When Steve Baker talks about the inauguration, he gets a little giddy. For the company he works at, Hire Party Strippers, which does exactly what its name suggests for clients in the Washington DC area, inauguration weekend means a big boost in business.
"Oh my God, it's bananas," says Baker, describing the interest he's had so far. Hire Party Strippers does about double the business on inauguration weekend, during which he can boost rates about 25 percent. This means $650 to $700 for "two girl fantasy shows"; $350 for one girl; and $300 for one male stripper, though demand is never as high for men as women. "It's going to be really, really busy," Baker says. "We have a lot of people coming [to DC] from out of town, and they want to have adult entertainment in their rooms. It's crazy."
Strippers, escorts, dominatrices, and even sugar babies looking for sugar daddies are planning for a jam-packed — and potentially quite lucrative — weekend across the greater DC area. Despite the inauguration party scene shaping up to be much quieter this year than Barack Obama's first in 2009, it doesn't sound like anyone is planning to cut back on erotic recreation — from the tourists looking to party in DC that weekend, to the locals craving sex-themed merriment while their city is overwhelmed by outsiders.
Baker doesn't have a lot of clients on the books yet, but knows he will once the Friday before the inauguration rolls around. "People call me last minute saying, 'hey hey hey, can you send some girls out?'" Hire Party Stripper will ensure entertainers are on-call in anticipation of this "high volume" weekend.
One escort I talked with via email lamented that she wouldn't be in DC around the inauguration, but expected most of the business for escorts to come from areas surrounding the city. "My educated guess would be that it gets busy in the OTHER parts of town so clients don't have to fight the crowds. Like for example, I always schedule work in NYC during the XMas tree lighting at the Rockefeller center, but I go to the SOUTH end of Manhattan because I know the locals or clients won't want to be anywhere near the Rockefeller Center," she explained. "If I were to be here inauguration weekend, I bet Arlington will be hopping — or Tysons."
One dominatrix located in DC who goes by Bella Bliss and also leads workshops for couples who want to learn how to spank each other without feeling pain (among other things) also sees heightened interest in her services around inauguration time, simply because having more people around equates to more business.
"I definitely see more people who I wouldn't normally see," she told me by phone. "More girls will come out of the woodwork sometimes, and be kind of brave and ask about things to do with their girlfriends — play around and learn techniques." She may charge 25 to 50 percent more for a session at her studio, and would double the rates for an "outcall" because she doesn't do those often and people tend to flake.
Bella regularly hosts swingers' parties, and has one planned for the Saturday before the inauguration that she expects to be of a scale on par with major party nights like New Year's and Halloween. These parties — which serve as mixers where people can meet each other, not the giant orgy you're probably picturing — have themes like "Monica Lewinsky" or "Deep Throat" or some other "naughty connotation," Bella says, "so people will come festive, dressed in patriotic things, like naughty Capitol Hill outfits." The parties are for club members only, but members can bring guests. "A lot of our members have friends that come from out of town so they'll bring their friends," Bella explains. "They usually bring like one, three, five couples at a time." She expects anywhere from 100 to 200 people at the pre-inauguration event, which is roughly 50 to 100 percent more than the event's usual headcount.
Meanwhile, SeekingArrangement.com is readying its servers for a big traffic spike the week leading up to the inauguration. The site, which sets up sugar daddies with sugar babies (meaning, yes, there is financial incentive for the babies to get involved), experienced a 34.37 percent increase in visits from people in DC along with a 5.43 percent increase in new members in the week leading up to the 2009 inauguration.
The site tends to see traffic spikes in regions hosting major political events — Tampa area traffic increased 25.9 percent during the Republican National Convention, for instance — while Republican events generate 11 percent more traffic on average than Democratic ones. This may be because more sugar daddies identify as Republican (42.1 percent) than Democratic (34.9 percent). However, this is not true of the site's sugar babies, who skew Democratic. SeekingArrangement CEO Brandon Wade seems to see this as proof of the site's ability to foster bipartisan connections. "It's okay that the two people don't tend to share the same political alignments," he told me. "That seems to work perfectly fine with our memberships."
Sugar daddies tend not to be looking for dates for the big inaugural balls, but rather to dine at fancy restaurants, or meet for drinks at the hotel where the sugar daddy is staying. "Since many of these individuals are important political figures, they generally desire privacy," SeekingArrangement's spokesperson explained. (Also, roughly 40 percent of registered sugar daddies are married, so there's that.) High profile individuals who haven't been careful with their "arrangements" have been exposed in the past. "We had a situation where a very wealthy DuPont heir used the website in a way that I would not recommend and he ended up being blackmailed in a relatively public manner," Wade recalls. (He's referring to Stephen Dent — read about that scandal here.)
While Wade's team works overtime to approve new members as quickly as possible (they have to make sure sure sugar babies' photos don't appear on escort sites, and things like that) Bella is thinking about what to wear to her big swingers' soiree. "I'm not a real red-white-and-blue kind of girl so I'm going to have to piece together an outfit," she says. "I usually do crazy outfits based on what's in my closet. I might do a scarf — use it as a top or a skirt."
Hopefully, this inauguration will be slightly warmer than the last one.