I pick up plenty of call girls, masseurs, prostitutes, whatever you want to call them. Lots call themselves 'receptionists'. ‘What do you do ?’, I used to ask naively. ‘Oh, I’m just a receptionist’, they'd reply. Which is a laugh given the large carry bags they tote over their shoulders, late at night.
Last decade I rented a room to a ‘receptionist’. A nice enough girl around thirty, somewhat overweight with a drinking problem. Working all night she would sleep through the day, awaking in time to attend to her daily laundry. Twenty, white face-washers strung on the back line was a constant of her tenancy. But she was 'just a receptionist’...
These are the parlour girls, operating out of well known establishments in East Sydney, Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Edgecliff and Waterloo. They also inhabit various shabby suburbs, further out along main roads in renovated shopfronts. A blacked out front window, large street number and all-night light signifies their presence. Some parlours are also located in well lit industrial estates.
Usually the workers who catch cabs home, dress down in non-descript street wear and are often escorted to the cab by tough, tattooed security blokes. The girls will sit in the back and are generally too tired to chat. Fair enough.
Others such as call girls, can look a million dollars as I ferry them to late night appointments at various hotels, clubs and private residences. The porcelain and ornate Asian girls are intriguing. Often diminutive, I’ve wondered if this factor correlates with the brazilian craze, in fulfilling men’s fantasies in the netherworld.
A smattering of girls are of eastern European extraction, heavily made up and dressed in constricting blouses and skirts, accentuating their curves. In endearingly thick accents, they’ll order unknown addresses in exclusive yet quiet neighbourhoods. At the location, the sound of the cab door closing sees a curtain in an upstairs room break the light, to reveal an aged client holding a scotch glass, checking on her arrival. These girls are beautiful, yet expensive.
Some girls are terminally late and will sit up front, silently impatient, directing me to far flung suburbs. The phone will ring to check on her progress. She’ll tell him ten minutes. I’ll tell her twenty. On arrival a leering yobbo scurries from a side passage, clutching a stubbie and dressed in a flanno shirt and trackkies, to pay me with a $50 note.
Occasionally a street girl will hail me with a fidgety client in tow. Usually it’s a short fare to a nearby doss house where rooms are rented by the hour. The backseat conversation is stilted and awkward, consisting of inanities like, ‘How long do I get ?’. ‘As long as it takes’.
Some years ago, I had a bloke calling me once every few weeks, late on a Sunday night. I would collect him from the suburbs and drive to the inner-city where we would spend an hour or more cruising street girls. He was a fat and choosy racist pig. ‘Take a left !’, ‘Take a right !’, ‘Slow down !’, ‘Stop here !’. ‘Nah, she’s too fat/a junkie/a coon/a towel-head....’.
One night he spotted a girl he’d had previously. On alighting to talk with her, the pimp pulled a knife on him, and he scambled back in the cab yelling to me, ‘Let’s go ! let’s go !’. Apparently, the last time he’d been too rough with the girl.
Shortly thereafter, a working girl had been found murdered in his neighbourhood. This occurred late on a Sunday night when I’d had a week off work. In the following week, the cab radio broadcast appeals to any driver who had carried a couple from Kings Cross to his neighbourhood on that night. Spooked by the similarities, I called the supplied phone number and spoke with a detective. However he seemed disinterested when I reported the blokes details and habits. They never called me back, but then neither did the bloke.
Regarding male prostitutes, there’s only a couple of occasions I can recall. And I never carry any gay males - rough trade - from the Wall in Darlinghurst as they are invariably picked up in private vehicles. Late one afternoon, a fit and good looking young Maori guy came out of an apartment block, lugging a portable massage table. A middle aged woman stood on the balcony with a certain smile, as I loaded the table into the boot. He waved her goodbye and climbed in the front. ‘So you’re a masseur mate ?’, I asked him. ‘Yeah bro,’ he grinned and happily told me his story.
On arriving in Australia, he’d commenced working as a builder’s labourer, then decided to learn massage to supplement his income. Quickly he’d dispensed with the labouring when he realised there were plenty of clients willing to pay double the going rate, in order to go the extra mile. Or inch. Though he insisted he only did ‘hand relief’. He had his standards.
As did the university girl who worked out of a bus stop in East Sydney some years back. She was very disciplined and would spend a few hours each night doing half a dozen, back street head jobs, at $50 a pop and be home by midnight.
The only other male sex worker I carried, that I knew of, was this sad cove. True rough trade.