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Almost Horizontal: Part II

June 15, 2009

In contrast to their road frustrations, an example of something to which the Dutch take a very laid back approach is, of course, sex.

I like that same-sex couples can marry or hold hands in the street if they want to without fear of reprisals and I like the way that prostitution is legal because that means that workers in the sex trade are entitled to the same benefits as anyone else at work, along with regular check ups and certificates declaring them infection-free.  That must, surely be a good thing?  After all, prostitution has always been with us and probably always will be, so why marginalise it by keeping it illegal.  It doesn’t mean that I condone it but I think it’s far more pragmatic and sensible if we learn to live side by side with it.  It also means that you can limit it to certain areas, thus sparing residents or town centres from having it forced down their throats, if you’ll excuse the rather overworked turn of phrase.  Then again, perhaps I’m being idealistic and ignorant about the exploitation factor.

Funnily enough, we had a bit of a surprise when we changed our cable TV provider and got the Family Package, including the BBC (yay!) along with, amongst others, 6 hardcore porn channels.  Fortunately you can password protect these ‘adult’ channels to avoid episodes like the rather amusing one that took place at my friend’s house when her daughter, then 5, happened by chance upon some hot lesbian action.  When mum came into the room and hit the floor with her jaw on seeing what her little precious had been watching, she was met with:

‘Ah, look Mummy, isn’t that nice? Those sisters really love each other!’

At least she hadn’t chanced upon the nun with her aubergine that took me by surprise when I was looking for 30 Rock one night…..

Legal drugs are, of course, the other naughty for which the Dutch have made themselves infamous.  Cannabis may be purchased legally, ready rolled into joints or in its ‘raw’ state, in certain licensed cafés known as coffee shops.  Note that a coffee shop is not the place to go if it’s a cup of coffee you’re after.  Making it legal seems to reduce the novelty factor – I never see people lolling about the place in a haze or looking as though they’re tripping somewhere particularly warm and fuzzy.  The worst I’ve seen is adolescents having a sneaky toke at the back of the tram late on a Saturday night, thinking they are just the coolest thing ever but actually looking a bit pathetic.

Actually, that’s a bit of a lie, the worst I’ve seen is friends of my parents who came to stay and decided to buy a couple of ready-rolled joints ‘just to see what it’s like.’   Husband was sent in to purchase said item as they didn’t know what they should ask for.  (Note to self:  how did Husband know what to ask for?)  They sat outside in our teeny weeny back garden, wrapped in their blankets against the cold like Darby & Joan puffing away under the stars, only to roll back in somewhat wide-eyed a little later.  Whilst playing cards with them that same evening, I felt the urge for a pee and noticed at the same time that Darby had gone missing.  Joan soon found him slumped on the loo, looking a little green around the gills.  When she tried to encourage him to come out, telling him that I needed some time in the smallest room in the house, he called out:

‘It’s ok.  There’s plenty of room.  Tell her I’ll move over.’

Along with the mellow attitude towards certain ideas that we may find a tad too liberal, the Dutch have, most commendably, managed to resist climbing to the ridiculous levels of political correctness that we have achieved in the UK.  I remember sitting on a terrace outside a city centre bar with some friends one night when a very drunk man came stumbling past.  He suddenly stopped in his tracks, turned towards the crowded terrace and started hurling abuse and profanities at people.  He was picking on individuals, obviously spoiling for a fight but no one took the bait.  Instead, someone called the police, who arrived pretty quickly.  They tried to reason with him but he argued with them as well, so in the end they arrested him.  He was cuffed and the back door of the police car was opened for him to get in.  One of the officers tried to get him to bend over in order to step into the car without hitting his head but this detainee was having none of it and resisted the bend so, cool as you like, the officer punched him in the stomach.  That got him bent over pretty smartly and into the car with no further resistance and I don’t think a single onlooker raised any objections– rather they seemed to think he had it coming.

I think I even heard a wry chuckle from the table behind.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2009 9:04 am

    He He!! Great post!! I cannot stand the way Britain has a such a stiff upper lip properness and is getting so litigious about everything! (Sorry – rant over – coffee’s just kicking in!!) Found your blog via Mothership from her Twitter link. Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter… Im a recent disciple and am totally hooked and Im sure you’ll love it!

    • purplejake permalink*
      June 16, 2009 12:21 pm

      Thatgirl39: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: thank heaven for Mothership! I’ve just visited your blog (like it) and your post about your Twitter addiction makes me nervous… I always avoided watching even a single episode of Sex & The City for fear of being hooked right in on the first hit and then arranging my social life around not missing the next episode. That’s a little bit like my approach to tweeting now – hovering about on the fringes, just dipping my toe in, too scared to take the plunge! Blogging is bad enough – it’s keeping me up until one a.m. on work nights and I’m getting too old for that! Plus I’m beginning to forget what Husband looks like…..

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