Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Red light

The bible forbids prostitution. The bible forbids most things. There are more don’ts than dos in the bible. The Calvinists for instance never smiled or sang or danced; it was not allowed and celebrating Christmas was banned. Somewhere in the bible, frivolity must be forbidden and somewhere in the bible there is a prohibition against the oldest trade. Yet prostitution exists in every culture and has existed in all times.

The state of Nevada legalized prostitution many years ago. As far as I know there has never been a problem associated with the business. I have seen pictures of the girls who work there and they all seem like nice young girls, not the kind of women whose photographs appear in the local paper whenever there is a raid on the red light district.

I don’t know if the pictures are purposely doctored to make the women look awful, but they generally look like they are down on their luck and not very attractive.
Numerous studies have been done to discredit legalization of the oldest profession.
You might wonder if the studies are purposely distorted by the people who control the girls and make all the money using women who are for various reasons down and out.

On a recent trip to Europe, we went to Amsterdam and as all tourists do, walked around the red light district. There in perfect display, in window after window on the first and upper floors are a variety of women, most are scantily clad, most young and pretty, but there is the occasional plump mature female. All tastes must be catered to. The tourist book mentions that the predominant country of origin of the customers is, surprisingly, England. Who would ever think the straight and fussy British would come all the way to Amsterdam for a day of fun and yet condemn the practice at home? The patrons of the Nevada girls are probably from out of state, visitors to Las Vegas or Reno perhaps, who likewise disapprove of prostitution at home. Not in my backyard is a strong sentiment.

The town near where I grew up had a brothel. When I was in high school a group of us went there and rang the door bell, but no one answered. We rang and rang and even shouted, but then realizing that disturbing the peace might attract the police we bade a hasty retreat. It was not legal of course but everyone knew the address and on occasion, there was what the police called a ‘raid’. The papers were replete with the story of how the police had cleaned up the town. But the brothel was in business soon after at the same address. For such a business it is too difficult to advertise a new location.

European cultures are generally more tolerant of the oldest profession. The British and we Americans, since we derived a lot of culture from the British, are determined to stamp out such behavior. But humans, being what they are, Amsterdam and the Bunny Ranch in Nevada are destined to enjoy a long life.

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