There’s been a spate of reports on prostitution in Italy recently. Not bad things, just stories that make a person wince before rereading.
For example, the telegraph has a nice picture of one of Italy’s incomprehensible road signs. The sign shows, in silhouette, a very large breasted woman in a short skirt and high heels. That’s it. Except it looks like the wind is blowing her hair. Below, on another sign nailed to the same pole, is written “Attenzione Prostitute”. Folks driving by give a look. Problem is, they haven’t a clue what’s being conveyed here. Why does the government want us to have attention toward prostitutes? Is it a prostitute crossing? Like a moose crossing? Take a look. (Pay attention if you are renting a car on your vacation because you’ll want to memorize all the Italian road signs I’m sure. I think there are at least 7,000 of them. Usually you find them on poles that have at least 35 each, stacked one upon the other.)
I’d be confused, too. What does it mean? Certainly the woman depicted on the sign looks confident. I like confident women. A long time ago I was walking with a very large breasted friend I happened to work with (yes, I do separate my friends by large and small breasted, thank you very much. I have many more small breasted friends, now that I think about it. Usually males.) Anyway we were starting to cross in a crosswalk when a car zoomed toward us as if on a mission we weren’t allowed to stand in the way of. I stopped abruptly. The woman grabbed me and pulled me into the danger zone, where she forced me to match her stride. “When you’ve got tits like these,” she said proudly, “people stop.” The last part of her sentence had quite a lot of emphasis. She dragged it out. It was like, “PEEEEEEEEople stooOOOOOp.”
She had confidence. And swagger. I like that. So maybe it was a confident, big breasted prostitute crossing. Makes sense. Even the big part. There is no “mouse crossing” but there is a “moose crossing” so I guess we’ve solved the mystery. It’s a matter of size.
Anyway, I’m thinking the guy who designed this only-in-Italy sign must have been thinking along the same lines. As Americans, it is almost impossible to imagine our roads having such prostitute crossings.
Of course, it’s also hard for Americans to imagine a world where prostitution is legal. Yup, that’s the second story I want to talk about. It’s about a brothel raid in Florence.
The women, though, were not “stereotypical” prostitutes but a “madam” in her sixties who had been trying to survive and see her son through university on a pension of 242 euros a month, her 37-year-old unemployed friend and another friend in her sixties. ~ Bella di giorno – brothel raid in Florence
That’s sad. It’s a good thing prostitution is legal, because these women were just trying to do good and survive on a paltry pension.
Prostitution is not illegal in Italy but it is a crime to organise or profit from prostitution.
So there’s the rub. You can be a prostitute as long as you don’t charge for it. Or organize something. Hmm. That’s odd. How many prostitutes can last in the world’s oldest profession if they don’t profit from it? I mean, do they have humongous deductions? Purse, high heel shoes, breast augmentation? It’s hard to figure. While everyone else in Italy is cheating on the taxes, the only people they can catch are some 60 year old women just trying to put a kid through college?
Or maybe they were caught j-walking outside the Prostitute crossing. You never know.