Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Where They Love Americans...for a Living

by Sean Flynn
from The Best American Travel Writing

If I have ever read a candid article on prostitution written by a man whose agenda isn't either to justify a man's right/need to pay for sex or to fervently pronounce his solidarity with the feminist stance that prostitution always equals exploitation, it was a long, long time ago - if ever. Sean Flynn's article was refreshingly different in that, while he is often sneeringly superior, he is also realistic, informed, and frankly funny, especially when he's poking fun at the "particular class of whoremonger" who convinces himself that the women with whom he pays to have sex actually like him.

But, as Flynn points out, fantasy islands like the Philippines, Thailand, and Costa Rica - the top three destinations for adult vacationing - are popular just because, on these tropical islands where the women are “passionate and easy,” you don’t simply pay for sex. You buy, as one enthusiastic vacationer called it, the “GFE” - i.e. “girlfriend experience”. GFE, of course, referring to the beautiful and sexy girlfriend who hangs on your every word, keeps her opinions to herself, and enthusiastically performs every sexual act for as long as you want it whenever you want it - all for an established fee naturally. In Costa Rica, you don’t pay for the sex, you pay for the fantasy.

The problem however, is not the fantasy but the fact that so many of the men who frequent these places mistake the fantasy for reality. Inexplicably, they fail to realize, or refuse to realize, that prostitutes, especially the really great ones or the really expensive ones, are Oscar-worthy actresses whose job is dependent upon their ability to convince you that you’re the smartest, largest, and sexiest man she’s ever met, irregardless of your beer belly, your receding and graying hair, or your repulsive personality. That’s her job and - trust me, Flynn, or the experts who’ve studied it - most of them don't even like it.

Philosophically, I have no problem with prostitution when it is between CONSENTING ADULTS. I am, however, a firm believer that a woman has the right to do with her body whatever the hell she wants with it. If she wants to sell it for sex, hey - you do you. If a man wants to pay for it, hey - you do you. Unfortunately, things are infinitely more complicated than that, especially when you begin to believe the lies you’ve paid to have whispered in your ear.