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Posts Tagged ‘courtesans’

Natalie wrote…that she was…madly in love with a woman…[who] outstripped all her other loves by a long way.  Rather vexed, I answered: “The best in your life was me! Me! Me!”  -  Liane de Pougy, My Blue Notebooks

Perceptive readers may have noticed that though I share a profession with the subjects of all of my harlotographies, I don’t think I would have gotten along with many of them.  This is especially true of the Grandes Horizontales of La Belle Epoque; while I admire their spunk and envy their income, most of them were possessed of character traits I find irritating or even repulsive:  among these are incredible irresponsibility, the tendency to use people and a pathological affection for falsehood.  Though the former two would probably have caused me greater distress had I known the ladies in person, it is the latter one which annoys me most as a chronicler of whoredom because it makes it almost impossible to declare anything about their lives with certainty, despite what biographers who have never personally known a whore (much less been one) seem to believe.  Case in point Liane de Pougy, whose statements about her exes (and herself) are usually reported as fact despite their conflicting with her earlier statements about the same people.

Liane de Pougy, 1887Anne-Marie Chassaigne was born in La Flèche, France on July 2nd, 1869, the daughter of Pierre and Aimée Chassaigne; like so many others of her time she was educated in a convent, but unlike most of her peers she somehow managed to evade the nuns often enough and well enough to get pregnant at 16.  She eloped with the father, a young naval officer named Armand Pourpe, but predictably the marriage was both short and unhappy; she treated her baby son Marc as though he were a doll, and professed to be disappointed that he was not a girl so she could dress him up and fuss over him more.  When Armand was transferred to Marseilles she remained behind and promptly took a lover, Marquis Charles de MacMahon; when her husband later caught them in flagrante delicto he shot at them but only succeeded in wounding her wrist.  In response she sold her piano, abandoned her son and lit out for Paris on the first train she could catch, changing her name to “Liane” upon arrival.  She later wrote in her memoirs that her husband had “taken her violently on their wedding night”, supposedly traumatizing her; consider, however, that she was already sexually involved with him before they were married, and that this supposed emotional shock didn’t stop her from having sex with someone else as soon as he was over the horizon.  Furthermore, her arch-rival La Belle Otero claimed to have been raped at ten; one must wonder if Liane didn’t invent her marriage-bed ravishment so that she, too, could have a sexual horror story for those who responded to that sort of thing.  She also claimed that her husband was a brute who beat her, and that she had a scar on her breast from one such beating; perhaps, but it also provided a convenient excuse for her infidelity.

In Paris, the 18-year-old Liane immediately set out to become a courtesan, and learned the trade from the highly-respected Countess Valtesse de la Bigne.  Much to her mentor’s annoyance, Liane was bored by intellectual pursuits, but she was simply more attuned to the zeitgeist than the older woman:  it was a time when appearance and style were prized over depth and substance, as evidenced by the fact that, though utterly devoid of any acting talent, she was hired to headline a show at the Folies-Bergere on the basis of the impression she had made while attending the Grand Prix with the Vicomte de Pougy (whose surname she promptly appropriated).  So hopeless was she that Sarah Bernhardt, who had been given the job of teaching her to act, eventually told her, “when on stage, just keep your pretty mouth shut.”  But as with so many others up to the present day, this did not stop her from becoming a wildly popular celebrity; it started on the night of her debut, when she picked up the visiting Prince of Wales as a client.

Liane de Pougy (November 3rd, 1902)The ‘90s were the heyday of Liane’s career and the period of her infamous rivalry with La Belle Otero, played out in the various theaters and the dining room of Maxim’s restaurant, a favorite of the demimonde.  Though Otero became more famous and sought-after than de Pougy by about 1895, Liane was the wiser investor and the more careful bookkeeper, and appears to have had a larger number of less-famous clients compared with Otero’s smaller number of kings and princes.  Both women derived a sizeable secondary income from licensing their images for postcards, as was typical for courtesans of the time; as I have noted before, this period saw the beginning of the modern cult of celebrity, and the Grandes Horizontales were at the center of it.

Like most courtesans, Liane began to opt for longer-term arrangements as she aged; unlike most, not all of hers were with men.  In 1899 the American heiress and writer Natalie Clifford Barney became infatuated with her after seeing her at the Folies-Bergere, and though their lesbian relationship was very intense it was also very short because Barney kept insisting she wanted to “rescue” Liane from prostitution (a notion much more popular in America at that time than in France).  The two continued to have deep feelings for one another, though, and corresponded for the rest of their lives (see epigram).  Never one to miss a moneymaking opportunity, in 1901 Liane published a thinly-fictionalized account of their affair, Sapphic Idyll, which became a runaway bestseller and caused Barney considerable trouble with her straight-laced parents.  She also profited in another way:  when it became known that she was bisexual, she gained a small but profitable upper-class lesbian clientele.

Liane de Pougy in a detail of Une soirée au Pré-Catelan by Henri Gervex (1909)On June 8, 1910 the almost-41 Liane married the notably-younger Prince  Georges Ghika, after which she was called Princess Ghika.  Though neither as rocky nor as short-lived as her first marriage, this one was not without its major difficulties; the first of these came on December 2nd, 1914 when her son Marc, a French pilot in the First World War, was killed in action near Villers-Brettoneux.  Though she had never been close to him, his death precipitated a period of soul-searching in which she turned back to the Church, becoming a lay Dominican sister.  Though this phase did not last long, she remained devout for the rest of her life (though like many Catholics, she ignored sexual prohibitions she found inconvenient).  In 1926 Ghika ran off with a much younger woman, and while Liane’s diaries of the period brand him a pervert (whereas before he was described in glowing terms), the two did not divorce.  She consoled herself with lesbian lovers until he came back to her a few years later, and they remained together until his death in 1945; the latter period was not a happy one, however, and each had a series of extramarital girlfriends.

After his death she re-entered the Dominicans permanently as Sister Anne-Marie, and spent her last five years caring for physically and mentally handicapped children; she died at the Asylum of Saint Agnes in Lausanne,  Switzerland on December 26th, 1950, at the ripe old age of 81.  Her memoirs, My Blue Notebooks, were published posthumously.  Though many who wish to believe in such things have praised the “repentance” for her “sinful” past (most especially her prostitution and lesbianism) she proclaims in this work, the more cynical eye of this harlot sees instead the pièce de résistance of a long series of deceptions.  While her previous writings merely reinterpreted other people in her life, this one reinvented herself; and while the others were only intended to deceive mere mortals, this one was designed to pull the wool over the eyes of God himself.  And no matter what else I feel about her, I have to admire her for that one, grand, final act of chutzpah.

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An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not the invasion of ideas.
-  Victor Hugo

Gene usually got dressed quickly, gave Katherine some kind of rough estimate of when she should expect him to call again, asked her what she had planned for dinner and then told her what a lovely time he’d had before heading out the door.  But when he fumbled with his shoes, tied his tie unevenly, and otherwise delayed leaving while making no conversation at all, she knew he was nervous about something.

“Kathy, I just wanted to let you know that I saw Victoria Tate, but I won’t again,” he finally blurted out.

She took his hand and smiled.  “I think you sometimes forget that I’m not your wife, Gene; you don’t owe me fidelity.  You can see Victoria or any other escort you like, and you don’t have to report it to me or seek forgiveness.”

“Well, usually I don’t; I mean, you know I’ve seen other girls before, and that I always come back to you.  But somehow, it just seemed different with Victoria, like I was betraying you or something.”

“That’s silly; how could seeing Victoria be any more a betrayal than seeing anyone else?”

The Wish by Theodor von Holst (1841)He paused for a moment, then: “Because we both know she’s marketing herself as a younger alternative to you.”  If the statement hurt her feelings, she gave no outward sign.  The situation was obvious to everyone in town:  Victoria used similar advertising copy, presented herself in the same general fashion, even provided the same kind of amenities at her incall.  Both women were tall, charismatic, classically-beautiful brunettes, both well-educated and well-spoken, both endowed with that indefinable quality known as “class”.  But while Katherine was well over fifty,  Victoria was still under twenty-five.  And while Katherine had never really learned to take full advantage  of the marketing possibilities the internet offered, Victoria knew every last one.

“Do you remember Melinda Van Doren?  She was the most highly-regarded escort in the city when I started working in 1975.”

“No, I didn’t try the hobby until after my first wife and I divorced in ’81, and I don’t remember the name.”

“That’s because she retired in ’79.  Well, you know it was all services and word of mouth in those days, but I had new ideas.  When I first started it was just to pay my way through school, but by the time I graduated I realized I wanted to make a career of it.  So I paid bribes, placed private ads, offered spiffs to every concierge in town, and slowly began to win Melinda’s clientele from her.”

“I can’t imagine you being so…”

Ruthless is the word,” she laughed.  “I was a different person then, an awful, hungry little upstart intent on invading and capturing my rival’s territory.  It wasn’t until Melinda confronted me that I changed.”

“What did she say to you?”

“Oh, it was so long ago…suffice to say she made me see the error of my ways.  She retired not too long after; moved to one of those countries where American dollars go a long way.  Costa Rica, I think it was.”

“Well, I’m glad you changed; I don’t think I’d have liked you like that.  I know I don’t like Victoria.  Hey, maybe you need to talk to her like Melinda talked to you.”

“Yes, maybe I do.”

After Gene had gone, Kathy opened up the email folder where she had saved all the other messages on the subject…and there had been several, both from clients and from escorts.  She was very popular and respected, and a number of people were upset about Victoria’s tactics…which had in the past few months gone from mere competition to character assassination, rumor-starting and, last week, a poorly-executed attempt to get her arrested (which might’ve succeeded if she hadn’t had an informant in the vice division).  Clearly something had to be done, and soon.  She picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Victoria, this is Katherine Nolan.”

“How did you get this number?”

“That’s not really important.  We need to talk.”

“About what?”

“I think you know the answer.”

“Look, I really don’t have time right now…”

“Yes, you do.  In fact, I think you’ll be very interested in what I have to say.  I’ve been thinking about retiring for a long time now, but putting it off because I needed someone to take care of my gentlemen for me.  And I think you just may be the woman to do it…”

An hour later, Victoria opened the door to usher Kathy into her incall.  Though she had been understandably suspicious of Kathy’s motives, the offer had been too good to pass up:  the older woman had said she was tired of drama and felt it was better to bow out gracefully rather than contribute to strife in what had previously been a largely-harmonious community.  A few hours of small talk, a few empty promises, and the field would be clear; if there was any chance at all Kathy was being honest, Victoria had no choice but to risk it.  And so they chatted over coffee, and after a while Victoria actually found herself beginning to like the veteran courtesan, and to feel a few pangs of regret for her unscrupulous tactics.

“Think nothing of it, my dear,” said Kathy; “you’re young and determined to succeed, so it isn’t surprising you might overstep the bounds of propriety from time to time.  Why, when I first started working, years before you were born, I was just as ambitious.  But then I had a meeting with the older lady with whom I was in competition, just as you and I are meeting today, and after that day everything was all right.”

Possession“So she made you the same offer that you’re making me?”

“Yes, that was how she got me to invite her over, just as it got you to invite me.”  Kathy’s voice suddenly sounded different – cold, strange and very, very old.  Victoria was transfixed by her gaze and felt a sudden wave of inexplicable terror wash over her; she tried to scream but the sound was strangled in her throat, and though she tried to struggle it was as though she was held fast by the tentacles of some invisible nightmare.

*******************************************************************

“You know, I really need to compliment you on your exquisite taste; some of these pieces are really fine,” Roger said as Victoria walked with him to the door.

“Thank you, but I’m afraid I can’t take credit; an older escort helped me find a lot of it.  You may remember her, Katherine Nolan?”

“No, I only moved here two years ago, but I think I’ve seen her name mentioned on the boards.  She’s out of the business now, isn’t she?”

“Yes, she retired in 2010 and moved to one of those countries where American dollars go a long way.  Costa Rica, I think it was.”

.

(Inspired by a comment made by Dr. Laura Agustin about a statement made by Gloria Steinem.)

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When one enjoys full liberty, one must use it with the utmost moderation.  -  Victor Hugo, preface to Marion Delorme

Marion De LormeLast month, sex worker activists discussed the case of Patricia Adler, a sociologist who had promoted ridiculous whore stereotypes in her classes on “deviancy” for twenty years; she of course never bothered to consult actual sex workers or even fellow academics who had actually studied us, instead preferring to let students simply make things up under her (almost wholly ignorant) guidance.  But while we were annoyed and insulted by her actions, we were by no means surprised by them; since time immemorial academics, artists, moralists, rulers and almost everyone else have considered prostitutes to be more like fictional characters than real people.  As I wrote in “Projection”, harlots “tend to be dehumanized into symbols for other people’s psychological needs and problems…people project their own concepts onto us and imagine us as the external representations of those concepts.”  The internet is the enemy of such projection because it allows us to speak for ourselves rather than allowing others to usurp that right, and because it allows real information about a person to be widely disseminated, thus disrupting the fictions.  In modern times, myths and other tales about whores are thus limited to those told about fictional characters (including those played by real people in “sex trafficking” roadshows), and those we tell about ourselves (and can successfully bury the truth about).  But it’s not always easy to separate fact from fiction when discussing the lives of courtesans who lived prior to the information age, and in some cases it’s practically impossible.

Case in point:  Marion Delorme, a French courtesan of the 17th century.  A few facts about her are well-known and not generally disputed:  she was born on October 3rd, 1613, the daughter of Jean de Lou, sieur de l’Orme and his wife Marie Chastelain.  She was rich, beautiful, well-educated and had little interest in conventional marriage, and her second known lover was Henri Coiffier de Ruzé, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, who was a favorite (and possibly lover) of King Louis XIII; she stayed with him until his death in 1642.  In her twenties she became the hostess of a salon which after 1648 became a meeting place for the enemies of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin, and when he sent men to arrest her on July 2nd, 1650 they reported back that she had died suddenly on June 30th from an overdose of antimony she had taken to induce an abortion.  And that is the extent of what we know for (reasonably) certain; everything else about her life is speculation, ranging from the highly likely to the highly dubious to the patently absurd.

idelorm001p1Though she began working as a courtesan sometime after she began hosting the salon, it’s uncertain how quickly the former followed the latter; she is said to have been secretly married to Cinq-Mars, but presumably it was in both their interests not to reveal that so as to avoid interfering with their other partners.  One of Marion’s was said to have been Cardinal Richelieu, who had first introduced Cinq-Mars to King Louis because he believed he could control the young nobleman and thereby influence His Majesty.  But Richelieu had completely misjudged Cinq-Mars; instead, the young man told the King of the Cardinal’s treachery, pressed for him to be executed and tried to organize a noble rebellion against Richelieu.  Alas, he was caught by Richelieu’s spies and executed in 1642.  Marion was not implicated in the conspiracy, but it seems likely that her sympathies were aligned with those of her dead husband; when the civil war called the Fronde began in 1648, those who opposed Richelieu’s successor Cardinal Mazarin gathered at her salon.  But some doubt her convenient death practically on the eve of her arrest; a legend claims that the officials sent to detain her were either deceived or bribed into reporting her death, that the elaborate funeral which followed was a sham, and that Marion fled to England, married a lord and lived to 1706.

None of those speculations test the limits of credulity, but they are only the beginning; other accounts claim she later had all sorts of adventures, eventually returned to Paris and died in abject poverty in 1741…which would have made her 127!  And in his Illuminati, the writer Gérard de Nerval recounts a legend that she used esoteric means to delay aging, was actually 150 at her death, and was already involved in the circles of power when King Henry IV died in 1610.  Furthermore, her involvement in court intrigue at a time later generations find fascinating ensured numerous fictional versions of her life;  most notably, Victor Hugo wrote the drama Marion Delorme (1831) which was later adapted into opera by both Giovanni Bottesini (1862) and Amilcare Ponchielli (1885).fictional Marion Delorme illustration  It has also been suggested that the villainous Milady de Winter of The Three Musketeers is based loosely on Marion, which if true would be rather ironic given that Milady was the agent of the fictional Richelieu and Marion the (eventual) enemy of the real one.

In general, the lives of famous people who lived more recently are clearer to us than those who lived very long ago, and the more remote the era the more likely true biographical details are to be mixed with legends and myths.  But when the subject is a whore, the truth tends not only to be harder to find (due to fabrications by the lady, her clients, her enemies and her clients’ enemies), but also harder to extract from the mythic landscape to which so many people would prefer to confine us.

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Nerdy and political ramblings from a modern-day courtesan and art historian in Chicago.  -  Aspasia’s description of her blog

WordPress gives bloggers a lot of space, and I mean a whole lot; I’m halfway through my fourth year of blogging now, and I’ve only used 18% of my allotment.  Nor have I been parsimonious with it; if you take a look at my Resources page, you’ll realize that some of those PDFs are enormous.  But as I’ve said before, I’m every bit as much a librarian as I am a whore; I want this blog to be a resource for activists, and judging by the feedback I’m succeeding.

Aspasia 2In addition to the studies, essays, books, pictures, charts and other such materials I’ve also hosted mirror copies of several of Dr. Brooke Magnanti’s posts; so, when Aspasia told me she was leaving activism to pursue other personal goals and deleting her blog, I had no hesitation in offering her the space to archive her posts here.  I’ve copied them all into static pages backdated to the original posting dates, and have indexed them below; this post will also be replicated as a static page and will thus serve as the permanent gateway to Aspasia’s space here at The Honest Courtesan.  Though the only practical way to preserve the comment threads was as static images, please feel free to continue commenting in the regular way below any of these posts.  Perhaps one day Aspasia may restart her blog, but until then she assures me she’ll still be a regular in the comments here.  I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing her luck in her future endeavors, and in hoping she won’t be a stranger.

August 2011

Now for Something Completely Different!

September 2011

Torchwood and Sex Worker Stereotypes
PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!!!!!
Because the Jokes Write Themselves
Feminism:  Still Not Getting It
A Brief FYI
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
Upcoming Mega Post

October 2011

It’s Still Slut-shaming
New Obsession:  Lost Girl
Sometimes Even I’m Shocked

November 2011

The Succubus:  Myth and Reality
This is What Sanity Looks Like
All Clogged Up
Lafayette Explains It All
Whores and Courtesans and Others, Oh My!

December 2011

Sci-Fi Geekout- What If The Doctor Was Helen Mirren?

January 2012

No, This Shouldn’t Be Shocking At All
A Game of Thrones- Official Trailer for Series 2

February 2012

Chicago Skin Tax

May 2012

Chris Rock on Political-Tribal Mentality
What is the Difference?

June 2012

Textbook Definition of Misogyny
Forget Magic Mike, Support THIS Movie About Strippers

August 2012

Proposition 35 & Sex Worker Relationships

September 2012

Thank You, Robyn
Only When We Don’t Like You
And This is Why WE Don’t Like YOU…
Nicholas Kristof’s IAmA Reddit

November 2012

Staying Sane v. Engaging in Discussion: Comment Threads on Sex Work Articles
Snarky Thoughts on Election Day
Sex Worker Allies and Education
Quote of the Day
Yet Another Example of Feminists Not Fucking “Getting It”
‘Tis the Season!

December 2012

Feminism: Not Fucking Getting It…AGAIN! Part: Infinity
Buddy Cole on Vice
A Remembrance Two Days Late

January 2013

And Thank You for Proving My Point
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

February 2013

Chicago-area Announcements: Participants Needed for Study
Hey, That’s Me! And Other General Things…
Join Me in the Fight Against Whorephobia!
Gail Dines on Being Called a Crusader

April 2013

The Problem With A Name

August 2013

Origin Story: Sex Workers Can’t Have Relationships
Difference of Opinion
Media Inquiries

September 2013

Hooker, Please: On the True Death of True Blood
Crabs in a Bucket
Beyond the Breasts: Femen Truly Exposed
Guest Columnist: Aspasia Bonasera

October 2013

Upcoming Post: Recap of “Ghost Adventures: Mustang Ranch”

December 2013

12/17/13
Study Hour!

January 2014

This is the End, My Friend

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Mountains are the same as in the old times,
But streams are never the same;
They keep flowing day and night,
So they can not be the same.
The men of fame are like the streams;
Once gone, they never return.
  -  Hwang Jini

My column on the kisaeng, theHwang Jin Yi movie poster Korean equivalent of geisha, opened with a sijo poem by Hwang Jini, the most famous and beloved of her profession.  In recent years, she has essentially become the archetypal kisaeng, and as in the case of Western courtesans her life has provided the inspiration for novels, a television show  and a movie; of course, these fictional treatments are considerably embellished and dramatized, and it’s difficult to tell history from folk legend from deliberate “improvement”.  In this case, the task is further complicated by the dearth of English-language sources on the subject, but there is still enough to enable a sketch of a most unconventional woman of almost superhuman charisma who made her own way in a society where that was simply not allowed.  Hwang Jini’s extraordinary presence and strength of will is a large part of why modern Korean women find her so fascinating; she is a splendid example of what I call an archeofeminist, a woman who uses her femininity to advantage rather than rejecting it.

She was born about 1506 in Kaesong, which lies in what is now North Korea.  Her mother, Chin Hyungeum, was of the cheonmin caste, but her exact profession is unknown; some sources say she was a kisaeng herself, though this seems unlikely given her poverty.  She was, however, extraordinarily beautiful, and attracted the attention of a young yangban (nobleman) named Hwang Chinsa, who took her as a mistress for a time.  They had one daughter, Jini, who from a very early age was recognized as exceptional both in beauty and in musical skill; it is said that she made the decision to become a kisaeng after a young man killed himself or pined away over her, and she realized such powerful appeal would win her fortune.  Now, it is very likely that the decision to send her to a kisaeng house was actually her mother’s; training started very early (sometimes as young as eight), so it hardly seems credible that she was already breaking hearts and making major life-decisions at such a tender age.  However, the very fact that the legend portrays her as choosing her own destiny demonstrates the strength of the impression she made on people.

In Jini’s day, Confucianism was still solidifying its hold on the upper class, and different schools of thought were still vying for control.  Though the kisaeng were technically of slave status, the government did not claim ownership of them until almost a century after her death; she therefore enjoyed a freedom later generations of kisaeng were denied.  After her training was complete she set out to earn a living, taking up almost immediately with a gibu named Yi Saeng.  Though some gibu were jealous or behaved pimpishly, this does not seem to have been the case with Yi Saeng, who appears to have been almost a father-figure to her.  The two took a long sightseeing trip to Mount Kumgang, with Jini (who by then was using her stage name, Myeongwol [“Bright Moon”]) obtaining their needs via casual prostitution.  This story illustrates several important points about her character: first, her ability even at so young an age (she was probably about 15 then) to deal with men as an equal, the hallmark of all great courtesans; second, her willingness to use her sexuality to obtain what she wanted; and third, her total lack of artificiality.  The latter was her most striking characteristic: she spoke her mind freely, with little of the formality which was the norm in Korean society; she generally went without makeup at a time when most kisaeng painted their faces elaborately; and she often dressed attractively but plainly, with very little jewelry.

Hwang Jini (portrait from Korean textbook, c. 1910)But her beauty, personality, intelligence, musical talent and skill at poetry allowed her to seduce men almost without conscious effort, and when she actually applied herself she was practically an irresistible force.  One of her conquests was a misogynistic government official named So Seyang, who bragged he would keep her for a month and then dismiss her without regret; at the end of the time he begged her to stay and she refused, composing a poem to tell him goodbye.  Another of her famous clients was a noted musician named Yi Sajong, with whom she is said to have lived for six years; given the extremely short professional lives of the kisaeng, this was presumably in her thirties, after she had made her fortune.  And a fortune it was; though it could not compare with the wealth of a yangban or even that of a successful European courtesan of her time, it was more than enough to support her in comfort until her death in 1560.  One of the reasons for this success was her ability to deal with men in a completely unsentimental manner, which allowed her to always pursue the most lucrative arrangement available without hesitation or regret; this has been romantically explained as the result of a tragic love affair in her youth resulting in an inability to fall in love again, but that is almost certainly a mere fiction invented by male biographers unable or unwilling to grasp just how pragmatic a whore can be.

There was only one man in her life who seemed to rise above the level of friend or valued client, and that was the philosopher Seo Kyung Duk, under whom she studied for a time.  He was the only man said to have been impervious to her charms, and though she may have at first viewed him as a challenge she eventually came to admire his strength and steadfastness:  she is known to have described him as one of the “three wonders of Kaesong”, the other two being the Pakyon Falls and herself (modesty was clearly not among her virtues).  Though she left her home at a young age, she returned for a number of visits over the years; it was a place of great natural beauty, and her appreciation for such is demonstrated not only in her poetry and her trip to Mount Kumgang (at a time when she could have been occupied far more productively), but also in the fact that she asked to be buried in a simple grave on a riverbank in Kaesong.  She wished to die in the same way she had lived:  practically, honestly, and without the ceremony and pretense which was the norm in her society.

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Here are three propositions from the stance of a Devil’s Advocate.  1) A sex worker puts on an act to please her client; might he not then think that all women are acting when they’re being nice to him? How can he tell reality from acting, and does it matter?  2) If women could make as much money doing other kinds of work, there would undoubtedly be fewer harlots.  So, harlotry needs women to be impecunious, and men to have money. If there was real equality or equivalence, would harlotry become an historical oddity?  Is it therefore in the harlot’s best interests to maintain the patriarchy?  3) Sex workers see men at their best and worst; wouldn’t a retired courtesan therefore make the best partner for a man?

Nana by Edouard Manet (1877)1)  It’s certainly possible that a man could become paranoid in that way; in fact, it’s the plot of Jacques Brel’s song “Next”, which I featured in my very first hooker songs column.  However, I’ve never actually heard a man complain about that in real life or online; while clients do indeed seem concerned about telling the difference between a professional’s behavior  and genuine romantic interest, they seem less worried about amateurs’ behavior and more concerned about not being able to enjoy themselves fully because they know it isn’t “real”.

2)  You’re making several assumptions here which are simply not true.  The first, which is a very common one, is that men have more disposable income for some external reason (“patriarchy” or whatever), when in fact most of the reason is that men and women have different priorities.  Men will always make more than women on average, because a lot more men are willing to sell their souls, give up personal time and drive themselves into an early grave in order to succeed.  Furthermore, only a certain segment of whores do the work because they are in dire need; a lot larger fraction (especially in the West) simply prefer the work to the alternatives.  Take me, for example; don’t you think I could succeed in some high-paying conventional career?  Of course I could, but I don’t want to; being a whore is for me much easier and much more pleasant than the other options which bring in the same level of income.  I’m not remotely alone in feeling that way, and that won’t change no matter how much artificial “equality” the social engineers inflict on society.  That’s one of the main reasons the neofeminists hate us and want our profession violently suppressed: whores will never be good little collectivist worker bees in their totalitarian dystopia, so they want us to have no other option.  In short, the so-called “patriarchy” will maintain itself without the help of harlots and in spite of neofeminist attempts to reprogram human nature to fit their psychotic delusions.

3)  My husband certainly thinks so, and I’m sure he’s not the only one.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Soon after the publication of September’s guest column, blogger and regular reader Sasha Castel suggested that I do an essay on my beauty hints.  But as I told her, that wouldn’t be much of a column because I honestly don’t have any other than “be scrupulously clean, wear your hair in an attractive style and pick clothes that flatter your figure and express your own personal style.”  I know I’m very lucky in this respect, but I have excellent natural color so I don’t really require makeup unless I’m really dressing up; when I was working I never wore it unless the client was taking me out.  And my hair…well, let’s just say it does what it likes anyhow and I’ve learned to live with that over the past 30 years.  However, I suggested that SHE could write a beauty hints guest column…only she’s never been an escort, though she has been a mistress.  Is that a kind of sex worker?  Some say yes, some emphatically say no, and once again we see the absurdity of trying to draw arbitrary lines between natural female behaviors.  Here’s her essay on how to be a good mistress…which not only serves as a worthy sequel to “Keep Doing What You’re Doing“, but also provides excellent advice for a courtesan, an escort with a treasured regular, or even (to a large degree) a wife whose husband fully supports her as mine does.  So…what’s the real, substantive difference between these roles again?  Why are some legal and some illegal?  And how can any rational adult pretend that one is commendable, another is tolerable but the other constitutes “enslavement” or “crime”?

Top Hats by Erte (1975)I didn’t set out to become a mistress. I met the man in question (I’ll call him Carlos) in the course of my job.  He was well-known, one of the most recognized and praised opera singers in the world.  We spoke, liked each other, and went out to dinner.  Shortly thereafter, we went to bed, and I became “The Other Woman”.  I didn’t want to marry Carlos, just enjoy his company while he was in town.  He favored me with meals, drinks, occasional gifts, and most importantly, knowledge and wisdom.  I learned a great deal about the music business from him, which served me well in my career.  I also learned about being a mistress.  Unfortunately, I can’t give advice on how to find a man (on both occasions that I’ve been a mistress, it just happened), although it behooves you to appear nicely dressed and groomed if you’re in the market.  But if you do become someone’s mistress, here are seven guidelines that will make the affair a good one, for you and for him.

1. Be available.

If he calls you, go to him.  In this situation, your needs are subordinate to his.  What a terribly retrograde statement, but true.  He is providing the material goods while you are providing the companionship; you can’t do that from a distance.  Be with him as often as he wants you to be; if this doesn’t sit well with you, reconsider your position.  If it’s a position of equality you want, become someone’s girlfriend rather than a mistress.

2. Be discreet.

Resist the temptation to blab to friends about your hot and powerful new lover.  You don’t want to become the object of gossip, and you don’t want to cause problems with his marriage.  Use a pseudonym when referring to your dates, and also when storing his number in your mobile phone.  Avoid being photographed together.  If you wear perfume, apply it with discretion or forego it altogether to avoid olfactory traces left behind.  Be certain that all the jewelry and accessories you arrived with are with you as you leave.  If you attend events together, and someone introduces you as “Mrs. Carlos”, don’t contradict, just smile and say “how do you do”.

3. Be safe.

Birth control is mandatory, obviously.  The Pill or other hormonal methods are best.  If you need to take other drugs while on the Pill (especially antibiotics) be aware that they reduce the Pill’s effectiveness, sometimes to catastrophic effect.  Make certain you have a clean bill of sexual health before commencing sex; you don’t want to give him (or his wife) an STI.  If you are having other sexual relationships at the same time (not recommended), be sure to use a condom, correctly and regularly, to prevent disease transmission.  Understand that some STIs like herpes and HPV can still be transmitted through genital contact without penetration.

4. Be fun.

Get into his interests, or take up one of his hobbies, so you can have dates without necessarily involving sex.  He’ll be pleased at your enthusiasm, and it takes away some of the pressure on him to perform like a sexual Superman at every encounter. 

5. Be caring.

If he doesn’t want to go out, stay in.  If he’s sick, take care of him.  If he’s craving a food, cook it for him.  And above all, LISTEN.  I think that just as much as sex, what I provided for Carlos was a sympathetic ear to unburden himself.  I listened.  In fact, if I were to name the number-one most important quality in a mistress, it would be the ability to listen.  Listen to your man, try and understand his problems, offer solutions if they occur to you, but mostly just allow him to speak his mind in a way that he can’t do with his wife.  Your empathy and perspective will be as valuable to him as your sexual talents, perhaps more.

6. Be sexy.Coquette by Erte (1981)

Of course, this is the crux of the matter.  If he wants to play, do it.  He may have secret kinks he’s not comfortable sharing with his wife; indulge them.  Does he want to role-play?  Tie you up?  Have a threesome?  Be spanked?  If it can be done safely and doesn’t repulse you or harm you, make his fantasies come true.  Naturally, the usual rules of sex play apply:  sane, safe and consensual.  The only fantasy I’d hesitate to enact is any sort of public sex fetish, for purely practical reasons; exposure is not at all sexy.

7. Be realistic.

When it’s over, it’s over.  Don’t try to hang on past the affair’s natural life.  Enjoy what you had and move on.  For the love of all that’s holy, don’t threaten him with exposure if he doesn’t continue seeing you.  That’s psycho behavior, and it won’t make him like you:  it will have quite the opposite effect.  Keep the memories happy, and let him smile privately whenever he thinks of you.

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Oh that I might capture the essence of this deep midwinter night
And fold it softly into the waft of a spring-moon quilt,
Then fondly uncoil it the night my beloved returns.
  -  Hwang Jini

Sex work is so stigmatized, slandered and hidden in modern Western society that it is difficult for most modern Westerners to comprehend just how normal it was in pre-industrial societies, and how woven into the fabric of those societies.  Nowadays we are wont to draw sharp lines between prostitutes, mistresses, girlfriends, actresses, dancers, masseuses and other groups of women, but for most of human history the distinctions between various types of non-wives from whom men could obtain sex were blurry at best.  Consider that courtesans such as the Madame de Pompadour and Jane Shore were still considered harlots despite the fact that all their liaisons were long-term and their total lifetime count of sex partners was lower than most modern women (who would be extremely offended to be called whores) rack up before graduating from university; also remember that working-class women from Roman times until well into the 20th century often supplemented their meager earnings by selling sex on the side, and you’ll begin to understand why the idea of the prostitute as a specific, “fallen” kind of woman only dates to the 19th century (and seems so ridiculous to those who know anything about it).  That’s why modern assertions that certain historical types of women (such as geisha) were “not prostitutes” are so absurd and wrongheaded; even if these women did not openly advertise and sell sex to a large number of clients, there is no doubt that compensated sex was on the menu for at least some clients, and that in Christian Europe they absolutely would have been classified as whores.

kisaeng in Pyongyang (c 1910)The kisaeng of feudal Korea are a case in point.  Though some authorities insist that they were definitely not prostitutes, or that only the lowest of the three classes of kisaeng were, or that only some did that job, the distinction simply isn’t a useful one.  Whether a given woman took money for sex or not was wholly immaterial to her status; that was always cheonmin, the lowest caste of Korean society except for the baekjeong (untouchables). The cheonmin included members of all “unclean” professions including butchers, entertainers, jailers, metalworkers, prostitutes, shamans, shoemakers and sorcerers; they were not all slaves, but slaves were drawn from this caste.  Kisaeng were technically slaves, and after 1650 they were all owned by the government; due to their high degree of training they were treated much better than ordinary slaves, but they were still owned by the state, and the price of freedom was so high it could only be paid by wealthy men (if such a man wanted one as a concubine).

There were three ways a girl could become a kisaeng: she could be born to a kisaeng mother (since caste was hereditary), sold to a kisaeng house by parents who could not afford to raise her, or drop out of the upper classes due to some unforgiveable breach of the complex and rigid Korean social rules.  Training started young (as early as eight) and their careers were extremely short: they usually began active duty about 15, peaked about 17, and retired by age 22.  During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897) this was codified into law; they were forced to retire from entertainment duties (including prostitution, singing and such) by 30, though they could continue working at non-entertainment tasks until 50.  Like the geisha of Japan, kisaeng were trained in poetry, music, dance, art, conversation and the like; in fact, one particular poetic form (the sijo) came to be associated with them, and some famous examples are basically advertisements intended to entice gentlemen to buy their sexual services.  But some kisaeng were also trained in needlework and medicine; since Korean doctors were not permitted to see noblewomen naked, their examination and hands-on treatment was the province of medical kisaeng under the direction of a doctor.  The haengsu, highest of the three tiers of kisaeng, were in charge of training after they retired; those of the two lower tiers who were not taken as concubines generally retired by working as seamstresses, food preparers, tavern keepers or the like.  Though some kisaeng became wealthy enough to support themselves, this did not happen nearly as frequently as among European courtesans.

Scenery on Dano Day by Hyewon (c 1800)Korean society was strict and regimented at every level, and the kisaeng were no exception; they were registered and forced to report twice a month to a bureaucrat called the hojang to ensure that they could not flee servitude without soon being missed.  Their day-to-day affairs, however, (including disputes with clients) were supervised by the haengsu.  Prior to the ascent of the Joseon Dynasty this was much looser, but the Joseons were Confucian and thus deeply enamored of hierarchy and regimentation.  For the first two centuries of Joseon rule there were frequent calls for the abolition of the kisaeng, but wiser heads always prevailed because it was understood that without sex workers, officials would be much more likely to satisfy their extramarital urges with other men’s wives.  The subjugation of all kisaeng to strict government control was thus a compromise with those who imagined society could do without whores, just as modern legalization schemes are.  After 1650 some kisaeng were assigned to a specific government office; these were called gwan-gi, and though officeholders were strictly forbidden from having sex with them, in practice they were usually expected and often forced to provide sex to these bureaucrats (because some things never change).  Many kisaeng who were not bound directly to government service had a gibu, or boyfriend; he got sex and companionship in exchange for protection, presents and economic support.  Most gibu were lesser officials, military officers or the like, and though they had no legal status they sometimes became very possessive and pimpish; there were even cases in which they got into fights with their girlfriends’ clients, though obviously this was considered extremely rude and might result in the kisaeng breaking off the relationship.  Over time gibu became more popular, and by the beginning of the 19th century it was rare to find a kisaeng without one.

Throughout the late 19th century, Korea was destabilized by interference from China, Japan, France, the UK and the US.  The Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) resulted in increased Japanese dominance over Korea, and one of the reforms the Japanese encouraged was the abolition of the entire class system, including slavery.  This technically freed the kisaeng, but (as so often happens when slaves are freed en masse by decree), many of them continued in servitude for the rest of their lives, but without the legal protections of their former status.  Some went to work as what Westerners typically think of as prostitutes, and today the term kisaeng is sometimes used to mean a whore who specifically caters to foreigners.  There are a few of the traditional houses still left, but since most of the songs, dances and such were passed down by oral tradition, they have been lost forever.  Idealized kisaeng appear frequently in South Korean historical fiction (much as the geisha do in Japan), but North Korea’s communist government is so hostile to prostitution that it labels all descendents of kisaeng (of whom there are a sizeable number, since Pyongyang was once home to the greatest kisaeng school) as having “tainted blood”.

Unfortunately, courtesan denial is not rare nowadays; those who insist that sex workers of historical times were somehow fundamentally different from their modern descendants reveal not only a pathological aversion to human sexuality and a deep misunderstanding of human nature, but also an appalling ignorance of the truth about selling sex in any era.  Courtesans throughout history would laugh at anyone who claimed that education automatically removed a woman from whoredom; the many who were talented singers, poets and writers would likewise ridicule the notion that artistic training somehow disqualified her from harlotry.  They, the kisaeng, and modern hookers all know what so many pathetic moderns deny:  a person is not what she does to make money, no matter how much repressive governments want to pretend she is.kisaeng school, c. 1910

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Proper she was and fair…yet delighted not men so much in her beauty, as in her pleasant behaviour.  For a proper wit had she, and could both read well and write, merry of company, ready and quick of answer, neither mute nor full of babble, sometimes taunting without displeasure and not without disport.  -  Charles Ross, Richard III

All through history, many a famous or important man has met his downfall through careless or indiscreet relations with whores; I’ve featured the stories of many of them in these columns, and I’m sure you can think of a few on your own without my assistance.  But sometimes it happens the other way around, and a whore is ruined by her association with the wrong client; Elizabeth “Jane” Shore was one such case, though the beauty and charm which had placed her in harm’s way eventually secured her escape from it again.

Jane Shore (18th century engraving)She was born in London about 1445 to John and Amy Lambert; her father was a wealthy dry-goods dealer who helped to finance King Edward IV’s wars against his Lancastrian cousins, and so the future courtesan was exposed from a young age to noblewomen from whom she learned courtly manners.  She was also well-educated, and though these preparations may seem to have been meant to prepare her for her future profession, it was actually unintentional; in fact, the constant and ardent attention paid her by wealthy and important (but married) men (including William Hastings, later King Edward’s Lord Chamberlain) seems to have inspired the Lamberts to choose a husband for her hastily and unwisely.  She was married sometime after 1460 to a wealthy goldsmith named William Shore, but the marriage was a loveless one; in fact, it appears to have been a sexless one as well, because the grounds for her eventual annulment was that the marriage was never consummated.  Given his wife’s beauty and the fact that he never remarried, it seems safe to conclude that Shore was a closeted homosexual; he certainly never interfered with Elizabeth’s social life, and sometime soon after Edward’s restoration to the throne in 1471 she became his mistress.

Though Edward IV was a notorious womanizer, Elizabeth quickly became his favorite; he described her as “the merriest harlot in the realm” and after the annulment of her marriage in 1476 he formally extended his protection to William Shore.  This favor was probably asked of him by Elizabeth, who unlike most royal mistresses used her influence not to gain favors or gifts for herself, but instead to win mercy for deserving men who had incurred the royal wrath.  As Sir Thomas More wrote of her many years later, she “never abused [her influence] to any man’s hurt, but to many a man’s comfort and relief.”  Even the Queen, whose name was also Elizabeth, liked and accepted her; in fact, it is likely that she changed her name to Jane around this time as a show of deference to her.  This nobility of character won the lasting respect of the King; though he generally discarded his mistresses as soon as he tired of them, he remained close to Jane until his death on April 9th, 1483.

It was after that death that her troubles began, however.  She briefly became the mistress of the late King’s stepson, Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, but it was not long before William Hastings renewed his two-decade-old suit and she took up with him instead.  She also remained friendly with the Queen, and carried messages between her and Hastings.  The subject of these messages was undoubtedly her brother-in-law, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who had been declared “Lord Protector” over her young sons (and the kingdom) by the dying Edward IV.  Anyone who is familiar with Shakespeare knows why the Queen was afraid:  Richard immediately imprisoned the young princes “for their own protection”, then had them declared illegitimate and set about destroying everyone whom he thought might be loyal to his brother and the boy Edward V.  On June 13th he accused Jane and the Queen of trying to destroy him via witchcraft at Hastings’ request; the women were imprisoned, while Hastings was immediately beheaded in the courtyard of the Tower of London.  In some way which is unclear to history, Richard was persuaded to relent slightly on the witchcraft charges; they were never pursuedThe Penance of Jane Shore by William Blake (c. 1793) against the Queen, and Jane’s charge was reduced to “promiscuity”.  She was forced to do penance by walking through London barefoot in her petticoat, carrying a candle and singing hymns.  But if Richard hoped to humiliate her by this treatment, he was sorely disappointed: the crowds who had gathered to gawk were instead struck by her beauty, moved to pity by her condition and impressed with the dignity she displayed during her ordeal.

One of the admirers she won that day was Thomas Lynom, Solicitor General to the newly-crowned King Richard III.  After her penance Jane was confined in Ludgate prison, where Lynom visited her often and soon fell in love with her.  He asked the King to free her so he could marry her, and though Richard tried to dissuade him from what he considered a foolish action (and even wrote a letter to John Russell, the Lord Chancellor, asking him to persuade Lynom to give up the idea), he eventually gave his permission; Jane was pardoned, married Lynom, and bore him a daughter named Julianne.  And though Lynom lost his high position in August of 1485 (after Henry Tudor defeated Richard and became Henry VII), he got a new (though lower) government job, and Jane lived the rest of her days in middle-class comfort.  Sir Thomas More met and befriended her in her old age, and wrote that she was still a merry companion with a quick mind and a tender heart, and that one could still discern traces of her youthful beauty.

She died at last in 1527, at about the age of 82, and was buried at Hinxworth Church in Hertfordshire.  Some biographies erroneously claim that she spent her declining years in poverty, but this is not so; it is the fate of her character in an Elizabethan play named The True Tragedy of Richard III, which predated Shakespeare’s treatment by several years.  This confusion of historical dramas with history is not unusual; historians are still trying to untangle the historical Richard III from his wholly-villainous portrayal by Shakespeare and other Tudor dramatists.  Jane is mentioned frequently (as “Mistress Shore”) in the Richard III of Shakespeare, and is a major character in many other works of the period (plays, novels and even poems).  There was also an 18th-century drama about her life, and three different silent movies (though oddly enough, no talkies).  But as we have so often seen in the lives of the courtesans, truth is stranger than fiction, and real historical events more fascinating than the attempts of authors to improve on them.

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There is no greater impediment to the advancement of knowledge than the ambiguity of words.  -  Thomas Reid

words hug womanIn case it has escaped your notice, I use an awful lot of words; I publish over 1000 of them every day in regular columns, and that’s not even counting indexes and other static pages.  All in all, that comes to roughly 500,000 words per year, or about 1.5 million since I started.  You’ve probably also noticed that I choose them quite carefully; as I wrote in “Nasty Words”,

…words are my tools, and I cherish them and baby them the way a good mechanic cares for the tools of his trade.  And just as a good mechanic always uses the right tool for the job rather than trying to make do with whatever happens to be nearby, so I insist on using the right word; if I can’t find it right away I’ll sometimes sit staring at the monitor thinking, or else typing and deleting a number of different ones until I’m satisfied…by the time most of you read any given column, you can be reasonably sure that any word you see is the exact one I wanted to use, even if it’s one that you have to look up (as some of you are fond of teasing me).

Sometimes, there isn’t an extant word or phrase which means exactly what I want it to mean, so I have to invent one; at other times, a word or phrase has a broad range of meanings or variations of meaning, of which I tend to use only one.  Inevitably, both of these cause some confusion, especially in newer readers; I therefore think it’s long past time I publish a lexicon of terms I’ve invented, adopted or use in one specific manner.  If you notice I’ve missed one, please mention it in the comments so I can add it to the permanent version.  Terms on which I’ve published a whole column include a link to that column.

Ad scortum:  A logical fallacy in which someone discounts a person’s argument not on its own merits, but rather on the grounds that she is a prostitute.

Archeofeminism:  The recognition that men and women are already socially equal by nature, and the only way in which we becomebottleneck socially unequal is by the actions of laws.

Bottleneck effect:  The principle that the greater the number of artificial restrictions placed upon any given human behavior, the greater the number and severity of undesirable effects such as violence, corruption, criminality, marginalization, etc.

Clipboard effect:  The phenomenon that if an individual behaves as though he belongs in a place (such as by wearing a white coat and carrying a clipboard when in a hospital), everyone will assume that he does belong there.

Courtesan denial:  The pretense that some or all kinds of sex workers in pre-modern times (including courtesans and sacred harlots) either did not exist at all or were somehow fundamentally different from modern sex workers, so that the latter cannot be validly compared to the former.

Driskill Mountain syndrome:  My term for the inability of those who have been blessed with relatively untraumatic lives to recognize that the difficulties they have experienced are far less serious than those of people who have had relatively troubled lives.

Eglimaphilia:  A paraphilia in which the chief excitement of seeing a prostitute is derived from the illegality of the act.

Enlightenment police:  Those who believe that their ideas about proper living need to apply to everyone else’s personal preferences.  See also universal mores, fallacy of.

ice cream in the handsIce cream in the hand:  A metaphor for female sexual response:  “Imagine how a woman might react if somebody…[unexpectedly] slapped a scoop of ice cream into her hand…It isn’t that she doesn’t like ice cream; it’s just that she doesn’t want a nasty scoop of cheap vanilla ice cream slapped into her previously-clean hand by some random stranger when she wasn’t even in the mood for dessert…

Lawhead:  “One who believes that man-made laws are actually based in objective reality like physical laws; he is unable to comprehend that the majority of laws are completely arbitrary, and therefore views a violation of a ‘vice law’ with the same horror that normal people reserve for rains of toads or spontaneous human combustion.”  For example, a lawhead believes that because a 17-year-old is defined as a “child”, he actually is a child in some fashion that meaningfully reflects reality.

Morality:  Though many people use this word to mean “sexual mores”, I always use it in the larger sense of “[the set of] rules which nearly every sane, decent person accepts as governing interpersonal relations,” chief among which is that unprovoked violence against others or their possessions is wrong.

Myth:  A framework or paradigm used to explain and interpret observable phenomena in the absence of (or contrary to) hard data, usually via the involvement of a supernormal force or entity which is not discernible by ordinary means and therefore must be taken on faith.  Mythology is a body of related myths and procedures derived from those myths which act together to provide a faith-based world view.

Myth of the wanton:  The irrational belief that the sex drive of women is greater and more uncontrollable than that of men. See also slave-whore fantasy.Its Pat

Neofeminism:  The irrational belief that there are no natural behavioral differences between the sexes and that all gender (other than genital dimorphism) is “socially constructed”.  Neofeminists believe that if infant boys were “socialized” in the same way as girls they would act exactly like girls, even into manhood.  The female standard of behavior is viewed as the “correct” one, thus normal male behavior is considered pathological.

Profession of faith:  Nearly all religions have some basic creed statement which believers state in order to demonstrate their adherence to the religion; that of the “trafficking” cultists is, “A lot of people think trafficking doesn’t happen in [the place about which I’m speaking], but it does.”

Prohibitionist:  One who believes that certain consensual human behaviors can and should be prohibited by laws enforced via violence and intrusive government surveillance.

Pygmalion fallacy:  The belief that robot simulations of women could be competition for real ones to anyone outside a narrow segment of the population.  Adherents fail to recognize that “any gynoid whose physical form and simulated functions…were indistinguishable from those of a human woman, and whose personality was sufficiently unpredictable and unique to pass as that of a woman in the close interaction of a date, would also be sufficiently human to pass any test a court might devise for granting human rights, and would almost certainly be interested in obtaining such.”

Rhinoceros effect:  The tendency for any mass movement, no matter how ugly and destructive, to grow in popularity until many who once opposed it now defend and may even join it.Secret Squirrel

Secret Squirrel:  Any device or procedure designed to ensure secrecy which is so disproportionately rigorous or extreme in comparison to its subject matter as to constitute a parody of such devices or procedures (from the American cartoon character of the 1960s).

Sex rays: The irrational belief that any adult sexual activity is so dangerous to the imagined “innocence” of children (including adolescents), that adults who are known to have been sexual in any way (outside of conventional marriage) must be kept from having any contact with them whatsoever; extreme cases of the belief even demand the quarantine of inanimate objects (including structures) with which sexually-active adults have come into contact.

Slave-whore fantasy:  Self-doubting men have a deep and abiding need to believe that sex is not under female control, so they immerse themselves in a lurid, exciting and adolescent fantasy that female sexuality is always controlled by men (pimps and customers), and that all heterosexual women who are not owned by husbands are instead owned by “pimps” and “traffickers”.

Universal criminality:  The establishment of so many complex, broad, vague, mutually contradictory and intrusive laws that every single person is in violation of at least some of them at any given time.

Universal mores, fallacy of:  The false belief that everyone feels the same (negative and/or conflicted) way about sex as the believer does.

Vulgar:  “Honest discussion of sex…is not vulgar.  Nor is the use of one-syllable Anglo-Saxon words…when I speak of vulgarity I mean leering, childish, dirty-sounding ‘euphemisms’ for sexual acts and body parts which are actually much more offensive than just using the four-letter words.”

Whorearchy:  The tendency for sex workers of any given type to imagine that they are “better” than other types of sex workers; the problem is exacerbated by laws which arbitrarily define some kinds of sex work as “legal” or “illegal”.

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