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Celia Capace - The Wrong Door

Brothel premises in Australia are not allowed to participate in street-level advertising.  Only the name of the brothel is allowed to be displayed. This leads to some folk stumbling in accidentally and unaware on the odd occasion. 

There were four occasions where I encountered clueless folks wandering in. The first time was when a guy walked in when business was slow.  He stumbled upon 12 scantily clad beauties waiting patiently in the open lounge area for the 3 pm tradesmen rush to commence. He looked around puzzled and asked where all the men were. I told him they'd be in soon enough. He then asked if we were a gay bar as someone had directed him to us as being such. I informed him that someone was playing a joke on him for we were a brothel. He quickly and silently retreated out of the building. 

One brothel I worked in was a beautiful building that had once been a luxurious hotel many years ago.  The interior decor was evidence of this fact. A young woman with a toddler and baby in tow opened the front door during my day shift to inquire if we would exchange paper money for coinage she needed for the parking meter.  I replied in the affirmative and helped her with the pram over the front steps so she can wait in the lobby while the exchange was being made. As she was thanking me and admiring the ornate ceilings and walls she asked what type of establishment we were.  Informing her we were a brothel brought about a wide eyed response and an utterance of “oh my, oh my, OH MY!” and she started to hyperventilate. I tried to allay her fears that no harm would be done to her but she was having none of that and couldn't get out quick enough. 

Approximately a couple of weeks later I get a couple walk in with their luggage asking if they could rent some rooms for a couple of nights.  This petite elderly country woman and her huge country son had heard about our establishment years ago from an acquaintance when it was still a hotel.  I thought to myself ‘here we go again’, and explained to the couple, fresh in from rural Australia, that we were no longer a hotel and that we only rented rooms by the hour.  In other words, we were a brothel. I prepared myself for the panic but she calmly looked around and said, “Well, I must say you've done the place up lovely, dear. Is it a heritage building?”  I was pleasantly surprised by her reaction and it just goes to show you never can tell how people will react. I told her I didn't know if we were heritage listed and as we were quiet I offered to show her around downstairs as my hostess made enquiries for more suitable accommodation close by.   She accepted my offer and we embarked upon a short but pleasant tour together remarking on the beautifully intricate and ornate work that you no longer see much nowadays. 

On another occasion I was on day shift at the Daily Planet.  It was a Sunday and business was slow. Now, for those not in the know, the Daily Planet is also the name of a fictional news corporation in the Superman comic book series.  This Englishman came in, approached me at the reception desk and asked if we sold ‘The Times’ newspaper. I explain we are a brothel and not a newsagent. We both had a good laugh when he told me his sister, who he was visiting from England, had obviously set him up.  This brothel would often get phone calls from guys jokingly asking if Lois Lane was available for bookings. I'd often reply that she was not, but Clark Kent sure was. This response would cause some callers to hang up on me but I got a good laugh out of it and still chuckle to myself when thinking back.