Handicapped Sex

Once again, today EuroSavant, “thinking outside the box,” breaks its previous mold. “Right, it must be that tabloid-style headline he’s talking about,” you might be thinking. “Is MAO really so desperate for readers that he is willing to sink to such depths?” To which I say: By no means – just have a little patience and read on a bit, and I think you’ll find that that headline is justified.

No, what I’m doing here today that is new is taking as my subject a piece out of a newspaper that you won’t find anywhere over there under “Publications that I monitor.” It’s an extraordinary article out of the Dutch edition of Metro that caught my eye. Many of you reading this will be familiar with “Metro,” including, it seems, those from Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. For those who don’t, Metro is the brand-name for a series of free weekdaily newspapers published mostly in European countries but also in the US, Canada, China, South Korea – and Chile (where Metro is served con carne). Naturally, each national Metro version has its own unique news, reported on and written by a unique staff, in the local language. The commonality is the “Metro” brand, the dark-green-logo-based common look-and-feel, and the general idea of a free newspaper specifically designed to appeal to commuters on their way to work – thus, with not-too-long articles, plenty of pictures, etc.

(By the way, this whole idea of a free newspaper – supported, of course, by advertising – was so threatening to established French newspapers, and in particular their unions, that for a while an attempt was made to keep Metro out of France via strikes and intimidation – unsuccessfully.)

But to the article that caught my eye: It’s a good piece of proof that Metro content is produced locally, since it would be hard to believe coming out of any country but the Netherlands. Even coming out of the Netherlands some of you might find the sort of societal attitudes that it portrays hard to believe. It’s the country where I live, though – no apologies. As mentioned, Metro articles tend to be short, so what follows is my complete translation of John van Schagen’s article (and you can find the original issue of the paper in PDF format here – it’s at the top-right of page 3):

Prostitutes Not Game for Handicapped Sex

Prostitutes skilled in erotic contact with psychiatric patients and the physically and mentally handicapped are hard to come by.

That has been the experience of the SEB erotic services provision office [website only in Dutch] out of Rotterdam since it started at the beginning of this year with helping such people with their needs for sexual contact.

Psychiatric patients, just like the handicapped, often lack the required social skills. Five ladies, three gentlemen (for male-contact), a transvestite, and a trans-sexual currently make up the available group. “It’s hard to find capable candidates,” says SEB advisor Frans van der Made. “The prostitutes must be able to show understanding for the situations of handicapped people or those with psychiatric problems. Eastern European ladies generally aren’t considered, because they speak the language poorly while communication is really so important.” So far sixteen clients have registered for the erotic services, but according to the founders demand is much greater than that. Requests for the services come in from all over the Netherlands, but for now the SEB can only call upon prostitutes from the Rotterdam region. Other public assistance organizations have in the meantime shown interest, but many of them don’t (yet) dare to take the plunge all the way to providing sexual services.

Rather remarkable – to say the least? But, as far as I can tell, a perfectly factual report. If you have a mind to, just think about what is happening here: the situations, the sort of characters involved. What does a prostitute think when asked to “service” someone who is, say, mentally handicapped? Someone whom fate has dealt an atrocious hand from the very get-go – a Thalidomide birth-defect victim, for example, with frightful shrunken, distorted limbs – well, just how permanently miserable is he to be left to be? Or can something be done to relieve that, even a little bit? Wait, think about what’s involved: Can something really be done to relieve that? Back to the mentally handicapped: Surely they don’t even experience the sexual act as most “normal” people do; do they even “understand” it? For that matter, what does it truly mean to “understand” it? Etcetera. There must be material here for one or even several truly outstanding works of literature.

Oh, except that nobody these days reads much anymore, a fact attested to by the very approach of such journalistic innovations as Metro. OK then – a screenplay. Go to it; there’s millions to be made here.

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