Paul Andersen: Fair Game | AspenTimes.com

Paul Andersen: Fair Game

Paul Andersen
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

The Aspen Chamber of Commerce has launched a campaign soliciting “outside the box” ideas to stimulate the lethargic Aspen economy. I have one. But first, it seems prudent to review what isn’t working before going on to something new.

The biggest economic failure in Aspen has been the super-luxury second home industry, a rapacious aberration that consumes vast quantities of natural resources while nobody’s home. It is a shameful admission, but much of Aspen’s recent prosperity has been based on this absurd industry.

Because of market factors, things have changed. For the good of the natural environment, and for the collective conscience of Aspen, this phase of Aspen’s development history appears to be over.

It is important not to try rebuilding the Aspen economy on the rotten pillars of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous waste. Anyone who still thinks these are appropriate values for sustainable economic vitality is either ignorant of climate change and peak oil, or has made a few too many trips to the local pot dispensaries.

In light of today’s downturn, Aspen is faced with converting liabilities into assets. The most obvious liabilities are the vacant pleasure palaces whose resident mice and packrats are now visited only by property management drones making sure the gas is turned on all snowmelt surfaces and that the teak and mahogany doors are secured against vagrants.

Many of these empty homes – there must be well over a hundred in Pitkin County – are not even on the market because the people stuck with them don’t want to give the impression that they’re, in fact, unmarketable.

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Those left holding the bag are hoping and praying that the tide will change and Aspen will return to the golden days when raw materials from oil fields, strip mines, and rain forests were converted into fabulous riches and unparalleled creature comforts for those with the Midas touch. Today’s forecast is not at all promising.

What will become of these pampered properties, these tributes to temptation, these glories to gluttony? How can profligate liabilities be re-coined into assets? The answer is to convert Aspen’s vacant luxury homes into brothels. Here’s why.

The brothel business is the oldest in the world, and it’s got staying power. Aspen already has a leg up, so to speak, with escort and massage services advertising the titillating promise of sex.

If pot can be legalized, then it won’t be long before prostitution meets societal acceptance as an alternative economic engine. Aspen prides itself on recreational opportunities, so why not add one more to the mix?

Aspen’s new luxury brothels would be inundated with customers happily spending their vacation dollars in the fulfillment of carnal pleasures. Talk about a stimulus package! Brothels would give a new thrust to the body/mind/spirit triad of the “Aspen Idea.”

Brothels would also hearken to Aspen’s colorful past when prostitutes were popular during the mining boom. Brothels housed in faux Victorian, faux Tudor or faux French mansions could tap the Aspen Historical Society for period costumes, offering a retrospective theme featuring soiled doves and gentlemen dandies.

The luxury home market has faded, but there is no downturn in the sex industry. “Get Your Recreation through Procreation!” could be a new campaign pimped by the Aspen Chamber. The brothel market is pregnant with possibilities!

I realize this idea may get a rise out of the puritan fringe of Pitkin County, but during troubled times, we must try novel ideas, especially when looking for deep market penetration. Let’s at least run it up the flagpole to see who salutes.