August 9, 1990


Judah, seeing her, took her for a prostitute, since her face was veiled. Going up to her on the road, he said, "Come, let me sleep with you." He did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

Genesis :38

I have heard that George Bernard Shaw once asked a woman if she would go to bed with a man for 1,000 pounds. She said that she thought that she would. Shaw then asked whether she would do it for two pounds.

"What do you think I am?" she said.

"We've already determined that," he replied; "now we're haggling over the price."

I think that prostitutes have gotten a bum rap. Not that I approve of prostitution, but I think that , compared to other occupations, it's nowhere near as bad as it has been painted. If it weren't for some deadly diseases, it might not be a social problem, but a social solution.

But, to sell your body?? --Nonsense! A prostitute doesn't sell her body, she rents it out; and so does a football player, a dancer, a ditch digger, an actor and on and on.

Price is often a major factor in evaluating whether the act is socially acceptable. When I was young, the worst thing that you could say about a girl was that she was a two-bit whore. A prostitute renting for $100 a night was in a different class, and a woman who married for money was considered respectable and often enviable.

A woman who beds men of wealth and power is called a courtesan (from the royal court). It always struck me as strange that I never heard a disparaging remark about JFK's bedding of Marilyn Monroe and vice versa. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then perhaps money and power are a boy's best friend --with which he can buy the diamonds to rent the girl.

I think that at the root of some of the resentment of the prostitute is envy. There aren't many men who are attractive enough, or good enough lovers, to get paid for it. If there were, there might be as many male prostitutes as female. I ask you guys, would you do work for a living if you could get paid for doing pleasure? --Come on! Honestly?

Many people realize that it is better to work for fun rather than money, and choose occupations which seem to them to be fun, such as music, art or science. These people play, rather than work, at their jobs. They have fun and get paid for it.

I suspect that after a time sex isn't as pleasurable to a prostitute as it used to be and it becomes just another job; while music, art and science can become more fun as you get better at it.

Among the Hausa of Nigeria, prostitutes are considered to make the best wives. As a consequence, many women alternate between being wives and having careers as prostitutes. It seems to work; except, of course for the major problem of venereal diseases including AIDS.

Some woman go into prostitution for both fun and profit; others because it seems like an easy way to earn a living, while others do it out of necessity; it's the only thing that they can trade for sustenance. Those who are forced into prostitution for economic reasons are hardly to be censured for wanting to stay alive. Pitied, yes; censured, no! There are parts of the world where it is literally whore or starve if you happen to have been born a member of the lower class. Now, the most popular inducement to prostitution is drugs.

The worst rap that I can pin on a lady of the night is lack of foresight, which most of us are guilty of when we're young.

Hookers have never had much appeal for me. For one thing, the thought of saying "It's been a business doing pleasure with you" turns me off. Now, some of the famous courtesans of history might be another story. But, as Samuel Hoffenstein wrote:

In rooms too small for leaping

Such lads as I are laid,

While richer boys are keeping

The girls that do not fade.

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