By Siima Sabiti
Over the weekend, I watched the 1980s classic Pretty Woman.
Basic plot — frustrated rich man takes a drive on Hollywood Boulevard, picks up hot streetwise prostitute and takes her back to his hotel.
She lives there for about a week, he takes her clothes-shopping so that he can introduce her to his rich friends, she fights the fact that she is falling for him, they argue because she feels he has treated her like a hooker (duh), she leaves, he realises he is in love with her, goes to her grotty apartment in his limousine, rescues her from a life on her back and they live happily ever after.
It is a great film, do not get me wrong. But just how realistic is it? In a Ugandan setting?
Picture this: frustrated Ugandan businessman drives to Kabalagala in the wee hours of the morning, spots a relatively decent-looking prostitute, picks her up and takes her to his hotel (NOT lodge, please note).
The next day, she is ready to pick her dime and flee the scene, but he tells her to stay, have breakfast and gives her a wad of cash to go shopping, since he is taking her to dinner that night and her short, see-through dress is not appropriate.
I ask you. Which Ugandan prostitute is going to be given a wad of cash, told to go shopping, and then go back to the hotel! No offence to Ugandan prostitutes. But you know the saying — a fool and his money are soon parted. Ask David Greenhalgh.
I am not saying that you cannot fall in love with a prostitute. Again, ask David whats-his-name. But how do you handle the introductions?
Here in Uganda we are so obsessed with the details of people’s lives — who are they? What kind of family are they from? What do they do for a living? Let’s say you fall in love with a lady of the night and take her to meet your folks. Imagine the awkward questions during dinner: “So, how did you two meet?’’ Answer: at a networking function. “What do you do, my dear?’’ Answer — I’m in sales. “Oh really? What do you sell?” Answer: erm…assets.
You get the picture. It is just too awkward.
Do not even get me started on the guy’s friends who, upon finding out about the girl’s dubious past, will start thinking that they are entitled to cop a feel or more whenever they want to.
Just how much of your partner’s past are you willing to forget? Or overlook? And if their past is revealed to be less-than-savoury, are you willing to stand by them in the face of a judgmental society? If you truly love someone, I believe you should be able to.
But maybe I have just watched too many movies.
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