The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! – Eleanor Roosevelt
On November 10th, 1775 the Second Continental Congress ordered Captain Samuel Nicholas to raise two battalions of marines, and he began that task by holding a recruitment meeting at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. The organization which resulted, the Continental Marines, was later reorganized into the United States Marine Corps, so Marines consider Tun Tavern to be the birthplace of the Corps and November 10th to be its birthday; U.S. Marines will greet each other today with “Happy Birthday!” so if you know a Marine, whether active duty, reserve or retired, you can be sure he will be pleased if you greet him thus today. You’ll notice I said “retired Marine” rather than “ex-Marine”; as anyone who has ever known one can tell you, there is no such thing as an ex-Marine. “Once a Marine, always a Marine” is not just a slogan but a straightforward fact. Now, I have no intention of giving you a capsule history of the USMC; not only would that be vastly outside the bounds of my subject matter, it would also be silly because there are plenty of sources online if you’re interested. You may think of today’s column as a sort of love letter to the many, many Marine clients I’ve had over the years, some of whom have been among my favorites.
Mae West once said, “I only like two kinds of men: domestic and foreign.” And while that’s pretty much true for me as well, I must admit to a partiality for warriors. There’s just something about a true warrior that makes me rather weak in the knees; I suppose it’s my cavewoman instincts telling me “here is a man who can protect you,” but whatever the reason I cannot deny it. The draw is strongest when he looks the part; the men I find attractive are invariably tall, solidly built, strong-featured, well-groomed and neatly dressed. Short hair is good, and a shaved head even better; to me such grooming says a man is ready for action and has no time for frou-frou haircuts. I also find that mature, experienced warriors (especially military men, and most especially Marines) tend to be well-organized, sensible, self-disciplined and gallant. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule; lots of men do their time in the military and then promptly forget everything they learned within a few months of discharge, and others never managed to become real warriors (it seems many of these end up in police departments once they return to civilian life). Still others are just bad eggs as in any profession. But some (and these are the ones I’m talking about) internalize the warrior’s nobility and discipline; they wear their business suits as though they were uniforms, keep their rooms and offices tidy, treat women with respect and have a strong personal sense of honor which forbids trying to cheat or harm whores. And all this goes double for Marines.
Did you know Marines are authorized to salute women? True fact, and I’ve had a number of them honor me that way. Because the Naval base in New Orleans houses the headquarters of the 4th Marine Division, we got an awful lot of Marines as customers, and I can truthfully say that to my knowledge I was never maltreated by one. Both those in uniform and those I merely recognized from their style invariably treated me with courtesy and good manners (though I must admit being called “ma’am” by a client can be a bit weird). I never had one attempt to haggle, though I did have a few younger ones ask on initial phone contact if we had a lower rate. I even had a couple ask if we had a “military discount”, and though we didn’t I have heard of a few independents who do indeed offer one. I can’t even recall ever having a Marine who was a difficult client; most of them are straightforward, appreciative and know what they want, and what the younger ones lack in ability they more than make up for in enthusiasm!
Throughout history, military personnel have been among the most dependable clients for whores, and the US military is no exception; young men deprived of the company of women and often far from home and family have even more pressing need for our services than do other men. But in 2004 the Bush administration, eager to lick the arses of neofeminists and fundies alike, foisted on the Defense Department a strict anti-prostitution policy, under the pretense of (can you guess?) fighting “human trafficking”. This policy requires that military officials “deter activities of DoD Service members, civilian employees, indirect hires” and others “that would facilitate or support [sex trafficking] domestically and overseas.” Domestically, this asinine directive is just as wrongheaded and unenforceable in the military as it is in the civilian world, and overseas it is even more so because prostitution is either totally legal or officially tolerated in a number of countries where US military personnel are either stationed or allowed to take shore leave (including Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and Korea). It also puts base commanders and other officers in the difficult position of trying to keep their troops healthy and happy while simultaneously obeying orders which, if strictly implemented, would have a devastating effect on troop morale. Given this dilemma, most base commanders do the only thing they can do: Officially declare brothels and other establishments frequented by prostitutes off-limits, then look the other way and do their best not to catch anyone in violation because if they do they must keep up appearances by coming down like the proverbial ton of bricks on the poor schmuck so discovered. This of course makes “trafficking” fanatics furious, especially the “rescue industry”, which has become a major problem in east Asia. And while the official military newspaper Stars and Stripes now follows the party line as one would expect, it was not so when the orders first came down six years ago, as evidenced by this article.
As I mentioned in my column of October 29th, a group of female academics led by Anne Jordan (director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law and author of “Sex Trafficking: The Abolitionist Fallacy”) has pressed President Obama to rescind the Bush administration’s anti-prostitution policy (which would include the military policy), but so far he seems uninterested in such a wise but politically incorrect move, and considering his party’s recent losses I doubt he’ll do anything to make waves unless it’s in the last few weeks of his administration. So at least for now, military administration will continue to create a smoke-screen of compliance to placate prudes and neofeminists while actually following the reasonable policy of looking the other way. Of course, anti-whore military policies are nothing new; regular readers will remember that Storyville was closed in 1917 under pressure from the Secretary of the Navy, and one form of prostitution was criminalized in Japan in 1956 under pressure from the U.S. Army.
Perhaps one day our culture will grow up enough to stop trying to tell adult women what we can do with our bodies and adult men what they can do with adult women, but in the meantime military men in general and Marines in particular will continue to seek us out despite the whimsical notions of those who think Nature can be controlled by legislation. And until our trade is decriminalized, there’s one more nice thing about a military man: a working girl can be sure he isn’t a cop. Nobody can wear two uniforms at once, and a man in camouflage utilities is not in a blue suit with a tin badge.