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Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Economics of Prostitution

An interesting thing occurred to me through the alcoholic haze tonight:

Proposition 1: There are more women who are willing to have sex for free (given creative control over the partner) than there are women who are willing to have sex for money (even given the same control.)

This is a very simple observation, but just in case the sterling logic of my steel-trap like drunken mind was off, I asked one girl and one guy who reluctantly agreed to pretend he was a girl about it. The results were: 2 out of 2 "girls" would be meaningfully less likely to engage in sexual congress if offered money. Many women would be insulted if a potential suiter requested sex for a sum in excess of $25 but not more than $50. However, that same woman would be amenable to talking to the aforementioned suiter while he plies her with fermented grains for a couple hours, and if he meets certain specifications, would sleep with him for free. This strikes me as an excessively silly system.

I mean, I understand all the "arguments" about how overt payment implies commodification which is degrading. But seriously, who are you kidding? The same objectification happens, in effect, and on a more profound level - there's just economic inefficiency in the transaction. If two people are going to use one another for physical enjoyment, there's already some objectifying going down. And girl who goes to the bar in that skimpy ass black dress - do you really think the guy gives a damn what you do for a living? He's wearing patchouli. He's probably a grad student at American University. He makes spare money working as a dog walker. This is not a transcendant experience.

The real issue is that I think women do this intentionally. All of the "dignity" bullshit is just there as cover. What's really going on is market manipulation and unfair trading practice. Women are a goddamn cartel - by not directly admitting that they are selling a product, they can drive prices up. A lack of market transparency allows the stifling of competition. Moreover, since one of the major costs under the current system is time - that is, bars get busy at around 10 and close at around 2 - after talking to a woman for a period of, say, 20 minutes, already there's a huge sunk cost to be considered. The negociation process is unfair since the male is at progressively more of a disadvantage from a resource and cost perspective. If guys were grouped into classes (say, Class A through Class G) based on their general desirability, and then a pricing scheme could be worked up, the entire hookup scene would be streamlined and would save millions, nay, billions each year.

An ancillary effect would almost certainly be a corresponding drop in the price of alcohol. As it stands, alcohol in bars is basically a form of currency. It's like if casual sex were a product that were only sold in, like, Samoa and when you got there you only have dollars, and the locals are like, 'No, need Samoabux*' and the exchange rate was awful because, what, you're going to find a girl in Politics and Prose? Please. If it ceased to be currency for said transactions, it would crash like Princess Di into an abutment (too soon?) or the Ruble.

I feel like somehow this is all the fault of Madonna. It used to be that the cliche existed about how a guy who sleeps with many girls is a stud, whereas a girl who engaged in a similar behavioral pattern was a slut. Then the feminist movement started gaining ground and talking about sexual inequality. This spoke to a real problem - namely, that sex was considered (and, in many, many places still is considered) primarily a vehicle for child creation and/or a vector for male pleasure. (The female orgasm is a myth, right?) This largely relegated the role of females to a secondary class in the sexual arena. The problem is that a gross distortion came from this - namely, Madonna came to the forefront as the icon of emerging female sexuality. She did so knowingly and willingly, but there it was - and what did she do? Express Yourself - the music video for which saw her dressed, alternately, like a businessperson in a suit and monocole, and chained to a bed. The message of the video (and the larger idiom that Madonna became) is that the choice is between subjugation or that of subsuming masculinity.

This is a roundabout way of saying: at what point did the logical consequence of a pronounced sexual equality become the reduction of women to the worst pieces of male sexuality? Rather than recognizing that the inequality was an outgrowth of malecentric thought and rejecting it, women took the ball and ran with it. Instead of rejecting the idea that male sexuality was justifiably one of conquest and subjugation, women decided to call the bluff and declared that ALL sexuality was conquest.

So if we're going to go all Lord-of-the-Flies and say that everyone should try to sleep with as many people as possible, I think it makes sense to have a clearer picture of where people stand in the competition. Numbers are nice, but it becomes a proxy for desirability without necessarily acting as an acurate measure as such. If there were more overt and open bidding (along with a class system as above to account for discrepancy in nonmonetary compensation), then it would clearly create a better evaluatory rubrik.

* = I'm sure Samoa, or one of the Samoas has a currency that's storied and respected or whatever, but I fucking hate Samoans, so I'm not willing to look it up for fear that visiting such a site would inadvertantly give them ad money or something.

cranked out at 2:58 AM | |

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