room and board—some of the girls live in their rooms, some don’t—STD testing, travel, promotional materials, taxes and supplies, such as condoms, lubricant, toys, and lingerie.
“Usually, one of the girls takes a gentleman on these tours. Considering you’re a reporter, I’m showing you around.”
“I appreciate that Suzette.”
“And as you saw, when a gentleman enters the ranch, the girls who are available introduce themselves. A customer may already know which girl he wants to spend time with through our internet site. They can make an appointment online.”
We visited a few other rooms, including one that had dozens of novels lined up on a bookcase. “She’s in college,” Suzette said, “studying comparative literature.”
Suzette then takes me outdoors. There are a series of connected sheds, including a massage room with a cupid statue, a shower room, and another where the Hos are tested for STDs every week and HIV every month.
We sat on a bench outside the sheds, the mountainous view providing a calm that countered the anxiety I felt among the working girls. I asked her about 15-minutes’ worth of questions, concluding with which girl stands out in her mind the most.
“It’s not one. It’s two. About six years ago we had a mother-daughter team. Mom Desi and daughter Elli. The daughter, if I remember correctly, was nineteen, and her mom in her mid-forties. They started working here following their performances in porn videos; mom and daughter with several men. I see your expression, Mr. Schwartz, and the answer is no, I don’t approve of this. I don’t make all the decisions here, if you catch my drift.” I asked Suzette where Hof was. He was the guy I really wanted to talk to. She said he would join us shortly.
In the meantime, I took the opportunity to interview the “working girls,” as Suzette calls them. One said she loved her Big Daddy and Mommy, and others said they loved working and living at the ranch, and of course, making a lot of money. Only Airforce Amy went beyond those accolades. “The Airforce prepared me for this type of work,” she said. “I actually applied to the ranch when I had only a few months left of my tour of duty.” But more interesting was her education. She has “love coach” and “loveologist” certificates from the online Loveology University and is currently attending The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
I have Soon after, Hof walked in. He’s even more brutal looking than his Internet photos. Madam Suzette sat next to him on that wicked red velvet couch. If I didn’t know better, I would guess that Hof was a football coach or truck driver.
“Let me see if I can give you some answers before you ask me any questions, Mr. Schwartz,” Hof said as he blew cigar smoke into the air. “First, yes, I’ve been with many of the working girls. No, I don’t force them to do it in order to get the job. Yes, I had a vasectomy because I despise condoms. It’s a bit hypocritical; the working girls must have the gentlemen wear them. Yes, my book, Art of the Pimp, is sexually graphic, but I make no apologies for it. As you may know, Masters and Johnson’s book, Sex and Human Loving, was seen at the time as a smut manual. And yes, in the eighties, my daughters got into my bank account and ran off to another country with gobs of my dough.”
On and on he went until I didn’t have one single question he hadn’t already answered. After all, I wasn’t really a reporter. I wasn’t working for Rolling Stone. I never even read a single issue of the magazine.
I thanked Big Daddy and Mommy for their time.
I followed them to the front door, said my goodbyes, entered my car, turned on the GPS, and headed back to New York City.
I made a stop at another Ho House in the area that was $700 less than Hof’s girls. The one I had showed me a good time. I had to make a difficult decision—would this be the conclusion of my article? Hey, yea, all us guys are Johns, one way or another.