Heidi Fleiss thinks she's onto something big. She wants to open a brothel for women. Anyone with a prurient memory for juicy facts remembers Heidi, the Los Angeles madam whose little black book, stuffed with the names of Hollywood celebrities, led to the evidence that sent her to prison.
Now she's out of the slammer and wants to open a "stud farm" 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, where, if she can get a license, she will establish the first legal brothel serving female customers. "The pleasure palace will be shaped like a castle," reports Newsweek magazine, "with a marble-floored great room, a spa, a sex-toy shop and secluded bungalows where 20 Casanovas will spend quality time with the clientele (at $250 an hour)."
Women have come a long way from merely challenging "The Feminine Mystique," which Betty Friedan identified as a little voice within that cried: "I want something more than my husband and my children and my home." More is a relative term, of course, and sometimes more is less, and a house is not a home.
The cruelest irony of the revolution that changed the relationships of the sexes is the shortage of eligible men. It's not that there are fewer men statistically, but there are fewer desirable men statistically. A headline in The Washington Post complains: "Disappearing Act: Where Have the Men Gone? No Place Good."
Colleges and universities across the country report diminishing numbers of male students. At Howard University in Washington, for example, women outnumber men 2 to 1, underlining the disparity particularly evident among blacks. When women surpass men in educational achievement, their desirable husband pool decreases. Men who drop out of high school, or who don't go on to college, are likely to earn less than half of the income of educated men. Drop-outs are more likely to be unemployed, homeless and abusive toward women, and they're more likely to engage in other violent crime.
The statistics of vanishing men focuses on those at the lowest economic levels, many of whom wind up in prison, but there's more to the story, and it cuts across all economic and racial lines. The very ideal of manliness and male pride has taken a hit, causing what one female cynic describes as "premature emasculation." No matter how you spin the globe, it's no longer a man's world. Men still dominate business, the professions and politics, but not like they once did, and in the give-and-take of domestic relations, they're the losers. The consequences are sad for everybody.