I’m Not Your Girlfriend, I’m A Hooker

A man walks into a bar. Instantly, he’s surrounded by twenty beautiful young girls, all vying for his attention, grabbing his hand, showing some leg.

“Hello, Mister. How are you, Mister?”

He looks around at the gorgeous nymphs. Which one will he choose? Tonight, he is more popular than James Bond. He is The Man. And he loves it.

He sits down next to the most beautiful lady.

“Buy me a drink, Mister, I’m thirsty.”

“Of course.”

“Buy my friend a drink, she is thirsty, too.”

The Man buys a round for all the girls, overjoyed that he can please them so easily. At a couple of dollars a piece, he can afford it. He has worked hard all his life, raised several children, gone through a couple of marriages. In his golden years, he is free to care only for himself. He has never been happier than right at this moment. His gaze wanders from one girl to the next. They are all so pretty. Their skin glows with youth. Their legs run long and lean under their mini-shorts. What a difference from his wrinkly old ex-wife. Maybe he should have left her sooner. She never looked at him as hungrily as these girls do. They want him. They really do.

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The Man is getting drunk. He stands up and dances to the beat of the music, delirious with his rediscovered sexiness. He sways his hips like Elvis Presley.

“Who is Elvis?” asks the girl.

“He was a sex-symbol. Like John Travolta.”

“Who is John Travolta?”

The multi-generation gap wails louder than the hip-hop beat. But The Man hears only his pounding heart. Tonight he feels like a teenager again.

“How old are you really?” he asks the girl of his choice.

“Eighteen,” lies the fifteen year old temptress. “How old are you?”

“Forty,”says the sixty-four year old, his cheeks turning red with the lie. He could pass for forty, he thinks. Or at least fifty. But right now he feels like twenty. It doesn’t matter, anyway. Love has no age.

“Wow, that’s old,” says the girl, distracted by the two attractive young men who have just walked into the bar. She’s drawn the bad card this evening. She’s stuck with the ugly old guy. Her friends swarm around the 30-year old Europeans. One of them might get lucky tonight and find a husband.

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The Man follows her gaze. Competition. Perhaps he is a little bit older than the other guys, but he’s at least as attractive. Right? He pulls his beauty close and tries to kiss her. She turns her face so that his lips land on her cheek.

“Naughty, naughty,” he laughs.

She laughs, too. The Man sighs with relief. She is still into him. She is just teasing. James Bond is back in action. He stands up and dances again, this time pulling her closer, grinding his pelvis against her. She is so gorgeous he could burst. The Viagra will definitely come in handy tonight.

He is in a hurry now. He pays the bill, including the bar tax for taking the girl out. Hand in hand they walk down the street towards his hotel. He feels so young again. His girlfriend is so pretty. Perhaps he should bring her back to England. His ex-wife would throw a fit. He’d like that. His daughters perhaps wouldn’t be so keen at first, if he brought home a girl half their age. But they’d come around. Of course they’d just want him to be happy.

Overwhelmed with desire, he throws his arms around her and tries to kiss her again. She pushes him away and lets go of his hand.

Deep inside he knows; she’s a hooker, not his girlfriend. But the alcohol has numbed his brain. In his fantasy, they’re so happily in love.

In Cambodia and Thailand, girls as young as 14 years old work in bars catered mostly to foreigners. Dressed in tiny shorts or mini-skirts, their job is two-fold; a) selling as many drinks as possible, and b) making good money by sleeping with the men, who will also pay a tax (brokerage fee) to the bar. Some of the girls have been sold by their parents, others are lured from villages with the promise of a respectable job in the city. Yet others come voluntarily, hoping to attract a wealthy man who will marry them and give them a better life abroad. With hundreds of girls working on the same street, there is no real stigma about the profession. Rather, it is seen as a good way to earn a living in your youth.

However, the foreigners who ignorantly feed this trade help support a life of misery. A local man will not marry a former prostitute, and if they – as the majority – don’t find a foreigner to wed, their life will be over once they reach the late twenties and their looks are gone. Or they might succumb to HIV: as many as one in four Cambodia hookers are infected with the virus.

But the saddest aspect of it all is the fate of the children who are brought into the world only to serve the perverse needs of some sick men. Not far from Phnom Penh, there’s a village inhabited by children who sell their bodies. On entering, you will see seemingly happy children skipping rope, playing with dolls, chasing each other. Then you learn that they are all for sale. Even the four-year olds. You just take your pick, pay a few dollars, and the child can be raped to your heart’s content.

Consensual sex between adults is one thing. But anyone buying the services of a prostitute should bear in mind that the eighteen year old willing to have sex with you for $5 might only be doing it because she has been raped since she was a baby and knows no other value of her body.

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Lovers, Lovers, Everywhere…

“Don’t you know the Italians are the best lovers in the world?”

I was probably fifteen the first time I had a testosterone-pumped guy with a face full of zits ask me if I had heard the great news. “Hmmm, no…” I said, and walked away. Ugly boys just wasn’t something I was very interested in at that age.

In the coming years, quite a few adolescents tried to seduce me with their national version of the same pick up line: “Don’t you know the French are the best lovers?”, “Don’t you know the Greek are the best lovers?”, “Don’t you know the German are the best lovers?” And so on and so on. I never fell for it. But it made me wonder, is there really such a thing as a country with the best lovers? And where is it?

Finally, in Peru I have found the answer to my question. Peruvians may not be the best lovers, but they are most definitely the MOST lovers. And they are absolutely everywhere. No matter where you turn, there is a couple hugging, kissing, snuggling, holding hands, whispering sweet nothings into their loved-one’s ear.  In parks, in cars, in restaurants, on flights. It’s like the Peruvians can’t exist a minute without human touch. And it’s not just the puppy-eyed youth who have lost their hearts for the first time; the lovers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Married or not married. Who cares, when you have the need for amoooor.

Subsequently, hostels that rent their rooms by the hour is a big business. All rooms have access to a sauna and a jacuzzi, and of course there’s underground parking so your real life partner won’t find out that you’re having an afternoon nap with someone else.

My mother-in-law told me that when she was young, in a small town called Huancayo, it was normal for men to openly have a girlfriend on the side. They would even have children with their lovers, and the offspring from all different women would meet an get along. Those days may be in the past, and the Peruvians are probably a little bit more faithful these days – or better at hiding their affairs. But the fact remains – Peruvians love to love.

So if you’re heartbroken, Lima is probably not the best place to visit. But if you’re single and looking – come on by!