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Saturday, August 4, 2007All Men Are Liars !...But....
For those of you who didn't see it, All Men Are Liars made it into the hard copy version of the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday for the very first time with a first person piece I wrote about visiting a prostitute.
The reaction was not surprising and I received a tonne of emails from critics and supporters, including two offers from high-class call girls to do the job properly (thinking, thinking) and a mighty spray from Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox.
The reason I wrote the piece seemed lost on some readers so to clarify, it was thus: if you're honest in the dating game, i.e. you say to women, "I'm just interested in a sexual relationship", you will have a lot less success than if you lie, or omit the truth, i.e. intimate you may be interested in a relationship.
To my thinking, visiting a sex worker is a lot more honest than pretending you're in to someone so you can lure them to bed.
I'm not ashamed of visiting a prostitute and many of the people who tut-tut about the sex industry are still happy to get their thrills reading about it as evidenced by my piece being the the most-read article on the entire SMH site, Monday.
Anyway, I've decided to post the piece here so you can have a chance to comment on it, and to also include copy that was edited out because of space limits and which addresses some of the criticism leveled at myself, the Herald and the article ...
Sex, lies and prostitution
Earlier this year I visited a prostitute for one obvious, practical reason and another less so: I'm sick of lying to women. Being single and in my 30s, I find it increasingly difficult to justify the lies and manipulation involved in having a sexual relationship with women who I'm not in love with.
Call it a gift, but I can tell within about two hours whether I could fall for a girl. Through weary experience, I estimate she comes along about every two years - and wears cool shoes.
That leaves a lot of time between drinks and 24-month bouts of celibacy don't really appeal to me while I have a full head of hair and abdominals.
The problem I, and I wager many other single men, face nowadays is if you go on more than a couple of dates with a woman, the majority want to know where the relationship is going. If you're blunt enough to say nowhere except the bedroom, feelings get hurt.
If you've had sex before that conversation, it's often like you've reneged on an unspoken emotional IOU guaranteeing continued involvement in the partnership. You're a user. A player. A dog. I can show you the text messages if you don't believe me.
Having used prostitutes in my 20s, it occurred to me recently that the simplicity of a cash exchange would be a more honest, and I dare say, moral alternative to bullshitting women into bed.
Political correctness tells me I should be ashamed of visiting a sex-worker but I'm not.
Despite what some people would have you believe, men do not control the sexual spigot at my local pub.
Women are the guardians of that flow and while they may torture and bankrupt themselves with dieting, beauty regimes and cosmetic surgery to maintain that influence, men exhaust themselves accruing wealth and power with which to purchase their attraction in the marketplace known as matrimony.
Prostitution pares this transaction back to its base elements. An estimated one in six Australian men have at some point in their life visited a sex worker, according to the Australian Study of Health and Relationships conducted by La Trobe University.
But it is something blokes will rarely admit to and this stigma radiates directly from the prostitute, a woman whose career choice is sneered at by most and condescended to by the rest.
Critics of the sex industry, such as the US conservative Hadley Arkes, say that prostitution "inescapably implies that the intimacy of sexual intercourse need not be connected to any authentic sentiment of love and that it need not take place in a setting marked by the presence of commitment.
"In that sense it might be said that prostitution patronises the corruption of physical love: it reduces physical love to the kind of hydraulic action that animals may share, and as it does that it detaches the act of intercourse from the kind of love that is distinctly human."
The obvious reply to this is why does sex have to be so damn serious and why do I have to be in love to indulge in it? That's the rub, I guess, because though meaningless sex can be good fun, it's transcendent when you're in love.
The prostitute whom I visited most recently told me her name was Shannon and as she took her clothes off and I observed her body language, we fell into dismal syncopation; when I saw she didn't want to be there, neither did I.
Being wanted is perhaps the greatest turn-on in the bedroom, and though you can buy a prostitute's body, you cannot purchase her desire.
I'd speculate this is part of the attraction for many men who use sex workers; the knowledge the woman is more than likely doing something she'd prefer not to, and an entire soundtrack of mumbled bedroom cliches couldn't convince me Shannon was excited about our coupling.
It was, in short, the unsexiest experience I've had in about 10 years. But when I woke alone the next day, my conscience was clear.
I knew there'd be no midweek recriminations because I didn't want to see Shannon again.
Shannon didn't want to see me again either; in fact she'd probably forgotten me before I'd even reached the staircase of her Darlinghurst terrace.
In many ways she was the female mirror of a man who tells beautiful lies to bed a woman, then disappears before dawn. At least with Shannon, we both understood the deception.