Chester Brown’s new book, “Paying for It” (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011) will be found among the graphic novels at your nearest bookstore, but it merits cross-shelving in literature, sociology, and gender studies. Brown describes, in simple black-and-white eight-panel pages, his practice of hiring prostitutes to fulfill his sexual needs. He arrives at the decision after concluding that romantic relationships are unfulfilling and frustrating—the last girlfriend he depicts breaks up with him, but they continue to share a two-bedroom apartment, in which he is compelled to listen to the squeak of springs when her new boyfriend sleeps over. Having lost all faith—and interest—in landing a girlfriend, he turns to the classified ads in Toronto’s alternative press to find prostitutes, instead.
I’ve long felt that there isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t know what prostitution is like—certainly not women who have been in relationships of any duration. I find myself in agreement with Brown in this. Sex is a commodity. Even in relatively healthy relationships, sex acts become currency.
Read the rest of the review at Admissions.