Degree or degradation? Sadly, some people don’t get the choice

Let me start by briefing my lovely readers, especially parents, and tell you this week’s column contains an adult theme, because I’d like to share my opinion on last week’s new provisions to the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill (2015) which will criminalise the purchase of sexual services.

Now, while I’ve already written about the new provisions defining consent, this extra measure will criminalise the sex buyer rather than the seller…if you get my drift…and bear in mind I’m trying to keep the wording as reader-appropriate as possible, folks.

Now, while I fully agree that nobody, not even the law, should ever impose on what consenting adults get up to – I mean, perish the thought the Government might start regulating our libidos and all that – however, I do think this provision regarding the so-called ‘oldest profession in the world,’ is a step in the right direction. I don’t believe for one minute that it will drive prostitution further underground, rather I feel and hope that it will protect those, especially the most vulnerable, who work in this type of industry. I say this despite singer/artist Kate McGrew, a career girl who describes herself as someone who works in “the sex industry,” (readers may remember Kate, aka Lady Grew from RTE’s ‘Connected’ reality series), being quoted in an Irish Independent interview describing her working day as being “really just a lot of admin,” (seriously?), and slamming this piece of legislation as “a dangerous law.” Well, she doesn’t want her punters, sorry clients, penalised…I suppose.

Now I can see why Ms. McGrew, who’s part of the Sex Workers Alliance (SWA), isn’t too keen on this inclusion. You see, as a woman who engages in sexual activities for money, Kate claims “I spend 14 days working out of the month, and it’s on the road”, adding “It’s nice that I can create my own schedule.”

Well, when put like that love, I wonder why I kill myself hard grafting all the hours God sends as a journo trying to pay my bills when all the while I could have been raking it in as a high class Madam!

I’m sorry, but looking at Ms. McGrew’s view of her profession, and remember I’m not condemning, nor am I condoning her, I feel she’s literally placed herself on some very dodgy ground here because, given the choice of degree or degradation, I’m sure most Roscommon women, me included, would opt for the degree! Look, maybe the ‘art of prostitution’ is seen as a legitimate career choice for Kate and for those like her who may view themselves as too haughty to flip a burger, stack a shelf, operate a till, answer a ‘phone or indeed, write a column, but the fact is, we cannot, and we should not, pretty up this dangerous profession because many poor unfortunate and vulnerable women (and men) fall into this lifestyle through poverty, lack of education leading to lack of opportunities, drug or alcohol addiction, or through being mercilessly pimped out by a sleazy, sicko  human trafficker. We should never be seen to normalise the practise of selling sex to survive.

Again, I’m not condemning what Ms. McGrew does, she’s entitled to earn her living as she sees fit, nor am I shaming her for her career choices. However, while this legislation is trying to ensure the safety of those engaged in prostitution, and while 72 organisations, including the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation are in favour of it, the Government now needs to put in place intervention strategies for these ‘sex workers’ so that financial desperation, hunger, forced prostitution, trafficking and abuse, etc., are not key factors in their decision to ‘go on the game.’

Look, when any of these situations become the devastating and horrific alternatives to education and other opportunities, ensnaring women into a labyrinth of economic paralysis, then I strongly recommend our Government’s next inclusion should address human rights because if we fail to protect our most vulnerable, then this is an area that should clearly be scrutinised to its fullest.

Why I loved Lucy on First Dates Ireland

I won’t lie; last week’s First Dates Ireland was difficult to watch. When I saw handsome 24-year old Dub Aidan and the gorgeous 27-year-old Lucy from Roscommon paired up I initially cheered…then cringed, especially when Aidan asked a bewildered Lucy…“So, what has you here?”

She’s waitin’ on a LUAS, love! Awkward or wha’?

We all know first dates can be very difficult but Aidan could have come up with better banter than “small table,” leading to the small talk drying up and then dying completely. However, I did feel a sting when Lucy rejected him and felt that if this was her intention, then she might have gone first and saved his blushes rather than allow him to say he’d like to see her again; then reveal he wasn’t her cup of tea. 

That said, with my sensible mammy head on, I give full credit to Lucy, because, given Aidan’s response to her comments that he was “very nice” – and he was a gentleman, the date began well with him holding her chair (and Lucy did acknowledge that fact) –I have to say Aidan’s reply, humorous though it was, of “What were you looking for then… an asshole?” when she said no, was kinda delivered in such a sour manner I think Lucy may perhaps have dodged a bullet. Dare I suggest, (I could be wrong), there was a distinct hint of acrimony to it; a, how-dare-you-reject-me tone that bit in and left me feeling vaguely uncomfortable, as if implying that saying “no” wasn’t okay, that asserting your right to want something else was childish…when it’s really a sign of maturity. If you like a person but feel they’re not right for you, then you’ve got a right to say so, and, even though I felt Lucy might have spared Aidan’s blushes, my gut tells me she made the right decision and bowed out as graciously and as respectfully as she could. Respect, Lucy!