Friday, May 28, 2004
When does it become prosititution?
Not that I'm totally opposed to the concept of sex for money - it is, after all, a marketable skill - but it's not for me. Besides, even if I were willing to accept the inherent safety risks, or if I wasn't afraid of viewing sex as just a job, I have to figure that the person who probably still thinks of himself as Michelle wouldn't like it. Not that I feel I need Michelle's approval for everything I do in my life, but even if there's no way to ever switch us back, presuming that's what she wants, I don't feel it's my place to do any harm to her good name or reputation.
Where's all this coming from? Well, I went out to dinner with Doug last night, and Carter made a crack about selling Michelle's body for the price of a steak dinner. Which is so wrong. Aside from the old, hey, you bought a few dinners without thinking me some kind of strumpet, it's not like I was even looking to fool around. Truth be told, I was looking to pick his brain more than anything.
Of course, even that... Hey, I know what it's like for a man. A girl meets you for dinner, she's wearing a nice dress and has shaved her legs, and even if you're not getting any tonight... Well, it puts you in a suggestible state of mind, hoping for the future. What guy hasn't been at a woman's mercy because of her good looks? Sometimes men are charitable, and say the lady doesn't even realize or understand the effect she has on men, since she's probably always been good-looking and guys wanting to accomodate her has just been a fact of life. Other times they'll resent it, in part because they don't like that they can be manipulated so easily. And because sometimes it is that calculated.
Like last night. I wanted to pick Doug's brains, get some legal advice/research that his firm would normally probably charge hundreds of dollars an hour for, so I made myself pretty. I shaved my legs, used that hair-curling thing in the bathroom that quite frankly scares the hell out of me, dithered over what to wear, examined my make-up closely in the mirror... It took me, as Carter pointed out in disgust, something like three hours to get ready for a dinner date that would most likely last two. He couldn't argue with the result, though - he said something about times like this being when he really, really misses his penis. Also, that if he ever gets enough practice to walk on three-inch heels without falling on his face, I'm to shoot him.
But I figured I had to look extra-special sexy and feminine; after all, when dinner was served, I asked him what Carter and I would have to do in order to legally reclaim our identities. I mean, if I were in his position, and a woman I liked (who has some high-quality anatomy, if I do say so myself) asked how to legally be a man again, I'd want some sort of assurance that this was about property and one's academic/employment history as opposed to not wanting to be a woman any more. So I wear shoes that make my ass wiggle, put on lipstick, wear a skirt that makes crossing legs mandatory and a top that occasionally flashes some cleavage...and smile the whole time. Make sure he knows I like this body, and I like him, and wouldn't it be nice if you could tell people that your maybe-girlfriend was a computer programmer who had graduated college as opposed to someone who never went and answers the phone while looking pretty for a living?
I mean, that's kind of shameless. It's not trading sex for money, but it is using my body to try and get something of value. I really don't think that's too much of a bad thing - if I'd woken up a muscular seven-foot-tall man, I doubt I'd lose sleep over whether or not I should play basketball - but I'm not exactly unbiased here.
Of course, he immediately threw some cold water on the idea. Proving I was in some way Martin Hartle would be next to impossible. My DNA says I'm Michelle Garber, for starters. And since there is no legal way for one person to assume another's identity (and, in fact, a whole bunch of laws saying it's a Bad Thing), it would involve creating precedent. Carter or I would have to do something claiming to be "ourselves", be rebuffed, and then sue to get a chance to prove that we were who we said we were. Which wouldn't be easy - even if we found a judge and/or jury that was open to the possibility, what would we have for evidence? An online diary that is linked to by a site that indexes fictional blogs. We can claim there are these other people who've been switched, but Sam/Andrei is comatose, Andrei/Martin is missing (and likely wouldn't testify on our behlaf), Michelle/Mikail is in a foreign country, location unknown... Dmitri is a convicted criminal even if he doesn't perjure himself, and my bosses at BioSoft are being sued for ethics violations.
There is physical evidence that such things are possible, but the FBI is in possession of Dmitri's records. There's no guarantee that they would produce them under a subpeona, since they could cite national security, and even if a judge were to buy the argument that their denial to produce the evidence indicates it exists, it probably wouldn't be admissible. A Freedom Of Information Act request could take years. The lawsuit could take years even without it, and that's assuming that there isn't some sort of Patriot Act reason I could get charged with a national security crime for even making the attempt.
That's not to say Doug's not going to do some research and see what our options are, but he certainly made it sound grim. He said it's too bad that Dmitri didn't try to plead not guilty, since then the US and District Attorneys' offices would have had some reason to make an effort on our behalf in exchange for testimony, but as it stands now, we don't have a heck of a lot of leverage.
Carter said that just proves Doug's useless. I don't agree, but it certainly feels like we're on our own.
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