Ann

I was staying in the Honey guest house. Honey is a human warehouse; you pay rock bottom prices and you get a stuffy room with a bed and shelves and a fan and a light in the ceiling. Bathrooms are down the hall, not one bathroom has all the equipment working. But it's cheap and clean.

I came home feeling lonely. I saw this lady in the hall. She saw me seeing her and we said "Hello, where do you live," etc. She came to my room and we chatted for a minute. Her name was Ann. After a few minutes Ann went off to take a shower. It looked as though Ann would come back to my room later, and we were both interested in rubbing bellies. I had a thousand baht bill in my wallet; to be careful, I hid it in a book in my suitcase. Then I went to take a shower too. Ann was taking a shower in one bathroom and I took a shower in the adjacent bathroom separated by a partition and I stood on the toilet and looked over the partition and liked what I saw. Somehow Ann knew instantly that I was there, and she asked if I wanted to come in and shower with her. I said "yes".

She invited me into her shower; I went to her. We showered together, naked. A psychological boundary line had been crossed. I returned to my room, she came to my room later. I warned her that I would be leaving in two days. She understood. We made love. Afterwards, I fell asleep.

She never asked for money. By the standards of this subculture I was obligated to give her at least 500 baht if she asked for it, and she probably would; if she spent the night with me it would be more. I planned to give her the thousand baht bill, whether she stayed one hour or all night. If she stayed the whole two days I probably should have forked over more than that. If she had asked for money, and I refused, she would have gotten ugly, and other people would have given me no sympathy. But she never asked for money.

When I woke up it was morning; she was gone. I showered and got dressed. My wallet was in the wrong pocket of my pants. Two hundred baht was missing, only the small bills were left. I checked the book where I had stashed the thousand baht; the money was gone. Skillfully, she had left the room unlocked when she left, so I could never prove that she had taken the money. All totalled she got about 1200 baht from me, fifty dollars U.S. at exchange rates of those days.

She stole just about as much money as I would have given to her had she asked. I was asleep, so to some extent she simply arranged for her own payment. I wish she had left me a hundred baht; I don't have enough left to get my laundry out of hock so I had to wear dirty clothes that day.

I believe that she was a prostitute and a thief, but I cannot testify that she is a prostitute and I cannot prove that she is a thief.

There is a joke in America that goes "She didn't know she'd been raped until the check bounced." It's a joke about consent, and conditional consent, and how after-the-fact events influence your opinion of what has happened. I wonder about the case where a man and a woman make love and then, afterwards, the woman asks for money. Does this make it prostitution? Does it become prostitution in that instant? Does it change the past? If I had stayed awake, Ann would have asked for money; since she didn't, was it prostitution anyway?

I am forced to conclude that the word "prostitution" depends intolerably on one's motive. If a man has sex with a women, and he is willing to give her money, that cannot make it prostitution, for he does not force the money on her. If a woman has sex for a man, it would be prostitution if and only if she intended all along to ask for money. How can you ever know the motives of another person? I cannot even be sure of my own motives.