I’m going to briefly let you in on a new retail phenomenon that is taking part in post-commie Poland. The word for a shopping centre in Polish is ‘galeria’ (national art galleries are called museums). And the phenomenon concerns the Polish female mall-rat, the ‘galerianka’. On face value she may appear quite similar to her American or Australian counterpart, a fourteen to seventeen year old mindlessly wandering from shop to shop with her friends slurping on her McDonald’s milkshake, but wearing something inappropriately tight and revealing for her age. Looking closer there is a major difference to her in that she has an agenda. And the agenda is to find an older sap who she will give head or a hand job to and who will then go and buy her a nice trinket or new mobile phone as a return for the favour. Usually these dirty men are in their late thirties and forties, married and with enough to lose to fall for the galerianka’s threats of reporting them the authorities should they refuse to buy them the desired product. This phenomenon has been widely written about with various documentaries made on the subject as well as a movie.
Funnily enough most of the commentary and public opinion about it has refrained from what I would deem as an appropriate descriptive word, prostitution. Reports tend to mask this tragic occurrence by referring to the behaviour as sexual favours granted by young girls in exchange for consumer goods. The latest Zara bag for a blow job in a shopping centre toilet is somewhat more acceptable than the criminal offense of 60 bucks for the same in a remote highway parking lot.