THERE IS A LEGEND borne of films and books about the prostitute who doesn’t kiss her clients. Kissing is the one physical intimacy she refuses to sell, because she saves her kiss for the men in her life who truly mean something to her. If this woman exists, I never met her.

Kissing can make a client come faster, and in most sexual transactions, speed is the goal. But if money is the great equalizer, where is the ego validation in a woman who might be available to any man who has some? Culture invented something for her to say no to, a way for her affection to remain both a compliment, and a conquest, with her kiss. Prostitutes have been written like this so that even in the most egalitarian of practices, a man will have a way to show himself as a king.

 

Fiona Helmsley has written for various websites including Hazlitt, The Weeklings, The Hairpin, and The Rumpus. She is the author of two books, My Body Would be the Kindest of Strangers and Girls Gone Old.