LUBBOCK, TX—A gutsy young mom from Lubbock who needed to make more money to supplement her job as a waitress at a local strip club took her own destiny into her own hands and started a small business that has found initial success and allowed her to hire a few employees. Sounds like a true-blue capitalist doing what she can to keep from having to ask for a government handout, right?
Not so fast, Ayn Rand acolytes; this bootstrap story has some complications. Seems the local boys in blue don't cotton to the business, Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock, which they say falls under the "sexually oriented business" category, which means it needs a license that costs "$650 per year and a $5,000 surety bond or letter of credit," none of which has been procured by its 26-year-old owner, Melissa Borrett.
Why the SOB designation, you ask? Because these maids clean in the nude, if the client so desires, or seminude or clothed if they do not. Clients are charged $100 an hour for one maid or $150 an hour for two, for cleaning only.
In fact, according to policies posted to the business' website, any solicitations by clients for sexual services will be met with the maid leaving the premises immediately. The policy statement also states that Fantasy Maid Service is not a sexually oriented business, and contains other prohibitions, but as far as the police are concerned it's only a matter of time before they will be able to levy a fine on Borrett
According to the Associate Press, "Lubbock police Sgt. Jonathan Stewart said the owner of Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock doesn't have a permit to operate a sexually oriented business and officers are watching for any violation, which would bring a $2,000 fine."
Not very nice, considering Borrett "offers a regular discount to government employees and law enforcement, and an ad posted Friday on the online bartering site Craigslist offered 20 percent discounts for Easter weekend."
But then, even the AP refers to the West Texas city as "staunchly conservative," which may be an understatement. A look at the definition of "sexually oriented business" by both the state and the city shows the extent to which the Lubbock city fathers did not want to take any chances that someone like Borrett would try to slip one past them.
The state's definition is succinct:
"Sexually oriented business" means a nightclub, bar, restaurant, or similar commercial enterprise that: (A) provides for an audience of two or more individuals live nude entertainment or live nude performances; and (B) authorizes on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages, regardless of whether the consumption of alcoholic beverages is under a license or permit issued under the Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Lubbock's is not:
The term “sexually oriented business” shall include, but not be limited to the following:
(1) Sexually oriented cabaret. A sexually oriented cabaret is an establishment whose business is the offering to customers of live entertainment which is intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to such customers, and which is distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on matter depicting, describing or relating to specified sexual activities, specified anatomical areas, nudity, simulated nudity, or any combination thereof.
(2) Sexually oriented modeling studio. A sexually oriented modeling studio is an establishment whose business is the providing, to customers, figure models who are so provided with the intent of providing sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to such customers and to display specified anatomical areas while being observed, painted, sketched, drawn, sculptured, photographed, or otherwise depicted by such customers.
(3) Sexually oriented bookstore, film or video store. A sexually oriented bookstore, film or video store is an establishment having a primary business activity of marketing, selling, displaying or dispensing stock in trade, books, films, videos, magazines, periodicals, computer imaging products or other reproductions which are intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to customers, and which are distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on depicting or describing “specified sexual activity” or “specified anatomical areas.”
(4) Sexually oriented viewing booth or arcade. A sexually oriented viewing booth or arcade is an establishment or commercial venture which has within its structure any coin-operated or slug-operated or electrical or mechanical device, which projects or displays any image into a viewing area or other enclosure which is designed for presenting material intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to customers, and which is distinguished or characterized by a predominant emphasis on matter depicting, describing, or relating to “specified sexual activities” or “specified anatomical areas.”
(5) Sexually oriented theater or sexually oriented motion picture theater. A sexually oriented theater or sexually oriented motion picture theater is an establishment or commercial venture which is conducted within an enclosed building and which projects or displays for viewing by an audience material intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to customers, and which is distinguished or characterized by a predominant emphasis on matter depicting, describing or relating to “specified anatomical areas” or “specified sexual activities” for observation by patrons.
(6) Sexually oriented lounge. A sexually oriented lounge is a “sexually oriented cabaret” as defined above which allows the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises.
(7) Sexually oriented retail store. A sexually oriented retail store is a retail establishment which has a primary business activity of marketing, selling, displaying or dispensing stock in trade, books, films, magazines, periodicals, instruments, devices, paraphernalia, or any other products which are intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to customers, and which are distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on depicting, describing or related to “specified sexual activities” or “specified anatomical areas.”
(8) Sexually oriented motel or adult motel. Sexually oriented motel or adult motel means a hotel, motel or similar commercial establishment which:
(A) Offers accommodations to the public for any form of consideration; provides patrons with closed-circuit television transmissions, films, motion pictures, videocassettes, slides, or other photographic or computer-generated reproductions which are intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to customers, and which are characterized by the depiction or description of “specified sexual activities” or “specified anatomical areas”; and has a sign visible from the public right-of-way which advertises the availability of such adult types of photographic or computer-generated reproductions; or
(B) Offers a sleeping room for rent on an hourly basis or allows a tenant or occupant of a sleeping room to subrent the room on an hourly basis.
(9) Sexually oriented escort agency. A sexually oriented escort agency is a person or business association that furnishes, offers to furnish, or advertises to furnish escorts as one of its primary business purposes, for a fee, tip, or other consideration. For purposes of this definition an escort means a person who, for consideration, agrees or offers to act as a companion, guide, or date for another person, or who agrees or offers to privately model lingerie or to privately perform a striptease for another person.
(10) Sexually oriented encounter center. A sexually oriented encounter center is a business or commercial venture that offers for any form of consideration physical activities between persons when one or more of the persons is in a state of nudity or seminudity.
Of all those definitions, it looks as if the last has the potential to ensnare Fantasy Maid Service, but even if the locals try to hold Borrett to it, she is equally determined to fight any move to call her business a SOB.
"Stewart wouldn't say how police planned to keep tabs on the maid service, and Borrett said she would hire an attorney to fight any attempt by the city to shut her down," AP reported.
For the moment, it looks to be a Mexican standoff in this sleepy Texas town with a maid service to die for.