ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Pamela Brooke was born in New Zealand, was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mother to her four sons and now resides in Queensland, Australia.
She has retired from brothel life and is also the author of Slipstreaming.
The world of prostitution has always held me in fascination. Not so much about the sex workers – I figured they were in it for the money. Not that I’ve ever been a sex worker. I’ve had plenty of sex in my life, just never got paid for it – well not directly. And yet while it is commonly recognised women can and do use their sexuality to get a man to do almost anything they want, I’ve always wondered about what attracts a man – especially those married or with partners, to the working girl and why. Why would they actively pay for sex and hence the majority of them risk so much.
My life on the other side began firstly as a receptionist in a brothel situated just over the border into New South Wales, before graduating to become a fully fledged manager for more than five years in one of the first legal brothels in Queensland, and while I never originally intended writing about it I did keep a journal of my experiences. Names of the two brothels, receptionists, managers and girls where I worked are fictional as are those of clients although for the celebrated/acclaimed clients I’ve used a series of dots........ An accepted code of secrecy exists within the industry and it wouldn’t be seemly for me to openly compromise the privacy of these particular clients. You the reader can guess at who they might be. And to further protect the client’s privacy their stories are not necessarily in order of time.
It must also be noted that while each of the following accounts are exactly as they happened, these stories were not peculiar to the client/clients mentioned. Unfortunately, space prohibits the tale of each client that came my way, but with slight variations every story can be applied at least thirty fold.
Life behind the brothel door is graphic and so, to retain authenticity I make no apologies for the common-place descriptive language. Nor do I apologize for what might appear to be the over use of the words penies, bastard, cretin, moron and feral.
This is not about working girls in brothels – that’s a whole other story. Nor is this about the politics of running a legally recognized Queensland brothel – again, a whole other story. Apart from the first five chapters that cover my initial training, I only mention the girls or brothel politics when pertinent to this tale or when in direct reference to the clients.
This is about men who visit brothels as seen by an inside outsider.
This is a factual account.
How did I find myself here? How did I ever get to this – standing at the front door of a brothel just over the Queensland Border into New South Wales? What prompted such a radical and seemingly ludicrous position for me to be in? I could of course justify my actions on all manner of things – namely those out of my control. I could say it came about when at the age of fifty (for reasons not relevant to this story) and having been a stay at home New Zealand wife and mother, I suddenly found myself with very little money, no home, no job, no training and no prospects of a career. Survival became paramount – l had to survive and this was all I could find that didn’t require a degree in anything other than life.
I could say I’d unwittingly carved my path to this door during a dastardly afternoon when, in my early teens I’d ask permission to go somewhere or do something (I can’t actually recall, so it obviously wasn’t important) and after having my request denied, I felt the need to exercise my right to wallow in ‘The Princess Bitch Syndrome’ because what followed certainly halted any confrontation. I’d led a somewhat strict upbringing where the use of the word bum would bring forth a torrent of retribution so going for the shock value greatly appealed. Locked in my memory was the name Flora McKenzie. I had no idea who she was or what her claim to fame was but I knew her name evoked the same emotion from my parents as the humble bum did.
“When I grow up I’m going to be just like Flora McKenzie,” I announced. Years later, I discovered Ms McKenzie to be an infamous New Zealand Madam.
I could say I was led to the door of seediness through curiousness having seen photos in a tabloid of Kurt Russell, not to mention Hugh Grant and a host of others – with the exception of Richard Gere (we all know he did it to get Julia Roberts) being Nabbed, as the headlines quoted, skulking away from a massage parlour. Why? I wondered. What drives these men with such glamorous and decidedly sexy partners into such dire circumstances?
Then there was the episode when a married male friend of mine (whom I thought to be happily married) admitted to me in a moment of weakness to having spent many an hour and dollar lying with prostitutes. And can I ever forget the amazement of discovering quite by accident someone very close to me confessing to having met his wife in a brothel.
Well I suspect the truth lies in all
of the above. Yes I needed a job whose maximum requirement was to be upright and
breathing, yes I had a fascination with the sex industry and specifically what
brought a man to the brothel door and yes, thanks to Flora, I’d discovered a
secret fantasy to be a Madam for a day (not really, that was my evil twin
Tell me and I could forget
Show me and I might remember
But involve me and I’ll surely understand
1 (part sample only)
So here I stood – outside The Studio – a heavy wooden door facing me. I followed the instructions next to a buzzer that said; Press and wait to be admitted, and noticed a small camera directly above the intercom sign.
The door clicked and Jules’ voice said, “Come on up, darl.”
When I pulled the door open, my very first impression of The Studio was its smell. Unlike anything my senses had ever experienced – a stale muskiness thinly disguised the pungent stench of alcohol and tobacco, and while I’d not known what to expect somehow this aroma seemed fitting. Ahead of me, tiny flashing bulbs lit the garish red carpet tread of the staircase. My heart raced almost out of control and I thought; what the hell am I doing here? I can’t do this. I really can’t do this. I lingered on the bottom step just long enough to retrace the events that had led me here, back to the day I’d come to live in Australia.
The moment I’d arrived on Australian soil I felt a sense of relief – all my troubles were now dead and buried on distant shores. Determined not to dwell on the past I leisurely idled away the next two weeks taking long strolls along Surfers Beach, searching out the best latte on the coast, roaming the malls or just relaxing in my villa. I quickly became an expert in doing nothing. But, and it was a very big but, my settlement remained in New Zealand due to the abysmal exchange rate and with my ready cash running frightening low I knew I had to get a job. So out of my self-induced social hibernation I burst off to the local news-stand where I picked up the Bulletin (local newspaper) along with the usual women’s gossipy magazines. I had every intention of checking out the job prospects first, but became seduced by one of the mags with the bold caption; Nabbed above the photo of Kurt Russell striding away from a massage parlour. My heart went out to this man’s gorgeous and arguably sexy partner, imagining how an act like this on its own would be hard enough to deal with. But to have the entire world journey it with you? I thought of my friend – a decent and respected man and how being caught out would just devastate his wife and children.
Kurt’s act continued to heckle. Constantly the question was why. Why would a man like that with such an alluring woman at his side feel the need to visit such a place? And even if he had a valid reason or even if they had an agreement of some sort, had he considered how the embarrassment of being photographed and held up for public display would affect his family?
I gave up trying to figure it out and thumbed through the employment section of the Bulletin, but everything advertised came with a list of credentials I simply didn’t have and couldn’t even have fudged my way through.
Beginning to feel depressed, I turned the last page where the words, Adult Studio leapt out. Receptionist required, the ad invited. Night work only. Must be mature and broad-minded. Top rates. Ph:….. before noon and ask for Jules.
Adult Studio? For a few minutes I tried to decipher the words. Was it a veiled attempt for saying porn photos taken here, or was it a cover up for a brothel? And directly under the ad was another requiring girls, offering them a higher cut than their competitors.
It seemed odd that a brothel would blatantly seek the services of anyone, let alone a receptionist. Coming from a country where brothels were still illegal, I just assumed any counter work would be executed by the workers.
Noting the phone number of The Adult Studio I flicked on to the entertainment section and scanned the adverts for a matching number. And there I found a variety of human flesh for sale – promising delectable, young, sweet and sexy, guaranteed to tempt and delight. And for the more discerning client, a range of mature ladies were also available. The Adult Studio boasted the best girls on the Coast and claimed to be the classiest establishment north of the Daily Planet. But they were it seemed, short of a receptionist.
For all of ten seconds I considered phoning but thought better of it. I didn’t really want to work in a brothel; it was hardly the sort of thing I could brag about, tell my children, friends, not to mention my parents. However, for the rest of the following day my morbid curiosity ran rampant. I wondered about seeing inside a brothel and what they were like and I wondered about the men that would use such a place.
A week later the position was still being advertised and like an explosion of obsessive stupidity I found myself plotting a way in. I could pretend to be interested in a job. And once in they would show me around. Just curious, just nosey I kept telling myself.
Yes, I’d had experience in NZ – worked in three brothels, no, no, we don’t call them brothels, they’re massage parlours in New Zealand, three massage parlours – one in Wellington and two in Auckland. I’m forty-two, I now live on the Gold Coast and I’m looking for full-time employment. I’ve always done the night shifts, no problem for me; my friends think I’m a night owl. My name? It’s Pam.
“Good morning, The Adult Studio, Jules speaking.”
Oh, God, it’s her. By now I was flustered. “Can I speak with Jules please?”
“Jules speaking, darl,” the amused husky voice replied.
“Of course, sorry. Caught me by surprise.”
“That’s okay, darl. How can I help you?” Jules asked.
“I’m calling about the receptionist position you have advertised in the Bulletin.” In the background I heard another line ring.
“Hang on, darl, I’ll just get that,” Jules said and put me on hold to listen to a recorded message by a female with a voice as fluffy as whipped cream explicitly offer herself to the caller.
I’ll never complain about elevator music ever again, I thought and longed for the return of Jules.
“Sorry, darl, are you still there?”
“Right. Just a couple of questions before we go any further. Do you realise this is a brothel?”
“How old are you, darl?”
“Ah, fifty.” Drat! What happened to being forty-two?
“Have you worked in the industry
“Have you ever done night shifts?”
“Not really.” What’s wrong with me? I’ll never get in now!
The phone rang again and the woman disappeared for a second time. Eventually she returned, full of apologies. “Sorry, darl. Now what’s your name? Can’t keep calling you darl, can I?”
“It’s Susan -” Shit, shit, shit! In the background, I could hear the high-pitched squeal and giggle of a girl drown out any hope of conversation. “I can phone back later. You sound -”
“Nah, just hang on a mo, darl,” Jules cut in, dropped the receiver and then exploded in outrage at some poor person for arriving at work in such a state. “Out! Out now!” Jules yelled. “And don’t come back until you’ve sobered up.”
“Sorry again about that,” Jules apologized, coming back on line. “Bloody girls,” she cussed. “Now, where were we? Oh, yeah. Are you able to come in this afternoon for an interview? After five but before six?”
“Actually, I haven’t had any -”
“Experience? No worries, darl. I prefer it like that. Means I get to train ’em my way.”
“Yeah. This is a big place and needs someone with great organizing skills. We have over fifty girls on the books and on busy shifts can run up to twenty-five girls.”
“Oh,” I said for a second time.
“Can you describe yourself?”
“Ah, all right. I’m 169cm tall, size 12, have shoulder length white-blonde hair.”
Obviously you’ve never heard of the discrimination act. “Sixty-five kilos.”
“Sounds good. Do you know where we
Jules rattled off directions then said, “Contact number?”
I hesitated but gave in when Jules suggested that a mobile would do. “See you later then, Lilly.”
Lilly? Who’s Lilly? But Jules had already gone.
I hung up the phone and began to tremble. I considered popping across to the bar on the corner for a stiff drink to steady my nerves but voted against it. It wouldn’t do to arrive for an interview with alcohol on my breath – especially after being privy to hearing the bollocking some poor soul faced from Jules. Now, what to wear? Does it matter? Like using an alias, who cares what they call me?
By late afternoon I’d begun to feel really nervous and not sure I’d be able to pull this off. There’d been no mention of a C.V. from Jules and anyway, would one really want the words, I believe Susan/Lilly’s true vocation to be that of Brothel Receptionist, as the closing paragraph of job recommendation?
“Come in, darl,” Jules voice echoed down the stairs again.
Oh, well, here goes nothing. At least I’ll get to have a look around. A dishevelled vertically challenged man in his mid fifties brushed past me on his way down, and when he said gidday I replied with; Hello. I stopped to stare at the back of him as scurried through that wooden door and thought, I wouldn’t have given you the time of day out on the street. Yet in the brothel, I’d acknowledged his presence.
Ten more steps and the front desk loomed where Jules awaited me. Late forties, medium height, curvy body and dark blonde shoulder length hair sporting trendy lighter foils framed her pretty face.
“You must be Lilly,” she said.
No, my name’s Susan – but what the hell. I smiled and said hello.
“Come through the girls’ lounge.” Jules pointed to a door beside the stairs.
The girls’ lounge? The door opened for me and there they were. The working girls.
“This is Lilly,” Jules introduced.
Again I thought of correcting my name but didn’t – which was probably a mistake given that a sulky brunette with a fake orange tan lounging across an old sofa, hoisted herself up on her elbows and said, “The last Lilly we had got herself wasted by some fuckwit.”
“She’s teasing you,” Jules laughed, entering the room from a side passage.
“Yeah, well you’re blocking me view,” her sulkiness complained.
I turned sharply and realised I was blocking her view of a television and video crudely installed in the wall. “Oh, sorry,” I said and moved away. The room was tiny, capable of holding eight girls at a pinch assuming they were all sitting and not lounging. The other three girls smiled politely and nodded but went back to their chatting and television watching.
“She’s had a bad day, ignore her,” Jules said glaring at her sulkiness before ordering me, “this way.” She led me through the back connecting passage to the main office, closed the door behind us and offered me a seat. “Coffee?”
“Hey, Tess, make us two cuppas will you, darl?” Jules called out.
The top half of a stable door to one side of the office flew open and a blonde young thing with a healthy tan poked her head through.
“Hello,” Tess cheerily greeted me. She looked all of twelve – skinny little thing with an underdeveloped body. “You must be Lilly. How do you like your coffee?”
One more chance to say; No actually, I’m Susan, died when Jules broke in. “We only have instant here. Can you cope with that?”
“It’s just that you don’t look like an instant coffee lover.”
My frown quickly turned to a smile. “Instant would be fine. Black no sugar.”
“So, Lilly,” Jules started but a phone call claimed her. At that point I gave up any further hope of ever correcting my name. After all, it was only going to be for an hour at most – so who cared? Certainly not the sulky brunette nor the skinny young thing and most definitely not Jules.
“So, Lilly,” Jules started again. “Never been in a brothel before, eh?”
“Can’t say I have.”
“I’m not surprised. You’re not the usual sort to come up those stairs.”
Jules smiled. “Just why are you here?”
I hesitated for a second thinking, Oh, great, what do I say now?
But I needn’t have worried. Jules had all the answers. “It’s pretty rough trying to get a job at our age,” she said. “I know – been there done that. They all think once you’re over the hump you’re past it. Right?”
Jules smiled. “I like you. There’s an honesty about you that’s appealing. Gullible, but honest. Wanna have a look around?”
Finally! “Ah, yes.”
The door-bell rang and Jules indicated I should sit quietly in the corner while, “I deal with the penis,” she smirked. I choked slightly on my mouthful of coffee and stifled the desire to cough. Jules turned to face me. “Are you okay, darl?” I nodded and she laughed. “You’ll get used to the expressions here.”
No I won’t. I won’t be here long enough.
“Gidday, Walt. How ya going?” she smiled. The man at the counter in a crumpled old suit returned her smile, ruffled nervously through his wallet and timidly handed Jules cash. His hands were rough and gnarled and at least sixty years old but from where I sat they seemed clean at least. It was the mono eyebrow, hairy ears and nose hair that turned me off. “Take a seat in the lounge, Walt. Jasmine’ll come get you in a minute.”
Walt moved off in the direction to what was I presumed the lounge and I lost sight of him when he fought his way through long blood red velvet curtains.
What is it about red and brothels?
“Jasmine,” she called. “Walt’s here for his Harvey Warbanger.”
Harvey Warbanger? They serve cocktails?
“Half an hour,” Jules qualified, clearly reading my thoughts. “Jasmine!” she bellowed. “He’ll croak if you don’t move your arse!” The groan that came from beyond could only have come from Jasmine, and when she trotted out in ridiculously high heels it quickly became apparent by her grumpy expression that the girl wasn’t keen. She seemed even younger than Tess. Such a cute little poppet. Huge blue eyes, masses of blonde curls but with the body of an eight year old.
“Take Room Three,” Jules ordered. Jasmine teetered out to the lounge, collected her client who followed her down the hall and out of sight. And when I heard the door close, I felt physically ill.
Jules peered at me. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
I nodded. “How old is she?”
Jules scoffed and turned back to her paperwork. “Eighteen. They have to be eighteen. It’s law.”
“God, she looks so young. Just a baby.”
“Can I give you a piece of advice?” Jules tone had turned acidy. “You don’t have to take it of course but if you’re going to make it here the first thing you need to learn is, don’t be fooled by these girls. They’re smart. Street smart, I’m talking. If you feel sorry for them, they’ll sniff you out and go for your jugular. They’ll suck you in, chew you up and spit you out. Don’t get close to them. Help them yes, comfort them yes, but never ever expose your underbelly. It’s fatal. Trust me. I’ve been in this game a long time and I know what I’m talking about.”
I thought Jules’ analogy harsh and while I contemplated voicing my opinion she continued on. “They’re here because they want to be. A few have more clues than the rest. Some have a plan and do it while they get educated or get themselves secure. Some are here because they support a drug habit or kids and then there are some that support loser boyfriends. Those are the ones I really don’t have much time for. If you’re gonna do it then do it for yourself or your kids I say, but not some low-life pimping arsehole penis!”
Jules was off and galloping upon a very high rather passionate horse and I quickly decided to bow to her obvious experience by not challenging her. After all, who was I to offer an opinion – a small-time over the hump Kiwi girl with a sheltered life who by private admission hadn’t the faintest clue what she was doing in the brothel and would be leaving after the tour.
But I did vow never to buy or wear or drive anything red ever again.
“Come on,” Jules suddenly commanded, jumping up from her chair. I followed her out of the office and into the kitchen on the other side of the stable door. “You’re responsible for keeping the kitchen clean and tidy at all times. The girls are supposed to do their own dishes but they rarely do. It’s up to you whether you force the rule of course, but sometimes it’s easier to just do them.”
I don’t think so!
“These are Bain-maries for the hot food that comes in every day,” she said, pointing to a large stainless steel contraption sitting on top of a bench. “They have to be cleaned out at the end of your shift and the containers taken downstairs for collection. I’ll show you where later.”Don’t bother. I won’t be putting any containers anywhere.
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