Archive for September 30th, 2011

Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.  –  Sign displayed in an office of “The Village”, from the classic TV series The Prisoner

As I stated in my column of September 18th, I sometimes get  replies to my “Black Men” post of a year earlier that demonstrate a total refusal to accept my explanation of why a noticeable percentage of escorts won’t see black clients; here is an example I received just a few weeks ago which, ironically, demonstrates the very point he’s trying to refute:

What’s wrong with a man demanding to get what he pays for?  You said some want to use up the full time with sexual activity…is this not what the deal is based on?  I think many escorts take advantage of kind hearted (a lot of them older men) customers, it’s bullshit.  So when a guy comes along and just wants what he paid for they are suddenly put out by this. 

I’m afraid not.  Demanding that every minute of the time be taken up in rutting is NOT “what he paid for” because the price doesn’t assume that; it’s like going into a restaurant and complaining because every square centimeter of the plate isn’t covered in food.  Though I usually gave a price break for multiple hours, I didn’t do so if I knew the client was doing cocaine because the work of attending to him was much more difficult; the same thing could be said of a client who wants 60 full minutes of pumping.  Most girls even give a price break for dinner-date type calls because they’re much easier per hour than calls spent entirely in bed.

And even if it were indeed “what he paid for”, that doesn’t address the roughness, the rudeness, the haggling and the attempts at cheating her out of money, NONE of which are part of the deal.  What amazes me is why a number of commenters like yourself insist on attempting to defend the indefensible instead of simply not acting that way; this narcissistic behavior is just as absurd and unrealistic as that of women who insist they should be able to get drunk at a frat party and go upstairs alone with a stranger without being taken advantage of.  You don’t see me defending the actions of bad escorts or denying that they exist; I understand that they do indeed exist and I did my best when dealing with a nervous client to allay his fears so he would understand I wasn’t one of them.  Good customers (and there are many) recognize that poor customers to give rise to a negative perception of the whole group, and they behave in such a way as to let girls know they aren’t like that.

Why haven’t you corrected the egregious factual errors in the Wikipedia article on prostitution?  It’s full of Catherine MacKinnon and Melissa Farley stuff!

I know, it’s awful; I noticed it a while back.  Though I’ve corrected a little of the wording in the “consent” section I haven’t tackled the article in earnest yet because, frankly, I find it a bit intimidating.  I have fixed many minor errors in sex-work related Wikipedia articles (such as replacing the word “pimp” with “escort service owner” in several articles on madams) and even added a section to the “human trafficking” article, but I haven’t tackled the “prostitution” article yet because there’s so much to deal with and adding citations in Wikipedia is extremely time-consuming.  I tried to drum up interest in fixing it within a circle of pro-sex work academics, but nobody seemed interested (and I certainly can’t blame them considering my feelings on the matter).

But now that you’ve raised the question it’s going to eat at me, so I will eventually get around to it; in the meantime I’d like to ask my readers to help out a little.  Would those of you who have Wikipedia accounts please fix small but important errors (in the main article and all the others) when you see them?  Sometimes just changing the wording of a sentence makes a huge difference, for example, adding “opponents of prostitution feel that” to statements making incorrectly declarative negative statements.  And if anybody wants to volunteer to help revise that main “Prostitution” article, please let me know!

Can you change the design that appears next to my name when I comment?

No, but you can.  That design is automatically assigned by WordPress to commenters who don’t have a gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar), so all you have to do is get yourself a gravatar and the next time you comment it will automatically replace that design you don’t like (even on comments you’ve already made).  Just go to Gravatar.com and register, and you’ll have the opportunity to upload any picture you like as your avatar.  From then on, it will appear next to your screen name whenever you comment on any gravatar-friendly site using the same email address you registered with.

Where do you find all the quotes you use?

I’ve always been fond of epigrams; I love the way they can set a mood, foreshadow content or provide the source for a title.  Edgar Allen Poe used them frequently, as did many other 19th-century writers, and though they’ve largely fallen out of favor Frank Herbert employed them to great effect in Dune (though he cheated by making up his own out of books from his fictional universe).  So I determined from the beginning that nearly every column would have one, and I consider them an integral feature of the blog.  Sometimes an appropriate quote will come to mind while I’m planning or writing a column; today’s was one of those.  Other times I half-remember a quote and Google for the exact wording, or else I’ll search a quote database (I usually start with the one on Dictionary.com) with an appropriate keyword.  When I write a biographical or historical column I keep my eyes open for a likely selection during the research process, and when the topic is related to government or law I consult a reference I found last October, which has provided dozens of good ones so far.  But every once in awhile I just can’t find anything I like, and then I keep trying all sorts of keywords that seem as though they might work, looking down lists until something finally strikes my fancy.  Those are the real pains, and I’m glad there aren’t many of them.

One Year Ago Today

Think of the Children!” discusses the bizarre Neo-Victorian belief that “children are as emotionally fragile as soap bubbles and the merest hint of sexual imagery before puberty can cause irreversible trauma”, and looks at two of its notable victims, Paul Reubens and Melissa Petro.

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