"... there are occasional prostitutes, and sometimes they're top models who try to make ends meet. They aren't miserable women on the sidewalk."
That's a quote from a guy named Hubert Delarue, a lawyer for one of the men allegedly involved in the prostitution ring that catered to the sex parties attended by alleged rapist and former French International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or DSK if you prefer using his sexier-sounding initials; you know, like OJ.
This casual assertion--which aims to differentiate between streetwalkers and women who occasionally charge for sex when they can no longer afford trips to the hairdresser--leapt off the page as I read a recent New York Times article on DSK's attempt to define himself as a victim badgered for being lustful, which he contends is not a crime.
A friend of mine once lived the life, both on the streets with a pimp and as a highly paid escort. With persistence and determination she managed to escape from the trenches, and according to her, the one and only reason women ever go into this line of work is because they have "zero self-esteem." But there are binders full of idiotic men out there who will argue with you that, although this may be true for some or maybe even most sex workers, they have proof that many women do it because they really, really love sex. Everyone has a story about a very sexual roommate or friend who found a way to make money out of something they love. It's true! they will tell you, It's true!
Repeat after me, idiots, a woman who charges you for sex is not doing it because you're such an enjoyable fat guy (or fit guy, for that matter). There are nymphomaniacs in the world, that's for sure. But you do know the definition of the word, don't you? Inordinate sexual desire in a female. Inordinate, as in exceeding normal bounds. Women do not aspire to become nymphomaniacs. If they are, they usually consider it a dysfunction. So, just to be clear, a prostitute is not a nymphomaniac. If a prostitute convinces herself--and you--that she sells herself because she so enjoys sex, when she is ready to face the truth, she will admit that charging for sex to earn a living makes her feel like shit.
Still, for many, it is a living; and a woman should be able to do as she pleases with her body. Like abortion, prostitution should be safe and legal; but that doesn't make you, the john, a stud. And if you, Mr. John, have talked yourself into believing that there is a difference between the woman who sells her body on the street and the woman at a chic party who charges you 50 times what the streetwalker would, sorry, they are one side of the same coin. And one more thing, if you somehow feel superior to a prostitute--maybe because you're paying her--make no mistake about it, you and she are on a level playing field: two equal partners involved in one transaction neither one of you is likely to write home about.
According to my friend, she was finally able to leave the life with the help of a wonderful organization called The Mary Magdalene Project, which aims to assist women "who are victimized by domestic trafficking and street prostitution permanently exit the lifestyle." Listening to her, it sounded like leaving prostitution was every bit as difficult as being a former drug addict and staying sober. For a lot of reasons, it turns out that for recovering prostitutes, the recidivism rate is high. Sounds like alcoholism. Maybe we should call it a disease?
To many (and possibly to many prostitutes), this will sound extreme. But I have an urgent need to make my point because of the closing paragraph from that same NYT article:
"...two French entrepreneurs are promoting a saffron-flavored soda to mix for cocktails at fashionable Paris bars. They are branding it as an aphrodisiac with a memorable label: Mr. Strauss-Kahn's initials, DSK."
Something's got to be done. Binders full of idiots are on the loose.