RANGER AGAINST WAR: With a Little Help From Her Friends? <

Friday, May 09, 2008

With a Little Help From Her Friends?

Deborah Jean Palfrey

Women are bold enough to dare bare the faces and names,
but men aren't. That tells you something.

--Father Mitro, on Finnish TV in 2002

I don't think a prostitute is more moral than a wife,
but they are doing the same thing

--Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

[Animals] do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

--Song of Myself
, Walt Whitman

Marriage is for woman the commonest mode of livelihood,
and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women

is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution

--Bertrand Russell

What is marriage but prostitution
to one man instead of many?
--Angela Carter

What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion?
--What's Love Got to Do With It?
, Tina Turner

Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes
unless they are married to them
--Jerry Falwell


You who read Ranger regularly are accustomed to the unusual linkage. Today's: the once-thought extinct greater cloud rat with johns, with the recently-hanged D.C. Madam Deborah Jean Palfrey.

Of course the mention of rats, in the year of the rat, brought to mind Sen. David Vitter, he of AB/DL kink, and the madam who supposedly fed his habit, the now deceased Ms. Palfrey.

In the cloud rat story which started my thinking, William Stanley, collections manager of mammals at the Field Museum said he was eager to find
"what makes them tick" (Cloud Rat Rediscovered After 112 Years.)

This is such a funny thing to say. What makes ratty tick is his day-to-day goings on -- foraging for food, maintaining a place to lay his furry rat face, finding a little ratty mate, etc. Are we humans so different? We work our jobs to earn our daily bread, and then we seek gratifications. As a friend says, money is freedom chips, which you exchange for things you want or need.

Sex is one need, and to gain it we either pair-bond, sequentially monogamously or not, wank off, or sublimate by turning our lives to the lord and wedding J.C. himself. For those whose needs cannot be met within the bounds of freely found companionship yet still desire a partner, there are escorts who can fill the need.

I did a little online research on prostitution, and found two diametrically opposing camps of feminists: those who think prostitution is an abominable objectification, and those who recognize women's essential objectification and think they are empowered by having the option of taking their wares to the marketplace (if they do so freely and for agreed upon remuneration.)

We all prostitute ourselves in one form or another.
As recent example, witness the General talking heads busted recently as being employed by the Pentagon as "message multipliers," spreading pro-administration clap-trap to the media.

We all have a service to sell, whatever it may be, and we are compensated for performing it satisfactorily. Money becomes the intermediary with which we purchase items we need. A Marxian barter society might seem less exploitative in the sense that there would be a direct transfer of good for good, but still, it is a quid pro quo.

So back to mammals' needs. Sex, not necessarily love. When the two are combined, of course that is something quite special. But often there is trade off. Many a marriage exists in this netherworld of sexual transactions (or suspensions.)

How many marriages have occurred in deception, where the woman trades her anatomical goods for marriage? Maybe she pretends to enjoy her mate more than she actually does, evidenced by the drying up of the supply lines following the nuptials. Maybe she "gets pregnant," trading her services as mother in exchange for being taken care of, or getting out of the parent's house. Truth in the house?

This is mating at its most cynical, but probably not its most rare, form.
Marriage is often a state- and church-sanctioned institution of legalized prostitution. When men say, "She gives me all I want," not speaking about her lasagne, he has traded the cage of marriage for reliable sex. Quid pro quo.

If one has the means, and wishes for whatever reason simply to gratify the physical need, how much kinder and honest to engage in a clear business transaction. Both parties then gain benefit, sans deception. Neither are depowered in the unequivocal transaction.

I will not go into human trafficking here and other abysmal forms of objectification and exploitation. Enslavement, usually of women, occurs on every continent, every day. I am merely considering the call girl-john transaction, in which the prostitute can act as free agent, or have a service place her.

As recorded by the undercover officer who busted one of madam's call girls two years ago, Brandy Britton, a woman also later found hanged, she quite directly told the john/officer to leave the $400 on the table outside the bedroom door. Quid pro quo.

Of course, the newspaper stories at the time made it sound quite salacious, describing the "mothers pushing babies in carriages" on the street, not knowing what beast lurked in the cul de sac
. From the WaPo: "It was a neighborhood just like yours, where children rode scooters in the cul-de-sac. And where men circled at night, looking for . . . " (The House With the Lights On.)

Why demonize either the wolves at the door or the prostitute? If discretion is applied, what is the problem? Is it somehow more humane to prey upon people to gratify one's bodily needs and have to dissemble in the process? It is one thing to gain easy sex when one is young, but after a certain age, the no-expectation hookup is no longer so readily available. One is left to become a psychic predator, or pay for sex-sans-love transaction.

Laws against prostitution are hypocritical. We learned with prohibition (18th Amendment) that sanctioning morality does not work, ergo the 21st Amendment repealing it. Prostitution is the oldest profession (politician, second?) Just as some people need a good farrier, others may need a good servicing, or just a servicing.

If society could change -- unlikely in these provincial, hypocritical United States (save for Bunny Ranchland Nevada) -- then prostitution need not be seen as exploitation. Mind you, as a woman, it is hard to see why men would pay for a hit-and-run, or buy porno for that matter, but obviously they will.

People also buy Cheetoes, Salems, and all manner of things that are devoid of nutrition and don't add much practical benefit to their lives, and may in fact detract from their ever being able to reach their higher selves, as Eckhart Tolle and Oprah work so hard for you to be able to do. But government can't legislate that people be smart. In fact, it is people's very stupidity that adds value to a fast-food nation.

Yes, I know--that turns the act into a heartless thing. But pragmatically-speaking, there is nothing that connects the act of copulation with love or commitment. I know there is better and more exalted to be had, but some do not.

Why must society do what they so inelegantly do in the public schools with the practice of mainstreaming? Why insist those who just want a f*ck must get their gratification from the pool that includes those who hope to reach a higher plane, or maybe just want to pair-bond? That is like some kind of cruel, sick joke.

How much more honest to pay for services rendered with no pretense of anything more. The customer gets discretion and a physical release, and in good conscience can leave after the transaction. If society did not lay such a heavy burden of guilt upon their shoulders. No hurt feelings, because it is what it is. Job well-done, or at least, job done.

Love is a wonderful thing, but not everyone opts for it, for one reason or another. Some are psychically damaged. Some simply can't sustain it -- perhaps they are misogynistic or psychopathic and for them, the kindest option is prostitution.

A friend recently shared she had found a prostitute at the request of an institutionalized 22-yr-old with advanced Cerebral Palsy; he wanted to know what is was like to be with a woman and would not have had the opportunity otherwise. Is that wrong?

Why can't we be that honest about our animal nature and our transaction of goods and services?

It was hard to select only a few noteworthy quotes, so I'll end with a few more provocative ones:
  • The issue is privacy. Why is the decision by a woman to sleep with a man she has just met in a bar a private one, and the decision to sleep with the same man for $100 subject to criminal penalties? -- Anna Quindlen on the Heidi Fleiss trial
  • The women who take husbands not out of love but out of greed, to get their bills paid, to get a fine house and clothes and jewels; the women who marry to get out of a tiresome job, or to get away from disagreeable relatives, or to avoid being called an old maid—these are whores in everything but name. The only difference between them and my girls is that my girls gave a man his money’s worth. -- Polly Adler
  • To the moralist prostitution does not consist so much in the fact that the woman sells her body, but rather that she sells it out of wedlock. -- Emma Goldman
Your input is welcome.

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Blogger Mr. Oblivious said...

Very well put. Sort of thought-provoking (inasmuch as I am still able to think), too.

Friday, May 9, 2008 at 2:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, Mr. O. You qualify the "thought-provoking" aspect.

I am game to discuss any particulars.

Friday, May 9, 2008 at 3:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

once, after leaving a studio gig in orange county, trapped on the 97 freeway, i was reflecting on the nature of my life. i was a few years into the jingle game and was really starting to get down on myself for selling out music so thoroughly. i couldn't shake the voice in my ear saying "whore, whore, whore."

i finally got the voice to shut up by admitting that yes, i was a whore, but i was an expensive whore, and because i had so much repeat business, i was a whore with skills. i also said that my pimp really loved me. all the other whores in his entourage were just that, me, he loves.

until i began to see a parade of folks with money in their hands looking to feed my kids and put them through college i was going to be my whore self. leather miniskirt and all.

what happens to the women like jeanie palfrey, is reprehensible hypocrisy. that scumbags like "diaper dave" vitter get a pass while the women are all facing prison terms beggars the imagination.

(in the interest of full disclosure, the woman i love works as an escort. those that matter don't judge her, and those that judge her don't fucking matter.)

Friday, May 9, 2008 at 8:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


That is my main gripe--the clients get off scot-free, while the women pay. Absolute hypocrisy.

Who is anyone to judge anyone? That it leaves me or anyone else cold is immaterial; eating Cheetoes leaves me cold, too, but some people eat fistfuls with glee. We are all wired differently. And I can envision being in a situation where prostitution would seem a good choice.

The image of yer own self in a leather mini is precious.

Friday, May 9, 2008 at 10:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

I can't recall which country it is (somewhere in Scandinavia) ....but there is one now where prostitution is legal. Whores are not arrested, but, hilariously, the "johns" ARE!
I am one of the feminists (well, I can scarce use that name since some of what goes by the label makes me foam at the mouth) who thinks legal prostitution is more honest, more manageable and has potential to take some of the more horrifying aspects out of the "business."
But, as countries in Europe have discovered, it remains problematical---once it is legal to have a whore in business, the johns want something that is NOT---a very young whore, for instance. Or they want to get totally heavy handed in abusive ways.
It seems it is not always a simple transaction of physical needs for pay after all; but becomes about gratification of desires that have no alternative but to be (rightly) illegal. Or to put it in the vernacular--it is not, entirely too often, about simple sex, but about "getting your kink on." No solution in sight, but America's silly tight-assed puritanical bend to hypocrisy sure as hell isn't looking for a solution, either.

Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 12:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Well, that's another reason men patronize prostitutes, to "get their kink on." But, the prostitute should have right of refusal, and terms should be discussed up front. No abuse allowed.

Men want under-aged women anyway, whether prostitution is legal or not. Legalization and licensing would presumably make that eventuality less likely. Men who go on sex vacations to the Far East where prostitution is not legislated and bring suitcases of candy, well, that is another matter.

I say, legalize and legislate marijuana and prostitution. The state can gain some funds, the mystery is taken out of the thing, and hopefully everyone is a bit safer due to standards oversight. Just like the crackerjack job performed by the FDA and USDA, right?!

Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 5:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Good piece. If you'll excuse the expression.

I have to say that I'm with Lisa on this one: the problem I have is that the women get busted and the men get off (and then get...mmm...off).

So, yes, the moral swivet we have about this is more than a little hypocritical, and, yes, let's do the right thing and protect these women against thuggish pimps, crazed johns and STDs...

I had a working in girl in Panama explain it to me in simple terms: "There will always be putas. As long as there are men with money and no pussy and women with pussy and no money. Always."

Actually, that has always been my reason for not patronizing the girls on the pross, even when I was single and looking: so many of them were desperate, and many of them were turning tricks for drugs. I find there to be nothing more pathetic and despicable than the "Pretty Woman" fantasy about prostitution. It's nasty, we (in the form of cops and legislators and preachers) make it as nasty as we can, and then we blame the women for the nastiness

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 4:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you, Chief. (I'll take the compliments any way they come ;))

The puta said it succinctly, and the crux of the problem is often found in that power disparity, or battle. Fact is, there is an income divide separating men from women, for manifold reasons. Too often, this leaves women vulnerable to exploitation, esp. when you have the religious proscriptions and the "protective" johns factored in.

The pretty woman fantasy is just that. Few but the top tier present that well, and few even there can/will offer the service of true concubine, i.e., being a superb companion in all ways. That is more the realm of a paramour.

So w/o regulation, the exploitation has the potential to come/arise (all words are so fraught)also from the client. Since all most men are getting is a body (receptacle), I imagine some are disappointed and resent shelling out for it.

With the mystery and censure removed, it would become just another service. An alternative to a blow up doll. I relate to a male friend who said he opposed prostitution on the grounds that the woman was adding nothing constructive to society--she was just lying there. But again, the market determines the price.

If he is too lazy to use his hands, or his mind, to engage in self- or other's satisfaction, the options come down to these. No one is forced to solicit a prostitute (save for one callow Navy friend, always called "boot," who was taken to the whorehouse doors for induction.)

Fine statement: "It's nasty, we (in the form of cops and legislators and preachers) make it as nasty as we can, and then we blame the women for the nastiness."

Moreover, the men don't seem to mind partaking in the nastiness, as it probably adds a dollop of expected "guilt," and the inevitable supplication when they are found out. He goes to church; she goes to jail.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 10:13:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prostitution oughta be legal, with medically-supervised whorehouses w/ the providers ALL over 18. They ought to have them in the war zones, same as how I just described them (even w/ male ho's for the women soldiers). And also-in or near war zones, all high-quality, rank-blind.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 2:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yes, I believe Ms. Palfrey was murdered.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 2:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm with you, anon.

Any damage from the act could be mitigated be medical testing, age testing, and truthiness (thanks, Mr. Colbert) of the endeavor.

As with any personal issues, like drugs use or abortion, not everyone would use the service. But for those who wish to avail themselves, it would be a straight transaction, and no one would have to go skulking about.

Until the day that morality and personal responsibility obviates the need or desire for such things, let them be available safely. When humans reach that exalted state, there will be no recourse to these things, and they will disappear via lack of use.

Until then, anything less is simply hypocrisy. To the hypocrites who would argue that availabilty creates the desire, I say, who would choose a prostitute or abortion or drugs if life were really good for one without those things? For the majority who use those goods and services, is it not simply discretionary.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 2:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon, why would female soldiers need male prostitutes?They can roll their own . Also there would be plenty free stuff in the ranks. jim

Monday, May 12, 2008 at 9:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Range, I merely wanted to show gender non-discrimination. But it's NEVER free. Time, emotions, money, or a combo of all 3--you wind up payin' one way or 'nother.

Monday, May 12, 2008 at 5:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I see you're responding to ranger, who suggests women can get all they want free. So who are you saying pays with "time/emotion/money" in his scenario?

Women can be just as predatory as men, and need not feel the compulsion to invest any of those three. Ditto the men in such a transaction.

In prostitution, he only pays a discrete amount for the service. His emotion is limited to the sensation he feels after his release, and the time is merely that invested in order to get off. Right?

It all ends after that liaison.

One only risks those three within the confines of an actual relationship.

Monday, May 12, 2008 at 5:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


That was me who responded last time, not "Range."

Monday, May 12, 2008 at 6:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


The reason men choose prostitutes is not simply to get laid, but so the woman will leave afterward.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 2:50:00 PM GMT-5  

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