So I’m sitting in my room, with an extra ticket to the orchestra, and I don’t want to go alone. All of my friends are either at a late night practice or stuck in the library stacks. I’m an English Major so I don’t have any work. I only have an hour before the performance starts and can’t come up with a person to accompany me. What do I do? Should I forego my monthly dose of culture and waste away the evening watching Valerie hook up with everyone on 90210 (though she is nice to watch)? My options seem bleak at best. If I were in a more populous and more dynamic area, I would have an alternative to staring at the idiot box — I could order up an escort.

I’m not advocating Jesse Ventura’s platform of legalizing prostitution — that pretty much just seems plain dumb and absurd — but an escort service, now I think we’re on to something. Okay, so I still need a date. I pick up the phone, dial the digits, and in twenty minutes or less (or the next one’s free) have a pleasant, professional companion. No awkward first date jitters or sweaty palms — this woman is a pro and I feel completely at ease.

Now, that’s innocent enough. What is preventing this community from allowing such social options? With everyone toting concealed weapons across the bridge and campus security beating down any student in sight after 3 a.m., we might as well already have the problems of city living. Why not enjoy the present social options as well? Having lived in an unpopulated area all my life, I do realize the pleasures of rural living — no good restaurants and lots of trees primed to be cut down. The local high school already has a drug problem and the local college has a drinking problem. The country is becoming one continuous, ugly megalopolis anyway, why not expedite the process? Maybe we could even get a Mexican restaurant and a nightclub out of the deal.

To some, an escort service might seem morally wrong. I guess most people, with moderate cajones, should be able to find a companion without fingering through the yellow pages or date service pamphlets, but there are lazy and little-balled people among us, who would prefer picking up the phone to walking across the room and worrying about first impressions. Do you think Clinton really had to stoop to Lewinsky-level? No, he was bored and lazy and needed some entertainment while he spoke on the phone to the ambassadors of important countries. All infidelity aside, you have to like a person who takes full use of the intern-educational experience. Monica will never see a cigar in the same light again. On the same note, I have a close friend who is currently working in the White House, twenty feet from the Oval Office, and I wonder, has he ever been asked to stay late to review “important documents and affairs” or does Bill just flat out ask for “company?” We’ll see when my friend vi

sits for Winter Carnival and I ask him to share a stogie.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve exhausted my capacity to date someone for a couple weeks or months before finding out that we have absolutely nothing in common. It just seems so wasteful. The process of getting to know someone is important, but wouldn’t it be easier to have a good idea of what you’re getting into before you drop off the face of the planet for a few weeks. The advantage of an escort service is this: I call, ask for someone who enjoys a specific activity, say, taking moonlit strolls along the beach, and the customer service agent gives me my options. The alternative is painful. I date someone for a month and a special occasion comes up so I book two tickets to paradise, only to find out upon arrival that my companion is allergic to sand. We come home: I’m upset because I’m out a grand; she’s upset because she’s been sneezing and stuffed up since we landed. We can’t stand each other’s company anymore and it eventually culminates in an ugly scene at the baggage claim. A

ll the agony could have been avoided with a simple phone call.

Maybe there’s a lot of shame involved in calling an escort service and having all your friends humiliate you for the next year. I wouldn’t know, but I can imagine coming home after an actual, non-escort date and being completely embarrassed by shouts of “How much for that one?” and “Does she like candlepin bowling too?” It would be a bad scene, but not if everyone were making use of such a service. Think of the possibilities. There’s a football game tomorrow and you’ve been disappointed by the last five guys you’ve dated. So you pick up the phone, dial, and ask for “a blond guy, about 5’3″, who likes pick-up-stix and mud wrestling.” Tomorrow comes, and he shows up at your door with a big smile and a daisy for you. You have a great day together and maybe ask to see him again under different circumstances, maybe not, but either way you know he likes pick-up-stix and mud wrestling so at least he’s got that going for him.

Some time ago, phones weren’t invented and ordering up Chinese food was completely out of the question. Fifteen years ago, Americans hated Russians, and now you can call a number and have one delivered to your door as a wife — believe it or not, I’ve heard of some success stories. In seventh grade, I had a random pen pal in Thailand — I just listed some qualities and bingo, a week later, I have an address and phone number. Why shouldn’t I be able to order up a date tomorrow night? Just like Burger King — “our way, right away.” Hey, if it works for them …

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