My grandfather once told me that all male-female romantic relationships are a form of prostitution. He had a point:
“Your wife might say to you, ‘I’ll have sex with you–if you do these dishes first.’ The man is trading something to get what he wants. Morally, how is that different from giving a girl some money? Trade is trade.”
I often find myself doing dishes or folding laundry in the hopes that it might lead to something else, and I have had better results offering chores than I have offering cash. (Our shared bank account may be to blame.)
My father, ever the businessman, defended prostitutes when the subject arose. “It’s legal for a woman to sleep with every guy on the block, but if each guy gives her a nickel she’s a criminal. What sense does that make?”
This, too, is reasonable. This is America, after all–the land of opportunity. This seems like an example of Big Government interfering in the private sector. Over-regulation has cost this country millions of jobs (although I’ll leave it to you, Dear Reader, to add your own prefix to “jobs”).
Now, I can’t really explain why hookers were the subject of so much discussion in my youth. Just to be clear–no one ever took me to “become a man” at the local bordello (wherever that was), and I have no indication that either my grandfather or my father ever visited such an establishment. They were upstanding, church-going folk not accustomed to hanging out with pimps. Perhaps because of this, their thoughts about the Oldest Profession carry more weight than they otherwise might, being untainted by actual association with the act (as legalizing marijuana seems like a better idea when a Republican congressman promotes it than when a Phish fan does).
I think their arguments, when taken together, form a pretty formidable two-pronged rationale for legalized prostitution:
1). Everybody’s already doing it.
2). It’s capitalism.
In a country where everyone wants to Keep Up With the Joneses, a land that values the Free Market, how can prostitution be illegal? There are lots of other arguments–protecting sex workers from abuse, taxing the sex trade–but those ideas are more for the policy wonks, not John Q. Public (who might get scared by the word “tax” anyway).
I hate to cut this short… I have so much more to say, but there are dishes to be done, and the laundry’s ready to come out of the dryer, so…