Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Male Eunuch

[Media prompt] Europe’s first sex robot brothel forced out of base as prostitutes complain of competition.
The Male Eunuch

Everybody laughed when Maria said she wasn’t going to take it lying down. Kneeling down, said Luciana, what about kneeling down? This was at a meeting in May, and since then two more bot brothels had opened, another two or three rumoured. Now it was August, and every women in the room was desperate to take it lying down. They don’t listen, they don’t caress, said Maria, they can’t even look at you. What the hell is wrong with men? Jimena, a radical leftist feminist, who’d been on the game for over thirty years, stood up. It’s just another systemic patriarchal strategy to objectify us, she said; the bourgeoisie want to strip us of our rights. These bots denigrate us, and men are made to see us as sex objects. Nobody responded, and the meeting broke up shortly after. We have to fight, said Jimena to the women departing, but they just sighed and went home, a cloud of depression hanging over each one of them.

Not long afterwards, Maria asked one of her regulars about it. I don’t know, said the man, who owned a high end jewellery store, I haven’t really thought about. He lit a cigarette, and walked to the window. He looked down at the people walking by in the street, feeling for a moment like a king who could do as he liked. I thought I understood men, she said. The man sat on the edge of the bed, running his smooth hands over her thigh. You do, he said, leaning forward to kiss her on the head. But young men, he said, his train of thought dissolving in the air. He put on his shoes and jacket, leaving some bills on the table by the door.

Young men, said Maria at the next meeting; young men are the problem. Luciana asked what she meant. None of my regulars over fifty-five is interested in bots, she said. Not one. I asked them all. And then I went to see who goes to a bot brothel. Everyone was listening now. None of them had expected this. Well, said Sofia, who? Maria opened a notebook and put on her glasses. It’s like this, she said. Almost all are under forty, and most are under twenty-five or thirty. A lot come in groups, so I think for them it’s a kind of joke, just to see what it’s like. She looked up and took off her glasses. But the main thing is this, she said. A bot doesn’t judge.

Well, you’d have thought Maria threw a grenade. I’ve never judged a man in my life, said Jimena, though most of them bloody well deserved it. The nerve, said another, I’ve never said anything about pot bellies, body odour, degeneracy, equipment that wouldn’t satisfy a midget. It was as though Franco had walked into a Trotskyite study group. After the hubbub died down, everyone satisfied their whorish dignity was intact, Maria continued. I talked to a lot of them, she said, and this is what they said. She put her glasses back on and flipped a page with a tongue moistened thumb. Here you go, she said, finding her place. Bots don’t look at us as though we’re losers. Maria looked up, then back down at her notes. Bots don’t look at the clock, bots don’t sigh, bots don’t make us feel like cheaters, and bots have better bodies. The clamour of voices started again, and Maria closed her notebook. God damn snowflakes, said Jimena, I’m going to fix this.

After Christmas, the city of Barcelona, bowing to pressure from the Association of Sex Professionals, legislated that the bots could stay, but that every man must, by law, visit a hooker twice for every visit to a bot. Maria was not surprised when young men stopped visiting bots and went back to pleasuring themselves to online pornography. But she kept her lack of surprise to herself. Her older clients tipped better anyway.

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