Tuesday, July 23, 2019


The important thing to know about at-risk boys who do sex work is that it's NOT about being gay, being maladjusted, having diseases, being singled out for a special fate, or any of the other theories that rove around out there.  Also, it is confined to a few specific years when a male has special qualities that are appealing.  Then it becomes something else.

We are at a point in political commentary when we have passed up the idea that trafficking in young girls is exceptional or even special.  It's accepted and sometimes celebrated, but often confined to the Playboy model:  the barely pubertal, very blonde, taught to please, female youngster who can be skin-painted and clothed in a theatrical way that refers back to medieval depictions of virgins with unicorns in their laps.

What we are getting hints of is boy-lovers.  There is a toxic miasma of violence.  Boy sex-workers are the puffer-fish of forbidden and theoretically pleasurable power exercise.  Those men powerful enough (not those far below any hint of success)  put themselves in danger of death by revelation.  Like members of Congress.

And yet, in my five years as an Animal Control officer ('73-'78), which is often a sheriff's subdivision in a loose relationship with the standard police, I once went with someone to sit in a parked car in Portland, Oregon, watching the  parking structure where the boys waited for circling "chicken hawks" to choose someone.  Should they look like Elvis, look like a preppy, a cowboy, or just wear a Speedo (if weather allowed)? Best was to look like a neighborhood boy, a son.  One of the clients in expensive cars was a county attorney.  I don't know why we didn't raise hell or even contact a journalist.  It just seemed like the "normal" order of things.

In this little village I could point out and name meth cookers, sexual predators on lists, and felons the FBI flushed out with stings.  I could not tell you who is an active sex worker.  One person suggested it's because no one pays for sex around here.  In the same spirit, many people don't bother to marry.

Much more recently I went to Fort Benton, where the Bob Scriver collection of bronzes depicting Blackfeet are kept in an excellent gallery, part of a recreation of an early trading post.  Along the river is an heroic monument to Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea (and her baby).  I was promoting my bio of Scriver, "Bronze Inside and Out," thinking the bookstore there would be a natural place to sell it.  (They still don't.)  

The ladies I spoke to were very enthusiastic about the whole subject, rather thinking of me as a manifestation of history who had walked in.  They insisted on calling their patriarch historian, who had just published his last book.  He seemed to think I had come to honor him, and explained that his most recent book was about the last prostitute in Fort Benton.  He liked to write about "soiled doves", assuming he had access to privileged information about them.  

I said, "How do you know these women were the last?  How do you know there are not still successful prostitutes in Fort Benton?"  He pretended he didn't hear me, but the women knew what I meant.  It's just that population is thin in Fort Benton and much more aged than when the town was a fort.  Anyway, prostitution is much changed.  No longer is it even a matter of leaving calling cards in phone booths, as in the movies, because there are no more phone booths.  Everyone carries a cell phone, though they are a little undependable out here.  Arrangements are all on the Internet.

Once someone who wished me to be harmed listed me and my address on the internet as being a brothel.  I said to a friend, "What a shock clients will get when the door is answered by the only female, an old fat former English teacher and clergywoman, backed by a tribe of cats."  No one came.  

The real reason for boy sexworkers now is the breakdown of the family.  Women marry or pair up because they are pregnant but the man doesn't stay, so she settles for a sequence of step-fathers who will not tolerate any other male in the household who is not a child.  The rules are those of herd animals like horses or elk, so that the male young are violently driven away.  Sometimes they form separate groups until they are old enough to challenge for their own females or at least pair bonds.  I do not know whether they have the biological genetic capacity to be seen as technical "homosexuals" but horses do form affinities to same sex buddies and try to stay with them, even defend them, break fences to be with them.

STD's and even HIV can be controlled by knowledge and medical help, but both require contacts and the latter is formidably expensive.  Even the clinics that Trump is currently trying to remove are so grim and punishing that it takes grit to use them.

Lately, some prominent far-right women have said that their most favorite movie is "Pretty Woman."  They seem oblivious to the fact that the heroine is a prostitute and the premise of the story is that she is so charming that a very rich and handsome man lifts her out of her trap.  This is similar to the plot of however many "shades of gray" it was in another popular movie where the "prince" turned out to be a sadist.  No doubt there are equivalent boy versions.  Some say the desperate hope is that some client will take them into a family, assuming he has one.

The breakdown of the family is due to the biological and social forces that have previously kept them together.  First, all women were vulnerable to conception, which was hard to evade or abort, and triggered the attachment and devotion to shared children, even love for the father.  Second, early economics sometimes depended on a couple, esp. in the case of agriculture.  One person had the muscle and connections to do the labor and the other one was a "homemaker" who prepared food and maintained the shelter.  The pill broke that.  But so did economics.

Another force that broke even the ability to hold a step-husband, was DNA.  Anonymity of illicit sex now requires great care and access to things like condoms.  A pregnancy is now traceable to a father, who can be billed since presumably he has a job.

What I'm saying is that boy sex-workers are created and maintained by a convergence of forces and ideas, some of them ridiculous, like the idea that dominating and abusing a boy is a more sophisticated thing to do that having a man-on-man relationship.  In fact, dominating children is a pursuit of weak craven men.  Some forces are social, men still have more money.  And then there is the biological reason like the pill or DNA identification.  There are unintended consequences, unrecognized collateral damage, personal devastation, and probably the occasional prince who comes along and pulls a boy into a family.  Nah. Only a fantasy.

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