Maggie is what they would have called in pre-liberation days a nice Irish girl gone wrong. She describes herself as an independent businesswoman, files a tax return as a "self-employed financial consultant," is currently reading the paperback edition of Hugh Trevor-Roper's "The Hermit of Peking" and says she dropped out of one of the Seven Sister schools when she discovered that she preferred "greek culture to Greek literature.
"The hardest thing," she says, "was when I decided to tell my parents that I had left school to become a prostitude. My mother said she was going to make a novena; my father said I could kiss my trust fund goodbye."
Maggie (not her real name) is one of the hundreds of hookers who have turned up here in the land of Miss America to offer those at the gaming tables yet another way to risk their dollars - $200 in her case.
She looks like a woman from the monied background that she comes from: neat, long red hair, a clear complexion, expensive clothes and the kind of posture that well-bred New Yorkers have learned to emulate from Saks catalogs. A rather striking and younger contrast to the women who hang around the bar near the casino floor in outfits direct from Frederick's of Hollywood, so much sequined gauze and teased black or blond hair.
"You have to be very particular about timing," she says. "I like to pick my clients out on the floor, as opposed to a lot of girls who just sit around the bar and wait for guys to come up to them. You slip up behind a guy and stick your hand on his shoulder and whisper in his ear, 'Did I hear you say you were looking for a date? if you do that when some guy is concentrating on rolling the dice, you may get an elbow in the ribs and that's it.
But if wait until the blackjack dealer is shuffling, and the guy looks like he's not on a hot streak but not really losing, he's usually pretty receptive.
Even as she speaks, Maggie is eye-balling the casino floor - as large as two football fields - in pursuit of "treasure," her phrase for a guy who's loose enough to add a generous tip to her already top-scale price.
"I think I came a little early," she says. "This seems like it's going to be family week, and I can't tell you how many guys have said,'Honey, I'm sorry, but my wife's over playing the slots.' The only time I ever really got in a jam was in Vegas, when I went back to the room of a guy who was too drunk and he had actually forgotten that his wife was playing the slots and she walked in 10 minutes later and I grabbed his wallet and a towel and went out the window and got a girl by the pool to run inside and buy me a bathing suit and then I dumped his wallet and climbed in a cab and got out of there fast. The next day I heard from some of the other girls that this guy had claimed to the hotel manager that he had been raped by a maid when he walked in his room."
At the experienced age 24, Maggie says she joined the oldest profession following the 1974'75 semester break when she read a New Yorker story by Woody Allen called 'The Whore of Mensa," a tender take of coeds who would come to clients' houses at night and discuss kierkegaard, Sartre and alienation.
"I figured, 'Why not the real thing,"' she says. "I mean, I had been raised on the New York Philharmonic (she says she studied the flute for six years, and her accountant suggested some of the lessons as a business deduction), The Joffrey, and table lines for lunch. I just said to myself it was time to meet middle America. I worked Boston for a while, then went to L.A., out to Vegas, back to L.A. and now here, because I thought the weather would get warm and I could be by the beach, not to mention that you can make more in a gambling town than anywhere else and most of the guys seem to be clean."
She says it's easy for a woman to make $1,500 a week in a gambling town, and that only a third of it or less needs to be reported as income.
"You spend a lot of money on clothes," she says, nothing that her red silk ankle-length Valentino dress cost $400 and matching Charles Jourdan spike heels were $140.
"When business is slow like this," she says,"sometimes I give myself a night off and pick out a guy in the crowd who looks like a drug dealer and move up next to him and see if he wants to get loaded. You can't do that too much, though, or it cuts into business."
And what, one might wonder, is she saving all this money for?
I think maybe I'd like to go back to college and maybe take some more music lessons."