Meta Answer Syndrome October 22, 2007 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Please read the question before answering it.

The question was, "Is there any reasonable explanation for my neighbor's behavior other than that she's a prostitute?" The question was not, "What do I do about my neighbor?" or "How should I approach my neighbor?" or "Should I be concerned about my neighbor?" Please read the question, and answer it, and take your sanctimonius outrage elsewhere.
posted by fandango_matt to Etiquette/Policy at 4:47 PM (193 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

He seems to have clearly implied "Should I be concerned about my neighbor?" by writing:
I'm somewhat concerned about the men who continually come to the neighborhood if that's why they're here, because there are a fair number of kids in the area (including mine) and if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they might do?
posted by jamaro at 5:06 PM on October 22, 2007


I was confused about this callout until I got to: If she's bringing lots of unwanted traffic on to a residental street, call your local police. Report lots of increased traffic and speeding. ... Ignore the people calling you a nosey busy body, I'd be concerned about lots of coming and going by people I didn't recognize as well.

That's some paranoid bullshit that doesn't belong in the thread. It's also the kind of surveillance-state behavior that frightens the crap out of me.
posted by knave at 5:09 PM on October 22, 2007


Huh. So THAT'S what a train wreck looks like.
posted by veggieboy at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2007


The question was, "Is there any reasonable explanation for my neighbor's behavior other than that she's a prostitute?"

So, if the entire thread had been nothing but post after post of "Yes" or "No," would you have thought it a useful thread?

Because the question didn't ask for anything more than yes or no.
posted by The World Famous at 5:16 PM on October 22, 2007


jamaro, Anonymous isn't asking how to deal with living next to a prostitute or the moral implications thereof, or even how to find out what his or her neighbor is doing. Anonymous wants to know what professions besides prostitution might fit the activity in which his or her neighbor is engaged.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:17 PM on October 22, 2007


I didn't say he was, fandango_matt.
posted by jamaro at 5:19 PM on October 22, 2007


caddis has another scary comment: You could run a criminal background check on her.

What is wrong with these people? While we're at it, let's reverse the anonymity of all anonymous questions. I mean, everyone's suspect, right? I've done nothing wrong, I've got nothing to hide.
posted by knave at 5:23 PM on October 22, 2007


posted by The World FamousBecause the question didn't ask for anything more than yes or no.

Please read the question. Anonymous asked,

"Please help us think of any other reasonable explanation that fits the facts!"
posted by fandango_matt at 5:24 PM on October 22, 2007


Seriously.

This happens with frightening regularity at AskMe, yet it doesn't fail to piss me off.

Not to mention that there are plenty of NICE ways to be sanctimoniously outraged, rather than say things like "mind your fucking business."
posted by ORthey at 5:25 PM on October 22, 2007


So, there was more to the question than what you said was the question in your callout? Gosh.
posted by The World Famous at 5:25 PM on October 22, 2007


Why would anyone ever post this to just hope for a yes or a no? Hoe does that make any sense?
posted by ORthey at 5:27 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Technically correct in your call-out fandango_matt, but the whole question was framed in such a way as to invite all the kind of responses you list. Being doggedly literalist, the only answer to the bald question has to be, "Yes, in this universe of limitless possibilities, there are alternative explanations." Then you could proceed to construct one as elaborate as you like. But something else was being implied and the questioner's implicit judgements unsurprisingly elicited a response.
posted by Abiezer at 5:29 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was rather irritated by all the people in the thread lecturing the OP to mind his own business, and I liked the one commenter's "well, we don't all live in an Ayn Randian sociopathic state of isolation" (or similar) response. Wanting to know some basic facts about your neighbours is not the same as actively interfering. If there should be an emergency (whether it's the neighbour or me who needs help) I'd want to have an understanding of the situation so I could know better what to do.
posted by orange swan at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


What makes a good question on Ask MetaFilter?

A good question should have a purpose, goal, or problem to be solved.


I think that responders were charitably assuming that the question was within AskMe guidelines, and that the poster was actively trying to solve a problem -- how to figure out what his neighbor does -- rather than simply encouraging wild, unverifiable speculation -- brainstorming about what she might do.
posted by occhiblu at 5:38 PM on October 22, 2007


I, er, had my first-ever MetaTalk post typed up on exactly this subject! But then I realized that I would be subject to a bunch of people being pompous about My libertarian outrage, let me show you it, and my courage failed.

I don't understand why the "Mind your own fucking business" responses - which cannot be considered by a reasonable person to be an appropriate response to "Which other career choices could explain this set of behaviors" - were allowed to stand.

And guys. Not all hookers have hearts of gold and are profoundly spiritually liberated and also, are just doing this to put themselves through college. Come on now.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:45 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the real question is, does she paint her lawn? Because if so, she's got to go.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:46 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was confused about this callout until I got to: If she's bringing lots of unwanted traffic on to a residental street, call your local police. Report lots of increased traffic and speeding. ... Ignore the people calling you a nosey busy body, I'd be concerned about lots of coming and going by people I didn't recognize as well.

That's some paranoid bullshit that doesn't belong in the thread. It's also the kind of surveillance-state behavior that frightens the crap out of me.


If you live in a neighborhood, see this, and think it's drug dealing you dang well BETTER be keeping an eye on weird traffic. I have lived in a neighborhood where all of us who wanted our children to be safe HAD to watch, HAD to call to get the dealer out of our complex.

I may not particularly care for nosy neighbors, but every neighborhood needs at least ONE for safety's sake. I've lived in quite a few places and have always wound up having a grudging appreciation for whoever Miz Nosy turned up to be. My last neighborhood (before this) was INCREDIBLY protective. I worked from home then, and when a passerby tried to steal my neighbor's Yorkie, THREE of us came out to take care of the situation. Me, the Iranian guy across the street, and his nextdoor neighbor, my neighbor's good friend.

I never felt anything BUT safe there.
posted by konolia at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why the "Mind your own fucking business" responses - which cannot be considered by a reasonable person to be an appropriate response to "Which other career choices could explain this set of behaviors" - were allowed to stand.

The worse ones weren't. A handful of comments on either side have been nixed. It's a trainwreck of a thread, even though the question if kind of culturally loaded from the get go is valid enough.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:49 PM on October 22, 2007


I can't blame anonymous for being upset. I mean, I hate it when my neighbors have parties, with people coming and going at all hours. And then, the audacity to not invite me or my kids over.

Shameful, is what it is.





Wait... what?
posted by quin at 5:49 PM on October 22, 2007


If that were me, I'd ask "Is my neighbor a drug dealer? And if so, how do I go about trying to get free product out of her without getting whacked?"
posted by shmegegge at 5:50 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


And guys. Not all hookers have hearts of gold and are profoundly spiritually liberated and also, are just doing this to put themselves through college. Come on now.

Certainly not the ones who are doing it as single parents to support a bunch of kids. Those sluts are probably doing it to feed and house their family.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:52 PM on October 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


Yes, Peter McDermott, I would definitely say that my posting history supports the idea that I'm anti-woman and prone to calling ladies sluts.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:55 PM on October 22, 2007


This sort of horse blinders thinking is so lame.


WHAT
THE
FUCK
F. MATT?
posted by caddis at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2007


That was a shamefully nosey & cruel Ask Metafilter question, this is a sanctimonious & legalistic callout & Metafilter is getting more annoyingly conservative by the week!

'Mind your own damn business' is the correct response.
posted by dydecker at 5:58 PM on October 22, 2007 [14 favorites]


'Tis Pity She's a Whore (and doth have Gentleman Callers Parking their Carriages in Mine Privy Demesne)
posted by Abiezer at 5:58 PM on October 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


I mean the asker played the pedo card for Pete's sake
posted by dydecker at 5:59 PM on October 22, 2007


Won't somebody think of the children?!
posted by knave at 6:00 PM on October 22, 2007


I'm not suggesting you're anti-woman. Just anti-prostitute. And I don't need to check your posting history for that because you made it explicit by suggesting that women who sell sex are somehow more 'dangerous' or less desirable as neighbours.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:01 PM on October 22, 2007


Metafilter is getting more annoyingly conservative by the week

I'm going to need, at bare minimum, a bar graph.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:02 PM on October 22, 2007 [7 favorites]


I mean the asker played the pedo card for Pete's sake

Only if you read that into it. The asker played the "I'm afraid that a prostitution business might be dangerous for my children" card. It's not like there's only one bad thing in this world that can happen to children, or like there's only one kind of unsavory character that a parent might not want their child exposed to.

you made it explicit by suggesting that women who sell sex are somehow more 'dangerous' or less desirable as neighbours.

You're not going to take the ludicrous position that prostitutes are desirable neighbors who don't make the neighborhood less safe, are you?
posted by The World Famous at 6:06 PM on October 22, 2007


What in God's name is distinctive about this situation? People have offered judgmental, unconstructive, unrequested advice?

Whatever one thinks about the question, or those advising the poster to mind his own business, this is a stupid diversion.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:09 PM on October 22, 2007


knave: That's some paranoid bullshit that doesn't belong in the thread. It's also the kind of surveillance-state behavior...

No it isn't.

People have every right in the world to be concerned about potential criminal activity down the block. We used to play whack-a-mole with crack houses -- they'd open, we'd move them along. Rinse and repeat. They rarely went far, but they found another block to do their business and the bus stop is a little safer.

I don't what this womans story is, but I know ho's. Trust me, you don't need them down the street. The fellows they hang with aren't much fun and there are always problems. Sometimes involving lots of police and gun play.

Common sense isn't paranoia and minding your own business isn't how community works.

There were two questions. Both got answered. Kinda.
posted by cedar at 6:24 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm somewhat concerned about the men who continually come to the neighborhood if that's why they're here, because there are a fair number of kids in the area (including mine) and if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they might do?

read that again, please. Pedophiles = Men who visit prostitutes? I'm not surprised she got flamed out. It reminds me of that "OMG my boyfriend looks at porn!" thread a while back.

The poster, with that comment, lost all credibility and degenerated to an image of a stereotypical, self-righteous and overbearing "tut-tutting" nosy neighbour. I'm not suprised at the "mind your own fucking business" and if i didn't know better I'd be posting something in the thread myself.

There's no guideline for "not encouraging anti-social neighbourhood morality police" but usually the green is free from stupid questions that display the ignorance and close-mindedness of the author in such a strong way. It's usually free from the caustic replies, too, but I guess they go hand in hand.

just trying to make the world a happier place.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:25 PM on October 22, 2007


I think a lot of the responses were way off base because the poster mostly wanted to know if his speculation that she was a prostitute was way off base, as in was he totally jumping to conclusions and he was expressing very mild concern and as far as I could tell no antagonism towards the woman. It was more is this what I think it is and should I be worried? And despite everyone's mad speculations about all the very odd and unlikely careers that involve only solitaire male clients, for only 30 to 45 minutes, and only when her kids are not around, this is likely exactly what it looks like.

That being said we don't have to judge her for it and she appears to conduct herself in a discreet and benign manner that will unlikely impact any of her neighbors (and hopefully never herself or her children). Unfortunately prostitutes are among the most vulnerable and abused in our society. Bad people target them in a way that bad people do not generally target massage therapists. That's not to say most people who go to them are not totally harmless. A little concern is warranted. The writer expressed a little concern, he didn't sound like he was going to run to the cops or start a campaign of intimidation to drive her out of the neighborhood.

If I lived next door to a drug dealer, I'd want to know. I'd probably pay a little more attention and if I figured they were pretty harmless and their clients the same, I probably wouldn't do anything. Now if I thought my neighbors had a meth lab or were involved with gangs, yeah I'd be running to the cops. Either way it's smart to at least be paying attention to your surroundings and there isn't anything wrong with it.
posted by whoaali at 6:27 PM on October 22, 2007


From an answer
A former neighbor of ours made a killing giving piano lessons to men while scantily clad; 30 minutes midday with a businessman while dressed in a teddy and garters paid 3x what she could charge for kids lessons that took up her late afternoons, evenings and Saturdays...
Hot.
posted by delmoi at 6:29 PM on October 22, 2007


And I don't need to check your posting history for that because you made it explicit by suggesting that women who sell sex are somehow more 'dangerous' or less desirable as neighbours.

...and also dirty filthy god damned whores.

I sell my self for sex. It's just that their happens to be several middle men involved.

But none the less I make money basically so I can have more sex.
posted by tkchrist at 6:30 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Metafilter is getting more annoyingly conservative by the week!

ALL IS LOST!!! ABANDON SHIP!!!!111
posted by Krrrlson at 6:30 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


"there" grrr...
posted by tkchrist at 6:30 PM on October 22, 2007


And on a serious note I have lived placed where prostitution was rampant. It certainly DOES attract other crime. there were all sorts of serious problems that came along with the trade.

I wouldn't want prostitution practiced in my neighborhood now. Certainly none that competed with my girls anyway.
posted by tkchrist at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sex-worker and porn-related questions always seem particularly good for a bit of insanity, because people get very, very uptight about people maybe possibly judging things that they may or may not be slightly interested in. Or have googled that one time. Maybe. Or not. You know. Whatever. Stop judging me, dammit! I JUDGE YOU! YOU CAN'T JUDGE ME, BECAUSE I'M ALREADY JUDGING YOU!!!!

Peter McDermott, what leads you to assume that I am anti-prostitute? Which - sorry dude! - I'm not. Was it my hookers-with-a-heart-of-gold crack?

I used to live in a red light district for cheap-rent reasons, and I have talked to quite a lot of sex workers. Some people really enjoy acting as though prostitution is basically the same as being an administrative assistant. In reality, it is not unreasonable to be slightly more wary.

But the thing is, the OP did not ask "What are the pros and cons of having prostitutes as neighbors", and this thread isn't about that, either. It's about how people do not effing read the question.

Listen, I've been guilty of this myself! I got totally cranky about some dude recently, and one of our fearless overlords had to resort to emailing me and telling me to simmer the heck down, because instead of answering the question, I was telling him that I thought that he was a louse. But that wasn't the question. Hardly anyone on AskMe wants to know if we think they're lousy people. It's a trend I've noticed.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 6:37 PM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I was out gardening today. I was thinking that question might go badly but I was surprised how badly it went. I don't understand what part of "shame on you type answers need to go to metatalk" is difficult to understand. It's an anonymous question, we approved it, if people don't like the question, this is really the place for it. I removed some really shitty answers. I'm sure there are more in there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:38 PM on October 22, 2007


And I don't need to check your posting history for that because you made it explicit by suggesting that women who sell sex are somehow more 'dangerous' or less desirable as neighbours.

If they bring their business home, then yes. They are.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:38 PM on October 22, 2007


"because you made it explicit by suggesting that women who sell sex are somehow more 'dangerous' or less desirable as neighbours."

Less desirable than the dude who makes artisan corn chips and grows plenty of hydro ("Like, selling it is against the spirit of Mother Earth, man") but more desirable than the crazed Chinese illegal immigrant who keeps his wife locked inside until she escapes while he's having visa trouble.

I mean, I'm plotting this on a continuum.

(PS— Cedar may or may not be absolutely insane when it comes to neighborhood issues, and The World Famous was just nattering on about how premarital sex leads to gout or something).
posted by klangklangston at 6:48 PM on October 22, 2007


Do prostitutes generally run businesses out of their homes? If this lady is in fact a prostitute, is she a hooker for the Craigslist era? Man, I bet somebody could write a sweet paper on that...
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:51 PM on October 22, 2007


I also make money so tkchrist can have more sex. No thanks necessary.
posted by Kwine at 6:54 PM on October 22, 2007


Also: Bar graph for cortex!
posted by Kwine at 6:58 PM on October 22, 2007 [7 favorites]


Also: Slick Rick's "Treat her Like a Prostitute" was stuck in my head the whole time I was reading the thread.
posted by klangklangston at 7:04 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't understand what part of "shame on you type answers need to go to metatalk" is difficult to understand. It's an anonymous question, we approved it, if people don't like the question, this is really the place for it. I removed some really shitty answers. I'm sure there are more in there.

What's difficult to understand? Well, more than I should probably let on. I get it if the sole point of the re-route was to say "if you object to the question, take it to metatalk." But instead, it seemed that this diversion was to make some point about whether the answers were particularly unresponsive to the question. So the upshot wasn't manifestly "shame on you type answers need to go to metatalk," but rather to distinguish (tenuously) the question actually posed from one asking "What do I do about my neighbor?" or "How should I approach my neighbor?" or "Should I be concerned about my neighbor?" That same complaint could be leveled almost universally. Sorry if I didn't understand the obvious other import.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:17 PM on October 22, 2007


I was out gardening today. I was thinking that question might go badly but I was surprised how badly it went. I don't understand what part of "shame on you type answers need to go to metatalk" is difficult to understand. It's an anonymous question, we approved it, if people don't like the question, this is really the place for it. I removed some really shitty answers. I'm sure there are more in there.
posted by jessamyn at 9:38 PM on October 22 [+] [!]


Yeah, the shame on you answers were prevalent, and frankly not OK. That being said, a bit of reality on such things is fine with me. The obnoxious ones were good to delete. However, a tasteful "I think this is her own business" answer would seem fine to me given the difficult nature of this kind of question. (Given the length, I have not reviewed the thread to see what was pruned and left to stay.)
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on October 22, 2007


I don't see what's wrong or sinister about checking someone's criminal background. It's public information. Anyone can check it if they're informed enough to do so. It's easy for me though because it's part of my job. So yeah, if you've ever been prosecuted for a crime in my county it's a fair assumption that I'm gonna know about it if I want, baring any extenuating circumstances of course.
posted by puke & cry at 7:27 PM on October 22, 2007


The whole thing about "the kind of men who visit prostitutes/my CHILDREN!!" kinda sent out a prune-faced church lady vibe to me as well, and made me question the reliability of the narrator, as it were. Still, the scenario as outlined did lead me to the same conclusion (i.e., neighbor = prostitute or dominatrix)...only I don't see the problem. I've lived in neighborhoods that hosted crackhouses. I'll take a sweet little soccer mom/hooker over that shit any day of the week.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:34 PM on October 22, 2007


I tried to make a graph of Slick Rick song to Metafilter, but all I got was a stupid spreadsheet.
posted by klangklangston at 7:43 PM on October 22, 2007


That was a shamefully nosey & cruel Ask Metafilter question, this is a sanctimonious & legalistic callout & Metafilter is getting more annoyingly conservative by the week!

'Mind your own damn business' is the correct response.
posted by dydecker at 8:58 PM on October 22 [6 favorites +] [!]


Wrong. The reason that this question - and many others - turned into a trainwreck is that people like you insist on injecting your moral and political viewpoints where they are irrelevant and unproductive. The question was balanced and judicious, and clearly asked for us to speculate on reasons to give the neighbor the benefit of the doubt. Like most questions (especially anonymous ones), we don't have much information, and the most generous thing to do is to provide a useful, to-the-point answer. Yet you seem to think it better to judge the questioner "nosey" [sic] and "cruel," and answerers "conservative," based on only the smallest bit of information. Now that is sanctimonious.
posted by googly at 8:03 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


What's her address? I'd like to do some research.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:06 PM on October 22, 2007


I read this question as a simple clash of morals. The poster believes prostitution is morally wrong. Most of the responders believe it is morally acceptable, or at least that the correct behavior is 'MYOB'. Thus you have indignation and disbelief on both sides, not to mention bizarre rationalizations. For example, possible danger to the kids: an invented threat from the poster to back up a moral belief. But on behalf of many respondants, a lot of creative explanations that are really not very likely, used to back up the belief that the suspected prostitute should be left alone.

on preview: agree with googly.
I have been on the receiving end of the community's tendancy to jump to conclusions (erroneously) and it was incredibly frustrating. i wish the benefit of the doubt was more common around here.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:09 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish people would read the question before answering it. But I guess foisting your own morality on Anonymous is a lot more fun, since he or she can't respond with the "fuck you" so many people richly deserve.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:20 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


This happens with frightening regularity at AskMe, yet it doesn't fail to piss me off.

Let it go, mate....them's the apples and there are more important things in the world to get all worked up over.

Besides, I think going off on a slight tangent is a bit more acceptable with anonymous questions because the OP can't post follow-up queries or replies.
posted by dhammond at 8:25 PM on October 22, 2007


since he or she can't respond with the "fuck you" so many people richly deserve.

With rare exceptions, disagreeing with someone does not need to be turned into a richly deserved "fuck you." Flag it and move on, sayeth the guidelines.
posted by dhammond at 8:28 PM on October 22, 2007


posted by dhammond I think going off on a slight tangent is a bit more acceptable with anonymous questions because the OP can't post follow-up queries or replies.

Hey, great idea, because that's exactly what we want when a question is asked in AskMetaFilter: wild speculation, erroneous judgments, and unfounded accusations, all of which create even more problems by not answering whatever question Anonymous asked.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:37 PM on October 22, 2007


Metafilter is getting more annoyingly conservative by the week!

Oh please. I came for the funny comments. I stayed to poke the lefty trustafarians. Because. There's. So. Damn. Many. Of. Them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, jesus, this question really brought the moralists out of their hidey-holes. Somebody expresses some curiosity about the day-to-day life of his community, and suddenly he's the Reverend Doctor Busybody McNosykins? It's not like he was about to call "To Catch a Predator" on the lady and her friends.
posted by chinston at 8:42 PM on October 22, 2007


wild speculation, erroneous judgments, and unfounded accusations

Yeah, I think you're overstating the problem just a tad. Wild speculation would be someone saying "you better get your family tested for STDs!"

Anticipating a likely follow-up question (which will never come because the OP can't follow up) isn't strictly in bounds, but it's also not the hellstorm of a slippery slope that you're painting it to be.
posted by dhammond at 8:47 PM on October 22, 2007


I wouldn't be at all surprised if hiring prostitutes is correlated to molesting children, to some degree.

A lot of child molesters see children as easy targets of opportunity, not necessarily as objects of exclusive sexual desire.

I wonder if anyone has ever studied it.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:59 PM on October 22, 2007


Sounds like a great idea. Should I put your children down on the list?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:07 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder if anyone has ever studied it.

Nah, they're probably all too busy making broad-brush generalizations on the internet about bad people.
posted by felix betachat at 9:20 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America I wouldn't be at all surprised if hiring prostitutes is correlated to molesting children

Damn, man. You're still not through with your meltdown?
posted by fandango_matt at 9:24 PM on October 22, 2007


And on a serious note I have lived placed where prostitution was rampant. It certainly DOES attract other crime.

Yeah, like theft of services.
posted by dobbs at 9:40 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by caddis However, a tasteful "I think this is her own business" answer would seem fine to me given the difficult nature of this kind of question.

The only "difficult nature" of this question is your inablility to answer it without interjecting your own views of morality.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:55 PM on October 22, 2007


I wish people would read the question before answering it. But I guess foisting your own morality on Anonymous is a lot more fun

I did both, does that mean I deserve only a "fuck" or a "you"? Way to foist the foisters, dude.

Personally, I thought the question was an abuse of Anonymity; if the Asker had worded the question properly without getting all Gladys Kravitz/Helen Lovejoy about it ("My new, mysterious neighbor gets a lot of visitors during the day. Naturally, I'm curious: what could she be doing?"), made a Tom Waits reference in the title, and considered using the 'self-employed' tag instead of the far more inflammatory and baseless 'prostitute' one, I doubt the thing would have gone as badly as it did. I suspect the Asker was aware of this, but rather than put an effort into presenting their question in a manner that would encourage constructive responses, they took the gushy route, filled the question with needless and derailing ChatFilter-fodder, and hid behind the curtain.

The emphasis on the prostie angle felt more like someone wanting to dish and fish for reinforcement of their preconceptions.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if hiring prostitutes is correlated to molesting children, to some degree.

Well, we all are God's children.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:00 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think it must be possible to study child molesters and their habits without intentionally exposing children to abuse as part of the study.

I don't know why everyone is so sure that men who hire prostitutes don't molest children at a higher rate. It's quite plausible, if you look at the intersecting reasons why people are known to do either.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:03 PM on October 22, 2007


Note: Dish & Fish is © Ampersand Rhyming Pejoratives, LLC.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:04 PM on October 22, 2007


posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America I think it must be possible to study child molesters and their habits without intentionally exposing children to abuse as part of the study. I don't know why everyone is so sure that men who hire prostitutes don't molest children at a higher rate. It's quite plausible, if you look at the intersecting reasons why people are known to do either.

The fact you believe that and continue to bring it up speaks volumes about you and your attitudes towards women and children.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:10 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Damn, man. You're still not through with your meltdown?

For the love of sleepy pete, he was talking the piss then, and he's taking it now. Have we learned nothing from quonsar?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:16 PM on October 22, 2007


Watch To Catch A Predator, Dr. Steve. If there's even a hint of a correlation, I'm sure they're trumpeting it to the Nth degree.
posted by dhammond at 10:23 PM on October 22, 2007


"And on a serious note I have lived placed where prostitution was rampant. It certainly DOES attract other crime."

Yeah, like theft of services.


Rookie.

Cash up front, bitches. Cash up mother fucking front.

Seriously though somebody mentioned prostitution being better than having crack houses in the neighborhood... well, they are one and the same problem in most places.
posted by tkchrist at 10:33 PM on October 22, 2007


Well, first off, that was a fascinating thread. Really. And not a "guilty pleasure in the trainwreck" kind of way, but just really interesting.

Second, what train wreck? I get that there were some deletions, but seriously, what's left is a fair amount of quality with some questionable but questionably valuable input. If there was much in the way of telling judgmentalism (word?), it wasn't on the part of the poster, though, but on our fellow MeFites who never fail to wear bright, glowy badges of asshattery for easy identification.

The poster believes prostitution is morally wrong.

Really? This poster has some panicky-parent ideas probably picked up from some Law & Order spinoff, but if there's a sense that "if it's prostitution I want her out" is the attitude, it certainly doesn't come through loud and clear; not for an unambiguous statement like that.

I don't see what's wrong or sinister about checking someone's criminal background. It's public information. Anyone can check it if they're informed enough to do so.

The danger is not in the knowledge but in what people will do with it. Didn't someone in the thread make it a bottom-line issue that this was ILLEGAL? So apparently there's no need to differentiate between that meth lab and the students next door who smoke the occasional joint on the porch, because, you know, they've crossed the line. It's this kind of thinking that makes me fear the - can I even say "well-intentioned"? - torch and pitchfork crowd more than most garden variety neighbourhood crime.

Also: 30 minutes?! If the time frame makes prostitution a likelihood (at least over dealing), I've been watching the wrong cop shows.

On the MeTa itself: can I make the humble suggestion that information additional to the question explicitly asked is more acceptable if offered in the spirit of assistance than one of animosity? Because lots of AskMe posters imply things in their question, or honestly overlook important aspects of the problem they have put forward. Tying people to the bare question asked is not very helpful, and I think a double standard is justified based on whether the person answering is actually trying to help.
posted by dreamsign at 10:38 PM on October 22, 2007


The fact you believe that and continue to bring it up speaks volumes about you and your attitudes towards women and children.

Well, there can apparently be a spatial correlation between adult prostitution and juvenile prostitution... why is it such a far cry to assume that adult prostitution is correlated to child molestation as well?
posted by Krrrlson at 10:47 PM on October 22, 2007


posted by dreamsign Tying people to the bare question asked is not very helpful, and I think a double standard is justified based on whether the person answering is actually trying to help.

Except in this case, Anonymous did not ask whether prostitution was illegal or immoral. Anonymous didn't ask if his or her neighbor was a prostitute, and he or she didn't ask what, if anything, should be done if such was the case. Anonymous clearly asked--twice, in fact--for ideas of what professions besides prostitution might fit the activity in which his or her neighbor is engaged. Anonymous was very clear about his or her question and his or her view of prostitution.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:47 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Except in this case, Anonymous did not ask whether prostitution was illegal or immoral.

Hmm. I do see the problem, in that the additional info may be well-intentioned (toward the questioner not the neighbour, in this case) but nonetheless obstructive. But I've also seen many, many cases where people bring a package of problems to AskMe and for various reasons only state part of that package, and I think intending to help or hinder the person asking should be the test, not nit-picking the words of the question. Most are not framed so carefully.

Back to the questioner's supposed moral stance on prostitution for a moment:

I don't really care too much if she's a prostitute, because it is essentially a victimless crime.

I don't know what's worse. That people don't read carefully enough to avoid making their own hot-button judgments or that disclaimers like this are probably necessary (honest or not) to keep the morality police out of the thread. If the person thinks prostitution is E-VIL, it really has nothing to do with the question, except, as some have noted, in that it might have coloured perception of the "evidence" at hand. In any case, the poster might have a few odd ideas, but he or she doesn't exactly seem to be frothing at the mouth over this. Is it possible that the only thing keeping him/her from overreacting is not a moderate or tolerant stance on prostitution but rather a belief that something else may be afoot? Yes, that is possible. But let's not be so quick to judge -- anybody -- involved.
posted by dreamsign at 10:58 PM on October 22, 2007


Blowed up real good!
posted by Neiltupper at 11:05 PM on October 22, 2007


I'm somewhat concerned about the men who continually come to the neighborhood if that's why they're here, because there are a fair number of kids in the area (including mine) and if these men are unsavory enough to be visiting a prostitute, who knows what else they might do?

read that again, please. Pedophiles = Men who visit prostitutes? I'm not surprised she got flamed out. It reminds me of that "OMG my boyfriend looks at porn!" thread a while back.


I figured the poster was thinking about drugs, since hookers and blow are made for each other, according to ancient MetaFilter mythology. In any case, why not give the poster the benefit of the doubt, instead of self-righteous sanctimony? For someone who is making an effort to convince themselves that their neighbor may not be a sex worker, the poster is receiving a metric ass ton of judgmental crap from people who are making a lot of assumptions.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:23 PM on October 22, 2007


I basically agree with fandango_matt, but I must say that how a question is presented has everything to do with what sort of responses it receives. If the question had simply been a bare-bones query about what sorts of jobs might fit the circumstances described, I think that most of the answerers would have limited themselves to addressing that question, but the asker brought up other points and issues: a) speculation by the neighborhood b) perceived unfriendliness of the neighbor, c) opinion on whether prostitution is as bad as other crime d) suggestion of possible pedophile danger, e) speculation on the physical and mental health of her children...

Which, to me, reads as: "It's not just me! We're all wondering!": "If she didn't have something to hide, why would she be so stand-offish?"; "But I'm not a moralist": "However, I worry about the safety of the kids"; "Though, to be fair, her own kids seem to be fine."

So, the asker seems to be making attempts to both justify his/her curiosity, and present themselves as fair minded and relatively liberal - which are the elements that are inviting commentary unrelated to the central question. It's understandable that one would want to fend off assumptions, but the problem is that if only the basic question were presented, then it's perfectly clear that answers like "Why do you care?" would be nuked, but answers that address specific issues brought up by the asker are more difficult to moderate.
posted by taz at 11:41 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, there can apparently be a spatial correlation between adult prostitution and juvenile prostitution... why is it such a far cry to assume that adult prostitution is correlated to child molestation as well?

Because the two outcomes are almost entirely unrelated. Child molestation happens almost exclusively within the scope of family relationships.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:56 PM on October 22, 2007


Peter McDermott, what leads you to assume that I am anti-prostitute? Which - sorry dude! - I'm not.

There's an implication in that heart of gold crack that having one living next door to you is automatically a cause for concern because some of them happen to be undesirable. Now I don't know you, thehmsbeagle, so it shouldn't be important to you what I think about you and the truth is, I don't actually think anything about you at all -- I was responding to what you wrote, which may or may not be the same as what you think. But it seems to me that if I were to imply that people might be legitimately concerned because a black family moved in next door to me, and not all black men are business executives, then people would quite reasonably pull me up for being a racist little shit.

I don't see how your post was any different, only the subject of your post was sex workers and not race.

And sure, I've known a few sex workers in my time as well, and some of them have been the most chaotic and least stable people that I've come across -- and I've known more than a few of those two. But they weren't chaotic and unstable because they were sex workers. They were sex workers because that's one of the few trades that the chaotic and unstable can get started in.

Finally, I'm perfectly happy with judging people. Just judge them for the bad shit that they actually do, not for the stuff that you suspect they might do because they fall into some category or other.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:20 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm very sympathetic to your overall view Peter, but your analogy with racism falls down, in so far as ethnicity is a state of being, but your line of work is a behaviour and might reasonably be taken to say something about you (rightly or wrongly for any given trait).
posted by Abiezer at 2:03 AM on October 23, 2007


It probably would have been better if the mods had rejected the question, while encouraging the original poster to word it a little better and resubmit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:52 AM on October 23, 2007


your line of work is a behaviour and might reasonably be taken to say something about you

Well, it says that you work as X, whatever that happens to be. What might it reasonably be taken to say over and above that? Here in the UK at least, selling sex is perfectly legal. It's an act that's regulated in a number of ways -- no streetwalking, no working in brothels, etc. -- but it's quite possible to be a prostitute and a respectable, law-abiding member of the community. And many are.

The implication in thehmsbeagle's phrasing -- which may or may not have been her intention, but its a view espoused by many others in this thread and the original AskMe question -- is that women who work as prostitutes are inherently bad people who put the local children at risk/reduce property values/will steal the neighbourhood's husbands simply by their very presence.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:35 AM on October 23, 2007


It's generally not good to live next to people making money illegally (generally, that's drugs and prostitution).
  • Illegal activities attract cops. Cops have guns and use them.
  • People working illegally can't go to the Better Business Bureau or police, so they tend to settle business disputes with violence.
  • Prostitutes (and perhaps especially the "high-class" ones) are questionable role models for children and don't exactly give boys a positive view of women.
  • If you like a quiet neighborhood, a prostitute in the next house is not the way to ensure it.
Prostitutes might be good people individually, but if prostitution is illegal, you don't want that industry in your back yard.

So it's fair to wonder what the neighbors are up to. If they're doing things that make life worse for your family, it's fair to do something about it.
posted by pracowity at 4:52 AM on October 23, 2007


Ha, I love that "isn't friendly to the neighborhood" is listed in the prostitute evidence. Amazing. I almost never think this about AskMe because I know the guidelines about how to answer are important to the integrity of the site, but: this poster is a jerkoff and deserves what s/he gets response-wise.
posted by sneakin at 4:54 AM on October 23, 2007


Also, from reading the responses in the green and here, I can't believe how many people seem to think that the SWAT team, a pimp, and a band of child molesters are going to infiltrate the neighborhood just because of this one woman (who does such a good job at keeping whatever it is she does under wraps that no one knows what she does). So alarmist. Stop watching Law and Order: SVU.
posted by sneakin at 4:57 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't get that from thehmsbeagle's comment at all, PeterMcDermott.
posted by taz at 4:57 AM on October 23, 2007


Also, from reading the responses in the green and here, I can't believe how many people seem to think that the SWAT team, a pimp, and a band of child molesters are going to infiltrate the neighborhood just because of this one woman (who does such a good job at keeping whatever it is she does under wraps that no one knows what she does). So alarmist. Stop watching Law and Order: SVU.

I don't know about a swat team, but a mother of four, seeing her clients at home would definitely send child protective services running to her door. Not that I think that's a good thing, the kids are probably better off where they are, but yeah something like this would definitely get the authorities attention.

Also, I've know two sex workers, one was a gay fairly high class prostitute and the other was just the "happy ending" massage therapist kind. Both of them were pretty miserable when they did it and got out as soon as they could, and neither of them exactly spoke with affection about their clients. They were and are both very nice people, but I also know their jobs often scared the hell out of them and there were a lot of close calls. I don't think anyone should report this woman, but I think it's entirely rational to find the situation slightly worrisome.
posted by whoaali at 5:15 AM on October 23, 2007


Watch To Catch A Predator, Dr. Steve.

Hey...! Maybe the neighbour is one of those Perverted Justice people!
posted by Reggie Digest at 5:40 AM on October 23, 2007


Because the two outcomes are almost entirely unrelated. Child molestation happens almost exclusively within the scope of family relationships.

People in family relationships don't visit prostitutes? You're not thinking this through. I never claimed that anonymous' children were in danger from her prostitute neighbor's clients, but I do question other poster's blind assumption that her client's are otherwise perfectly upstanding individuals and that hiring prostitutes is not correlated in any way whatsoever with other undesirable behavior.

The fact you believe that and continue to bring it up speaks volumes about you and your attitudes towards women and children.

No, it has to do with my attitude toward people who hire prostitutes and molest children. I think both tend to have dysfunctional sex lives and have trouble meeting their sexual needs through "normal" relationships.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:42 AM on October 23, 2007


Anyway, yeah, even without all those MYOB answers being dickish and unhelpful, they're also annoyingly redundant. Is it really necessary to 7th or 8th an answer? A second or third can help to bolster a good answer, but this shit is getting ridiculous.

Rule of thumb: If you feel there's a need to say something like, "That's what I was going to say," and you're not the first or even second to say it, you fail at life.
posted by Reggie Digest at 5:49 AM on October 23, 2007


i haven't read the [more inside] or any of the comments, but this is a shit callout.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:59 AM on October 23, 2007


You're not thinking this through.

You are asserting that the same people who visit prostitutes also molest children, or that there is a very strong correlation between the two, which is generally understood to be a myth.

It's a myth as much as there is the false correlation raised when someone gay is accused of being a pedophile, or doing anything sexually "deviant" raises accusations of being a pedophile.

If you're going to make this assertion, back it up with facts — anything stronger than your appeal to emotion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:20 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


It probably would have been better if the mods had rejected the question, while encouraging the original poster to word it a little better and resubmit.

To do so proactively would mean breaking the chain of anonymity, something we prefer to avoid doing whenever possible.

Barring that route, it's either post it or don't. If we don't, the questioner might send us email, anonymously or otherwise, to ask after it; or might resubmit an altered version of their own volition; or resubmit the question verbatim; or just post it in the clear. Couldn't tell you offhand which is most common.

I think we chatted about this one a bit, but anonymous questions are tricky that way; it's essentially a Do Or Don't proposition, and this one ultimately landed in Do territory. It is a reasonable enough question, if presented somewhat problematically; sometimes, it just turns out to be a bumpy ride.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:33 AM on October 23, 2007


“I stayed to poke the lefty trustafarians.”

Okay, who here has a trust fund? Speak up.

Cool Papa Bell, you're not a real person, are you? You're some kind of alien technology caricature-bot intended to mock conservatives, right?

“A lot of child molesters see children as easy targets of opportunity, not necessarily as objects of exclusive sexual desire. ”

Do you know any goddam thing at all about this subject? Because that statement I quote? It's not true. Pedophiles are specifically and quite strongly sexually attracted to children. It's why it's next to impossible to cure and why recidivism is so high. Your statement is like an announcement that you're almost entirely ignorant on the subject. Which does not bode well for your suppositions about correlations between pedophilia and prostitution.

One relationship which does exist, but has no relevance to this discussion, is child prostitution.

“I don't understand what part of ‘shame on you type answers need to go to metatalk’ is difficult to understand.”

The part where it's tolerated in many cases? Personally, I'd prefer a blanket and exceptionless ban on all such things. Either answer the question or don't. But it's also true that there's some kind of ambiguous gray line across which the community feels strongly that "shame on you" or "you're an idiot" and the like are correct responses to AskMe questions, and the mods at least implicitly endorse this view by allowing such answers in those cases.

I can't think of any specific examples, but I'm pretty sure that “What techniques and/or companies are effective at curing my son's homosexuality” would be responded to with “shame on you” and the mods wouldn't delete the answers nor insist that such responses be taken to MeTa.

So you are asking that people understand these distinctions by sharing our worldview, or at least anticipating it. Inevitably, then, some people are going to think that “I want the police to investigate my neighbor who I suspect is a prostitute” qualifies as acceptable “shame on you” material.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:08 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


A couple years ago, I asked "how can I access whether an item I bought from an Amazon Marketplace Seller was advertised as new or not? (Because I bought an item which I thought was advertised as new, and wasn't when it arrived.)"

Several people instead answered the question "what should I do if an item advertised as new, purchased from an AMS, was not new?" I had already decided what to do if that was the case, and thus those "answers" were not helpful to me. At the same time, I wasn't angry with those answers, and I didn't excoriate the people who posted them; I just said to myself, "well, they're trying to be helpful, which is nice, even if they're not succeeding."

I didn't realize I was supposed to be outraged. Can I be outraged at them now, or is that past the statute of limitations?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:09 AM on October 23, 2007


DevilsAdvocate, this is MeTa. All outrage, warranted or not, old or new, genuine or ironic, is not only welcomed, it is encouraged. Please proceed.
posted by sneakin at 7:23 AM on October 23, 2007


If you're going to make this assertion, back it up with facts — anything stronger than your appeal to emotion.

Wouldn't matter. There are probably a hundred papers out there saying what MPDSEA is suggesting, and another hundred disproving the hypothesis, just as you can find papers for an against a relationship between homosexuality and child molestation. Topics as hot as this always spout agenda-based "research".

But it's incidental. Does the poster really have to justify his nosiness? No comment is going to diminish the OP's curiosity, so writing MYOB seems like nothing more than a waste of time.
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:24 AM on October 23, 2007


Boy, this seems pointless. If some of those responding by venting had managed to rein it in a little, or were purged by the administrators, what if anything was wrong? That something was fatally flawed in the question, such that it should never have been posed? Didn't seem that bad to me, and suggestions that it would have passed muster had it been a touch more whimsical or a tad less judgmental seem rather demanding and completely prone to manipulation. That the answers weren't precisely fitted to the question posed? Well, if you take out the most inflammatory answers (which I'm fine with doing), that's hardly unique to this question.

What appears to have motivated the call-out, and opposition to it, are reactions to the content of either the question or the responses. Live with it.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:27 AM on October 23, 2007


The poster believes prostitution is morally wrong.

I don't think you can draw that conclusion based solely on the question as worded.

The only "difficult nature" of this question is your inablility to answer it without interjecting your own views of morality.

Where did I moralize in that answer?
posted by caddis at 7:29 AM on October 23, 2007


I'm blown away that WCityMike's great comment in that thread was deleted. What gives?
posted by dead_ at 7:31 AM on October 23, 2007


DevilsAdvocate, this is MeTa. All outrage, warranted or not, old or new, genuine or ironic, is not only welcomed, it is encouraged. Please proceed.

Thanks! OK, here goes:

You kids get off my lawn!!

Wait, that's not right. I may have to work on this a bit.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:31 AM on October 23, 2007


Thanks for the explanation Cortex. Yeah, it sounds like a tricky one and mostly I was talking about if we were in a perfect world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 AM on October 23, 2007


Yeah, I can dig it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:45 AM on October 23, 2007


When I read that question, I thought, Now, here's someone who has exhausted all the gossip avenues in the neighborhood, and is now taking it to AskMe, but I made sure my answer followed the guidelines and simply proposed a method for discovering the neighbor's profession, which is what the question asked.

All the chaff (the neighbor's unfriendly, prostitution vs. other crime, pedophiles, "think of the children") sounded like stuff the neighbors had all speculated about in previous gossip sessions; I think, in order not to waste our time, the poster put all those up front, so we could gossip about other, new aspects of this that the asker hadn't covered with the coffee klatch.

I reckon all the bullshit in there is what the poster really wanted, to extend the scandalization and maybe get ideas of nasty things to speculate about or alarms to ring at the next neighborhood watch meeting. But that didn't stop me from answering the main, "what do I do" question; as a matter of fact, it encouraged me to answer it, because I felt like answering the question narrowly would foil the poster's real aim, to monger gossip beyond the neighborhood and into the great wide ether.

Chances are, though, that it's just a big troll, like most such questions.
posted by breezeway at 7:47 AM on October 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


I reckon all the bullshit in there is what the poster really wanted, to extend the scandalization and maybe get ideas of nasty things to speculate about or alarms to ring at the next neighborhood watch meeting. But that didn't stop me from answering the main, "what do I do" question; as a matter of fact, it encouraged me to answer it, because I felt like answering the question narrowly would foil the poster's real aim, to monger gossip beyond the neighborhood and into the great wide ether.

Beautifully put: impossible to tell whether you're joking or not.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:56 AM on October 23, 2007


Oh please. I came for the funny comments. I stayed to poke the lefty trustafarians. Because. There's. So. Damn. Many. Of. Them.

Highly Unlikely I
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:58 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is another case of a poorly written AskMe question inflaming the masses into snarking, judging and turning their indignation into words. It, as usual, could have been avoided with a little bit of prudence.

The first problem with the post is the accusatory way it is worded and the assumptions it makes about single women working from home and--more generally--about the lives of our neighbors, which really, aren't much of anyone's business.

The second problem is that it was posted anonymously. To many on AskMe, this only lends credence to their feeling that the OP is nothing more than a cowardly busybody. Did this thread really warrant being posted anonymously? Is there any good reason for it? That anonymous tag adds an enormous amount of tension to the thread.

The third problem is that the documented voyeurism of the OP is something that everyone can imagine themselves on the receiving end of--it's not pleasant, and only adds fuel to the fire.

So we have here, people placing themselves not in the shoes of the OP (because he/she is anonymous), but rather they tackle the question from the position of the neighbor with a very innocent-until-proven-guilty attitude, informed by their own revulsion to peeping busybodies. It doesn't help that all the OP's suspicion is aimed directly at a presumably single mother.

So, indeed, people should have kept their condescension and outrage to themselves--"Read the guidelines!"--and yet, the poor way that the question was phrased didn't help matters at all; this is a recurring problem on AskMe, and posts that are obviously going to provoke this kind of thing should be rewritten and resubmitted. When they come through the anon-filter, red flags should go off. They are obvious, and as noted above, the admins saw the shitstorm coming, but did nothing. Let's exercise a bit of editorial license for these next time, and maybe we can avoid this type of thing.
posted by dead_ at 7:58 AM on October 23, 2007


"Mind your own business" seems like awful advice in this case. If this hooker is working all day and all night on short calls, she could probably use some help with her fucking business; wouldn't it be more profitable to build some value and handle fewer customers who pay more? Perhaps a fucking business consultant could be called.
posted by koeselitz at 8:23 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: I don't know why everyone is so sure that men who hire prostitutes don't molest children at a higher rate. It's quite plausible, if you look at the intersecting reasons why people are known to do either.

fandango_matt: "The fact you believe that and continue to bring it up speaks volumes about you and your attitudes towards women and children."

Christ, what a thing to say. First of all, how does it say anything about what he thinks of women and children? It says more about what he thinks of men. At the most, you might be able to claim that he's being a little moralist. But I doubt it.

Second, have you ever actually talked to a prostitute about what they go through? There aren't many analogies in this case, but saying "men who hire prostitutes aren't more likely to be assholes and/or child molestors or rapists" is like saying that "Americans aren't likely to discriminate against african-americans." Sure, I'm an american, and I'm not discriminitory, but I'm not going to be naive and pretend the problem doesn't exist. And you'd better be sure that prostitutes deal with that problem daily.

Some people say this means that prostitution should be legalized so that we can regulate it more directly. Some people say that this means that prostitution should be eliminated. Personally, I think it's more complex than either, and I'd like to see it reduced and more care shown for the women trapped in it. But I don't think the point-- "men who hire prostitutes are more likely to be child molestors, rapists, etc."-- is easily disputable. That's not a moral judgement against men who hire prostitutes or women who get paid for sex. It's just a simple fact, a fact that prostitutes have to deal with every day.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 AM on October 23, 2007


Out of curiosity, would "the only way to find out is to try to pay her to have sex with you" be an unacceptable answer to anonymous' question?
posted by shmegegge at 9:06 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's just a simple fact, a fact that prostitutes have to deal with every day.

Goodness. Is it a fact that can be somehow substantiated? The ones that are made up and sound awesome and scary are my favorites, so that is okay, too.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:07 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't get that from thehmsbeagle's comment at all, PeterMcDermott.

Well, she says that wasn't her intention, and I'm happy to accept her word on that, but if it wasn't, then I still don't understand the point of her caveat.

It's generally not good to live next to people making money illegally.

I agree. But that's a whole different set of issues. AFAIK, anonymous didn't post her address, so we don't know that that's what we're talking about. It's perfectly legal where I live.

Prostitutes (and perhaps especially the "high-class" ones) are questionable role models for children and don't exactly give boys a positive view of women.

Oh please. Since when was the fact that someone wasn't a positive role model an excuse to get all up in their shit? Being a nosy asshole neighbour is a pretty dubious role model for children as well, IMO. Personally, I'd be much more concerned about the influence of a parent whose overwhelming curiosity about other people's interests outweighed their right to privacy than I would be about the hooker down the street.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


If this hooker is working all day and all night on short calls

The original post said that she only had these gentleman callers while the kids were out at school. Otherwise, if she was a sex worker, there'd be serious child protection issues involved but by limiting her working hours to when the kids are out of the house, she's obviously acting like a responsible parent.

Question: If it was known that this woman was having sex with numerous gentleman callers during the course of each day, would those who feel she presents a risk still feel the same way? If so, why? Other than the fact that it's illegal in certain jurisdictions, how does the fact that money changes hands make a difference here?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:24 AM on October 23, 2007


Peter McDermott, you really want to have a debate about prostitution, so you're assuming that I hold beliefs about women in certain lines of work, and then arguing with me. Unfortunately, not only do I not hold those beliefs, this thread isn't about PROSTITUTION: OKAY OR NOT OKAY. Perhaps you can start your own.

I'm not touching your "black guys, they're sort of like prostitutes, in a way" thing.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:26 AM on October 23, 2007


I am just generally surprised at the vitriol some of us heap on question-askers on this site, in the safety of anonymous internet land. Regardless of whether or not you think the poster is right in asking the question, or asked it the right way, or has the wrong intentions, or is being too meddlesome (etc), why the hell do some people feel the need to lash out, rather than just calmly explaining their POV? It's just mean. And I'm sorry if that makes me sound like an 8-year-old, but seriously, why the fuck are people mean like this? It's fucked up.
posted by ORthey at 9:29 AM on October 23, 2007


kittens for breakfast: "Goodness. Is it a fact that can be somehow substantiated? The ones that are made up and sound awesome and scary are my favorites, so that is okay, too."

Yes. I've talked to a few. But don't let anecdotal evidence get in the way of an appreciation of the facts:

"In a sample of clients from St. James Infirmary, a sex worker clinic in San Francisco 53% of their sample experienced "past or current occupational violence" including 32% by customers, 20% from employers and 15% by police. Only 3% reported incidents to the police. (12) A study of 130 street workers (primarily homeless) who engaged in prostitution or survival sex found that 80% had been physically assaulted.(13) Some prostitutes are raped between 8 and 10 times a year or more. 7% seek help (e.g.., from a rape crisis center), and only 4% report the rape to the police.(14) A study in Toronto showed that, in cases of (non-domestic) rape and abuse, 5% of the perpetrators identified themselves as police officers, often producing badges and police identification. (This does not include actual cases of police misconduct and rape.)(15) Although violence and the threat of violence is a serious problem, some populations of prostitutes show no higher incidence of violence and abuse than women in general.

That last sentence is, of course, key. There are vast differences between the hazards prostitutes face based on location and situation. And another caveat is that these studies were done in the 1980s. But maybe you can tell me another industry where 32% of workers report assault by clients. I can't think of one. Prostitution is a career where one has to be remarkable careful, confident, and cautious. It's not as though one can call the police for help.

If it's not going to be regulated, then public money at least needs to go toward actively advocating for the rights, health, and safety of prostitutes. Unfortunately, it's really not very easy to get a politician to say so.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 AM on October 23, 2007


/soapboxing
posted by koeselitz at 9:39 AM on October 23, 2007


Also, I've know two sex workers, one was a gay fairly high class prostitute and the other was just the "happy ending" massage therapist kind. Both of them were pretty miserable when they did it and got out as soon as they could.

I've known a lot of them, in a wide variety of capacities. Some I met through my work, others were friends. All of them felt that the work had both strengths and weaknesses, and they all stayed at it as long as it served its function of making the sort of money that they needed to make, given their lack of flexibility around hours or lack of qualifications. Some really hated it, and they got out of the life very quickly. Others worked at it for years and years. A third group dropped in and out of the life as it suited them.

The ones that worked the streets felt most at risk. The ones that worked from home, generally seeing a fairly small group of 'regulars' tended to be happiest and did it for longer than most. They are at a lesser risk of abuse because the man doesn't get access until he's been vetted, and they can generally make the man believe that someone else knows that he's there with her, but also, they don't have to split their fee with an agency so they make more money/see fewer customers.

In my city over the last twenty years or so, at least twelve prostitutes have been murdered -- generally by men posing as customers. These have all been women working as streetwalkers. If working from their homes gives them additional protection, then I'm happy that they work from home. If I happen to live across the street from them, then so be it.

Also: thehmsbeagle

Unfortunately, not only do I not hold those beliefs

I believe I've acknowledged this claim of yours at least twice now. None of my subsequent responses since the first have been addressed to you. Furthermore, I have no desire whatsoever to have a discussion about prostitution OK or not OK. My issue here is about treating people who work in certain industries as being less than human and less deserving of protection and privacy than others.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2007


posted by ORthey Regardless of whether or not you think the poster is right in asking the question, or asked it the right way, or has the wrong intentions, or is being too meddlesome (etc), why the hell do some people feel the need to lash out, rather than just calmly explaining their POV?

Because doing so allows them to trumpet their own moral superiority without fear of reprisal from the person to whom they claim they're morally superior. No matter what they've said in the thread, they'll always be better than Anonymous, which, for them, is immensely satisfying.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:46 AM on October 23, 2007


posted by breezeway But that didn't stop me from answering the main, "what do I do" question; as a matter of fact, it encouraged me to answer it, because I felt like answering the question narrowly would foil the poster's real aim, to monger gossip beyond the neighborhood and into the great wide ether. Chances are, though, that it's just a big troll, like most such questions.

Unfortunately, Anonymous never asked "What do I do?"
posted by fandango_matt at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2007


But it isn't against the law to visit Cuba!
posted by Bookhouse at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2007


Furthermore, I have no desire whatsoever to have a discussion about prostitution OK or not OK.

RIGHT. Which is why you keep arguing the point.

My issue here is about treating people who work in certain industries as being less than human and less deserving of protection and privacy than others.

That's not what this thread is about. It's not what the original question was about.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2007


And everyone's overlooking another simple answer—She could just be a woman who likes an inordinate amount of dick, without actually charging them for it. I mean, she has four children, she has to like some dick.
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on October 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


That last sentence is, of course, key. There are vast differences between the hazards prostitutes face based on location and situation. And another caveat is that these studies were done in the 1980s. But maybe you can tell me another industry where 32% of workers report assault by clients.

I'm hesitant to google around for this too much while I'm at work, but...what is the percentage of women, period, who have been victims of sexual assault at some point? I fervently hope it's not as high as 32%, but I wouldn't be shocked to see it as high as 10%. And prostitutes encounter far more men -- in a sexual setting -- than do the average woman.

As far as the homeless prostitutes go, I think their status as prostitutes is far less relevant to the horrors that may befall them than is their status as homeless people. That they're prostitutes may not be purely incidental, but I think it's a stretch to presume it's the major precipitating factor in violence done to them.

I agree with you 100% on regulation. I'd go further and say that advocacy for the health of prostitutes -- should that include, say, HIV screening/prevention awareness, for themselves and/or their clients -- might save a great number of lives.

All that said...there's still nothing here that even kind of hints that men who visit prostitutes are more likely to engage in pedophilia, which was the alarmist claim that got this whole ball rolling.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2007


I'm curious: what, again, was supposed to have been done?

PeterMcDermott, I get that you think anyone being "a nosy asshole neighbour" is objectively worse to living next door than a prostitute. Should the question be thwarted? If so, I'm going to call out every question that I suspect of being motivated by greed.

Fandango_matt, I have yet to figure out whether your gripe is people being unresponsive, answers that get on a soapbox (watch your back PeterMcDermott), or some combination of the above in the context of an anonymous question. (Incidentally, I'm not sure that Anonymous has to stay silent, or whether it's kosher -- or at least feasible -- to defend himself via another identity. Not me, I hasten to add.)

IMO, the idea that the question shouldn't be posed because some people have over-the-top replies, or that special level nine security procedures have to be put in place, vastly overstates the harm caused by the risk of venting. Talk about a heckler's veto.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 10:05 AM on October 23, 2007


Unfortunately, Anonymous never asked "What do I do?"

Say, you're a much better reader than I am, fandango_matt.
posted by breezeway at 10:08 AM on October 23, 2007


If there's a prostitute in your neighborhood, it is YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS, especially if you have kids. Prostitutes, drug dealers, and thugs tend to co-mingle, in case you literally just fell off the fucking turnip cart. I lived next to a drug dealer for a couple of years, and most of his clients were prostitutes. I would come home to see them sitting on my stoop, yelling "Frank" up to the third floor window so they could get their goddamn junk. You do not want prostitutes in your neighborhood, and it is ludicrous in the extreme to suggest that concern over a pattern of behavior by this neighbor is "security state hysteria", or whatever it was labeled.

Granted, if this woman is a prostitute, she is keeping it more low-key than the whores in my old neighborhood, but that does not mean it's OK to have a brothel in your neighborhood. In an ideal world, there would be "safe", regulated brothels, but let me point out that you still would not want that in your neighborhood, unless you happened to be a john. Brothels, even legal ones, attract bad people. Call me judgemental if you will, but this is just common sense.
posted by Mister_A at 10:10 AM on October 23, 2007


Because doing so allows them to trumpet their own moral superiority without fear of reprisal from the person to whom they claim they're morally superior. No matter what they've said in the thread, they'll always be better than Anonymous, which, for them, is immensely satisfying.

Studies show that posting to MeTa induces a similar response.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2007


Because the two outcomes are almost entirely unrelated. Child molestation happens almost exclusively within the scope of family relationships.

Which, of course, tells you nothing about correlation with prostitution.

You are asserting that the same people who visit prostitutes also molest children, or that there is a very strong correlation between the two, which is generally understood to be a myth.

By who? If you're going to make this assertion, back it up with facts.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2007


Anonymous responds.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:34 AM on October 23, 2007


By who? If you're going to make this assertion, back it up with facts.

Don't be stupid. You're asking him to prove a negative -- his only assertion is to call bullshit on someone else's assertion. The original assertion is the one that demands proof.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2007


Which, of course, tells you nothing about correlation with prostitution.

Your assertion is that people who frequent prostitutes molest children in their spare time, but the lone paper you refer to does nothing to establish this.

Which makes me wonder if you actually read what you linked to, since the paper uses teen runaways entering prostitution to make the correlation, not eight year-olds being touched inappropriately by their horny, whoring uncles, which is presumably the age group whom the anonymous Mr. Nosy wishes to protect.

And even if his kids are older, your paper refers to runaways who are coaxed into the profession by pimps, not customers grabbing random teenagers in the neighborhood for molestation, so even if the neighbor is a prostitute, you still haven't established the danger of that hypothetical prostitute's (evidently quiet) clientele to the neighborhood children, regardless of their age.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2007


pracowity writes "If you like a quiet neighborhood, a prostitute in the next house is not the way to ensure it."

Assuming for the sake of argument this neighbour is a sex worker it seems like quiet is exactly what she is contributing. The typical suburban lawnmower probably creates more of a noise disturbance.

Reggie Digest writes "Rule of thumb: If you feel there's a need to say something like, 'That's what I was going to say,' and you're not the first or even second to say it, you fail at life."

I don't see this as valid at all, especially on a question with debate. Both because sometimes the asker is looking for a majority opinion and also because some potential me toos are more weighty than others. For example I'd hate if say ColdChef was discouraged from affirming an answer in his area of expertise.

dead_ writes "Did this thread really warrant being posted anonymously? Is there any good reason for it?"

One could be generous and assume the poster was trying to protect the privacy of the neighbour/neighbourhood. Especially if the poster has exact lat/long information in their profile.

koeselitz writes "a sex worker clinic in San Francisco 53% of their sample experienced 'past or current occupational violence' including 32% by customers, 20% from employers and 15% by police."{Snip}"But maybe you can tell me another industry where 32% of workers report assault by clients. I can't think of one."

I don't have numbers but I can think of lots where that kind of percentage for "current or past" occurances of assault is likely. My mother is a long term care aide. The majority of care aides have been assaulted at one time or another by a client. Police officers, nurses, prison guards, cab drivers. I wouldn't be surprised if social workers and mental health workers are in range.







Mister_A writes "if this woman is a prostitute, she is keeping it more low-key than the whores in my old neighborhood, but that does not mean it's OK to have a brothel in your neighborhood. I"



Mister_A writes "Brothels, even legal ones, attract bad people. Call me judgemental if you will, but this is just common sense."
posted by Mitheral at 10:53 AM on October 23, 2007


Whoops posted instead of preview. Mister_A while one sex worker may technically = brothel, the word kind of implies multiple workers along with management. And "common sense" in this case would seem like just a way of saying anecdotal evidence and stereotyping.

Oh and I found a chart on workplace violence. Looks like gas station attendants, select janitors and store employees, bartenders and possibly teachers should be included in that metric. Of course those numbers would need to be adjusted for career length.
posted by Mitheral at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2007


kittens for breakfast, (1) it isn't exactly a negative (someone might reasonably read "generally understood to be a myth" to refer to some identifiable statement somewhere), (2) you want proof for the original assertion, but I would be surprised if there were consensus on what the original assertion is.

I think of the question as saying something like "I have misgivings about the traffic associated with prostitution -- is that what's likely going on here?" Then everyone started chiming in with prostitution kills kids, prostitution never associated with killing kids, nosiness good, nosiness bad . . .. If the question on the table were, will the customers rape my kid, one might put the burden on those urging that it was harmful. (Though query whether that's affected by its illegality in that location.) But that's not what's on the table, other than here.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2007


Ye gods. No, I'm pretty sure the assertion was just that men who see prostitutes are likely to fuck kids. Which, admittedly, is not a myth in the sense that I at least have ever heard it before, but does sound like a myth in the sense that I have a feeling it's kinda leaning toward not being true, really.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:07 AM on October 23, 2007


Thing is, if the question is, "Is my neighbor a prostitute?" and not "What do I do?" or "What is my recourse?" or "How do I know for sure?" and we are beholden to answer only the posed question, the only real answers are "Maybe," "Perhaps," "Possibly," or "Probably," which makes it a non-question. Is that what AskMe's for?
posted by breezeway at 11:09 AM on October 23, 2007


Oh and I found a chart on workplace violence. Looks like gas station attendants, select janitors and store employees, bartenders and possibly teachers should be included in that metric. Of course those numbers would need to be adjusted for career length.

I think my neighbor might secretly be running a gas station out of his house. Should I be worried?
posted by The World Famous at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


YES! THEY CAUSE CANCER!
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2007


Are you sure they don't cause gout? I heard they cause gout.
posted by The World Famous at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2007


Cool Papa Bell, you're not a real person, are you? You're some kind of alien technology caricature-bot intended to mock conservatives, right?

Don't you have a Noam Chomsky lecture to attend?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:51 AM on October 23, 2007


Are you sure they don't cause gout? I heard they cause gout.

Only the ones in Tijuana. Freakin' mexican gout fuckers.

[NOT CHUPACABRIST]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:59 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


But I don't think the point-- "men who hire prostitutes are more likely to be child molestors, rapists, etc."-- is easily disputable.

Bullshit. Of course it is easily disputable. To believe it you have to believe that men who hire prostitutes are not a representative sample of men in general. They pretty much area.

In other words: Take a random sample of men who have engaged the services of a prostitute. Now take a random sample of men in general.

There will almost certainly be no way to distinguish the two samples.
posted by Justinian at 12:18 PM on October 23, 2007


There will almost certainly be no way to distinguish the two samples.

Particularly because the second sample will include members of the first.
posted by The World Famous at 12:48 PM on October 23, 2007


Mister_A, I agree that it is not a good thing to have a prostitute living across the street.

But jumping to the conclusion that a single woman living with her children is a prostitute based on the evidence provided is ridiculous and incredibly rude.

Anonymous's question, which included "what else could this be" was fine, but he didn't do himself any favors by supporting his prostitute theory with neighborhood speculation. If he's so worried about children, perhaps he would be kinder to his neighbors own children than to whisper about whether their mother is a whore based on "I've seen casually dressed men visit her home for 30 minutes during the day" and "she doesn't socialize enough."
posted by desuetude at 1:14 PM on October 23, 2007


"Don't you have a Noam Chomsky lecture to attend?"

Don't you have a Noam Chomsky lecture to complain about despite not attending?
posted by klangklangston at 1:25 PM on October 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Right desuetude, and the way this question is phrased is pretty shoddy - "I think she's a whore, she acts like a whore - what do you think - total whore or complete whore?"

My point was that, if she is in fact a prostitute, even a "low key" or "high class" one, she is going to attract riff raff that people don't want around. Call it anecdotal evidence, mitheral, but that is how we all live our lives. Most decisions we make in life are based on "anecdotal evidence", and my anecdotal evidence (N=1) is that whores in neighborhood = bad news. I was addressing the "so what if she's a prostitute?" school of thought, and probably should have stated that.
posted by Mister_A at 1:28 PM on October 23, 2007


damn hoes need to pay for their drugs somehow.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 1:30 PM on October 23, 2007


“I'm hesitant to google around for this too much while I'm at work, but...what is the percentage of women, period, who have been victims of sexual assault at some point? I fervently hope it's not as high as 32%”

Actually, I think it's much higher than 32%, closer to 66% or even higher. I don't know what the actual statistics are. But this is my impression from my time working in rape crisis. Easily two-thirds of all the women closest to me, close family, friends, were either known to have been victims of sexual violence or disclosed to me personally after I started working in rape crisis and talking about rape.

But this really isn't relevant to the point you're answering because the 32% figure is specifically about assaults on prostitutes by their customers.

However, keoslitz doesn't understand the numbers he's quoting. Unfortunately, neither do I. They are unclear. It says that 52% of prostitutes interviewed reported being the victims of occupational violence. It then says “including...” and some numbers, which add up to about 67%. So it's not clear if those numbers are percentages of the total interview pool, as the 52% number is, and there's some weird overlap thing or other statistical weirdness going on; or, more likely, those numbers are a break down of the 52% number. Which would make the percentage of prostitutes who have experienced violence from their clients to be about 17%, not 32%. Which leads to koeslitz's question:

“But maybe you can tell me another industry where 32% of workers report assault by clients.”

Well, if the number is actually 17%, and it probably is, then there are probably a number of such industries. Even if it's 32%, that's over the lifetime working in such an industry and can include as few attacks as only one, of course. I think that convenience store clerks might meet that test, as well as some others.

And the thing is, this doesn't tell you that much about all prostitute's clients no more than it tells you that much about all convenience store workers. Prostitutes are attractive to a certain kind of violent man. They are also attractive to all sorts of other men, including otherwise completely normal men. So you can rightly claim that there's a heightened probability that among this woman's clients there's a violent man of some kind relative to, say, a barber. But you can't characterize all the clients on that basis and it's a big error to do so.

A nice example of this would be the category of, say, once-a-week illegal drug users. That category will have a heightened portion of criminals than the regular population. But are you going to characterize all these people as...what? Criminals? Because the category of once-a-week illegal drug users probably includes a lot of people in this thread.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:54 PM on October 23, 2007


I don't even understand how you'd notice the frequency/gender of your neighbor's visitors throughout the entire day, including how long they typically stay, short of scoping the place. This seems highly atypical to me. I simply can't put myself in that position, so I suppose I imagine a Hollywood-stereotypical busybody spying on the neighbors/gossiping on the party line situation. "Mind your own business" seems justified to me..

I dunno. Maybe it's because I don't live in one of those middle-class suburban utopias? Yeah, we don't have a Neighborhood Watch or a quiet, discreet patrol car. I'd frankly be downright fucking irritated to find out my neighbors were keeping a log of who came over to my house and running background checks. WTF?

Maybe this is just a cultural difference dependent on the style of community we live in. To me, it seems a highly unreasonable way to behave.
posted by cj_ at 2:13 PM on October 23, 2007


Traffic like this is something that while not onerous is quite noticeable on a low traffic residential street. Many streets will get very few non resident vehicles making an appearance during the day when people are at work. Especially when the visitee is new to the neighbourhood as many are scoping them out to see what they are like.
posted by Mitheral at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2007


As for these men who visit, are they short?
posted by caddis at 7:35 PM on October 23, 2007


If you're going to make this assertion, back it up with facts — anything stronger than your appeal to emotion.

What assertion? I just said that I can see how there might be a correlation and I wondered if anyone had studied it. I didn't say there is a correlation.

Everyone else seems totally sure there actually isn't a correlation, but I haven't really seen any data.

I'd be perfectly happy if you just told me that we don't know whether hiring prostitutes is correlated with molesting children because we've never studied it.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:37 PM on October 23, 2007


This is one of the worst things about MeFi where a bunch of wankers wander off the main path to argue ad nauseum some trivial and unimportant point such as whether johns are more likely to be pedophiles or not. fwap fwap fwap. jeez, just go visit anon's neighbor why don't ya.
posted by caddis at 8:39 PM on October 23, 2007


just go visit anon's neighbor why don't ya

I tried, but a bat-wielding James Lipton chased me off the property screaming about what would I like to hear God say when I arrived at the Pearly Gates.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:08 PM on October 23, 2007


Can I just add that, less than a year ago, I had a neighbour who used to come over and ask about the people who had been at my place earlier that day, the day before. "Hey is that your boss? He seems friendly. Who was that over here yesterday, at about 7 o'clock? Oh ok."

Maybe we'll see an AskMe from the supposed prostitute shortly saying "Dear AskMe, I suspect my neighbour is a fucking psycho..."
posted by dreamsign at 11:15 PM on October 23, 2007


Everyone else seems totally sure there actually isn't a correlation, but I haven't really seen any data.

I haven't really seen any data proving there isn't a correlation between the username "Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America" and being a child molester, either. Should I wonder if there is such a link publicly and act surprised if it got you upset?

Okay, it probably wouldn't because you'd know I wasn't serious; but the analogy remains valid. It's an offensive thing to wonder when you have no basis for the idea. It's like wondering if Yankees fans are more likely to be child molesters... publicly.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 AM on October 24, 2007


I haven't really seen any data proving there isn't a correlation between the username "Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America" and being a child molester, either. Should I wonder if there is such a link publicly and act surprised if it got you upset?

It would actually be hard to think of a worse analogy.

I'm only one person, so if there's any such correlation, it's because I actually am a child molester. I'm not, as it turns out, and I don't think you have any reason to think I am, so bringing it up at all just serves to personally attack me as an individual.

On the other hand, I gave a reason to think men who hire prostitutes have motivations in common with child molesters (sexual marginalization), so it's not as though I was just picking people at random. You say I have "no basis," and while I don't have data, I think I have some basis.

To reiterate, men who visit prostitutes and child molesters both, I'm claiming, struggle to have their sexual needs met through "normal" relationships. Both are willing to flout social norms in order achieve sexual satisfaction. Both are willing to victimize people (because let's be serious, a lot of prostitutes aren't doing it out of a perfectly free choice) in order to achieve sexual satisfaction. I think that's more than "no basis."
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:31 AM on October 24, 2007


“To reiterate, men who visit prostitutes and child molesters both, I'm claiming, struggle to have their sexual needs met through "normal" relationships. Both are willing to flout social norms in order achieve sexual satisfaction. Both are willing to victimize people (because let's be serious, a lot of prostitutes aren't doing it out of a perfectly free choice) in order to achieve sexual satisfaction. I think that's more than ‘no basis.’”

No, it's not. Look: there's a lot of research on pedophilia. It's not really a paraphilia, it's closer to an orientation. Pedophiles are specifically fixated on children for the sexual desires. All those other things that you list that they have in common are entirely irrelevant. It's as if you listed all the things that homosexual men and homosexual women have in common. That doesn't mean they share the same taste in sexual partners. Neither do clients of prostitutes and pedophiles.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:53 AM on October 24, 2007


I originally wrote:

“Cool Papa Bell, you're not a real person, are you? You're some kind of alien technology caricature-bot intended to mock conservatives, right?”

...to which Cool Papa Bell replied:

“Don't you have a Noam Chomsky lecture to attend?”

Good one! That's pretty funny that you'd answer a query about whether or not you're a both that caricatures conservatives with an even more outrageous caricature of wingnut stereotyped obsessions.

But, no, you couldn't pay me to go to a Chomsky lecture. I hate the guy. That wasn't like Spock saying “I am lying”, is it? I'd hate to make your brain go sproing. I am lying.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:07 AM on October 24, 2007


The funny part is, if you try to seriously answer the specific question, "what else could she be doing?" your comment might just be erased, like mine just was. Seriously, she could be training terrorists; I agree, that's a worse slander than "prostitute," but it's a possibility, and that's exactly what the OP was asking for, right? Possibilities?

So I guess the question really is "is she a pro?" or "what should I do?" since those are the answers that are allowed to remain.
posted by breezeway at 8:07 AM on October 24, 2007


breezeway: since you've been active in this thread, a one line response about terrorists in a thread that's already generated a 160+ thread in MetaTalk doesn't seem like a genuine or helpful answer to the question. While I don't think we need to pre-chew the OPs food for them, a bit of explaining of answers -- especially those that are likely to elicit sharp responses -- would differentiate between throwaway trolling lines and earnest answers to the question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:13 AM on October 24, 2007


So now terrorist training only takes 30 minutes? It's the Evelyn Wood Speed Terrorist Training Course. She must be Wood's grand daughter.
posted by caddis at 8:37 AM on October 24, 2007


Sorry, jessamyn, I just thought of it in the shower this morning and was surprised to see nobody had suggested it. I'm sure you did the right thing by deleting it, but it does point out what a waste of a question it was: we're invited to speculate on possibilities, which includes just about everything. She could be the secret controller of the President of the USA, and all those men are top government officials , or she could be a terrorist cell leader, or she could be a space alien, and the men her spies, infiltrating the city mail system to put mind-controlling substances in the postage stamps, or she could be a masseuse or a tax prep specialist. They're all valid answers, because they all could be.

Of course, if I'm going to question the validity and purpose of an AskMe question I should do it here, not there, and explicitly, not implicitly, and for that I'm sorry. I'd love to promise I won't screw up ever again, but I have my doubts about my integrity. I won't shit in that thread anymore, though.
posted by breezeway at 8:48 AM on October 24, 2007


Did anyone suggest elocution teacher?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:12 AM on October 24, 2007


But, no, you couldn't pay me to go to a Chomsky lecture.

Chomsky aside (and I thought it was funny, sue me).

The original quip was in reaction to someone saying MeFi had become "annoyingly conservative." To which I blew Cheerios all over my keyboard. Conservative? Bullshit. This is leftists vs. libertarians here. I mean, you rarely see anyone proudly call themselves a "Trotskyite" and mean it. But it happens on MeFi. I like it, even though I think the Trotskyites will eventually grow out of it.

But I love slumming with the navel-gazing trustafarians, by which I don't literally mean people with trust funds, but the kinds of privileged white folks that think a prostitute in the neighborhood is just ducky because it brings some kind of vibrant street cred to the soulless suburbs. Give those folks two kids and a mortgage and watch their value systems change.

Although I would agree that there was lots of un-useful guideline-breaking in that thread.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:28 AM on October 24, 2007


Yunnan sharecroppers represent!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:42 AM on October 24, 2007


Give those folks two kids and a mortgage and watch their value systems change.

Uh, okay. Except that since whatever she's doing is apparently so innocuous that nobody can even figure out what the fuck it is, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it's probably not gonna bring down property values or endanger anybody's children. Hell, for all we know, she's reading these people their tarot cards. But here's what I'd like to know: While she's working, what the hell are all these people who have nothing better to do all day than spy on their neighbors doing for a living? Yeah. That's what I thought. Goddamn parasites!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:02 AM on October 24, 2007


To reiterate, men who visit prostitutes and child molesters both, I'm claiming, struggle to have their sexual needs met through "normal" relationships.

You are completely ignoring that pedophilia - as distinct from pederasty - is not just an inappropriate sexual attraction, it is a true pathology. Normal men, including those who visit prostitutes, do not feel attraction to young children regardless of how difficult it is to get laid.

It's like wondering if being really fat is correlated with cannibalism since they both (often) involve eating inappropriate stuff.
posted by Justinian at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2007


Can someone just break out a Hitler reference so we can pack this thread up and go home?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:14 AM on October 24, 2007


Pack this thread up? Like, what, into train cars? Heading "home"? You know who else tried really hard to strain this paraphrase into some sort of Hitler reference?
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:19 AM on October 24, 2007


If anyone would like to stop by my house dressed as Hitler for 30-45 minutes today for some non-prostitution-related activities, I'll be home after 4 p.m. today. Be sure and wave at all my neighbors.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:23 AM on October 24, 2007


I'm dressed as Hitler dressed as Stalin; will that work?
posted by breezeway at 10:24 AM on October 24, 2007


Yes, I love a man in a uniform!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:25 AM on October 24, 2007


Hitler dressed as Stalin is always on time.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:33 AM on October 24, 2007


Hitler dressed as Mussolini makes the trains run on time.
posted by The World Famous at 11:43 AM on October 24, 2007


Yeah - I totally fucked that one up, didn't I?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2007


No Hitler, radio!
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:58 AM on October 24, 2007


Radio? Live transmission!
posted by The World Famous at 11:59 AM on October 24, 2007


No Soap, Hitler!
posted by shmegegge at 12:13 PM on October 24, 2007


HITLER DID WTC
posted by Kwine at 12:19 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I don't even understand how you'd notice the frequency/gender of your neighbor's visitors throughout the entire day, including how long they typically stay, short of scoping the place. This seems highly atypical to me."

Well, there's the population that works out of their homes and then stay at home parents taking care of their kids. When children play outside the parents tend to scope out the neighborhood while keeping an eye on them. Also the retired and/or elderly. If you have a larger amount of elderly in your neighborhood you will probably have some that walk regularly and thus scope out neighbors - and who might be willing to stop by and keep you updated on things that concern you as a homeowner. I'm not wild about nosey neighbors, but I'm very aware of the fact that they might be the ones who'd call the cops in to aid me, should I be in trouble.

While I'm not really in on this whole pile of hooha it does make me wonder how many of the shriller "it's none of your business" folk actually own homes. I've noticed that once you put that kind of investment in a neighborhood folk tend to start putting a lot of attention toward crime stats, and perhaps get a little overly concerned. (We rent, thus I'm still mellow.)
posted by batgrlHG at 1:43 PM on October 24, 2007


Thanks for derailing the Hitler train.

:(
posted by thehmsbeagle at 2:51 PM on October 24, 2007


Now he'll never be on time. Il duce will be so upset.
posted by The World Famous at 2:53 PM on October 24, 2007


Dammit, you Hitler wannabes, I made cookies and nobody showed! That's it... no more speed for you.

They really ought to call it "slow," since all you guys on the amphetamines can't seem to get your shit together OR be on time.

I shoulda asked for the Kamikaze pilots instead. Hmpf.

(goes off to place prostitution ads on Craigslist)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:12 PM on October 24, 2007


Thanks for derailing the Hitler train.

You know who else derailed the... Hitler... um?.. er...

I got nothin.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:16 PM on October 24, 2007


No, it's not. Look: there's a lot of research on pedophilia. It's not really a paraphilia, it's closer to an orientation. Pedophiles are specifically fixated on children for the sexual desires.

All this may be true, but I think you're making the unwarranted assumption that only pedophiles molest children.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:59 PM on October 24, 2007


I stayed to poke the lefty trustafarians. Because. There's. So. Damn. Many. Of. Them.

Really? There are? Can I get a list? Because when DateMe starts up, I'm hitting them up first!
posted by birdlady at 3:24 AM on October 25, 2007


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