Why I got a job at a Happy Ending massage parlour
A few months ago, I started working in a “happy ending” massage parlour in Sydney and the one thing I keep asking myself over and over is why didn’t I do this sooner? Because although you probably don’t believe me, this is the best-goddamned job I’ve ever had.
I’ve always loved sex. I can’t get enough of it in fact and when I’m not having it, I’m thinking about it. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve passed on a one-night stand. Although that last part is likely helped by the fact that I’ve never been super hung up on someone’s looks or age, as long as there’s a bit of chemistry there, I’m good to go.
For these reasons alone, working as an “erotic masseuse” is pretty much the ideal vocation for me. The fact that I waited til I was in my late twenties to take the plunge and work in the Sex Industry (I feel like I should use a ‘scary, sleazy’ font every time I write those words) speaks more to my self confidence than to a wariness about exchanging sexual services for money.
Since my mid-teens, I’ve had a fascination with sex work. It started when I saw an ad in my local paper for Lingerie Waitresses – the idea that you could be paid just for ‘being’ planted a seed in my head that germinated for 10 years, as the idea of exchanging sexual services for money became more and more of a viable option. I initially looked into the stripping/lingerie-waitress side of things because it seemed more “legit” and “not really sex work” and therefore the kind of thing that wouldn’t attract massive amounts of criticism from my peer group – something that was regrettably important to me back then. But I never ventured down that avenue of The Industry (seriously, is there a sex-industry font?) because I believed that I just didn’t have the right body for that kind of job (read: “Perfect in every way & just oozing sex appeal”). Looking back now I want to slap the early-twenties me because I absolutely had the body – I just couldn’t see it, thanks to a lifetime of heavily photo-shopped role models.
So by the time I finally (a) got the guts needed to go to an interview and (b) accepted and some days even liked my body, I was 27 years old and the place was an erotic massage parlour in Sydney’s CBD. The most difficult part was making it over the threshold into the establishment itself. I think part of me was expecting (fearing?) a dirty hole-in-the-wall kind of place that was home to the broken, washed up & exiled dregs of society who had nowhere else to go. The kind of place that would turn my stomach and send me running down the street screaming, “I’m not that kind of girl!”
But I made it through the door and all the way to reception, where I met one of the female managers and was immediately put at ease. She was well-spoken and welcoming as she invited me into the extremely kitsch venue and seated me at a bar that looked like it came straight from the set of Mad Men (well, one of those dingy all-night bars that Don Draper frequents anyway), and I found myself craving a scotch as the she and I chatted. She was frank and honest about the job without being vulgar or off-putting and before I knew it, I was giving her my shift times for the coming week. I say ‘before I knew it’ because during our conversation there was a part of me waiting for her to say The Thing. You know what I’m talking about – the sentence that perfectly sums up the moral/ethical/self preserving line you won’t cross, whatever or wherever it may be. But here I was, organising to start my first shift at 7PM that coming Saturday and The Thing hadn’t even got a look-in.
Cut to Saturday Night and there I was, full face of make up, a revealing little black dress and the only pair of heels I could find that qualified as sexy and also allowed me to walk without resembling a newborn foal. After being trained by one of the regular girls on shift (who was lovely and full of helpful tips) I was good to go.
One of the regular girls, who was lovely and full of helpful tips walked me through a whole booking; sensual massage, champagne and how to have sexy, slippery fun in the spa. After that I was good to go.
Here’s a quick rundown of a usual shift:
Reception rings a bell to signal that a guy is headed to the front desk. One of the girls lets the client in and seats him where he has a good view of all the ladies, who take turns introducing themselves and indulging in varying degrees of flirtatious banter, depending on how keen they are on him or on getting booked.
After introductions are finished, a manager goes through the different spa/massage options and their prices, which range from a 30-minute sexy massage up to a 1 hour 15 min booking in a private room. The client chooses the girl he likes and off they go.
Once in the room, the client showers while you grab their preferred drink (cheap-yet-palatable-champagne, light beer or juice). You strip off and jump in the spa together where you can drink, smoke, talk and rub your naked bodies up against each other. Unsurprisingly, a lot of clients are more inclined to stay in the spa for the majority of the booking, even though this means less massage time. Sitting in hot bubbles with your hands on a slippery, naked female while you drink and laugh is seemingly preferable to lying face down on a massage table. In these cases, the massage part of the booking cuts straight to the Happy Ending.
I’ve had clients who’ve extended a booking for hours on end and we still spent 95% of the time in the water. Other clients are like clock-work and get onto the massage table after exactly 15 minutes of spa time. There are those who spend the entire booking trying to put their hands where they shouldn’t and those who are almost afraid to put their hands on me at all.
While you can never be sure what kind of person is going to come through the door, or what they’ll be like when you’re together, the end-game remains the same – get them in, get them hard, get them off. While this crude explanation is essentially true, you quickly realise that this is only the bare bones of the job. The path you take to get them to the final stage changes with every client and figuring out how to navigate that path is all about reading the person.
Once I’m in the spa with a man, I can gauge pretty quickly what he’s after and who I need to be – a slutty minx, innocently-sexy-yet-naive, a flattering ego booster, a psychologist, or just a mate to have a laugh & a beer with. Most of the time it’s a mixture of all of these.
I’ve been so many people since I started this job – the girlfriend; the ex-girlfriend; the naive young thing who needs a man to show her the way; the mother; the vixen; the sexually enlightened; the sexually oppressed; the seductress in Satan’s service; the maiden who needs rescuing; the girl you tell about your girl; the whore; the mate; the best friend with benefits; the kink-inclined minx. Turns out I’m pretty good at all of these roles – I can be exactly who a client needs me to, because I know the final act is always the same.
Three months into this job and I’m still loving every minute of it – I actually look forward to coming to work. I’m making enough money (anywhere from $200 – $500 per shift), only work when I want to and have heaps of time to myself, which has allowed me to start studying without having to revert to the student lifestyle that I so detested in my early twenties.
In the last 9 months, this parlour (which has been active since the late eighties) has added the option of ‘full service’ (sex) to the menu. I was pretty excited when I found out it was becoming an option as it’s definitely something I’d consider, although possibly just with a few regular clients.
Also, the idea of ‘crossing to the other side’ isn’t as overwhelming in a place that doesn’t market itself as a “brothel”. A massage place like this attracts a particular kind of client after a particular type of service, so on the off chance that they are interested in taking things further, it’s usually because they already know you & are comfortable exploring something new that they wouldn’t necessarily be interested in otherwise.
With only two full-service rooms available, the business remains almost exclusively devoted to the “erotic spa & massage experience” – the “rub n tug”, the “steam n cream”, the…well, you get the idea.