The price of a woman in my town is two drinks.
Not all the women, of course. Not the blonde middle-aged advocate getting into a cab, or the friendly, pudgy cashier at the supermarket. Probably not the willowy Polish girl waiting at the bus stop, and definitely not the bevy of old ladies tidying the Cathedral. And not even the invisible occupants of the warrens of Tollcross who, I assume, are paid in cash.
No, I am thinking of the flocks of the dyed-orange girls in micro-minis teetering on stilettos down George Street to the expensive bar or dance club of their choice, each and every one of them with parents, a life story and an immortal soul. And the price of some of those girls--again, not all--is two drinks. The task of the men who frequent these bars and clubs is to figure out which girls will go that cheap and to whom.
The girls would vigorously deny that they are for sale. They are modern, responsible women with jobs and maybe even children (currently at home with Mam) or with excellent transcripts or fledgling careers. They just want to have fun, to blow off some steam, to have some adventures, and it's none of our ***** business. If men offer them drinks, well, why shouldn't they take them, if the men look like they are good for a blether and a laugh? And if the men offer them a second drink, well, maybe they shouldn't, but maybe they will just this once because these are good guys, not like some of those other blokes in the bar, and their conversation is exciting, and actually they rather fancy them.
The men are pleased. The air is electric with male competition, but they have done very well for themselves. This is an expensive bar, and these are carefully groomed girls who put a lot of thought into their clothes, make-up and carefully messed up hair. They look clean. Chances are they are clean. And although these attractive girls could have said no to their drinks, definitely to the second drinks, and accepted someone else's drinks instead, they didn't, so chances are that the girls have chosen them, and if they went home with them in an hour that would be flattering.
Two cocktails on George Street = £3.95-£12.00 x 2 = £6.90 - £24.00
What a deal.
"If modern, responsible women with jobs and lives and an interest in grooming go for £24 a night, what is the point of dating?" think our lads about town. Going to a bar, even an expensive bar on George Street, is relatively cheap, especially as the most desirable women, i.e. young and small, cannot drink all that much before they fall down. Dating, however, is ruddy expensive.
Two dinners on George Street with wine = £36 minimum That's just risotto cakes and a glass of wine for both. Hmm. Not a lot to eat or drink, so not really an impressive date. Really, we're looking at £50 for a dinner for two. (Incidentally, minimum wage in the U.K. is £6.31/hr. Monthly rent of a central Edinburgh flat is £600/m before utilities and council tax.)
Two tickets to films in Edinburgh (Art cinema): £16.40
Two tickets to film in Edinburgh (Multiplex): £20.00 (approx)
And as they say, candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. And unlike expensive, jaded and possibly diseased prostitutes, lots of ordinary, pretty, young women are available for £24. So why, I was asked by a cheerful realist, should men date?
After I picked my jaw off the pavement and carefully hinged it back into my skull, I made vague protests about "nice girls" and marriage and immortal souls. And then, when at last I figured out how I felt, I felt really mad. Maybe there's a reason why "respectable women" were so terrible to "tramps" and shunned them like crazy. Until the sexual revolution, the most potent factor influencing young men to get married, even more potent than parental nagging, was sexual desire coupled with distaste for prostitutes. Prostitutes could be fun, and provided variety, but ick. Fun girls in bars, though, are not icky, and to suggest that they are is very judgmental, bigoted and anti-feminist. How dare you. But now the number one problem for men that only scary marriage was supposed to solve can be solved without it. Which means "respectable women" (i.e. women who would have been considered respectable before 1970; we're all respectable now, on paper) have a much, much harder time getting married.
In English-speaking countries, it is indeed traditional for men to pay on dates. But unfortunately there is sometimes some confusion as to what they are actually paying for. How do you impress upon men that you are not "that kind of girl" when thousands of girls who look and dress like you ARE "that kind of girl" and think nothing of it? And to make all this more confusing, real, professional, prostitutes call their appointments dates. "Wanna date?" is apparently the phrase with which prostitutes solicit in Ontario, and one advert offering legal advice to battered prostitutes asked "Had a bad date?"
In some European countries, women actually resist the idea that men should pay on dates. I was told this was true of Germany: apparently German women become instantly suspicious of a man's intentions if he buys her food or drink. I don't know what that is, although I wonder if the last World War might have had something to do with it.
And now that I have thoroughly depressed you, I promise to write something more cheerful about paying on dates tomorrow. But if you have any great arguments for young men of no (or little) religious faith why they should date properly instead of taking home cute drunk girls from bars, feel free to write them in the combox. Keep it clean.