|Undercover in a legal brothel|
|As legal brothels came to Qld, Susan Brown went under cover but not under the covers to find out how they worked in Sydney.|
There are all sorts of ways to have legal brothels. Victoria opted for large plush establishments while New South Wales legalised establishments on what might be called the industrial estate model.
This has prospective proprietors and their real estate agencies taking out the compasses and drawing rings around churches, schools, residences and so on to discover buildings that fit a formula of minimising undesirable influences through distances precisely measured in hundreds of metres.
Invariably, this means something smack bang in the middle of an industrial estate. The trick is to find something suitably sized, then to get it suitably approved and then have it suitably appointed.
Ironically, most people in the legal brothel business are just as reluctant as those in the illegal brothel business to have their real names in the public prints. For proprietors, workers and perhaps especially, clients, anonymity is either highly desirable or absolutely essential.
This former auto repair shop in Sydney has discrete undercover parking and there is an intercom test to pass before they are allowed to cross the portals. An entry hall, suitably shady, leads to a desk with two women in the right shade of black simultaneously answering phones, selling the right girl for the right price, and opening and closing enough sets of doors to make Agent Maxwell Smart feel safe.
One receptionist, the assistant madam, is a teetotalling Seventh Day Adventist who worked for a decade in a library. "I used to work in IT , now I work in TIT," she jokes. "My husband thinks my job is exciting". The other receptionist is from the country, married, two kids and studying accountancy. Her husband and mother are very supportive of her work, her mother-in-law takes a dim view.
From 10am on a Wednesday morning the phones started and didn't stop for the several hours I was there.
The interior is upmarket and sparse, the pen and ink artwork on the right side of tasteful and the waiting rooms have comfy chairs and refreshments. What looks like packets of condoms on tables reveals with a rip to be signature chocolates, presumably to whet their appetite.
There is a one way mirror and that is for the girls to look into the waiting room so they can make sure their husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers or cousins aren't going to get a big surprise.
Sworn to non-identifying information only, I am shown into the backroom and look at a very ordinary office. There are notes on the wall about selling tickets and turning off switches. A reminder not to leave oil drums (presumably massage) in the towel room because of carpet stains. Three big packets of suggestive red lollypops are perched on a filing cabinet.
The first client is at the door. He looks the friendly, bearded public servant type and disappears into a room with Mishka.
The rooms feature suitably erotic art, slate floors and an abundance of tiling, a shower and spa and very sturdy looking bedding on something like the massage table model for those enthusiastic dalliances. The drawers are full of lube, gloves, condoms and curiously Glen 20 spray.
Outside the action switches from doors to phones and back again.
On the phones, two enticing voices speaking from a welcome sheet and index cards for the girls can almost sound like stereo, only a few seconds out of synch.
The index cards - one for each girl on duty - give their work name and detailed descriptions all the way down to... well, to their down, or rather lack of it. It seems shaved or partly shaved is the norm. Their specialities are listed and best of all, a description used by the phone sellers.
"Today for your pleasure we have 7 girls. Arabella is catwalk perfection (a big call so I sneaked a peek, this was no exaggeration). This fully shaven gymnast is pure fantasy when she takes you to an explosive climax." I noted on her card in big red writing 'When calling Arabella please be very discreet as she is staying with her Dad'.
"We also have Bubbles. Snap, crackle she makes you pop. She knows how important it is not to mix your fruit and nuts."
By 10:05 five of the girls are behind closed doors and there is another client waiting. The phone has rung 4 more times, including one call from Brianna who wanted a job there.
Ring. "Oh yes, we have an English girl and she is a sexy dark haired wench. We also have Cassie, she's barely legal and all the way from the US with her slim and tanned body, just waiting for you."
"Come and play with Karen. She's a flirtatious blonde babe. Let this 19 year old pleasure you with her fun loving ways."
Beep Beep. Internal phone, reception, he'd like to extend for another half an hour. It was the public servant type and he's been in there for an hour already. Are there problems? "No" explained the assistant madam as she sent Stephanie in with a new credit voucher (presumably pay before you play is the rule), "some guys like to go twice since they are here anyway. Some studs even visit the establishment twice a day".
"You want Kimberly and Karen for half an hour each, fine", a client is reassured his needs will be met promptly.
'Ken' comes in from the car park for an appointment then. Rochelle is still with another client, who has extended so he has to make another appointment for 12pm. He is remarkably understanding about it. Darren has been in 3 times, the third time with a rose for one of the girls. "He is pretty shy, he always does that before he actually goes into a room."
"We have couples, every so often a woman client, and a number of disabled, disfigured or elderly people who are normally shunned for sex but still need that sort of comfort", the receptionist tells me. The phones ring.
"Today we have Rhiannon....she's Tahitian, no, Rochelle is English...no, Veronique is Australian...blonde, no. Lebanese...ah, Majellaa...tanned...slim...body to die for. OK 12 o'clock." "Some clients who ring need to know the nationality first", the assistant madam pointed out afterwards.
"Other guys bring in bags of sex toys or costumes".
The brothel was offering red lollypops as farewell presents, which prompted Graham to say when he left "No, I won't take one thanks. I've already got two in the car and if I take any more my girlfriend will think I am chatting up the lolly shop girl".
As payments are made, there is often a fleeting glimpse of a family photo, smiling wife and children in the plastic pocket over the credit cards.
When I left I noted the carpark contained late model BMW's and newish Holdens. As I shut the door I heard "Arabella, she was on yesterday, and will be back tomorrow, she is our lovely South American. Oh, no, we actually have another Arabella...No you mean Isabella, she is on tonight. Ok see you then."
The surprising thing was, it was all so matter of fact. Apart from obvious questions of morality surrounding brothels and where you stand on that, the physical vibe itself wasn't salacious. It was more like a health service.
Names have been changed upon request.