“You don’t kiss a whore”

The other night my flatmate made a comment about how “you don’t kiss a whore” after there was a scene in a TV show where two characters were about to get it on, and the female character had just agreed to sleep with some other guy as a favour to the guy in scene. So basically, the “just about to get it on” depiction was short but my flatmate noted that they just got straight into it and see, no kissing. Following up with the explanation: “‘Cause you don’t kiss a whore”.

I was surprised to hear that that’s what he picked up on (I never would have realised that I hadn’t seen kissing in the first 5 seconds, that if sex is going to take place then kissing is going to be the absolute first move or never, and that the absence of  it therefore means something) and was quite offended.

I hate how some men and women think it’s cool to lump women into categories – “good women vs. whores”. Particularly because there seems to be the implication that whores deserve, or even demand, bad treatment. While of course those who are “good” are bound by restrictions on what is acceptable from them as well. Being considered one of the “good” ones is not terribly uplifting or reassuring when you’re also constantly being reminded of what your punishment and judgement will be should you happen to behave in any non-prescribed way.

In response I first suggested that maybe they would kiss in the imaginary act assumed to follow. Maybe they’d kiss in the middle of sex, or after, or maybe the second after the camera cut. To my mind the purpose of that little seduction part was simply to signal “they’re gonna have sex”. Throughout history this has been able to be signalled without needing to show kissing…. and really, the characters here were shown at that cliched “falling onto the bed” stage. How quickly did my flatmate expect kissing?

He insisted that nah, it’s not like that, there was not going to be any kissing. Maybe I just read people and situations very wrong but from what I saw there was no way to tell if they were or if they weren’t at some point going to kiss. Not to mention that I don’t see that every sex act has to involve kissing for it not to be degrading to the woman. Feeling a wee bit pressured caught between his bizarre, spontaneous misogyny “lite”, my internal alarm bleating “you can’t let him just say stuff like this to you!”, and of course between the fact that in general I like him and think he’s a decent guy, this is what I ended up blurting out.

“Well, I would kiss a whore.”

I had actually quickly thought about it in my mind and known it to be true, except that ideally I wouldn’t use the word “whore”. Basically, if I’ve decided that I feel happy enough to sleep with a given person, I’m not going to then find ways to denigrate them or sleep with them while being icked out by them. If you genuinely consider a person “dirty” or “diseased”, how can you justify being happy to have your genitals unabashedly meet while keeping your lips coy? How could you ever let them give you oral sex? Yet how many guys like to go on judging women and laughing about dirty chicks who are only good for one thing? (Have I been in Australia too long? Nah, I jest, this talk is not unusual guy fodder in NZ either.)

This makes me think that claims of dirtiness and disease are just a convenient cover, to give the whore-judging man easy claim to superiority. My take on it however is that if I’ve decided to sleep with them, engage in a co-operative act with them….. how can I make myself better than them? I suppose the whole “I’m withholding my precious, spiritual lips from yours” schtick is the action you take to convince yourself and to try to convey to them that you are better than them, along with things like violence, non-consensual domination and being an asshole post-sex.

Ugh, creepy. Anyway, the exchange was left at him replying something along the lines of: “Would you now? That’s nice,” in a laissez-faire tone.

So, we didn’t end up with anything productive or world-peace-making, but I’m glad that I at least said some things. It’s hard to be the one to make a big deal about an attitude that someone else has expressed as something quite natural and casual for them. But on the other hand it’s horrible to think about how many people stay silent, not daring to outwardly show even if in their minds an alarm is sounding as well, how patently offensive and even dangerous their attitude is. Words are not just words. They show what is going on inside, and how people see the world.

I’m not going to completely change his attitude, but I hope that he gradually becomes more aware of how his misogyny is going to be responded to by me, that I’m not going to mate around with him and chuckle at the pathetic, whore-ish girl who won’t be lucky enough to be graced with a man’s kiss. I hope he meets resistance to this attitude from other people as well; I can only guess that so far there has not been that much. It’s definitely all the more difficult since he is a likeable, intelligent guy, and one who is in no way at odds with his culture.

I am now wondering why he said what he said. Was he wanting some solidarity – “yeah I totally agree with you what a big worthless slut she is.” Or could he not help it because he was feeling offended by her decision, that it’s another reminder of the injustice of all these girls who won’t have sex without a trade-off, or all these girls who will fall at the feet of “bad boys” while making “good guys” run around in circles? Or is it really down to simple “Madonna vs. Whore” programming? More of our wonderful good/bad binary….

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5 thoughts on ““You don’t kiss a whore”

  1. Interesting. I had only heard or thought about this from the opposite perspective (this thoughtlessness of mine maybe being an example of subtle misandry?): that many or most professional women will not let their customers kiss them, even if these wish to do so, out of fear of more intimacy than appropriate in a paid encounter.

  2. Yes, I’ve heard of this view too, the first time probably being when I watched “Pretty Woman” as a kid 🙂

    I have never been sure how true that is. There may be some prostitutes who stipulate no kissing and can’t bring themselves to do it, but I find it hard to believe that that is the general rule. I’d imagine it’d depend so much on why the woman has chosen to get into this job, what keeps her in it, how much power she has in the role and what her client base’s expectations are. Oh, and on the woman’s personality and emotional make-up.

    The biggest problem with what happened with my flatmate was that he wasn’t talking about this as part of a discussion about how prostitutes work. The “whore” he was referring to was a female character engaging in behaviour he didn’t approve of. There was nothing in the show to suggest that she was a prostitute. His “you don’t kiss a whore” was declared with much flourish and emphasis, like he was proud of his condemnation of her. (He is a bit of a showpony sometimes.)

    Actually, it’s even more than that. He also seemed proud that the male character could all at once put this woman in her place as a sexual commodity, use her and “have standards”. The male character is the one who asks the woman to sleep with some neighbourhood guy who’s been after her but she’s previously refused, as a favour to him (he’s also a central figure in the local gang). She’s a bit reluctant but then agrees to it and proceeds to fall onto the bed with him, young handsome gang member guy. My flatmate definitely has some madonna/whore issues going on as he has cast women he and his friends have slept with in that light as well. I’m always amazed at how a guy can feel entitled to sleep with a girl he hasn’t bothered to “filter” or be coy with, and then also entitled to judge her for acting as freely and without inhibition as he did.

    It’s a good point you raise Some One. You’re lucky to have only heard “you don’t kiss a whore” in that context :). Unfortunately, whore doesn’t always literally mean prostitute, and whore and prostitute are words that are often used as terms of insult. Eh, too much writing and the brain still doesn’t wanna stop. But I’ll stop.

  3. He meant that whores who are whores for the sake of pure sex dont kiss and that if it is purely about sex no kissing is involved. Like with a hooker. When it means something more, you kiss. When its not for money or just to get off, you kiss.

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