Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The World's Oldest Profession

About a month ago, an article I wrote, "Getting a Tattoo? Here Are 10 Things NOT To Do" was featured on The comments came pouring in, most of them positive, and I gained a lot of amazing followers from that post. One comment, however, caught my attention in a major way, and planted a seed of inspiration in the back of my mind.

A reader posted this: "My only beef with the article: did you really need to use the word "whore"? There's no reason to insult anyone else's profession in that manner."

At first I was shocked. Me? Use the word 'whore' in my articles? What? No, I wouldn't argue that point at all. 'Whore' is like 'the' or 'was' in my writings... it just flows out and is appropriate just about everywhere. But, I was shocked because I couldn't remember using 'whore' in this particular article. I have to admit now that I had to re-read my article 3 times before I found the word 'whore', because it's such a popular word in my writings that I didn't even pick up on it. Anyway, the reader was referring to a line in the article that reads, "I had to have a guy go take a whore's bath in the sink at a shop one time because his cologne brought on an instant migraine for me, and I almost couldn't do his tattoo." 

This reader's comment intrigued me from many standpoints.
  1. 'Whore's bath', while yes, slang, is an actual phrase for washing the necessary parts of your body. The reason it is called a 'whore's bath' is because this action is most practiced most frequently by prostitutes in between jobs. I didn't coin the term 'whore's bath', it has been around for decades.
  2. I could only come to the assumption that I insulted this woman's profession, to which, I sincerely apologize.
  3. Whoring is one of the oldest professions there is, so why is the term 'whore's bath' derogatory?
And it was with the last one, that my seed of inspiration took shape. So today, I dive into the profession of whoring, to educate my readers on its history, so maybe we, as a society, will understand it more. Please note now that this article was well researched, and yes, does have my Tatted Mom style writing and places where I insert my opinion (Ha! I used the word 'insert' in a post about prostitution.), but please don't think in any way that this article is not based on facts. I worked hard on this one, people. (Again, used 'hard' in a whoring post... I kill myself sometimes.) Please also understand, though, that my article refers to the people who choose to be in this profession. I do not intend to find humor in child prostitution or human trafficking, as these are sick practices.

Whoring: The World's Oldest Profession

Prostitution (which will be referred to as 'whoring' for the sake of the reader who inspired this post) dates back to the 18th century BC. (That's 1800 years before our calendar started.) The Mesopotamian society felt the need to write up a women's rights document, that included the rights of female prostitutes. Ancient Sumerians, as well as the ancient city of Babylon, also documented whoring as a practice.

Fresco from Pompeii wall.
Ancient Greeks (dating from 800 BC to 600 AD- that's over 1400 years of whoring) had both female and boy whores (not a supporter of that at all, but that's how they rolled back then), and had documented whore houses. Hell, in Ancient Rome in the 4th century, whoring was legal, public, and the whore houses are now modern day tourist attractions.

During the Middle Ages (from the 5th century to the 15th century), whoring was not actually condoned by the Roman Catholic Church, but was tolerated to avoid greater evils of rape, sodomy, and... gasp... masturbation. Just think about families with teenage boys back then. It would have been more socially acceptable to send your son to a whore house than have him lock himself in the toilet hole room or outhouse for 15 minutes or so with some drawn picture of a naked lady or the latest edition of 'Medieval Bra Monthly' Sheesh.

Now, shortly after the 15th century, people in the west began to turn their backs on whoring due to a syphilis outbreak in Europe. Hmm, guess someone needs to invent some syphilis retardant gear, huh? (They'll get smart in a second, just wait.) But, in the eastern region, whoring was at it highest point, because, well, tradesmen from the west traveled to the less syphilis-ridden Japan to get their whoring needs fulfilled.

Thank goodness the 18th century welcomed the use of condoms made out of cat-gut or cow bowel to the business of whoring. Imagine if that's what we still used today... the smell must have been amazing. (Excuse me while I go vomit real quick.)

During the 19th century in France and the United Kingdom, suspected whores had to get legally mandated pelvic exams. This is when the legal vs. illegal debate became a worldwide focus. Many countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, allowed whoring to remain legal, and revamped their laws to suit the decision. 

Shockingly enough, whoring wasn't made illegal in the US until the early 20th century, with the exception of some rural Nevada counties (near Las Vegas). I figured the US would have made it illegal way before that (we're prudes in the grand scheme of the sexual world). Areas that joined the US in its hatred for whoring include most of Africa and Asia.

Before I summarize, I need to throw in that the word 'whore' itself is from the Old English hora, which means 'prostitute'. So, the word 'whore' shouldn't be taken in a derogatory manner, anyway, by definition. Society has deemed 'whore' to be a negative term, but it's just not so.

So, let's finally summarize things so far. Whoring has been documented as being around for almost 4000 years. That's older than actual doctors, lawyers, priests, retail owners, accountants, actual teachers... pretty much everything except hunters and gatherers, but back in the day, they weren't paid, per say, so it was more of a role than a job.

The question that comes to mind is, why, after 4000 years of history, is whoring looked down upon? Is it because there's no proper education or actual training involved with it that it's not viewed at the same status as say, doctors who go to school for 10 years? If there was a University of Whoring, would that make it more socially acceptable? If my whore had a bachelors of Kama Sutra with a minor in fellatio, would that be better?

Is it the fact that a woman (or yes, there are male prostitutes), is selling their body, and that most sacred of an act, sex, to whoever will pay? What if they are really good at it? What if they are so good at it, that it warrants being charged for? I mean, think about it. Singers are really good at singing, and we pay them to sing, to put on concerts; we pay them for their talent. Is it because it's not sex that we're paying for that makes it more socially acceptable?

Or is it the fact that generally speaking, whoring is done by people in lower economical areas, and has been since associated with drug use; that prostitutes become what they are to pay for their next hit? Maybe, just maybe, if whoring was legalized and heavily regulated, it would pull the profession off the streets and into the hands of more responsible people, with regulations, and exams, and possibly even drug testing involved in order to continue whoring.

What if whores paid taxes? Kept receipts for their pantyhose, condoms, lubes, lingerie, hooker heals, etc as business expenses, and kept detailed records of payments received and jobs performed etc, filled out taxes every April and gave Uncle Sam a cut of their hard (Ha!) earned money? Would that make whoring more acceptable?

I'm not an advocate of prostitution; please, in no way, shape, or form think I am. I am an amazingly good debater (a master debater, if you will... Ha!), and have always been great at finding facts to support, or to seem to support, any side of a story. Most of all, I've always been good at making people think.

Though I don't support prostitution, I don't judge it, either. These ladies (and males) do what they feel they have to do to make money. Who am I to say anything about their lifestyle? It's illegal in this country, yes, but not for me to judge.

After researching prostitution, though, I can say it opened my eyes a little bit. This article was fueled, yes, to make light of a comment left by a reader, but I taught myself a lot in the process. I couldn't let a comment like that particular one go unnoticed, though. Not my style at all.

A huge thanks to for helping me with my research. The information in today's article was summarized from two (long) articles, History of Prostitution and Prostitution.

And, a huge thanks to the reader who posted the comment. I had fun writing this post and learning about whoring, and I think I've come up with some pretty compelling, thought-provoking questions that prove that my use of 'whore's bath' was not meant as an insult to the oldest profession in the world. I do want to say though, in closing, please lighten the hell up. Thank you for commenting, and for inspiring me to write this entire post, but sheesh. I said 'whore's bath' for crying out loud. It's not like I made fun of Mother Teresa or Gandhi.

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  1. LOVE this! sharing on HMM! nicely done!!

    1. AHHHHHH!!!! Holy crap, that just made my day.... MY WEEK!!!! Thank ya, ma'am!!!!! =)

  2. Some woman who are in this profession Do in fact pay Taxes. They usually work for an agency and it is called escorting Adult entertainment They have a license an Adult Entertainment license. I am not saying everyone who works as an Escort has sex with there clients But even if they don't they play out fantasies ect. Any way they pay taxes and they usually file under Modeling as there profession. There is always a loop hope..

    1. See, now that's awesome! I had read about 'escorts' in my research, but considering prostitution is illegal in the US no matter what you call it, I chose not to include that in the article.

      That raises a question, though. Why is prostitution illegal, but not the porn industry? All of those people get paid to have sex.....

      Thanks for your comment, it made me think even more. =)

    2. "Why is prostitution illegal, but not the porn industry? All of those people get paid to have sex....."

      ^This is something I've wondered, too.

      I have to agree with the other comments as well, very thought provoking post!

  3. "to send your son to a whore house than have him lock himself in the toilet hole room or outhouse for 15 minutes" ... do you have a son? 15 minutes?! No way. ;-)

    Excellent article, TM. Well researched, well thought out, well written. I'm glad you worked so hard (Ha!) on it. Thank you for sharing!

    1. LMAO, my son is only 7, so we haven't gotten to that yet.

      Glad you liked it. I got your email, too, and fixed a few things here and there. Not sure if I picked the right ones, though, lol. Normally I'm a grammar nazi myself.

      Sheesh, probably shouldn't have said 'nazi' there. I'm sure that will offend someone. Damn. Now I need to go research nazis....

  4. This is such a great article! I'm sharing. new follower from Facebook. Have a great week.

  5. I was about to comment on another post when I saw the link to this one as 'related', it was the nude painting that drew me in! I wish I could remember the name of it, we discussed it during an art history class...loved it (stupid memory). Anyway, I have absolutely nothing significant to add to this conversation other than that. I just get a kick out of seeing less well known works of art on posts that I once studied. Thanks for that! :-) (great post, by the way)