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Guest Blogger: Jennifer Jakes
Friday, August 23rd, 2013

When I decided to make the heroine of EDEN’S SIN a prostitute, I found some very interesting facts—and some sad and disgusting facts. Today I wanted to give you a peek into life for a
“working girl” in the 1800’s Old West.

Miss Kitty Lied

JenniferJakes_EdensSin_200pxOh, Miss Kitty, how you deceived us all. Remember Gunsmoke and Sheriff Matt Dillon’s main squeeze? Perfect silk dress, perfectly styled red curls – perfect beauty mark. How clean and wonderful the life of a Wild West saloon girl must have been. . .

*insert sound of screeching brakes here*

Um, no. Let’s look at some facts. In descending order there were: Parlor Houses, Brothels, Cribs. Even in a Parlor House *think 5 star hotel* where a night of food, fun and the other “F” word might cost a man $200+, the girl only averaged $10 per week because of the cut the Madam (or the house) took the rest to cover the costs of food, wine and the girl’s room and board.

Brothel girls could make $2.50 – $7.00 per customer, but she had to pay room and board out of this plus any other expenses she had. Oh, and Brothels were significantly less grand than a Parlor House. Parlor houses the girl probably spent the entire night with one man and her sheets were changed afterward. Brothel girls saw more “traffic” and her sheets might be changed once per week.

Cribs were a closet-like space where the girls lived and worked. She would rent this room for $10-$20 per week. She charged a man as little as 25 cents depending on how dirty or run-down she and/or her crib was. Her profit was in volume. In a cattle or mining town, she would little more than stay in bed as the men lined up outside her door. Normally, a crib nymph would see 20 to 30 men per night. During a cattle drive, she could see as many as 75 to 100 men per night. And no clean sheets here. She put a rain slicker over the bottom of her bed to protect the sheets from mud and cow manure since the cowboy might take off his hat, but not his boots or pants. Volume, remember?

Yes, there were Saloon Girls who could just serve drinks, but they could also “go upstairs” for extra money. And Dance Hall Girls, yes, they were there, earning 12 ½ cents per dance. But all in all after researching this topic, I have to say, Miss Kitty lied to us. What do you think?

*All statistics were found in UPSTAIRS GIRLS: Prostitution in the American West by Michael Rutter

THANK YOU for stopping by today!

Jenn_200pxJennifer Jakes is the author of sensual erotic romance. Her award-winning debut novel, RAFE’S REDEMPTION, a historical western, is #1 Kindle Best Seller, as did her novella, TWICE IN A LIFETIME.

Her latest release, EDEN’S SIN, is now available at Amazon.
Find out more about Jennifer at

8 comments to “Guest Blogger: Jennifer Jakes”

  1. Jennifer Jakes
    · August 23rd, 2013 at 3:22 pm · Link

    Thanks for having me here today, Delilah! 🙂

  2. Judy Stone
    · August 23rd, 2013 at 6:48 pm · Link

    Curses, Miss Kitty! How could you lie to us? Sorry, had to get that out of my system.

    Golly, can you imagine the 1950s viewing audience or God forbid, the censors, if Miss Kitty stumbled out of the saloon reeking of booze and looking like she’d been rode hard all night?

    I’d like to think the sex trade is better these days, and maybe in some places it is, but world wide? Probably not.

    Thanks for the informative blog, Jennifer. I’m going over to Amazon to check out your books.

  3. Jennifer Jakes
    · August 23rd, 2013 at 9:19 pm · Link

    Hi Judy!
    Your comment made me snort tea out my nose! LOL Just picturing Miss Kitty staggering across the street to greet Marshal Dillion as you described………… No, TV censors of the past were not ready for that. Neither was the viewers back then! (Neither was Matt Dillion. LOL)
    Thanks for stopping by! Hope you like the book!
    Have a great weekend.

  4. Lani
    · August 23rd, 2013 at 10:06 pm · Link

    Holy cow, Miss Kitty lied to us!!! But then again, many Western movies and TV shows seemed to film the West through very rosy, or at least one-sided lenses.

    I can’t imagine the life of a Crib prostitute! Holy cow–that’s twice I’ve used that phrase–that is awful!!! Do you know how long the life expectancy of the Crib prostitute was?

    But holy cow–couldn’t resist–your book was AWESOME!!! It’s about time someone gave someone like your heroine a happily ever after. We all deserve it!

  5. Jennifer Jakes
    · August 24th, 2013 at 12:09 am · Link

    Hi Lani!
    I don’t remember the Crib girls life expectancy……tho’ on the well researched Old West series Hell On Wheels, a prostitute said 2 yrs was a “good run” for a low class whore. That is very sad. From my reading it seemed some of the women might have started out in better brothels and as their looks faded, they were forced into places of work like a Crib. So perhaps by the time they ended up in a Crib type of place, they might last 2 yrs. That would be 2 yrs of hell if you asked me.
    Thanks for stopping by 😛

  6. Jacqui Nelson
    · August 24th, 2013 at 12:53 am · Link

    After reading your blog post and learning more about the reality of an Old West “working girl,” I think you did an even more amazing job with EDEN’S SIN! In your story I felt the gritty nature of the time period and subject matter, but it’s not too gritty. There are so many great things going on in your novella, Jenn, that it’s…well hard to describe! I’ll just have to let you readers learn this for themselves 🙂

  7. Mary Preston
    · August 24th, 2013 at 3:37 am · Link

    Fascinating thank you.

  8. Jennifer Jakes
    · August 24th, 2013 at 1:00 pm · Link

    Hi Jacqui! Aw, thank you! 🙂
    Hi Mary 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today !
    Hi Rain – Thank you! I’m glad you liked the Old West info. And it’s never too late to start writing! I started with paper and pencil several years ago, jotting down notes and paragraphs. So I encourage you to do the same!
    Thanks for stopping by today! 🙂

Comments are closed.