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What’s happened to all the booth-babe skin at CES?

Convention season is upon us.

The holidays having dried up like a puddle of vomit in a parking garage on New Year’s Day, industry is now ready to get back to business. Everyone from pile drivers to pornographers has their annual convention scheduled here in Vegas. This is good news for everyone in our local economy, from the poker dealers right on down to the prostitutes.

Local models are especially stoked; after the slow hell of December, there’s finally plenty of work to be found as a booth babe shilling for various corporate clients provided you don’t mind being used as a piece of chum to be trailed through perv-infested waters. And since the pay is usually pretty good for this type of work, most models don’t mind it one bit!

The year started off with the biggest convention of them all: CES. The Consumer Electronics Show is noteworthy for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that during its run, every self-employed vagina-harboring humanoid of childbearing age in a 300-mile radius has a gig. Because CES is such a sausagefest, the demand for gash is insatiable! They need girls to scan badges, girls to hand out crappy tchotchkes, girls to pour coffee and girls to smile and wink and laugh at your stupid jokes.

Because sex sells the sad reality is, if your booth is a vagina drought zone, no one’s coming into see your revolutionary new widget.

This was my seventh CES, and it was OK. The client I worked for was solid, the pay was decent, and I guess I had fun watching the endless parade of geeks, dorks, nerds and glassholes (what they call those supercilious nerds walking around wearing those cutting-edge-but-impossibly-dorky Google Glasses).

Moreover, I wasn’t required to wear anything skimpy. Anyone who’s ever attended a convention has seen bikini-clad chicks selling everything from motorboats to Moon Pies. Lord knows I’ve worn some doozies in my day. It’s TOTALLY sexist and downright laughable, but the reality of it is, it works, so companies keep on hiring scantily-clad bimbos as a way of driving traffic into their booths.

And to be honest, I was actually kinda disappointed I wasn’t wearing something skimpy or goofy. You might think this counterintuitive – what woman WANTS to be leered at by mouth-breathing glassholes?

Well, it’s not so much that I wanted to be ogled. It was more that what they DID make me wear was a thousand times worse: a business suit!

Hello! That was the reason I bailed on the corporate life and moved to Vegas in the first place – I never wanted to wear a suit, aka soul-crushing-individuality-masking-device, again. Even worse, it was a pantsuit!

It took all I had to wait until I got home every evening before ripping off that miserable torture device.

Fuck, I’d rather be a 65-year-old fat-ass in a humiliating cocktail uniform than wear a suit! And what a waste – I mean, you tell me: what kind of company spends good money on vagina, only to cover it head-to-foot in black polyester?

Tech companies, that’s who.

Walking around the show floor, I noted that very few of the models at CES were wearing anything skimpy. Apparently, that style of booth babe is seen by the progressive tech crowd as an old-fashioned relic of the Mad Men-era of business, when deals were done across the bare ass of a stripper in the smoky back room of a titty bar. Today’s crop of tech professionals are way too evolved for that sexist hokum (during show hours, anyway…just ask the gals at Spearmint Rhino).

And that’s what really bothered me. These companies all ACTED like they were too progressive for that kind of outdated shtick, but guess what? They were still using hired gash to lure in clients. They just had them cunningly disguised as professional business-gash.

This smacks mightily of hypocrisy!!!

At least the Moon Pie people are upfront and honest about it when they hire that bikini babe to shill for them.

The whole booth-babe-as-outdated-gimmick debate has been coming up more and more in mainstream media lately, so much so that one might wonder if there’s any future in being a convention model. They say the world is evolving and tastes are changing – and the way things are heading, CES 2015 will probably be staffed entirely by robots.

But even if it is, girls don’t worry. CES is just one show and it’s over. The politically-correct nerds are gone, and the good news is, there are plenty of good old-fashioned red-meat-and-strippers shows on the horizon, from the blue-collar bubbas of World of Concrete to the heavy-breathers of the Tobacco Show.

Booth babes may be a relic of an antiquated, sexist, bygone era but the reality is, outside of Silicon Valley, that era is far from being over! As long as men are evolutionarily wired to stop and stare at tits, you’ll have a job.

Just maybe not at CES. But you were fucking sick of all those glassholes anyway, weren’t you?

SARAH JANE WOODALL is a one-woman culture festival. Read more at her blog,