Working 9 to 5
January 11, 2010 10:08 PM   Subscribe

Position vacant: night receptionist at a gentleman's club. Can anyone enlighten me as to what the work would be like?

There's a job being advertised near me and the advertised rates are excellent. I need a part-time job and the idea of working inside a brothel doesn't worry me, as long as I'm not expected to "entertain". Before I ring and set up an interview (and possibly both embarrass myself and waste the interviewers time), what can the Hive Mind tell me about this sort of work?
posted by ninazer0 to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing its a glorified term for "payment collector", "bouncer", "beater-upper for rule breakers".
posted by hal_c_on at 10:54 PM on January 11, 2010

Are you a man or a woman? Is this a strip club (what "gentlemen's club" usually means in the US) or a bordello (which you also stated)?

Clubs need bouncers and greeters. Some also have bartenders and cocktail waitstaff. There's no way to know about job duties or safety without firsthand knowledge of that particular club but obviously it's more dangerous than filing reports all day. There will probably be rowdy groups and bachelor parties but bouncers at good clubs keep them in check. The girls at clubs are sometimes a little crazy and sometimes a lot crazy; some are on various pharmaceuticals. None of this is really universal.

Go to the interview and see what it's like. You'll get a good story out of it I bet.
posted by chairface at 11:05 PM on January 11, 2010

I have no idea if the following will be useful to you since you are in Australia and almost certainly referring to an actual brothel, but here goes:

At the Midwestern US strip club where a friend worked to pay for school, receptionist also meant bouncer. They switched off between taking money and policing the behavior of the patrons and dancers. At 2 am, they had to clear the parking lot before they could let the dancers out, and that occasionally involved fighting groups of patrons. At this club, the actual receptionist station was a lot like what you'd see at a movie theater ticket booth, plus UV lighting.

I was recruited to be a "receptionist" at a different club where the entry room featured a reinforced steel door with a remote electronic lock and bulletproof glass for the register booth. I was young, but not stupid enough to think that just because I was big I was going to come out ahead in fights at a place that needed that protection. I didn't pursue an interview/meeting with a manager after seeing the entry room.

The difference between the two places was that the former attracted a lot of middle/upper middle class professionals and the other was more "country." The interesting part was that the club patronized by the middle class professionals was in a seedier area, while the other club was much closer to where those professionals lived and worked. Are Australian brothels all sedate places? Is it worth finding out about the clientele first?
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 11:09 PM on January 11, 2010

"Receptionist" can mean "candidate for being desensitised so you will join the rest of the sex workers." I can think of at least three people I know where this was so and it's the common wisdom in my neck of the woods, or it was before legalisation.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:10 PM on January 11, 2010

'Gentlemen's club' can mean a lot of things. In europe it mostly means sketchy whorehouse, except in Turkey where it means 'the bouncer is going to rob you.' in the us it can run the gamut from 'disgusting shack full of sad drugged chattel' to 'lesbian-owned rockabilly burlesque review' but mostly 'high-end professional teasing joint'. I presume in Australia it doesn't mean the kind with the congac and the armchairs and the foxhunting or at least I hope so or this will seem like a nonsequitor, unless your mention of brothels was deliberate in which case I must seem squeamish. Anyway, it's hard to say without knowing what sort of GC this is, but in the usual US clubs the non-naked female staff _are_ expected to flirt and otherwise humor the male clinentele. Many if not most are trying out to be dancers. There is usually a front desk, with coat check or cashier, at which the women dress provocatively and have a tip jar but other than that and the burning shame on the faces of the patrons it's exactly like taking tickets at the movies I'd guess.

Wow I know a lot about their clubs..maybe one day i should become one of these gentleman!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:11 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

To clarify: you work on reception for a while and see that it's not so bad and then the owner suggests you can put your talents to better use.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:11 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

About 15 years ago, I applied for a job as a receptionist at a brothel in Canberra. (Now defunct, it was called Parlourment House. I kid you not.)

I was assured that I wasn't expected to, quote, 'jump the counter', unquote, as they had more than enough girls working for them, what they needed was a skilled calm receptionist who isn't easily fazed, has spectacular people skills, and could work day or night shifts.

However, what put me off was that I was expected to do the hard sell routine - they were quite upfront that they expected me to push as many services (or girls) on the customer as possible, to extract as much money as possible, and that the drunker ones or particular ethnic groups were the best ones to target.

When the interviewer explained that, I reluctantly admitted that we weren't right for each other, we wished each other well, and I was on my way out the door.

But go to the interview for a laugh.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 11:22 PM on January 11, 2010

A friend of mine used to manage SWAP, the Sex Worker's Outreach Project. In fact, two friends of mine have managed it over the years. You have to have been a sex worker to work there, although they're with the Aids Council of NSW-funded by the NSW state government. SWOP

Give them a call. They're all really nice, and really casual... easy to talk to for someone inexperienced. Sometimes a little too graphic. But I figure that's what you want in a situation like this. (I've been there to do some training for them over the years and it was fun and hilarious and informative for ME!).
posted by taff at 1:00 AM on January 12, 2010

I used to know someone who did this kind of thing (in Adelaide) and as far as I know she really was just a receptionist. She had to deal with customers and do various other administrative things but was never expected to do any bouncing or actual customer service, and she always felt pretty comfortable about her level of involvement. But I think it will really depend on the particular place, and I doubt they'll secretly laugh at you for calling up before the interview and asking what the job will involve.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:48 AM on January 12, 2010

Yeah, if you're in Australia go talk to some actual Australians. Unlike most of the US, sex work is legal and has a different attitude towards it.

That said: are you going to be working in a strip club, brothel, or the sort of gentlemen's club where it's really exclusive and full of older men in suits but no sex happens? (A friend is a waitress at the latter.) They're all different.
posted by divabat at 10:46 AM on January 12, 2010

A friend of mine who has visited these establishments one or two times (in Aus), says the following:

It's a bit hard to tell what the term "receptionist" means in this case.

You might be in the back office, answering phone calls and assisting the people who are managing the place with general office duties.

Or you might be on the front desk, at reception, welcoming patrons, taking payment and describing the terms to them.

In either case, I doubt you'd be expected to do any security work. They'd have bouncers all over the place.

And I highly doubt you'd be expected to "entertain" if you're hired as a receptionist (although they might suggest it as an option to you after you've been there for a while, if they think you fit the bill).

The couple of places like this that my friend has been to are all very above board, at least from what he has seen. Just be sure it's not some shady fly-by-night operator.
posted by Diag at 12:14 PM on January 12, 2010

A big "Thankyou!" to everyone who replied. I got quite a few MeMail's with a tonne of info (sordid details?) as well as those of you in the thread. If I'd been thinking properly, I'd have set up a throwaway account to further anonymise you. Thank you very much for sharing your stories with me anyway.

So, followup...

I rang the number listed and had a very nice chat with a manager there. The bulk of the work was indeed receptionist stuff, but they were also looking for someone fairly glamorous to up-sell services, ply the customers with drinks and generally keep the clients happy while they were waiting.

I arranged an interview even though it wasn't exactly what I was after but received another (and better) job offer in the meantime (from a place I thought I'd totally bombed in the interview, surprisingly). I considered still going to the interview just to see what it was like, but ultimately chickened out so I rang back, apologized and canceled.

Ah well.
posted by ninazer0 at 7:25 PM on January 12, 2010

Thank you for the follow-up. I'm in the US and learned a lot.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:11 AM on January 13, 2010

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