Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sex Talk

In a country like Spain, where there are brothels on the outskirts of most towns - large bars or hotels with names like ‘Club Los Angeles’ decorated outside with bright coloured lights, sex is no big deal. So, the girls inside might be drugged and under a 24-hour watch. They’ll have their passports kept by the brothel owners and they will have to perform a number of times a day to pay for their room. The police will not usually intercede and the city fathers – as often as not enthusiastic customers during the early evening – will turn a blind eye.

Almería is said to have over a hundred of these jolly clubs, with one of the nearest for Mojácar party-goers located on the outskirts of Vera slap-bang next to a snack bar with the rather unfortunate name of ‘Come, Come’ (it means ‘Eat, Eat’ in Spanish, nothing tawdry here. Move on people). Actually, there are some puticlubs nearer to home, usually apartments or villas hired by strange people from foreign parts, who, now and again, get arrested or deported.

The usual brothel has a number of girls floating around, in various stages of dishabille, bothering or chatting you up (you decide) as you order an overpriced drink from the waiter and nod politely at the mayor sat on the next barstool but one. In fact, many Spaniards use these larger places more for a ‘slap and tickle’ than a fully fledged ‘poke, rattle and roll’ upstairs for a reasonable price (it used to be sixty euros plus a shilling for the maid, last time I asked).

Sex used to be dodgy in the old days of Franco, although Spain has always had its cat houses and its putas. Now, of course, most of the fallen women are foreigners, particularly Romanians (the government has just taken away their rights to get any more honest work) and South Americans. Well, everybody likes something a little bit different.

We have sex workers, tarts or what have you; boys in hot pants and transvestites too; all cruising up and down the streets in certain areas, or in the town park, or on the highway. Now the Catalonians want them to wear fluorescent jackets so as not to be run over. That will be fun – makes them easier to spot, anyway.

Sex is also in evidence in shops and petrol stations, where the XXX videos are on the shelf next to the sales-clerk (and often next to a sellotaped picture of the girl with her boyfriend smiling innocently at the camera). How on earth do you sell those things, I asked the girl at the Mojácar gas station. Well, we have a number of customers who don’t want to miss any on them, she laughed.

The videos are frank and extremely self evident. ‘Let’s Fuck’ would be a rather humdrum title for one of them these days.

No one seems to mind.

We have Internet sex of all sizes, types and description, which is either viewed or not, depending on the inclination of the surfer. We have sex on TV, especially after midnight where – if the translator is working – you get to learn a lot of specialist French or Russian, and if not, your domination of the Spanish word aaarrghh improves no end. There will be adverts galore as well.

But now the bluestockings in the Government, aghast at any sexual inequality, want to put an end to all this fucking. Stage One is to pull prostitute’s adverts from the classified pages of the newspapers. Here’s the kind of thing they mean: ‘Mulata transformist, Miranda, new stunning 23cms. Loaded milk bottle. Private. Discretion. Very feminine. I dress as a woman for you…’ (culled from this week’s Weenie).

The proposal, creaking through the Govt, is to change the General Advertising Law - ‘La Ley General de Publicidad’ - to prohibit adverts ‘for sexual favours and for clubs dedicated to prostitution’ in newspapers and their digital editions, if readership is not (somehow) limited to 18 years or older.

Children, put down that paper at once – read the Beano, whydontcha!

Newspapers, of course, thrive on advertising – especially (and rather obviously) free newspapers. So this rule is going to attract some unfavourable press.

Prostitution, according to El País, is worth about 50 million euros a day in Spain. They say they get that figure from the Asociación de Clubs de Alterne. The Spanish Brotherhood of Brothel-keepers, fine people all. The same newspaper fails, unfortunately, to tell its readers how much the naughty adverts are worth to them on a daily basis, but the Euro Weekly’s Costa del Sol edition for this week has, on P.89, five small display adverts and four columns of classifieds dedicated to ‘XXX Relaxation’.

All this fuss comes from the fertile mind of the new Secretary of State for Equality, a chip of a thing called Laura Seara, who says that she is limiting the new rule to the press, but hopes to amplify it to the Internet and the TV, but ‘that will depend on Congress’.

So, is Spain going to end up like Nebraska? I hope not.

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