There are several relatively lucrative ways to sell your body without ending up handcuffed in the back of a patrol car at one o'clock in the morning, screaming for your mama. Even if you've got no education and no marketable skills, you can still make a few bucks here and there by selling yourself—all perfectly legal, I assure you.
Are you going to make a healthy living using one, two or all of these methods? No, you're not. But you can pick up some extra cash along the way, and that's never a bad thing.
Every once in a while you'll see some creepy advertisement—in the back of this paper, for example—offering cash to young ladies willing to parade around nude for a private "fashion shoot." There are, however, more respectable ways to make money by stripping yourself butt naked in front of a bunch of strangers.
Over the last year or so, the Dartmouth Street Gallery (3011 Monte Vista NE, 266-7751) has sponsored three major events during which local artists composed drawings of live models while large crowds looked on. The artists then sold these drawings at rock bottom prices. Not surprisingly, these shindigs were a huge success. As John Cacciatore, the owner of Dartmouth says, "there's nothing like the stereotypical hard body to get people interested." Cacciatore paid the models $15 per hour for warm-up sessions, and $50 per hour for the actual event.
The Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh Street NW, 242-6367) offers a couple of art classes featuring nude models. The first is Leo Neufeld's eight-week figure drawing class. The second is an open drawing session held every Tuesday evening. Models get paid $10 per hour.
There are other nude modeling opportunities that pop up from time to time around town. Just keep your eyes open.
You can also sell your body to science. All kinds of scientific studies are being conducted every month here in New Mexico. By volunteering to be a human guinea pig, you can sometimes earn a stack of cold, hard cash. You'll occasionally see studies advertised in this and other local papers. Find out more by logging onto the UNM Health Service Center's website at www.hscapp.unm.edu/
Blood plasma is a straw-colored liquid composed of water, dissolved salts and minerals like calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium. Because it transports blood cells and other nutrients throughout your body, it's indispensable for your survival as a biological organism. Blood plasma is also a valuable commodity because it can be used to manufacture all kinds of useful medical products.
If you aren't terrified of large needles and haven't procured a tattoo or body piercing within the past 12-18 months (you'll need to give full disclosure here, or risk the wrath of the plasma center you choose), you might consider selling your plasma to various centers around town. Within a seven-day period, it's possible to get your plasma sucked out of your veins no more than twice. In return, you're looking at approximately $50 per week, paid on the spot. It's not just for toothless hobos anymore! For complete details, call the centers below.
Yale Plasma Donor Center • 122 Yale SE • 266-5729
ZLB Plasma Services • 301 Second Street SW • 243-4449
Bio-Save Resources of Albuquerque • 701 Second SW • 842-6991
I've got some bad news for all you boys who love to fiddle with your naughty bits. At this time, there's currently no cryobank (that is, sperm bank) in New Mexico that's willing to buy sperm from anonymous donors. UNM Hospital's New Mexico Cryobank (2211 Lomas NE, 272-3912) hasn't accepted anonymous donors for six years, and probably won't anytime soon due to the implementation of recent highly restrictive federal guidelines.
The bottom line is you'd have to travel to another state if you wanted to earn some bread by jerking into a cup. Don't pack your bags just yet, though. Selling sperm isn't usually a very practical way to make cash. For one thing, you have to have very pristine genes. Only about 5 percent of prospective donors produce acceptable sperm, and this rate could be much lower under the new federal guidelines.
Remember that famous O'Henry short story, "Gift of the Magi," where a young wife sells her hair so she can buy a Christmas present for her husband? Well, forget about it. Contrary to urban legend, lopping off your long gorgeous locks probably isn't going to make you a pile of cash.
According to one of Cecil Adams' old "Straight Dope" columns, commercial shampoos in developed countries strip hair of its natural wax coating, making it too brittle to be sewn into high quality wigs. Adams says that wigmakers prefer hair in "hygienically underdeveloped corners of the world—the dirtier, the better."
Even if you do succeed in selling your hair, you're not going to make as much money as you might think. The average going rate is only about $2 to $5 dollars per ounce, rarely exceeding over $30 per ounce for the very highest quality hair.
If you really want to do something useful with your hair, though, consider donating it to Locks of Love, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to poor kids suffering from long-term medical hair loss. You won't make any cash, but you will pay off a hefty portion of your karmic debt. For details, log onto www.locksoflove.org or call (561) 963-1677.