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August 25, 2003 6:39 AM   Subscribe

In Defense of Prostitution [more inside]
posted by Irontom (66 comments total)


 
As told by Heidi Fleiss to Nadya Labi, senior editor at Legal Affairs ("the magazine at the intersection of law and life").

This is an interesting take on a subject that generates a lot of furor, in an interesting zine I just discovered. The details of the Daily Planet (scroll down to the 5th item) were especially interesting reading (I was convinced that there was a thread on this one, but I coudnt find it - sorry).

Full disclosure: I've never utilized the services of a prostitute, although I've seen them in various situations and was propositioned for "breakfast" by one in Vegas once. I don't have anything against those who do, just never had the intersection of time, money, desire and opportunity. Also, I cannot conceive of being able to afford a $5,000 "plo chop".
posted by Irontom at 6:40 AM on August 25, 2003


She says her childhood was perfect, and then goes on to say: At 19, I began dating a 57-year-old multimillionaire. Already, something is wrong right there, and something in her childhood or upbringing caused this.
posted by ac at 6:51 AM on August 25, 2003


something is wrong right there
Like what, exactly? Anything not based on prejudice?
posted by Freaky at 7:02 AM on August 25, 2003


In defense of prostitution: two or more adults should be able to fix the conditions of consensual sex all by themselves with no intervention from the government / state. End of story.

ac: Not ideal, maybe (although probably more usual than you might think). Wrong? I don't think so and neither does the "victim".
posted by magullo at 7:08 AM on August 25, 2003


She made a quarter of a million her first time. She turned one more trick and then retired from the business to get a master's degree at UCLA.

[sigh]legalize it, why?...so good looking people can become; sexed, richer & well educated.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:13 AM on August 25, 2003


Who the heck pays $250,000 for sex?!?

And the law takes the pimps and the underworld out of the business.

Is Heidi making a distinction between pimps and madams?
posted by orange swan at 7:17 AM on August 25, 2003


[sigh]legalize it, why?...so good looking people can become; sexed, richer & well educated.

??? Good looking is not a definition I would apply to a great many hookers I've seen, but that doesn't seem to stop them from doing well in the trade. Most guys will cheerfully stick it just about anywhere.
posted by ehintz at 7:20 AM on August 25, 2003


Anyone else (possibly from London) spot the irony in having this posted by someone called Irontom
posted by mattr at 7:26 AM on August 25, 2003


??? Good looking is not a definition I would apply to a great many hookers

You're talking about street walkers,usually addicted to drgs too. Seen these high rolling call girls, you would never know it if you saw them and you probably have. That's why they are paid the big bucks, looks like his attractive girlfriend, not his sleazy whore. It's all about image too, not just sex.

For guys, it must be harder being a hooker, most would work for free.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:35 AM on August 25, 2003


Male prostitutes are usually hired by men. Women don't pay for sex.
posted by orange swan at 7:37 AM on August 25, 2003


Women don't need to. Even the most unattractive woman on earth can get sex if she really wants. Men, it's not so easy. So that's where hookers come in.
posted by jonmc at 7:40 AM on August 25, 2003


new MeFi tagline!
posted by scarabic at 7:53 AM on August 25, 2003


Male prostitutes are usually hired by men. Women don't pay for sex.

True & false; usually you work your way through the men, then move on to woman, from a male madam. Once was asked by three woman if I was a hooker waiting for clients, thinking back, they weren't bad looking either.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:55 AM on August 25, 2003


Even the most unattractive woman on earth can get sex if she really wants.

My first john—I was then 22—was gorgeous. I would have slept with him for free if I had met him in a bar or on a blind date. We had a great night, and I made $3,000 after Madam Alex's 40-percent cut was deducted from my fee.

It's about power play, want it now, and fully controlling the situation.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:03 AM on August 25, 2003


It's about power play, want it now, and fully controlling the situation.

You might be right, Thomcatspike. Immediacy plays a big part in it for sure. I think it's about "no emotional strings" as well.

But I still think barely any women would be willing to pay for sex. Mostly because we don't have to - all we have to do is lower our standards - not necessarily in terms of physical attraction, but in terms of emotional gratification.
posted by orange swan at 8:08 AM on August 25, 2003


One word: gigolo.
posted by Cerebus at 8:19 AM on August 25, 2003


Two words: Christopher Tracy.
posted by muckster at 8:35 AM on August 25, 2003


In theory, I think there would be a market for women to pay for sex- sure, if you lower your standards, you can get nailed, but that doesn't mean you'll get nailed the way you want to. Picking some guy up in a bar, he'd have expectations and needs; paying some guy to go down on you without expecting something in return- and chances are, the guy being paid would be slightly less (physically) dangerous than random hook-up sex. He's there to get paid and not get caught at it, so it seems to me a male hooker would be less likely to be abusive than a random stranger.
posted by headspace at 8:40 AM on August 25, 2003


Two more words: Fred Garvin
posted by jonmc at 8:44 AM on August 25, 2003


But I still think barely any women would be willing to pay for sex

yes but a lot of woman do pay for companionship. i think that's sadder really.
posted by carfilhiot at 8:52 AM on August 25, 2003


barely any women would be willing to pay for sex

Barely any woman are CEOs. ???

Sex n the City, bet it pushes barley to more are.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:55 AM on August 25, 2003


pushes change to: influences
posted by thomcatspike at 8:57 AM on August 25, 2003


This is deeply depressing. Oh, and ehintz: just... ugh.

For every middle-class girl who makes the headlines with silly quotations along the lines of, 'oh, working in the sex industry affirms my sense of identity', there are far too many victims of the sex industry. And whether you end up in the Heidi Fleiss Fantasy Hotel (which is a pretty messed-up location, in any case) or on the streets with a couldn'tgiveashitbeat'emup pimp and a habit is not -- I repeat, not -- an index of 'attractiveness'. It is more recognisibly an index of how others have repeatedly fucked up your life.

We are not dealing with Hooker Academy, Hooker Idol, Miss Hooker, or any other kind of fucking beauty contest here. We're talking about the perpetuation of exploitation across generations, given that most prostitutes bring to the streets a history of sexual abuse from those in positions of care and trust. And no amount of dollars is going to offset that as long as those dollars basically identify someone as someone to be fucked at a price.

And for those (men, I imagine) who'll say that exploitation isn't at the stone heart of the sex industry... well, every approving not at Heidi Fleiss's perverse form of 'self-empowerment' disempowers those who truly deserve a voice. But no-one wants to hear from the 'skanky whores', do they? Too close to home. How about next time you're itching for CumSlutz Go Anal Vol XLVI, rent Lilya4-Ever instead.
posted by riviera at 9:02 AM on August 25, 2003


Even the most unattractive woman on earth can get sex if she really wants.

But I still think barely any women would be willing to pay for sex. Mostly because we don't have to . . .

I'm not sure this is true. Lots of women are seen as non-sexual beings, either because of obesity or other appearance issues, age, etc. Maybe if she sat in a bar and tried long enough, just like many guys who pay for sex could do, but who wants to deal with all that rejection, and what sort of guy will you get? I think it's to some extent a matter of supply (not demand) and social conventions. If you build it, they will come.

On preview: yeah, I agree with headspace. Remember when Hugh Grant got arrested? He was basically paying for a service or a fantasy. I suspect women might do that, too. Look at romance novel sales.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:04 AM on August 25, 2003


something is wrong right there
Like what, exactly? Anything not based on prejudice?

Freaky: I'll tell you what. A 19 year old girl dating a 57-year old is NOT healthy or normal; she was probably abused, neglected, etc in her childhood, causing her to to be psychologically messed up. You don't a see a problem? That is not a good relationship. Prejudice?? What are you talking about?
posted by ac at 9:20 AM on August 25, 2003


I'll tell you what. A 19 year old girl dating a 57-year old is NOT healthy or normal

I think him being a multimillionare probably helped bridge the generational gap.
posted by stifford at 9:27 AM on August 25, 2003


We are not dealing with Hooker Academy, Hooker Idol, Miss Hooker

Not even TJ Hooker?

Sorry sorry, couldn't resist...
posted by tomcosgrave at 9:28 AM on August 25, 2003


Regulated, legalized prostitution seems like a decent idea-- it would be a source of tax revenue and it minimizes the public health issues that are obstensibly the reason that it's an illegal enterprise in the first place.

It won't kill the more tawdry situations where desperate addicts rent their bodies for pennies to sleazy men, but neither have any measures that we've already tried.

As for it being an issue of exploitation, that's crap. The bulk of us are exploited-- that's how capitalism works. It's shitty, but it's not going to change anytime soon. Working as a well-compensated prostitute in a clean, safe environment can't be any worse exploitation for women of the right mindset than a rotten service industry job.

I say that we allow it on Reservations. Native Americans and their investors have done a nice job of keeping the residual ugliness of gambling minimized, and the locations are remote enough that folks with delicate sensibilities wouldn't have to be subjected to it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:29 AM on August 25, 2003


Like so many other issues, I'm morally oppoes to prostitution, but morally opposed to our government being involved in it. From this and other articles I've read on it, I do think that legalizing it would make it safer for the women involved.
posted by woil at 9:31 AM on August 25, 2003


She made a quarter of a million her first time.

There is something fuzzy about Fleiss math. If the choke-marks-on-the-neck girl made $250k, and Fleiss’s cut was "40 percent of whatever fee my girls received", then something like $416,667 changed hands for this one sex act. That would make Fleiss’s commission approximately $166,667. Yet, Fleiss said that the most she made as a madam was "$97,000 in a single day on commissions."
posted by found missing at 9:34 AM on August 25, 2003


Freaky: I'll tell you what. A 19 year old girl dating a 57-year old is NOT healthy or normal; she was probably abused, neglected, etc in her childhood, causing her to to be psychologically messed up.

Freaky: Heidi Fleiss' Father Is Madonna's Pediatrician
posted by thomcatspike at 9:34 AM on August 25, 2003


found_missing: another explanation would be that the client paid about $400,000 for an extended "date". Perhaps she spent a week or three with him, which could work out about right, given the rates that Fleiss quoted.
posted by mosch at 10:02 AM on August 25, 2003


From the October 15, 1996 article thomcatspike linked to:

Heidi is currently being treated for crystal-meth addiction at an L.A. rehab center.

Seems safe to assume that Ms. Fleiss is at least slightly messed up.
posted by orange swan at 10:27 AM on August 25, 2003


250k * 0.4 = 100k ~= 97k
posted by joquarky at 10:50 AM on August 25, 2003


Anyone else notice that not only wa Charlie Sheen "a perfect gentleman" but also "well endowed"?

Seriously though, yes, prostitution should be legalized. History has shown that there is no way to stop prostitution, its always there. Hell, I can oogle "escorts" (call girls) any time I want on the web at Eros, an online directory, hell, I could even book a date over the internet. Why not legalize the business, if anything, for the women. It would ensure minimum health-safety standards (STD testing) and remove the vilent physical abuse many prostitutes suffer from.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:52 AM on August 25, 2003


Hell, I can oogle "escorts" (call girls) any time I want

I prefer to ogle them, myself.
posted by jonmc at 10:54 AM on August 25, 2003


Great Caesar's Ghost! The Daily Planet is running girls? Does Perry White know about this?
posted by kaemaril at 10:55 AM on August 25, 2003


When you search for women to ogle on the Intenet it's called oogling, jonmc.
posted by orange swan at 11:00 AM on August 25, 2003


Yeah....I have no idea how to spell that.

Disclaimer....while I admit to having looked at the eros website on occassion I have never made use of such services....
posted by pjgulliver at 11:04 AM on August 25, 2003


History has shown that there is no way to stop prostitution, its always there.

I don't know if it's a good idea to legalize prostitution or not, but the quote above is a bad argument for it. We haven't been able to stop murder either, but it's probably a good thing that it's still illegal.
posted by Triplanetary at 11:14 AM on August 25, 2003


As Camille Paglia pointed out, prostitution is derided primarily because the prostitutes (and johns) that are seen by the public are the *losers*.

Drunks, drug addicts, psychological messes, utterly servile, self-deprecating attention addicts, however, are NOT the norm. They are just the ones who get caught. For them, prostitution is not a cause of their problems, it is a symptom. The great majority of "prostitutes" live happily ever after, and would be shocked if you even suggested that they had been prostitutes. "That's not prostitution, that's dating!"

Remember that all "prostitution" amounts to is "money changing hands in exchange for sex." So how is a prostitute different from someone who wants dinner and a movie before having sex, with no monogamy commitment?
Is the difference cash, rather than trade?

The other arguments are moralistic ones. But morality that reaches beyond the moralist and insists on inflicting itself on others.

Prostitution doesn't ruin a neighborhood. Losers do.
posted by kablam at 11:20 AM on August 25, 2003


I'll never understand why prostitution is not legal. It's the world's oldest profession - why not embrace it? Consenting adults doing whatever they want - what's the problem? Tax it, monitor it, make the prostitutes undergo regular checks (and the johns too, if at all possible), and presto - legitimacy, income, improved safety.

And for those of you who rush to tell us that you have never used these services - why not? If I were a man with considerable expendable income, I'm sure I'd love to take advantage of the opportunity to be with a beautiful woman who was willing to provide me with a luscious sexual experience. Yes, I vastly prefer to be with partners that I have a deeper, mutual connection with - but for the rare fun fantasy fuck, why not? Assuming that STDs had been ruled out, of course.
posted by widdershins at 11:21 AM on August 25, 2003


I'll never understand why prostitution is not legal. It's the world's oldest profession - why not embrace it? Consenting adults doing whatever they want - what's the problem? Tax it, monitor it, make the prostitutes undergo regular checks (and the johns too, if at all possible), and presto - legitimacy, income, improved safety.

So in other words you favor legalizing that form of prostitution. Which is what people really need to clarify.

Selling and consuming alcohol is illegal in this country. That doesn't mean there aren't various laws that restrict you from making Everclear in your bathtub and selling it at a stand outside your house. A blanket declaration that "it's ridiculous that prostitution's not legal" ignores all the aspects of prostitution you're not considering. People saying they think prostitution should be legal are usually implying that "healthy, willing, somewhat attractive women taking money to have sex with men should be legal" because they're certainly not saying "fifteen-year-old runaway and/or dropout crack addicts physically and psychologically controlled by abusive drug dealers? The government wants to stop this? Outrage!" These are both forms of prostitution. A blanket legalization will not make the latter disappear.

There was once a line in the debate, I don't remember where, along this lines: how many ten-year old girls are saying to their mothers "when I grow up I want to be a prostitute?" The fact that streetwalking is illegal is far from the biggest problem streetwalkers are facing to be streetwalkers in the first place, and why these women are choosing/being forced to do so needs to be addressed and rectified long before we as a nation can consider discussing the morals and legality of paying for their services in the first place.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:48 AM on August 25, 2003


So how is a prostitute different from someone who wants dinner and a movie before having sex, with no monogamy commitment?

The fact that it's not understood as one transaction -- sex is not a foregone conclusion and, if offered, can always be rebuffed depending on how much she likes the guy. Also, why would a monogamy commitment matter? Is a non-monogamous woman a slut, and that plus a movie makes her a ho?

The tone of your comment just strikes me as icky, though perhaps I have misunderstood. For example, you fail to note that if women are prostituting themselves by socially accepted (though old-fashioned) dating practices, men are implicated, too, as the all-too-willing johns.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:09 PM on August 25, 2003


I was a hooker for Halloween when I was 11. Does that count?
posted by eilatan at 12:11 PM on August 25, 2003


eilatan, do you mean you DRESSED like a hooker or that you performed sexual acts on all the little ghosts and goblins for a share of their candy? Because clothes do not a hooker make.
posted by orange swan at 12:17 PM on August 25, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, good points indeed, but you are also talking about the system as it currently is, and there is no telling how the legalization of prostitution would change that industry, in any direction. I'm all for legalization, but I wonder how they will regulate it and keep the 13-year olds off the streets if they can even do that when it's illegal.
posted by archimago at 12:33 PM on August 25, 2003


I was a hooker for Halloween when I was 11. Does that count?

Please tell me you had a neighbor who dressed as a pimp.
posted by jonmc at 12:46 PM on August 25, 2003


Just like with drugs, most of the problems people associate with prostitution are actually a result of prohibition.
posted by fuzz at 1:33 PM on August 25, 2003


>Just like with drugs, most of the problems people associate with prostitution are actually a result of prohibition.

Exactly, I was pleasantly surprised to read that Athens allows brothels and has issued more licenses for the Olympics. Hmm, will this be the first time the Olympics is held in a city where prostitution is legal?
posted by skallas at 3:00 PM on August 25, 2003


Remember that all "prostitution" amounts to is "money changing hands in exchange for sex." So how is a prostitute different from someone who wants dinner and a movie before having sex, with no monogamy commitment?
Is the difference cash, rather than trade?


kablam, you may have a point. To add fuel to the fire: Engels once said that the difference between a housewife and a prostitute was that the latter sold her services for a definite amount of time, while the former sold herself for life.

Actually, sexual favors include different rewards on different levels ( consider the gains beneath unemotional sex among 1)stewardesses/pilots, 2)secretaries-trainees-interns/bosses and 3) groupies-rock stars, for instance) that prostitution becomes actually one aspect of a wider issue, namely promiscuity and lack of control over our own desires.
posted by 111 at 3:25 PM on August 25, 2003


Hmm, will this be the first time the Olympics is held in a city where prostitution is legal?

It'll be the first time since the last time.
posted by riviera at 3:47 PM on August 25, 2003


I dressed like a hooker; no sexual acts were involved. I was, after all, only 11 with an overprotective mother to boot (why she didn't stop me from deciding that was going to be my costume, I have no idea). Alas, no pimp, jonmc. There weren't any neighbor boys of the appropriate age--they were all significantly younger than me.

To get back on topic, though--I have no problem with prostitution as long as it's a profession the individual freely chooses to enter and as such, it should be legal. Situations such as those described above, of people having no choice but to be prostitutes, that I have a problem with. Being exploited by choice is one thing (my employer exploits my brain daily and I get paid), and being forcibly exploited (walking the street for a pimp because I owe him money for drugs or shelter or something) is something else entirely.
posted by eilatan at 3:49 PM on August 25, 2003


eilatan, do you mean you DRESSED like a hooker or that you performed sexual acts on all the little ghosts and goblins for a share of their candy?

*spits out coffee*

What a brilliant solution to all the damn walking one has to do while trick-or-treating.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:37 PM on August 25, 2003


Lilya4-Ever is a great movie that everybody should see.

I have visited many East European capitals and I can tell that the women on the streets aren't there because they wished or chose to do so. It is a sickening sight.

A Californian luxus-escort doesn't have anything in common with an ordinary street-whore. Law should allways protect the weak, in this case there aren't many winners like Fleiss.

Sweden made buying sex illegal a couple of years ago, although selling sex remained legal. That was a moral trick that just didn't work. The prostitutes just had to go underground.

BTW The nordic countries objected strongly to the proposed increase of the number of brothels in Athens during the olympics.
posted by hoskala at 4:54 PM on August 25, 2003


With today's loose morals, I'm surprised anyone pays for it these days. Or at the very least prices should have gone down.

I'm sure that a wife whose husband gets caught with a hooker is just all peachy keen about it.
Victimless crime?
posted by konolia at 6:09 PM on August 25, 2003


Victimless crime?

Adultery isn't a crime. And the wife should be happier that her husband felt the urge to pay for simple sex rather than cultivate a relationship with another woman and then sleep with her.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:02 PM on August 25, 2003


Personally, I think people who go to see prostitutes are lowly, disgusting, and pathetic losers. But I also know that prostitution is never going to stop.

Thailand has pretty lenient prostitution laws and their sexual enslavement problem is AWFUL there. So I don't think that making it legal solve the prostitution woes but all the laws in the world are never going to stop prostitution. Ever. So maybe it would be best to make it legal, tax it, regulate it, and use some of the money made from it to help the women who want to get out of it to get out of it.

111, this is really reprehensible: "the difference between a housewife and a prostitute was that the latter sold her services for a definite amount of time, while the former sold herself for life." Yeah, because the only thing we get and receive from marriage is sex. That's all it's about.
posted by aacheson at 7:02 PM on August 25, 2003


The country I live in legalized prostitution a couple of months ago (previous MeFi thread here). I didn't contribute to the discussion because I found it too depressing, but I thought it might be worthwhile to add some followup.

There's a lot of uncertainty around over how the new law is going to be implemented -- local councils appear to have the power to control the location of new brothels through bylaws (although these are subject to public consultation and there's yet to be a test case in Court); meanwhile, those in the sex industry are being cautious so as not to alienate local communities.

The issue of policing's another big concern. Police are already overstretched and understaffed (particularly in Auckland), and there are fears about the extent to which they'll be able to meet their statutory obligations. Police, for instance, are charged with ensuring that brothel-owners make clients use condoms; how they're going to do this is anyone's guess. Likewise, police are worried about international crime syndicates moving into brothel ownership -- brothel-keepers are going to be licensed, and an existing criminal record will bar someone from obtaining a license -- but there are obvious ways around this licensing process.

The whole thing reminds me of the law reducing the legal drinking age from 20 to 18 that came in a few years ago. That law, like this one, was based on nice, liberal, a priori assumptions that social problems stem from prohibition. So, what happens? Rather than taking the problem (binge drinking among youth) away, like we were assured it would, the law has led simply to much more youth drinking. Why? Because unexamined social causes (a lack of things to do thanks to decades of bad urban planning, an epidemic of '70s-style permissive parenting, an entrenched binge drinking culture) actually lay behind the surface symptoms, and went completely unaddressed. Combined with the inability of police and liquor retailers to properly enforce the law due to underfunding and an inability to be everywhere at once, things started to get out of hand pretty quickly. In the first couple of years after the law went through, the national crime rate, which had been falling for years, actually started to tend upwards, due almost solely to large increases in youth offending (mostly for things like disorderly behaviour, assault, and willful damage). Now, local councils have been goaded into expensive and draconian public drinking bans. Thanks, liberal assumptions!

Prostitution law reform threatens to follow the same course. We have a naive, Pollyanna piece of legislation dreamed up by middle-class MPs and civil servants about to come face to face with the some ugly social realities. Most people in this country are bleeding right now, thanks to a couple of decades of Thatcherite economic reforms. There aren't many jobs in the provinces, the cost of housing in the cities is skyrocketing thanks to high immigration levels and property speculation, and anyone with the misfortune to be brown and/or born after the baby boom is facing a mountain of debt and downward social mobility. And yet the Act's sponsor tells us that the law will encourage people to exit rather than enter the sex industry. Colour me unconvinced.

For me , this is just another expression of the heat death of liberalism. We heard a lot in the lead up to the law's passage about how the ban on soliciting reflected gender biases encoded into the very structure of our society. Fair enough. However, although it supposedly strikes a blow against the Patriarchy, the Act's main effect is to decriminalize the professions of pimp and brothelkeeper -- i.e. those who, in lieu of an academicized abstraction, do most of the actual exploiting. I just don't see how any of this is supposed to help women (or gays, or transsexuals).

</rant, derail, etc.>
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:21 PM on August 25, 2003


if women are prostituting themselves by socially accepted (though old-fashioned) dating practices, men are implicated, too, as the all-too-willing johns.

Isn't this self-evident?

I'm sure that a wife whose husband gets caught with a hooker is just all peachy keen about it. Victimless crime?

Not everyone has contracted themselves to a monogamous committment.

how many ten-year old girls are saying to their mothers "when I grow up I want to be a prostitute?"

Apparently there are some.
posted by rushmc at 8:31 AM on August 26, 2003


Isn't this self-evident?

No. I was trying to point out all the degradation of women in kablam's comment. Street prostitutes are "[d]runks, drug addicts, psychological messes, utterly servile, self-deprecating attention addicts." But in fact regular women make up "[t]he great majority of 'prostitutes' [who] live happily ever after, and would be shocked if you even suggested that they had been prostitutes. 'That's not prostitution, that's dating!'" The next paragraph, too, focuses again on the female dater and whether she's promiscuous. Why no interest in the guy's "monogamy commitment," and what does monogamy have to do with it anyway? Reads to me like a guy w/ a chip on his shoulder. Maybe I'm wrong. (He does mention johns in the first sentence.)

Also, to be clear because you cut off part of my quote, I don't agree that a woman who lets a guy pay for dinner and ultimately goes home and has sex with him is prostituting herself. Just saying that if that's what kablam thinks, I hope he's not paying for dinner.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:50 AM on August 26, 2003


"And the wife should be happier that her husband felt the urge to pay for simple sex rather than cultivate a relationship with another woman and then sleep with her."

EXCUSE ME? It should make me HAPPY that my husband chooses to fuck a WHORE rather than stick to his marriage vows that he promised? That's suppposed to make me HAPPY?

I can see it now: "Well dear, no problem that you go out and stick your dick in some ten cent hooker and throw your respect for me an our marriage out the window, because it could be worse, you could have done that with someone you care about. So, let's go to bed and see if I get some disease that you caught when you couldn't keep your dick in your pants. "

Space Coyote, You amaze me. That's the dumbest excuse ever made for a man who obviously has no respect for his wife or for himself.
posted by aacheson at 4:23 PM on August 26, 2003


onlyconnect: you missed my point, that being the *perception* of prostitution, by the public, is that of people brought low by it. The public's focus is generally on the prostitute, rather then the john, because it's the prostitute who seems to suffer most, is arrested most, and is victimized most.
The john, on the other hand, while maybe arrested once, is then free to return to his "normal" life. Again, in the public's perception.

Even look at how prostitutes are depicted in movies and television--you'll see only the gross stereotypes--usually the down-and-out prostitute, who lives with street criminals and deals with police on a daily basis; or the occasional thousand-dollar-whore who wears only designer clothes and lives in a fancy apartment.

But my point, Camille Paglia's point, is that these stereotypes are extremes. The typical prostitute is middle class, is never arrested, has at least a high school and often a college education, might even hold a regular job.
They are not known as prostitutes, they have friends and many go to church on Sunday. And their johns are pretty much the same, in their way--not drunk junkies who beat and abuse them OR big spenders who will give them a thousand dollar tip.

In other words, ordinary people who have sex in exchange for money with other ordinary people who are willing to pay them for sex.
posted by kablam at 9:37 PM on August 26, 2003


Exactly. If, as you say, your comment was meant to shift focus from the people "brought low by" prostitution onto the alleged majority of people who actually (you say) participate in it, all the more reason not to focus so exclusively on women. Or be so interested in whether they were monogamous. If your point was to smash stereotypes, why not smash those stereotypes, too?

That aside, I still disagree, as I don't really want to live in a world where I'm a ho if I go home with a guy who turns down my offer to go dutch on dinner. (Though under your rubric my reputation seems safe as long as I can limit my conquests to one man at a time.) If what you're talking about is behavior that is much more calculated, then all I can say is I don't run into these "typical prostitutes" or their johns, despite their apparent prevalence. But maybe it's like drug behavior, and there's alot going on in suburban America that's a mystery to me.

I still hope you live by your principles and insist on splitting the bill from here on out. :)
posted by onlyconnect at 8:37 AM on August 27, 2003


onlyconnect: I don't think we're too far apart on this issue, more semantics than anything else. I've taken to looking at "prostitution", not as an awful and criminal thing, but as routine, common and normal--except as portrayed by people who *aren't* themselves normal--religious fundamentalists, for example.
Thus my distinguishing between having sex with someone and exchanging money with someone as two different acts. What really connects them?
There are a myriad of human emotional, physical and intellectual reasons to have sex. Is just the one where money is exchanged before or after wrong? There's no real physical difference than picking someone up at a bar for a one night stand.

There are also a myriad of things that can get in the way of having sex with someone, even though you both *want* to have sex. Nothing extraordinary, just the fumbling of the tongue, a bad hair day. Little, stupid things that leave both people frustrated. But the silly crutch of money clears the way.

Just a day or two ago I was surprised to read of a woman, self described as "over 50, fat, and not particularly pretty", who had become a prostitute for the sex, the simple reason being "that men will pay to have sex with someone they wouldn't have sex with for free." She didn't even care about the money.
posted by kablam at 1:57 PM on August 27, 2003


This raises the additional interesting possibility of the prostitution of "services" other than sex, such as friendship. Do my friends give me better advice when I buy them nice birthday gifts?

So, all right then, kablam, peace. I'd buy you a [virtual] drink as a sign of goodwill, except that it might imply an obligation to either hug or sleep together!
posted by onlyconnect at 3:34 PM on August 27, 2003


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