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Archive for August, 2010

It hath evermore been the notorious badge of prostituted strumpets and the lewdest harlots to ramble abroad to plays, to playhouses; whither no sober girls or women, but only branded whores and infamous adulteresses, did usually resort in ancient times.  –  William Prynne

Call girls get taken out to all sorts of places; one favorite of many girls is the casino, which I somehow always managed to avoid (and a good thing too, because I absolutely despise casinos).  I’ve been taken to the symphony and to museums, to parties and music clubs, and once on a dinner cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez which was both fun and memorable; it’s really quite nice to be entertained while you’re being paid to entertain someone else!  And of course, some men like to take escorts to plain old bars, though the wise professional never has more than one drink on the job and only accepts that one directly from the waiter (a tipsy whore misses signs of danger and a drink left to sit can be drugged).  But the places to which girls are taken most often are restaurants, so today I’d like to do something a little different and talk about a few of my favorite restaurants in the New Orleans area, mentioning any memorable experiences there in the process.  You’ll notice that they’re not all expensive; though some call girls get huffy about being taken anyplace that isn’t pricey, I was more concerned about the quality of the food.  Now, don’t get me wrong; if I thought a client could afford Commander’s or Galatoire’s and left it to me I would suggest them, but I’d much rather be taken to a more economical place with food I really like than have to endure a tourist trap like Court of Two Sisters just because it costs a lot.  I’ve included the links for all of these which have a website; just click on the name.

Commander’s Palace is the place to eat in New Orleans if it’s a special occasion and you don’t mind spending about $50 per person exclusive of wine and tips.  From its convenient Garden District location to its top-notch, old-fashioned 5-star service, there is absolutely nothing not to like about this place.  To give you some idea of the quality of the food, I’ll say that both Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme held the position of head chef here earlier in their careers.  The restaurant has been in business since 1880, and with good reason.  My husband proposed to me in the upstairs dining room, which once had a separate entrance so riverboat captains could meet with high-class working girls there out of sight of the genteel downstairs clientele.  Nowadays there is no such distinction, and I know I’m not the only call girl who was taken there on occasion by generous clients.  The last time I was there was when we took Denise to celebrate her graduation in 2004, but I’m hoping to visit again next time we’re in New Orleans.

Galatoire’s is another wonderful New Orleans restaurant, certainly the best one in the French Quarter.  It is famous for its fine menu (which has not changed in 113 years despite the ever-changing fads in less-civilized cities) and egalitarian policy; until the upstairs dining room opened in 1999 the restaurant refused to take reservations and everyone was seated on a first come, first served basis no matter how important he thought he was (the downstairs dining room is still run this way).  Don’t go here if you like to dine in quiet, though; it’s a local favorite and the noise level can be quite high as friends talk and laugh over their drinks and delicious French Creole dinners.  I still remember my first time there; it was with a young man who had just graduated from the seminary and didn’t want to dine alone, so he asked for the most educated escort Doug had (which was of course myself).  I didn’t disappoint him; I had coincidentally just finished reading The Nag Hammadi Library in English and so could intelligently discuss Gnostic theology with him.

Ralph and Kacoo’s may have a silly-sounding name, but it serves the best seafood in South Louisiana.  Whenever a client wanted seafood and asked me for a recommendation (whether to take me there or just for himself after a call) I would recommend this place, which is a local favorite in the heart of the French Quarter, yet is somehow largely unknown to tourists.  It is not at all expensive and its commitment to customer satisfaction is absolutely top-notch, as illustrated by the following story:  In May of 2002 I booked a private room there for a party for my husband (we were not yet married then), but due to a clerical error the room was not yet ready when we arrived so we had to wait about twenty minutes to be seated.  The manager gave us all free drinks for our wait, and once we were shown to the room we were given an enormous seafood appetizer tray, also free of charge.  I can assure you that we all quickly forgot about the wait.

Mona’s Café (no website) is a Lebanese restaurant with several locations around the city; the original location on Banks Street was only a short walk from where my husband and I lived from 2004-2006, and it’s still my favorite branch.  There are fancier Middle-Eastern places in New Orleans, but IMHO no better ones despite the fact that Mona’s is among the cheapest.  I have been there many times with clients, friends, Denise and my husband, and even when I wasn’t eating out I periodically dropped in to their attached grocery store for Middle Eastern staples like tahini, fresh-baked pita bread, pine nuts or locoum.  I still visit every time I’m in New Orleans.

Siamese Thai Cuisine  It’s hard to find bad Thai food (though we’ve managed to do it twice, once in Louisville, Kentucky and once in Denver, Colorado), but the fare at the Siamese really stands out.  Whenever a client at a hotel in Metairie (the largest suburb of New Orleans, lying between the city and the airport) asked for a recommendation or wanted to take me out, this was one of the places I suggested.  The food is excellent, the portions generous, the service fast and friendly and the décor very nice for a restaurant located in a strip mall; in fact it’s proof positive of the old saw about judging a book by its cover.  One particularly memorable visit was with Cynthia after a shopping trip in which she convinced me to buy a “liquid silver” dress which I still haven’t ever managed to find an occasion to wear!

Harbor Seafood (no website) is the most highly-rated restaurant in Kenner, the suburb immediately adjacent to the airport.  It’s easy to get to, the food is delicious and inexpensive, the portions are generous and the atmosphere is extremely casual; it’s just one of those family-style places where the waitresses call you “dawlin” and “honey”.  Only problem is, places like this never take reservations and this one is so popular that you can forget it after 5:30 PM because by 6 the line is around the block.  I sometimes recommended it to clients in the area if they were planning to eat early, but I never allowed any client but the one I eventually married to take me there because it was the place he first told me he loved me.  See, we’re not entirely immune to romance!

Danny and Clyde’s advertises itself as having the best po-boys (what you non-Louisianans call “submarine sandwiches”, i.e. overstuffed sandwiches on French bread) in New Orleans, and that is no hype; it is the place I recommend to any out-of-towner who wants a po-boy.  Yes, it’s a convenience store; get over it.  They have six locations for a reason.  Obviously no client was going to be stupid enough to suggest a sandwich shop to a call girl, but Bonnie & Clyde’s (as we always called it) was great for days when you’re just getting out of a call at quarter to five, have another one scheduled at 7:30 and can’t think of what you might cook even if you did have the time.  Whenever we’re in town my husband insists on getting dinner there one of the nights; he’s partial to the hot sausage while I prefer smoked sausage or fried shrimp.

Plum Street Sno-Balls  What do you mean, “What’s a sno-ball?”  Yankees call them “snow cones”, “shaved ice” and probably a few other strange barbarian terms, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing like a real South Louisiana sno-ball when the mercury is high and the humidity higher.  If you insist on a reductionist definition, a sno-ball is a paper cup full of powdered ice flavored with syrup, but for those of a more poetic turn of mind a sno-ball is a little scoop of childhood, a lazy Southern night brought into the present from a time when the biggest decision in your life was “What flavor should I get?”  Plum Street is the oldest and best stand in the city; they have about forty flavors so I could never get through them all in a summer even if we went there every week.  After summertime Sunday evening dinners with Denise, we nearly always ended up at Plum Street for dessert.

So there you have it, my favorite places to eat in Greater New Orleans; give one or more of them a try next time you’re in town.  I hope you enjoyed this little tangent, but if not, never fear; things will be back to normal tomorrow.

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She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.
  –  Rudyard Kipling, “The Female of the Species”

Yesterday I talked about three mothers who were inspired to enter prostitution by maternal necessity; I chose their stories as the best illustrations of my point about Madonna and whore coexisting in all normal women rather than mutually excluding each other as in the common fallacy.  But this is not to say that maternal instincts are weaker in other whores, even those who are childless; as Kipling points out in the poem quoted above, when a woman has no children of her own she tends either to sublimate those instincts or to direct them toward creatures (human or otherwise) who are not her biological children.  And I’m certainly no exception; though I was prevented by a uterine disorder from carrying a pregnancy to term, the more perceptive among you have probably noticed that I tend to mother younger women who need it in addition to behaving very much along the lines described by Kipling where my convictions are concerned.

Some of the girls I “adopt” are “broken dolls”; Marilyn, whom I discussed at length in my column of August 27th, was a perfect example of the type (though she was by no means the first and almost certainly won’t be the last).  But most have no greater problems than anybody else except for the lack of a maternal figure, which of course dovetails with my own tendency to mother anybody who will stand for it.  One of these was Paula, whom I’ve mentioned several times before; she was an orphan who lived with her grandmother, and since she liked and respected me it was only natural that I started falling into a maternal role for her.  Paula had one of the prettiest faces of any girl I ever employed and a lovely, slender body; she was a week short of her eighteenth birthday when she first applied (she looked so young I asked to see her driver’s license), so I made her wait a week to start.  She was an absolute star for almost a year; she was sweet, friendly, dependable, and actually sought and heeded my advice!  I tended to be unusually protective of her (such as by prescreening her calls more rigorously than usual) and she would not work for anyone else but me despite several requests from Doug; I even helped her move twice, the second time to my own apartment complex.  Eventually, though, she got involved with the two things guaranteed to ruin a promising escort’s career, namely drugs and a useless excuse for a man (though I believe the former came along with the latter).  I cried the night Grace told me on the phone that she had fired Paula for stealing calls, though I had seen it coming weeks before.  Despite her living in the same small apartment complex as I did we never spoke again; she was obviously too ashamed of herself to face me, and it wasn’t long before she moved out.  Like Marilyn, I think of her often and wonder whatever became of her.

The one girl with whom I had the strongest maternal connection wasn’t an escort at all, though my being one eventually ended up helping her out.  I first met Denise (as I will call her) when I was a librarian and she was just a little girl enrolled in the summer reading program; she was often in the library with one of her parents or the other, and though I noticed her as a pretty and intelligent child we had no particular connection at that time.  That changed in the summer of 1995, soon after her 13th birthday, when I found out she had lost her mother in a terrible accident.  Though I had only known the woman as a regular library patron, we had always been friendly and so my heart went out to her daughter, now a young woman entering a time when she most needed a mother.  This was even more true because her father was the neglectful sort who rarely knew or cared where she was or what she was doing, and her other relatives lived in another state.  She essentially had no adult role models at all, much less a positive female one, so it was only natural that I take her under my wing and do my best to help her across some very rocky emotional terrain.

And rough going it was, too; Denise seemed unable to acknowledge the fact of her mother’s death and like most 13-year-olds had no real understanding of the extent of the damage her father’s neglect would cause (such as her losing her virginity to a much older boy at far too young an age).  She was quiet and secretive (a trait no doubt inherited from her father) and though she loved and trusted me would often neglect to tell me things she suspected I might disapprove of, such as experimentation with drugs and involvement with an abusive boy.  Eventually she went into a lesbian phase (unsurprising considering that like me she had always been bisexual, but unlike me had some very bad experiences with males), which turned out to be a very positive thing for her because a lot of the stuff she was ashamed of had to do with males.  Our relationship therefore grew much closer during this period; she felt free to talk about her girlfriends with me as she had never talked about her boyfriends, and never batted an eyelash when I moved from stripping to escorting during her senior year.  By the time she graduated from high school (with a full scholarship to a prestigious New Orleans university) she seemed to be coping with her problems in a much healthier manner, and just after her graduation I gently urged her not to give up on males entirely; considering how quickly she took the suggestion I think she was already leaning that way and just needed someone to tell her that it really was OK to have relationships with both.

By autumn she had a new boyfriend and he, Grace and I helped her to move into the dorm.  But within a few days she called me on the phone, nervously dancing around a request she clearly wanted to make.  In response to my prompting she explained that though her scholarship covered all of her tuition, the dorm and other expenses had come to more than expected and she therefore ran out before buying all of her books.  I asked how much she needed, and she squeaked “Two hundred dollars” as though it pained her to do so.  I assured her that it was no problem at all; after all, that was only one call!  And as I wasn’t occupied at the moment I immediately drove over with the money.

Her roommate wasn’t there when I arrived, but I later heard from Denise that when she had told her that her friend Maggie had given her the book money, the perceptive young woman had asked, “Ah, is she a red shoes lady?”  Clearly she realized that such women are usually the only ones so generous with large sums of cash!  We both laughed over the girl’s choice of words (which I liked so much that I have often used it in the intervening years), and I let Denise know that it was perfectly all right for her to mention my profession to friends she trusted (because I trusted her not to advertise it to all and sundry).  Then I told her that I had decided to give her a “scholarship” of equal amount at the beginning of every semester to help her with expenses, and that if there were any other emergencies she need only ask.  I didn’t intend to shower her with money because I think it’s good for university students to learn to live on a budget, but at the same time I knew how stressful it is to have to worry about money when there is none, and I wanted her free to concentrate on her studies.

With rare exception, I took her out to dinner every Sunday evening for the next four years, which let me keep a maternal eye on her without being intrusive.  She rarely asked for any extra assistance; a few months into her first or second semester she asked for a bicycle to get around on, and I think she needed to go to the doctor once.  I believe I also gave her the remainder she needed for a car a few years later, but that was about it; she wanted to make it on her own and so only asked for help when she really, truly needed it.  None of her friends ever asked to be introduced to me for that kind of work, though I did get one of them a nude modeling job when she needed some quick cash.  But though Denise never thought ill of me for my profession, I doubt she ever even considered it for herself, and frankly I don’t know if I would have allowed it if she had asked.  Not because I thought my little girl was “too good” for it, but because it wouldn’t have been right for her as an individual.

Though we are not biologically related, there is a very strong resemblance and people often took us for mother and daughter or even sisters; the fact that we both considered this a compliment says a great deal.  At the reception following her graduation ceremony, the friend who had made the “red shoes” comment kept looking back and forth at us and eventually asked her, “Are you sure Maggie isn’t your real mother?”  I couldn’t be prouder of her if I were.  After graduate school she got a job in her field, and has held it for several years now; on occasion, we’ve had to help her out with one little thing or another, but it’s been extremely rare.  We talk on the phone often and visit as frequently as living 600 miles apart allows, and I generally get flowers or a card from her every Mother’s Day.

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Lady Madonna, children at your feet
Wonder how you manage to make ends meet
Who finds the money when you pay the rent?
Did you think that money was heaven-sent?
  –  Paul McCartney, “Lady Madonna”

The classic Madonna/whore fallacy teaches that women can be one or the other, but as I’ve said many, many times before this is complete and utter hogwash.  Any normal woman is capable of playing either role as required or even both simultaneously, and about half of the girls who worked for me had children.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that many women enter prostitution because of their children, which is certainly the case with the three I want to talk about today.

I’ll start with Debbie, a small, soft-spoken blonde from Mandeville who was probably the most dependable girl I had.  When Debbie said she was on you could count on it, and she was always prompt and trustworthy.  If there was ever a stereotype-breaker it was Debbie; she was pretty but had a very girl-next-door look and housewifely air.  She dressed conservatively, drove a minivan and practically had “I have two kids” stamped across her tits; nobody who did not know could ever have guessed in a thousand years that she was a prostitute.  After she was divorced in her late twenties she found that there was no “honest” job which would allow a middle-class woman without a college degree to support two little boys at a middle-class level and still allow her time to be their mother, so she made the pragmatic decision to enroll with an escort service.  She worked the day shift on the North Shore while her boys were in school, and every weekend in New Orleans while they were with their father.  Once they got old enough to ask what she did for a living she told them she worked as a maid, and bought herself a full set of cleaning supplies which she kept in her van to support the façade.  Now personally, I think it’s pretty sad that our culture thinks it’s perfectly acceptable for a pretty young woman to ruin her looks slaving for a pittance as a charwoman but not making a good living for her family with her wits and charms, but since it does she was forced to lie.

Debbie was a generalist; she was great on normal calls but was neither exotic enough for fetish calls nor glamorous enough to be a stereotypical call girl.  But I did take her on a three-girl call once; it was near Christmas and I was visiting friends on the North Shore when I got a call from a lawyer who lived way out in the country above Baton Rouge; he wanted to celebrate winning a huge case with three whores for four hours.  I contacted my two North Shore girls, Debbie and Karla, because we could get there much more quickly than any New Orleans girls could; then I ran his credit card for $3000 and we were on our way.  It was a long drive but well worth it; the client was ecstatic because I had purely by chance provided him a blonde, a brunette and a redhead!  The call was a blast; we danced, played naked hide and seek in his mansion, and just generally clowned around beside providing him sex, and he enjoyed himself so much he called us again after his next big case and specifically requested “Charlie’s Angels” as he called us.

The only time I ever took Barbie on a two-girl call didn’t turn out quite so well.  Like Debbie she was a young divorced mother of two, and had turned to escorting as a way to pay the bills while still having time to be a stay-at-home mother.  But unlike Debbie, she was not at all sanguine about her profession, and though she accepted the necessity of it she never liked it.  Barbie would periodically flake out due to shame and take a “normal” job, only to return to escorting once the bills started to pile up.  In the call I mentioned above we had agreed to provide services for a small party in two rooms off of the main suite, but poor Barbie got very upset and started crying when some stupid ass banged on the door of the room where she was and shouted to his friend, “Aren’t you done with that whore yet?”  I would’ve laughed at the moron, but Barbie was deeply wounded.  Luckily we were almost finished anyhow, because that was it for her that night.

Barbie was extremely pretty, petite, slender and Hispanic, with beautiful doe-like eyes; she often wore clothes with glittery patterns, and since they would shed glitter onto chairs where she sat my husband’s nickname for her was “Glitter Barbie”.  Her mother lived right next door to her and knew what she did, which was invaluable because she could simply run over and ask her mother or younger sister (Barbie was only about 23 when she started working for me and her sister about six years younger) to watch the kids while she went on a call.  They were early risers, and it was not at all unusual for me to call Gilda upon awakening about 10 or 11 AM to find that Barbie had already done two calls and shoved the money under my door while I slept!  Like the little girl in the familiar rhyme, when she was good she was very, very good – dependable, predictable and pleasing to clients – but when she was bad she was horrid.  When she flaked out for the final time (after working for me for years) she stole a client’s credit card number, charged several fake calls with it and I had to refund his money after paying her fees weeks before.

So, far from being the opposite of Madonnas, women like Debbie and Barbie fit the type perfectly.  I sincerely doubt Debbie would ever have chosen prostitution as a career if she had not had two children to support, and it’s pretty obvious that Barbie wouldn’t have.  Neither of them had the education or other skills necessary to land the high-paying jobs which could’ve supported their children without escorting; certainly Barbie proved that time and again.  But my third example did have an education; in fact she was a nurse with an excellent job, but circumstances involving her son drove her to prostitution anyway.

I’ll call her Florence after a certain famous nurse, and she was a tiny little thing; five feet tall and about ninety pounds soaking wet.  Though she was in her late thirties her size and features made her seem much younger, and when she applied to work for me she explained her situation because she felt I needed to understand.  She said she could only work at night because she had the day shift at her hospital, and only planned to work a few hours a night except when she was off, at which time she wanted to be on call twenty-four hours a day.  The reason for this was that her teenage son had been diagnosed with leukemia, and though she was insured the copayments would have bankrupted her even if she took out a second mortgage on her house.  She explained that she only wanted to work until she had raised the money, and asked if I was okay with that.

Of course I was, and I never regretted it; Florence didn’t work as many hours as the other girls, but when she did she worked like a demon. Gilda always tried to get her an early call to justify her ninety-minute drive down from Baton Rouge; she then stayed on until about eleven, drove home and slept until she had to go to work the next day.  On weekends she sometimes slept on our couch or at friends’ houses, and even if we woke her at some strange hour for a call she never complained.  The customers adored her, and I recommended her to Doug as well so we could increase her income; every week she gave me updates on how much more she had to go, and she made the last $2000 in one all-night two-girl call with the wealthy cokehead regular I mentioned in my column of July 14th, a call I gave her on purpose because I knew she had the energy and drive to stick with him for as long as he continued to throw money at her.

Of course, I had mixed feelings about her reaching the goal; on the one hand I was happy she had the money for her son’s treatment, but on the other hand she was such a good worker I hated to lose her!  We did occasionally hear from her again; once she came down to New Orleans with a boyfriend and I waived the agency fee so they could have a couple call, and then about a year after she quit she called me to tell me her son’s cancer was in remission.  I can’t tell you how much that call meant to me, not only because I was glad to hear that her struggle had paid off for the boy, but also because it really touched me that she thought highly enough of me to call.

The most heroic actions are those which are performed only because they are right, and not for glory; Florence’s story will never be in People magazine and she will never appear on Oprah, because there are too many stupid assholes in the world who would pronounce what she did “wrong” or try to turn her into a victim for their own ends (“This poor woman wouldn’t have had to engage in this inherently degrading activity if we had national health care!”)  She worked two difficult, demanding jobs for months to save her son’s life, and only God and a handful of people will ever know about it; if that’s not a Madonna, I’ll be damned if I know what is.

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When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.  –  Hunter S. Thompson

There are straight calls, fetish calls, couple calls, calls with two or more girls and those with two or more clients; in-calls, out-calls, multi-hour calls and quickie calls.  There are calls in which the client doesn’t want sex and those in which he wants absolutely nothing else, calls in which he just wants a show and calls which are mostly dates.  There are hard ones and easy ones, good ones and bad ones, unusually profitable ones, cancellations and those which are barely worth the money; but some calls are so weird they simply defy categorization.  I’m going to tell you about a few such calls because I think you’ll find them interesting or even funny, but if there’s a lesson to be learned here it’s that those who claim our work is “inherently degrading” have their heads so far up their arses that there is absolutely no hope of their ever seeing the light of day again.

The first of these was one of the last calls I ever accepted from Pam’s service, in the first few months of my career.  The gentleman seemed oddly impatient on the phone, and when I tried to describe myself he interrupted me with, “I don’t care about all that; who do you look like?”

“You mean a celebrity?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I don’t really look like any celebrity, but some guys have said I look kinda-sorta like Angelina Jolie except fairer, and some have said I look kinda-sorta like Julia Roberts except a lot prettier.  And I’m not as tall as either of them.”

“OK, that’s fine.  Do you have a tube of lube?”

What?” It was an amazingly rude question.

“Do-you-have-a-tube-of-lube?” he repeated, intoning each word as though it were a letter in a word he was spelling.

“Yes,” I said.

He told me which hotel he was in, then “How soon can you get here?”

I was already on the road and it was an easy hotel to get to, so I said, “Maybe twenty minutes?”

“Try to make it fifteen,” and he hung up.

I had encountered ruder and more hurried customers before, but he just felt strange.  But the hotel was one which refused to allow cops to play their nasty games in its rooms, so I knew I was safe on that account; I just figured the guy would be rude, rough and quick, so I let the agency know I was on the way.  I got there in the time he had asked and went up to the room, then knocked on the door; the customer looked as though he were seriously stoned, with glazed eyes and a vacant expression, and I heard another male voice in the room behind him.

“Do you have the lube?” he asked.

I thought it was bizarre to ask such a thing while I was still in the hall, but I played along.  “Yes.”

“Let me see it.”

I obediently pulled the tube from my purse to show him; he took it from my hand, gave me a $100 bill, said “Thank you,” and unceremoniously closed the door in my face.  I looked at the C-note to make sure it was real, then shrugged my shoulders, put it in my purse and returned to my car, giggling quietly to myself as I realized what had just happened.  When I shared the story with the operator (figuring he would get as much a laugh out of it as I did) he instead demanded I turn in a third of it; of course I refused, since it was technically a generous cancellation fee and services are not entitled to any percentage of such fees.  This was another of the incidents which soon caused me to sever ties with Pam.

It hadn’t taken me long to figure it out; the caller had a gay lover in the room with him and they were stoned out of their gourds and therefore couldn’t leave the room.  But they needed lube to engage in their planned activities, so one of them said “Let’s call a whore, she’ll have lube and will even deliver it!”  So of course he didn’t really care what I looked like; he just wanted to be sure he didn’t accidentally ask a maid or room service girl for lube!

The second of these incidents at least had the form of a traditional call; the gentleman had asked Doug for an educated, older brunette, so that was right up my alley (I think I was 35 at the time).  When I talked to him he asked me to dress even more conservatively than was my habit, and to wear stockings and heels; that wasn’t a strange request at all.  But then he asked me to describe the shoes; I described my usual “work shoes”, a nice little pair of fuck-me pumps with three-inch stiletto heels.

“That’s not what I’m looking for,” he said; “do you have anything plainer and more conservative?”

“You mean like ‘granny heels,’ plain and kind of boat-like with maybe a two-inch heel?”

“Black?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s exactly what I want!  Wear those!”

I agreed, presuming I was to recreate the look of a teacher or librarian he had a crush on as a boy.  But once I got there, he paid me and asked me to sit in a particular chair; he then instructed me to cross my legs and talk to him while playing with my shoe.

“Like this?” I asked, letting the back of the shoe drop off of my heel so the shoe was left hanging from my toes, then flexing my foot so as to pop it back onto my heel.

“Yes, exactly right!” he beamed enthusiastically.  “just keep doing that while you talk to me.”

“What would you like me to talk about?” I asked.

“Just anything, it doesn’t matter,” he replied.

So we sat there, both fully dressed, while I talked about whatever came into my head and played with my shoe as he wanted.  He just sat there conversing with me, making no sign of sexual arousal and not even particularly looking at my foot that I could discern; I felt like Violet Hunter in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”, except that the curtains were closed!  But after about 35 minutes he stood up, smiled, and told me that I could go.  I asked if I had given him all he wanted and he assured me that I had; he thanked me profusely as I left, but gave me not the slightest clue as to what any of it had been about!  The only thing I can presume is that my initial theory was correct; obviously the lady he fancied had the habit he had asked me to replicate, and he let me go once I had stimulated him thus for enough time that he could achieve climax in the solo masturbation session which no doubt immediately followed my exit.  Now, I must assure my reader that I am not in any way ridiculing this client; he was a perfect gentleman and treated me fairly and courteously in every way.  Would that all clients were so easy and so generous!  But one must admit that it was, as Holmes would say, a most singular case.

The third and final incident started as a completely normal early-evening call, but once it was finished the client had a strange request:  “Can you drive me to the airport later tonight?”

“Sure, but wouldn’t a cab be cheaper?”

“Yeah, but I want to go in my own car, plus I want you to keep me company while I’m waiting for the flight.”

“As long as you understand that I’m still going to charge you $300, I have no issue with that.”

He agreed, and explained that while in Korea with the military he had met and fallen in love with a local girl, and she had accepted his proposal but insisted on doing things traditionally, with his returning to the States, securing a job, buying a house and all that before sending for her.  Now after many months of separation he was about to meet her plane and they would soon be married; he had therefore thrown himself a one-man bachelor party by hiring a whore and now intended to celebrate in the hotel bar.  But he had no intention of risking his bride’s life by fetching her drunk, and he was far too nervous to attempt meeting her sober; he was so nervous, in fact, that he wanted someone to keep him calm while waiting at the airport.  So I arrived at his hotel about 11:15 (her flight was due about midnight), drove him to the airport and waited with him; the flight arrived on time and everything went as planned.  The girl was quite lovely and accepted his explanation that I was a coworker who owed him a favor; I drove them back to the hotel, helped her with her small luggage while my client got the large ones, then wished them luck and returned to my own car.  It had taken about 90 minutes altogether, but I was satisfied with my pay (which was very generous considering I was basically just a glorified portress) and had another interesting story to tell.

These three calls were probably the oddest ones of my career; though all escorts have a few such stories to tell, I have found that these stand out even when professionals swap stories.  Some calls are barely like working at all while others are as difficult as anything I’ve ever had to do for money, but there’s one thing that’s incontrovertibly true about escorting:  It is rarely boring and almost never predictable.

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I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.  –  Marilyn Monroe

In my column of August 22nd I mentioned a girl I called Marilyn and promised to tell you more about her later.  Well, I won’t keep you in suspense; today I’m going to tell her story because it illustrates a number of the things I’ve been talking about, and also for one other reason.  You see, because of the use of stage names, the discretion inherent in our profession, the mania for privacy forced upon us by its suppression and the fact that we’re all independent contractors, it is essentially impossible to keep in touch with working girls once the business relationship has been severed.  And of all the girls who have worked for me, it’s Marilyn I find myself thinking of most often despite the fact that I haven’t heard from her in a decade.  Cynthia comes to mind frequently as well, but while I know her story had a happy ending I have no way of knowing what happened to Marilyn after she went home, so when I think of her it’s rarely without tears.  Besides its didactic purpose, you may think of this column as a tribute to a girl who touched my heart, and a tiny bottle thrown into the vast ocean of human souls in the forlorn hope that by some cosmic chance it may wash up on her virtual shore and inspire her to email and let me know that things did eventually work out for her.

I have decided to call her Marilyn herein because she strongly resembled Marilyn Monroe in both face and figure, right down to the mole.  She was a native New Yorker, complete with accent and attitude, and also had a problem of which she was terribly ashamed:  She was a heroin addict.  Since she hated talking about the subject I never knew in what order moving to New Orleans, taking up escorting and getting addicted to junk had occurred, but when I met her (while we were both working for Pam) all three had been accomplished for some months.  Like many New Yorkers she did not own a car, but the Big Easy is not the Big Apple so it’s not always easy for a working girl to get around efficiently without one; since I did have one, I was willing to take her on calls whenever I wasn’t busy myself (or even on the way to mine when it worked out that way).  If it wasn’t for that, I would probably never have discovered her secret; she had not been addicted long enough for her health to degenerate and her body fat to waste away, and though I don’t know where she used her needle it was someplace which left no obvious marks.

I found out a couple of months after meeting and befriending her; though I was fairly new to escorting myself I had taken to it so well that most girls perceived me as an old hand at it long before I actually was.  Marilyn saw me as a sort of big sister; I was perhaps seven or eight years older than her, took her on calls, gave her advice, complimented her beauty and helped her to hone her skill at talking to men so she could get more calls.  She marveled at the fact that I had more confidence in her than she did in herself, so I reckon it’s not surprising that she reacted as she did the night I picked her up from a call and she hesitantly asked if I could take her somewhere before dropping her at home.  I agreed, and followed her directions to a nasty, seedy neighborhood in which I didn’t feel comfortable even slowing down, much less stopping.  But she got out, knocked on a door and made an exchange, then got back in my car.  At first she sat quietly, then suddenly said, “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“What’s to say?” I asked; the nature of the exchange had been pretty obvious, even to one who had never seen such a thing before.

“Doesn’t it bother you?” she asked incredulously.

“It bothers me that my friend is suffering,” I said, “but I don’t think of you as less of a person because of it.”

“Well, I do!” she sobbed.  “I never wanted you to know about this!”

“How long have you been doing it?” I asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“OK, I’m sorry.  But I’m not going to stop being your friend because of it.”  There was a lot more I wanted to say, but Marilyn was not the kind of person who could be forced to talk or listen; when she was ready to hear what I had to say she would let me know.

The weeks went by, and though she never again asked me to take her to get her “medicine” she did obliquely mention the subject a few times, and that’s how it went until the night I brought her to a call in Chalmette, a suburb east of the city.  Within a few minutes of dropping her off my cell phone rang and I had a conversation which went something like this:

“Hello?”

“Hi, the client has cancelled so I’m going home.”

“Oh damn, I’ll turn right around and pick you up.”

“No, Maggie will get me.”

“What?  Marilyn, this is Maggie!”

“No, it’s late so I think I’ll call it a night.”

The light went on.  “Are you in trouble?”

“Yes, but I’ll be on at the usual time tomorrow.”

“Do you think you can get away?”

“I think so, just let me know when you’ve got something for me.”

“OK, I’ll pull up and open the door; you run out and jump in.”

“Sounds great.  Goodnight.”

I did just as we planned; she ran out and jumped in with the guy in hot pursuit, and I took off like the proverbial bat out of hell.  “What the hell happened back there?”  She explained that while she was in the bathroom, the sneaky bastard had rummaged through her purse and discovered her syringe, then when she came out he flashed a badge and threatened to bust her for possession if she didn’t call the service, tell them he had cancelled and stay with him all night for free.  Luckily, she had more sense, but it wasn’t over; the dirty cop called Pam back spouting all sorts of threats (he had even managed to get my license plate number) and Pam demanded Marilyn go back; this was Pam’s last straw for me, and after that night I quit her agency.

But in the meantime I took the hit for Marilyn; I brought her home and called the sleazy prick myself, offering him a freebie if he would relent.  He agreed, but only on condition I give him my phone number; he then became the first regular of my new service, and though I hated dealing with the son of a bitch I bided my time until he eventually made the mistake of offering to pay a girl in cocaine, upon which I told him if he ever called us again I would report him to both his employers and the federal drug authorities.

When Marilyn found out what I had done for her, she apologized profusely on the phone and sent me a dozen roses accompanied by a thank-you card.  Then several days later when I was taking her on another call, I felt it was time to say something: “You know I’ll help you if you want to quit.”

There was no avoidance now.  “I’ve been thinking of going to the methadone clinic, but you have to go every day first thing in the morning.”

“So isn’t it worth it?”

“It’s not that, it’s just that relying on cabs I can’t be sure I’ll get there on time.”

“Well, I’ll take you then.”

“It’s every single morning at like 7 AM!”

“So?”

“You would do that for me?” she asked incredulously, through suddenly tear-filled eyes.

“Of course.  That’s what friends are for.”

She was overcome with weeping, and promised to consider it, but several days later she called me.  “I wanted you to know I went to the clinic this morning.”

“Marilyn, that’s great!  Do you need me to take you tomorrow?”

“No, I have to do this myself, but I really appreciate your offering.”  And she was as good as her word; a few days later more roses arrived, with a card saying “Thank you for believing in me.”  As the months went by she weaned herself from the methadone as well; whenever she overslept she would get a couple of Vicodin tablets from her roommate, which eased the pain of withdrawal enough for her to tough it out until the next day.

Then came the offer from her musician client which I described on the 22nd, which she decided to accept.  I drove her to the airport, and had never seen her so excited and happy.  “What about your methadone?” I asked; “can you handle being away for three days?”

“I’ve got some Vicodins,” she said, “and they really do help, so I’m not going back to the clinic.”

“Of course, now you’ll get hooked on the Vicodin.”

“Just like methadone’s better than heroin, Vicodin’s better than methadone.  And I only need a few a day, so it’s not like I’m popping them.  And once I know I’m over the methadone withdrawal in a few weeks I’ll start tapering the vikes off as well.”  Her voice was strong and confident, and I really felt she could do it.  “And after this weekend, I’m going home, where it will be even easier to quit.”

“Going home!” I said in surprise.  “Oh, I’m so happy for you!  I’ll miss you, but I do think it’s the best thing for you.”

“Yeah, I’ve been really homesick,” she admitted, “but I couldn’t go back before because of…my problem.  But now that’s over, thanks to you.”

“You did it, not me.  You were the one who made the decision, got up every morning and toughed it out.”

“Yeah, but you convinced me I could by believing in me.”

When we got there, we hugged for a long time; she had very few possessions she cared about, and planned to fly straight home from Houston.  I never saw her again.  But before she walked into the terminal with her two tatty little suitcases, she said “I’ll never forget you, Maggie.”

And I’ll never forget you either, sweetheart.  I promise.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. –  Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Despite what the naïve and the chronically optimistic like to believe, human nature does not change; individual people are the same today as they were at the beginning of human civilization some twelve thousand years ago.  And while we have made some social progress in that time, it is by no means the one-way trip imagined by the idealists but rather a zigzagging course full of false starts, backslides, missteps, blind alleys and going in circles.  Societies often ignore the obvious solutions to their problems, make problems out of things which aren’t, and return time and again to the same old nonsense despite the fact that it has never worked in the past.

In my column of August 9th I talked about the “white slavery” hysteria concocted by the social purists of the late 19th century to provide an excuse so the general public would swallow their foolish and repressive campaign against prostitution.  Proponents of this hysteria purported that tens of thousands of young girls were being abducted by slave traders and forced to serve in brothels in foreign countries, and they demanded tougher laws against voluntary adult prostitution in order to combat it.  The fact that extensive (not to mention expensive) investigations found absolutely no evidence for any of this reassured almost nobody, as is typical in a moral panic.  Fortunately, such manufactured hysterias tend to vanish like the insubstantial shadows they are in the harsh light of true crises, and the “white slavery” hysteria was no exception; by the end of the First World War it had abated.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to formulate concise laws against nonexistent threats, so legislation born of such hysteria is nearly always incredibly broad and unconstitutionally vague; the Mann Act was just such a piece of legislation, and it was for decades employed as a vehicle for malicious persecution until the U.S. Congress finally limited its scope in 1986 to actual criminal acts rather than undefined “immoral purposes”.

But just as Prohibition returned in the guise of the “War on Drugs”, and the witch hysteria of the 16th century returned as the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s and ‘90s, so the “white slavery” hysteria has returned as the contemporary hysteria over “human trafficking”.  As in the first two decades of the 20th century, exorbitant claims are made about the extent of the sex slave trade in Western countries and used to justify laws against voluntary adult prostitution; all over the United States prostitution laws which were defended only a decade ago on “moral” grounds or by the excuse that prostitution attracts crime (a vague and bizarre notion in itself) are now being defended on the grounds that they are “needed” to combat “human trafficking” despite the fact that these laws were enacted long before the current moral panic.  It’s a bit as though governments were trying to defend 1930s laws against marijuana use on the grounds that they were “needed” to combat the use of methamphetamine, or justifying 19th-century laws against homosexuality on the grounds that they were “needed” to combat the spread of AIDS, except of course for the fact that methamphetamine and AIDS actually exist in the countries with those laws.

The hysteria is particularly troubling in the United Kingdom, where prostitution has been technically legal (though still persecuted) for several decades; it is obvious that the new “white slavery” hysteria-mongers intend to turn back the clock on prostitution rights if allowed.  Thus the potential damage is greater than in the US, where prostitution is suppressed anyhow and the renamed “white slavery” hysteria is just the latest excuse in a long parade of stupid, dishonest, hypocritical rationalizations for tyranny against women.  Since Stephen Paterson’s blog about UK prostitution law has already published an exhaustive summary of the claims made by “human trafficking” alarmists contrasted with the actual truth about those claims, it would be silly of me to attempt to cover the same ground over again; instead, I’ll just provide a link to the article here, and enthusiastically recommend it to my readers.  Another excellent article, from The Guardian of last October 20th, can be found here.

Just as at the end of the 19th century, the “white slavery”/”human trafficking” hysteria springs from the neurotic perversion of sexually-repressed middle-class white women who have derailed the feminist movement into their own personal crusade against men, sex and those who provide men with fair access to sex (i.e. whores).  But unlike a hundred years ago, “moral purity” won’t really play with the average voter any longer, so the neofeminists (IPC calls them “fundamentalist feminists”) have been forced to hide their hatred of us behind the pretense that they wish to “save” us, as discussed yesterday.

Since I really do want you to read the various things I’ve linked above (especially the Wikipedia article on moral panics and the Stephen Paterson blog), I’m going to do something unusual today and cut my column short so as to give you the time to do so.  But I’ll leave you with this second entry in the “Here We Go Again” department, a paraphrase of an AP article which describes a renewal of the control freaks’ war against Craigslist which I mentioned in my column of August 17th.

The attorneys general of seventeen of the United States announced Tuesday (August 24th, 2010) that they have sent a joint letter calling on Craigslist to get rid of its adult services category because they say the website cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads; they say Craigslist is not completely screening out ads that promote prostitution and child trafficking.  The site creators pledged in 2008 to improve their policing efforts.  The states which participated in this exercise in tyranny were Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia; fortunately, Craigslist is based in San Francisco, California (the home of the American prostitutes’ rights movement) and is therefore not subject to the laws of those 17 states.

Note the linking of adult prostitution with child trafficking as though they were related; note also that prostitution was technically legal in Rhode Island from 1980 to 2009 (though still persecuted as in the UK) but was outlawed again on November 3 of last year, thus proving the statements I made in the first paragraph.  I’m sure nobody will be surprised when I tell you that the new law was championed by a privileged white woman and supported by cops who claimed they needed it to “conduct sting operations at brothels where women and children were abused and enslaved by pimps and sex-traffickers.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

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There is no more defiant denial of one man’s ability to possess one woman exclusively than the prostitute who refuses to be redeemed. –  Gail Sheehy

Every whore who has worked for more than a few weeks has met them:  The ones who want to “save” us.  They come in four main types, but they’re all characterized by the same delusion that sex work is “degrading”, “disgusting”, “filthy”, “sinful”, etc, and the same unwavering belief that we all really want to be out of it no matter what we say or how eloquently we say it.  Some of them really do believe that we’re victims, so their efforts are earnest albeit wrongheaded; others just want to use us as pawns to further their agenda, whatever it may be.  But all of them are characterized by the bizarre yet prevalent notion that sex is somehow intrinsically different from every other human activity even when it has no chance of resulting in pregnancy.

A chart of concentration camp identification badges; prostitutes were classified as “work shy” (i.e. lazy) because the Nazis, in common with so many moderns who have never actually worked as whores themselves, characterized our work as “easy” despite the fact that most of them couldn’t put up with half of what we do.

The worst of the four types of self-appointed messiahs is of course government, because it is both the most powerful and the only one which can get away with enforcing its edicts by violence.  At many times in history prostitutes were classified as “undesirables” much as Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals or members of other minority groups were; for example, whores were rounded up by the Nazis and shipped to concentration camps along with all the others the “master race” wished to purge from its ranks.  They were identified by a black triangle, and forced to do hard labor in order to “cure” them of their “aversion to work”; whores were among the first inmates of Auschwitz and were forced to help build the camp, laboring through the winter in evening gowns which the Nazis mockingly issued them instead of work clothes.  Unsurprisingly, most of them died.  But in one way, the Nazis were more moral than many modern Western governments; at least they weren’t hypocrites.  They were a fascist state which taught that individuals were only parts of society, so their evil, tyrannical treatment of “asocial elements” was at least consistent with their evil, collectivist rhetoric.  The majority of modern Western governments, on the other hand, pay lip service to individual civil rights yet harshly suppress the right of women to do as we like with our bodies and have sex on our own terms, justifying their actions with the excuse that they’re “protecting” us from our own choices.

The typical 21st –century Western governmental rhetoric against prostitution can be summed up by this statement issued to the Secretary-General of the U.N. by the soi-disant “Coalition Against Trafficking in Women”:

Prostitution is inherently degrading and humiliating to the woman or girl who is being sexually exploited.  When a woman or girl is reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold, her fundamental human rights are violated.  Traffickers, pimps, and buyers degrade her humanity.  Men purchase the right to insult, slap, and rape women and girls.  These acts include forms of sexual violence that women’s advocates and human rights groups have long sought to eliminate from women’s beds, homes, workplaces and streets.  A survey of 854 people in prostitution in nine countries (Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United States, and Zambia) revealed that 71% experienced physical assaults in prostitution, and 62% reported rapes in prostitution.

It would be difficult to cram a more absurd collection of logical fallacies, propaganda and fake “statistics” into one short paragraph if one tried.  From the very first unsupported statement (“humiliation” is a wholly subjective condition, and “inherently” is a very strong term which must be supported by objective proof) to the idea that danger makes a profession immoral, every sentence is either factually, logically or morally fallacious.  The second choppy little sentence is a restatement of the persistent and absurd idea that it is a woman’s body that is bought in prostitution rather than her services, the next equates voluntary actions with slavery and assumes all whores have pimps, and the one after it makes the utterly ridiculous assumption that all clients are violent; finally, we’re asked to accept that 854 hand-picked survey respondents in nine countries (with a combined population of over half a billion people) constitutes a meaningful survey.  Yet asinine collections of nonsense exactly like this one are taken seriously by “authorities” all over the supposedly-enlightened Western world, particularly in Norway and Sweden.  If I were to say “Religion is inherently degrading to the child who is being socially exploited,” or “When an employee is reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold, his fundamental human rights are violated,” or “Women purchase the right to insult, rob, and exploit men through modern marriage,” or “A survey of 854 people in sports in nine countries revealed that 71% experienced serious physical injuries in sports, and 62% reported permanent disability from sports,” my statements would be dismissed as prejudiced, false, extreme or statistically absurd, but when people make equally ridiculous statements about prostitution they are magically conferred with an aura of sanctity which excludes any attempt at rational scrutiny.

Now, I don’t believe for one minute that governments really give a damn about us; a few years ago we were the dregs of humanity, and now suddenly we’re poor victimized angels?  Governments care only about power, and the oppressive and often conflicting laws about prostitution are actually only a way to control us while buying the support of the second and third groups of “rescuers”, religious puritans and neofeminists.  Government rhetoric about “protecting” whores from “exploitation” is therefore nothing but the latest politically correct rationalization for controlling us, just as branding us “asocial elements” to be imprisoned and worked to death was the politically correct rationale in Nazi Germany.  The repression continues; only the excuse changes.

But what of those other two groups?  I don’t think I need to say much about religious prudes; the austere, desert-dwelling Hebrews were so scandalized by the sexually liberal, goddess-worshipping Canaanites that they established a set of anti-sex laws and mores which became deeply entrenched in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  To the devout Judeo-Christian all sex outside of marriage (and most of it in marriage) is inherently sinful, so the harlot automatically becomes a merchant of sin.  Her refusal to submit to male dominance only makes her worse to the patriarchal Christian or Muslim, and the fact that she is an avenue of pleasure seals her fate in the eyes of the fun-hating puritan.  For the past two millennia Western religion has alternated between reviling us and attempting to “save” us, but even the latter is usually pursued by subjecting repentant whores to imprisonment accompanied by torture and hard labor, the better to wring our sinfulness from our bodies.  To be sure, there have been periodic attempts to wean us from harlotry by providing other means of support, but these invariably fail because there isn’t enough money to support more than a few “born again” whores in anything like the manner we can easily support ourselves.

Then there are the neofeminists, whose rhetoric has largely been adopted by both government and religious groups because so many men are afraid to challenge it for fear of being branded “sexist”.  You want a real example of sexism?  When a man uses his natural, physical, gender-based abilities to make money as a bouncer, bodyguard or boxer, everybody thinks it’s just great and he might even become a big “hero”.  But when a woman does exactly the same thing she is insulted, demonized and persecuted by governments.  Nobody claims using size and toughness to make large sums of money is “inherently degrading and humiliating to the man or boy who is being physically exploited,” or agitates to ban police work because men run the risk of injury or death in it; this is because nobody questions a man’s right to make these decisions for himself, not even the so-called “feminists”!  And this, of course, is why I refuse to use the term “feminist” to describe the type I call “neofeminists”; they are far more sexist against women than the vast majority of men are.  Lesbian neofeminists hate sex workers because they hate men and therefore oppose anything which might make men happy, and heterosexual neofeminists hate us because we provide modern men with an option to escape the rigged game of sexual extortion practiced by childish, self-centered modern women and enforced by the tyranny of divorce and paternity law.  But if they admit the truth they will alienate the majority of normal women, so like the government they must cover up their campaign to control and suppress whores with the excuse that they are trying to “protect” us from the bad old patriarchy which wants to “exploit” us.  Apparently, neofeminists exploiting us to further their ends is perfectly acceptable.

The last and least annoying of the types are found among our customers.  Men who suffer from the Madonna/whore duality are often confused when they meet an intelligent, charismatic, educated prostitute; I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked something like, “Why do you do this?” or even told, “You’re too good for this!”  And often when I referred to myself as a whore I got an almost-angry “You’re not a whore!”  The Madonna/whore fallacy instructed them that good, sweet, noble women could not be harlots, therefore they had to reconcile the dilemma by either denying I was one or somehow explaining the “paradox”.  Some of them apparently did this by deciding that I must be somehow victimized, either by circumstances or a specific person; their predictable response was to offer to rescue me, either by “keeping” me or by actually proposing.  Obviously, such proposals came from their hearts rather than their heads; they were the product of the male drive to protect women directed against a condition propaganda calls a degrading and humiliating one, therefore acceptable for whores but not for Madonnas such as they perceived me to be.  Of course, some men who issue such offers do so out of the simple desire to own something they see as valuable with no real concern for the girl as a person, which makes these specimens exactly the same as the leadership of the other three groups.

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