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Massage Parlor Memoirs
 Sex work in the 70s

Shag Money


One of the parlor’s owners decided to redo the oldest of the session rooms.  It happened to be the largest and had a larger than usual massage table in the center.  The room featured an old fountain in the corner and Mr. NoTaste decided to leave the fountain.


He redid the walls with…you guessed it, shag carpeting.  That hideous deep red that shouted whore house. Not limiting himself to the floor and walls, he carpeted the ceiling. The room was resplendent with shag.


He also gilded the room’s sparse furniture entirely in gold, thick gooey paint that he just knew was sure to last. 


I kept telling him the rest of the House looked great, without being overdone.  I also reminded him that when he laid carpeting on the ceiling, it would have to be vacuumed like the walls.  Shag (as anyone who can remember it knows) holds dust like a bitch.


He didn’t care.  He saw himself as a talented decorator.  His partner was the one who’d picked out the rest of the interior.  Unfortunately the partner was in London when this guy made his decisions. 


After he’d finished the work (mid evening on a Friday…busy time) I stood leaning against the doorframe looking into the newly decorated room.  Let me just say that this man thought south-western to be the height of sophistication, so he had arranged cacti around the stone-look fountain.  It sat near the only window in the room, a narrow, shadowed window, replete with  the old stained glass of the original Victorian architecture.  I loved that window but it failed miserably with the newly hung bamboo roll-ups.


I held my sleeve over my mouth and nose to keep out the harsh chemical smell of the carpet glue and with a glance at the now-red-shag overhead, I shook my head and stepped back, shutting the door to that awful space.  Even the old décor sang with semi-classic charm against this mess. He readied himself to leave, saying something in passing about the glue drying quickly and that the room should be ready to use in just a little while.  Yes, sure, I thought.  Twat.


Clients were complaining of the smell and we had two and three waiting for sessions with the women in the remaining five rooms.  Not the best time to have a room unusable, not to mention the stench in the upstairs hall. 


By the time I got to the main floor, I found general calm with Sophie, the other hostess bringing order out of the chaos.  I’d opened all the windows upstairs (thank god it was summer) and hoped we could get that room usable soon.


A client stood in front of the reception desk, getting a credit card out of his wallet while trying to describe the kind of girl he wanted. He had that insistent tone of a guy who is rarely told “no”.  You’ll take what you get, buddy….and like it, I thought.


I told him that unless he’d had a session and could describe her to me or he knew her name, he’d be having his session with the next lady in rotation.  His double chin tripled as he harrumphed and I thought the top his head might just blow off. 


Suddenly I heard a dripping sound and it seemed very close to me. 


I looked up as the next drop hit the floor at the front of the reception counter.  The trail of water was unmistakably coming from the newly decorated room. I sent one of the girls up to shut off the fountain and she screamed as she got to the door of the room. Sophie stayed at the desk while I ran up hoping it was just another ordinary histrionic day at the House.


Getting to the door of the room, I knew that wasn’t the case.  The hallway shag carpeting was squishy with water, but inside the acid-test-gone-wrong room, the shag carpeting on the ceiling now lay over the fountain and massage table.  The gooey glue made it impossible to get over to the fountain to turn it off. 


Slipping only a few times, we got the ceiling décor rolled back instead, finally uncovering the fountain. The cacti he’d so carefully placed in the shag room with the Victorian window had been knocked into the fountain, heartily clogging the drain.  It was a mess. We shut the fountain off and left, our feet squishing in the soaked shag carpet, that felt like a scummy pond bottom.


When I got back to the front desk, Mr. ThreeChin stood at the counter, obviously infuriated but too worked up to leave without our services.  He was still grumbling about not having a parade of ladies to show him.  I looked at Sophie and she just shrugged, laughed and returned to taking Mr. ThreeChin’s money.


The women refused to sit in the lounge upstairs because of the soaked rug (nothing worse than a bunch of high-maintenance women with a water problem) and so were there for the grumbler to see.  I could tell he had a real thing for one of them and couldn’t help but laugh at it not being her turn.


He grumbled all the way up the stairs, but he still disappeared for the hour he’d purchased with the shapely redheaded “masseuse”.


The room was redecorated…tastefully, by the other partner.  No shag on the walls or ceiling, but he couldn’t resist red shag on the floor. 


At least he ditched the fountain.





Copyright 2008
Do not reprint without permission



Part 1  False Eyelashes and Fresh Towels

Part 2  Can you hear me now?


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