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The Editor Speaks: The oldest profession in the world

Writer Rudyard Kipling started his 1888 book “ In Black and White“ with this sentence – “Lalun is a member of the most ancient profession in the world.” Lalun is a prostitute.

One of our prospective contenders in last year’s May Election was accused by his wife of dating prostitutes! He did not get elected.

Has prostitution been one of our oldest professions established here?

I have not seen the profession ever advertised, nor seen it listed as an occupation for a work permit.

I was somewhat startled this morning when the subject came up at a breakfast meeting I attended on Saturday (27).

Hmm. You might think, “What sort of breakfast meetings does Colin Wilson frequent?”

I won’t advertise the name of the organisation that sponsored the meeting, except to say it was a religious one and there was at least one ordained pastor there. Every member there had to be an active Christian otherwise they would not have been admitted into the membership.

I have to make clear, prostitution was not on the menu together with the breakfast fare. It arose on the table I was seated around when we were discussing the woes at our immigration department.

According to a number of the breakfast munchers, prostitution is on the increase here, primarily because of the high cost of living.

The person sitting next to me said one of these members of the ‘oldest profession’ courts her clients by driving around in a Mercedes.

Naively, I asked how did he know she was a prostitute? He did not explain by way of much description except to say the lady driving this expensive car was “beautiful”.

Therefore, beware of beautiful women driving Mercedes’. Or…….

I asked why I had not heard of anyone being booked for prostitution (there may have been) and was told they have ‘minders’ with ‘high’ contacts.

This interesting conversation came to an end because it was time to listen to the two advertised speakers and the oldest profession was not one of their subjects.

It could have been as the Bible depicts many Israelites as having large numbers of concubines, who could be viewed either as prostitutes or as wives of a lesser status. According to 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had “700 wives … and 300 concubines.” In ancient Rome, it seems you could hand over a token at a brothel in return for a specific sexual favor.

And… there is Mary Magdalene, who was once described, incorrectly, as a prostitute. The musical “Jesus Christ, Superstar” made Mary’s reputation well and truly tainted by painting her as one, and other movies and books said she seduced “Jesus” and had a child by him. Some of the more recent novels made her more respectable by saying Mary actually became Jesus’ wife.

Back to prostitution here. I have never seen any ‘ladies’ walking our streets, although I have been told I need to walk the beaches at night. Would I find the lady in the Mercedes driving it up and down the sand on “Seven Mile Beach”?

When I started asking around after the breakfast meeting I was told curtly if I was going on a campaign to stamp prostitution out I was wasting my time.

“Fighting prostitution is worthless, because it is the world’s most ancient profession, and you can’t change human nature.” That was the general consensus.

Now, I am back to where I started…..

The oldest profession in the world.


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