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Archive for July, 2012

When I pressed her for a reason
She refused to even answer…
  –  Billy Joel, “The Stranger

Got a question?  Email me at maggiemcneill@earthlink.net.  The last question is from a recent comment thread, but I thought it was worthwhile repeating in a more prominent location.

Inasmuch as “trafficking” is a problem, what should be done about it?  I personally think that full deregulation of voluntary personal physical activities would pretty much take care of the problem, but I don’t think my countrymen would go for that.  I understand that nothing will satisfy the anti-sex zealots who use trafficking as an excuse to persecute sex workers, but is there any degree of regulatory compromise that you would be comfortable with that could also allay the fears of those who talk about trafficking?

The short version is that there isn’t any such thing as “trafficking”, at least not as depicted by the fanatics.  It’s a boondoggle, a moral panic, a new version of “white slavery” or the Satanic Panic.  There are no vast criminal cartels “trafficking in humans” for sexual or any other purpose, and the overwhelming majority of the people labeled “trafficked” are actually either regular hookers, or people who have migrated to work; of course there is sometimes exploitation just as there is everywhere, but to depict these incidents as part of some gigantic conspiracy is no different from pretending all child sexual abuse is part of a Satanic cult network.

According to a recent study done of the decriminalized sex work industry in New South Wales, your surmise that deregulation would solve most of the problems is 100% correct.  As for the rest of your question, it’s a lot more complex issue than “trafficking” fanatics pretend; here are a few columns which will serve as a good introduction of those issues:  A False Dichotomy,  Chupacabra,  Déjà Vu,  Don’t Buy It,  Held Together With Lies,  Here We Go Again,  Rhinoceros,  Rooted in Racism,  Thought Experiment and Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong.  And here are a few others on the problems caused by a criminalization, law enforcement or “rescue” approach:  Against Their Will,  As Young As Possible,  Bad Fantasy, Good Reality,  Enabling Oppression,  Finding What Isn’t There,  Hard Numbers, Knights Erroneous, Law of the Instrument and One Size Fits All.  Finally, you can learn a great deal from Dr. Laura Agustín, many of whose essays are real eye-openers.

Have you had a regular job since retiring from prostitution?  How do you deal with nasty comments about prostitutes from people who don’t know your background?  And have you ever met a prostitute and had her “read” you as a former whore?

I haven’t had a “straight” job  since I left the library in 1995.  When my husband proposed he knew full well I would never agree to retire if that involved working for someone else again, so he had to agree to support me or it was no deal.  Technically, I’m still a whore, but I only have one client now and it’s a very long-term contract.  That’s really a good thing for my readers, because writing this column is literally a full-time job so I wouldn’t be able to do it if I had to spend 40 hours a week plus commute time doing something else.

Though I’m not really “out”, I publicly oppose all laws restricting consensual behavior, so my support for whores isn’t really a giveaway; my recent Friday the 13th column listed the sort of arguments anyone can use to argue impersonally against anti-whore bigotry one might hear in public.  And I’ve done a whole column on the topic of people “reading” me.

Will you ever let your husband write a column?

My husband has written three columns, actually; a two-part interview and an account of his visit to a “soapland” in Japan.

How did you go from being a sex industry pro to being married and living in a completely remote area?  Do you miss the variety, and do you do anything about it if you do?  Also, do you think jealousy is ingrained in us, i.e. part of our instincts, or do you think it exists due to socio-cultural imprints?

The best way to answer the first part of your question would probably be to refer you to the interview with my husband linked in the question above; the second part was covered in my Q & A columns for  November 2010, May 2011 and August 2011.  As for jealousy, the proof of its biological origin is the fact that men and women tend to experience it differently.  Most men are far more concerned with physical infidelity, and most women with emotional infidelity (which is why most well-adjusted women don’t really care about whores).  This makes sense when you realize that since a woman can only have one baby per year, physical infidelity results in a huge genetic opportunity loss and resource drain for the male if his woman is impregnated by someone else.  For women, it doesn’t matter how much seed her husband spreads around because he has plenty; it’s his resources being diverted to other women and their children which concerns her.  That’s why men tend to feel more threatened by hearing about their wives’ past one-night stands than about ex-husbands, while women tend to feel more threatened by ex-wives than by past flings.

Maybe you’ve commented on this before, but do you think there is a connection between intelligence (or, more accurately, intellectual vigor and curiosity) and sexuality?

I think there certainly can be.  People who are intelligent, open-minded and imaginative tend to be harder to restrain by arbitrary rules because they see no rational reason for those rules.  And a woman with a mind of that sort who is faced with bills is far more likely than her duller, less imaginative sisters to recognize that sex work is a viable source of income, and far less likely to buy the propaganda designed to keep her from doing it.  So although I don’t think it’s correct to make the broad statement that “whores are smarter than amateurs”, I do think it’s fair to say that the average intelligence of high-opportunity-cost sex workers is probably higher than that of their amateur sisters, for the simple reason that in situations where there are multiple options of which sex work is the best, less-intelligent women are far more likely to discard it as a viable option due to arbitrary rules and false propaganda which are more readily disregarded by women of greater intellectual agility.

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So many, though reluctant to admit it, shun clever men, and rather suffer fools.  –  Ivan Krylov

Zimbabwe was once a great nation.  From the 13th to the 16th centuries it dominated the region and traded with the Arabs and Portuguese, and its capital (now called “Great Zimbabwe”) was the largest pre-modern structure in Sub-Saharan Africa; the ruins of that city are so impressive that early European archeologists refused to believe it could have been built by black people and instead credited the Phoenicians or Shebans (thus connecting the area’s gold riches with the legend of King Solomon’s Mines).  This kingdom gave way in the early 17th century to a succession of shorter-lived empires due to a combination of factors including wars with neighboring peoples and incursions by the Portuguese and (in the early 19th century) the Zulus; in the 1880s the area was invaded by the British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes, for whom the area was named “Rhodesia”.  A series of struggles for independence (some political and some military) throughout the 20th century eventually resulted in the election of a majority-black government under Robert Mugabe, whose increasingly-despotic regime still rules the country 32 years later despite frequent civil unrest, drought, economic crises, epidemics of cholera and HIV and rampant corruption.

All too often, tyrants try to draw attention away from insoluble problems and dramatic failures by persecuting minorities for supposedly encouraging “moral decay” which supposedly creates or at least exacerbates all the visible problems.  We need look no farther than the United States for many excellent examples of this, but Mugabe’s commitment to establishing Zimbabwe as a world leader in the persecution of sexual minorities (especially homosexuals and sex workers) deserves recognition as well; for a country of only 12.5 million people (about 50% larger than New York City) it manages to produce an amazing number of stories about police persecution of whores, many with the sort of bizarre elements which make an article noteworthy.  Mugabe would be right at home as an American politician; when confronted with UN advice that the spread of HIV could be controlled by decriminalizing prostitution and homosexuality, Mugabe swore that would happen “over his dead body”.  Another member of his government suggested that a better solution would be to force women to shave their heads and refrain from bathing, while still another insisted that all men be injected with drugs to reduce their libidos.  And the solution to the “prostitution problem”?

Zimbabwean activists protested…systematic arrests targeting women, often wrongfully accused of loitering, soliciting for prostitution and harboring criminals…Dubbed…”Operation Chipo Get Married”, police in the capital are said to indiscriminately nab any woman they find on the streets alone at night.  Protester Rudo Chigudu, an educated and well-heeled socialite…said even professional women who worked late hours were not being spared the indiscriminate arrests and harassment…Harare police spokesman James Sabau defended the infamous policy saying officers were merely enforcing the law and protecting civilians…

Zimbabweans resemble Americans not merely in their self-destructive puritanism and their love for giving pompous military-sounding names to petty harassment campaigns, but also in their embrace of American “sex trafficking” hysteria and the “gypsy whores” myth:

Government is in a dilemma on what to do with commercial sex workers who are expected to troop into the country for the United Nations World Trade Organisation General Assembly…next year…Tourism and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary, Dr Sylvester Maunganidze…[said] it was inevitable that prostitutes would flock into the country for the assembly…[and that] anyone suspected of being a prostitute would be arrested…”but if you put stiffer penalties, delegates will go back angry…We have a requirement that condoms should be put in hotels and we received criticism from devout Christians…some of them when they get into their hotel rooms and find condoms in their drawers they throw them through the window and then monkeys will have a feast with those condoms”…

But condom-eating monkeys are the least of Zimbabwe’s sex problems; how about man-raping, condom-hoarding harlot witches?

Three sex workers accused of raping 17 men in Zimbabwe have been freed…[they] were arrested last year after…a police…search of their vehicle revealed more than 30 used condoms…men…said the women forced them to have sex while brandishing weapons.  However, DNA evidence…disproved any link between the women and [their accusers]…[there was] widespread speculation that the sex workers were collecting semen for witchcraft.

Nor are the magical powers of Zimbabwean whores limited to forcing erections out of unwilling men:

A Zimbabwe man has told a court that the prostitute he hired turned into a donkey overnight, and now he is “seriously in love.”  Sunday Moyo, 28, was caught having sex with a donkey early Sunday morning, according to the New Zimbabwe news website…Police said they found Moyo having sex with a donkey…Moyo…explained that the donkey was in fact a prostitute he had earlier hired for $20 at a local nightclub.  “I don’t know how she then became a donkey,” Moyo is reported to have told the court.  “I only came to know that I was being intimate with a donkey when I got arrested.”  The experience appears to have been a sexual awakening for Moyo, who now says he is in love with the beast…

Alas, there are no witches, in Zimbabwe or anywhere else, with powers great enough to make human stupidity, ignorance and bigotry vanish.

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What’s a little callous misappropriation of a mass shooting, in the scheme of things?  –  Ken White

Radley Balko has been on sabbatical for a month now, and I’ve settled into a pretty regular routine of guest blogging over on his excellent website, The Agitator.  As I told you last week, he still finds time to drop in every once in a while when he has a good reason to, such as announcing a benefit concert for Chris Tapp, the cancer-stricken singer/guitarist for The Cold Stares; if you’re going to be anywhere near Nashville on August 16th, why not show up to enjoy a night of blues and help out a good cause?  He also wrote a short post calling attention to the moral courage of Pierce O’Farrill, one of the survivors of the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre:

…moral courage [is] holding fast to your principles in the face of unimaginable challenges to those principles.  Pierce O’Farrill was shot three times in Aurora, once with each of James Holmes’ guns.  He gave a radio interview yesterday.  So first of all, the guy was shot three times, and he gave a radio interview yesterday.  But it’s more about what the guy said.  First, he forgave his attacker.  Second, he asked that his attacker not be given the death penalty.  And third, he reaffirmed his support for Second Amendment rights…[he] sounds like a pretty exceptional human being.

At the end of last week, Patrick from Popehat bid the readers farewell because personal and professional commitments will probably preclude his doing any more guest blogging for the duration of Radley’s absence.  However, his blogging partner Ken took up the slack with three posts:  one of them revealed the real reason the Washington, DC police suddenly reversed course and announced that police will no longer harass, arrest, manhandle, rob or make false accusations against citizens who try to take pictures of them; the others strongly criticized two mayors (Michael Bloomberg of New York and Ed Lee of San Francisco) who wasted no time in making use of the Aurora shootings for their own political ends.  Also, Drew Johnson posted a links column.

I started the week with “Compare the Headlines”, a small compilation of links and video about police in Anaheim, California attacking a crowd who dared to question their shooting an unarmed man in the back.  On Tuesday I published “What’s the Difference?”, a “sex work is work” column incorporating passages from “Bogeymen” and TW3 #29.  On Thursday I reprinted “Godwin’s Law”, which appeared on this blog in March of last year; my “Five Star Friday” video was ZZ Top’s “La Grange”, and today I shared pictures of my dogs Shasta and Lassen.  As usual, I also posted three link columns, containing the following:

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The truth is that it does not suit our social narrative to recognize that a woman can be raped and get on with her life.  –  Charlotte Shane

BDSM

As soon as anyone who has some unusual interest commits a crime, you can be sure the loudmouthed bigots will blame the interest rather than the criminal:

Three roommates involved with a “sex dungeon” at their home may have murdered a…California [woman] as they tried to satisfy their fetishes…Detectives found “bondage type sex apparatuses, toys and tools” at the home of the two women and man who have been charged with murder in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore…[who] was last seen April 13…Jessica Lopez…said she strangled the victim, fearing the victim would upend a kinky sex ring by seducing her “Master,” according to…a seven-page letter that [Lopez wrote]…The documents give no indication that Killgore knew about the sex ring, and prosecutors call her an innocent victim…

Ignoring the dyphemisms like “ring” and “kinky”, what do we have here?  A woman murders another woman out of jealousy.  Period.  If the house had been full of workout equipment or sports memorabilia, you can be sure the cops wouldn’t be calling it an “athletics-related murder”, but let there be anything sexual in the house, and suddenly it’s a “factor”.

Think of the Children!

Things have grown far worse in the 21 years since Paul Reubens’ career was destroyed by vice cops who accused him of masturbating in an adult theater; back then, he might’ve survived the bad publicity had his audience not included children.  Fred Willard’s audience is all adult, yet he’s being crucified anyway:

…His career is now abruptly over because he was arrested by L.A. vice cops at an adult movie theater.  Not convicted, not sentenced.  Arrested.  For “lewd behavior” in a porn theater…In the past 35 weeks, L.A. police have apparently “inspected” the adult theater 40 times, arresting 23 people.  One can speculate how many of those “inspections” involved cops getting blow jobs.  One can wonder how much tax money was spent on these “inspections.”  And one can wonder, in a city where 300 people are murdered and several thousand are raped every year, how the city can possibly justify spending millions on “inspecting” porn theaters…If convicted, the State could require Fred Willard to register as a sex offender.  Depending on where he lives, he might have to move.  No producer or casting director would ever look at his photo ever again…

John Law

Though cops are well-known for being both astonishingly ignorant and disgustingly barbaric on the subject of whores, this moronic op-ed on the “hookernomics” of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s “fugly” streetwalkers represents a new low for puerile police vulgarity in print; it’s also a fine example of how when a cop is allowed to run his filthy mouth he’ll usually reveal more about himself than he realizes.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical

Nestle Corporation proves it’s almost as clueless as cops are:  “Nestle…[removed] an image from its Kit Kat Facebook…page, after [discovering] it was similar to…‘Pedobear’ – considered visual shorthand on the internet for sites posting material with inappropriate overtones towards minors…

Objectification Overruled

“Objectification”, blah blah blah.  “Sending messages”, simper simper.

…Melinda Liszewski is part of a campaign against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls…”We’ve got an expanding sex industry in Queensland, we’ve got billboards advertising that kind of thing and we’ve got…children being exposed to the…message that women exist to be bought and sold,” she said.  But speak to 21-year-old Portia…and it’s all about money [and] flexible hours…[she’s] been accepted to study Post Graduate Development Psychology…Indy…is 31 and said she was angered by the backlash.  “I’ve been in this industry for 13 years and I have a child,” she said…  “I’ve studied vet science and nursing and now I have my own business…”

The Course of a Disease

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson is planning to push for a bill that would completely prohibit the purchase of sexual services..[which] would bring Finland’s legislation in line with the Swedish and Norwegian model…”  I have a suggestion for the minister:  talk to Norway’s social affairs chief before you make a complete ass of yourself.

The Rape Question

In The New Inquiry, Charlotte Shane published an excellent essay on how the feminist myth that all rape is equally traumatic and always life-destroying  harms women and shuts down discourse:

…Though some feminists regard “rape equals devastation” as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available.  Common sense instructs us that it is far more “dangerous” to insist to young women that they will be broken by an unwanted sex act than it is to propose they might have a happy, healthy, and sexually pleasant future ahead of them in spite of a sexual assault…When we refuse to acknowledge the possibility that a rape could be anything less than a tsunami of emotional and mental destruction for a woman, we establish a fantasy of absolute male sexual power and absolute female vulnerability.  We are, in essence, honoring the timeless belief that a woman’s worth, self-respect, and ability to function within society are dictated exclusively by the sexual use of her body…

Little Boxes

One can’t blame Anna Gristina’s partner for employing the “arbitrary line” defense, but it does demonstrate the inanity of prostitution laws:

…”Paying two individuals to watch them engage in sexual activity…is simply not prostitution,” veteran defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb argues…on behalf of…Jaynie Mae Baker…[who is] fighting a single count of promoting prostitution, for allegedly sitting at a restaurant with a prospective john last July and booking him…with a pair of escorts…not once do the parties specifically mention sex for money…[and] the recordings capture “the undercover officer meeting two other women at an apartment who eventually appear to engage in sexual contact with each other, but not with the undercover officer”…the fake john never even took his clothing off…prior judges have defined prostitution as specifically “A paying B for sexual activity to be performed on A,” and not as charging a fee merely to provide a building space for sexual activity or to let someone watch a sex performance…

Here’s a look at the British version of these idiotic technicalities from New Statesman, in which an accountant who represented a number of prostitutes points out the absurdity of taxing them as businesses while simultaneously denying that they are covered by business law:

…although prostitution is lawful…a prostitute cannot do things such as advertise, go into partnership, form a limited company, employ people, rent premises or sue for debts…the big problem lies with the legislation on brothel keeping.  This – unlike prostitution, is considered a crime.  Common sense dictates two fairly simple things:  one, prostitution won’t go away any time soon (something about that whole “oldest profession” thing), and two; the women doing it are safer working indoors with a maid, rather than working on the street.  There’s neither rhyme nor reason to this law, besides the rule that for every outraged Daily Mail headline there’s an equally cowardly political reaction…

The article goes onto say that the old brothel laws are now being justified with “sex trafficking” hysteria, and includes a 2009 video of a politician being forced to admit on television that the government’s source for “trafficking” figures was an article in the Daily Mirror.

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Singapore-based Lovotics…unveiled…Kissenger…an egg-like orb outfitted with two soft plastic lips packed with sensors and actuators.  When a human…plants a kiss on the robot lips, the sensors record the shape changes the kisser creates on the lips and translates those pressure patterns into a mirror image that can be beamed over the Web to another Kissenger…[which] reproduces the sender’s unique kiss for a human on the other end.  It’s supposed to be a means of maintaining a sense of intimacy when two people are separated by distance, translating a person’s signature kissing style into something that can be transported and delivered to a recipient…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Of course we already knew this, but it’s nice to see them admit it for a change:  “Police have admitted that they do not have any evidence to support a claim that lap dancing clubs may contribute to sex offences…”  Meanwhile, teacher Stacie Halas (who was fired for having acted in porn) in now suing the school district with the help of feminist attack dog Gloria Allred, who as you may remember also took the case of the reporter fired for her past work as a stripper.

The Widening Gyre

Some readers seemed skeptical of my position that peaceful protest alone has done nothing for the sex worker rights movement, and that it’s time for us to be disruptive so we can no longer be ignored.  This made the national news, which is extremely unusual for any US sex worker protest:

Here’s another one from Wednesday.

I Swear To God

It’s really heartening to see a story like this from a major news outlet:

… while the United States lifted a travel ban on people infected with HIV in 2009, it has clung to a prohibition on the entry of foreign sex workers established more than two centuries ago.  Activists, and some [International AIDS] Conference officials, say that runs counter to a goal of achieving an end to the epidemic…”I don’t know how we’re going to ever see an end to AIDS in our lifetime…without including all of those populations who must be involved as part of this solution,” said U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of California…Michel Sidibe, executive director of the United Nations AIDS program, said it was “outrageous” that in 2012 “when we have everything to beat this epidemic, we still have to fight prejudice, stigma, discrimination, exclusion, criminalization”…

The article then goes on to discuss the public health menace presented by allowing cops and prosecutors to seize condoms as “evidence”.  Incidentally, I’m not sure where this reporter got the idea that the whore immigration ban is “more than two centuries” old; it was part of the Page Law of 1875, a racist ploy to reduce the number of Chinese immigrants.

Metaupdates

The Crumbling Dam in Further Developments

Los Angeles billboard companies refused Furry Girl’s sex worker rights billboard, but were happy to display this:

The Pro-Rape Coalition in We’re Not Done Yet

Just in case you may have forgotten about Mitt Romney’s campaign promise to work hard to increase the rape rate:

Former Justice Department official Patrick Trueman, who proudly participated in federal pornography prosecutions during their “heyday” in the late 1980s and early 1990s…[said] that Mitt Romney’s campaign assured him that Romney would “vigorously” prosecute pornographers if elected president.  Trueman, the president of Morality in Media, contacted the Romney campaign earlier this year about the “untreated pandemic” of Internet pornography…

Good News, Bad News in TW3 (#14)

A brief respite:  “Western Australia’s new Attorney-General…has conceded the Government’s proposed prostitution laws are unlikely to be passed before the next election…

This Week in 2011

Several “Harlots of the Bible” were positively portrayed, and many sex workers are abducted and caged “Against Their Will” in the name of “rescuing” them.  “A Load of Farley” vivisects the most recent bogus “study” from the most active font of such filth, and “Imaginary Crises” does the same for claims of a “rape epidemic”.  “A Working System” demonstrates how problems can be handled under decriminalization, “Peeping Toms” looks at the legacy of Lawrence vs. Texas, and “Profanation” discusses the neofeminist campaign to rewrite the history of harlotry.

This Week in 2010

An essay on the legends about “Mary Magdalene” was followed by one on why women lie about our weight and age, how escorts go about “Playing the Part”, a two-part column on rape in calls, and a debunking of the myth of “Pimps”.

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I view the prostitute as one of the few women who is totally in control of her fate, totally in control of the realm of sex.  The lesbian feminists tried to take control of female sexuality away from men — but the prostitute was doing that all along.  –  Camille Paglia

If I had to pick one single myth about whores which has done more damage to the cause of sex worker rights than any other, and which has inspired the greatest amount of wrongheaded, paternalistic legislation and the greatest number of dangerous, divisive, destructive policies, it would have to be the narrative that all or at least most women who do any kind of sex work (but especially prostitution) are dominated and controlled by violent “pimps”.  Long before “sex trafficking” hysteria inflated the pimp legend into a cultic belief, laws against brothels and “living on the avails” were based upon the fallacious but widespread notion that whores are somehow more vulnerable to male domination than any other women, despite the obvious fact that the typical whore has far more experience handling men and resisting their aggressions than the typical amateur.  Like the Madonna/whore duality and the myth of the wanton, the “pimp” myth is rooted in male insecurity; 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”.  Politicians who support “anti-pimp” and “anti-trafficking” laws thus cast themselves as white knights, “rescuing” helpless damsels from mustachioed villains who “exploit” them.

Female belief in the “pimp” myth comes from a similar direction:  asexual or sexually immature women refuse to accept that other women might be so comfortable with sex that they can pragmatically employ it for income as one might employ any other skill, or might even actually enjoy it (with men even!)  The idea that other women might be more sexually adept than they exacerbates their insecurities and must therefore be denied:  the prohibitionist believes all women are as sexually stunted and unsatisfied as she is, therefore prostitutes must be forced into the trade by evil men (an idea which dovetails perfectly with the “male as oppressor” myth so beloved by radical feminists).  The sex-hating female prohibitionist therefore becomes the ally of the “patriarchy” she so despises by supporting attempts to control female sexuality at gunpoint.

No matter what Western religions claim, sex is no different from any other human activity once the possibility of creating human life is removed by birth control.  I strongly suspect that realization is the real driving force behind most of the current American anti-abortion, anti-birth control rhetoric:  moralists (perhaps unconsciously) realize that without the threat of lifelong consequences, people will stop seeing sex as a magical sacrament which is “dangerous” without official sanctification.  Without belief in the mystical significance of sex, prostitution is just another personal service like massage, hairdressing or wet-nursing; once one recognizes that one has to ask why feminists think it’s “progressive” for a man to be supported by a woman if she’s a politician or corporate executive, but “exploitative” if she’s a sex worker.  In my column “Thought Experiment” I wrote,

as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions…the abusive, controlling pimp of legend is so rare we can consider him an anomaly.  In fact, the fraction of prostitutes who have such an abusive pimp – roughly 1.5% – is so similar to the percentage of women who report that their husbands/boyfriends are either “extremely violent” (1.2%) or “extremely controlling” (2.3%) that it’s pointless to consider them a different phenomenon, especially when one considers that any non-client male found in the company of a whore will inevitably be labeled a “pimp” by cops or prohibitionists.  The notion that hookers only have relationships with a certain kind of man, who is labeled a “pimp” by outsiders, derives from the Victorian fallacy (alas, still alive today) that we are somehow innately “different” from other women, and therefore our men are different as well.  This is pure nonsense; the only consistent difference between the husbands of harlots and those of amateurs is that ours tend to be less hung up about sex.

The rest of that column presents an analogy between whores and barbers which may help you to see through to the truth of the matter.  It’s very important that people do understand, because the “pimp” myth is wielded like a bludgeon by prohibitionists.  Claims of “exploitation” are used to demonize anyone who has anything to do with a prostitute, including clients, drivers,  boyfriends,  secretaries, landlords, dependent adult family members and even other prostitutes working together for safety; a new law in New York even targets taxi drivers who “knowingly” carry hookers in their cabs.  The penalties for these “offenses” are usually greater than those for simple prostitution; the latter is generally a misdemeanor while “pandering” and “avails” charges are often felonies, and if the prosecutor decides to label such relationships “human trafficking” they can result in asset seizure, decades-long sentences and consignment to “sex offender” registries.  Even minor criminal charges are then used by prohibitionists to label those so accused as “pimps” in a flagrant attempt to further divide the sex work community against itself.

It is precisely because of these concerns and many others that the report of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law recommended absolute global decriminalization, including the removal of laws which are represented as “anti-pimp” measures.  As Cheryl Overs explained in a recent article,

…the report explicitly recommends that sex businesses are made legal, not just the sex worker.  The Commission has recognised what all sex workers know – that laws against sex businesses mean they have to work in criminalised and therefore dangerous places.  The spectre of the “pimp” and understandable squeamishness on the part of policy makers to be seen to sanction “pimping” functions as a powerful barrier to supporting sex workers calls for removal of all laws against adult sex work even among human rights NGOs and advocates.  The reality is that sex workers in legal workplaces can challenge exploitation with the same tools that are available to other workers.  This is fundamental to the notion that “sex work is work” and it is the embodied on the slogan “Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs”…Creation of the category “willing sex worker” as a subset of “sex worker”…suggests that  very significant numbers of sex workers are enslaved, which is not borne out by experience or statistics.  The risk is that programmes for health and human rights are seen as applicable only to a poorly defined subset of “willing” sex workers while sex workers deemed to be “unwilling” (or reluctant?) qualify only for raids, rehabilitation and anti-trafficking programmes.  As I said in 2010, we don’t talk about “willing brides” because forced marriage exists or “consenting homosexuals” because some men are raped…

A free society is based in the conviction that every adult person has the right to make his or her own decisions, even if others don’t like those decisions or consider them foolish and/or self-destructive.  Sex, whether or not one ascribes mystical qualities to it, is among the most personal of behaviors; it is therefore even less appropriate a realm for government interference than many others.  Nobody but an individual has the right to decide which willing partners he will engage with, nor what their characteristics should be, nor how many at one time, nor how long the arrangement between them should last, nor why they choose to make that arrangement in the first place.  Because human beings are imperfect it is inevitable that most of us will choose unwisely some of the time, and some of us will choose unwisely most of the time.  And when those individuals are authoritarian leaders, the consequences of their bad choices are not only suffered by themselves, but by whomever they choose to inflict them upon…or by those who just happen to get in the way.

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Goblets they carved there for themselves,
And harps of gold where no man delves.
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by Man or Elves.
  –  J.R.R. Tolkien

Show of hands:  how many saw this one coming?  It was inevitable, really.  Though I’m not obsessed with them like some people, I do like a good musical now and again (and I include rock operas and revues in that classification).  However, I tend to be pretty particular; I don’t care for songs that seem shoehorned in, or that throw off the pacing or tone.  Furthermore, I’m far more forgiving of dramatic inadequacies than I am of musical ones; since the very idea of people bursting spontaneously into song and crowds of strangers performing perfectly-choreographed dances together is completely absurd in the first place I’m willing to suspend my disbelief much more than usual, but too many uninteresting numbers kills it for me.  Keep that in mind when looking over this list, which I’ve illustrated (like last month) with embedded videos; in each case I tried to choose what I considered the most representative musical number rather than the best, though in some cases I was constrained by the poor variety and/or quality of available selections.  These are listed alphabetically by title, with a short list of three honorable mentions thereafter.

1)  Aladdin (1992)  The first of the revived Disney studio’s films to employ intentional anachronism, and the only one to do it well.  I chose this song rather than the marvelous “Friend Like Me” because I just love the dancing and the use of counterpoint, especially the three girls on the balcony (starting at 1:45).

2)  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)  I have no idea why so many film critics dislike this wonderful movie, why they praise the Sherman Brothers’ work with Disney but pan it here, and why they insist on obsessing about minutiae like Dick Van Dyke’s lack of an English accent (see comment about absurdity of musicals above).  In fact, this musical number plays with the convention in that Van Dyke’s character, who is not part of the song-and-dance troupe but merely using it to hide from a pursuer, is totally out of sync with the others.

3)  The Hobbit (1977)  When this first appeared on television I strongly disliked the heavily stylized animation, but it grew on me over the years and now barely misses being on the list of my favorite movies.  I’ve actually read some ignoramuses complaining about the lyrics to the songs, not realizing that they’re all straight from Tolkien’s text.  I’m especially fond of John Huston’s recitation of the ballad of the Coming of Smaug, starting at exactly 5:00.  And because it was available, I decided to include the whole movie.

4)  Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)  This has been among my favorites since the first time I heard it in 8th grade; I’ve already mentioned it a number of times in a number of places on this blog, so we’ll just leave it at that.

5)  Man of La Mancha (1972)  The fact that the lead female character is a whore has nothing to do with its place on this list, though I fully admit it helped to get my attention the first time I heard the album in my early teens (which actually predated my seeing the movie by several years).  I picked it out of a budget record bin for “The Impossible Dream”, a song I still love but have chosen not to feature today in favor of the less-overexposed “Dulcinea”.

6)  The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)  What can I say?  The subject matter would’ve predisposed me to like it even if it hadn’t had such an infectious libretto, catchy tunes and fun characters.  This one is a regular at our house every autumn.

7)  1776 (1972)  Another one I’ve loved since high school, and as you can probably guess we watch it every July 4th; though it takes dramatic license with some of the details, it still adheres more closely to the facts than is typical for Hollywood.  I would’ve preferred to feature “But Mr. Adams”, but there was no available movie clip for it so this one will do (sorry for the poor picture).

8)  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)  I know Roald Dahl didn’t like this adaptation of his book, but I do; in fact there’s very little about it I don’t like from the sets to the casting to Wonka’s weird, quotation-heavy dialog.  This is a perfect introductory clip not merely because it’s a great song, but because it presents virtually the whole cast to Wonka’s world and demonstrates a bit of his eccentric style as well.

9)  The Wizard of Oz (1939)  Most Americans of my generation or thereabouts will remember that for many years this movie was played annually on broadcast television, but I’ve never grown tired of it.  One of the true greats.

10) Yellow Submarine (1968)  I first saw this on television as a child and was absolutely blown away; though I knew and liked several Beatles songs already, I can probably trace my real love for the group to that viewing (which also affected my drawing style for months).  I love animation, and I love the Beatles, so naturally this is on the list.  Of the available clips, I thought the theatrical trailer gives the best feel for the show.

Honorable Mentions

Musically, these three are up there with the others, but in each case the rest of the film outside the songs doesn’t quite measure up.

1)  All That Jazz (1979)  Great songs and fantastic choreography by director Bob Fosse make this semi-autobiographical picture watchable, but the story is slow, repetitive and ultimately a bit depressing.  But the musical numbers…well, judge for yourself:

Fun fact:  Paula Abdul’s video for “Cold Hearted” was intentionally patterned after this one; it was obvious to me the first time I saw it and I’m sure it will be to you as well.

2)  Godspell  (1973)  The only thing that keeps this one out of the top 10 is that I have to be in the right frame of mind for it; the fact that all the songs are based on sayings, parables and incidents from the Gospel of Matthew is not so much the issue as the fact that I have to be in a sort of nostalgic mood to watch early ‘70s hippie-flavored stuff.  I really wanted to share “Turn Back, O Man” with you since that was the number I did in our little CYO production when I was 15, but alas that one’s only available in poorly-recorded stage videos.  This was my second choice, though, and you may recognize the setting of the finale.

3)  Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975)  What I said for Godpell is also true here; it’s a sequence of vignettes which were visually very avant-garde and unusual at the time, but seven years later could easily have been shown as music videos.  Jacques Brel’s music, however, I can listen to almost any time; I linked a couple of examples in “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody”.

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The process of education in the oldest profession in the world is like any other educational process, in that it requires time and effort and patience; it can only be acquired by taking one step at a time, though the steps become accelerated after the first few.  –  Madeleine Blair

Here’s a recent reader letter and my response; for ease of reading I’ve split her question up into parts with my answers.

I’m seriously considering sex work but I live in a small Canadian city and want to be discreet; I’m also concerned about diseases, violence, the potential to be arrested and rape. How often, on average, would you say you had a difficult or creepy client?

It depends on what you mean by “difficult”.  There’s a certain small fraction of customers in any business who are just vexatious twits and can’t be pleased no matter how one tries, and a larger fraction who aren’t consciously trying to be difficult but end up being so anyhow.  In our business, the latter are the ones who are so nervous they don’t come easily, or who want to try every position in the bloody Kama Sutra, or who insist on sticking their tongues in your ear, etc.  But if you’ve dated a lot, you’ve already run into guys like that and it really isn’t any different; one simply has to do one’s best, try to keep them under control and soldier on.  If I had to hazard a guess I’d say 50% of clients are just normal (neither hard nor easy), 30% are very easy, 10% are annoying but not difficult and 10% difficult to one degree or another.

I can only do outcalls, so what should I expect from an agency regarding security?

The agency should allow you to talk to the client by phone beforehand to make sure the two of you hit it off; if they don’t allow that (for fear of your stealing calls) find another agency.  This is VERY important; talking to the client allows the girl to feel him out, to give her instincts a chance to work.  The two times I got raped and the one time I almost did, I did not talk to the client first; the first rape and the near miss were because of a language barrier, and the second rape was at a big multi-client party where I only spoke to the man who was arranging it but not the rapist.  In other words, I have never been raped by a client I talked to first.

The other thing an agency should do is know where you are (exact address) when with a client, check you in and out by phone, and have someone they can dispatch to pound on the door if you can’t be contacted at the end of the call.  Good American agencies also have a lawyer on call in case of police stings, but since escorting isn’t illegal in Canada you probably needn’t worry on that account (Canadian escorts, please correct me if I’m wrong on this).

What should I do before, during and after a client intends to rape me?

Talking to a client on the phone and being a real person when you’re with him humanizes you, making it more difficult for him to think of you as a thing to be used.  Furthermore, calling in right in front of him sends the message “people know where I am”.  Most clients are not any more dangerous than any other men you might meet, but you have to take these precautions EVERY TIME (no exceptions) because they help to reduce the chance of danger from that rare sociopathic individual who might hurt you.

If a client starts to do something you don’t like, try changing position and doing something else instead; if that doesn’t work say “please don’t do that” or “you’re hurting me” or some such; that will stop a normal man who is just getting carried away.  If it seems rape is inevitable, the most important thing is to keep your head; you mustn’t panic or allow horror stories to flow into your consciousness and cloud your thinking.  Feminists are fond of equating all rape with aggravated rape, but as one who has experienced both I can tell you that simply isn’t true; aggravated rape is terrifying because of the possibility of death or disfigurement, but “date rape” – in other words, unwanted sex which occurs in the context of a voluntarily-entered sexual situation – isn’t nearly as bad.  It’s highly unpleasant and may even be painful, but it’s not the worst thing that can happen to a woman.

The reason I’m saying this is not to downplay the wrongness of it, but to give you a sense of perspective so you can avoid panicking and reacting in a way that could make things worse.  If he won’t stop when asked and you can’t struggle free, it’s highly unlikely screaming or freaking out will achieve anything, either; tensing up will increase the chance of damage to whatever orifice he’s penetrated, and scaring him could provoke a violent reaction.  Your best bet is to relax as best you can and just let him get it over with, then get away as quickly as you can and go straight home.  Tell the agency what happened so he can be blacklisted; since you want to be very undercover about your work you probably won’t want to report it to the police (who probably wouldn’t do anything anyhow).  If you think you might be more than just bruised (or if he raped you without a condom), you should visit a doctor the next day.

I tend to gain weight on birth control, do you consider it an essential or are condoms okay on their own?

Condoms don’t break often, but if one did you don’t want to have to go through an abortion if it can be avoided.  If hormonal birth control doesn’t work for you, you should consider an IUD, diaphragm or Plan B as a safety net.

What types of diseases are most common and what should I be on the lookout for?

STIs are not common in the client base to which you will be catering, but that’s partly because escorts are so careful about protection and watching for signs.  There are websites which show graphic pictures of STD symptoms, but I honestly don’t think you need to look at them; any kind of open sore or lesion in a man’s genital area is a red flag, as are unusual odors (not just a normal man-smell) or discharge.  Venereal warts usually look like regular warts, but can sometimes look like nothing more than pimples, so I would advise getting the Gardasil shots if you haven’t already (just to be safe).  You don’t need to be obvious about checking; as part of foreplay just take a good look at his genital area, and if you see anything out of the ordinary don’t be shy about asking, “What is this?”  Men do sometimes have moles or skin tags even on the penis itself, but if it really is something like that he’s been asked by other girls before and will answer nonchalantly.  If he’s nervous and/or claims not to know what it is, you’ve probably got some kind of symptom on your hands and should NOT proceed, even with a condom; refund everything but your cancellation fee and advise him to see a doctor immediately.

What about kissing?

Kissing has become much more common in the past few years; it can’t be entirely avoided if you want to provide a GFE, which from what I know of your personality seems to be the style that would best suit you.  You won’t mind kissing some clients, and a very few are actually very good kissers; for the rest, one can usually lead most men into the style of kissing one prefers by example, and if a client is just a horrible, sloppy, invasive, tongue-y kisser who won’t be denied just move on to something else, like oral sex.

What were your best methods for figuring out what a client wanted?

Ask; it’s the only dependable way to know for certain.  Generally clients who want a specific thing will ask for it themselves; otherwise, just do what you would do for a boyfriend if you were in a generous mood and wanted to move him inexorably toward orgasm in the shortest possible time without looking as though you were in a hurry.  Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it very quickly, and if you think you’re revealing your inexperience just tell the truth, “I’m pretty new at this”; most men consider that a turn-on.

Are scars a bad thing?

I have several prominent scars on my left forearm, another on my left elbow, a long, thin one on my left knee and innumerable small ones in a number of other places, and I’ve literally never had a complaint; most clients don’t even notice unless they’re doctors, and even then they’ll only ask about it in small talk.  I suspect only large abdominal scars (such as from major surgery) would be an issue for most men.

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