clients, cops, country towns, discrimination, fantasy, friends and family, laws, Love, money, personal stories, Relationships, sex industry, Sex Work, south australia, stigma
I used to travel around South Australia and sometimes beyond for a weekend every month in order to sex work anonymously. I had an arrangement with my partner at the time that I could work with his blessing but not in our own city where the chances of me fucking his boss were increased. The first time I went away it was a risk, a financial risk but it felt risky in other ways too because I was not sure what to expect of the town, of the clients, of the accommodation, or any other variable I could imagine. I hired a driver, a friend of a friend. We agreed that I would pay him a flat fee for the weekend to drive me there and back and to all my jobs. He was employed to provide my transport and my security. I was worried that I wouldn’t make enough money to pay him and still make a good profit but I need’nt have, I was very busy. And so my successful out of town business (ad)ventures continued for a couple of years. I have many stories to tell about these trips away, about the clients, the towns, the jobs, the way I felt. But this story is about the time I was kicked out of town by the boys in brown.
It was the third time I had been to this particular seaside town and each time I had had mixed results. The first time I made a fortune and the second time I barely covered costs. But this time was going to be a winner, my add in the local paper had scored me many back to back confirmed bookings and many more enquiries.
On this occasion I had decided to fly rather than drive and with no car I had no requirement for a driver. I arrived in town alone with a reservation for a nice holiday apartment, my mobile phone, my bag of tricks and a booking sheet full of in-call appointments. It was too early to check into my apartment so I wandered around town window shopping and buying supplies for the weekend. The phone was ringing off the hook but it was mostly just my first client pestering to come and see me early. I kept explaining that I hadn’t yet checked into my apartment yet and that I would call him when I was ready. He was very eager.
It is because of over eager clients like him (among other reasons) that I don’t give out my address until I am ready to greet them at the door. I will take the booking and their phone number and give them a general vicinity of my apartment but I make them call me again 10 mins before the booking to get the full details. This stops anyone knocking at my door before I am ready, when I am not there or when I am with another client. It also means that it is only the genuine clients that know exactly where I am. Makes me feel safer.
Eventually the time came when I could head back to my apartment and check in. I had done my best to choose a holiday apartment that was suitable to work from. And by suitable I mean, no management on premises and definitely no reception that the client had to walk through before getting to me. I also consider things like, security, but not too much security. I want my clients to be able to get from their car to my front door with as little fuss as possible. And so do they generally. This apartment met all the criteria but the caretakers were hanging around cleaning some of the recently vacated apartments which always make me nervous. And my first client was still calling. I decided to let him come what was almost two hours early because that would mean I would have a two hour break before my next booking and would hopefully rouse less suspicion the from caretakers if they happened to still be hanging around.
I set up my apartment ready for work. In the bedroom I had my tissues and wet ones on one bedside table and massage oil and talcum powder on the other. In one bedside of drawer I have the condoms and lube and the other I have my toys. In an open cupboard I have my costumes, lingerie and dress ups, all aimed at exciting a client or extending a booking or charging extra. Just having them there in view is often enough to help the session along, or plant the seed for a second booking.
I cover the bed with a coverall blanket over all the bedding and place a nicely folded towel on top. When the client comes I unfold the towel for them to lie on decreasing any mess. At the end of the night I get my own pillow from home and take the blanket off the bed leaving fresh bedding for me to sleep in.
I turn the big lights off and the bedside lamps on. I like background music playing, preferably something smooth and sexy with some bass but the clock radio was often all I had.
In the lounge I had porn playing on mute. Purely to encourage longer bookings and to provide a more… inclusive service, not just a bedroom one. Which is why I also had lots of snacks and beverages to offer clients. I had higher prices and discounts for longer bookings trying to decrease clients without decreasing my profits. Mainly because I was scared of being noticed by the hotels I stayed in and so I didn’t want a steady stream of men coming and going. I had the breath mints out, drinks in the fridge, 2 mobile phones and a piece of paper full of names, numbers and times.
I was nearly ready so I gave my first client the details of where to come but asked him to wait 15 more mins and he agreed. I was hoping the caretakers would leave before he came but of course he doesn’t wait he arrives straight away. I should have known by his incessant phone calls. I let him in and I asked him how long he would like to stay for, which is really just a prompt for “let’s do business” since we have already discussed on the phone how long. He tells me and I ask for the agreed upon fee. He doesn’t have enough money.
He did the usual “Oh, I’ll go to the bank and come straight back” routine. Its annoying at the best of times but this time, I was anxious because of the caretakers still hanging around the site. I wanted him to stay rather than come and go and come back again so I asked him how much money he had on him and negotiated a shorter service for a lesser fee, just to keep him in my apartment. Again, hoping that the caretakers would leave before he finished.
He paid, he stayed and he loved it. When I showed him out I was happy to notice the caretakers had left. I shut the door behind him, chucked my money with the phones and booking sheet and went to jump in the shower. But there was a knock at the door. I thought it was going to be my annoying client who had already proven a lack of understanding of my way of doing business. I had only shown him out the door less than 5 mins ago, maybe he left his keys behind or something. I hadn’t yet given my address out to anybody else.
So I threw on my dress quickly, no underwear and opened the door. It took me a minute to process who was on the other side, two guys wearing a brown uniform. The country police.
“We have reason to believe you are running a prostitution business from here”
I laughed. “Why on earth would you think that?” I don’t know how convincing I sounded, I usually lie pretty badly, so I’m guessing I was hopeless.
Apparently the caretakers had called them. I couldn’t believe it. “I have had one male friend visit me and you think I am a prostitute!!!?” I wasn’t actually faking my indignation. Apparently my stupid client had said something to one of them on his way up. Something like “Do I pay you?”.
“So one stupid man asks if he pays the hotel caretaker and that makes ME a prostitute? How ridiculous, maybe he was wanting to rent a room or something”.
No, I have to leave the apartment regardless because it is the prerogative of management and they have asked me to leave. It seemed I didn’t have much choice so I agreed to pack my stuff. Both the cops came into the apartment to “help me pack up”.
Take a moment to think back to the scene I described earlier about how I had my apartment set up, what I was wearing, and the money next to the booking sheet, next to my phones. It became obvious what was going on.
They went all good cop/bad cop on me. They took my details and tried to insist I gave them the phone numbers for both the phones. I wouldn’t admit to their allegations and I refused to give them the second mobile number. It would link to my adds. So I told them it was my phone for my straight job and that I did not want them calling me at work accusing me of being a prostitute! I knew my rights, all I have to give is my name date of birth and address. I didn’t have to say anything else.
And THEN the bad cop came in with a camera! He was going to take a photo of me. I hadn’t even been charged with anything. I asked him if I had a right to refuse and he said “oh it’s just something we do now”. I said again “do I have a right to refuse?” He said “sure you can refuse but then I’ll take you down the station and charge you with prostitution”.
By this time in my life I knew the laws pretty much back to front. Probably better than mister bad cop and his good cop partner put together. There is no charge of “prostitution” there are a range of other charges such soliciting, receiving money in a brothel etc, but he didn’t have any evidence for anything. He had one guy, one girl and some porn. Sure they could claim I was going to engage in illegal activity by turning the hotel room into a ‘brothel’ with the booking sheet but it’s not illegal until you do it.
So I refused the photo and told him he had no evidence to press charges. I was relieved when he didn’t try anyway but on the way out he told me that if I tried any other hotel they would find me there too and I believed him. So I gave up. I changed my flights so I could fly home that night and headed out to the airport. I had hours to wait so I sat and drank the wine I had bought for my clients and contacted all my bookings to cancel and let them know what had happened.
One of my clients was so disappointed he asked if he could come see me right there, right now in the airport. After a few wines and a big financial loss this actually seemed like an option. After all I still had the whole afternoon to wait and I was bored. So I agreed. He picked me up in his ute and drove me to a quiet spot not far from the airport.
40 mins later he dropped me back at the airport and I’d almost recovered my loss. And I had another good story.