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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lesbian couples vs. straight ones

A lot of people (both men and women) have really vague and sometimes funny idea of what lesbian couples are like.They imagine us painting each other's nails all day and constantly giving each other stuffed animals as presents. I can just see some of my exes busting out with laughter reading this... Although I must admit: I did paint my partner's nails on occasion and am guilty of a stuffed animal gift here and there...LOL..
Lesbians come in all shapes,colours,tastes and dress preferences.
Most popular categories are "femme" or 'lipstick lesbians" (the obviously feminine ones) and "butch" (those who veer towards masculinity), but it's really a lot more complex.
There are "soft femmes" and "hard femmes", just as there are "soft" and "hard" butch,not to mention "bois", who are a category of it's own.
Some of those categories have to do with lifestyle and the way of thinking, rather than  outward appearances.
"Boi", for instance, is a girl (or a woman) who has andro appearance and leads care-free lifestyle, avoiding any kind of responsibility or obligation. Bois "hook up" frequently, but they don't want any sort of relationship, whether long or short-term. Often, they don't want a job that will "tie them down" or any sort of serious commitment (such as property ownership). Basically, they model their lifestyle after teenage boys (thus the name), however, it doesn't mean that this category is limited by age-I've met some bois in their late 30's and they seem to be cruising along just fine. Very popular boi's motto is "Bros before hos".

Myself, I am a "lipstick lesbian", through and through; I love frilly skirts and blouses, have long well-maintained nails, spend countless hours at hairdresser's and spas, get a lot of pampering and beauty treatments. I remember talking to one of my exes about my plan for a weekend getaway: 1.5 hour massage, facial, full body scrub,sauna.. She was absolutely terrified-"This sounds like a weekend from hell-sheer torture", she exclaimed..LOL.. Although she was not "butch", she represented well what's called "hard femme": she wore pants (mostly jeans) all the time, when she did put a dress on, it was for a costume party and she called it "being in drag" and make-up never touched her face. She did have long dreads,though and was not at all masculine in the appearance or behaviour-she was definitely a woman,there was no mistaking that.

As being gay has become a lot more "mainstream" and even a "thing to do"(yip, there are quite a few "fake" lesbians running around these days,especially among younger crowd), people struggle to appear more accepting of it in an attempt to look hip and "up with the times" (most  have no issues with gay people,they just don't know how to act around them:)) . Few weeks ago friends of mine, a lesbian couple,were having breakfast at the outdoor cafe with their cute beagle. The person who delivered their coffee said to the dog "Oh, you are so cute, out with Mom and Dad". My friends looked at each other in amazement: although they were both wearing pants, they are definitely and unmistakeably WOMEN. They have soft features and neither one of them could even remotely been classed as "butch". "So which one of us is "Dad"? my friend quipped to her partner. This went up on their FB immediately (thank you,IPhone) and was a source of entertainment for the rest of us that day..LOL..
Although gay couples face much the same challenges as straight couples do (or even more on occasion,as two women with hormones raging at the same time could be quite intense), there ARE some definite advantages.
One of those is zero risk of unwanted/unplanned pregnancy. For obvious reasons it doesn't exist and it's something us lesbians don't have to worry about.
Hetero couples are not so lucky in that instance. I've just returned to Melbourne after 3 months in NZ and had to conceal my surprise when my 43-year old flatmate opened the door sporting a very noticeable baby bump. Yip, she got knocked up by her boyfriend, absolutely unwanted and unplanned and also very unexpected- at her age she thought all that was far,far behind her.
Although she welcomes the pregnancy now, it caused her a lot of problems: boyfriend wasn't thrilled at first (he came around now), so the relationship was in jeopardy for a while. She will have to move in with him (and she wasn't planning on doing so in any foreseeable future and quite enjoyed the dynamics of the house we are in at the moment). Not to mention the fact that she is freaking out (her term) about the whole "up all night with crying baby" thing. Her whole life is going to change-at the age of 43, just when she thought she was going to "relax and enjoy the ride".
I have to say, that night I went to bed and said a silent prayer,thanking the Universe for my sexual orientation :))

Friday, October 21, 2011

Safety in the sex industry

In the past few weeks a number of disturbing stories hit the newspapers: two escorts were found murdered in Melbourne (both in Port Melbourne, but so far they are treated as un-related homicides), a 14-year old girl nearly escaped kidnapping, another woman was found dead in one of the suburbs-killed by her boyfriend.

Where does simple attraction end and unhealthy/dangerous obsession begins? What pushes a person "over the edge"-so they lose all grip on reality?
As I've had my own scary stalker story (http://courtesansdiary.blogspot.com/2011/08/pitfalls-of-courtesans-life-client.html), I am very aware of client's strange/suspicious behaviours.
Just today  a client came into the parlour and booked me. Receptionist warned me that he used to see this other girl named Summer all the time,but she left the industry about a month ago and he's been asking for her ever since.
The booking was a tedious one, as the guy didn't want massage or small talk-he just wanted to "go at it" for the whole hour (so he definitely got his money's worth:/). At the end he asked me if I knew other girls. He wondered if I knew Summer specifically (he we go, I thought). When I told him I haven't seen her in 3 months, he pressed, asking if she seemed happy or sad about a month ago. I reminded him that I haven't seen the girl in THREE months (!!). For the next 10 min I was subjected to a barrage of questions: is it common for WLs to take time off work? What other parlours are in the area (he actually wrote down the addresses!)? Do parlours have our contact info?,etc,etc,etc. It was clear to me that he intended to go and visit all the other parlours in the area in an attempt to find Summer.
On the way out he stopped by the reception desk and tried to harass the receptionist, mumbling about "wanting to say goodbye to Summer". He also tried to talk to another WL in passing,asking if she was Summer's friend.
When he left, receptionist told me that he had actually written a letter to Summer and posted it to the parlour. She showed it to the management (good girl-it helps to keep people aware of what's going on). In the letter, he made all those assumptions and it was pretty clear that he was obsessed with that girl.
This guy has clearly lost all touch with reality: in his mind, he actually had a RELATIONSHIP with WL! While for her it was clearly client/sex provider relationship, he imagined much,much more.
This is actually quite common psychological disorder: when one person starts imagining that another is in love with them and they are letting them know through certain looks,gestures and ambiguous wording.
Unfortunately, these sort of disorders tend to progress if left untreated-they can lead to physical violence,kidnapping or even worse.
Sex workers encounter this more often than anyone else,as the very nature of this business is intimacy.
The object is to make client feel "special" through kissing, hugging,passionate sex,etc. Often WL and client have heart-to-heart conversations,and a lot of private details are shared, thus creating this sense of intimacy.
It is so easy for a client to forget that we are just doing our job (sometimes all too good). That we are laughing at his jokes and listening with rapt attention because we are PAID to do so. Yes, we act sympathetic of his troubles and support your opinions, whether or not we actually feel that way,because we are "on the clock"...
It is important to gently remind clients that all  this "perfect world of intimacy" is largely a fantasy land. Reality is quite different AND ever present-no one lives in a dreamland "forever after'.
Yes, it is possible for a WL girl to fall for a client and it does happen... But not nearly as often as guys imagine.
If the girl likes you, she'll find the way to let you know, trust me. There is no such thing as "she's too shy" or "she probably doesn't know how to breach the subject".
You know that movie "He's just not that into you"? Well, it's the same with the girls-there are no "hidden" signs. If she is not volunteering her number/asking for yours/suggesting a meeting outside of work, guess what? She's just not that into you!
Ladies,please be vigilant. Talk to your friends and people you trust about "clingy", obsessive clients. Document all  communications with them ( you might need it later). Let people know when going to see clients on extensive bookings/out-of-town. We (all of us) can help each other by looking after each other.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Husband #2 (this is mostly funny story :)

There I was: 21 years old and just arrived in US. I had a visitor Visa (good for 3 months), 2 bags, $300 cash in my pocket.. And some friends who were willing to give me a place to stay in their home for a while. That's it.
Oh, to be young and fearless-you think you're bulletproof :). These days I can't even imagine pulling a stunt like that. Rather,I research  things in advance, have various "safety nets" in place and plans A,B and C (often D and E as well :).
My friends (an older couple that I've met while translating for them when they were visiting Russia) met me at the airport in New York. It was hot and balmy August day. For a long time I've had unpleasant memories of New York,as my arrival coincided with garbage workers strike: bags of stinky rubbish,some half-spilled were strewn all over the city. Not the nicest of welcomes,that's for sure.
After a day of sight-seeing (and inhaling putrid stench along the way), we drove to Richmond,VA, where my friends lived.
I was never the one to sit around and wait for the opportunities to knock on the door, so started on the job search straight away.
I got lucky-almost immediately was able to secure a job as a prep cook in one of Richmond's restaurants. It was a bistro type of place, not too posh, but definitely not fast food. They specialised in fresh bagels made on the premises daily and offered various sandwiches/salads/basic mains fare.
As minimum wage in VA was $2.13 back then, I was quite fortunate to get $18/hour.
I've never worked in the kitchen before and had absolutely no idea of what to expect and what was expected of me... Oh,yeah-good times..LOL..
The job wasn't a rocket science,though. In the morning, at the beginning of my shift, I was to take a "Master" prep list and with it in hand, do the inventory of the chiller and freezer. "Pars"(how much of everything was needed for the shift) were written on the Master list, so all I had to do was count what's on hand and create my "work list"-what's needed to be prepped and how much. I then was to show the numbers to the Head Chef for approval and off I went-slicing and dicing.
That's pretty much what the job was: slicing ham and other meats,weighting and portioning those, slicing veges,cleaning and "leafing" (separating the leaves) the lettuce,peeling potatoes,etc.
The fun part was baking the cakes. I had to pull out a giant "Master Recipe" folder (it really was quite big and heavy) and then just dump all the ingredients listed in the huge commercial mixer,then pour the mix into the forms and place them in the oven. Oven had a timer, so I didn't have to worry about checking on the cakes much.
When years later I've told one of my ex-girlfriends (who happens to be a 5-star, award-winning Chef herself) about those methods and practices, she laughed so hard, she almost peed her pants! She vowed then and there to NEVER let me in her kitchen for cooking/prepping purposes (we worked together: me as Front of the House lead and her as Executive Chef).
Making cakes (especially cheesecakes) was my favorite task,as when you take them out of the form, some of the cake sticks to the sides and I loved scooping it up with my finger and eat it (looking back, maybe that was one of the reasons my second husband liked me-I think I was inadvertently putting on quite a show-what's with licking my fingers and smacking my lips and closing my eyes in near-ecstasy...LOL..)
Job had it's dangers,as well. One of them was commercial slicer-that thing was lethal and I always was weary when using it. I remember one time when one of the girls was in a hurry and sliced big part of her finger (about 2 sm from the fingertip) clean off. She was scared out of her wits before she even felt the pain,as blood was gushing everywhere,so she started screaming. Everyone rushed to her aid. As there were no shortage of rescuers, I thought I'd be practical about it and went on a search of the sliced-off fingertip. Good thinking, apparently,as it was put in an iced bag and later re-attached in the hospital. I was told that timing was crucial and it helped that I found it so quickly.
I did quite enjoy slicing cucumbers on that machine, though :)
Working in that kitchen wasn't exactly fun. Back then 80% of population of Richmond was African American. That statistic was pretty accurately reflected in the kitchen where I worked.
Black girls and guys didn't not take kindly to foreigners,especially white foreigners. For some reason, they perceived me as a threat, someone who was "after their jobs".
There was one woman in particular. I still remember her name-Brenda (and I am notoriously bad with names). She was very big woman (and I mean, VERY big). Brenda used to try and make me look incompetent in front of the Head Chef: her prep table was right next to mine, so she would prep the items from MY list and then tell the Chef  that she had to do it, because I was falling behind (I wasn't). She used to talk to me really fast, using a lot of slang words (I only understood about 25% of what she was saying-they taught us "British English" at the Uni in Russia and I've only just moved to US, where spoken English is really different,anyway,even without slang) and then complain to the Chef that I don't understand English. She would loudly talk to her friends in the kitchen about me (when I was standing right there) in that "slang English" and make fun of me..
That is probably why to this day I have a distaste for the kitchen-I never want to work in the BOH (Back Of The House), although I have a great respect for my many talented,amazing Chef friends who perform miracles on a daily basis.
My husband #2-to-be (although neither him nor I knew it at the time) was working next to me almost every day. His nick-name was Howie. He was not much to look at-just some tall,lanky guy.
Unlike me, Howie had gone to CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and had a real passion for cooking. This was a first step in his professional ladder and he had great aspirations.

Getting a job was only a part of what I needed to do-a bigger problem was getting a Green Card (American Permanent Residency). I've met some people in Richmond and through active networking found out that there was a private gymnastics school there and they hired a famous Russian Olympic coach, but the guy didn't speak a lick of English-none, and,of course, neither the owners nor the students spoke any Russian.
Clearly, they had a problem. And I had a solution! After some negotiating, they've agreed to sign the paperwork necessary for my "employment visa" in exchange for providing translation services. It was quite involved process: the ads had to be put in the local paper's employment section to determine that there were no suitable US applicants, forms and affidavits had to be filled and signed... I'm glad I've done it all by myself, as tedious as it was,instead of hiring a lawyer (not that I could afford one,either), as I've come to have a very good understanding of the process and all the "ins" and "outs" of it.
Everything was going quite smoothly and I was awaiting my visa, which I was told is "imminent".
Then one day I received a letter from Immigration. In short, it explained that they physically moved offices and due to that all their files were back-logged for at least 3 months. Suddenly, I was in a state of panic-I only had 3 more weeks until my visitor visa was due to expire! I didn't have another 3 months!
Next day I was at work, deep in thought. My mind was going 100 miles an hour,as I was trying to figure out what to do.
Howie asked me what was wrong. He noticed I was unusually quite and "not myself". I told him about my dilemma. He asked what could be done.
Half-jokingly, I said "Well, you could marry me and then I'll get to stay". He said he'd think about it. I assumed it was just a"small talk".
Imagine my surprise when just 15 min later he said "OK,let's do it!".
"Do what?" I asked.
"Let's get married, so you can stay in the country"
Apparently, he was quite willing to help me. He didn't ask for any money or stipulate any sexual favors (although we ended up having sex once in the next few months, but only because we happenned to be in the same place at the same time and it seemed like a thing to do).
So we set out to organise our "wedding".
As I was well-versed in Immigration procedures by then, I knew what needed to be done.
I've rented a dress and we did a "mock wedding", so we could take photos (immigration likes to see a lot of photos). We got married at the City Hall and I started the paperwork.
The big part of obtaining the Green Card through marriage is a personal interview conducted by Immigration Officer with a newlywed couple.
For that, Howie and I had to drive to Norfolk (capital of Virginia). It was a three-hour drive and I had this old Chevrolet which I bought for $500. The car could no longer reverse, so I had to make sure that I always park in places where I can drive out going forward..LOL..
Immigration interview was quite extensive: the lady was asking us all kind of "tricky" questions. For example: did our parents approve of our union? What did they say,exactly? What were our plans for the future (she wanted very specific job/living situation/kids analysis)? How did we meet? Did we have many mutual friends? Could we point those out in the wedding photos? Etc,etc,etc.
Apparently, we passed with  flying colours,as towards the end, the interviewer was talking to us about all those "fake" couples that come through and try to "pull wool over her eyes". She also was making fun of a movie "The Green Card" (it just came out not long before) and how ridiculous and unrealistic the plot was..
So that was that-I was in!
I had to stay married to Howie for 2 years, until my  Residency Status was changed from "Temporary" to "Permanent".
During that time I moved to California and Howie remained in VA.
The paperwork for change of status was not extensive and they've accepted whatever "proof of ongoing relationship" I supplied.
Divorce was quite easy as well-in US you can just file in court if both parties agree on the terms of settlement and you are single within 30 days or less.
I haven't stayed in touch with Howie and have no idea what he is up to now and whether or not he succeeded in achieving his dream of being a Top Chef and a Restaurant owner (hmmm, will probably search him on FB after I finish writing this).
I am very grateful to him, as he remains one of a very few men in my life who volunteered his help freely and unconditionally and never took advantage of the situation (and he certainly had numerous opportunities).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Plausible deniability (my experience working in New Zealand Parlours/clubs/agencies)

Plausible deniability definition: credible (plausible) ability to deny a fact or allegation or to deny previous knowledge of a fact.

I've lived in US for a very long time and we all know that it is a highly litigious society (it's one of the many,many reasons I left that country). You have to watch your step carefully, no matter what you do for a living (or even in your daily life), as you can become a subject of a lawsuit in a New York minute.
As I worked in Hospitality Industry for a long time (started as a waitress and advanced to a Restaurant and District Manager positions), I've been taken to court and took people to court on a regular basis. Even more so when I was selling Real Estate in Las Vegas and owned a Property Management Co. there.
Litigation was my bread and butter and, annoying as it was, I became quite adept to it, not fearing it at all, but rather just making the best of the circumstances. Knowledge is power and I've learned a lot from those experiences. One of the things I learned is how to recognise plausible deniability: I can see and smell it a mile away..LOL..

In New Zealand, where prostitution was decriminalised 8 years ago, parlours and clubs that provide sexual services are highly competitive. Even more so these days, when economy is flagging, our credit rating has been double-downgraded , the National Disaster Fund is literally empty and no one want to insure us after the massive Christchurch Earthquake. In short: the future is uncertain and people tend to have much less disposable income, or simply hold on to their wallets and sex industry thrives on disposable income, there is no denying that. Add to that the fact that entire population of NZ (as a country)is roughly four million, while Melbourne,for example, enjoys the same population as a city (plus thousands of visitors on a daily basis).

In my opinion good, healthy competition is great: consumer always wins that way. What I do object to are dirty tactics. I have no tolerance for people with "guerrilla warfare" mentality, especially when there is absolutely no reason for that.
I think those people forget that slinging mud at others makes them look bad to consumers.
Besides, we all know the famous adage about throwing stones while living in a glass house: no one is absolutely perfect and squeaky clean. We all have (or had) our problems and took shortcuts sometimes that we regretted later.. We all, at one time or another made a bad judgement call.. Sometimes we had to do things that didn't sit well with us, yet we needed money, so we went along with it..
If each and every one of us will be completely honest with themselves (I call it "sitting in a dark room by yourself"), we all have done something that makes us cringe (or something that others might consider immoral,unsavory,etc). As long as we've learned our lessons, it's generally all good.
Everyone needs to be a little humble, in my opinion,especially in our industry, where choices are in abundance these days.
When I worked as a stripper in Las Vegas (see my blog post about that), where there were as much as 300 girls on the floor working at the same time and competition was really fierce, those of us who "teamed up" and promoted each other always ended up making more money than those girls who just wanted to tell the customer that they are the best thing since sliced bread and talked rubbish about other girls. Many clients found it rather off-putting (I know because they've told me).
The way we did it, we approached the customer individually (or sometimes in pairs) and started talking about how he must be feeling so overwhelmed with choices,as there are so many beautiful girls around.. 99% of the time it brought up the question; "Oh, do you like girls?". I would enthusiastically nod my head and proceed to tell the guy how beautiful this or that girl is and how we "did it" just the other day (even if we never had)...blah..blah..blah.. You can guess the next thing that happened: yip, the guy had a "stiffy"...LOL..
Now he NEEDED a lap dance. Often he asked if the girl I was talking about would join us.. These often lead to conversation about continuing this party in a hotel room and, of course, more money (which was the whole point of that exercise)..
Often times guys came in by themselves to "scope the talent" because their group sent them as an "ambassador" of sorts: they wanted several girls, preferably bi (but they never said anything until later). Of course, if you were one of those "nasty" girls who badmouthed everyone else, you were automatically "out of the running"..hehehe..
As clients wanted variety, they often asked for recommendations. I had about 5 girlfriends whom I worked with at all times, and between 5 of us, we kept "recycling" the clients, thus continuing the flow of money. Guys preferred to skip the whole "hit and miss" search in favor of a simple phone call to a girl who came highly recommended from someone he'd already been with and knew exactly what to expect at what price,etc. That was another thing: as prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, it was a tricky business for guys as well as girls. Cops did conduct sting operations against punters (granted, not as much as against girls, but still), so one had to be careful.
A lot of times guys wanted to spend several days with a girl and she was only able to do part of required time (due to the work or family commitments,etc)-that's when those friendships and alliances came in handy. She would simply "hand" the client over to her trusted girlfriend-fun was had by all and money was made. Of course, the other girl would return the favor when the opportunity arose.
A lot of times those guys were successful businessmen and they handed our numbers to their friends when those were planning a trip to Vegas.
As you can see, it was way more productive to co-op rather than fight.
When I finally left Las Vegas for good, I "placed" all my long-time good clients with my friends. Some of those guys meant a good, steady, guaranteed income (like the one who came to Vegas every month,always booked in advance, took me to dinner, bought me a nice present and paid me $600).

But I digress... Back to NZ situation.
I used to live in Napier for a while and  started coming to Wellington just to work for a few days (usually 3-5) a couple years ago. I like to test things out and formulate my own opinions, so each visit I tried a different parlour/agency in order to find out which one suits me the best. Yes, making money was definitely on the top of the list, but I'm not broke, so take a lot of other things into consideration.
I didn't realise back then how competitive and catty some of the club owners get!

I am very organised, so usually do Internet research first, then contact the manager/owner via email, supplying a brief bio, my photos and asking certain questions.
After making contact and getting all my questions answered, I discuss the shifts/times, ask them to put me on the roster and book a hotel.
So when I arrive, I have everything sorted and ready to go: place to stay, place to work and often a dinner reservation or a theater ticket.
I will not be naming places,as it would achieve no purpose at this stage (has to do with plausible deniability I've mentioned before), but some of you might recognise them by description.
The first place I've tried was a well-known brothel. I was told they could provide me with accommodation (off-site) for $50/night. I accepted.
Upon arrival I've discovered that the place itself seen better days : it was (and still is, even more so now) in a need of major renovation. I was told that I could only work night shift (which I really hate to do,as I am a "day" girl,through and through-I like to sleep at night), but I accepted,as it was just a "trial".
Money was OK, but not that great (I was told on the phone that the reason they wanted me to work those particular nights,as they are "really busy" and there isn't enough girls)-I haven't observed any of that (plausible deniability fact 1: the manager enticed me to work the day's/shifts convenient for the brothel (but not at all for me) by saying things like "we are usually really busy during these times" which can be easily denied later by saying that no one can really predict the business and she didn't guarantee anything,which is true).
When I finally got to their accommodation, I discovered that it was a house,out of town (not far, but it's a good thing I had a car, otherwise they would have their driver take me there and charge additional $20 for that) with 2 bunk beds in each bedroom (remember, they were charging $50 PER PERSON PER NIGHT!).
Granted, it was just me and one other girl in the house at that time, but it wasn't the norm (usually all the bunks are full). And I still didn't appreciate sleeping on a bunk bed on the linen that clearly wasn't fresh (I actually didn't undress because of that). The very next day I got myself a very nice hotel room, IN town, for $88/night (Trinity Hotel on Willis St., which I highly recommend, often has those specials).
The next day I received a call from the manager before my shift and was told that their driver would come and pick me up. I explained that I'd rather have my car. We went back and forth for a while, her saying they prefer girls were driven by their driver.. In the end, I took my car to work..
When I arrived, a man introduced himself to me as an owner in the parking lot. We had a little chat (again, the driver issue, but I was adamant about having my car at all times and he backed off). During that chat he quite blatantly asked me if I had a boyfriend-I replied I was gay. His response:"Oh..Well,lesbians are people,too.." I kid you not!
Later,as I was sitting in the lounge, I overheard two other girls talking (I wasn't eavesdropping at all-they were talking loudly and were not making a secret of what was said). It was clear that the owner had sex with both of them for free (several times, in fact). No, he didn't force them. He just led them to believe that they have to do it in order to work in his establishment.
At the end of the shift I was fined $20, because, supposedly, the driver went to pick me up and waited for me for 15 min (although I very clearly stated that I wanted to take my own car).
Plausible deniability facts 2 and 3: having parlour's driver taking the girls to and from work actually gives parlour a lot of control. At that place girls are not paid their monies until the end of the shift, so if any of them want to leave, for whatever reason, it would be made that more difficult without a car and no money for a cab..
Also, the owner is clearly abusing his position by asking girls for free sex, but if asked, I'm sure he will deny it by saying the girls "wanted" it and "begged" him to sleep with them.. Or that him and any particular girl had a short-lived "affair" and things didn't work out.. Yeah, right..
Two shifts was all I did in that place.. I DID give it another try over a year later (it was more of a curiosity expedition than anything else). Things were even worse. Place looked even more run-down with threadbare linen and towels of undetermined colour (after endless washes). Rules have changed as well: girls were not assigned rooms any more and had to change in a downstairs room which had no shower or lockers.
No one told me about the length of shifts and I realised too late that I was expected to work 11 hour shift! It was very slow and when I asked the receptionist/manager if I could go home after 8 hours, she kept putting me off by saying that she needs to call the owner and "clear it" with him. Why on earth?! What does owner have to do with it? You are the one in charge of the shift, you are the one who just a minute ago ruthlessly and roughly poked one the girls awake to say "Hi" to a highly intoxicated punter who didn't end up booking anyone, then you should be the one making the decision about letting me go home. Especially when there are 5 other girls who WANT to stay and it would be less competition for them when I left!
Couple of other things happened during that visit. Customer booked me, went up into the room with me and immediately asked if he could smoke in the room. I said "No" and pointed out that he just had a smoke 5 min ago downstairs. He replied that it was a "different" kind of smoke and indicated a "joint" with a gesture. I was really upset: I don't do drugs (of ANY kind) and want nothing to do with them. I certainly don't want anyone doing them in my presence. When I firmly said "No!", the guy kept going on about how they "Let him do it all the time at the....... Club". I held my ground and he went downstairs and cancelled the booking.. AND was given all his monies back!
Another client kept going outside to his car and coming back in-each time clearly under influence of drugs.
I would've just walked out of there, but receptionist/manager made it clear with her demeanour that I won't be given my money then and there-I would have to come back the next day and fight for it and possibly be fined.. Plausible deniability fact 4: no she didn't spell it out, but it was very clearly implied, although she would certainly deny it later!
Clearly, that parlour was off my list of desirable places to work, so I continued my quest.
Next up was a place that opened just a few weeks prior. The photos of the rooms looked awesome! (and they were true photos of actual rooms,as I've discovered later-beautifully and tastefully decorated).
I contacted the owner/manager and was back in Wellington a week later.
First thing I discovered upon my arrival is that they pay the girls weekly. They told me,as I was only in town for 2 days, I would get paid straight away, but weekly is their standard procedure.
This system of payments always makes me uneasy: in our business there are a lot of variables and I'd like to have my "cut" of the money BEFORE every booking (that's how it's done in every parlour in Australia and some agencies in Wellington). Again, this weekly system of payments gives owner a lot of control and there is always that unspoken threat that you may not get all your money if you don't want to go through with a particular booking, or miss work or..whatever.. Now, I am NOT at all implying that the owner does that, but it does give me a pause.
Next thing I discovered was that the "room" (I have to put quotation marks,as it was more of a large closet,really) where the girls meant to sit between the bookings was really small. It hosted a washer and dryer as well, so would get really hot in there and there was no space for all the girls to sit (there were 5 or 6 girls on and it only had 1 two-seater love seat and 2 chairs).
The lounge for the guests was, in contrast, really cold and was furnished with outdoor,"garden" furniture (try to sit on a cold, hard, tile-top chair wearing nothing but a G-string-I guarantee you won't enjoy it.
I didn't like the shower arrangements and the way main entrance was situated,either. Personally, I think it was not at all "discreet" (and I've spoken with some clients later who agreed).
I found the manager to be controlling and micro-managing. For instance, she'd take it upon herself to decide which girls would go out to meet any client that walked in. In a "lounge-into" setting of the parlour that didn't make any sense to me.
Something else happened during that shift. I was told by the manager to do a "private into" for a couple in one of the rooms. Manager told me the couple is planning to attend a "swinger's party" and wanted to interview the girls individually. After about 3 min long conversation with the client, it was clear to me that he was into extreme BDSM scene with the emphasis on SM and was looking for a "bottom" or "sub" in addition to his partner to have a session in a dungeon ( no, not swingers club at all). As I do have first-hand knowledge of BDSM, I asked some very specific questions. The guy was cagey at first, but when I pressed, he answered all of them. I knew it wasn't for me-too extreme.
Guy interviewed 2 other girls and selected a young teenager. That girl was talking to me just prior and, without offending, I have to say that she wasn't particularly well-educated,quite new to the business and lacked experience. I don't think she even knew what BDSM means or entails.
The booking was made for 2 or 3 hours and the three of them (clients: man and a woman and the girl) departed to destination unspecified. However, they did return just 40 min later. I asked the girl for the reason and she said that the owner of the dungeon wouldn't let them in, as she recognised her (WG) from the parlour's website.. I know for a fact that the owner of that particular dungeon is extremely safety-conscious, so I am guessing she just used it as an excuse: she probably deemed the whole thing questionable as far as safety is concerned and wanted nothing to do with it.
So in they went into a room in the club where we all were. The booking lasted for 2 hours. When the girl came out, I must say, she was a bit shell-shocked.. I don't think she was expecting the level of pain inflicted, nor was she prepared to see what the guy did to his partner (she described it as quite brutal and was wondering how that woman would be able to sit after that). No "safe word" was given to the girl (I asked).
Now here's the deal with plausible deniability: the girl wanted the money, no question. She did agree to go through with the booking without any pressure. And later, she didn't really complain,as she kept saying that she was not as bad off as the guy's partner and she did need the money. Besides, I got a feeling that she was afraid to be in trouble with the manager.
The manager would stick with "swinger's club" story, I'm sure, if asked, and say she knew nothing about the guy's intentions and point out that no one forced anyone to do anything... All true.. Seems like everything was consensual. But I call it "illusion of consent"-when it's not really what it seems because the person giving consent is not properly informed and doesn't really realise what they're consenting to.
Reality is, it IS club manager's responsibility to provide safe environment. All it took for me was 3 min of specific,pointed questions to figure out what the guy was up to ( and so did the owner of the dungeon).
That, in and on itself, certainly wasn't the reason to show him the door (although I would be a bit weary,as he was cagey about it at first). I know some working girls who are very much into being a "bottom", they have very high pain threshold and quite enjoy their sessions and really get into it.
In my opinion, the responsibility of the manager was to educate the girl who clearly knew nothing about any of it, spell it out to her AND set very specific guidelines for the customer (requiring "safe" word would be one of them).
I only worked in that place for 2 shifts that I promised them and never went back. I understand the owner changed the format of the establishment completely and it is one of the better agencies in Wellington these days. That's great and I applaud them. But my experience from 2 years back is still on my mind: I know what I saw/heard. I know what happened.
I tried another place 2 weeks later: it was an agency that had a good reputation and boasted "beautiful,discreet apartments, truly professional management, who really cares about their girls" and great money and working conditions.
Back then I knew nothing about the existence of Adult Forum or NZG.
Apparently, in an attempt to promote me, one of the managers posted something on Adult Forum. It wasn't a big thing, just the usual "we welcome our new addition-beautiful Russian...blah..blah...blah.."
I honestly didn't see that post or knew anything about it until just 2 days ago: on a whim, I've decided to put my working name into the search box on AF and see what pops up. There were 2 pages worth of my posts and replies, some reviews and that post (from almost 2 years ago)...
There was what I described earlier as "guerrilla tactics": almost as soon as it was published, one of the working girls (supposedly) from that previous establishment where I worked 2 weeks prior,piped in. She tried to say that my dress size was stated incorrectly (she couldn't posssibly say that I was fat, as I am most definitely not AND there were photos of me posted), but she implied that I was bigger. Then she went on about my age, saying that I was much older (I've talked about age before: in our business the actual number is irrelevant,especially when there are photos posted: you either like what you see or don't. Age is strictly a matter of perception. Besides, different people really do age differently-it has to do with lifestyle,drug consumption,number of kids,etc,etc,etc). I am not making any secret of my age, anyhow,as clearly evidenced by this blog...LOL..
Basically, that girl was using bullying techniques to try and discredit me and/or prevent me from getting bookings. It was a pissing contest,really and pointless at that.
Plausible deniability fact 5: I'm pretty sure it was the manager of that club who was behind it. There are literally hundreds of working girls in Wellington and dozens of new ones come in every week, not to count those who don't advertise... I can't imagine any WG would look diligently through all the listings of the clubs/brothels every day to see what new girls pop up and to try and bully them. For one, WGs are too busy with their own bookings/clients and everyday life. Personally, I can care less about what others do: I am much more concerned with my own s...t.. Club/parlour owners are a different story however: they do look through all other websites and are none too pleased when the girls "jump ship" in favor of a competitor. They don't always say it out loud, but it comes up sooner or later-even the best ones succumb to that.
But back to that agency. Although rooms were nice and there was a pleasant area for girls to relax between the bookings, I found management lacking in professionalism.
Some of them answered the phone in appalling,unpleasant manner.. Some routed the land line to their cell phones and went to a pub for a drink during their shift and answered the phone from there.
They lied about girl's descriptions. They promised client's services that the girls were not willing to provide (and clearly stated so in their "intro" cards).
One manager put me through the ringer,really. Remember, at that time I didn't live in Wellington and didn't know the city and,especially,suburbs well.
The manager told me she has an out call for me. She said the guy was a good client and he usually books the girls for 3-6 hours. So far, so good. THEN she went into a complicated story about how her brother was visiting from out of town and he had her car (she was meant to drive me to the appointment). The brother also didn't know where she worked (she told him it was just a "phone marketing call center"). I was to get into a car with that brother of hers and his mate and NOT tell them what I do and not to disclose any potentially damaging information and tell them I'm just from Russia, don't speak English and going home where I'm staying with a friend. The booking was in Miramar, where I've never been before and I had not a slightest clue where that address was.. It was extremely uncomfortable ride, as the brother kept trying to hit on me,was asking all sorts of questions,etc.. (Yeah, very professional, no kidding).
The story didn't end there. The client did book 2 hours to begin with, then extended to three, by which time he was really drunk and started to ask for my personal phone number. He was telling me he wants to date me, take me to Rarotonga,etc. I tried to be evasive and distract him with sex, but it wasn't working: he was on a mission and was asking for my number every 3 min. The situation was getting uncomfortable really fast,as he was saying things like "Don't you know how I feel about you" (WTF??! You just met me 2 hours ago!). When he realised that I am not going to "play ball" (I never,EVER lead clients on and dangle the possibility of a relationship in front of them in order to extend the booking and get more money-I despise those tactics), he wanted to end the booking. I called the manager for a pick up. She said she'd be there in a few minutes. She left me there, standing on the street for half an hour, in the middle of the night, with substantial amount of money on me and when she finally turned up, I got bollocking for not stretching a booking into 6 hours, when "all the other girls usually do"!!
That's another plausible deniability trick, which is very popular with the parlour owners: you complain about something (say, being booked 5 times in a row without a break) and they go "Oh... Well, none of the other girls complain about that..." What does that even mean? So if all the other girls go jump off the bridge I should follow a suit?!
And then they (parlour owners) say they don't treat us like a cattle and that they really care... Pffft..
I worked for that agency on one more trip and things got worse. They did get a driver, but one of the receptionists started sleeping with him-right there in the rooms where we were supposed to see clients. Besides, that driver appeared under influence of drugs and kept giving all the girls funny looks: as if he was undressing them with his eyes. I was seriously concerned with a possibility of rape..
Some money went missing from the office (stolen by one of the girls who had a serious drug habit). Later, when I already left, the entire SAFE was stolen from the office by that same girl, her boyfriend and one of the managers.
Not surprisingly, those people eventually lost all their business. 3 months later, working for another agency, I was told by my manager (like I said, they all check the competition on a daily basis :)  that there are photos of me on that other place's website listing me as "currently available" and showing my face!  I haven't worked for them for months and I certainly didn't give them permission to use my photos-I called the manager straight away and it took her further 24 hours to remove them. In US I would've definitely had grounds for a lawsuit...LOL..
Eventually I found the parlour/agency that I liked and stayed there for over a year. It wasn't posh, it was more of a "volume" place, but...
The owner treated me with great deal of respect. I made my own schedule and decided on my own hours. Even with those, I could always text her in the middle of my shift and say that I wanted a break, to go do some shopping, get my hair done, etc and she would always let me.
I could end my shift any time I wanted.
After a few months, I wasn't even required to sit on the premises during my shifts: I was going about my business and she would call/text me to let me know when I had a booking (because she knew I was reliable and she could trust me).
She trusted me to run her business (phones,money and all) when she went away on a holiday. She gave me a beautiful, quite expensive handbag (which she knew I really wanted) for my birthday.
She made me a part of her family celebrations by inviting me to join them for a meal... Well, you get the idea.
I didn't leave there because I didn't like the place. It's just our professional relationship has run it's course.
As I am financially secure (through many long years of hard work), I've decided to go with quality vs. quantity.
I work privately, provide a lot more extensive, involved sessions in exchange for a lot more money, thus taking a lot less bookings.
Generally, I really like working for parlours/agencies/clubs, but they have to meet certain criteria.
As it stands for right now, I am quite happy to be independent.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lower priced parlours/agencies vs. higher end ones

AdultForum has given me a lot of inspiration as of late,it seems.. Who would've thought.
Another lively discussion was started the other day. At the center of it: service (or quality of thereof) in lower priced agencies/parlours.

I like metaphors, so will use one to illustrate my point.
How often do you walk by a kebab  (or a subway sandwich) shop and, on a whim, stop to have a quick meal? Or find yourself suddenly hungry and just pop into a neighbourhood pizzeria? Quite often you'd say. Not much thought goes into it,is it? You feel the urge, you satisfy it.

Now, how often do you just "pop" into the Logan Brown (one of Wellington's premiere five-star restaurants,the winner of many culinary awards and accolades)? My guess is, not that often.
One of the reason being  Logan Brown is booked out more often than not and requires advanced bookings.
Another reason is it's not cheap. A dinner for two with wine match there could easily set you back $300-$500 or more (depending on your wine taste).

Usually such dinner signifies a special occasion, so the booking is made in advance and event is eagerly anticipated. Preparations are made. Certain amount of time is set aside to fully enjoy the experience.
Your expectations are quite different as well.

While at a kebab shop (or any similar establishment) you simply expect the ingredients to be fresh and the meal satisfying, you often could care less about the decor, ambiance and hardly ever expect high level of service:efficient and expedient fulfillment of your order with a "thank you" and a smile would usually suffice.
So you pop in, have them wrap your kebab up,pay and go (or hungrily consume it in the shop,as case might be).

It's a whole different story in a place like Logan Brown. You're paying good coin for your experience, so you note every detail and your expectations are high.
You want the ambiance. You want award-winning designs in decor. You expect everything to be spotless.
You want "premium" soap and expensive features in the bathroom. You expect your server to have extensive knowledge of food and wine and cater to your every whim. You don't want your food just "piled high" on the plate: you want to see artistic presentation that vows you even before you took a single morsel into your mouth.
You want the experience to last, as well. You don't want to be rushed. You can well spend anywhere from two to four hours enjoying that dinner.

Both types of places serve the same purpose: you go there hungry, have a satisfying meal and leave sated.

But how terrible it would be if there were ONLY kebab shops available or ONLY Logan Brown types of restaurants! It would be unthinkable,as we have different needs at different times.
Same people partake in both on a regular basis. Existence of different types of establishments provide the balance we need in our daily lives.

It's not much different in sex industry. Simply put, sometimes you just want a quick kebab and sometimes you want a masterpiece to be enjoyed at length.
Some agencies/parlours specialise in "volume" business. They charge less and provide the same basic service,but things are not quite as "upscale": you could run into another punter on the way in or out, sometimes girl that you've booked becomes unavailable because she took another booking 10 min prior (remember, they are able to charge less BECAUSE they're keeping 'em going).. Sometimes place is a bit untidy because six bookings in a row took place without any time in between to allow for housekeeping..
These places have it's purpose and it's own "niche" clientele: a lot of cabbies on their lunch break, a lot of office workers, out for a "quick fix"... There is also a type of client who always want someone "new" and "young"-these parlours are haven for those,as they entice new girls with a promise of a lot of money (which is true:for about first 3 weeks,after which the girl is not "new" anymore)
These lower priced agencies often offer 20-min specials at a reduced rate,as well.
So if you suddenly found yourself "hungry" or have been "hungry" for a while and just can't save up the funds to eat at "Logan Brown" type of parlour, you can still find satisfaction at one of the lower priced ones.
The service is generally the same: you receive massage, BJ and sex. However, due to the lower prices and "volume" issue, ambiance and decor could fall short of the "top notch".. The girls may not be as immaculately presented... They may not be as articulate as their counterparts in "posh" agencies or they may just not want to make an extra effort,as they get paid less..
So, yes, you would still satisfy your "hunger", but it won't be a particularly refined experience.

When booking an upscale escort, the expectations are quite different (as well they should be: lower priced agencies in Wellington charge $140/hour, while "upscale" could run you anywhere between $200-$400/hour. 50% is a HUGE difference).

Usually you peruse through  girls' photos online, finding the one who really "floats your boat". You read her profile. You contact her (often several times). You make a booking and eagerly anticipate it. Often times you saved up for a while to enjoy your time with an escort.

You should expect a beautifully appointed premises,spotlessly clean. Certain ambiance is present as well (both Betty and I happen to like candles for that purpose and some nice "mood" music). You don't want to rush, so you engage in a conversation (on multiple-hour bookings I supply wine,cheese and fruit-I ask my clients in advance what type of wine or other beverage they prefer)..

For that price, you also expect a "full-on" experience (whatever it means to you: sometimes it's a "girlfriend" thing with lots of passionate kissing and cuddling, sometimes it's role play, sometimes it's something deviant,even-all that is discussed prior to the booking). Once you came, you don't expect to be rushed into a shower or the girl taking off: you might want to cuddle in the afterglow and continue the discussion two of you have started before...
Again, your "hunger" is satisfied, but... Totally different kettle of fish, isn't it?

Since we are on the subject, I want to address the actual "service provider" issue.
Again, I'll start with an example.

One of my exes is an amazingly talented Chef. She spent years of grueling training abroad to rise up to five-star status. She worked in premiere restaurant in Dubai, Melbourne and here in NZ. She commands very high wages... But she also throws sausage on the barbie for her family and puts together quick scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast-nothing at all refined about that and she is not trying to make it so-every one of us can make those things exactly the same way she does (even myself, and I really can't cook...LOL)
In recent years, due to the various circumstances, she had to take a job that paid substantially less than what she's accustomed to... Then another one that paid even less than that.. Yip, economy is not doing so good these days and no one is willing to pay proper wages, even to most talented and gifted people and she has bills to pay and obligations to meet. Does it make her less of a Chef? Of course not. Does it take less of a skill to cook the food because the wage is less? Definitely not (she worked in a 5-star, very famous establishment in Auckland-they just didn't want to pay the money). Will she be able to command high wages again when economy corrects (God, please don't let us all drown)? Of course!

Same applies to working girls. Generally, they produce the level of service that is proportionate to the amount of money they get paid. And, yes, sometimes they work in a lower priced establishment because of the money. In there, they don't provide the full spectrum of services they are trained for/capable of, simply because often it's not required or there is no time for it or they don't get paid enough to go "extra mile".

For instance, I am a qualified clinical psychologist. In America I had a lot of regular clients who came to see me more for that side of things,rather than sexual. Yes, we had sex, but it was a very small part of an extensive booking.
I'm also trained for light BDSM. Again, a lot of clients want that integrated into the service (you'll be surprised just how many).
I'm also well-traveled and well-versed in various subjects and can keep up an interesting conversation.
I am a qualified masseuse.
I am readily familiar with various investments and real estate subjects (a lot of clients ask for a real-time practical advice).

In a lower priced parlour where I worked until recently, the framework was not permitting me to utilise most of those qualities. If someone books 20 min or half an hour, there is barely enough time for a perfunctory massage, BJ and sex (I try to provide at least a couple different positions), let alone in-depth conversation.
On the same token, when only paid $90/hour, ($80 until few months ago), I was not willing to do advanced sessions without additional compensation-why should I?
Additionally, a lot of bookings were literally, "last minute", with maybe 10 min notice or no notice at all-there was no time to prepare for anything.

These days, working independently, I plan my bookings in advance. Most of my clients want multi-hour bookings,as it gives them time to get the most out of it. I use very discreet, beautifully furnished premises with amazing view of Wellington's harbour (people who own the apartment rent it by the hour).
I take time to get to know my clients and, being paid twice as much as I used to when working for an agency, I am quite willing to provide various extensive extras at no additional charge.

Bottom line: yes, money definitely makes a difference. And there is a place for "kebab shops" as well as "Logan Browns".
Sometimes you want just a "kebab" and sometimes you want "duck confit"-this is the way life is

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Comparison between NZ and Aussie parlours

There is a very lively debate going on Adult Forum (http://www.adultforum.co.nz/) sparked by Lovely Betty's blog post (http://bettybeldensblog.blogspot.com/) re. the possibility of a new legislation, which could make it illegal for WLs to work privately and parlours/clubs and agencies would then be the only way to ply our trade.
Battle lines have been clearly drawn (I LOVE the smell of napalm in the morning!..LOL).

Clearly, parlour owners will greatly profit from this arrangement, as the competition (girls working privately) would be wiped out overnight.
There are a lot of girls working privately in NZ,as it is as easy as putting the ad in the local paper.
A lot of those girls are very high caliber,truly stunning, situated in beautifully appointed premises. Of course, punters opt for those more often than not, as it provides a better atmosphere for GFE,privacy and discretion, to name just a few perks.
Of course, there are plenty of amateurs as well, trying to make a quick buck by pedalling their wares: they misrepresent themselves in the ads, have terrible houses/flats from which they work,have no idea of what proper service really means and,generally, are a sorry excuse for hookers.
Clearly, there is a place for both parlours and private workers, as different clients are after different things: some really want to come in for a chat first, have a drink, a cigarette, have a look around...

As wars are being waged on AF, I thought I talk about what parlours are like both here (NZ) and in Australia.

Australian parlours are generally very nice. Granted, there are exceptions, but if you find yourself in a big metropolis, like Melbourne, for instance, and go into one of many major brothels, you'll be impressed.

Most of them are beautifully decorated and often have "themed" rooms.
For instance, Harem in South Melbourne is all about "old-style bordello boudoir": there are crystal chandeliers, gold-gilded mirrors, and red and gold velour everywhere.
All the rooms have velour bedding (different colour in every room). Couple of rooms have four-poster beds and all of them have jacuzzi tabs. Entire place smells of old-world charm and luxury.

Every parlour has a lounge for the girls. Lounges are equipped with large flat-screen TVs w/Foxtel (AU version of Sky). There are plenty of comfortable couches for the girls to sit on. Robes and blankets are provided, so girls could cover themselves if they feel chilly. There are newspapers and magazines provided by the parlour for our perusal. Parlours are kept very warm, they all have central air and girls can control the thermostat or ask the receptionist to do so.

All parlours have kitchens and tea, coffee and juice is supplied for the girls by the parlour at no charge. Often parlours also offer toast, cans of tuna, minute noodles,tomatoes and cold cuts as well-again, at no charge, so the girls could have a snack while on shift.

Money is paid to the girls in cash BEFORE each booking commences. There are no "shift fees" or "advertising fees" or fines or any other such nonsense.

All parlours have cameras, so girls can see the client BEFORE they go out and do the into: this is how they avoid being "outed" by the people they know. Sometimes funny things happen: like when one of my friends was staring in horror at the camera,as she saw he best friend's (AND roommate's) fiancee walking through the door (and receptionist telling us that he is "such a good,regular client")..LOL..

If the girl doesn't want to do the into, she is not obligated to: all she has to say to receptionist "Not for me, thank you". Even if she happens to be the only girl available, she won't be made to go see the client.

Parlours have huge supply of linens and towels and those are kept in good condition: any sign of wear and tear and they're thrown out.

All parlours have professional cleaners come in every day and they do a very thorough job.

Girls are asked to work certain length of time (usually about 6-7 hours, but NEVER longer than 8 hours). To encourage the girls, most parlours offer a "bonus" system. Those differ, but usually you get ENTIRE amount (the house doesn't take their fee out) on your 6th booking if you worked for required amount of time (7 hours). However, most parlours are very reasonable: if there are few girls on and it's not busy, they will let you go at any time, if you wish to do so. No parlour would ever make you work for 10-12 hours, although some girls choose to do so when they are in a dire need of money.

Condoms (of ALL sizes) and lube are provided by parlours for free.
Most parlours have intercoms in the rooms along with panic buttons.

Some places stand out above the rest. For instance, Collinwood Confidential (former Grosvernor) was bought outright (business AND the building) by two gay guys a year ago. What a difference they've made!

They purchased all new beds,mattresses,pillows and linens (beautifully colour-coordinated to match the new colour scheme). The entire place was remodeled and re-painted (slow,pain-staking work,as it had to be done room-by-room). It is now a very classy, contemporary place.
Girl's lounge is HUGE and it has a number of couches as well as  amazingly comfy armchairs  (in case if you want a little solitude and don't feel like sitting on the couch chatting and watching TV).
There is a large covered outside area for those who like to smoke.
Boys provide yogurts,cold cuts, tomatoes,soups and noodles,tuna and salmon,biscuits,designer teas (such as Lady Grey), fresh pastries every morning and often bring additional special treats during the day. All that at no charge to the girls!
There is 52" flat-screen TV w/Foxtel, fresh gossip mags and newspapers.
They offer DOUBLE bonus system: they pay you additional $5 for each booking  at the end of your shift and a full bonus for your 6th booking.
More importantly, they really care about well-being and safety of the girls. They take time to talk to each girl individually (and there are a lot of girls working in that parlour), find out what her situation is, what days/hours are best suited for her and try to tailor the schedule to fit her needs/goals.
They also pay close attention to every detail.
Mike and Barry (the owners) are great! This is how a parlour should be run.

Yes, there are definitely run-down sad-looking parlours in Melbourne as well, but the goods ones are everywhere, so why even bother with the bad ones??

Also, in Australia WLs have to undergo mandatory health testing every month: one cannot work in a parlour without a DC (doctor's certificate). Testing includes blood sample (once every 3 months) and STI swab (vaginal and throat,as Gonorrhea could be nesting in there-take a note,those who ask for "natural" blow job-it's a medical fact). This is strictly enforced.
Once the client has chosen a girl and paid, he is taken into the room and subjected to a "health check" (performed by the girl). We usually look for obvious signs of STI. If the girl notices something "out of order" she could either ask another girl to double check or simply tell the receptionist that the client failed health check. In that case the guy is given his money back and shown the door. No questions asked.
It is, actually, a very good practice,as there is nothing worse than being in the middle of a booking and suddenly seeing something that's clearly a sign of STI: it makes it very awkward for all concerned.

Girl can refuse to see any client even if she's done the into: if she feels uncomfortable, no one will force her.
Generally, receptionists are "on the ball", watching client's depart:girls meant to walk them out. If the girl is not there with the client, receptionist will immediately buzz the room to make sure that the girl is OK.

Now.. NZ parlours... I worked in a few and my girlfriend worked in some, so the following is compilation of our experiences.
Quite a few of NZ parlours are run-down (some are just plain dirty). A lot of them were "converted" in a hurry and have mismatched furniture bought in second-hand stores. This is especially true for smaller towns.
I've worked in a places where parlour has doubled up as owner's personal storage: there was everything but a kitchen sink in there, in plain view. NZ owners are also very stingy with power:sometimes the heater in the room is not turned on until you actually walk in it with a client (and most NZ buildings don't have any insulation, so in winter rooms are ice-cold and barely warm up by the end of one-hour booking,when the heater is switched off again).
There are few truly beautiful places (FunHouse being one of them), but on the average parlours in NZ are pretty sad looking: they are all in a major need of remodel (old,peeling paint and water stains), linens are threadbare and they all show signs of neglect.
Parlours would often dictate which shift they let any particular girl to work. Often they require very long shifts (10-12 hours).
Many parlours pay the girls at the end of the shift (which creates the problem if the girl wants to leave early) or even weekly (I would never work for a place like that, as it creates way too many variables).
Often parlours don't have a nice area for girls to sit while waiting for a client (sometimes it's just a cramped under-the-stairs area next to a washer and dryer). Or they DO have a nice area, but the girls are obligated to stand on their feet and talk to the clients all the time while not in a booking.
Some male owners take liberties with WLs and "sample the goods" for free before they let girls work in their establishments.
There are no health checks (for either girls or clients) and girls often pressured into seeing clients they don't want to see or perform "extras" they don't want to do as a condition of their  employment.
Often there are no intercoms or panic buttons.
Sometimes owners or receptionists "close their eyes" on the fact that a client is way too intoxicated, agitated or plain dangerous-they just want the money.
Sometimes owners "micromanage" the girls and decide who they want to introduce to any particular client or what the girl should wear,etc.

Bottom line: in my humble opinion, NZPC and the Government should try and regulate parlours/clubs a bit more. We need to set higher standards,as some of those places are just plain embarrassing.

Parlour receptionists are a different story altogether. Some of them are really great and go out of their way to create a great atmosphere for both girls and clients (not an easy balancing act).
However, I've seen receptionist unceremoniously poking and pushing the girl to wake her up after a 10-hour shift to say "Hi" to a drunk client who couldn't even string 2 words together coherently... I've witnessed them implying that the girl would "loose" her money if she left early...
I was imposed a fine once for refusing to use  parlour's driver to take me to work (I'd rather have my own car at all times). You can guess why that parlour insisted on a driver taking girls to and from work: less freedom for the girl,as it's not that easy to leave on your own at 2 am, especially if the receptionist refuses to give you your money.
Some receptionists are quite skilled at "scary tactics": they don't say things out loud, but rather, imply them. This way they can always deny they've done anything wrong.
My girlfriend was working in a major parlour in Auckland when she became ill during the shift. Manager told her she would be fined $200 (!!) if she left early. In that same parlour my girlfriend's wallet (with $800 in it)was stolen by another WL. Management did find the culprit that very night, but... They let her back to work 3 days later!
There are some pretty good agencies I know of in Wellington, where they rent private apartments, furnish them nicely and book the girls through phone/Internet. However, same problems exist: some managers pressure the girls into doing multiple bookings in a row (say 5-6) or into seeing clients the girls don't want to see.
The best and most successful one at the moment is First Impressions, as it's run by the girls themselves as a co-op (every girl truly works for herself).

Receptionists really do have the power to "make or break" any girl's income. This I know for a fact.
I am friends with a really great receptionist in Melbourne. She truly cares and a lot of times acts as a "personal assistant" to the girls. I remember her telling me once to bring my washing in and she'd wash/dry and fold it for me, so I could work! (of course, I never took her up on that, but she seriously meant it). She would go after a client without the slightest hesitation if she suspected the girl was in trouble.
She told me once that she has a special pen on her at all times (NOT the flimsy plastic kind), so she could aim for the guy's throat with it if he intended any harm to the girl.
She is the one who told me it is so easy to manipulate and control any one's bookings. For instance, she overheard this one very pretty and very popular girl making fun of another, less attractive WL and being quite nasty and unkind. My friend demanded that the pretty one apologised immediately (the other girl was in tears and my friend hates injustice). When the girl stubbornly refused, my friend told her that she will not see another booking until she produces a heart-felt apology.
The way she did it was very subtle: after all the private intros were done, if the client wanted to book the pretty girl in question, my friend would hesitate for just a fraction of a second.. Then say "OK, sure, if you want her.." and just trail off. Of course, the guy would ask for more info and my friend would say "Oh, I don't know.. I haven't heard anything BAD about her.. In fact, no one said anything,really... Not like they do about (another girl's name)-she CONSTANTLY gets a lot of great comments". Of course, the guy then books that other girl..
You see how easy it is?
I was entangled with a receptionist from another parlour (see Lamentable Lesbian Love Story) and we never really got started... The girl she is with now happens to also be a receptionist in that same parlour.
I did one shift with her (you could cut the tension with a knife) and only got one booking, despite of the fact that I was THE ONLY girl available AND clients seem to like me in the into. They all went to talk to the receptionist (you have to in order to make a booking) and they all left without booking. I'm sure she had something to do with it.
We are all human: sometimes we can't help the way we feel and our emotions get the best of us. In ideal world, the only criteria would be one's job performance, appearance,attitude and work ethic. But we don't live in ideal world, do we?
At least, when the girls work private, they have no one but themselves to blame if their business fails. That's why some cannot do it: they need the structure and discipline of the parlour. But the parlours shouldn't take advantage of that. It is a very fine line and a hard balance to find, but some manage to do it (and those are usually the most successful ones)