Scene4 Magazine: Arthur Meiselman
Arthur Meiselman
Millionaires and Hookers

October 2013

New York State has set up a series of courts to treat prostitutes as victims instead of criminals. "Our clients in these cases are the victims of crimes," said Steven Banks, attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society of New York City. "They've been branded in many cases on their bodies by people treating them as if they are nothing more than property." Which they are... and will remain so, as long as pay-for-sex is a criminal act.

In many countries, prostitution is legal. In many, it is "look-the-other-way" illegal. It's also evident that when prostitution is de-criminalized the crime by-product is virtually eradicated, just as de-criminalizing drugs eliminates the promotion of crime. The American society learned this the hard way before it finally  made its No. 1 drug, alcohol, legal. It still finds it hard to practice what it learned. Pity its roots in Puritan definitions of dirty and clean.

Pay-for-sex is almost as old in human history as the evolution of language. There are literally thousands of writings from ancient texts to contemporary commentary on the acts, commerce, morality and social impact of you get what you pay for, sexually speaking. It's all about sex, isn't it? As someone once said, "everything is 90% about sex and 10% about nothing else."

As this history evolved, a pyramid of classes developed. The broad base comprises the denizens of the street, the saloon, the club, the brothel, the telephone and the internet. At the top are the Courtesans, the Gigolos, the Mistresses and 'Manpanions', and maybe, the Concubines. Each group has its customs, its traditions, practices, rules and cultural brouhahas. Interesting (and titillating). After all, it's a big part of the 90%.

One of the relationships that intrigues me is between the very rich and the "hookers" that they buy. These "johns" (why not "joes" or "irvings"?), these johns (mostly men) can afford and keep the most exotic sexual trophies they can find. Yet many of them pursue the dangerous?, the unknown?, the ping-pong? of pay today gone tomorrow sex. And they generally run after it and catch it in both hooker-legal and illegal countries... with money-talks-impunity, except for non-dudes, the dudeless like Elliot Spitzer who gamed for call-girls in hotel rooms and was hounded out of office as Governor of NY because prostitution was illegal and he broke the law and marriage was sacred and he cheated on his wife. I wonder what the difference is between paying for sex and cheating on one's spouse, and cheating while not paying for sex? Pity the founding of the U.S. in Puritan definitions of dirty and clean.

Now if you have a mind to it, these monumental questions can be explored over the next 30 pages. I don't have a mind to it and Scene4 doesn't have the pages ( well it does, but I'm an ambitiously disinclined editor and you're probably an attention disinclined reader). So let me do a quick summation and you can get back to your x-box.

The millionaire and those 50% below and certainly those above the seven-figure level can do whatever they want. That's an irrefutable historical fact. Are the hookers they pay top dollar for victims or criminals? Are the irvings, sorry, johns criminalizers or victimizers? Is sex good? Is monogamy healthy? Is marriage, gay, straight or otherwise, believable? Are the Christian bible, the Muslim koran, and the Jewish old testament the words of an angry alien in the sky or just the mutterings of disenchanted self-appointed moralizers and meddling printers' apprentices down through the centuries?

I'll take up to 30 pages of answers if you have a mind to it. Pity you if you're a Puritan... 30 pages would never be enough.

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Arthur Meiselman is a playwright, writer and the Editor of Scene4. He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms.
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©2013 Arthur Meiselman
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October 2013

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