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The “sex workers at work” genre in films and fiction…

One of my favorite sub-genres of film and fiction is the “sex workers at work” story–examining the mundane details of the jobs people do in erotic businesses. (By “sex work” I mean the most general use of the term, including all kinds of adult endeavors including stripping.) I thought about this when I saw an interesting film the other night from the 1940s: Glamour For Sale, about the women working for escort agencies and clubs.

This film was shown on Turner Classic Movies during its Anita Louise day as part of TCM’s August 2018 “Summer Under the Stars” programming.

It wasn’t a great movie, but I loved one detail of how the B-girls operated the drink hustle, as explained by Anita Louise’s character: they would get brandy in a glass, and soda in a second glass. They’d sip the brandy with a straw, and then move the straw to the soda glass and let out the brandy. That way they didn’t get drunk. When the waiter came by, he would take both glasses away and, if the customer agreed, bring a fresh pair of brandy and soda glasses to the hostess. It was hoped that the customer would never be wise to the fact that the hostess was not actually imbibing the expensive drink.

This practice degenerated in the 1970s and early 80s, when I was going to strip clubs that heavily featured the drink hustle: the dancer (who would hustle drinks when she wasn’t onstage) would sip her champagne but then spit it, literally and obviously, into a second, and empty, tall glass. (For some reason or other, I remember how those tumblers were made of frosted glass.) In this way it was clear that the thing the customer was actually paying for was her time, and not the “champagne.” Unless the girl chose to actually drink it, which occasionally happened too.

Two of the X-rated films I wrote in the 1990s were of the “sex workers at work” genre: Masseuse 2 and Masseuse 3.

This was one of my most personal screenplays, inspired by Japanese movies about brothels such as Mizoguchi’s Street of Shame. The masseuse’s story enabled me to explore my own feelings about working in the erotic business.

 

This won Best Film in 1998 from the X-Rated Critics Organization. It has some intense scenes exploring femdom themes.

 

In both of these original stories (not related in any way to the original hit The Masseuse or to each other except in title) I tried to weave as many little details about the actual work of masseuses as I knew into the dramas. I guess I succeeded as the films were very successful and continue to be watched more than twenty years after they were made. I even had a small and funny little role in Masseuse 3 as a lapdance customer. You can find it at this adults-only link here under the scene title of “Sexy Chicks Eat Pussy and Finger Each Other.”

Also, my scripts for Sweetie Baby and Boom Boom Valdez depicted both the jobs and personal lives of topless dancers and, in the case of former, a waitress at a strip club:

And of course my psychological suspense novel Fate of a Stripper (see sample here)  includes all sorts of details about the stripping profession which I gathered from the dancers themselves through the many years I hung out in those clubs, and through the hundreds of hours of interviews I did with strippers for various adult magazines.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, one of these days, I wrote yet another story examining some aspect of the erotic trade…

 

 

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