Ask A Brothel Receptionist: Part 2 (NSFW)

brothel pillow fight girls of the playboy mansion girls next door
Not an accurate depiction of a brothel

Cassie worked as a receptionist in a brothel. She’s written a series answering the most common questions. This is Part 2. Go here for Part 1

4. Well, I’ve never seen a sex worker. How pathetic are people who have to pay for sex? Don’t you just hate them?

Okay, so this one isn’t so much a question as a statement I heard over and over again. And while, admittedly, the clients could drive me nuts sometimes, they were also paying my wage, so they got at least a little bit of my protectiveness as well.

Clients aren’t assholes – assholes are assholes, whether they see sex workers or not. Some of the clients were also assholes, but some of them weren’t. Reception at a brothel is, in the end, customer service, and sometimes customers fucking suck. Sometimes they ask for outrageous things that you can’t possibly give them, and then get angry when their whims can’t be met.

Sometimes customers insist they “never pay full price” and haggle for half an hour to try and get a 5% saving. These are things that happen to anyone in customer service anywhere – it was just the nature of the requests that were different.

I’d never been asked before if someone could bring in a bucket of pigs blood (the answer was no, by the way), but then until my current job I’d never had to source extendable batons before either. The clients were no more or less pathetic than the general public, because they ARE just the general public.

This is my, "I'm so impressed. No, really" face.

This is my, “I’m so impressed. No, really” face.

I met clients who made my heart hurt, they were so obviously completely alone in their lives. I met clients who were having an absolute ball, and one who did a little dance in a towel for me because I looked tired.

I met clients who were just doing what they had to do to get through the day. I met clients who would save up for six months so they could come in from the country and make a night of it, and I met clients who would drop $5000 in a weekend without batting an eyelid. There are as many different kinds of clients as there are sex workers – there are as many reasons why anyone comes to a brothel as there are people who come to a brothel.

I think a lot of the people (largely men) who would say this to me were trying to prove some sort of point about how masculine and awesome they were, that THEY would never HAVE to pay for sex.

I was always amused by the assumption that clients see sex workers because they have no other choice – this is most definitely not always the case. It’s not even the most common scenario that I saw. Emphasising to me that you would never consider spending money to support my coworkers or my industry didn’t really do anything to impress me. If anything, it makes you come off as a condescending dick, unless you say it in the context of explaining that you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing a sex worker. That I can understand – but bragging about being too good to see a sex worker? Puh-lease.

5. Can you get me a discount?

If a guy didn’t say, ‘Well, I’ve never seen a sex worker”, on being told I worked at a brothel, it was guaranteed they would try this one instead. The answer was always, ALWAYS no. I hate hagglers anywhere, I really do, and I will not help you drive down the income of my co-workers because you’re stingy.

As someone who lived off freelance graphic design for a while, I have a real hair trigger response to haggling – it gets me offside very, very quickly. People who won’t pay what a skill is worth just because they don’t WANT to pay full price piss me off like you wouldn’t believe, so there was no way I was going to let clients get away with that, and I certainly wasn’t going to let friends get away with it.

I was always happy to recommend someone I thought the person might really enjoy seeing – but they ALWAYS paid full price. Some people I know did take me up on my offer of recommendations – there was a guy I was seeing casually who called me one night for a booty call, and when I explained I was working all night he came in to the brothel and asked me to recommend a girl for him, since I knew what he liked. I did, of course, and he was so pleased he kept going to that brothel long after I stopped seeing him.

I met some admin staff who would make the recommendation thing really political, and I just fucking hated that so much. They would only recommend the girls they liked that week, and if one of the workers got in their bad books they would actively talk a client out of booking them – not only was this just plain MEAN behavior, but it’s also wildly unprofessional. I’m sure if someone was driving me crazy that day I would probably recommend them with less complete enthusiasm, but if I thought they were the right person for the job, I would always suggest them all the same.

Connecting clients with sex workers was the bulk of my job, so I took it seriously and tried to be as professional as possible about it at all time.

6. Do you ever want to jump the desk? You’ve thought about it, right? 

Lord. This one got so exhausting.

Yes, of course I thought about it. When you look in your weekly pay envelope and it contains as much as you just gave one of the sex workers for a night’s work, OF COURSE you think about it. The more my eyes were opened to the realities of the industry, the more I thought about it.

Before I had any experience in the industry I had always assumed someone shaped like me wouldn’t have a chance in hell of making any money, and once I realised this wasn’t the case, it did become a tempting prospect. But in the end, I decided it just wasn’t for me. This is not in any way a reflection of my feelings towards sex workers, but more a reflection of how clearly I understand myself.

There are lots of things you need to be a successful sex worker, apart from relevant skills, and I don’t have a lot of them.

A picture from the second place I ever worked!

A picture from the second place I ever worked!

I don’t have a suitably resilient self esteem for a start – I would have to be a lot better at shrugging off rejection than I am, and while I would LIKE to be more resilient, in the end I had to accept I would simply never be emotionally resilient enough to make a living in the sex industry. I also don’t have the organisational skills to be able to live on a fluctuating income – I can’t keep within a budget when I’m getting paid a standard amount every fortnight.

I would be utterly FUCKED if I had to budget around the whims of clients. But mostly, I just don’t have the patience to deal with clients. I would find myself getting snippy with them if they asked the same stupid question twice – I can’t imagine how I would deal with having to convince a client to take a damn shower before the service.

Seriously, this happened ALL the time. Clients would whine and complain, and then stand in the shower with the water running but not actually getting under it like they were FIVE. I have no idea how the workers managed the patience to not stick their heads under the water and scrub them down, but I couldn’t deal with it.

And that was the least of what the sex workers had to tolerate. I had the luxury of not having to be patient with clients – the rare occasions I got called in to settle a dispute or move someone along, I was allowed, nay, ENCOURAGED to let my temper off the leash in order to bring the situation to a close, and that was WONDERFUL.

If a client was taking too long to get out of a booking, the worker could (and often did) make out that I was much meaner than I actually am in order to shift the client, and I would back this up if need be. I got to be mean so the sex workers didn’t have to be, and I was totally happy with that situation. So while I would have loved more money, in the end, it just isn’t for me.

This post originally appeared here.