Archive for July 12th, 2010

 A little weeping, a little wheedling, a little self-degradation, a little careful use of our advantages, and then some man will say-“Come, be my wife!” With good looks and youth marriage is easy to attain. There are men enough; but a woman who has sold herself, even for a ring and a new name, need hold her skirt aside for no creature in the street. They both earn their bread in one way.   –  Olive Schreiner

I have said many times that sex is the only activity that it is legal to perform for free, but not for pay.  I must also point out that it is the only arrangement that is legal on a long-term basis but illegal on a short-term one.

What is the basic definition of a whore?  A woman who agrees to have sex with a man for compensation.  But if he gives her money or gifts without any direct discussion of sex, indeed is not sure whether she will provide it or not, society does not call the act prostitution.  In other words, it is perfectly legal and perfectly acceptable for a woman to agree to date a man whom she knows will give her gifts, money or expensive entertainment, and perfectly legal for a man to court a woman whom he knows by reputation will “put out,” even if neither of them intends to continue the arrangement beyond a single date.  The only thing prohibited is the honest discussion of the arrangement.  Oh, she can “fish” for details prior to accepting the date; she can even wheedle specific gifts out of him if he is sufficiently generous.  But none of this is guarantee for the man that he will get what he wants.  In other words, it’s OK for her to demand compensation for the possibility of sex, but not for the certainty.

Now, I’m not saying that ALL dating is prostitution.  Maybe I’m somewhat naive on this subject, but I believe most people still use dating as courtship, with intent to find a mate.  That’s certainly not everyone, though, and there is no law against a man (even a married one) using dating simply as a way to get sex with absolutely NO intention of marriage, nor against a “party girl” using it as a way to enrich herself with equally non-marital intent.  The arrangement only becomes illegal when they are honest with one another.  I know it seems counterintuitive that honesty should ever be illegal, but there you are.

My first experience with this was in college.  Living on my own for the first time presented me with a host of expenses I had never had to consider before, and like most university students I often found myself with bills due and no way to pay them.  While I never actually turned tricks for the money per se as one friend of mine did, I used my “bad” reputation to my advantage.  When a guy called for a date (and plenty did!) and I needed money, it would go something like this:

“Gee, Tom, I would love to go with you, but I’m kind of depressed.”

“Oh, what about?”

“Oh, it’s stupid really.  My phone bill is overdue and they’re going to cut it off if I can’t pay by tomorrow, and I have no idea where I’m going to get the money.”

“Well, how much is your bill?”

“Only a hundred, but it’s a hundred I don’t have.”

“Tell you what, why don’t I just pay that for you?  Then you won’t be depressed and we can go to the concert.”

“Oh, would you?  You’re such a dear!  I’ll make it up to you, I promise!”

And of course I always did.  The word of that got around as well, and I’ll bet some guys even began to figure out when they should call to get the cheapest bills; maybe that’s why nobody called me around rent day!  Just kidding.  This raises the question, though:  Was I (legally speaking) a prostitute then?  Was I technically soliciting for prostitution by the legal definition?  I never promised a one to one exchange (a blow job for a hundred, intercourse for two, nothing like that) and when I had no bills I didn’t charge at all.  Does working on a sliding scale with a small group of regular clients and no specific discussion of services free a girl from the possibility of a prostitution charge?  I would suspect so.  I knew the guys, the price varied, the reward varied; technically I was dating.  It would have been hard for a DA to make a prostitution charge stick.  Yet, I was certainly trading sex for money…but then, so does a wife; she just does it on a long-term basis.

Traditionally, men work to support women.  Feminist historians like to imagine marriage as an arrangement invented by males for males, but the biological and historical evidence is that it was really the other way around:  Marriage was invented by women to corral those males in whom the urge to spread their seed around was very much stronger than the urge to protect and care for women, and accepted by men because it gave them a guaranteed source of pussy.  From a purely biological point of view, the man’s contribution to making a baby is done in five minutes, while the woman’s takes at least thirteen or fourteen years in a primitive culture and eighteen now.  When we lived in small, communistic hunter-gatherer tribes this didn’t matter, but once we developed large, complex urban societies with land ownership and wealth it became important that an individual woman have an individual man to protect and provide for her and her children, and marriage did that very well.  Eventually patriarchal raiding cultures slowly subverted marriage into a male-dominated institution which turned women into chattel, and most women accepted this for the same reason that most men accept domination by leaders:  Being a slave is psychologically safer than personal responsibility and self-reliance.  For the vast bulk of humanity of both genders, doing what one is told is easy, but thinking for oneself is difficult.

There are some people, however, who cannot accept such domination.  Men who feel that way are often good at “working the system” until they reach the top, and others have the drive and focus and talent to chart their own course to prosperity and independence.  Some women can do this as well, and more power to them.  But many women are temperamentally unsuited to a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, punch-the-clock-and-kiss-the-boss’s-ass-in-hope-of-climbing-the-ladder drudge job.  Some of these women grit their teeth and work at such jobs until they can get a husband to support them, but others can’t handle it even for that long or have no intention of being dependent on a husband merely to avoid it.  There are also some whose long-term plans preclude commitment to either a man OR a job; I know a lawyer, two doctors, a nurse, a biochemist, a criminologist and a physicist who put themselves through school via prostitution.  All of them lacked wealthy parents and were either unwilling or unable to secure sufficient student loan money, and none of them wanted to lose valuable study time in some minimum-wage student job that wouldn’t even pay the rent, nor did any of them want to commit to a husband before they even got their careers off the ground.  Whoring paid the bills for them and still left plenty of time for study.

But even if she has no long-term educational plans, and can handle a male-like career job, why should she have to if she doesn’t want to?  Nobody bitches if a man gets out of the rat race and makes a good living by doing whatever it is he’s good at for whoever will pay him for it, so why is it different for women?  Because control freaks are envious of others who can do things they can’t, is why.  Heterosexual men cannot make a reliable income from sex at all, and most women are far too sexually repressed to even consider it.  Therefore, these dogs in the manger habitually combine forces to attempt to stop those women who CAN do it.  This is the way it has been at least since Classical Greece, and there are no signs it’s going to change any time soon.

When a whore sees a client, what she is essentially contracting is a very short-term surrogate marriage.  She gives him a little of what a wife gives a husband (sex and/or companionship), and he gives her a little of what a husband gives a wife (financial support).  There are whores who do this poorly and those who do it well, but the same can be said for wives.  There are men who treat working girls poorly and those who treat them well, but the same can be said for husbands.  Whores of course get very little in the way of husbandly companionship from clients, which is why most of them also have boyfriends (or girlfriends) on the side, but that is a subject for another day.

A successful working girl.

So, we’re back up to where we started.  The exact same arrangement (man contributes support, woman contributes sex and/or companionship) is completely legal in the long-term form we call marriage but illegal in the temporary form we call prostitution.  Now, don’t start screaming that marriage is different because it involves love; where is it written that a couple have to love each other in order to make marriage legal?  Throughout most of human history love had absolutely nothing to do with marriage.  Love certainly makes a marriage more pleasant; in fact, I am married now myself and eventually left the profession for my husband (or more accurately, entered into a long-term exclusive contract with him).  But any reader who asserts that nobody ever gets married for the bare-bones reasons mentioned above is hopelessly naive and might as well stop reading right now, because it isn’t going to get any better for him.  Many, many men marry women whose only attractions are sexual, and an equally large number of women marry men whose only attractions are financial.  Hollywood actresses make prenuptial agreements that include a certain cash sum paid them every year as long as they remain married, and they are not unique in this.  Very old men marry very young women with whom they have nothing in common (other than mutually fulfillable needs) all the time.  Men leave older wives for trophy wives; women stay with rich men for a few years and then sue for divorce to get half of everything.  A television show features a woman who agrees to marry a total stranger specifically because he is a multi-millionaire.  From a moral standpoint these are all identical to prostitution, but for some reason the law chooses to ignore this.  And so once again the woman who is honest about what she wants and what she will give for it is legally persecuted and branded with the name of “whore”, while she who is dishonest and cloaks her prostitution by hiding it in a venerable institution is not only rewarded both socially and financially, but is actually allowed to use the machinery of “justice” to collect her fee.

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