Licentiate Column 02/08/12: I Swear I’m Not a Prostitute

Furtive, shameful hand shandy in the back of a van, not pictured

A funny thing happened to me on the way from the post office today.

Maybe that’s not the best way to start a story, but the rest of said story is sufficiently entertaining that the mediocre introduction can be forgiven.

It was a drizzly day, the former part of which I had spent in my pajamas. I had to go run a few errands, so I threw on a pair of black jeans with salsa stains on the left thigh, a ratty t-shirt, scraped my hair back in a bun and popped on my twenty nine euro Specsavers glasses. The post office was only a few hundred yards away, so I figured that it wasn’t a big deal.

I was standing outside the post office, sipping from a can of pop and waiting for the drizzle to make up its mind about whether it wanted to be a downpour or not when a man in a white van pulled up and nodded at me. I ignored him the first time, then the second, then on the third go I gave a tentative, confused nod back, because in my hometown any middle-aged man who nods at me is more than likely to be my second cousin.

Gentle reader, I married him. No, that’s not true.

I decided to stop the nodding and crossed the road behind his van, heading in the opposite direction. Terrifyingly, he did a U-turn, parked right in front of me and tried to initiate a conversation.

To cut a very long, very creepy story short, he mistook me for a prostitute. An actual prostitute. The women who have sex for money. And not the ‘high-class’ kind of prostitute; the ‘furtive hand shandy in the back of a van with a man who looks like Onslow from Keeping Up Apprearances’ kind of prostitute. I ended up doing an increasingly panicky speedwalk home, terrified that I was going to be abducted.

There are outfits that teenage daughters wear that can worry their parents. And then there are outfits that are more dried tomato and herb than actual fabric. My ensemble was firmly entrenched in the second camp. Encrusted, even.

I have gone out in more than my fair share of provocative outfits and never received a backwards glance. I have gone out as the sartorial equivalent of a bin near a Mexican restuarant and been mistaken for a hooker.

The proof is in the pudding. It’s not what you wear that makes you a slut (for pay or otherwise) – you’re clearly a slut when another man decides, often baselessly, that you are one. It’s total and utter tripe. Whoreishness is in the eyes of the beholder, and the beholder who judges you as a slut based on your appearance clearly leaves something to be desired in themselves.

It’s a liberating but ultimately depressing thought. It doesn’t really matter what you wear, because people are probably going to get the wrong impression anyway.

One thought on “Licentiate Column 02/08/12: I Swear I’m Not a Prostitute

  1. I was going to say that this is one for the grandchildren but the more I think about it, it might just scare them away from every going to the Post Office or eating Mexican food….

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