If you asked the average out-of-ponder what word comes first into their mind when they hear the word ‘hooker’, what would they say?
Words like ‘sleazy’. ‘Dirty’, perhaps.
Somehow the provision of sexual services, like the provision of political services, is not an industry with an excellent image.
Perhaps it is no surprise that, according to the Washington Madam, the two seem to have a very close relationship.
The only difference, though, is that at times we get a say in what happens to our politicians, while we are denied a role in the future of our prostitutes.
Unless we, um, partake of their services.
It is a peculiar thing. Many prostitutes have rules that are far stricter than those of some politicians.
No kissing, for example.
And they charge by the hour rather than the lifetime.
It is up to considerable debate who gives more pleasure. Because the joys are of a very different kind. The pleasure generated by politicians tends to be on the laughter scale, whereas prostitutes hit us on a more visceral level.
Perhaps that is why their services have been hidden away, while politicians clamor for our attention from the moment we are awake.
Arguably, the prostitutes have more interesting stories to tell. Even first thing in the morning. They see all of man’s preening and posturing stripped away with the removal of each piece of clothing.
They see more truth in a day than a Senate hearing in a year.
And they are in a position to boost confidence while politicians seem merely to want to boost their own at the expense of anyone who happens to stand in their way.
However, I am happy to report a rapprochement between these two related, but conflicted professions.
It comes from the very hearth of European pornography, Hungary.
It is hard to say why Hungary has become such a center for sexual services. Just as it seems strange that the sexual world should choose Thailand rather, say, Malaysia or Saudi Arabia, as the home for so many carnal conferences.
Yet Hungarian politicians have come to terms with their own reality.
It isn’t just that they have legalized prostitution. Several countries have tried that in one form or another.
No, what suggests hope for the Hungarian nation is the reason the government has given for the legalization.
They made no protestations of modernity or understanding.
They didn’t declare themselves enlightened in any way.
Instead, taking their cue from the prostitutes themselves, they gave an endearingly pragmatic answer:
” We want the taxes.”
Given the choice between not taking a cut of the pimp’s cut and taking a good chunk of change out of it, the Hungarians chose the former.
They accepted the commercial nature of the transaction, rather than the idealistic one.
Love, they seemed to declare, isn’t real. Perhaps we even doubt the existence of orgasms. Which is why we feel perfectly at ease taking our percentage, our coinus interruptus.
Just as prostitutes feel perfectly at ease taking their share of the housekeeping money from the coalition of the unwilling, otherwise known as marriage.
I feel sure that if Heidi Fleiss, rather than Colin Powell, had given a presentation to the United Nations a few years ago, the world would be a far, far happier place.