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Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

The founder and embodiment of Playboy magazine died a week ago today at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles; he was 91.  Love him, hate him or indifferent to him, it’s undeniable that Hefner and his magazine were among the most important driving forces of the sexual revolution and, to a lesser but still important degree, of the popularization of liberal (in the original sense of the word) political ideas such as LGBT rights; in a world where homosexuality was illegal Hef published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man“, and years before Roe v Wade he was bankrolling abortion rights activism.  Naturally, he was despised by narrow-minded feminists who think that a woman can be sexy or intellectual but never both (despite his support of female authors and thinkers), and he was even controversial among sex workers (including yours truly) for his rather odd home life with his playmate “girlfriends”, but by most accounts he was an ethical businessman whose legacy of support for both his contributors and for individual rights would have been more universally lauded had his magazine and life not featured sex in such a central role.

An Enormous Big Nothing

More hysterics who can’t tell the difference between adults and children:

The headline reads Spanish brothel’s “back to school” party sparks outrage in Andalusia.  El Bosque is a legal club de alterne where sex workers drink, dance and chat with customers with the option to retire to private rooms for paid sex.  The party-poster was called an incitement to paedophilia…despite the obvious age of women (and their clothing) in the poster.  The club’s owner removed the posters and cancelled the party…

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported…the…CDC’s…annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report shows that more than 1.6 million of the new cases were from chlamydia, 470,000 were from gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases were primary and secondary syphilis…While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many [amateurs] go undiagnosed and untreated…When you include herpes and more of the dozens of diseases which can be transmitted sexually but which are not tracked, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year.  At least half occur in young [amateurs] ages 15 to 24…

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

Two people were arrested…after using Snapchat to recruit a woman into prostitution…she was contacted in January by [her] friend…Wynter Fowler…[who] told her that she “was pretty and could make a lot of money” if she moved to Las Vegas to work as an exotic dancer and escort…Fowler[‘s]…boyfriend, Ezekiel Gilbert…persuaded [the complainant] to work as a prostitute for him…she said Gilbert threatened her when she tried to quit in February…he…bragged that he “had already gotten away with murder” before…Gilbert [had been previously] arrested in Texas after an escort was shot and killed, but was later acquitted…Police arrested Gilbert and Fowler on Sept. 12…Both were booked…on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…

I can think of several better, less tyrannical things to charge the thoroughly-nasty Gilbert with than simply talking to someone.

So Close and Yet So Far

A good little article despite a truly stupid statement in the third sentence:

I am not a pimp or a trafficker.  I am neither a rape apologist nor someone who excuses violence against women.  I do not believe men have a right to buy sex, or that anyone, of any gender, should be forced to sell sex.  One might have thought these things go without saying, and yet they are examples of some of the vitriol levied at us – those that advocate for the decriminalisation of the sex industry.  In recent weeks…establishment media has provided…an “everywhere-you-turn” kind of platform…to anti-prostitution feminists.  Julie Bindel does, after all, have a new book to publicise. Underpinning the arguments of many anti-prostitution feminists is the idea that the purchase of sex ought to be criminalised and sex workers [cast] as victims of male violence.  They argue we should be doing more to eradicate the sex industry and rescue the sex workers within it…

Of course men have the right to buy sex from someone offering to sell it, just as women (or men) have the right to sell it.  Any claim to the contrary reflects the irrational and authoritarian mindset of a prohibitionist.

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

Scores of sex offenders ordered to live on a secluded island in Washington state say the often-cloudy, brown water there is making them sick…About 200 [inmates] of the Special Commitment Center have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility is…forcing them to drink contaminated water that causes stomach pain and skin rashes and has been blamed for unexplained deaths.  The executive who oversees the center [claims] the water [which he needn’t drink] turns brown…when the pipes are flushed, and…the cloudiness is only an aesthetic effect that causes no harm.  But…Department of Health records shows that the water has repeatedly exceeded standards for various chlorine-related chemicals and has been cited for violations dating back to 2006…a former [treatment] plant operator told health officials in 2015 that the water’s cloudiness readings were being manipulated to make the water look cleaner than it was…The Special Commitment Center [imprisons]…sex offenders…[that] the state convinced a judge…were too dangerous to be released…

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

The Francophone world seems to be in especially deep denial about compensated dating:

Belgian ministers have said they will take legal action in an attempt to force a [sugar dating] website…to remove…adverts near the country’s universities.  Trucks bearing large posters promoting Rich Meet Beautiful…have appeared on the outskirts of campuses in Brussels in recent days…the Norwegian company behind the website says it hopes to recruit 300,000 Belgian registrations by the end of 2018…The site, however, has been accused of encouraging prostitution and playing on the financial insecurity of the young [by offering them an option to get out of financial insecurity.  Two pearl-clutching ministers]…have declared they intend to launch a criminal proceeding against the firm for inciting debauchery and prostitution, and to force the suspension of its campaign on public order grounds…

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

This isn’t “remarkable” or even “unusual”; women have done part-time sex work to supplement meager earnings at least since Roman times:

…after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.  She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch…when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction.  “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad”…Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness…

Under Review (#733)

Escort advertising is already illegal in Ireland, which is why Irish sex workers have such limited advertising options:

The government is being urged [by prohibitionists] to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire…Over 7,000 [ignorant busybodies] have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and [magically] remove the website [despite its being hosted in Spain] and ban others like it [again, but magically this time so the sex rays can’t cross into Irish cyberspace]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Authoritarian idiots will probably keep re-electing this lunatic no matter how much his antics cost them:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd garnered widespread scorn for blathering and boasting on social media, threatening to arrest people with outstanding warrants if they sought public shelter while Hurricane Irma battered Florida…Now Judd has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly denying entry to a man seeking shelter, saying he had to go through a background check first…Judd [doubled down on his moronic rhetoric, claiming the man] wasn’t denied shelter…[but] offered accommodations in jail…

Wise Investment (#775)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

One year later, cases from the Euro Spa sting of June 2016 are still slowly making their way through Seattle’s Municipal Court.  Some men…have pled guilty to “sexual exploitation,” the city’s recently modified term for the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.  Others have requested trials…But one accused john—we’ll call him John—adopted a different legal strategy…John’s lawyer, Bob Goldsmith, filed a motion in July challenging City Attorney Pete Holmes…[who] directed prosecutors to rule out pre-trial diversion…[and] instead…push for guilty pleas that will result in a criminal record…Holmes…[pretends] the policy…will reduce prostitution overall [and imagines that would be a good thing]…Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic on sexual exploitation charges “unusual and illegal”.  While johns are often cast as sexual predators by law enforcement and the media, Khandelwal says the clients her office sees are “incredibly poor and marginalized and caught up in police stings.”  She added, “Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence.  The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons”…

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I’m a young-looking 40-year-old woman in Belgium who worked part-time as a prostitute years ago to pay for my education.  Now, however, I’m suffering from physical disabilities due to two severe auto accidents; these make it difficult to hold down a “normal” job, so I’m thinking of going back to prostitution.  I always liked it; I’m a very sexual person and it made me feel good.  But this time, I don’t want to work for anyone else, but as an independent; I just don’t know how to start.  What do you think?

I think if you still feel comfortable doing the work, there’s no reason for you not to return to it; many women go in and out of sex work at different times in our lives, as our needs change.  Sex work is legal in your country, and the flexible schedule makes it especially good work for women with health issues that would interfere with a “straight” job.  Since as a sex worker one sets one’s own schedule, it’s easy to work around doctor’s appointments & times one knows tend to be problematic; for example, if you hurt more in the morning you can simply refuse morning appointments.  And once you’ve got regulars, you’ll even be able to reschedule appointments if you feel bad that day.  I’m afraid I can’t really give you advice on working in Europe because I never have; however, I’d suggest you search Google for escorts in your city, and that will show you the top local advertising sites.  You might also consult with the sex worker support organizations in your area.  Good luck, both with your health & with returning to work! 

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

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The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness.  –  Daniel J. Boorstin

Though the popular conception of the Victorian Era is that it was a time of very repressive sexual morality, one must never lose sight of the fact that this was only among those of the middle class.  The upper and lower classes were every bit as randy as they had ever been; roughly 8% of the female population of London were prostitutes, and the 19th century saw the third great flowering of courtesans in Europe (the previous two being Golden-Age Greece and 16th-century Venice).  And in the second half of the century the advent of mass communications, rapid transit and the modern financial system made it increasingly possible for strong-willed women like Lola Montez and Mata Hari to capitalize on their sex appeal, attracting wealthy patrons as actresses had since ancient times:  on the stage.

Clara Ward was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 17, 1873; her father was Eber Ward, a millionaire who made his fortune in lumber, mining, steel, shipping and rail.  He died of apoplexy (brain hemorrhage) when Clara was two, and the bulk of his fortune passed to Clara’s mother Catherine (née Lyon), his second wife.  Since she was only 31 (Ward was thirty years her senior) she soon remarried to Alexander Cameron, a Canadian lawyer she met in New York City.  The family moved to Toronto, and at 15 Clara was sent to school in London.  In the autumn of 1889 her mother took her on a tour of Europe in order to find her a noble husband, and in Nice they met Prince Joseph de Caraman-Chimay of Belgium, whom she married in Paris on May 19, 1890.  This sort of arrangement was not unusual at the time; an impoverished European noble married a wealthy (but common) heiress, and she gained a title while he gained a fortune.  It was a mutually beneficial match; Clara became only the second American-born princess (the first was George Washington’s great-grandniece Catherine Gray, who had married Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew), and she paid off her husband’s debts (to the tune of $100,000) and repaired his crumbling chateau (a further $300,000).

Clara bore her husband two children, Marie Elizabeth and Joseph Anatole (in 1891 and 1894 respectively), but this quiet, settled period was not to last long; she was beautiful, voluptuous and inconstant and had attracted the attention of King Leopold II.  As one might expect, the Queen was unhappy about this and the Princess de Caraman-Chimay soon found herself persona non grata in Belgian society.  The Prince therefore moved his family to Paris, where things only got worse; while dining at a fine restaurant, Princess Clara became enamored of the Gypsy violinist, Rigó Jancsi.  After only a few secret trysts she ran away with him in December of 1896, and her husband was granted a divorce on January 19, 1897.  The paparazzi, who had been intrigued by her since her engagement to the Prince was first announced, followed the couple across the continent to Budapest, where a pastry chef named a rich chocolate dessert after Rigó in order to capitalize on the publicity.

Her mother, on the other hand, was deeply ashamed by the press’ attention to her daughter’s escapade and disinherited her; Rigó (whom she married in 1898) had no money, and the divorce court awarded her abandoned husband the children and alimony of $15,000/year (half of her income from her father’s estate).  The Princess (she used the title until she died) had to come up with a way of making large sums of money fast, and like most women throughout history she relied on her sex appeal to do it.  Capitalizing on her notoriety, she contracted with the Folies Bergère and Moulin Rouge to pose on stage wearing skin-tight costumes while Rigó played the violin.  Though she literally did nothing but stand absolutely still (the general term for such a performance is tableau), the novelty, her fame and her beauty attracted sufficient attention for her to take the act on tour, and she made $6800 ($176,000 in 2012 dollars) in Berlin that April.  She modeled for photographers, licensed her image on postcards, and accepted money for “private performances”, which caused frequent and bitter arguments with Rigó; they separated in 1900. Her next husband was Giuseppe “Peppino” Ricciardi, an Italian tourist agent in Paris whom she married in June of 1904 and divorced in 1911.  Her last husband was her chauffeur, Abano Caselato, to whom she was still married when she died of pneumonia at her Italian Villa on December 18th, 1916.

Idylle Princière by Toulouse-Lautrec, depicting Clara and Rigó Jancsi

Like so many courtesans, the Princess died very young (only 43), but unlike most the names of her lovers (other than Leopold II and her four penniless husbands) are completely unknown.  They must have been quite wealthy, though; despite her enormous expenses, steep alimony and lack of visible income after about 1906, she left a fortune of $1,124,935.96 in cash and about $50,000 in real estate (over $23 million in 2012 dollars).  Ironically, her will dated to just after her marriage to Ricciardi and she had never changed it after their divorce, so he inherited a third of her estate (her two children got one-third each).  In a way, she was like the Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian of her time:  a wealthy sex symbol with no discernible talent who parleyed her highly-publicized sex life into a career as a model and “reality star”.

One Year Ago Today

Walking Stereotype Sues Whore” may be the most self-explanatory column title I’ve ever used.

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