Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Not quite "The Gift of the Magi"

A story that has been retold numerous times is the one from O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi". We'll even go out on a limb and guess that O. Henry may have heard a similar story earlier in his life, and authored his version long after other retellings had fallen by the wayside. After all, the story of two people, each sacrificing something of their own in order to bestow a gift upon the other, only to learn that the other had sacrificed exactly what was best suited for the gift themselves, is a tale that surely has its roots long long ago. Every retelling puts a slightly new spin on the story, changing the stakes, but still, at heart, it's a story about the power of giving without question.

Naturally, there have been attempts to bring the story into the day-to-day life, and some people have gotten closer than others. Unfortunately, the subjects of our news story today missed the mark, by a fairly wide margin. Of course, when you unexpectedly find your spouse at a brothel, it's going to be a little hard to think about self-sacrifice. Sure, she was giving something up, but he wasn't really looking to her interests much.

At least, that was the case for a Polish man who decided that he was going to sample the services of a brothel. After entering, the man discovered that his wife was one of those gainfully employed within, instead of down at the store that he'd been told. Of course, the husband believes that he was the one wronged in this whole situation, even though he apparently never thought to question how she could achieve the wages that she was pulling in working at a store.

We can imagine the shock on the face of both individuals when they recognized their spouse inside the brothel. For the wife, it would have been the realization that her husband was using brothels as an outlet for things that he wasn't doing with her, coupled with the shame of having felt the need to cover her actual side occupation. For the husband, it should have been the embarrassment of paying for sex, in addition to the realization that he (and, presumably, many others) was almost paying his wife directly.

It's almost a shame that this story is, at least according to the Polish tabloids, completely true, and that the long-time couple is now seeking divorce. We could almost see a television crew popping out to scream, "Smile! You're on Candid Camera!"

And, of course, there's the open-ended question. Does the sex trade have a "Take Your Daughter to Work Day"? And is that in bad taste?

No comments: