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Most field engineers (myself included) have at one or more times in their careers been involved with shall we say, "professional ladies". Sometimes it was one night stands, sometimes a long term relationship. As mentioned above, nobody ever held a grudge against these women...they were supplying a service and we were paying for it.

It was only when someone "fell in love" with one these women that the problems started. The guy would actually believe that his whore had the proverbial "heart of gold" and that by setting her up in a business, or sending her to college, or converting her to his religion that she would remain the mate of his life.

This seemed to be more prevalent in the far East...Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Phillippines and I imagine later on Vietnam (after my time). These ladies usually came from a lower economic level and the chance to catch a rich Yankee was too good to pass up.

The professionals of western Europe, however, are true pros to the core. We're not talking here about the poor creatures who have been illegally smuggled in from Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, Poland, etc. under the promise of a good job and the chance to meet and marry an affluent German, Belgian, Frenchman, etc. Nor are we talking about the poor girls seen in the winter wearing mini-skirts standing on the edge of the road leading to Prague.

The ladies of the night in Amsterdam are not only unionized, they also have group health insurance, investor's cooperatives and I believe paid vacations. However, the most interesting to me were the "never on a Sunday" ladies of Greece.

Let's set the stage for a Greek bordello...or to be more exact...a bordello district. This is a group of individual houses and attached apartments set of in one corner of the town. It has specified boundaries...none of "trade" is allowed outside of this district. The "workers" pay the "bordello meister" (he is most certainly not a pimp) a daily fee for the use of their work space. He usually owns a bar/taverna in the middle of the district, and the ladies usually take their meals there. After they make enough to pay for the room and board, the rest is theirs to keep...with one exception: once a week the local police chief comes down, sits at a table in the Taverna, takes off his fedora hat and lays it open side up on the table. In the course of the afternoon, the working ladies saunter by and discreetly drop a few drachmas in the hat. I have often wondered if the writer of "Irma LaDouce" took his inspiration from the this particular bordello!

As field engineers, we would often come down from the hill on an afternoon and sit on the outside veranda of "Steve's" place as it was known. This was not for the reason you are now thinking...Steve's was the only place in town during the afternoon "siesta" where one could get a cold beer. Moreover, Steve could sometimes obtain parts for us that we couldn't get through regular channels...IN25 diodes, US Air force issue sunglasses, etc...but that's another story.

Our heroine, Toula would look out of her window, see us sitting there, cross the street and come sit and "throw the bull" with us while keeping an eye on her place of business. Toula owned two condos in Athens, had one son in medical school and the other was a graduate engineer working in Saudi Arabia. I'm not sure if they knew what their mother did for a living.... she kept her private life and her professional life strictly separated.

On this particular day, we observed two Greek sailors approaching the entrance to her door. As Toula got up to cross over the street and welcome her customers, she challenged us to a bet..."Order a round of beers from Steve, and if I don't get both of those guys off before you guys finish the's on me...otherwise you buy." She was back before we had finished the current round, much less the fresh one waiting on us!


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