An excerpt from Mattress Actress. The seventeen year-old Annika has just started working at a high-class brothel in Sydney, and we pick up the action just after her first trip to a sexual health clinic.
That evening I fronted up to work ten minutes early and Louise greeted me. She took me into what’s called the ladies’ lounge. That’s where the girls put their feet up, watched TV, eat, smoked or just gossiped. Adjoining the lounge was the dressing room. I noticed there was no curtain or door between the two rooms. I later found out it was so that the management could scrutinise the girls while they were dressing. They were always waging war against drugs. Mind you, this day I did resemble a pincushion, thanks to the Randwick clinic, as we called it.
Louise told me to put my bag in the locker in the ladies’ lounge and get dressed. While I did that, she sat and explained the rules to me.
‘Don’t talk to the other girls. Don’t wear black. You must buy a new dress every fortnight, and bring it in for inspection before wearing it. Don’t socialise with the other girls outside of work. Hand in all tips. Do not exchange personal details with clients, this includes accepting business cards. No drinking unless your client is partaking. No personal calls in or out during working hours. No leaving in the middle of a shift, for any reason. Refusal of a client must be based on medical reasons, for example he has warts or VD. The only other reason you can refuse a client is if you know him, like he’s your brother or so forth.
I thought if I just watched TV and fucked I should stay out of trouble.
We went on a tour of the place. It covered at least four other three-storey terraces. There was a bar room that adjoined the office and a formal lounge that extended the length of two terraces but had concertina screens separating the rooms if need be. Also on ground level were four small TV rooms that played hardcore videos all day. Louise explained that one of the receptionists always answered the door and brought the client into room one, if that was busy he would go to room two and so on. If all four rooms were taken he would be escorted to the main lounge. If we were still filling up, the screen would be pulled across and the second lounge could be used. If everything was full, gentlemen could sit in the bar and be offered a drink. Louise didn’t like the place getting this busy but it often did. Some evenings you could find ten to twelve men sitting in the bar.
There were also three spa rooms. Each had a bar, a shower, a large spa, and a plastic-covered double bed that would have looked more at home on a boat. Each room was decorated a different colour, so they were distinguished as the blue room, the pink room or the peach room.