How much for that whore in the window?


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I know, I know – it sounds harsh, but that’s exactly what it is. A whore, in a window, advertising her body the same way a retail shop would advertise its latest line of clothing. But Amsterdam whores are not just any whores. They are entrepreneurs, running their own legit business. There is no pimp, no foul play. These girls pay taxes on their services and even have a union. If there is an issue with a client, all they need to do is push a button and the police back them up. These girls are their own bosses who make their own rules, hours and pay to rent out their own rooms.

Surprisingly, famous Amsterdam prostitutes only charge 30-50 euros for their services which is very, very cheap. They specialize in “quickies,” so if you want something more, you need to go to a brothel or club. The women of the Red Light District do not like photos being taken of them, but honestly, what do they expect when they put themselves out there like that in a tourist hub?

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Everyone knows about the notorious Red Light District in Amsterdam and that prostitutes standing behind glass windows is the highlight. Most people are also aware of Amsterdam’s liberal ways and that Marijuana is legal and tolerated. What shocked me on my visit was the not- so-well-known things that are offered and legal.

As far as the Red Light District goes, I had no idea they offered many other sexual services and entertainment such as “Sex shows.” These shows offer entertainment that ranges from stripping, sexual tricks being performed, to watching live sex on stage. I was flabbergasted as my husband and I walked down the street and as we stopped to gaze at a menu of sexual positions in front of a club, the doorman asked us if we were interested in a threesome! It reminded me of how the brothels in ancient Rome had actual menus of options of sexual positions etched in stone in the front of the establishment.  There are many types of sexual services in Amsterdam, from window prostitutes and brothels to clubs and escorts – each offering their own unique services.

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The red light district canal view

My perhaps even more shocking experience in Amsterdam was not to do with sex, but with drugs. While wondering the town one afternoon we stumbled upon a random shop. As we began to brows the shop, my eyes were caught on a sample display at the front counter.  The display had tiny plastic straws and a small pile of herbal looking substance. The sign next to it invited you to try a sample by snorting a line with the complimentary straws. I was in disbelief. I went on to view some mushroom like substances that were sitting in glass cases and were sold in little containers and packages. There were lots of the mushroom things, herbal looking stuff and pills -lots and lots of pills!  I couldn’t imagine that this place was selling real drugs, but being in Amsterdam, I wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t until after, that I found a section about these shops in my guidebook.

The shop we had stumbled upon was called a “Smart shop” and my book explained that in Amsterdam, anything that can be grown in the ground is legal to sell. Truffles for example, what looked to me like mushrooms in the shop, are perfectly legal because they are grown in the ground. Truffles still give the user “effects,” just less intense than its brother the mushroom.  The selling of the famous “magic” mushroom in shops was only banned as recent as 2008-2009, but there are powerful truffle substitutes in many of the shops today. These shops also commonly sell peyote cactus, herbal ecstasy, energizers, aphrodisiacs, hallucinating seeds and drug related paraphernalia.  So basically, anything “natural” is legal and can be sold.

As far as marijuana goes, you can go into any coffee shop and buy it. You can smoke it on the street like a cigarette and you are free to grow it yourself at home. It is a bit shocking to see the associate at the coffee shop pull out a huge container from under the counter of any kind of marijuana you may like. You almost feel like you are going to get in some sort of trouble just looking at it. They even sell weed tea, weed suckers, weed pastries and so on.  You can buy a pre-rolled blunt or a baggie. Complimentary zig zags are just sitting at the check-out as if they were napkins to go with your meal. After a day or two of being in Amsterdam, you hardly notice that everyone is smoking weed. It’s not a big deal and seems just the same as smoking a cigarette. It doesn’t seem like a big deal because they don’t make it a big deal so therefore it’s not a big deal. The reasoning of control over criminalization starts to make perfect sense.

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The Dutch go with the idea that it is ones prerogative if they want to put drugs in their body. If they aren’t hurting anybody, being a druggy is really a self-choice and legalizing or tolerating it makes it less likely for them to “hurt” others in the community (theft, weapons, violence involving drugs etc.)  If you legalize it, you can control it. More importantly, they see drugs as a health problem, the same as tobacco or alcohol addiction, rather than criminalizing it.

They feel that if someone has a drug problem, the best avenue is to try to rehabilitate them instead of just giving them a criminal record and throwing them in an overcrowded jail only to come out a dysfunctional citizen of the community. Hard drugs are not legal in Amsterdam, but they are not heavily criminalized.

On the same token, the Dutch feel legalizing prostitution helps control things such as under age prostitution, trafficking, corruption, violence and so on. Again, it’s one’s freedom to do whatever they want with their body. If two adults are consenting, what’s the problem? As long as it’s not hurting anyone, who cares? By legalizing it, they have the control to help it not hurt others and control where it takes place. The government also benefits from it by being able to put a tax on it.

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8 thoughts on “How much for that whore in the window?

  1. Pingback: still oranges | Words & Pics

  2. Pingback: Too Much Thought For This One | This Blog Needs Daily Prompts

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