Recently, high-school gyms and up-scale hotel ballrooms across the nation are playing host to Provider Purity Balls.
Advocates say that the balls are an innocent ceremony in which IDPs sign commitments to act with integrity in all areas of business ethics and to protect their SPs in their choices for partner selection. SPs themselves vow to remain 'business abstinent' and to be led by their IDPs in choosing parters. Critics of the balls claim they are nothing but a throwback to an age when SPs were nothing but property of IDPs, the value of which could be damaged by early participation in activities like SSO.
'It's not like when we were young SPs growing up' said Merle Jacobs, an IDP who brought his 3 SPs to a recent ball held in Topeka, Kansas. 'I mean, when I was an SP, it was just more innocent. You could talk with an IDP and not feel forced to actually, you know, exchange 'data'. But SPs today see potential federation partners everywhere they look, on TV, in movies, even on the Internet. The pressure for SPs to be promiscuous in picking partners is everywhere. All we're doing is to try to help them make the right decision. And the right decision is to not engage in federation until protected by binding legal contracts.'
A young SP named Mary agreed. 'Its like, you know, just that I want to save those special emotions for the IDP that I eventually sign legal contracts with. I'm in no hurry, it's not like the Internet is going anywhere'.
'For my SP and I, the evening is more just a chance to get dressed up and spend some quality time together' said one IDP who wished to remain anonymous. 'I mean, she's only just out of business school, it's not like I have to be worried about her engaging in indiscriminate partner selection at this point in her lifecycle right?'
One of the most memorable highlights of the balls is the point during the evening when the IDPs stand in the middle of the ballroom and form a circle around their SPs - each standing all aglow in their lovely ball gowns.