This novel is based on true events. It's my story. It's not pretty. It involves sex, drugs, crimes, betrayal, bad relationships and really terrible relationships, codependency and cruelty.
I like to think that I'm a good person. I like to think that I have morals and integrity. But nobody is perfect, and I have done things I'm not proud of. There are many things that I'm embarrassed about or even ashamed of. Looking back at them today makes me cringe.
So why am I writing about them? I'm not really sure. I just had to get it all off my chest, I guess. I hear confessionals are supposed to be cathartic.
Every person is the sum of their past experiences. I am who I am today because of every little thing I've done or gone through. Hopefully I've learned something from it all, and today I'm a better person for it.
"Sex is one of the most wholesome, beautiful and natural experiences that money can buy."
"I don’t understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn’t selling fucking legal? You know, why should it be illegal to sell something that’s perfectly legal to give away?"
Prostitution is legal pretty much everywhere in the world. Well, almost everywhere. Not here in the US. When I was younger, I never understood why it should be illegal. I understand it now.
I grew up in Germany. Europe is far more liberal than America. Even most conservative right-wing parties over there are to the left of the US Democrats on many issues. For example, it wouldn't occur to even the most right-wing party in Europe to oppose universal healthcare. But this isn't a book about politics. It's about sex and drugs. You know, the good stuff.
So, I grew up in a pretty liberal society, where prostitution is legal. Every city has a designated red-light district, where brothels do their business. But you won't find brothels just in the red-light districts. You'll find them in all sorts of neighborhoods, tucked between supermarkets and single family homes. They're not even hiding. Why would they? They're legal, and a normal part of society. You can quickly recognize them by the red lights they usually have in their windows. Or the big neon signs that say SEX CLUB or something to that effect.
The red-light district in Amsterdam is so famous, it's a popular tourist destination. You'll see whole families walk through the streets, pushing strollers with their toddlers, looking at the attractions. Entire bus-loads of Japanese tourists walk through those streets along the canals.
Most people don't know that Amsterdam has more canals than Venice. When you walk along those canals through the red-light district, you'll see half-naked girls from all over the world sit in large windows, as if they were store merchandise on display. You can walk right up to them and ask them through the open window to show you the goods. They'll often pull their tops down with a fake smile and let you see their breasts. It helps them negotiate a good price. Often in broken English. Or they'll lift their short skirt and pull their panties aside. It's hard to argue over money when a girl flashes you her pussy.
The economic crisis didn't spare the red-light district in Amsterdam, and the girls in those windows will fuck you for bargain prices. There's an actual price war going on. Girls will underbid each other for a chance to have sex with you. Sounds like paradise for a horny guy, right?
So why aren't the streets in the red-light districts overrun by men looking to get laid? Because Europeans self-censor. For example, in Germany, people will agree in theory that prostitution should be legal, but they usually won't admit that they themselves have ever gone to a prostitute: "Yeah, it should be legal, and I have no problem with it, but I would never go to one. I'm above that." Then they secretly go to one anyway. On the down low. They won't admit it in polite company, because they don't want to look trashy.
Prostitution is not exactly a reputable business over there either, even though the girls actually have to pay taxes on their earnings, and submit to regular health check ups. Even the prostitutes have universal healthcare over there. The benefit of legal prostitution is obvious: tax income for the city, healthier girls, and safety. In Amsterdam, each girl has an alarm button next to her bed that she can press if one of her "customers" tries to rape or hurt her. The police will arrive within minutes and protect the girl from harm.
I saw a documentary about prostitution in Holland a few years ago, that said over there health insurance actually pays for monthly visits to a prostitute for the disabled, because they feel that sex is part of a healthy life, so unmarried disabled men have a right to have sex, even if it's with a paid prostitute. Pretty bizarre, huh? Can you imagine a US health insurance company picking up the bill for your romp in the hay with a hooker?
Growing up in a liberal society like that, prostitution was never really an issue of debate for me. It was just there. The fact that it existed was a part of life, like gas stations or grocery stores. And it never occurred to me that there should be any reason to outlaw it. If a girl wants to sell her body, so be it. None of my business. Don't athletes sell their bodies, too? People can do behind closed doors whatever they want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. And that was still my attitude, when I moved to the States in my 20s.
When I heard that prostitution was illegal over here, I thought it was silly. Quaint. Lame. Europeans often laugh about how prudish Americans are, when it comes to sex. In Europe, sexuality is a normal part of life. Fancy antique art museums are full of nudity. And you'll see naked girls in every major newspaper. Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, has a topless girl on the backpage of every daily issue. Nobody thinks twice about it. Nobody finds it necessary to protect the children.
A naked breast is no more a threat to the well-being of a child than a naked hand or foot. So from a European point of view, American media censorship seems utterly ridiculous. People all over the world laughed at America, when the FCC fined Jacket Jackson for her "wardrobe malfunction" and flashing her boob for a second during the Superbowl halftime show a few years ago.
A lot of bands make two different music videos for their latest songs. A censored version for American TV, and an uncensored version that includes nudity for European music stations. The so-called Land of The Free doesn't seem so free anymore, when you realize that other countries have a lot more freedom.
In Europe, nobody will bleep you, if you want to say a "bad" word on TV. The idea that some self-righteous little old lady at the FCC gets to tell other people which words they may or may not use, seems like a pretty strange concept in the rest of the civilized world.
Media censorship is a prohibition of words and pictures. The War on Drugs is a complete failure, and so is the American War on Words. When you forbid a word, you give it power. Self-proclaimed rebels will use words like shit or fuck, simply to shock and sound cool.
But every word serves a purpose. It conveys an idea. And the idea behind words like feces, stool, or poop is exactly the same as behind the word shit. They all conjure up the same mental image in your head. So why are stool and poop "good" words, and shit is a "bad" word? Who decided that, and why am I bound by that decision?
Why do some people feel offended by the word shit, but not by the word poop? Because some little old lady at the FCC decided that good citizens don't use the word shit, and suddenly using a word like shit or fuck becomes an act of civil disobedience. Suddenly a little four-letter word has the power to shock.
If a guest host on Saturday Night Live disobeys the rules and uses the word fuck on the air, it's a big deal, and the morning shows talk about it for days. That's so silly.
If a German farmer is being interviewed on the news, because a severe storm ruined his crop, nobody would bleep him, and nobody would make a big deal of it, if he said: "That God damn storm ruined my fucking crop! FUCK MY LIFE!" If he doesn't curse on the air, it's not because he's being censored, but because he chooses not to, because he doesn't want to sound like an ignorant brute. Germans don't need someone telling them what they can and cannot say. They decide for themselves what is appropriate.
Medical studies have shown that cursing reduces levels of stress and pain. Repressing your anger is not healthy. It's much better to verbalize it, and let off steam. Maybe all that repressed anger is the reason why there are so many serial killers in America.
And although Europeans have a much more relaxed attitude when it comes to sexuality, and they don't feel the need to protect children from "bad" words or "bad" images of harmless nudity, the levels of teen pregnancy are much lower over there than in America. Telling American teenagers that words describing sex are off limits, makes sex a tempting forbidden fruit, and it only makes them think about it more.
Educating European teenagers about their own sexuality, and that it's a natural part of life, but teaching them to censor themselves, because it's important to get an education before you start a family, is obviously a much more effective way to reduce teen pregnancy.
Anyway, this is my book. I curse when I get really upset. Letting off steam that way makes me feel a little bit better. I've been through a lot, but I have never had the urge to go postal. I thank fuck for that.
And whether I write that I had sex with a girl, or I fucked her, or we screwed, or we copulated, or had intercourse, or a romp in the hay, it all conjures up the same mental image.
This book contains a lot of "bad" words. So if you are easily offended, go fuck yourself.