This next part is difficult to write, but Dr Johnson, my psychologist insists that there is no point in writing a self-censored account of my life – it has to be all or nothing, so here goes.
I considered getting a second job to boost my income, but it would have to be something I could do in evenings or weekends. I considered waitressing, even stacking supermarket shelves, but these were very poorly paid jobs and would be exhausting when I had to return to a responsible job the next morning. A possible solution came to me one day when I was passing through Fortitude Valley, the nightlife and adult entertainment centre of Brisbane. I saw several houses with discreet red lights over the door, and I thought back to Jack with whom I'd had sex and how he had left me $100. At first I mentally rejected the idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that it was not particularly hard work and probably quite well paid. There was the question of morality and self-respect but I reasoned that I could put those on hold until I had achieved my goal of the necessary funds to pay for my transition.
The following day after work, I went back to the Valley. I decided the only course of action was to visit one of these 'massage parlours' as they were called and inquire whether there was interest in girls like me. I stopped before one house, and looked around, hoping there was no-one around who knew me. Then taking a deep breath I pushed open the door.
The contrast with the rather drab exterior of the house was amazing. The door led into a corridor with rich gold-patterned wallpaper on the walls and deep red drapes. I emerged into a room where a lady sat at a desk. She reminded me of Miss Evans at work and the thought nearly made me giggle, but fortunately I suppressed the urge.
She looked up and said “Can I help you dear?”
“Err yes. I was wondering about the possibility of some part-time work. You see I'm transgendered and I need the money to fund my treatment and surgery.” I knew I was blushing deeply.
She didn't look in the least shocked. “You are very pretty my dear, and most convincing. We only have genetic females here, but I do know of an establishment nearby that might be able to help you. It's at No 69 (here she gave the name) Street, most appropriate don't you think?” and she smiled.
I tried to smile back to show I understood the reference.
“Here, I'll write it out for you. Tell Miss Betty that Madge sent you over.”
“Err, thank you Miss Madge.” I walked back to the front door of the house, turned and left the way I came, resisting the temptation to run.
I found the other establishment quite easily, partly because the number 69 was displayed in very large numerals on the wall. No-one could object because it really was their street address.
The interior of this house was not unlike the previous one. I thought that there must be a standard décor for brothels – err 'massage parlours'. It was similar even down to the Miss Evans look-alike I found in the room at the end of the corridor. When I say look-alike, she did wear more makeup than I'd ever seen Miss Evans wear, and she did have a rather deep voice for a woman.
This time my enquiry met with genuine interest.
“As a matter of fact we do have a vacancy for a special girl like you,” she said. “We usually have two, and one has just left us for a trip to Thailand for her little op.”
'Little op?' I thought 'Not if the information I have is correct.'
“I do intend to have the operation myself, sometime in the future,” I said.
“So you are still 'entire' at present then? That's good. Our gentlemen prefer that. Now how about experience?”
“I've not had a great deal, but I'm willing to learn.”
“Excellent!” she exclaimed. She consulted a paper on her desk “Our other t-girl Chloe is free right now. I'll ask her to show you around and then you can come back and we can have another chat.”
She pressed one of a number of buttons on a small console on her desk, and a few moments later a tall ravishing redhead entered the room, wearing a diaphanous robe that left little to the imagination.
“Chloe my dear, this is Estelle, another 'T' who may be coming to work with us. Would you be a dear and show her around?”
'Estelle'? I hadn't even told her my real name yet, and already I had a 'professional' name, and I wasn't even asked!
“Certainly Miss Betty. Hi Estelle.” her voice was somewhat husky, but quite feminine-sounding.
I got up and followed her out of another door and into the main area of the building. The colour scheme continued on here – red drapes and subdued lighting.
“So you're a t-girl too?” asked Chloe. I hadn't heard the expression used before but recognised it as short-hand for 'transgendered girl'.
“Yes I am. I'm looking for some part-time work to save money for my surgery.”
“I don't know if I'll be doing that,” said Chloe “The gentlemen seem to like me how I am.”
As we walked down the corridor, muffled noises from some of the rooms indicated that they were already occupied. Chloe stopped at one and opened the door. The room was dominated by a large bed, and there was a small ensuite on the far side.
“This is my room today,” said Chloe. ”My next client is due in thirty minutes.” She showed me how the lighting was controlled and the situation of several alarm buttons which could be used in an emergency. “John our security guy is a South Sea Islander and the sweetest guy you could imagine, but one look at him and anyone making trouble turns to water.”
“Err, does that happen often?” I inquired.
“Very rarely, but it's good to know that help is at hand if you should need it.” She indicted the ensuite “We ask each client to shower first. Body odour is such a turn-off.”
She took me to a sitting-room where a couple of girls were having coffee and reading magazines.
“Hi girls, this is Estelle. She's a 'T' and may be coming to work here.” Ordinarily I would be blushing by now, but strangely I was starting to get used to this house where absolutely nothing was off-limits it seemed.
“Well that's a quick intro. If you come to work here, you'll get a more thorough introduction. Any questions?”
“Err, do the men have to wear condoms?”
“Absolutely!” Chloe replied, “We have a saying – 'if it's not on, it's not on'. Anyway, I'd better get ready for the next client, so I'll take you back to Miss Betty.”
She led the way back to the office where Miss Betty looked up with a bright smile “Well my dear, what do you think of our little establishment?”
“It looks very stylish.” I replied. Chloe asked to be excused and left the room.
“I do have a couple of questions” I said. Miss Betty smiled and slid a piece of paper across the desk towards me.
“These are our standard rates for the range of services we provide. The house keeps forty percent and you take the rest. Should any gentleman be so pleased that he chooses to leave you an extra gratuity, then that is yours to keep. I should mention that because these establishments are strictly speaking illegal, you don't have to declare your income and pay tax on it.”
Seeing me look puzzled, she smiled and went on “I don't suggest we are totally invisible, but we have an err arrangement with the relevant authorities which means we continue to trade and they turn a blind eye...for a consideration. Everyone's a winner. Now what sort of hours would you prefer to work?”
“Well I have day job, so I was hoping for evening work a few days a week if that is alright?”
“How about 7pm to 2am? That would give you time to have a meal before you start. You can have coffee breaks between customers if time allows, but if we are exceptionally busy, we would expect you to work through.”
“The other question is what I should wear?”
“Well, our gentlemen usually prefer our ladies in black lacy lingerie, and stockings and suspenders are a must of course. Chloe will help you with your make-up the first time. Its usually a bit heavier than usual, oh and no perfume, for obvious reasons. Some of our gentlemen are married. So, would you like to start in two days?”
“Yes that's fine thank you. It gives me time to go lingerie shopping.”
Dr Johnson said I do not have to go into details about my work at the parlour, and I'm grateful for that, since what I have written is embarrassing enough. What I did find unusual was that while some clients wanted a full service, others required very little, and the occasional man just wanted a person to talk to. How sad that there is so much loneliness in the world.
One thing I soon realised was that it wasn't practical for me to continue living at the hostel and keep arriving back there at past 2am several days a week. Fortunately there was a solution. The girl who had gone to Thailand for her operation had previously shared with Chloe, and didn't intend to work any more, as she had found a gentleman who was prepared to support her and provide accommodation, so when Chloe suggested that I share with her, it solved both our problems.
Like many people, previously I had not had a high opinion of the women who traded their bodies for money, but now that I was in fact one of them, and had opportunities to chat with the genetic women who worked in the parlour, my opinion did change. For many of them it was the only way to survive financially.
One woman was putting her very bright daughter through a private school education and related with some amusement how one day she realised that her client was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the school. “The last time I saw him he was sitting on the stage at the annual prize-giving and speech night, and gave a very nice speech about morals and honesty,” she said the a smile. “Fortunately I was just one of several hundred parents present, so there was no way he would have recognised me. I must say his wife didn't look the sort of woman to offer the services he asked me to provide!”
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