Oh Lord, I Think I've Bought A Brothel
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Oh Lord, I Think I\'ve Bought A Brothel

When the blindfolds are removed most people expose a deep intrigue of secret sex; we are inquisitive about the danger, the moral reasoning and the unfulfilled lust.

Together with friends I faced the darkness of being forty years old, or plus as our careers slowly began to reignite. That friend became a Barrister and that one, she became a glamorous Theatre Producer, while I bought a brothel.

It began as a joke as with my best friend as we told my kids “We’re off to buy a brothel!”

At the viewing the Real Estate Agent refused to touch anything but a bottle of disinfectant she grasped and yet she didn’t blink at taking two middle-class older women through the dingy, windowless 15 room brothel.

That place was snapped up by some loaded entrepreneur, but soon I owned a rundown purple duplex in the densely populated heart of the city.

Each day so many people walk by ignorant that this is the temporary home of lovers, sex workers and the occasional dominatrix who book the apartment for an hour, possibly two.

Yet 90% of the work satisfaction comes from recounting scandalous stories to those friends whose lives are defined by insipid routine.

Those women relish in my career. Accountant Jane begged to become the receptionist. Sitting in a dark corner she would spy on the Sugar-Daddies, the ladies or transsexuals and write about their lives.

Over time she developed a habit of repeating my stories at endless dinner parties she hosted, even if I was in attendance.

Not everyone wants to be so engaged. At some fundraising dinner I accidentally sat next to a Member of Parliament. In the chair to his left was another elected official who had been swallowing a little too much wine. “Hey,” she demands the attention of everyone in earshot.

“Does everyone know that Harriet runs a brothel? Well it’s not a brothel, but Harriet, tell them about the dominatrix and the Piss-Box.”

All eyes leaped with twisted heads straight towards me. There is always a cost to disclosure; that night it was a choice between destroying my reputation or telling a good yarn. The Piss-Box won.

For some acquaintances, it has been the death knell. One wonderful lady, an artist, suddenly lost interest in our developing friendship. Her son was heard commenting “Harriet and I don’t share the same moral principles.” Coffee was clearly out of the question.

My plumber was an essential player in transforming the little dump into classy apartments and he was fascinated by who was coming to play. “Harriet, as soon as you become successful, the Hells Angels will drop around demanding a cut, close you down or worse!”

His dire warning was to come to fruition. Round Christmas I arranged to show a man through the apartments. As I opened the thick blue door all I was to see was a six-foot-six Hells Angel, with bikie glasses and a thick leather jacket with ‘R.I.P. Harriet’ sewn into the pocket. Never before had I felt so close to death.

He walked in swinging no metal bar, no gun, he didn’t need to. To smother away my life all Goliath needed to do was sit on me to crunch every bone in my old body.

Thank God I remembered that I was no-where near being successful.

It took two minutes for a guided tour of the apartment and the adrenaline had taken control of my brain that spat out stupid questions, and the monster was engaged.

Giggling, my eyes fluttered as he raised his shirt showing off the bullet holes that scared his shoulder and arm.

He told stories of owning a diamond mine, built on a lucrative loan shark business and I relaxed knowing he was here for sex not to take my life. He did use the apartment and proudly I boasted to my plumber that I had survived a visit from the Hells Angels.

It was my daughters who really needed moral support. As teenagers the dull fantasy for romance hides the reality of the desire for sex outside marriage.

Arguments ensured, heated debates raged as initially the children were disgusted that their future assets where being used for immoral gains.

Yet every so often they would turn up at the house for their lift home and would face one of the working girls.

There was the beautiful, intelligent, 23 year old Andrea, who bright blue eyes shone from the opposite sides of her head. She bubbled her way through long chats with my children charming them out from their middle class stereotypes.

My oldest child later moved away to University enrolling in journalism.

One afternoon she rang in tears after realizing her first writing assessment was due in two hours.

We began to brainstorm ideas but each fell flat, panic ensured. “Darling as a last resort write a story about the brothel”.

She fell silent. “I’ll ring you back soon with some questions. No-one can know that you’re my mum.” She threw together an article including the story of the metre high sex worker, Peg, who accused me of stealing her big faded red dildo.

That night my daughter rang with delight. “Mum, the entire tutorial was pretty much dedicated to going through my article. Everyone loved it.” Yea! “But at the end my tutor said ‘that woman you interviewed who runs the brothel is a very dubious character.’” She got an ‘A’ for the piece.

For others being so close to the sex industry has blurred the line between interest and fascination. The lady who accompanied me to first big brothel soon began to question, “what if I became a sex worker, do you think anyone would want a plump woman with red pubes?”

What her fantasy represented was a common one that few of us like to disclose. It’s only when the topic of secret sex is high on the agenda do we realise it alluring for all, even if it is exhibited in repulsion.


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