This weekend’s list contains important information that could save you a lot of hassle, potential incarceration and hefty fines. Many a man has found himself in a situation where he needs to determine, quickly, if the woman he is talking to is a prostitute. Perhaps you brush up against her at Whole Foods or catch her eye while lifting weights at the Sports Barn. What if you are at a concert, and the girl behind you decides to ride on your shoulders? Is she a lady of the night? I don’t know. Maybe. You can’t be too sure. Here are some ways to vet out the situation.

Ask, “Are you a prostitute?”
My go-to question. I try to ask this at the very beginning of the conversation. She doesn’t have to answer, but her immediate response will tell you all you need to know. If she says, “Are you serious?” and becomes offended, she is most likely not a prostitute. You can now continue the conversation if she is willing. She may not be, though, but this is a chance you MUST take. You don’t want to be sitting in an apartment three years into a relationship and have her calmly tell you she “enjoys sleeping with men for money sometimes” while baking cupcakes. The onus is on you to determine whether she is a prostitute. She won’t tell you unless you are a client, but then it doesn’t matter.

Is her name “Sparkles”?
Prostitutes will sometimes change their name to something ridiculous to protect their identity. If she tells you her name is “Sparkles,” “Bubbles” or “Snapz,” you need to move in the opposite direction. Those are not Christian names. In fact, she is giving you a direct hint that she is more interested in a business exchange than a loving, long-term relationship. You need to also be careful with overly common names like “Brittany” and “Christy.” I know many women with those names, of which roughly 10 percent are known prostitutes. Just be careful. All women named “Sparkles” are prostitutes and probably have penises.


Ask, “Are you friends with Barney?”
You cannot ask cop if he is a cop. This is a common misconception. Why would a police officer who is working undercover as a prostitute have to tell you what they were doing? Covers would be blown all of the time. It wouldn’t work. There are other ways to find out whether that lady at the carwash is a working police officer. Check her posture. Is it militant? She’s probably a cop. This is pretty obvious, but is she dressed in a police uniform? If so, she’s most likely a member of the police force. It gets tricky when you feel she might be working undercover. “Are you friends with Dorothy?” is a question made popular in the 1950s with gay men to help find out if someone was down with homosexuality. It references Dorothy (Judy Garland) from “The Wizard of Oz.” If someone acknowledged they were “friends” with Dorothy, the meaning was understood. This is the same with members of the police. If you ask, “Are you friends with Barney?” (as in Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show”), they must answer in the affirmative or negative, even if they are working undercover as a prostitute.

How many phones does she have?
This is common sense. Many prostitutes will carry two cellphones: one for their personal life and another for their sexual life. Be wary of a beautiful lady who has two phones, especially if she checks both constantly. She will tell you the second phone is a “work phone,” which is exactly what it is. That phone is probably linked to some seedy Internet profile page that hundreds of guys are ogling. There is a number on that page that links directly to the phone she’s carrying. Keep an ear out for phrases like “MoMo in 30” and “full service is 25 roses.” These are not things people say unless they have sex for money.

Did you pick her up on the street?
This also seems obvious, but sometimes it happens. If a woman is alone on the street and wearing clothing that is not temperature-appropriate, she is up to no good. You shouldn’t give her a ride, no matter how much she smiles at you. It is very hard to convince the police that you are only taking a known prostitute to the grocery store, even though what you’re doing technically is legal. You’ve heard the phrase “Playing with fire will get you burned,” so there’s no need to discuss this. What if she has a pimp? Are you willing to fight a pimp? I’m not. My final advice is this: Meet girls in coffee shops and bookstores, ask them pertinent questions early on and use common sense.

You can contact Sean Phipps via email and Twitter with comments and questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.