With a Little Help From Her Friends?
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
and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women
is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution
What is marriage but prostitution
to one man instead of many?
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
unless they are married to them
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