Amsterdam Tale: Of Expat Love and Red Lights

by Miss Footloose

Amsterdam, Red Light District

Have you heard the stories about Amsterdam, city of decadence and debauchery? The city sports a Hash Museum, an Erotic Museum, cannabis-selling “coffee shops,” a yearly Gay Pride Parade and the infamous Red Light District.

And now, dear reader, imagine this: I, Miss Footloose, lived in Amsterdam in my tender youth and again in my less-tender college days and came away morally unscathed. Well, more or less. I did come away with an American expat vriend (later to become my husband in a bizarre ceremony in Africa). He had come to live in the Netherlands (aka Holland) for study and travel. Not to study Amsterdam and its wicked ways, but international business, also full of wickedness.

So we met in Amsterdam, Dutch girl and American boy. How romantic! I hear you say. Well, actually we met in a large, modern office where I was typing boring contracts and he was an intern learning about buying and selling futures on the stock market. How romantic a setting is that? Not so much. But never mind.

We explored Amsterdam, and each other, and romance bloomed. You know how that goes. Amsterdam is a good place for blooming and exploring, so plan yourself a vacation there after Covid is dead.

Amsterdam Flower Market

Floating flower market on the Single Canal

One evening we were out with friends, an American couple, who decided that they could not count themselves as being educated European style if they had not visited Amsterdam’s Rosse Buurt, or Red Light District. So off we went.

Note: Yes, I am aware of the serious problems surrounding the prostitution industry and they are no laughing matter. Dutch law regulates prostitution, aims at protecting minors, tries to eliminate forced prostitution and combats human trafficking. Any sex business must obtain a license, certifying that it has fulfilled the legal requirements to operate.

So let me continue. The story you are about to hear read is true.

It was a dark and balmy night, but all was festively aglow in the Red Light District, a place I had never visited before. What can I say? It was fascinating! There was so much to buy and see! Sex toys, porn, flirty lingerie, cannabis, ice cream!

And girls in windows and doorways. I must admit, I was impressed by the fancy outfits, the creative hairdos and the glamorous makeup. I felt like a little unsophisticated milkmaid from the country! The three Americans were all a-goggle as well by all that splendor.

Statue of a prostitute, the only one in the world. The church in the background is the 14th century Oude Kerk, still not giving up on lost souls

The girls in windows and doorways were not charmed by us looking at them. We could tell. They glared at us and made rude gestures and comments. Well, I could understand why. It must have been obvious to them we were not potential clients, being two couples walking hand in hand and clearly not shopping for the more kinky services they might have on offer.

We passed by one working girl artfully draped in the doorway of her place of business, all her wares on display: long legs, lots of hair, fortified mammary glands peeking out of her red lace bodice. You get the picture.

“You!” she snarled, pointing her blood red fingernail at my American Romeo. “Now you don’t know me, do you? Last week, oh, you knew me then, didn’t you?”

Rendered in perfect English.

* * *

What does this story trigger in your memory? A tale of moral decrepitude? An encounter with a lady of the night? An amusing incident of love and romance?

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A young friend of mine visited your country, she told me about boats with flowers, she talked a lot about the flowers.

Oh, that woman pointing her red nail at your Romeo, she was angry, wasn’t she? I wonder what life is like for them, those women in the windows, doorways.

Well, I didn’t know about the statue in front of the Oude Kerk. Great article!

I’ll be in Amsterdam for 10 days from next Saturday, I’m sure we will also have a peep at the Red Light District. Interesting choice of statue to have in front of a church…

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