Soliciting Drinks and Negotiating Sex in Mid-Century Bars
This chapter explores the history of the “B-girls”—young women employed by bars or nightclubs to act as a companion to male customers and to induce them to buy drinks, and usually paid a percentage of what the customers spent. B-girls were part of important changes in sexual and commercial culture in the 1940s and 1950s. During World War II, they joined prostitutes, pickups, and victory girls in bar-based heterosexual encounters, strategically adapting their practices to evade social protection authorities. This further developed in the 1950s when the B-girls created a professional subculture which blurred the line between commercial and casual sex and took advantage of citizens' declining support for legal campaigns to control women's sexuality. With creativity and ingenuity, mid-century drink solicitors expanded the possibilities for women's sexual license.
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