(Editor’s note) The rising then falling star of Stormy Daniels and attorney Michael Avenatti has made this article a little prophetic, so I thought I’d update it with a reminder of just what a porn star does for a living:
This piece isn’t really about Stormy Daniels since something at the basic trial court level of her claim against Donald Trump stinks.
The purpose of her suit seeks to allow Stormy to speak openly about her “affair” with Trump, while the contract-that-is-not-a-contract forbad her to do so, and for which she was paid handsomely, without any acknowledgment from Donald Trump. It could just as easily be a shakedown as hush money, since no evidence one way or the other has been produced for the benefit of the court or the public.
See the problem?
But what has been made public has been some scandalous behavior by both Stormy and her attorney that cast doubt on anything that might come out of their mouths, causing people to begin thinking more of Lili Von Shtup and Hedley Lamar from the 1974 Classic “Blazing Saddles.”
Besides, when does lifting one’s skirt in a dark corner of an alleyway behind a diner qualify as an “affair”?
And is this even Donald Trump’s style? Bill Clinton’s, yes, most definitely, but Trump?
But this little romp of an essay isn’t about Donald Trump or the fair Stormy Daniels, although Stormy does meet the ancient and universal definition of “wench”, a woman of low repute one would not like to be seen with in public.
Instead, It was also known as “wenching”, a very pedestrian sport among the world’s lower classes since feudal times, a sport even the buck private could save up for at least one Friday night a month at Ft Benning, Georgia in 1941.
This piece is about where “wenching” places in a culture, not the poignant and nostalgic “common wenches I have known” variety (is there any other kind?), but straight up social anthropology.
It was one of my good fortunes to be part of an advance team sent to Korea by our three-star general, (a man in history books) to survey the brothels around Oijongbo, near the DMZ, as the guests of the Korean Business Women’s Assn and several House Madams. Quite a tour.
Parents back home would have not looked kindly on knowing that the Army actually regulated (sort of) this tawdry trade that seduced their sons every payday, but every saloon serving military members in the ROK had an inspection card at the front door indicating the current VD rate for that establishment. Too high, the Army could close them. And girls could lose their “union cards” if they got “sick” too often, and even be banished to the street, where only the greenest trooper would stop to talk to them.
Picking a girl up in a bar was the “seal of approval” by the US 8th Army and United Nations Forces Command in Korea, only Mom never knew it.
Our mission: We were sending over a 100 senior officers and enlisted to an underground Command Post near the DMZ to carry out a two-week Corps-level war-game exercise, and the CG, knowing that while some women could turn boys into men, he didn’t want his officers running into ladies who could turn men into boys. I and one other captain were the advance team.
It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it.
(We presented this photo to our CG when he retired, me the juniorist captain in the photo, with even a 1-star Chief of Staff agreeing to join in the gift.)
In any case, I consider myself an authority on the subject, and will spin a few yarns at Veterans Tales (probably in Allen Ness’s Beer Tent) about this madcap world of pre- and extramarital sex near war zones. It’s filled with both humor and pathos. (Come visit, and if a veteran, participate.)
In the 1964 film “Becket”, Becket (Richard Burton) was King Henry II’s (Peter O’Toole) senior by 14 years, and something of a role model. They were best friends.
Henry was one of England’s greatest kings and he appointed his non-religious best friend as Archbishop of Canterbury because he wanted to be able to complete needed reforms without interference from the Church. But Becket took the new job seriously and resisted, and a loose comment by Henry caused one of his knights to kill Becket, thus making him a saint.
The back story to their relationship is that before Becket put on the mitre of office and would go onto to become a saint, he and John would put on the garb of commoners and go wenching, which as soldiers of every country since the 12th Century will affirm, creates the strongest bonds of friendship
(This may also explain why so many modern wenches find careers in the porn industry.)
Now if you haven’t noticed, royals don’t go wenching any longer. For one, they didn’t like dressing down. Appearances. Sexual slumming (wenching) was seen in the same way by Europe’s nobility by the 14th Century. It just wasn’t seemly.
It’s not that royals don’t still have their sport with, well, “ladies-not-their-wives”, but they didn’t have to dress so way down. They were able to keep their lace cuffs and snuff boxes and still have their illicit liaisons, many keeping courtesans in well-appointed apartments across town. Royals weren’t about to go slip-sliding through muck and mire of alley streets like Henry and Becket waded through. By the 18th Century, well into the Victorian era, social manners and appearances superimposed themselves over the moral aspects of infidelity, which never really mattered to European nobility anyway since that had little to with the marriage contract. The European and Asian royals put their own trademarks, and chastity belts, on the practice, and I can think of none, or their wives, that considered a mistress across town an act of marital infidelity.
But one down the street? An outrage.
I used to think only hard-shelled Baptists took a more narrow view, but then, around the time Blazing Saddles hit the screen, I met the Modern Left.
America has something of an exception to the rules that guided royal Europe and Asia. But not entirely.
In an America whose origins were from people who bore the name of their trades, e.g. Smith, Clark, Mason, Hunter, dozens more, the country was loaded down with, among other things, bushels of religious notions that applied to the survivability of their less-than-royal family names and Houses, whether forty acres and a mule, or a tenement on Delancy Street. In the New York and Boston of the colonial period, you might have found a few courtesans being kept by wealthy traders (likely from England), but in the outlying villages there were only wenches, and places where wenches could be found. And they were usually found where a few pints of ale could also be found.
So in America wenching thrived along the waterfronts and various alley streets just like London and Paris. The rise of a courtesan class, aka the modern-day mistress, or kept woman, rose only as a commercial business class rose in America. Still even those Americans were base-born, and so were their mistresses. There were no elegant and courtly Madame de Pompadour’s, or M’lady de Winter’s from Dumas’ Three Musketeers.
Every older culture that had a wealthy class had buried somewhere in it a courtesan class. The wives of prominent Japanese men actually assisted them in finding mistresses, giving them hints as to his likes and dislikes. Japanese factory workers, on the other hand, did their partying as a unit, usually by shift or production line, at various locations, wearing the company logo on a baseball cap or jacket, where they would be plied by bar girls until closing time. Wenches.
Love him or hate him (I opted for the latter many years ago) Bill Clinton, as a governor and a President of the United States, loved wenching. It was possibly the only thing that was truly unique to him. And it was a vice he could not control and could barely conceal. Everybody knew. For years. And arguably his passion turned criminal on a couple of occasions.
But we know this not because someone dug this stuff last year, but because it was always known in Arkansas. And his Party, and his wife, who felt it was a practice that could be concealed, just as they had successfully concealed JFK’s before the 1960 election. The media helped.
The rest of the story.
The book that was never written about Donald Trump is that he had a penchant for wenching, or for that matter, even cheated on his wives. He was not the kind to drop his trousers in that alleyway behind the diner. They had always had him confused with someone else….possibly because of the celebrity, or his wealth. But they conveniently overlooked his upbringing. And Melania was raised in a culture (eastern Europe) in which it would have been expected that rich and powerful men would take a mistress. In her world, Donald didn’t have to cheat…but never with a wench.
Donald’s 2015-2016 chroniclers missed the role his Scottish-immigrant mother played in his life altogether.
If Donald Trump had had “affairs” we would have known it at the time, one of the most paparrazied figures in America, but certainly not at a time when “fake news” had become the rule rather than the media exception. Stormy Daniels, if there is even of scintilla of truth in her story, could not have picked a worse time to tell it, for she has to go so, so very much further to prove an “affair” when all she can prove is that she would be the wench in any story, while there is not even a hint that Donald Trump ever picked up the wenching craving.
When you can connect those dots, call me.