Friday, October 11, 2013

The Paradox: why prostitutes have such different opinions about their clients

After reading about prostitution for years, I noticed that prostitutes have strikingly different opinions about their clients. Some prostitutes are very positive about their clients. They call their clients friendly, respectful and considerate. Other prostitutes are very negative about their clients. They call their clients dirty stinking jerks who just can’t keep their hands off, and who are anything but respectful.

An example of prostitutes who are positive about their clients can be found in the research by Nick Mai in England. I wrote something about it here:

http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2010/02/britain.html

You can download his research here:

Click here

It is called Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry – Final Policy-Relevant Report (Nick Mai, 2009)

Nick Mai has interviewed about a 100 prostitutes, and he reports that “[F]ear of violence and abuse was mainly associated with robberies, not clients, the majority of whom are described as respectful and considerate.” And: “Most interviewees underlined that they enjoyed respectful and friendly relations with colleagues and clients and that by working in the sex industry they had better working and living conditions than those they encountered in other sectors of employment (mainly in the hospitality and care sectors).” And: “Interviewees generally describe relations with their employers and clients as characterised by mutual consent and respect, although some reported problematic clients and employers, who were disrespectful, aggressive or abusive.” And: “The majority of interviewees felt safe in their current jobs and described relations at work as friendly and respectful, including those with clients.” A 35 year-old Moldovan prostitute is quoted as saying:
I like the money of course, then flexibility… and then the fact that you actually get to meet many nice and interesting people… and even friends sometimes, some of the clients have become good friends. I don’t like the stigma… and all the lying that comes with it… I had to lie to absolutely everybody in the last 5 years, my  parents, friends, guys… it is very hard… we turn into professional liars… If you have a boyfriend you have to lie because it won’t work otherwise. Then I also dislike bad management… and of course rude clients. They are the worst… and those who make you feel miserable… they think you are a junky or your parents were alcoholic… They make you feel so down… they are the worst!
A 25 year-old Polish prostitute says:
What I like about this are the freedom and independence really. You’ll never be unemployed, you’ll never be homeless, you work your own hours, you can work as much as you want to, and equally, as little as you want to. Also, I still think the guys here are very respectful. Then I obviously do enjoy sex, with some people more, with some people less. You’d be surprised how involved people get, how it sometimes means so much more to them than the... service... than the... job. They tell us things that I don’t think they would tell the closest person in their life. It’s weird; it’s like some type of mistress or wife. As of negative aspects… that you have to hide a lot, no-one knows what you’re doing. That’s the worst bit. Lying all the time. If I find another job, or, I mean, when I find another job, or stop doing this, I wouldn’t have a boss, I wouldn’t have a job where I have no control, I would try to do something for myself.
A 25-year old Lithuanian prostitute even complains that if anything, working in prostitution is merely boring:
It’s a job; it’s a normal job for me. I am not really happy there, but it’s like a normal job... If you work on a coffee shop you are not happy, are you? You just go and make money. 
To be honest the thing that bothers me most is that I feel bored. I mean it is always the same, I feel that I should do more with my life. After a while it gets very repetitive and you just get along.
An example of prostitutes who are negative about their clients can be found in a blog post I’ve written, which you can find here:

http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2009/12/harassment.html

I’ll quote the Dutch ex-prostitutes Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak. I find what they say especially important because both worked for the Rode Draad, which was a kind of labour union for prostitutes. I expect especially them to be positive about their clients, because they are fighting to give their profession a good name. Metje Blaak says (translated into Dutch by me):
Every now and then I received clients who were extremely dirty. They really smelled bad. A bath actually costs 50 guilders, but mostly I deducted some from the price. “Even if it is for free”, I thought sometimes, ”that guy has to become clean first”. There were some of them who sat down on my bed and left a brown stripe behind on the sheet. (...) Clients are just like children. They want to grab everything. You sometimes have to deal with them harshly. Especially when they start biting in your nipples and touch your genitals with their fingernails. You’ll have to wean them off this habit. I trained my regular customers in such a way that they were kind. Women who are lured here and forced into prostitution, don’t know well how to protect themselves. That’s why I wrote Trukendoos [trick box], a handbook for whores. Then they can learn to recognize condom screws [‘condoomritselaars’]. These are dangerous folks. I was left with a tremendous gonorrhea once because of that. With their nails they tear the condom from the top if you don’t look. When aids arose I became really scared of them. When I didn’t trust someone, I made sure that I never stood with my back towards him and that he kept his little hands away from his willie. (…) Everything has become more expensive, but the price of a woman hasn’t gone up. Twenty years ago the windows cost fifty guilders. That’s what you still pay nowadays except that the men demand more and more because they see more and more porn. In the past you lifted your skirt a little and then they almost came. Now the ladies almost lie naked behind the glass. (...) There are whores who look down upon window prostitutes. They proudly say: I work at the Yab Yum. But it doesn’t matter at all. It’s just like cleaning the toilet. If you work in a three-star hotel or in a cafeteria, you are supposed to do the dirty work. Just look at the sick girls, the junkies. Up there come rich men who want to have a fuck for ten guilders. They want to completely humiliate such a girl and let her beg.” source: Iemand moet het doen – over vuil werk en andere schone zaken (Joeri Boom, 1999) [Somebody has to do it – about dirty work and other clean issues]
Jo Doezema speaks in the book:
Another problem with the clubs is that it’s always a struggle with a client because it’s not clear what your roles are. Behind the window it’s clear – you’re a whore, he’s a client. But the whole kind of fake romanticism around the club means that he doesn’t want to think you’re a whore and he doesn’t want to see himself as a client. Not all clients are like that, some are well aware. And they are usually the good ones. But there are no set agreements about what’s going to happen once you get in the room. A lot of clients have the idea that their hours will be filled with sex of whatever sort they want. And because you can’t say in the beginning. “If you want this, this, and this, it's going to cost this much, and this I don’t do,” you are kind of struggling the whole time to keep the clients from doing things you don’t want and try to keep him satisfied at the same time. (…) I think for almost everybody I make it more positive than it is, because everybody has such a negative idea about it already. So you tend to only talk about the good things or the funny things. With most jobs, if you have a shitty day or a bad client or something, people don’t immediately say that it’s because of the kind of work you do and that you must stop right away. But with prostitution, I’ve always felt that if I didn’t convince everybody that this work was fantastic for me and that I really loved it that they would all be on my back to quit. (…) Do I have to give all of myself and not hold anything back in order to legitimately be able to say that I like my work? Sure, there are still times when I put up with something from a client that I don’t want to have happen, either because I’m too tired, or I don’t know how to say that I don’t want it. But I have learned now to deal with that, instead of thinking, “Oh, I’m the worst whore in the world,” I just think, “Okay, next time better.” And it’s not like if a client touches my breasts and I don’t feel like it that I am going to be emotionally and sexually damaged for the rest of my life. Just next time better. Source: Live sex acts – women performing erotic labor (Wendy Chapkis, 1997)
To be short and sweet, according to Jo Doezema (at least for clubs) and Metje Blaak the clients are naive idiots who can’t keep their hands off. Metje Blaak even says that she has to train the clients to become nice, suggesting that clients are typically not so nice.

There are several explanations why prostitutes have such different opinions. One possibility is that prostitutes each attract different kinds of clients. Some attract the nice clients, others attract the evil clients, for whatever reason. I don’t think this is a good explanation because prostitutes who work in the same area (such as de Wallen in Amsterdam), could also differ in their opinions about clients. Another explanation is that the perceptions that the prostitutes have of their clients could differ. Perhaps a more open-minded prostitute won’t have any problems with a client suddenly inserting his fingers in her anus without warning, while a more prudish prostitute could become very upset when this happens. Another explanation is that prostitutes have both the good and the bad clients. The prostitutes who are positive about their work have learned to forget about the bad experiences, and only to remember the nice experiences. The prostitutes who are negative about their work, tend to do the opposite. They ignore the nice clients whom they consider to be assholes in the first place because they visit prostitutes, and they can’t forget the bad clients who do all the bad things.

None of the answers are really satisfying. I have the feeling that some prostitutes somehow lie. Perhaps Jo Doezema tells the truth when she says she presents a more positive picture of her work to outsiders, because she doesn’t want people to worry about her. Perhaps that this is what happens when prostitutes tell Nick Mai that clients are generally respectful and considerate, they just don’t dare to tell the truth. Or perhaps it is Jo Doezema herself who lies.

Say, I would conclude that clients are nice in general. Then I would find it a problem to say that the prostitutes who say otherwise are lying. The opposite would also be difficult, ignoring the voices of prostitutes who say their clients are nice. But I find it the least difficult thing to believe that the negative prostitutes are right. It would be so callous to ignore them.

I call this problem one of the paradoxes in prostitution, with no easy answer.

I don’t agree with Maggie McNeill (look at the comment section) who says prostitutes have the right to dislike their job, just as the female hairdresser doesn’t necessarily have to like her work. I believe in prostitution this goes deeper. If I must believe Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak, then the job description of prostitution should be: being sexually harassed for money. In that case prostitution is almost by definition a human rights violation, at least for the prostitutes who say they feel offended by clients.

I thought it was time to ask some prostitutes what they think about what Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak have said, and how they experience clients. I have asked 6 prostitutes. Unfortunately, after hearing their answers, the paradox only deepens. I still have no real answer which satisfies me.

One prostitute I approached is a young high class call girl, who works for an agency. I’m not sure if she really is a prostitute. I couldn’t confirm it. She often leaves comments behind on a blog. It is theoretically possible that in reality she is an old man with a big grey beard. [This young shows up in the BNN-program 'de social club'. The broadcast date was 4 April 2004. I see it as a confirmation she is real.]

She told me that most clients are as sweet and obedient as a little lamb. They couldn’t even hurt a fly. She tells that sometimes things happen which she doesn’t find pleasant. Then there are ways for her to indicate this to a client, especially non-verbally. To do something else for instance. When this doesn’t work, she makes a remark like: “You are doing this, but do you know what I secretly find even more pleasant?”. When the annoying behaviour continues, she says something about it. If it happens again, she leaves. She doesn’t want to call it ‘training’ (like Metje Blaak does). You could rather call it: indicating your own boundaries. But she admits that men always stay like children a little bit. But she doesn’t want to call it “training”. She thinks it already starts with your advertisement. When it says: “Dutch young little slut sucks you without a condom, and she loves wild sex”, then it will attract different clients compared to: “Hello, nice that you read my advertisement! Sweet men, blablabla..” She says that if you choose for the first add, then perhaps you will get a lot of clients, but also the biggest assholes. She doesn’t want to let Metje Blaak and Jo Doezema down, because they are a little bit right, she says. She thinks that their words are wrongly interpreted, which always happens to the words of prostitutes in general in her opinion. She thinks that prostitutes could differ from each other a lot, just like normal people. And prostitution is a profession for which counts: “It is as easy/difficult/cosy/forced/independent as you make it yourself’. She says whatever surrounds it, with whom you make your appointments or who drives you; you are one-on-one with your clients and it is your enterprise. According to her, there are after all two people in the room. The prostitute is the person who is supposed to be in control. If you can’t do that, then you can’t cope with this profession, then you have to do something else. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. She made some mistakes that beginners often make. She has given blowjobs to clients in seedy places, she easily gave in to clients at times, she has listened too much to girls in a club, and she has listened too much to the brothel owner. But over time she has learned how she does not want to work.

I have asked another prostitute about what she thinks of what Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak said. This prostitute is around 40 years old, and she works as an independent escort. She is 100% real. I know her website, and I can point to her reviews. She believes it depends on how you present yourself as a prostitute. She knows some stories on review sites for clients of prostitutes (hookers.nl, kinky.nl), and it seems as if some prostitutes attract the madmen and the fools. She doesn’t believe it is related to working as an escort. She says you must be clear in what you expect of a date, what you do and don’t do and the clients must comply. She gives an example. Many women indicate in their advertisements that they don’t respond to text messages (sms). She doesn’t respond to these herself. But it turns out that if a client sends a polite text message to a prostitute, then the prostitute does respond after all. She also hears this from clients or chatters. She herself prefers to speak with the clients on the telephone, to see if there’s a match. She also thinks that the texts and photos of your advertisement are important. She names as an example, an advertisement which starts with ‘sweet darling’, which she doesn’t comprehend, because you don’t call a person sweet darling if you don’t know this person. She also names as an example: ‘I am always 24/7 horny hot and ready’. She doesn’t find the last one very realistic. Or prostitutes formulate their advertisements in very vulgar expressions, such as ‘I am a horny sperm slut’, with accompanying photos of their vagina. She is fairly certain that this will attract a different type of client. She says it also works if you are selective regarding certain segments of the population. Then you will attract the better Dutch and Flemish clients. It is a personal choice according to her. She herself doesn’t like young men, but she never had them. She says other prostitutes don’t like older clients. She herself feels no problems dating a man with a physical handicap, but for the rest he has to conform to the same demands as other clients. There at least has to be a match, and she has to have the feeling that it is going to be pleasant, or else she won’t start the date. She isn’t dependent on her work in prostitution, because she also has other means of income. She rarely encounters men who are unwashed. And if they are, they will make their own beds dirty, because she only works as an escort. And if the clients turn out to be a big failure, then she immediately leaves. She does nothing against her will, and she wants to keep it that way. When clients haggle or ask impertinent questions on the telephone she immediately hangs up and she blacklists them. I also asked her if clients do things she doesn’t like, such as suddenly inserting their fingers in her vagina, or suddenly squeezing her breasts. She says no. She says she is clear in what she does and does not offer. And she says that escort clients aren’t like that.

I asked another prostitute about what Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak said, and how she experiences her clients. This prostitute is a former victim of forced prostitution. She later decided to work independently in prostitution. She receives clients in her home. She is 100% real, and until recently she has really worked in prostitution. She had many clients during the last several years who came to her because she indicated that she now works voluntarily and that she enjoys her work. She only receives Dutch clients, and this is also indicated in her advertisement. She finds that the clients are very kind and sweet towards prostitutes, she means the Dutch clients. She had few disrespectful experiences, and during the last several years she has worked with a lot of pleasure. She had some very pleasant contacts with some men, with whom she maintained a good relationship. But she believes that could be also true because she does what she promises, and she has fixed price agreements. She says there obviously is scum, but she has to admit that she never had a noteworthy problem with a client, at most that she refused him because she found him too fat. But this was during the time she worked for herself. During the time she worked for an abusive pimp, she hated all her clients on principle and she wanted to get rid of them as quickly as possible. She said she emanated the typical signals: she didn’t cooperate enthusiastically, she kept her hand between her legs, she gave blowjobs in a very clinical way. She said that if men paid money for that they obviously start to complain. But when she worked independently she had a lot of pleasant experiences. She said about Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak that apparently they weren’t clear enough to their clients. She didn’t have problems with gropers, but she immediately explains in the beginning what the rules are. Clients are not allowed to put their fingers in her anus and to ejaculate in her mouth. Furthermore, she breaks the ice by saying that she prefers to survive it. She says that the men generally lie stiffly on their back on the bed (at least the non-regulars), and she has to ask them to join in more actively, to keep them interactive. She says about the prostitutes who dare to speak in public, that they often show off and like to exaggerate. She says that prostitutes do this in general. And they forget to tell that the moment in life they chose to work in prostitution was often not so prosperous. She actually knows only a few prostitutes who do this work for the fun and the kick of it. She says money plays a very important role. So I said to her that Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak simply should have been more clear in advance! It is so simple! She agreed, they should have been more clear.

I have asked two prostitutes about how they experience clients, and unfortunately their answers are very short. I can’t confirm their authenticity. Also they could be old men with long grey beards. It is even possible that they are the very same person. I don’t know. One seems to be a high class call girl, who worked for an agency. She says that her clients are generally courteous, or try to be this way. She tries to give them what they want, as long as they don’t cross her boundaries. She doesn’t accept violence and injustice, but she also doesn’t accept this in a shop or elsewhere. She refuses clients she doesn’t trust. The other prostitute is an independent prostitute who works in her own home, I guess. [The existence of this woman is confirmed by the young high class call girl I mentioned earlier, and she also was a call girl. I'm not so sure about the other lady who works as a high class callgirl. She writes for a women's magazine. I don't know if the magazine checked her credentials. She herself said they did.] She says that clients are generally better than the average man. You can’t lump them all together. There are many different clients. She says the clients behave the way they think they should behave, and sometimes they behave stupidly. They learn the wrong things from the hype. I asked her about clients asking her impertinent questions. She says that impertinent questions are asked all the time. Are you sure you aren’t coerced, etc. She says there is nothing she can do about it. She says if clients do something she doesn’t want, then she nips it in the bud. When they become annoying, she leaves. She calls is zero tolerance.

Until now, the answers have been very positive. It seems, clients are nice if you make some clear agreements in advance, and if you carefully select only the nice clients. And some prostitutes seem to attract the bad clients.

I asked the next prostitute what she thought about what Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak said. She is an independent who works in her home. She is somewhat older than 30. She is definitely real, not fake. Because the other prostitutes I interviewed were so positive about their clients, I more or less expected her to tell positive stories too. She said that her clients are sometimes cosy, but often it starts off wrong on the telephone, because they try to haggle, or try to persuade her to shift her boundaries. But these boundaries she has medically, only kissing is very psychological, she can’t do it with anybody else. She often doesn’t have to check if they remove the condom. But she often has to inform clients during the date that they mustn’t have an orgasm in her mouth. If she forgets to tell this to them then they simply come in her mouth anyway, despite the fact that her advertisement says that coming in her face is allowed, but not in her mouth. She says that they find it strange that she starts to gag. It regularly happens that clients haven’t touched her with one finger, and then suddenly they penetrate her vagina with two fingers. In terms of her feelings the date is over from then on, and she does her best to please them, but they can forget her because she has pain. She says that you can forget training your clients (like Metje Blaak does). She says men do what they see in porn films, because also in these films it all goes like this. So in real life also. She has tried to say to the men to do it softly, or she says that they could better do it in another way. She says this falls on deaf ears. And after asking four or five times to do it more softly, she just stops asking, so then she just thinks that these lads do it on purpose. She then just sits out to the end, and then she says through the phone to the clients that they are not welcome again, because they did it roughly. She says that strangely enough, most clients who are not welcome again because they are too rough, are older than 40 and of Dutch descent. And the incredible hagglers are of rich Dutch descent (when they come for the advertised price they have big wads of cash with them), or they are of middle eastern descent. She says that the clients she attracts could be related to the low prices she asks.

I told her about the prostitutes who had positive opinions about their clients, for instance that they were obedient. I also said to her that the fact she received bad clients could be related to the fact that she advertises oral sex without condom. She said that the work was fun and exciting. But you don’t have to do the work because of the courteous and respectful men. She referred to the obedient clients as the men who lie on bed. They come because of his qualities and the price, but not for her personally because they don’t want to touch her. They only lie down and they think like: do your thing. She says that the men who lust after the heavier ladies think that she can easily cope with everything and that’s why they have no respect. They think because they have paid, it has to be this way. She often tells two or three times what is written in the advertisement. She decently tells that if somebody has a big or thick penis, she can’t be penetrated by them, and that it is preferable if they search further. She says many women let such men come anyway. She says that she has to repeat again and again that she doesn’t want clients to have an orgasm in her mouth, otherwise they do it anyway. She says she is not able to flatter or appease another person in order to persuade them to stop doing things she doesn’t like. She says she is always very honest and open, and she can’t lie. So flattering and appeasing other persons is not her strongest quality. She says her clients arrive at her place and 20% wants to drink something at first, and the rest wants to waste no time with talking etc. They often quibble about going to the shower (they don’t want that). She says she doesn’t say in her advertisement that she is a slut. She says that if she would remove her offer of giving blowjobs without condom, then she could better stop and she can’t live a good life anymore. She thinks that a normal man, who treats women respectfully prefers a slender prostitute with long hair and makeup, over a heavier lady. She says she doesn’t wear makeup herself, because she will be laughed at, because then she looks like a clown.

She says that the heavier ladies often ask for a lower price, because the men do want to pay a larger amount of money for a more slender lady than for a heavier lady. She says: look at the clubs or brothels, you never see heavier ladies on their website. She says this is because every prostitute in a brothel has the same price. She has tried a brothel, but then there were men who asked why she costs as much as a photo model. She also says that the men who prefer heavier ladies don’t select them in public, but they do it sneakily in private.

To recapitulate, it seems, I have to believe the prostitutes save for one, that the clients are generally friendly. The prostitutes say that different prostitutes seem to be attracting different clients. They explain that this could be because prostitutes have varying strategies regarding the recruitment of clients. This will lead to some prostitutes mainly attracting the friendly clients, while other prostitutes attract the unfriendly clients. If a prostitutes presents herself as a slut or offers sex without condom, she will attract the bad clients. The prostitute who said she had bad clients, explained this could be because she is heavier than other prostitutes, and perhaps also because she was cheaper. A former victim of human trafficking also provided the explanation that it is also true that when she was forced, she had a negative opinion of clients, so she didn’t like them in the first place. So it also seems to be an issue of perception. And another explanation is that some prostitutes don’t tell the clients beforehand what is allowed and what is not allowed. But this is contradicted by the last prostitute I interviewed.

So perhaps the paradox is solved. The main reason why some prostitutes are so positive about their clients and while others are so negative, is because they simply have a different clientele. Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak simply had the bad clients. Jo Doezema also says she doesn’t really say to the clients what isn’t allowed, so that could be it. To be honest here, Jo Doezema mainly complains about clients in clubs, so perhaps her clients in window prostitution were nicer. But she is vague about that.

The point is, I don’t believe it these findings. My gut feeling is, is that the prostitutes who say the clients are generally friendly don’t dare to speak about their negative experiences, perhaps because they are afraid they give their profession and their colleagues a bad name. I think the last prostitute is right. The other prostitutes also have these kind of clients. The question is, why is the former victim of human trafficking so positive?

Well, I don’t know!!!

I think I will give this article a part 2, and interview some more prostitutes.

PS: I now discovered that the former victim of human trafficking actually says in her advertisement that she is always horny and a slut in bed! She also advertises oral sex without condom. That means that the theory that you attract evil clients if you advertise sex without condom or say that you are a slut, just cannot be right. According to her, her clients are always nice! So the paradox is still alive.

PS2 (13-1-2015): I've had contact with Renate van Zee, and she has spoken with many prostitutes. She told me that one prostitute told her that different appearances attract different kinds of clients. Once she wore a blond wig, and she mainly attracted Asian men who were often dirty. Then she started wearing glasses, and then suddenly she mainly attracted shy men. So it could be the case that different prostitutes truly attract different kinds of clients. Perhaps one prostitute will mainly receive the assholes, while another prostitute mainly attracts the friendlier guys.

PS3 (29-3-2015): I'm going to be straight with you people. I actually don't believe the women who say that nearly all clients are nice and respectful. I believe Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak. Perhaps clients are not monsters, but they aren't that respectful either. I follow the following argument, that is the criterion of embarrassent. Jo Doezema and Metje Blaak are staunch defenders of the sex industry. It would be in their interest to defend their clients, but instead they are embarrassed to admit that the clients are not so nice after all (, Jo Doezema even admits in the same interview that ALL brothels are "shit"). I think that when they admit it, IT MUST BE TRUE.

Furthermore, I believe in the saying: "whose bread you eat, his song you sing". The reason why some prostitutes defend their clients is because they financially depend on them. This is also true for the former forced prostitutes who now work voluntarily, and who say they have no problems with their clients. I think it is kind of a Stockholm syndrome. In order to survive, you side with the aggressor, and you even believe in his ideas.

Here's another happy hooker story to deepen the paradox by the way, I found it good to mention it:

http://goodmenproject.com/sex-relationships/the-professional/

Charlotte Shane tells that after experiencing the extreme wishes of clients while working as a camgirl, and then switching to prostitution: "In the flesh, men were downright vanilla. (...) The longer I’ve worked, the more it seems that the sex is often a front. It’s an entry point that allows men to make their real request (for affection, understanding, and connection) while still satisfying stereotypical ideas of masculinity. What most men want is a great romance or, at the very least, a great friendship. They want to feel like they’re falling in love. They want to feel loved in return. (...) The clients who do want to have sex—and of course, there are many—don’t want that sex to be uncomfortable or unpleasant for me. They want to me to take pleasure in the act as well. They want to feel attractive and competent and gentle and attentive. (...) Yes, I’ve met men who didn’t respect my boundaries and who harmed me, inadvertently or purposefully. But such men were few and far between, and I refused to see them again."

PS4 (10 April 2015): And I totally forgot to mention the feminist Anke Manschot who also touched upon this issue years ago. In November 2002 she wrote a critical article about prostitution in the Dutch female magazine OPZIJ (the title of the article was Moet een hoerenloper gestraft?). In February 2003 Marjan Wijers, Marieke van Doorninck, Jacqueline Waterman and Marisja Majoor reacted critically to this article in the same magazine (the title of the article was Laat prostituees zelf aan het woord). They said that people should let prostitutes speak for themselves, and they criticize feminists who are against prostitution for being paternalistic. Anke Manschot wrote a response which was published in the same article (with the title Een prostituee is aan de wolven overgeleverd...).

Anke Manschot sarcastically mentions some negative things that pro-prostitution prostitutes have said in the past. She also (like I did) points out some things that Metje Blaak has said. She refers to a book Metje wrote: De Trukendoos. Handboek voor hoeren (1998). In the book she asks women who want to be prostitutes: Am I resistent to total humiliation? Can I stand the loneliness? If the answer is yes, then you are fit for the oldest profession. In her opinion all her clients smelled badly, and this costs lots of energy. Metje wonders if prostitutes have any friends. She admits she never had one. At the end of the book Metje says that 60 percent of the prostitutes have been abused, 30 percent are encouraged to work in prostitution by their boyfriends, and 10 percent really chose for the work in prostitution. In the book Who the fuck is Daatje Smit (1997) Metje calls prostitution the dirtiest profession in the world. She also says that when you work in the world of prostitution, you have no time to think, you are only busy with surviving.

Anke Manschot also mentions some things Mariska Majoor (known for running the Prostitution Information Centre in Amsterdam) has said in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool (, and unfortunately Anke Manschot doesn't mention the exact date and title of the article). Mariska Majoor says that she cannot work in prostitution again. She could do the work because she didn't think about what she was doing. Now that she doesn't work in prostitution anymore, she realises that she cannot work in prostitution.

Anke Manschot also mentions what the ex-prostitute Margot Alvarez has said. Margot Alvarez was one of the founders of De Rode Draad, a Dutch labour union for prostitutes. In an interview in Het Parool Margot Alvarez says about her clients (translated from Dutch): "Sometimes there is a healthy man among them, but they are rare, hear [me out], it is something that makes you desperate". (Unfortunately there is also no clear mention of the title and date here.)

6 comments:

Mark van der Beer said...

I think people don't lie about their experiences or vision on clients when it comes to prostitution.
It's like asking someone what they think about people in general. Some people might tell you they think most people are bad, others might say it's equally devided between good and evil. And some people wil state they think most people are good, with a few bad eggs.

Bottom line is, as different as people are, as different the answers will be. This has to do with two things. First of all the difference within clients themselves, and secondly the difference within prostitutes themselves.

Therefor you will never get a conclusive answer, simply because there is none.
Everyone experiences things in it's own way, that's simply the truth of it.

Donkey said...

No, that isn't an explanation. According to some prostitutes, clients are really and truly a big pain in the ass. The clients want to grab everything, they scratch, suddenly put their fingers in her vagina or anus, ejaculate in her mouth without warning, etc… You confirmed it when you said your girlfriend complained about clients pulling her hair, and clients being like children who want to grab everything.

It is more than an issue of perception. Perhaps some prostitutes are really not bothered by it, or some find abusive clients exciting. But I think objectively many people don’t like it to be treated this way.

The problem is, why do some prostitutes have no complaints at all? That’s the mystery. It could be because perhaps somehow they really get only the nice clients. But I find it so unbelievable.

The way prostitutes recruit clients doesn’t matter, like the case of the former victim of human trafficking has shown.

The explanation that prostitutes should make clear agreements with clients, can’t also be right, like the last prostitute explained. Her clients don’t care at all, they still offend her.

I think the only explanation is that one of the two groups of prostitutes lie about it. Perhaps the clients aren’t so evil, or they aren’t so nice.

You see again, the world of prostitution is an absolute enigma. It seems as if prostitutes consistently hide their situation or what they feel. For an outsider it is difficult to know what’s really going on.

Anonymous said...

'Donkey', I'm sorry to bother you here, but I'm wondering if you can help me with something.

I've seen you post about Zondares before. Do you know Zondares well? I only ask because I've read her blog (in English translation) and I'm not convinced that the author of the blog is a woman. For whatever reason, the way s/he writes about sex suggests to me that the author is actually male. The post(s) on circumcision are a particularly good example. They were such bizarre blogs, and utterly unlike anything I've seen women write about sex/penises/circumcision elsewhere. Something about the blog is fishy to me.

Also, s/he apparently posted at the feministire site, and her/his English seemed far too good for it to be her second language.

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but do you know for sure that the author is a woman? Do you tell from her/his writing that she's a native speaker of Dutch?

I'm sorry to have bothered you with this - it's just something I've been wondering about for a while.


All the best,

James

Donkey said...

James, I wrote a long answer but I don't want to publish it here, so click on my profile or nickname and send me a mail. But to be short and sweet, I think she really is a prostitute!!! I have specific reasons to believe this, but I can’t tell it here. That would be mean.

On her blog she presents herself as a powerful woman who is in control, but in reality she is much more vulnerable. I think her blog is part fiction, part reality. But people who know the former prostitute Belle de Jour c.q. Brooke Magnanti, also say that many things she said on her blog and in her books are not true. But Brooke really worked as a prostitute. It is possible that Zondares doesn’t work as a prostitute anymore, but she probably did in the past.

I’ve just looked at the comments of Zondares on Feministire, and the English is very good. She has commented on my blog, and her English wasn’t that good, more like mine actually. Perhaps she has asked somebody to correct her comments on feministire. She has a lot of helpers who arrange things for her, and who help her to correct her blog posts.

Donkey said...

James, perhaps you are still reading. Looking back, I must conclude that Zondares is indeed a hoax. I have made an elaborate search on hookers.nl, which is a review-site for clients of prostitutes. Zondares claims she has reviews. I couldn't find them, and I even resorted to look at the wayback machine. No Zondares. I think the prostitute in Amsterdam with her little apartment, doesn't exist. I know of two other guys who have also desperately searched for her with no results.

There are remarkable similarities between Zondares en Fleurtje van Schaik, who has actually worked in prostitution many years ago.

Perhaps it is her. I have written in Dutch about her here:

click here for a link to hookers.nl

I have added something more about Zondares in this piece on my blog here:

http://fleshtrade.blogspot.com/2009/12/zondares.html

Donkey said...

And the story about the circumcision could be true. Zondares talks about an Egyptian woman who was circumcised. I could track down an Egyptian prostitute who has worked in a club in the Netherlands. Egyptian women often are circumcised. Perhaps Zondares knew this woman.

Perhaps the writer behind Zondares really did work in this club, be she doesn't work anymore I guess.