Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren

 Amazon has no idea what I’m looking for.  I don’t believe in artificial intelligence until they can figure this out.  So let’s say you buy a book about biology.  Amazon is like, okay, here’s a bunch more books on biology.  Are you a fucking idiot?  You think I want to read a hundred books on biology just because I read one???  What is it about that book on biology that made me read it?  Think Amazon!  It’s a new, emerging revolutionary, counterintuitive, mind-blowing concept written for laypeople.  So that’s the fucking core theme of books I look for.  So show me books with that theme you idiot!  How about obscure?  When Amazon shows me a book that just makes me go, what the fuck is that and why have I never heard about or seen that before?  That’s when I’ll believe in artificial intelligence.  At least in a book store, there’s a bit more randomness.  I want a random button.  I hit the button, and Amazon takes all its trillion book titles and then randomly selects one.  Of course, Amazon won’t do this, because it purposefully wants to sell highly profitable new titles from major publishers with whom they have cozy deals for greater profits. 

 So how did I come upon this book?  The last book I read mentioned Macau.  So I looked up books on Macau only to be disappointed with travel guides and novels with Macau featured.  Macau is a place I only recently learned about which is amazing, because it takes in three times the gaming revenue as Las Vegas.  I swear I live in this sheltered cocoon of Western culture.  Remember taking world history in high school?  Uh, no.  There was no such thing.  There was some mention of world history in middle school under social studies.  Most Americans have no idea about the history of Africa, Asia, or even South America.  We just know them as placed where white folk went to plunder and colonize.  So then I was thinking about Brunei, another obscure place I learned about when Forbes mentioned one of the richest guys in the universe, the Sultan of Brunei.  So then I looked up Brunei, and low and behold, this title showed up.  At first, my kneejerk reaction was, ugh, a story about a prostitute who goes to serve some rich asshole.  This is like the third book in a row I’ve read about rich assholes.  Maybe Amazon should have known about that theme. 

 That brings us to the concept of random.  I’ve always thought of myself as a rather unique creature that doesn’t conform to a lot of conventions, but lately, I’ve been realizing that everything I’ve jumped aboard may not be mainstream convention but it is certainly a subculture convention: libertarianism, healthy food, anti-corporate, hipster, roller derby, etc.  At first I wanted to rebel, and I took the wrong path, the path defined by mainstream culture, that of self-destructive, undermining, substance abusing asshole.  Now, the rebel culture is healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, anti-corporate, freedom-loving, cartel-hating, global culture-pursuing, reading, self-educating.  Am I truly unique or just a floating vessel of ideas and cultural memes that travel through me.  In other words, am I me or am I a temporary housing unit or bee for the pollination of ideas and cultural memes?  The only real satisfaction of knowing I’m not entirely special is the fact that I can say, is it just me or does anyone else see the insane level of corruption in our government colluding with big business that is destroying other countries and our planet, and then I can answer, no, it’s not just me, because these thoughts and sentiments are just traveling through me from other sources.  So to be truly individualistic and special, you need random.  You need to reach out to unexpected sources.  You need to roll the dice, because Amazon and other corporate media machines, cannot control random.  They may want to trick you into thinking they’re random, but fact remains, they will manufacture reality to maximize profits.  So let’s say that we do live in a virtual reality constructed by an intelligence species.  Would they be slaves to big business?  Would this reality then be manufactured not for educating or entertaining us but rather maximizing their profits?  Is the real me a slave to big business, and the most profitable product is this virtual reality where we have not yet become total slaves to big business and can live in this temporary illusion of self-determination, this historic intersection of human being and slave to big business, the year 2017?  So the irony of us all succumbing to slavery to big business (in collusion with big government) is escaping it and paying handsomely to live in a virtual reality where that has not yet happened but not so far back in history when there was no toilet paper and air conditioning?  I have to believe I’m not the only one thinking that right now.

* * *

The backstory of all strippers and prostitutes is some early experience with sexual molestation or rape, and some survey reported that about 80% of sex workers experienced sexual assault before getting into the industry.  But there are many who have never experienced sexual assault and just got in for the easy money.  But what is their story?  Some may argue that there is nothing wrong with anyone who sells their body for money.  MMA fighters and bull riders basically sell their bodies and suffer life-long physical injuries for it.  But fact is, women intrinsically don’t enjoy having random sex with strangers paid or not.  Certainly, some do, but the vast majority don’t.  This is the very reason that men are willing to pay a lot for sex.  Besides prior experience with sexual assault, what makes some women choose to sell their bodies while others do not.  In the case of Jillian Lauren, she gives clues here and there as she shifts from past to present.  She was adopted, and in high school, she had a falling out with her father.  Adoptees are an interesting breed, and it’s all psychological.  If my mother told me today that I was adopted, it would change me greatly, but even more so if I found out at an early age.  Immediately, you wonder why your natural parents did not want you, and you then develop serious self-esteem issues.  When your natural parents leave you, whatever the age, you develop a desire to be seen.  My father left me when I was seven and moved temporarily to Los Angeles.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that I ultimately moved to LA to become an actor.  It’s as if we want to become famous so that our natural parents will find us and want us again.  The same thing happened with Colin Kaepernick who was adopted.  After he went to the Super Bowl and became famous, all the sudden, his natural mother wanted to reach out to him.  When a parent takes a kid to the playground, the kid wanders off but always returns to make sure his parent is watching him.  But what if he returns and the parent is gone?  The kid then becomes obsessed with being seen, being noticeable.  That translates into any kind of attention-getting behavior or appearance.  Kids dye their hair crazy colors, wear lots of tattoos or piercings, or they do crazy or scandalous things to get noticed.  It’s all just a show to get noticed by a parent who has gone missing.  Strippers get that same attention by taking off their clothes. 

 It is unfortunate that we do live in a society dominated by men who pay women for sex.  While many sex workers can make a hundred thousand a year, unless they invest it wisely, they can’t keep making that money for more than a few years.  There is no health insurance or pension, and after making a hundred thousand a year, it’s an unimaginable drop to a service job making a few hundred a week.  So much talent is wasted because of women who go off to sell their bodies instead of using their minds.  There is a similar thing with black men.  So many are raised to believe that the only way to get to college is through an athletic scholarship, which is basically selling their body.  So much time and energy is wasted on the practice field instead of studying.  How many talented and gifted black men could there have been if we eliminated athletic scholarships and black boys realized the only way to get to college was through academic excellence and academic scholarships?  And everyone talks about the high-priced escorts or the professional athletes signing multi-million dollar contracts but forget the less glamorous average.  Average professional athletes don’t make millions of dollars.  They wind up working regular jobs after retiring.  Average prostitutes and strippers don’t make thousands a week, and they also wind up with regular jobs after retiring.  However, since the sex industry is a seedy place filled with crooks, many sex workers gets scammed, abused, exploited, victimized, or get hooked to substances and just blow all their money on drugs and fleeting luxuries.  Since selling your body for money feels degrading, their self-esteem is gradually eroded so they no longer care for themselves or protect their money.  The money, acting as evidence of their self-exploitation, is thrown away as soon as it is earned. 

 Unlike the hooker in Pretty Woman, the author comes across as intelligence and what I’m starting to notice in modern women, after reading Anna Kendrick’s memoir, a wry, self-deprecating, self-analytical, Freudian psycho-analytical, pseudo-self-awareness.  I read somewhere that people a long time ago never considered themselves as individuals as much as we do now.  They were of something.  They were of a village or of a family.  Their identity, which I consider is more accurate, was based on their relationships to other people.  Today, we are hyper-individualists.  It’s all about us.  We read self-help books, self-improvement, self-actualization, self-awareness.  Of course, she wrote this in 2010 as a 36-year-old about herself as a 19-year-old in 1992, and hindsight is 20/20.  Perhaps she’s read books or been psycho-analyzed herself, so she shares all that self-awareness.  One poignant observation is that the most dangerous part of sex work (besides the obvious dangers) is not being able to differentiate your work persona and your personal persona. 

 I’ve always considered myself highly self-aware, but it’s an illusion.  Just because you think you’re smart enough to make the connections between your abusive parents or siblings and your attraction to dysfunctional and abusive personality types doesn’t mean you’re self-aware of everything you do.  We all have our blind spots, and the only good way of getting rid of them is being around a trusted friend who can point them out.  As much as introverts love to think of themselves as highly aware and self-aware of everything while everyone else goes about ignorantly living un-reflected lives, they are full of hypocrisies and blind spots nobody told them about.  For instance, Anna Kendrick portrays herself as a dorky, short, innocent, nice, underdog girl, but seems completely oblivious to her episodes of bullying and cruelty.  Actually, I think we all consider ourselves innocent and when we do anything mean or cruel, we excuse it as being victims of circumstance or somebody forcing our hands and we were just being self-preserving.  Isn’t that the reason everyone does mean and cruel things? 

 The author, Jillian Lauren, reveals what is ultimately an unnatural and degrading pageantry masked as “parties” where Prince Jefri checks out a lineup of asses, sits with his favorites, and then picks one out to fuck each night.  Lauren finds herself as one of the favorites, but she soon realizes or at least believes it’s mostly because the most favorite one just wanted her as a companion.  Lauren then goes on an insane shopping trip that would blow the mind of most young women.  Herein lies the irony.  Young people crave what only rich people can afford.  Every young boy dreams of driving a Porsche or Ferrari.  Almost instantaneously, it would elevate you in the eyes of women, or so you think or only certain women.  But then you grow up and learn that only old men can afford such things, and by the time they can afford such things, their sex drive crashes and they need drugs just to keep their dicks hard.  Likewise, young women would love to go on a shopping spree to the designer name shops, but fact is, only old rich women and the mistresses of very rich men can afford that stuff.  In fact, when I see a young man in an expensive car, I don’t think, wow, what a hard-working, smart young man.  I immediately think, drug dealer or his dad is one rich, fat bastard.  So what do people think of young women in very expensive designer fashion?  We’re all just suckers for a commercial society where we are led to believe that we should crave what we cannot afford, and having what we cannot afford will somehow make us better people.  It’s just a recipe for debt and unhappiness.  Lauren should be the happiest young woman in the world with 15 suitcases of designer clothes lined up in the hallway, but instead, she feels ashamed and embarrassed. 

 When Lauren mentions that the Sultan’s brother Jefri enjoyed the catfighting amongst all the women, it reminded me of a memoir by Dennis Hof.  Hof owns the CatHouse brothel, and he too had his harem and would sleep with all the new prostitutes.  He too enjoyed manipulating his girlfriends, using one against the other.  If you were particularly pissed off at one girlfriend, you might spend the entire week with the one woman she hates the most.  This is narcissistic, fiendish, borderline sociopathic behavior.  Of course, all the women are competing for you and are easy to please you, and like a fox in a hen house, it just unleashes this power that is easy to abuse.  If it’s so easy pushing around these women who would do anything to please you, why not?  As Lauren noted, if she didn’t go along with the game and try to fall in love with Jefri and believe in all the romance, she would simply become sick realizing exactly what she was doing, having sex for money.  It always takes two to tango, so not only do the women abuse themselves by investing their emotions in this bizarre pantomime of romance, but the Prince himself also abuses himself by taking on the role of the manipulative, exploitative fiend.  How can you feel good about yourself manipulating dozens of women and giving them the false hope that you will fall madly in love with them and make them your princess?  Abusive spouses become guilt-ridden and self-loathing.  It destroys their self-esteem which further fuels their abusive behavior.  Lauren notes that no amount of fancy cars and sex can satiate the Prince, and she is right.  He is living an empty life.  The only thing that fulfills people is sharing and being in trusting relationships.  Guilt also creates a bottomless hole in your soul that cannot be filled by any amount of drugs, sex, or money. 

 Looking up Wikipedia, it turns out Prince Jefri winds up trying to embezzle billions from his family, but somehow they forgive him.

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