Despite the tendency for Victorian performers to be credited with increasing respectability and middle-class status and for actors to receive the highest official commendations, the popular association between actresses and prostitutes and belief in actresses' inappropriate sexual conduct endured throughout the nineteenth century. In the United States, religious fundamentalism accounts for much of the prejudice, but in Great Britain, where puritanical influences were not as influential on the theatre, other factors helped to preserve the derogatory view of actresses. In certain times and places actresses did have real links with the oldest of all ‘women's professions’, but the notion that the dual identity of Roman dancers or the exploits of some Restoration performers justify the popular association between actresses and prostitutes in the Victorian era is patently insufficient. The notion persisted throughout the nineteenth century because Victorians recognized that acting and whoring were the occupations of self-sufficient women who plied their trades in public places, and because Victorians believed that actresses' male colleagues and patrons inevitably complicated transient lifestyles, economic insecurity, and night hours with sexual activity. In the spirit of Gilbert and Gubar's axiom that experience generates metaphor and metaphor creates experience, the actress and the prostitute were both objects of desire whose company was purchased through commercial exchange. While patrons bought the right to see them, to project their fantasies on them, and to denigrate and misrepresent their sexuality, both groups of women found it necessary constantly to sue for men's attention and tolerate the false imagery. Their similarities were reinforced by coexistence in neighbourhoods and work places where they excited and placated the playgoer's lust in an eternal loop, twisted like a Mobius strip into the appearance of a single surface.