On Friday, 24th June, the day after the UK voted to leave The European Union, I spent a couple of hours with a group of young Americans who were in Amsterdam on a study visit. What were they studying? Prostitution. Why? I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea why they would want to spend a semester studying why men pay to have sex with women. I did a presentation which lasted an hour and then they asked me questions for an hour (my throat is sore – two days later). I don’t remember many of the questions. However, I do remember, “Why pay? Why not just hook up with someone for sex?” Maybe I remember it because I’m always asked that question. The girl asking the question made it sound really easy.

It’s not.

Actually, I’ve remembered a couple of more questions. They both have a feminist flavour. The first was about consent. Specifically, did the window girls specifically give consent. The answer is, of course, no. They stand in an area where sex is old and when you ask how much they tell you and then they let you in. I guess that technically that is tacit consent. I asked what prompted the question. It was against a background of a mood for explicit consent on campus in the USA. The implication is obvious. If you have sex with a window girl who has not explicitly agreed to sex (even though she took your money), it’s really not consent. Nice confused way of looking at the world. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m inside my head.

The other revolved around loads of money as a prostitute as opposed to, for example, next to no money as a cleaner. “A job which earns less money can be so much more rewarding.” Well, it’s a point of view.  However, it’s not my decision. Nor is it the decision of the girl who posed the question. Or anyone other than each individual prostitute.

After the ‘talk’ I went back to my hotel and changed and had a shower. It had been hot in that lecture theatre and I was hyped up; I’d been performing for two hours, not giving a talk. I needed something to bring me down. It turned out to be a girl I’d not seen for over a year. She was in Trompetersteeg. Actually, I thought that she had left the area because of the closures. At first I just stood in the alley and talked to her and we exchanged the usual ‘how have you beens’. I decided to visit for fifteen minutes. I like her. I like to talk to her. However, as soon as I was in the room I parted with €100 and bought thirty minutes of her time. She is skilled; she can stimulate a guy who isn’t sure if he wants to be stimulated. I guess that’s another way of saying that she is good at what she does. She talked me into buying another fifteen minutes. We talked a lot. My plan was to stay there and just ‘cuddle’, if you know what I mean. But she has a good hand. And we got round to ‘doing it’ (which had not been part of the plan). How did I feel about that? Well, I had intended to take advantage of the erotic ‘play’ then seek out a girl I’ve never been with before just for the experience but as is often the case I let her take me all the way.

How was my trip? Thanks for asking. There were three delays on the way out (a) before boarding the plane (b) before take off (c) before landing. Total? Over two hours. On the way back I was in the last carriage on the train to Schipol from Amsterdam Central. The train arrived at Schipol with the platform on the side of the train that the doors wouldn’t open. By the time that I and another six guys had worked our way to the other end of the carriage, people on the platform had flooded on (blocking our path) and the doors had closed. We went to Rotterdam non-stop. How would you feel?

At least I can say that I have been to Rotterdam. I considered giving them the link to this blog so that they could read about themselves. Five of the guys were skateboarders who appeared to have a black guy as the gang leader. It was down to him that the situation worked out OK. He took off to find a guard (he found two) who explained that the journey to Rotterdam would take about 25 minutes (not days as I was imagining) and that there would be a train back to Schipol on the other side of the platform when we arrived. They struck a deal with the guard on that train and we travelled back in First Class. The least they could do. And the sixth guy? Well, our predicament was down to him. And me. You see, being a gentleman I let his girlfriend exit her seat before I made progress along the carriage when we arrived at Schipol. I do this a lot, especially on aeroplanes; I don’t like the idea of people being trapped in their seats as people rush past. What I didn’t know was that she had a suitcase the size of a house. She struggled to move it. It delayed her exit. Meanwhile, I let her boyfriend (who was on the other side of the aisle exit too). He had two fucking great suitcases. He gave one to me (thanks). We struggled along the aisle with the four skateboarders behind us. About five yards from the doors to the platform our exit was blocked by people streaming on. There had been a gap between Suitcase Girl and Suitcase Boy so people  on the platform thought it was OK to board. I remember yelling, “Get back! Get Back!” and not to a Beatle’s tune. It made no difference. The doors were closed and locked by the time we reached them. Suitcase Boy exchanged a sorry stare with his girlfriend. They were on their way back to Hong Kong. And we all shouted and gesticulated at the guard on the platform who was being briefed by Suitcase Girl. Pointless. This isn’t the first time that my good manners have turned round and bitten me in the face. Luckily, the Skateboarders didn’t attempt to exact any kind of revenge, not even harsh words.

At checkin I was dealt a standby ticket. And not for the first time. This happens to me regularly. If you are going to bounce someone off a flight because too many tickets have been sold, the obvious victim is a guy travelling on his own. As it happens I didn’t care either way. I didn’t have to be anywhere the next day (although I did have tickets for a rock concert that night). Well, I was issued with a boarding pass at the gate and made it to the gig.


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