Unequal opportunities

Tuesday 17th May 2011

“HAVE you anything bound in leather?” asked a recent visitor to a charity shop, presumably browsing the bookshelves. Reminded me of…

Unequal opportunities

1: to plead a case as in legal suit
2: to make advances as in prostitute
the meaning is far from explicit
of that interesting verb to solicit
i mean, a solicitor in court’s not the same
as a solicitor on the game now
…or is it

both are very old professions
both listen to their clients’ confessions
both tend to make promises
both have their own premises
both offer a certain expertise
both tend to charge exorbitant fees
for their services

but one is considered respectable
the other not really acceptable
oh if only all the madams of the time
(instead of those making money out of petty crime)
had banded together with due propriety
and formed instead the whore society
in 1739

wouldn’t things be different now
oh yes they would oh boy oh wow
lists of brothels in the yellow pages
and sexual aid for those on low wages
and a simple contract to negotiate
with completion at once instead having to wait
for ages

all this in an office befitting the dignity of sex
with leather-bound works all over the desk
without the need to have everything witnessed
though there’s something to be said for a certain stiffness
and the solicitor might wear a gown
or put on a blonde wig when getting down
to business

meanwhile out there on the streets
would be the other solicitors and similar creeps
“hello darlin’ fancy making a will
or suing a doctor over a dodgy pill
we could have a good time buying a house
come up and see me about leaving your spouse
with the bill”

ah but ’tis only a fantasy entirely ephemeral
to dream of miss whiplash as the solicitor general
in a land that flows with milk and honey
but doesn’t it strike you as rather funny
that the verb to solicit can mean almost everything
from doing next to nothing to doing almost anything
for money

(Asked by a lawyer for a copy of the above, I quoted a price of £4,025: my writing time at his hourly rate. He never got back to me.)









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