Saturday, May 19, 2018

What is a Girlfriend Experience?

In everyday conversation, men are said to have sex. They get laid. Men even fuck. Women, on the other hand, have intimacy.

At least, those are the most commonly used expressions. Men speak of scoring. Unless they are speaking about their wives. In that case they use more genteel expressions. If they speak of it at all... which is more common.

Women are more modest. They do not normally talk about scoring. They do not count the notches on their bedposts. They seek intimacy. Yes, I do know that some women speak of men as fuck buddies-- they are identifying as ersatz men.

These thoughts arrived in the forefront of my consciousness while reading Allison Schrager’s analysis of prostitution. Schrager is an economist. She has spent time in Nevadan brothels… for research purposes. She interviewed the girls. She interviewed the owners. She wanted to understand how the flesh market functions. You see, Schrager studies markets. Why not study the oldest market of them all—the market in female flesh?

OK, Schrager does not exactly say that the market in female flesh is the oldest of them all. That honor undoubtedly belongs to marriage—an exchange and alliance between families. And yet, she is curious about prostitution and, after studying it more intently than I have, she concludes that you can buy sex but you cannot buy intimacy. It feels like a Beatles’s song: Can’t buy me love. Remember it.

Anyway, as soon as Schrager introduces the notion of intimacy bells go off. Women think in terms of intimacy. As a general rule, men do not. Yes, I do understand that some very woke men use the term, as a sop to feminism, but, in the last analysis, men are not looking for intimacy when they go to brothels.

You will be thinking that men are just looking for carnal delights. To which Schrager would counter that the most popular and often the most expensive of the services brothels offer is what is called the Girlfriend Experience. As the old saying goes: time is money. And a girlfriend experience requires more time than a quickie.

For those who are not up on the latest lingo, this is another way of saying: going out on a date. Now, it’s a strange sort of date when a man is having dinner and a movie with an anonymous woman. Prostitutes do not use their real names. They rarely divulge personal information about their lives. 

This suggests that there is no real intimacy. Then again, it suggests that these men are not looking for intimacy. Women who sell a girlfriend experience make men feel important and make them feel clever and witty… roughly as they do in Japanese hostess clubs. These latter, for those who care, are not to be confused with brothels. Hostesses entertain. They do not sell intimacy. They do not even pretend to be selling intimacy. The man who frequent them, often in groups, do not expect anything more than a fun and entertaining evening with a woman who knows how to sustain a conversation, who laughs at his jokes, who tells him how great he is and who never treats a man with derision or contempt.

A few notes: if prostitutes are selling their bodies—perish the thought—but do not identify themselves by name, are they selling their bodies or are they selling a body? Do they engage in the experience or do they go through the motions? Just a thought.

So, let’s accept that the Girlfriend Experience is theatre. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Schrager exposes her own contempt for the men who frequent prostitutes by saying that they are all lonely, sad losers. She thinks that they are looking for a human connection. And yet, they cannot have a real connection with a prostitute, so perhaps they are finding something else.

Schrager fails to notice that men who can spend thousands of dollars to get laid are likely to be fairly successful in life. And if they are fairly successful in life they are likely to have a network of social contacts. Many of them have wives and families. 

This means that the men are not looking for a hookup, but are looking for a conversation with a woman who will treat them with respect. In exchange they are happy to treat the woman with respect. It shows more respect to take a woman out on a date than to hook up with her a half an hour after you met her in a bar. Not that there is anything wrong with drunken hookups with sexually liberated women.

This tells us, if you did not see this coming, that in a world where women are prone to hook up, to give it away for free, to have sex with random anonymous men, the Girlfriend Experience has become popular because fewer and fewer women in the real world are offering it. As Schrager notes, if something is in short supply people create a market for it.

Modern women want to be equals. But this seems to lead them to show contempt for men. They are independent and autonomous. They do not need anything from men, except for an occasional donation of bodily fluid.

Modern women are all attitude. And that attitude is not very attractive. I hate to say it but women who lean in, assert themselves, are straightforward and upfront about what they want are a turnoff. If they are not a turnoff they are a chore.

Women do not understand that these attitudes, whether promoted in the workplace or at the rave, are not what men want. Of perhaps they do. Perhaps they lean in because they know that men do not want women who threaten their face. At times these attitudes provoke pushback, but in truth most men are not looking to get into a shoving match with a woman on a date. And they do not want to argue about who is going to pay for what.

There you have the solution: after spending enough time dealing with today’s liberated women, men want to go out with women who will not berate them for picking up the tab. Who will show some respect for what they do and who will not be competing against them. It’s not so much that modern women do not put out— as I said, they often give it away for free—but when someone is giving something away for free a man might feel that he has not earned what he is receiving. If she is giving it to him for free she is probably giving it to other men for free. Where's the fun in that?

If the Girlfriend Experience harkens back to Japanese hostess bars, and undoubtedly to the Geisha experience, a more recent version was practiced by a famed French procuress named Madame Claude. During the 1960s and 70s she ran a brothel, or better, a service whereby she provided wealthy and famous men lovely young Frenchwomen for sexual and other services. Her women were not ordinary prostitutes. They were what is best called demi-mondaines.

Her clientele included John Kennedy and the Shah of Iran. It included many politicians and royals. The important point was not merely that Claude’s girls would go out on dates, for dinner and a movie. They were more likely hired to accompany or to escort men to social functions. They were well-dressed, well-mannered, well-groomed and presentable. They had been well brought up and were comfortable in opulent surroundings. They grew up in good neighborhoods and went to the best schools. They were articulate and intelligent, could carry a conversation and, most importantly, would not in any way embarrass the man they were with.

As the story goes, some of Claude’s girls ended up marrying the men they escorted. Were the men looking for intimacy? Not really. Men do not look for intimacy. They look for women who make them look good and who make them feel like men, like men who have accomplished things in the world and who have attained to a certain stature and prestige.

It’s not about loneliness.  These men were anything but pathetic losers. They were extraordinarily successful and were looking for women who appreciated their success. In the end it's not that much of a mystery.


White Devil said...

Man, you live in a whole other universe than I do. Men having sex? Only if you're in the top 15%. Women being modest? When 400lb-ers wear spandex, that's a no. Women having intimacy? Then explain the billion pounds of cat food purchased each week.

The bulk of this article is fantasy. It's built on Hollywood tropes rather than fact.

Anonymous said...

White Devil,

This all vaguely reminds me of a picture named; "Cherry 2000." I wonder if the people who wrote and produced the film realized how prescient they were. Along with women pretending to be a girl friend experience and robots with better knowledge. An interesting cult film

Ares Olympus said...

So "intimacy" would seem to be about being seen as an individual, in some way different from others, rather than "sex" which can interchange different bodies to the same effect, as long as they are equally attractive. Sex is about pleasure, intimacy is about connection.

I see a Casanova is a man who has multiple lovers, but he *could* see them all as individuals, and satisfy their needs for intimacy while they're together, although perhaps he could just do sex in different situations. Karen McDougal said she loved Donald Trump and only felt guilty when he took her to the same bed he shared with Melania, while Stormy Daniels said she wasn't attracted to him, but had textbook sex with him as a sort favor, being more about networking for business opportunities.

In my mid-20s one woman friend confided that she continued having sex with her boyfriend in the months before she broke up with him, but she intentionally refrained from kissing him, and she was really surprised he was okay with that. So we decided mouth-to-mouth kissing is most intimate, even if only first base. While "doggy style sex" can be even less intimate.

Anonymous said...

Ares, it's positively uncanny that you always seem to know someone whose experience perfectly mirrors the current post.

Oddly enough, I knew someone like you several years ago. Sadly, they are currently restricted to the grounds except for the occasional weekend furlough.

Alter Kocker said...

Being a well-seasoned 'hobbyist,' as it is called, I can chime in on the GFE concept. With the right woman, and the right attitude, you can develop a relationship with an 'escort' where deep physical and sometimes even emotional intimacy can be expressed. Though it takes some work and experience, not to mention money! Occasionally, you find a goddess and get that experience on the first (and often only time, these women seem to be fleeting in the business.)

"You pretend to love me, and I pretend to believe it" is not an unreachable goal.

And what's the difference between that and 'real' love? Other than the long-term friendship part, nothing, really. At the end of the day, consciousness and free will are an illusion, along with all our 'real' or 'faked' emotions.