What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word prostitution? When you’re busy in your own little bubble of consciousness and suddenly your mind registers the word being spoken by someone, someone and you swivel your head around and your eyes restlessly search for the individual talking about it.
It’s a dirty word, why is someone mentioning it in their daily conversation? After all, dirty words like these are only meant to be addressed in the privacy of your bedroom when all your friends gather and share their collective stories of fornication and look at various editions of playboy. It is a word people address in conferences where you suit up and carefully style your hair, and knot that tie which feels tight enough for you to keep fidgeting with it giving the impression you’re uncomfortable talking about the word or the meaning itself even if you’re nodding sympathetically when all you want is that shiny, coveted award which one of your friends on the Jury panel have already guaranteed will be in your hands by the end of the day.It is a word you associate with dark alleys and lonely winter nights when you drive over to this specific area you found, and slowly cruise the street for your next business transition because that’s what it is – you try to convince yourself – and you find the one woman you’re looking for. Oops, not a woman, just a business partner whose lips are chapped despite or perhaps because of the cheap lipstick she uses for other business partners like you, but you don’t like thinking of the other business partners do you, preferring to pretend she’s all yours, waiting for you at the alley near the old hotel room you usually take her. The hotel owners are too old and too tired to stop you or judge you, they need the money and you need the relief from the business transaction. It’s the scent of her lotion at the very crook of her neck where you hide your face because you can’t look at hers. It’s you resting for a minute while she pulls on the same dress she wore the last time, and the time before that and the time before that.
What you don’t know, when you sit in your office eight hours every day is that you’re just like her. You sit in a squeaky chair and jump to your feet when your boss walks by hoping to get a word about the new project you heard that sounds like its right up your alley, and alas you too have your own dark alley; the alley which constitutes of you spending all your energy and time in this office and slaving over your keyboard because you have to eat, and someday afford a vacation.You make your prostitution sounds so noble, so elite when really it’s no better than what the sex worker whose perfume you can’t stand does. You stand and drone on and on about the history of the world, the mistakes made by men, and how we still never learn whilst itching to break out of your own skin, this vessel of flesh and bone that require nutrition and luxury. You’ve sold your brains, your thoughts, and your right arm which woefully grades the papers no student bothered to study for. You’ve sold your age, your retirement and look how proud you are how admired and cherished by the chairman of the board who’ll spit on your grave after you’ve died on the operation table to get your hemorrhoids treated because you spent too much time on the chair writing and researching and grading. You sold your entire being away for money and respect and nobility but you’re all the same.
You’re the doctor who threw off his scrubs and felt guiltier about his sister’s wedding than the middle-aged professor you killed on the operating table because your hand slightly slipped and he bled too much, but there was nothing you could have done, nothing at all. She’s getting married this month but have you worked enough hours on the clock to afford the extravagant menu of her reception? You’ve spent every waking minute since your residency in this hospital to be the best, the wealthiest and yet, after the professor there was some sex worker on your table and you turned up your nose. You convince yourself to do it, because your sister likes expensive things.You’re getting married on the winter solstice like you planned from the start and you hope your brother can manage to pay for the salmon you already ordered. You’ve never worked a day in your life, because first daddy, then your brother, and now your husband will provide for you. It will be the same for your children. Your mother is watching a crime report; a sex trafficking ring has been caught and most of the women are sorry they’ll have to leave their jobs. You’re disgusted: how could a woman let strangers touch her, be intimate with her for money? Surely there are other ways of being financially stable. You’re thinking of this until you go back to your bedroom and pull out the lingerie you secretly bought for your wedding night. Your husband will be so pleased with the deep red of the bodice which stands out against your pampered skin. You’ll call him tonight and hope he’s done working the accounts for the old hotel, with the owners who just don’t seem to care about its dilapidated state. You sigh in relief; at least you’re not like the women who have to sell their bodies to make a living.Whereas the sex worker puts on her red matte lipstick and dresses up for the idiot who thinks she is especially for waiting for him whenever he visits. He started paying more and more for every visit out of guilt because he’s getting married soon and will have someone else to paw. He feels bad for cutting off her steady income but she’s not concerned. His co-worker always shows up right after him and he’s much better in bed.
All these people selling themselves one way or the other, all for the same thing.