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As I keep mentioning, my escort career didn’t last long before I went looking for greener pastures in other sectors of the industry. This is despite the fact that our boss would fill our heads with stories about the evils of working “in-house” (in brothels and parlours) in an attempt to keep us loyal. According to the stories from Pity Girls management, every brothel in Adelaide was filled with bikies and thieves and the cops raided nightly. But I was keen to explore opportunities in different territory within this new career I had just stumbled across. And although my mum wasnt keen on the idea of me hooking, she was trying hard to be supportive but couldn’t stop worrying about me. She was anxious about my safety visiting strangers at home, and was hassling me to work in-house where she thought there was less risk. I’d never felt scared while escorting, and wasnt concerned for my own safety, but I have to admit there were things I didn’t like about being in other people’s space.

And what the hell. I already had a criminal conviction thanks to my stint as a receptionist in a massage parlour, so what did I have to lose.

I called a phone number of a woman I had met through some other workers and made a time to meet her for an interview. She was an ex worker herself, and ran a small discreet little brothel from a townhouse on the outskirts of the city. I started working for her pretty much immediately and found myself settled in to this new style of working very quickly.

It was great. The business was only open during the day, and two of us “girls” would be on shift (escorts seem to be called “ladies” and brothel workers were called “girls”, not sure why, just one of those things to add to my collection of sex industry norms and nuances) and we would take it in turns seeing the walk in’s and appointments. Our boss would answer the phone calls, make our appointments, greet our clients, clean our rooms, make our beds after our bookings, scrub the shower every time it was used, wash, dry and fold fresh fluffy towels for us and make us cups of tea. All we had to do was fuck and watch day time soapies.

On top of that I got payed more money per hour than I did when I was escorting, I didn’t have to waste time driving round from booking to booking, and the place was super busy!

I also found I really prefered the actual work in-house compared to the work as an escort, it was quite different. Inviting clients into my space, instead of going into their space allowed me to be in complete control. It allowed me to take the lead,  develop a routine and really highlighted the service side of the booking.

In a brothel I show them to the bedroom, I tell them to get undressed and lay on the bed, When I return after putting the money away my client is usually on the bed, naked on their tummy waiting for their massage. This was very different to escorting. Apart from the fact that I know my shower and towels are clean, my room is set up how I want it, I have my own music playing, and I’m not worried about a wife coming home or kid waking up!

My clients were mostly business men on their lunch break, the service simple and it just felt more like a job compared to escorting, which sometimes resembled a long trashy random drunken party where I’m the only one sober.

And again, the money was GREAT! Ahhhhh those were the days, working 10am till 4pm and going home with $500 in my pocket. Reliable, easy, hassle free wads of cash. Times have changed for us all now, and money in the sex industry is nothing at all like reliable!

I worked 3 days a week and life was good.

The police didn’t raid daily, but we knew they visited us undercover, and would occasionally park down the road and pull our clients over for questioning. Back in these days (late 1990’s) there were two ways of getting enough evidence for a prosecution (the days the laws are the same, but the rules of evidence and the ‘court made law’ have changed a little bit – but still just as shit). One way to ‘bust us’ was to send in an undercover cop posing as a client in order to get a worker to admit they will exchange sex for money. The other way was to intimidate enough clients into making statements about a particular worker or the brothel.

So my boss taught us the tricks of the trade, how to make sure you don’t fuck yourself over with the cops and (more importantly for her) not fuck the business over in the process.

Golden rule #1.We must NEVER tell a new client what we do or don’t do in the service. We must follow the script and NOT allow ourselves to be tricked into saying anything more. Even if it means the client walks and we lose the booking. Their money is worth the risk.

Example script:

Me: “It’s a fully inclusive service and its $90 for half an hour and $150 for an hour.”

Client “What’s a fully inclusive service?”

Me: *patting the bed, and smiling* “It’s a full service”

Client: “Do I get sex?”

Me: *nodding, patting the bed* “I’ll have to say no to that, but it IS a fully inclusive service”

If they couldn’t understand the secret code of ‘full service’ + bed + high cost + worker in mini skirt + knowing look or if they didn’t want to take the risk of parting with good money for some unknown service, then, we both miss out. Or, if they really wanted to talk shop we could undress them first and make them ask their questions standing in front of us naked (apparently a cop wont undress). But even then, we weren’t a fan of that option because we didn’t want to encourage perverts coming in just to flash their bits at us with no intention of staying. So we only offered that option in specific circumstances.

But also because if a potential client couldn’t understand our need for discretion then we couldn’t trust them with our secret. If they didn’t get that we need to keep our mouths shut, then how could we expect them to keep their mouths shut when being hassled by the cops. And we knew the cops would intimidate them, threaten to tell their wives or bosses, try anything to get them to make a statement against us.  All idle threats, but effective just the same.

So our other main tactic or golden rule #2, for those clients who did pay and stay, even for our regular clients, every single person who paid for sex in our brothel, would be “briefed” on their way out. Our boss would eavesdrop on us while we showed our clients to the door to make sure we were doing it. We hated briefing them, because it filled our clients with often unnecessary fear, and took away from the shiny happy feelings our clients usually have when leaving our company. It scared come clients shitless and probably stopped many coming back. But it was necessary. Forewarned is forearmed.

“Now, just remember, if anyone ever stops you outside of here and asks you what you were doing here, just say that you had a massage only. If you don’t say anything, and I don’t say anything, neither of us can get in trouble. Remember, you just had a straight massage, my clothes were on and so were your jocks” *smile sweetly, kiss on the cheek* “look forward to seeing you next time.” Send them out in the big bad world and hope for the best.

I was grateful for my time there and to have learnt these tactics because we never did get raided in the 12 months I worked there, but we definitely turned away lots of suspected undercover cops. And spending more time with other sex workers in the staff room and less time with drivers on the road meant I learnt so much about the work, the industry, the clients and ourselves. I really enjoyed the comradery of the “girls room” (staff room). The skills and knowledge that I learnt from my “apprenticeship” at this brothel are still useful to me all these years later, and form the basis of much of the ‘tricks of the trade’ that I pass down to the new sex workers that I meet in my travels.