A Richard Manton story from Janus 51
Where were you at 8.50am on 19 November 1985? If you were listening to Radio 4, you will have heard a spokesman for the Anti-Slavery Society talking of the new dangers which threaten the young and the beautiful. At first it sounded like a spoof, recalling all those old jokes about girls who accept sweets from strange gentlemen and end up ‘dancing on the tables in Port Said’.
It is no spoof. Unemployment and recession in Western Europe have given a new glamour, for many girls, to the promise of well-paid and usually tax-free jobs as secretaries, dancers, club hostesses in parts of the world where the harem is a centuries-old part of culture. In an alarming revelation, quoted hereafter, the Daily Telegraph estimated that a staggering 20% to 30% of all girls attracted by the bright lights and easy life of showbiz in such areas disappear into the sexual captivity of the harem. More astonishingly, it suggests that many of them do so willingly.
The problem has got worse, not better with the industrial decline of the West and the growth of drug addiction which makes many girls more compliant than ever. Is the luxury of the harem worse than being on the dole in an inner city tower block?
What follows is in part an attempt to inform against the present dangers and to illustrate the likely consequences. It requires only one mistake, only one error of judgment, by a girl in this situation to lead her to what has been called ‘perfumed bondage’. Any potential recruit to the ranks of harem beauty ought at least to know what she is letting herself in for. Perhaps the following pages may help to enlighten her. Next time you hear of a girl who is dazzled by the offer of some fabulous job which has a rather shady edge to it, tell her the truth. If she shrugs and says, as the Telegraph reported, ‘It’s better than living in England,’ a glimpse of the reality may make her think again.
‘All Women Are Yours’ says the writing over the door in Hermann Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf. In a less ambitious form the dream is one which has beguiled most male imaginations at one time or another. To possess a harem of beautiful girls and young women who live only for the favourite pleasures of their master is a fantasy which goes deep in the Western mind and in Eastern reality. It surfaces in the operas of Mozart, Rossini and Verdi, as well as in the films of Bob Hope or the Benny Hill Show. It inspires comic seaside postcards and the paintings of Delacroix.
Fantasy or reality? At this moment a good many wishful thoughts are directed towards a dream palace of white and chequered marble under a sky of burning blue. In the courtyard with its arcades of keyhole arches and the cool splashing of fountains, the dreamer reclines upon soft cushions and surveys a dozen girls who kneel forward over a low semi-circular couch of padded leather. They are naked but for short blouses or tops pulled up so that their hips and seats are properly bare.
They are a most unusual collection. One perhaps is the girl next door and another a pretty shop-assistant. There may be a lady newsreader, a prim little Soviet gymnast, and perhaps the latest young woman to appear as a spokesperson for radical feminism. With good reason they look back apprehensively over their shoulders at the master who surveys the European pallor of twelve pairs of bottom-cheeks. The cheeks are not entirely pale. Several of them carry the unmistakable red or bruise-coloured imprints of the local vegetation. Despite the arid climate, bamboo is grown in the palace gardens and two or three birch or willow trees cast a gentle shade. The lady newsreader and the Soviet gymnast, perhaps, have the task of tending this flora with care.
Though under orders to be absolutely still for their master’s inspection, it is unreasonable to prevent one or two of the harem beauties from squirming and tensing just a little. The pretty shop-assistant, who used to treat her customers with such disdain, now looks as if she must have spent the afternoon sitting naked on a bush of fire-thorn infested by ferocious hornets. The sullen young woman from radical feminism has had her first taste of an implement of woven leather. By the look of her rear cheeks it appears that unlike Oliver Twist, she got her second helping.
To one side of the master stands his vizier, in turban and with scimitar at his side, bearing a striking resemblance to a TV wrestler. This loyal servant touches his forehead in a deep bow and asks if the effendi is quite satisfied with the state of the twelve beautiful slave-girls. The master smiles at a secret thought which has crossed his mind. The lady newsreader sees this and gives a little squeak of alarm, while the radical feminist spokesperson tenses her rear cheeks in fright. The master holds a wicked specimen of the whip-maker’s art in one hand and trails the lash thoughtfully through his fingers…
And what of the reality behind the dream?
Some years ago, returning from North Africa, I suggested to several editors that a feature on the truth behind the fiction might be timely. Knowing of several male friends there who had been offered high prices for the purchase of their accompanying wives or girlfriends as slaves, there was not much room to doubt Arab friends were astonishingly forthcoming about the secrets of the harem, as they appeared to Europeans. Yet they stood aghast at the conduct of men and women alike in the permissive society of the West.
At that time, editors either assured me that the whole thing was a joke — a seaside postcard fantasy— or else that it was unwise to cause trouble with those whose oil we still needed in the Seventies and from whom we sought lucrative defence contracts. Almost at once the scandals began. The reality became embarrassingly evident.
As it happens, I had been in Tangier at about the time of an incident which hit the British press — the Sunday Mirror — on 22 May 1966. A group of English fifth-form schoolgirls were on an educational cruise and had gone to the beach near the town with a teacher in charge. Without a thought — and unaware of an Arab gentleman watching — they undressed in a flurry of skirts or jeans, blouses and knickers. Then in the tight and sleek brevity of bikinis they romped and splashed, legs bare and bottom-cheeks not quite covered by the wet tightness of the briefs. The watching Arab came up to the teacher. ‘Name your price,’ he said, ‘I want to buy them all.’
This caused more amusement than outrage but in 1973 a more sinister story broke. It appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 19 March. Three schoolgirls — two sisters and a cousin — had been seized and forced to become sex slaves of military leaders in Tanzania. The girls themselves were three extremely beautiful young Iranians whose attraction was their sophisticated and westernised look. The Marashi girls — Badriye, Wajihe, and Fawziye — succeeded in escaping after almost three years of harem captivity. 16-year-old Wajihe was assigned to the Minister of Education in Zanzibar. He proved a sexual failure but there was another pleasure not to be denied him. ‘He just beat me,’ she said, describing their nights together. Tannings seem to have been the order of the day, ‘regular beatings in the bedroom.’
On the other hand, it is not unknown for foreigners to be offered harem girls as a gift. On 24 February 1977, the Western Daily Press reported the story of an Englishman who pulled two wealthy Saudis from a crashed plane. He was offered four girls as a present but was obliged to decline. ‘I would have kicked him and the Arab women out of the door,’ said his wife unsympathetically.
Most girls sold into harem slavery come from the areas in question. Most European girls who find their way to the harem appear to be Italian, Greek, or southern French. On 6 June 1973 the Times reported that the price of slave-girls in the Punjab was no more than £100 to £150 each. In the following month, the Evening Standard revealed that any really attractive French teenage girl would fetch as much as £4,000. After that the trade became more buoyant still. The Times on 23 May 1975 chronicled the open sale of ‘50 teenage girls’ at one auction, acquired by ‘wealthy Middle Eastern buyers’.
As the petro-dollar and the defence contracts became increasingly important, governments in the West toned down their moral disapproval of harems and slavery during the past decade. In 1976 the Paris Motor Show even boasted a new version of the American ‘fun wagon’. It was the Ford Transit Yamani. Selling at a modest £18,000, it contained ‘a curtained harem compartment’ which the motoring correspondent of the Daily Telegraph described as ‘cushioned and curtained in crimson plush and crushed velvet and thickly carpeted throughout’.
The truth was that there seemed little the West could do either to undermine the harem system or even to stop the number of European girls who became its slaves. In February 1975, for instance, Scotland Yard smashed a ‘Girls for Sheiks’ racket in London which had ‘possible Mafia backing’. But six months earlier, the Daily Telegraph colour supplement of 2 August suggested the futility of this. It estimated that 20% to 30% of all English girls who took jobs as go-go dancers or club hostesses in the Middle East were destined to disappear into the closed life of the harem. Worse still, many of them seemed not to mind the possibility. ‘It’s better than living in England,’ said one girl bluntly. Perhaps it is. The lifestyle certainly offers an ease and luxury — if not job satisfaction — beyond anything that such girls might aspire to on the dole in Glasgow or Liverpool. Indeed, those who pass into slavery show little inclination to escape it. Luxury and apathy apart, there may be a stigma or sense of shame at what has been done to them in the harem.
There is a falsely-based supposition that a revolutionary regime will put an end to such slavery. As a rule it merely changes the name. The ordeal of the schoolgirls of the Marashi family occurred in Tanzania. Marxist Mozambique has reformatory camps (Daily Telegraph, 25 February 1976) where ‘white women have to strip for work’. Corporal punishment rules OK in camps under the rather lurid title of ‘torture’. One of the witnesses against these camps is Joao Parente, a Portuguese lawyer. His evidence, quoted in the Telegraph account, describes the ‘forgotten prisoners’ of the system, a regime which aims to ‘humiliate whites’. His testimony reveals that any party or government official who wished to have a particular girl stripped and under discipline might do so at will. ‘If a white girl arrives a few minutes late at an office, she is subjected to being sent to a camp… They call that learning how to work for the people.’
No work of fiction or fantasy could improve on the scenes. The project involving the white girls is the clearing of land in the Gorongosa game park. Few erotic daydreams could do better than a row of beautiful white women, bending to scythe or hack, legs and bottoms bare, while the dreamer walks up and down behind them, a strap or a whip dangling from his hand.
In recent years the harem trade has changed with the advent of easier travel. Reports in the News of the World that German and Scandinavian girls are now the most highly-prized are confirmed by Richard Whitby in Ibn Saud’s Harem. He reveals that ‘Countless German girls under 21… journey southward to the Middle East and become part of a potentate’s harem.’ German girls in their teens are preferred. They ‘undergo extensive training in the art of love before acceptance.’
Selling and training girls, some of whom may be rebellious or resentful to the point of violence, requires the means of maintaining discipline. The birch is an English device and the East relies far more on the strap and the whip with an occasional bamboo. Even spanking is a leather discipline.
The Middle East does not have the inhibited European attitude towards such whippings. There are no furtive references to ‘six of the best’ or ‘too sore to sit down’, which sound British as cricket and toasted muffins. To whip the bare cheeks of a young woman’s bottom is regarded as an art and the skill of a profession. So it is. Used the wrong way, many a harem whip might leave a permanent mark which is not the object at all. This would certainly reduce the value of the girl.
The whips are made with great finesse, to ensure that the girl screams at the naked smart of supple leather across her bare buttocks. To inflict an anguish beyond anything she can contain is regarded as the only way to teach her a lesson. A whipping which did not truly hurt would make most Arab disciplinarians smile at the idea, as if at an incomprehensible joke. When a disdainful fair-skinned beauty is bent over for retribution, they say, one must weave her a seat of torment. Or one must brand her with the whip’s fire. When she is kept bending after the punishment, the onlookers must admire the art of the whip, the skill of the vizier embroidered on her firm pale bottom-cheeks.
The man should not only enjoy doing it to her, they say, but he should feel proud of his handiwork afterwards. For a week or two, in the harem baths or in intimate moments, the young woman will display the weals to the other girls. The sight she offers must on no account make her the object of pity or attention. Admiration for the man who has inflicted such punishment is the required reaction.
The experience of the slave-girl begins with the sale. Those who have written most fully on this in recent years, including Stephen Barlay and Sean O’Callaghan, reveal that the truth bears a surprising resemblance to the Hollywood legend. There are of course deals in private houses where girls change hands for money but many sales still take place on a platform in a courtyard, like any other auction.
The sale of a white or European girl will usually take place privately. This has long been the case and the famous traveller A.W. Kinglake a hundred years ago records having been taken to a secret rendezvous in Cairo — the upper floor of a dealer’s house — to view white women who were for sale. He had no intention of buying but went out of curiosity. ‘She was perhaps disgusted at my virtuous resolve,’ he wrote of one girl, ‘as well as with my personal appearance — perhaps she saw my distaste and disappointment.’
Few traders nowadays would offer white slave girls to an English buyer. The pound sterling is not what it was. To be a fly upon the wall of a villa during the private sale of a couple of girls would reveal not a group of eager bidders but one harem buyer and a dallal appointed to get the best price.
As a rule the haggling will be for a couple of girls, perhaps one Italian and one Scandinavian. It is doubtful whether they realise the full significance of the bargaining. Possibly they have been led to believe that the dealer is negotiating a contract for them with a club owner, or else placing them as au pairs in the family of an Arabian prince. Whatever the promise, it sounds far more glamorous than working behind the counter of a boutique in Milan or sitting through the dreary classes of a language school in Copenhagen.
The dallal and the buyer finish their social chit-chat. First the Italian girl is brought in. She is about 18-years-old, dressed in a light blue blouse and blue jeans which fit smooth and tight in order to display the shape of hips, thighs and backside. She is not tall but has the sturdy look of an olive-skinned tomboy of 16. The wide-boned cheeks and large brown eyes complement a clear-cut profile, a full mouth, and a hint of heaviness in the line of her chin. The straight dark hair is simply cut, parted back to either side of her forehead and trimmed round at her collar, suggesting the look of a mediaeval page.
To suit harem taste, her young breasts are ripe but firm. The tight denim of her pants shapes thighs which are a little stocky from her lack of height and hips that are broadened in a robust tomboy style. The buyer licks his lips and asks that Patrizia should be turned round in order that he may take a rear view. The girl obeys willingly and now she has his full attention. It is the seat of her jeans which presents the main attraction — as she will soon be made unbearably aware. The waist is tightly-belted so that her hips slope downwards and outwards, giving her a youthfully broad-bottomed look. Though not flabby, Patrizia’s bulging young backside has the voluptuous appeal which wins the buyer’s heart.
The jeans are artfully tight at the seat, sufficiently so to reveal the outline of Patrizia’s knickers, a pair of elasticated briefs. The tight denim itself forms a sheaf of creases behind each knee and a few across the backs of her thighs. From the rear opening of her legs there is a deep crease under the erotic swell of each of Patrizia’s bottom-cheeks. The left-hand cheek of the denim has a round and saucy patch upon it, proclaiming the origin of the jeans. Sacramento, California, USA.
The haggling continues and there seems to be deadlock. At once the dallal gives a softly-spoken command to the Italian girl who hesitates and then obeys. Still with her back to the buyer, she bends forward and rests her hands on her knees. The buyer handles and squeezes through the denim. He murmurs a request The attendants outside the door hear the tugging down of denim and the elastic whisper of stretch briefs. There is a soft sound of fondling and a sharper one of smacking. Smacking is repeated, then fondling, and then smacking again, hard enough to make the Italian girl gasp. A gentle inquiry as to whether those olive-skinned young bottom-cheeks have ever tasted the whip draws a startled denial from Patrizia.
The deal is done. During the negotiations a charming young nymph has been waiting off-stage in the charge of a female minder. Nina is a trim little blonde on the threshold of full feminine appeal. The elfin solemnity of her firm, almost moody young face offers an ellipse of blue eyes, the blonde hair lightly curled on her forehead but drawn back into a soft little tail just long enough to brush her collar. Nina, at just 18, is a delicious combination of the prim and the skittish. Her slender figure is toasted gold by the sun, the bare arms and the full length of slim legs showing this to advantage.
Self-conscious as she awaits her audition, she slips a hand behind her from time to time, plucking at the hem of her little white shorts, as if uneasy at how much she may be showing at the rear.
There is no doubt at all that such a delectable morsel must form part of the harem banquet. Only the girl herself could possibly explain why she is in her present situation. Trouble at home and teenage rebellion perhaps. A false notion of the glamour of the mystic East? The patient attendants hear the slither of descending shorts and a request about kneeling forward over the end of the sofa. The trim cheeks of Nina’s enchanting young bottom are mentioned. There is a rattle of bamboo and a dozen sharp impacts accompanied by gasps and shrillness. The attendants take turns at the keyhole.
It is as well for the pretty little cheeks of Nina’s behind that the Yamani Transit van has such well-upholstered seats. In a few hours the two girls are driven away to their new life of glamour in the perfumed trap of the harem.
Traditionally in such places a new girl spends her first few months in the école de l'amour under the instruction of the umm-el-hareem. The umm-el-hareem is usually a former favourite of the master who is now past her prime but young enough to have a lively interest in bedroom exercise. Her duty is to teach the new girls all the arts of pleasure which will be necessary — the plain and the perverse. Knowing her master’s preferences from experience qualifies her perfectly for this educational task. The pupils are taught to regard her mere finger as the object of their tightenings and writhings. Both Patrizia and Nina can expect to have their bottoms soundly strapped, not as a punishment, but to prepare them for what lies in store.
All the slave-girls are subject to the discipline of this former beauty. A German woman doctor who inspected the harem girls of one Emir of the Yemen confirmed this to Sean O’Callaghan in 1961. ‘One job I hated was examining the girls who had been punished for breaking the rules of the harem. They were whipped on their bare behinds by a woman known as the umm-el-hareem… a whip with five thongs, and the blows she administered varied according to the nature of the offence.’ However, the account confirms that twenty strokes with a lash or a spanking-strap was a common punishment. Truly severe discipline consisted of seventy strokes, said the doctor. ‘The wretched girl was stripped… in the courtyard, where the other inmates of the harem were forced to gather round to watch the punishment.’
A youngster like Nina or even Patrizia was not likely to incur such severity. Yet the lash or the strap might serve a purpose in milder punishments. Nina, for example, must learn to perform erotic dances before her master in order to excite his desire for her before they withdrew to bed. Most of these performances were variations of the belly-dance and not at all the sort of thing which a demure young Danish nymph expected.
From the first, Nina would be expected to kneel at her master’s chair while he stroked the solemn young face, obliging her to rub it against his hand like an affectionate kitten, and played with the sweet little tail of her soft blonde hair. But soon he required the solemn young pupil to be one of his dancing-girls.
The belly-dance is also a hip-dance and a bottom-dance. There is a world record for the longest dance (37 hours, 1 minute and 10 seconds) set up in London on 19 April 1976. The record-holder Soroya’s recommended rate, she informed the press, is 1,800 wiggles per hour.
Harem dances are suggestive in many ways. There is a coin-dance which involves the girl in gyrating immediately before her master’s chair, so that she almost brushes his knees while her loins and backside are at the level of his face. She is first required to dance until her bare body is sweltering in the heat of the climate. Tiny gold shavings, wafers of metal, are then pressed to the girl’s perspiring breasts and flanks, thighs and hips, as well as on the inward slopes of thighs and rear cheeks. She is commanded to dance a second time, her hands twining above her head, for fifteen or twenty minutes. At the end of that time, all the little wafer-coins of thin gold which she shakes off on to the marble paving are hers. The mixture of greed and energy makes it one of the most lewd and erotic writhings, performed naked and sweltering only 12- or 18-inches before the face of her master in his chair.
The girl has little opportunity to spend the loot. As a rule the thin wafers of gold are threaded to form a bracelet or a necklace. They become a visible sign of status in the pecking order of the harem girls.
Most girls who exchange the near-slavery of night-club dancing in some places for the total slavery of the harem have a vague idea that their talents will win them favour and wealth from their master. Few have the least idea of what is actually involved. Moreover, the master is more likely to be an elderly and jaded figure rather than a reincarnation of Rudolf Valentino.
Forget the jewels and bangles worn by Rita Hayworth as Salome. More to the point is the press report of the harem owner who bought up the entire stock of lingerie in a London store for his glamour girls. Nina’s qualities of the prim and the skittish are most likely to be tricked out in nylon, the translucent kind which is tight and glossy on bare skin. When the slim young blonde appears as a pupil in the umm-el-hareem’s dancing-class, her sole garments are likely to be a bra and a pair of panties whose sheen allows a misty glimpse of bare bottom-cheeks under the tight seat.
Forget the appreciative gaze of a wealthy master as well. The pupil of the belly-dance performs most of all before the mistress of the harem, under training. Nina is most unlikely to perform just as the woman wants and, for that reason, the mistress carries a spanking-strap in her hand.
The dance is performed by the girl standing on one spot, legs together as her bare willowy thighs sway from the knees. No doubt the sight of a slim young Danish nymph doing this with the soft little tail of blonde hair swishing to and fro in time would delight the heart of many an elderly emir. From time to time the solemn young face with the little cluster of blonde curls on the forehead may glance back timidly — and in some alarm at the sight of the tailed strap which the mistress holds.
She will be ordered to use her hips more lasciviously, swaying them downwards, round, and up again. She must arch her behind out teasingly, as if tempting those who watch from the rear. You may be sure that their eyes travel up the bare length of her slim sun-bronzed legs and thighs to study the seductive movements of Nina’s pretty young backside, its lithe cheeks rolling in the tight gloss of translucent nylon panties.
The legend of the luxury and easy life of the harem omits one basic truth.
A woman like the umm-el-harem is cruelly and vindictively jealous of the young girls who have taken her place. As the doctor to the Emir of the Yemen observed, there is a way of settling the score. A girl like Nina will be made to dance under training until the warmth causes perspiration to shine on the bare flesh in the small of her back, while the sleek nylon of the panties is wet-tight at the seat.
Then there is, of course, the pretext that she is not trying. The strap is used to spur her on. Few of the would-be glamour girls take into account the pleasures of discipline as they appear to an embittered older beauty like the umm-el-hareem. The strap across the tight seat of Nina’s thin panties is agonising. The movements of her taut young buttocks grow more wild and suggestive, which is the pretext for such training. The walls sing with the impacts of the smarting leather and the air will be shrill with Nina’s cries as she pleads for a chance to obey — begging to be told what they want so that she may do it. The answer, alas, is that what the jealous mistress wants is to see the pretty little cheeks of Nina’s bottom blushing and swollen from the strap.
The wild gyrations of Nina’s backside would win no prizes at a dancing academy. Yet they are all that the mistress of the harem could desire. To make the blonde nymph dance to the rhythm of the strap is the art of the thing. It is generally against the rules for the umm-el-hareem to remove Nina’s panties on these occasions, but aspiring harem dancers should draw little comfort from that. The older woman has only to tug the knicker-hem well up on either side of the seat and the demurely-blushing buttocks are almost bare. Nina must put aside all modesty and innocence, dancing as she would if it were the first night of her honeymoon and she was enticing her bridegroom up the stairs to bed. In due course her master can certainly be expected to remove the trained girl’s panties for whatever purposes take his fancy.
There is a phrase which describes such young innocent beauties as doing a frantic rumba of necessity. Certainly no go-go girl on heat could do better than Nina under the strap. Perhaps worst of all is the freedom which the mistress is allowed with her pupil. She may halt the training in order to kiss the brown upper arms or to draw back the little tail of blonde hair and kiss the elegant young neck and ears.
It is not a gesture of affection or forgiveness. As soon as the mistress has browsed on the slim bare shoulders and fondled as she wishes, the beat of the harem dance is tapped out again and the walls of the room resound to the impacts of the strap on the bare cheeks of Nina’s bottom.
This is the truth of many a dancing-girl’s life, not the glamour of an exotic clubland or marriage to a wealthy playboy with petro-dollars spilling out of his pockets like confetti.
But surely the big night will come? Her master may be old but he is rich. Could she not worm her way into his affections by the art of the dance so painfully learnt?
Some hopes! No doubt he will enjoy her display and Nina will be commanded to his bed. But as the abducted Persian schoolgirls discovered, many of these masters are — to put it politely — quite unable to cut a single blade of mustard. When that happens, other pleasures must be taken. Even the worn-out emir may nourish a twinkle in his eye. You may be sure that when Nina leaves his room next morning, she will have a distinctly downcast air, her face lowered to avoid the knowing smiles of the attendants who are well aware of their ruler’s unsavoury tastes.
The seat of the tight translucent nylon panties may well offer an intriguing glimpse of Nina’s bare bottom-cheeks through the misty veil. One might think that she had been made to spend the whole night sitting on the bamboo-patterned seat of a very hard chair.
And what of Patrizia? Surely a girl who has no ambitions as a dancer might hope for a quiet life? Not only quiet but, alas, downright boring and frustrating. The Italian tomboy seems all dressed up — or rather undressed —with nowhere to go. For her sake, it is to be hoped that she finds the lesbian dalliance of the harem to her taste.
In the most intimate parts of the building, she may spend all day in tight-fitting bra and panties of semi-transparent nylon. Her only admirers will be the occasional Arab lads who may peep through the latticework on the sly. An Italian girl is greatly prized by them. Like girls from Greece and southern France, Italians seem to have been the traditional European stock of the harem, if only because they are nearer and more easily available.
So what is the ‘fun’ waiting for Patrizia? Probably it takes the form of an eye at the lattice, admiring the large brown eyes which look back at him, the firm olive-skinned face and sensuous mouth. Perhaps he will be adventurous enough to lie in wait each day when she goes to the courtyard well, risking the thrashing of a lifetime himself by following her there. Patrizia has the kind of bare beauty to drive such admirers wild. Her breasts in the skin-tight nylon of the black bra are distinctly soft and succulent. Her light-brown thighs may be a little on the heavyish side for some tastes but they appeal strongly to the fondling, kissing, and smacking instincts of her voyeur.
Taking the dreadful risk and following her to the well, the lad may think he earns his reward. The sheen of translucent black nylon is tight on the full olive-skinned swell of Patrizia’s bottom-cheeks. Indeed the seat of her panties is too small to cover the proud curves of the Italian girl’s buttocks completely. The slight roll and swagger of her voluptuous young backside might almost cause the hopeful youth to sink to his knees in ecstasy.
Her task is to draw water from the well, in this case, which involves her in bending forward over the low parapet and hauling on the rope for the next half-hour or so. She is, no doubt, saluted by several spying lads behind her, playing a serenade upon their flutes. Perhaps there is some satisfaction for them but not much for the girl.
Unless the warm-blooded Italian girl is lucky, her nights of ecstasy with her master will be few and far between. She must take her turn and, in any case, he may be just a little past it. If she is very unlucky, he will be a puritan — and that’s not incompatible with owning slave-girls. In that case there will be ferocious punishments every time she is caught in the bed of another girl or even making love to herself. Not even an outspoken magazine would care to print the details of the ultimate penalty which is euphemistically known as female circumcision. It ought, however, to be the ultimate deterrent to any girl who considers a magic carpet flight to the easy life of the harem.
As for the whip, it will be inflicted not as a punishment but merely for her master’s entertainment on occasions. He and his dinner guests may adjourn to an arcaded hall, where torches in iron brackets light the chequered marble of the floor. There will be couches and little tables with glasses of sherbet. At the centre of the floor is the tall stool or similar device which holds Patrizia bare-bottomed and bending over very tightly.
The man who enters in due course has made a profession of inflicting the whip, a short lash of woven leather. The sensitive bare cheeks of Patrizia’s bottom are presented to him, broadened and well rounded. The fact that she has committed no offence seems beside the point.
In certain views the justification is purely artistic. For half-an-hour the voluptuous cheeks of Patrizia’s 18-year-old bottom must dance to the tune of the whip. She must hear the walls ring with her shrillness and drink her own tears from her lips. The face which she turns is to be a wild and imploring mask. If the whip is properly applied, the Italian girl’s olive-skinned backside will seem as if it is trying to seduce her chastiser by the suggestive manner of its surgings and writhings.
A matter for regret or remorse? Not in certain harem philosophies. Her husband or boyfriend, it is said, would naturally be put out at losing the girl. But he would accept that she was now a slave and that he would not even be permitted to speak to her again. Hearing that she was to be whipped that night, he would bribe the vizier. When the whipping was over, the bribe would allow him a long final peep through the rear lattice of the room at the artful designs of the whip embossed on the cheeks of Patrizia’s bottom.
It comes nearer to the truth than the fantasies of playboy petro-dollars and exotic showbiz. It also reveals the attitude towards the willing harem slave-girl. Indeed, any girl who still has a taste for such a life might just as well take a job as a secretary in certain up-to-date regimes, as Joao Parente points out, and then appear late at the office.