As a very young girl I was so smitten with the fantasy that was the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer that I wrote to the Queen to ask if Price Edward could be my pen pal. After all, I had been named after a princess (Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent) and I saw no reason not to believe that one day Edward would fall in love with me and make me a princess too. I took this fantasy so seriously that I even sealed my letter with wax, imagining that that was the appropriate behavior for a future British princess.
Month: April 2011
Have you ever seen the French film Trop Belle Pour Toi? It’s the story of a married car dealer who has an affair with his very ordinary secretary. Doesn’t sound widely fascinating, I know, but the premise behind the film is that the wife is so beautiful that the husband (Gerard Depardue) constantly feels that he doesn’t deserve her. It is his sense of inadequacy that drives him into the arms of a significantly less attractive woman. She is happy to have him because while he is not exactly handsome, he is Gerard Depardue after all, and who could resist that man?
It is impossible for me to think about Easter without thinking about estrus – the peak of female sexuality that takes place when a woman is most fertile. It should be our favourite time of the month and it is good that we honour that every year with this excellent weekend in celebration of fertility. Hard boiled eggs, chicks, bunnies are not things that I think about mid-cycle, but for those who are trying to reproduce (as opposed to desperately trying not to reproduce) these are apt symbols.
Hollywood screen writers seem to love the statistic that 50% of marriages in the US end in divorce. For example, it seems mandatory when writing a stag party scene that at some point the groom takes his best man aside and says “Dude, what am I doing? More than 50% of marriages end in divorce!” To which his friend responds: “Not you guys. I don’t know what it is about you, man. You guys are just different.” They share a man hug, just so we know how sensitive they are, and immediately go back to doing belly shots.
Technology has changed the way that men buy sex making it possible for a greater share of sex workers to work indoors. This may sound like workers are moving off the streets, but is that in fact the case? Or has the internet simply expanded the size of the sex trade over-all creating a whole new class of workers in addition to those who continue to ply their trade on the streets?
My friends think it odd that when it comes to looking for a man I don’t really care about finding one who is tall. Sure, I understand that there is a biological incentive for women to find a tall mate. But since my current survival does not depend on having a man who can scale a cliff face in pursuit of an antelope on my behalf, I am perfectly happy to consider dating shorter men. I also understand that when removing a constraint on a system (such as “I will only date a man who is at least X feet tall”) the outcome must be at least as efficient, so it’s not possible for me to be worse off by making this decision. Call it Le Chatelier’s principle as applied to dating and marriage.
A protest in Toronto last weekend against sexual assault stereotypes, affectionately called the “Sluts March”, reminded me that I have omitted (or perhaps avoided) talking about rape here on Dollars and Sex. You may think that violent crime falls outside the scope of economic analysis, but there is a question about rape rates that is worth examining within an economic framework: How has the rise of internet access contributed to the fall in rape rates over the past twenty years?
Sweden’s anti-prostitution policies are again a topic of discussion, but now the attention has turned to human trafficking. While the number of street prostitutes has fallen in that country since the government made the purchasing of sex services illegal in 1999, the number of trafficked sex workers appears to have increased. Sweden defends the effectiveness of its policies arguing that the increase observed in trafficked sex workers is small relative to their neighbors Norway and Denmark. I suggested a few weeks ago that Swedish law has to take some responsibility for the increase in sex work beyond its borders. If that is true, and the sex trade has simply relocated, then there is an incentive for neighboring countries to get on the prostitution abolition band-wagon, if for no other reason but to minimize negative externality created by the Swedish laws.