March 14, 2008

If it was legal, would you want to be a prostitute?

Megan McArdle's readers insist that her support for legalized prostitution ought to force her to deal with the question whether she'd do the work herself. Her answer — sensible up to a point — is there are plenty of jobs she doesn't want to do. Her post doesn't explore whether we ought to protect young, weak, and economically hard-pressed individuals from doing things that will probably hurt them. The question is how harmful is the work — if you consider what it would be if it were legal? So thinking about whether you would want to do it — when you are not a weak or desperate person — is a decent test of whether it is so harmful that the law should be used to protect people from it. Admittedly, this is only looking at whether the prostitute is harmed by prostitution, but let's focus on that. Would you consider a career in prostitution? Assume reasonable benefits: great pay, excellent health care, a safe, well-run workplace, interesting colleagues. Would you?

ADDED: I reconsider the question in light of butterflies.

106 comments:

ricpic said...

Weak? Desperate? Most prostitutes are bone lazy. That's why they're prostitutes.

JohnTaylor88 said...

Everyone cares about the prostitutes and about their right to choose. Well, what about the johns? If they could choose to get laid by nice, attractive women, they wouldn't need prostitutes. And everyone's ideal prostitute can say no just because. But can you refuse to sell a hamburger to a Chinese guy just because he's Chinese? No. There's antidiscrimination law. And if prostitution is legal, it's commerce like anything else. Everyone cares about the prostitutes, but what about the disabled guy who is trying to escape societal prejudice and just get some poontang? Should prostitutes be able to reinforce societal discrimination and say, "I don't do disabled guys." Or "No Chinese dudes for me." That clearly isn't equal protection of the laws, and it impairs liberty of contract. So the ideal prostitution isn't so ideal if you care about equality. Ugly men, discriminated against men, desperate men have rights, too. If vagina is for sale, it should be for sale to anyone who can pay, and if you don't like it, don't be a prostitute. Consumer welfare, people. The lower the price, the better off we all are. Prostitution lowers the price of genitals (excluding heterosexual male genitals, which are free), and that's a good thing.

John Stodder said...

They asked John Kerry the same question the other day. Speaking to an assembly at a Catholic girls' school, he said, "You know our education, if you make the most of it, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in the Emperor's Club VIP."

ricpic said...

If a Chinese dude does it like a Chinaman the prostitute should get hardship pay.

Trooper York said...

Vivian: That would make you a... lawyer.
Edward Lewis: What makes you think I'm a lawyer?
Vivian: You have that sharp, useless look about you.
(Pretty Woman, 1990)

Meade said...

I wouldn't.

Mainly because I don't think I'd be very good at using my body as a receptacle into which someone else masturbates. Or if the client was female, pretending to personally like her. Basically, I'm squeamish and a terrible liar.

I'd rather be well-paid to take out your garbage, train your dog and children, mow your lawn, and protect you from predators and stopped-up toilets - you know, things for which I can employ my natural talents and receive more than just monetary rewards.

George said...

The question is not whether an individual would wish to be a prostitute, even under the best of circumstances, the question is what would be best for the society?

Amsterdam has legal prostitution.

The result?

It is now a center of the modern slave trade, the euphemistically termed "human trafficking."

"The Netherlands is a primary country of destination for victims of human trafficking. Many of these are led to believe by organized criminals that they are being offered work in hotels or restaurants or in child care and are forced into prostitution with the threat or actual use of violence. Estimates of the number of victims vary from 1000 to 7000 on a yearly basis."

stoqboy said...

Sex is like any sport or game: some people do it for fun, some people do it professionally. Some sports are more dangerous than others, that's a given. For professionals, the more talent you are born with, the more money you'll get. I wouldn't want to be a professional sex worker any more than I would want to be a football player.

Smilin' Jack said...

The only pertinent question is whether the prostitute wants to be a prostitute. It's no one else's business.

former law student said...

McArdle should try it out, like Ehrenreich's Nickled and Dimed, or Steinem's stint as a Playboy Bunny. The stigma of being a prostitute would not attach to her, because she is clearly hooking for journalism. And many things that are legal are still degrading.

Most prostitutes are bone lazy.

I've seen them standing for hours in the cold, wearing hot pants in a Chicago winter. They're no lazier than any other retail worker.

AllenS said...

Ann, you can have me for $5.

chuck b. said...

How often would I have to work, and how much do I get to charge?

Am I a beautiful and/or handsome 22-year-old? Or am I almost 39 with are receding hairline?

More importantly, how big is my dick? Is it really, really big?

I like sex; sex is fun. But, fact is, I do not want to have sex every day. Especially with ugly clients.

And when you say "interesting colleagues"..? Is this the make-believe world, or the one we really live in? Because in real life I usually don't think people in their 20s are very interesting. Especially the messed-up, self-absorbed, abuse survivors who it seems become prostitutes.

John K. said...

The real question is whether it makes a lick of sense to punish people for the ostensible purpose of protecting them. I admit that if you see somebody on his front lawn dousing himself in gasoline in preparation for lighting himself on fire you have the right and even a Christian duty to physically intervene. You may even have the right to then confine him for a period of time and subject him to counseling and the truth that someone cares, for the sole purpose of helping him to get his head on straight and hopefully preventing a repeat attempt in the immediate future. But it makes no sense to then punish him with a jail sentence and a criminal record for his attempted suicide, when the whole purpose of the law is to protect a person from himself.

The same goes for laws prohibiting drug possession and use. Marijuana possession or sale should not be illegal at all, because it is extremely doubtful that it harms users any more than alcohol use and/or abuse (in fact, it seems to me that it's less harmful -- even though I can't stand a marijuana "high" and don't use it myself), and in cases of such doubt the government and individuals have no business intervening with coercion and force.

Heroin and crack addictions are something different. There more analogous to the person setting himself on fire on his front lawn, albeit the self-destruction is generally a slower process. I'm not convinced that even here intervening coercively is justified when weighed against the presumption of individual autonomy, but if it is, all such coercive measures can only be justified to the extent that they are rehabilitative rather than punitive. If you discover that someone is slowly killing himself through a heroin addiction, you just might be justified in confining him for the period of time necessary for him to detox and have a chance of cleaning his life up, and that period of time only (while making every effort to maintain his privacy -- which precludes, of course, a criminal record).

I see prostitution as harmful enough to those who practice it to arguably warrant similar measures. But I don't see any warrant whatsoever for the state to make the leap from attempted rehabilitation to punishment, or to tar the person with a criminal record. Obviously, the criminal record will make it that much harder for the prostitute to ever get a real job and get out of that life.

Pimping or hiring prostitutes or drug dealing are of course a bit different, because such persons can be seen as victimizers rather than victims. Selling addictive drugs to minors or hiring or pimping minor prostitutes are certainly major crimes. But in other cases, where the victimization is not so obvious and the transactions are apparently voluntary, the presumption again should be against coercion -- and if we nevertheless feel the need to exercise coercion, such coercion can only be justified on rehabilitative rather than punitive grounds, without tarring the person with a criminal record.

Tim said...

As a straight guy, I'm unqualified to answer the question, as I don't think there is much demand among straight women for male prostitutes. But if there were, I'd think I'd answer no - but I don't know what I would have answered 30 years ago...

Regardless, the real issue underlying the legalizing of prostitution isn't about the prostitute - it's about immunizing male customers from the legal and social ramifications of using prostitutes, i.e., making prostitution "safe and sane" for men. All the other side issues raised by the legalizing advocates, such as safety, health, and tax revenues resulting from legalization are mere window dressing.

Doyle said...

I'm not actually going to go read Megan McArdle's ruminations on prostitution as a career path, but I will say that she'd surely be better at that than she is at punditry.

Meade said...

Ann, you can have me for $5."

Wow! That's a an impressively deep discount for a high-class call boy like AllenS!

AllenS said...

Meade--

I'll even supply the beer.

Meade said...

Whatever the market will beer, bro.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

If prostitution were legal in this country, would there be a man left with five bucks in his pocket?

I've always felt that the ban was to make sure the women didn't wind up with ALL the cash.

I also must admit- I visited a Chinese whorehouse one time.

An hour later I was horny again- go figure.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

As to my urge to be a prostitute, if it were a legal career, does this include also that it would be a moral option?

I myself have less trouble doing illegal things, than I do immoral ones.

Jean S said...

Isn't it amazing that majority of replies are from males who haven't got a clue what it means to sell your body/soul to another. They think sex is playtime for women. While it may be true for a finite few, women generally attach the act of sex to a relationship they hope will lead to partnership and longterm commitment. Most of these gentlemen are thinking with their appendages and about their own selfish short-lived euphorias - not about what's best for another human being. Having to share your body with multiple nameless and potentially dangerous individuals seems like the ultimate in degradation.

TMink said...

stoqboy wrote: "Sex is like any sport or game:"

I disagree. Playing Go Fish with my children is nothing like sex with my wife. Avoiding all the wonderful material for jokes in that statement (I leave that to those who post after me, have at it!) I am talking about how each affects our brain.

Our brain lights up like a Christmas tree when we have sex. It is a HUGE neurological event. Because of that, it changes us. We are different afterwards, for better or worse.

We ignore that in our culture, only the religious really consider sex as more than a physical act. But even an atheist who considers the neurological implications of sex should consider the event with more reverence and respect.

As far as our most important organ (see the above parenthetical admonition) we should consider the brain implications for all our choices. The more the choice affects our brain, the more carefully we should make our choice. So sex should be one of the most careful choices we make in our lives.

Trey

TMink said...

And I never thought of prostitutes as lazy as much as I thought of them as addicts of sexual abuse victims.

Trey

MadisonMan said...

women generally attach the act of sex to a relationship they hope will lead to partnership and longterm commitment.

I doubt this statement applies to successful prostitutes.

Trooper York said...

"I disagree. Playing Go Fish with my children is nothing like sex with my wife."

Too easy, dude, too easy. I feel like Billy Crystal and I don't want to embarrass myself by fouling off the softball.

Trooper York said...

"women generally attach the act of sex to a relationship they hope will lead to partnership and longterm commitment"
(Wikipedia under definition of strings)

Chip Ahoy said...

Would you consider a career in prostitution?

Consider? Yes, I'd consider it, in the same fashion I'd consider any kind of working for another person as a form of prostitution.

Specifically, in America, with its mores as they're currently constructed, with its laws as they're presently construed, to answer the question directly, no.

That word, "prostitution," I don't much care for it. I suppose I'm Libertarian after all, and see no need to demonize or criminalize either hustler or john.

essaybee said...

Would there be OSHA-approved condoms and other, um, equipment? An ergonomics expert to advise on positions to prevent carnal tunnel syndrome? Disability insurance to cover time off while treating an STD? Permanent disability if you get hep or hiv?

The administrative costs would make all hookers as expensive as you-know-who's.

Meade said...

"The administrative costs would make all hookers as expensive as you-know-who's."

as politicians?

madawaskan said...

George-

Good damn point.

Hit them with some reality. We use to have Navy liaisons from the Netherlands come down to Key West and they hated what had become or happened to their city.

But it's always held up as some "ideal" isn't it?

howzerdo said...

No.

Smilin' Jack said...

They think sex is playtime for women. While it may be true for a finite few, women generally attach the act of sex to a relationship they hope will lead to partnership and longterm commitment.

If you're having sex for any other reason than sex, you are a prostitute.

Meade said...

jean s said...
"Isn't it amazing that majority of replies are from males who haven't got a clue what it means to sell your body/soul to another"

That isn't true. Most of us have been married: Clue #1. Some, more than once: Clue #2, 3...

Hoosier Daddy said...

Kirstin stated that she went into prostitution for financial hardships which came as a shock to me as I understood it was due to financial hardships that most people joined the military and get stuck in Iraq .

Middle Class Guy said...

essaybee said...
Would there be OSHA-approved condoms and other, um, equipment? An ergonomics expert to advise on positions to prevent carnal tunnel syndrome? Disability insurance to cover time off while treating an STD? Permanent disability if you get hep or hiv?

The administrative costs would make all hookers as expensive as you-know-who's.



How about Social Security Disability for loss of libido?

TMink said...

Trooper! You are letting me down man! I specifically had you in mind when I invited the humorous comments! I was counting on you to knock the cover off the ball!

I know you can do it! Billy may swing at air, but you are a MUCH better commenter than he is a batter.

Let me supply the crowd chant to get you in the mood.
Trooper, Trooper, Trooper!

Trey

Trooper York said...

"I disagree. Playing Go Fish with my children is nothing like sex with my wife."

That's like Texas Hold 'EM.

Trooper York said...

"I disagree. Playing Go Fish with my children is nothing like sex with my wife."

Although my wife loves to yell GO FISH at a certain time in the festivities. And if I don't GO FISH I won't get the deal back.

Trooper York said...

"I disagree. Playing Go Fish with my children is nothing like sex with my wife."

Of course when I hang out with Titus it's Texas Hold 'EM with Queens are better to open.

Meade said...

All in?

George said...

Just how much abuse will you be able to take? Well, there's no way to tell by that first kiss.
What's a sweetheart like you doin' in a dump like this? You know you can make a name for yourself. You can hear them tires squeal. You can be known as the most beautiful woman who ever crawled across cut glass to make a deal.

"Sweetheart Like You"
Bob Dylan

ricpic said...

"If you're having sex for any other reason than sex, you are a prostitute."

1) Sometimes I have sex because it helps me fall asleep (after, not during). That makes me a prostitute?

2) A woman I once was pleasuring magnificently (in my not so humble opinion) couldn't stop sneaking peeks at the TV, during the act. For that she was a prostitute? Rude, yes. Honest, perhaps. But a prostitute?

Trooper York said...

Det. William Moreland: You seem awfully happy today.
Det. McNulty : I got laid last night.
Det. William Moreland: Oh yeah? Your asshole still hurt?
(The Wire, 2006)

Revenant said...

If a woman offered me $1000 an hour for sex, my only thought would be "ok, so what's the catch?"

Jim said...

I'm so sick of giving it away.

Meade said...

my only thought would be "ok, so what's the catch?"

crabs?

Revenant said...

Isn't it amazing that majority of replies are from males who haven't got a clue what it means to sell your body/soul to another

Unless you're a current or former prostitute, neither do you. What we do know is what kind of emotional attachment we place on sex. In many (most, in my opinion) cases that's "little or none".

That doesn't mean that sex with emotional attachment isn't nicer, of course. Just about everything is nicer with emotional attachment. I enjoy amateur home improvement because I feel invested in my home -- but I'd happily work on a home I don't care about if you paid me enough to do it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"If you're having sex for any other reason than sex, you are a prostitute."

Not necessarily. If you are having sex with your spouse, even if you aren't especially in the mood, you are doing it for love and that you care for your spouse's well being and happiness more than your own at that particular time. Also the realization that sometimes he might not be exactly in the mood either. Also to realize that sometimes the best way to get into the mood is to just go for it. It's part of a giving and loving relationship.

But Jean is right. Most women don't look on sex as a business but have more emotional personal feelings about the act. The idea of multiple partners that are complete strangers and who might be diseased or dangerous definitely isn't a mood enhancer or an attractive career for me.

I think the long term effort to have a mental disconnection from your feelings and your actions as a prostitute is probably one of the more damaging side effects of the job.

ricpic said...

I'm so sick of giving it away.

We have a winner!

cold pizza said...

"Playing Go Fish with my children is nothing like sex with my wife."

She likes Chutes And Ladders and I like Candyland. Sometime we play Twister, other times it's all Solitaire.

Are we playing for points, or what?

In Go Fish, I let my children win. In sex, I let my partner beat me.

Flipping coins, she gets ahead, I get tails. -cp

Revenant said...

"my only thought would be "ok, so what's the catch?"

crabs?

I'm willing to risk catching something in order to have sex for free. Why wouldn't I risk it for a thousand bucks?

Michael_H said...

Prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada. Some eager journalist (or blogger) should spend time (and probably money, because time IS money) interviewing the prostitutes for their side of the story.

MadisonMan said...

ricpic, what was on TV?

Anthony said...

Like revenent said, most men would think it was Christmas morning if they were to be paid to have sex.

The mechanics don't pan out really well for men though. If you look at the porn industry, there are thousands of females working, but only a relatively few men. Most men just can't hack the performance requirements (i.e., not just well hung but able to control it). Besides, most women and gay men can easily get it for free whenever they want.

We hetero males are the REAL victims here!

Trooper York said...

I bet it was the Dick Van Dyke show.

Sherman H. McCoy said...

And what about PORN? Being a paid participant in a porn movie is legal, at least in California, and it's nearly as undesirable an occupation as being a prostitute.

Interestingly, Cal/OSHA has taken some action in recent years to try to enforce workplace health and safety regulations on porn shoots. They haven't gotten very far though.

What's the difference between porn and prostitution? Don't you think it might have to do with the idea that the prostitutes are poor defenseless creatures incapable of making choices... because they are WOMEN! And isn't that degrading???

There are plenty of male prostitutes- search craigslist for it and see for yourself. But nobody's making a noise for them.

Kirby Olson said...

The hardest job of all would be police officer -- very dangerous profession. But I think it should still be legal to be a police officer although I would never want to be one.

Anthony said...

I am an attorney -- I made the decision to become a prostitute a long time ago.

caplight777 said...

Ann

Since you are in NYC these days can you tell us what the Spitzer buzz is there among the locals?

Lawgiver said...

I would definitely consider being a prostitute but only under certain conditions;

4K a pop, minimum.

Clientèle must be pre-approved A list actresses under the ago of 40. Models and former Miss Americas accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Jennifer Aniston would have to be my pimp.

I am, after all, a prostitute with standards.

Henry said...

So thinking about whether you would want to do it — when you are not a weak or desperate person — is a decent test of whether it is so harmful that the law should be used to protect people from it.

I don't think this is a very meaningful test, being completely subjective, plus a huge umbrella for crushing all manner of human initiative. There's a lot of things weak and desperate people shouldn't do.

Weak and desperate people shouldn't become Governor of New York State, for example. Only strong and humble people should.

At the other end of the opportunity spectrum, weak and desperate people shouldn't try to become pop musicians, a career that kills or corrupts even its talented practitioners.

Remember Ashley Alexandra Dupré's other job?

rishigajria said...

"Assume reasonable benefits: great pay, excellent health care, a safe, well-run workplace, interesting colleagues. Would you?"

As long as I was serving ladies, Definitely :)

rhhardin said...

The problem of mendacity in whores (Imus)

Middle Class Guy said...

Speaking of prostitution,
The NY Post has pics of the whore the Luv Guv was banging. She has some serious tattoos.

NY Post Photos


So, now we know. Idiot Putzer had a fascination with the tattooed lady in his youth and always wanted to bang a lady with tattoos.

Silda absolutely refused to get tattooed to pleas her man, so he did what any red blooded American man with more money than brains does. He sought a tattooed whore to bang.

somefeller said...

Would you consider a career in prostitution? Assume reasonable benefits: great pay, excellent health care, a safe, well-run workplace, interesting colleagues. Would you?

I might have considered such a career until I saw the harsh workings of that profession in the classic film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Bracing stuff, and not for the faint of heart.

Freeman Hunt said...

Would you consider a career in prostitution?

WTF? No.

I am a straight female under thirty. I think my answer would be overwhelmingly common among my population subset.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, you can have me for $5."

If I were paying for sex, I would need to pay at least $800... or I would feel cheap.

ricpic said...

How would I know what was on the TV. I was totally involved in the sex. I'm no prostitute!

former law student said...

well, I studied those pictures of Ashley for a looooooooooong time, and her tattoos are in no way remarkable for a woman her age. A cross, an arm bracelet, and a dragon on her shoulderblade. I thought from the discussion here she would have a sleeve, at least.

Like revenent said, most men would think it was Christmas morning if they were to be paid to have sex.

Remember teh sign in the whorehouse, however: The Customer Always Comes First.

And if your partner's sneaking peeks at the TV, whatever you're doing isn't all that it could be.

Trooper York said...

Some women just really love Oprah!

Freeman Hunt said...

Putting aside the not inconsiderable moral implications, prostitution is a bad deal economically.

Most women will, at some point, want to marry and start families. In pursuit of this, they will want to secure the most desirable mates possible.

Any advantages they have that would allow them to be highly paid prostitutes; such as youth, beauty, good conversational skills, etc.; would also be advantages in securing especially desirable mates.

Being a former prostitute, however, is likely to be an extraordinary disadvantage in securing a desirable mate as most men will find this trait highly undesirable. It may even be the case, generally, that the more desirable the mate, the more undesirable that mate will find former involvement in prostitution to be.

So for a few years of highly paid prostitution, the prostitute loses an enormous amount of market value in securing someone who may be her mate for the next fifty or more years and who will, therefore, be highly determinate in her financial, emotional, intellectual, and familial well being.

In short, don't be a ho if you don't want to marry a schmo.

Trooper York said...

Mrs. Donald Trump.

Trooper York said...

Heather Mills McCartney.

Steven said...

Two words: Fred Garvin

Trooper York said...

Kevin Federline

ricpic said...

My population subset is barely hanging on.

Elliott A said...

If prostitution were legal and we make the assumption for arguments sake that there is no risk of disease or pregnancy, there would not be many more prostitutes than there are now. Almost all have been sexually abused as youngsters. Most are already living in the shadows when some pimp (boyfriend) gets them into the business. Most women with other options go for the MRS degree if what they want from men is money.

The compounded emotional scars for these women make it impossible for them to ever have a real relationship. Sex would certainly not ever be free of flashbacks to all the gross men they had to endure.

Revenant said...

Any advantages they have that would allow them to be highly paid prostitutes; such as youth, beauty, good conversational skills, etc.; would also be advantages in securing especially desirable mates.

Sure. But take the lady in question. She's definitely attractive, but she's no supermodel and she's got no education. Let's throw some numbers out there -- $1000/hour, let's say for 250 hours a year. Assuming she gets to keep half that's a $125,000 salary for little work, or about $100,000 per year more than she could realistically be making at a "normal" job. If she lasts five years that's half a million bucks (pre-tax) over and above what she'd otherwise be making.

Even if a past as a call girl made it impossible for a girl to marry a decent guy (and it by no means does), do you really think she's giving up half a million dollars (plus interest) of future benefits? I seriously doubt it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Even if a past as a call girl made it impossible for a girl to marry a decent guy (and it by no means does), do you really think she's giving up half a million dollars (plus interest) of future benefits? I seriously doubt it.

Easily. That sort of money could easily be made up quickly in a marriage to a small business owner with education similar to her own. By her being a former prostitute, how many of those small business owners will now be closed off to her as potential mates? Most, I would guess.

Trooper York said...

Nicole Brown Simpson.

Trooper York said...

Denise Richards.

Trooper York said...

Princess Diana.

Trooper York said...

Tori Spelling husband whose name I don't remember.

ricpic said...

Streisand's husband. Yikes! does he ever earn it.

Cedarford said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Ann, you can have me for $5."

If I were paying for sex, I would need to pay at least $800... or I would feel cheap.


Ann, I offer myself at a bid price 1 dollar above what you were paid to eat an egg salad sandwhich.

That way you would not feel cheap, I would get at least a tank of gas out of it and have the dignity of knowing I matter more than an egg salad sandwich commercial business transaction , when assessing my worth....

Trooper York said...

Horton has a Ho.

Hoosier Daddy said...

By her being a former prostitute, how many of those small business owners will now be closed off to her as potential mates? Most, I would guess.

That of course is assuming that small business owner knows she was a prostitute. How many would fess up to a potential partner about their sordid past? Few I would guess.

Freeman Hunt said...

How many would fess up to a potential partner about their sordid past?

And then she's really in a bind. Not only does she has to live with a huge lie of omission, which may impinge considerably on her personal contentment, she may be found out at some point. Yow! Even if this does not lead to the dissolution of her relationship, it may drastically affect the power balance therein and instigate considerable strife.

Meade said...

Snow White and the Seven High Whorers

David said...

I would consider it, but the demand for 64 year old guys may be pretty low. I'm in shape, though, and still have all my hair.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Easily. That sort of money could easily be made up quickly in a marriage to a small business owner with education similar to her own.

Freeman, I think you're overestimating the wondrousness of the ladies in question.

Call girls make good money not because they are amazing goddesses of sex and beauty, but because the pool of women who are (a) not overtly crazy and/or drugged out, (b) attractive, and (c) willing to have sex for money is small. The pool of women comprising (a) and (b) by themselves, however, is huge. The overwhelming majority of women don't manage to marry that far above their own socio-economic status unless they have something that really sets them apart from the pack. These women don't, for the most part. They're good-looking but that doesn't get you THAT far in life.

Being a call girl is like being a sewer worker. Sewer workers make good money not because they are smart or skilled or otherwise attractive, but because they're doing a job very, very few people want to do. If they quit being sewer workers the most likely result would be a sharp decline in their earnings potential unless they went out and got a similarly unpleasant and/or dangerous job.

I would also point out, regarding your small business owner idea, that that really only works if the woman marries a much older man. Otherwise she has to either date men her own age that she HOPES will one day be successful -- or wait until later in life, when her own looks have faded, and marry a guy in his 40s or 50s who has really made it. Even then, I'm highly skeptical that she'd come out ahead.

Meade said...

Some say Hillary is a high class monster; others say she's just a common horror.

Revenant said...

How many would fess up to a potential partner about their sordid past? Few I would guess.

I wonder what percentage of guys actually freak out about that kind of thing, especially if it ended years before the relationship began. I can't think of any reason why I would, but then I'm part of the minority that genuinely doesn't see anything the least bit morally wrong about prostitution. Would most guys really reject a woman they loved because she used to have sex for money?

Freeman Hunt said...

They're good-looking but that doesn't get you THAT far in life.

I'd say that's open to debate.

I would also point out, regarding your small business owner idea, that that really only works if the woman marries a much older man.

Is ten years much older? I don't think that's much of an age gap once people have reached adulthood.

I'd also say that you're only looking at the monetary return rather than the total economic package which includes other things such as stable home, secure marriage, children, equal power within the marital relationship, etc. You're "buying" a lot of things when you marry (earning power of your mate being only a small part), and since you hope you're "buying" these things for life, your best bet is to buy the very best you can. To do so you must maximize your value in the "market." I still say that being a former prostitute is a HUGE depreciation to one's value within the marriage market and not offset by whatever portion of half a million dollars one would go without (assuming your half a million dollars estimate is accurate which I think it very well may not be as much of that money will go to the "madame" and $1000 an hour is an unlikely fee to command besides).

TMink said...

Oh my those were good! Worth the wait.

Trey

TMink said...

Elliot wrote: "The compounded emotional scars for these women make it impossible for them to ever have a real relationship. Sex would certainly not ever be free of flashbacks to all the gross men they had to endure."

Good point, exactly what I was thinking. Unless the scars preceede the profession. The dissociation during sex would insulate them.

Trey

Revenant said...

I'd also say that you're only looking at the monetary return rather than the total economic package which includes other things such as stable home, secure marriage, children, equal power within the marital relationship, etc.

Don't forget the other side of the scales -- the freedom and self-sufficiency that comes from being single and independently well-off. The reason I'm not balancing those things against one another is that different people weight them differently. Money is something with a definite value.

Besides, are we talking about the woman marrying for love, or for money? If she marries for love then she not only has to find a successful businessman who is willing to marry her -- she has to fall in love with him, too. And we don't get to pick who we fall in love with. What if she falls in love with some pothead who works at Subway, instead?

If she marries for the money, on the other hand, then we're just talking about another kind of prostitution and comparing the benefits and costs. 1000 hours of prostitution versus 250,000 waking hours of loveless marriage; which is the better bet? It doesn't seem like either option gives stability, equality, or any of the rest of that stuff, although I guess you could have kids if you didn't mind them growing up in a dysfunctional home.

One final note: don't forget to consider that a woman who is appealing as a prostitute isn't necessarily appealing as a wife, at least not to the kind of guys a woman would want a relationship with. Suppose the woman is not just poor and uneducated, but also chock full o' Issues? Personally I'd rather be rich, uneducated, and chock full o' Issues. :)

I think it very well may not be as much of that money will go to the "madame" and $1000 an hour is an unlikely fee to command besides)

I assumed that half of it went to the house. I doubt it is more than that, since independent escorts can easily command $300-$400 an hour and get to keep all of it (although they run a higher risk of arrest or mishap). Also note that the half-million figure assumed a mere 4 hours of work per week, 50 weeks a year, for 5 years. It also excludes tips, which are common. It could be that all of the $1000 went to the house and any actual sex acts were negotiated for tips, but that seems unlikely in this case since we know Spitzer tried to negotiate up front for bareback sex.

titusgrandjete said...

I hope I would never be desperate enough to be a hooker.

I am getting too old too so I probably couldn't do it.

Also, I could never do it with ugly guys, no matter for how much money.

I have though, in my past, jerked off on, pissed on, and let suck me for money. Only like 100-200 bucks so I feel like I gave them a good deal.

If I guy offered me say 10,000 I would do it with them if they were not horrible.

No kissing though.

howzerdo said...

caplight777: Not Ann & not in NYC, so FWIW: here in the state capital the buzz is "good riddance" even among his formerly ardent supporters, plus "ewww," a feeling of how surreal it all is, plus a touch of sadness. Also something surprising among those ardent supporters - many seem almost relieved, and are confessing how hard he was to deal with.

Jacob said...

By her being a former prostitute, how many of those small business owners will now be closed off to her as potential mates? Most, I would guess.
Meghan O'Sullivan and Patrick O'Brien were getting married, but something was troubling her. "I have a secret to confess to you," she said to Patrick, "Back when times were hard I had to turn prostitute to survive."
Patrick's face darkened with rage, "What! We can never be married!"
The tears started flowing down Meghan's cheeks, "Oh Patrick, we can never be together because I was a little bit of a whore."
"Oh!" Patrick exclaimed, "No, that's no problem at all. I thought you said protestant!"

amba said...

If they could choose to get laid by nice, attractive women, they wouldn't need prostitutes.

JohnTaylor88: You think Eliot Spitzer couldn't choose to get laid by nice, attractive women?

Prostitutes are not just some kind of surrogate service for the laide unlaid. They're a sink for the excess of male sexual drive, and they're also providers of ideal fantasy get-offs with nothing but money -- no reciprocity, responsibility, intimacy -- expected in return. They create a stylized sexual ideal that has little to do with women's nature and everything to do with a particular, trained version of men's, which, like pornography, drains the possibility of eros out of actual encounters with real people. And, given the fabled excess of male sexual drive, it isn't going away.

amba said...

"carnal tunnel syndrome" - LOL! (In reality, it's what used to be called "honeymoon cystitis" and it's no joke!)

Mortimer Brezny said...

They're a sink for the excess of male sexual drive, and they're also providers of ideal fantasy get-offs with nothing but money -- no reciprocity, responsibility, intimacy -- expected in return.

McDonald's franchises are sinks for the excess of human hunger drive, and they're also providers of ideal fantasy meals with nothing but money -- no reciprocity, responsibility, nutrition -- expected in return. They create a stylized gastronomic ideal that has little to do with cuisine's nature and everything to do with a particular, trained version of gluttony's, which, like candy, drains the possibility of refinement out of actual encounters with acquired tastes.

Snob.

Freeman Hunt said...

The reason I'm not balancing those things against one another is that different people weight them differently. Money is something with a definite value.

But they are still extremely valuable parts of the economic packages. People may weigh them differently, but we can make some judgments based on behavior as to how populations weigh them. I would argue that given the behavior of women under thirty as a population, they place greater value on relationships than on establishing themselves as independently wealthy.

Also, the woman is living off of the money that she makes, unless you're arguing that she's likely to save most of it. Given the behavior of most young people, I find that extremely unlikely. In fact, I find it likely that most of the women will probably blow through the money and have nothing to show for it aside from maybe some very nice clothes and a sporty car.

Unless you believe we are to imagine that these women have no education, would be bad at choosing marital partners, but are financially savvy enough to save their money, invest it, and become independently wealthy.

You're also assuming that I'm saying she has to marry for money to come out ahead. That is simply not the case. I'm saying that she'll come out ahead if she has the largest possible dating pool available to her and that that dating pool will be severely limited if she has been a prostitute in the past. I would also point back to the fact that money is only a small part of the marital package.

I also don't agree with this:

And we don't get to pick who we fall in love with.

We may not be able to fall in love with anyone of our choosing, but I think we have a great deal of control over NOT falling in love. I think you can actually choose not to fall in love with the jerk, the unstable guy, the addict, etc.

Suppose the woman is not just poor and uneducated, but also chock full o' Issues? Personally I'd rather be rich, uneducated, and chock full o' Issues. :)

Heh. I'll give you that. :)

Though I wonder that being a "sink for the excess of male sexual drive" (amba) might make those issues even worse...

Simon Kenton said...

Ms Hunt wrote:

"In fact, I find it likely that most of the women will probably blow through the money and have nothing to show for it aside from maybe some very nice clothes and a sporty car."

Yes. The novelist John Ross was for an interval the financial planner for some 'strippers.' Huge opportunities for saving and investment from a pure cash business, all off the books. None of them could keep their hands off their savings for more than a year or a year and a half. See www.john-ross.net (and apologies for the top-link; don't have time to pull up the post).