Sex, (love) and money
Did you see that video of the Chinese schoolgirl giving an old guy head for $25 to buy a Gucci handbag? Neither did I. But, honestly, when I read about it yesterday I could hardly believe it – Gucci for $25? Not likely.
Seriously though. True story. The story of the girl that is.Turns out it's a 'new' pattern among young Chinese girls inspired by their sexually enterprising girlie neighbours from Japan. It's euphemistically called 'compensated dating'. Or, what the rest of us would term 'transactional sex' – something that's been big in South Africa for quite some time.
Think of it as a little tit-for-tat – not necessarily a means of income (at least not in its broader, city-slick sense), but certainly an interesting way to acquire life's little luxuries.
Or immortality, depending on who you screw.
Out and about on the town on Saturday night, Lady Lou told me of her most recent heartbreak. She'd posed for a figure study by One Outstanding Artist who planned to paint her for the halls of some grand museum.
She ended up sleeping with him. Not surprisingly, the guy's a first-class arsehole who treated her like shit. 'But for immortality daaahling,' she purred. 'What's a little sex and heartbreak for immortality?'
Might not be Gucci, but hey, it'll do. Look what Da Vinci did for that Mona woman. I've certainly fallen for less.
So has Miss America. She recently slept with an ex who had returned from abroad because he'd brought her a case of Victoria Secret goodies.
Don't sniff. Transactional sex is a lot more common than most would like to acknowledge. Unlike prostitution, sexual transactions are not usually preceded by verbal agreements. Rather, there is a shared understanding that links sex to money and gifts.
Of course most of us don't generally shag to get something in return but this isn't something that happens outside over there with 'dirty whores who have no self-respect'. It happens every day in the most simplest of interactions between 'normal people' across the gender lines.
For instance, who hasn't had to endure the guy that buys you a drink and expects your full attention for the rest of the evening? Or the guy that seems to think that dropping anything more than R100 on a first date will guarantee him more than a peck on the cheek?
Then again, which of us have never been swayed by a larger-than-life gesture, proposition or twinkly trinket? While it's not the only language of sex, transactional sex – and even the expectation of it – is certainly a dialect. '
One research paper I read stated that transactional sex for South African girls involves them 'eagerly and easily exchanging sex' for chain-store accounts, cellphone bills, and designer-label clothing. And it's all relative really. After all, one woman's open-ended Woolies account and Gucci clutch is another's full-time nanny and house in Sandton.
From the townships to the rich 'burbs, transactional sex is a nuanced concept, heavy with subtext and often shrouded in denial.
A woman I know claims never to have been swayed to put out for anything. This is all very proper of her, except that she's also a big one for withholding sex if she doesn't get her way. Which in my understanding demonstrates a clear appreciation for the principle of transactional sex – I give so that you may give.
She's also one of those who don't see the further irony in damning sex workers for selling their bodies while she sits in a loveless marriage selling her soul for financial security.
That whacky psychiatrist RD Laing once said, 'we are all murderers and whores – no matter to what culture, society, class, nation one belongs, no matter how normal, moral, or mature one takes oneself to be.' Throw in a few niceties and I couldn't agree more.
That unnamed Hong Kong flower was arrested for giving her single serving sugar daddy a blowjob. One can only hope that it's because her kind act of fellating an old man for cash was considered public indecency and not because of the act itself. Saying that, however, she should be jailed for considering what could only be a Gucci rip. Bad girl.
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