So, I am thinking….What makes someone a whore? I have been wondering about that since I came across that blog where a clearly frustrated expat lady talked about every girl in Baku (who is out after 9pm) being a prostitute. Also, as my mate Atilla the troll claimed, I was a woman of "corrupt morality". Which made me wonder-Am I? And if not, what makes me any different from some others?
And let’s clarify here. I am not talking about professionals, who take a fee for their services. I am talking about certain girls back home, who are often indeed, hunting for foreign husbands. (But would often settle for some comfortable temporary arrangement, foreign or local).
I like to call them amateurs. Because, technically speaking, they are not whores, are they.
At university, we never really went out much. Our entertainment finished before dinner time, and if we had a party, it would be at someone’s flat, with dishes prepared by the girls, alcohol bought by the boys, and some slow dancing with a bit of intimate touching. (And when I say intimate touching I mean hands moving a few centimeters below the official waistline.)
After the university I got a job with an oil company and started meeting expats through work. Made some good friends, both locals and expats. We started going to (at that time) the only two clubs in town. However, what was the norm for us, was outrageous for the majority of locals. And the local police were convinced most of us were prostitutes.
And of course, some of the girls who went out at nights and went to the same clubs were indeed, either professionals or amateurs. To me, it was always very obvious who was who. But perhaps, not to the local police. To such a traditional local man, any woman out at night was of course, a prostitute-what else could she be? To someone living on the outside of this whole expat community circle, we surely all looked like some axes of evil sent by the demons to corrupt local traditions.
I still have no idea whether those men, who chased taxis after 12 at night, and asked for documents (read: money) were plain clothes policemen, or just some self-proclaimed gangsters. At some point, going out at night got really unpleasant. If you were out late, and if you had a male companion in the taxi with you, you knew you could be stopped any minute. We were all worried, as we heard scary tales about girls being taken to Romani- a women’s jail outside the city for alleged prostitution. And getting locked up in Romani, trust me, is NOT something you want to happen. Luckily, you could always either drop a few ochen vajniy (VIP) names, or pay a few bucks to be left alone. (Or pretend to be foreign- works a treat if your English is good enough.)
But I have to admit, I judge people. I tend to jump to conclusions when I see certain types of women from back home. How can I blame that expat lady blogger, or Atilla the troll for assuming things, when I myself make assumptions? It is just too easy, isn’t it: Goes out at night back in Baku? Oh, must be a prostitute. Short skirt and bleached hair? Oh, definitely one of those. Eastern-European girl with a foreign husband? No doubt, she married him for his passport. So many stereotypes, so easily applied.
And trust me, not only by the trolls.
Once, when I just moved here, I took my baby girl to a local Mother and Baby group. As we all introduced ourselves, a lady next to me exclaimed:
-Oh, Baku! My friend’s husband worked there for a few years. I heard, all women in Baku are prostitutes- is that true?
What can you say when someone asks you something like that?
I smiled back, and told her I was sorry her friend obviously had problems in her marriage. In a few days, when I ran into her on the street, I pretended I did not recognise the bitch.