Monday and Tuesday were extremely slow. Not only did the bell not ring a lot (I spent most of my time napping or doing my day job), but I wasn’t closing the deal. Too many Larry the Cable Guy truck-drivers who wanted the world for $100, ideally $20 if they could get it that cheap.

I wasn’t being a team player, but I needed to find the balance of feeling good about myself, making money and taking care of the house. It’s not an easy spot to find, especially since the house encourages you to go ahead and have sex at what amounts to street prices. If I wanted to be sucking dick in a car in an alley, I’d already be doing it. Yes, this is some of the class issues I was talking about. For an American in the US, it’s easy to spot class (might not matter or be so clear-cut in another country). And I know what sort of class of man I like best, and who appreciates me properly.

Besides, I grew up with those redneck, trailer-trash, KKK-loving bastards and I really have no intention of giving them pussy if I can help it. Not mine, at any rate.

No, some things I cannot put aside. That is me and has nothing to do with sex work.

The most disturbing thing so far happened Monday night. A man who had already seen a girl was in the bar while I did a lineup. He saw me and another girl came to get me for him. Not only was he full of bullshit (I could stop this work and come live with him – he felt he could cover my expenses – ha!), he had been drinking and was utterly annoying and cheap. But I finally got him to agree to my price for sex.

We do dick checks before we process payment. So if there’s an issue, they can leave without worries of refunds or anything like that. No harm, no foul. I pulled on my latex exam gloves and started wiping him with an alcohol-soaked baby wipe. He looked okay until I pulled back his foreskin. There were red spots all over the inside of his foreskin and his head. My interest ended right there.

He didn’t take it so well. He argued it was because he was rubbed by the condom before, he argued he had doctor’s proof he was clean. The small amount of money he was paying for sex, and the half of that I would get was not worth my future and my health. I’m not that much of a gambler. Since I’m not a doctor and could not properly identify the issues or test him – I handed him back his credit card and escorted him to the bar.

This caused waves.

Remember, part of being a team player is not letting money walk out the door. The girl who had him before me said she didn’t notice anything. Another girl told me I was supposed to get a second opinion anytime I had a questionable DC. The bartender said that I didn’t have to see anyone I didn’t want to see, then immediately called another girl to take him to her room. She did him. I think she was told why I rejected him, I don’t know.

Disturbing. Unsettling. Unsafe.

I felt like I did something wrong in protecting myself. I certainly question how well-informed everyone is on STIs and transmission. (One girl believes that two condoms is double protection. Not true.) The house probably doesn’t care if you get something in the line of duty. The tiny amount the guy is paying certainly won’t even cover treatment costs for a curable STI, much less a life-threatening one. The amount he paid would barely cover the reduced cost of our weekly culture.

Chasing the money can be done very well without scraping the bottom in terms of prices, clientele or needless risk. Bella wants “professionals” in the house – girls who want to work, make money and don’t have home issues or substance-abuse affecting their work. I want that too, but a real professional will be turned off by the three things I just mentioned: rock-bottom prices, low-end clientele, risk/safety issues. Though a real professional can roll with most things and learn new things (like negotiation), the serious issues affecting her money and well-being cannot be overcome – no matter how nice everyone is. Unfortunately.

tuesday

Another very slow day. Another day with too much free time to think (and nap). My irritation at the cheapies grows. I openly discuss this with Shaunia and she begins suggesting ways of making better money. I listen and try to learn. Making money is why I’m here. I’m not a journalist and though I want new experiences, I also would like to make money. I am a sex worker, after all.

I ruminate on the personal revelations I’ve had while here (I’ve had a few already). I think about my upcoming travels to different countries and how I might handle different situations. My germ-phobia. Whether or not my class issues are confined to American society (I believe that they are). I think about two boys I really like. How sore I am. I’ll be seeing the local perv-doctor Thursday for my weekly and wonder how that will go. I write. I nap. I try to adjust my attitude. I consider leaving early (8/18) instead of staying through 8/20. I had previously considered staying through 8/25. It’s still up in the air.

I don’t even think about sex worker rights. I don’t, I can’t. It’s not part of this universe. That these girls aren’t on the streets is what seems to matter. Why aim so low? Is it merely a matter of eye-opening education? Or dire need? Or that you can’t carry a thought when you’re interrupted by the damn bell every five minutes?

Quite disenchanted.

41 thoughts on “the right to say no – days 6 and 7

  1. Wow, I just read the above post and don’t know what to say. My experience is with the houses in Northern Nevada, not the smaller out of the way houses like Bellas which I have never been to.

    In some of the houses that I am familiar with in the Reno/Carson City area, either the lady sets her own minimum, or if there is a house minimum, it is like for a ten minute hand job.

    I’ve heard the term “price walk” used many times, which is when during negotiations the woman requested a really high price and would not budge so the potential client walked. In other words the lady’s prices are not set in stone and can be adjusted upwards if she does not want to party with someone.

    I hate to say it, but it sounds like Bella’s is run in a more desperate fashion by management.

    Anyone interested could visit this messageboard and ask questions, as it deals with Legalized prostitution in Nevada:
    http://www.nevadabrotheltimes.com/phpBB3/

  2. Amanda sometimes it is best to take the bitter with the sweet. Why not learn and “steal” all the game and knowledge you can get. This way you can learn how to open and run your own LEGAL brothel and be a madam. Find out everything you can and don’t tell everyone. As far as class issues sometimes a good hot dog stand is easier to open and run and is more profitable than a fancy French restaurant with high rents and payrolls. Good luck.

  3. If I were likely to visit a brothel, everything you’ve told us about this one would make me drive on by. It sounds like the kind of place that would be in a movie on Lifetime (“Brothel: The [insert name here] Story”).

    I’m thinking you ought to look into some classier outfits.

  4. Ed,

    I am going with the house minimums and almost every girl here goes below that (or gives more in service). The mentality here is not one of high profit margins. I got scolded today for letting a cheapie walk out the door (he was considered “money”). Most of these guys know the house minimum and that’s all they want to spend. Of course, I’m not a great negoiator (or speller).

    I don’t price walk at all. I state what is a reasonable rate set within the current struture and it’s too much for most of them. It’s pathetic because it’s low-end escort rates. Do these guys not have a clue?

    Bella’s is run in a way that makes money for Bella. It does not make tons of money for us — at least not without excessive time and energy on our part.

    Thanks for the forum link. The only one I am familiar with is NVBrothels.net.

    Ian,

    I might try another brothel or two, but probably not immediately. I have a lot coming up during September and the end of August.

    This isn’t the best advertisement for the brothel system, but I’m not a fan of the system yet. Maybe another one would change my mind. Maybe not.

    Cash,

    This hotdog stand is profitable for Bella, not the hot dogs. Since I’m a hot dog, I have issues with this.

    I am trying to absorb as much as I can. This is new to me and I want to learn. However, I would not open my own brothel. I want to open a co-op brothel. I do not want to make people work for me, only beside me. I have no intention of being the end-point of a funnel of money; I’m happy just making my own money myself.

    XX

  5. That’s cute a co-op brothel. Well Amanda you do have a good heart and you are not greedy. I think the prices should be higher however you have a lot truckers and miners plus they are used to paying the going prices. Have you done research on the other Nevada brothels. Talk to other woman who have worked different brothels and try to find a place where they are charging upscale money. But this is just a suggestion the final decision is of course yours. If this system goes against your personal beliefs and principles then you will most likely move on.

  6. Amanda,

    I am not at all suggesting that you pricewalk, only telling you that it is done in most of the houses in Northern Nevada if a lady does not like a potential client to highlight some of the differences between the brothels there and where you are. It would be nice if you had that option, though.

    There is a philosopy of “not letting money out of the house.” But this usually involves trying to help a client find a different lady who will “party” with him if you cannot come to an amicable financial arrangement.

    In most of the Northern houses, at least in The Moonlight Bunnyranch, The Wild Horse Ranch, and The Sagebrush, the ladies get to set their own rates. Nothing is written down, but the ladies typically negotiate and either arrive at an agreement with the gentleman or not. They get to run it like their own business. Its a completely different environment.

    Sadly, I don’t think the stae would ever allow a cooperative brothel. They have a love hate relationship with the brothels–they love the tax revenues they bring in, but are at the same time embarrassed. They make it very difficult to open new ones and rarely issue licenses. I don’t know what is involved other than a lot of money. It is easier to buy an already existing one if it comes up for sale, and that costs loads of money because the license is such a hard to get commodity.

  7. Im amazed! OK a little shocked.And a little offended by the lower class remark. I only pretend to be a……Whatever it is Im pretending to be. I can only assume I was given certain privledged info so that I might comment on your conclusions,right? Anyway here goes,please read on ….mb —–PS—-I come from the dirt under the fingernail class,but….you know my appoximate age,I no longer work,[at all] and still make six figures. I came to the Brothel,right?

  8. Wow…this is really eye-opening, Amanda, but I had my suspicions about Bella’s I’d heard someone else at the conference who had visited the brothel give some criticisms about the way the place was run and I figured a lot of the Nevada brothels were run the same way…tons of house fees, being told not to let money walk, shitty clientele. However, I’ve heard from a few conference people talk about going there to work after meeting Bella and I’m referring them to your blog. I’m really glad you’re writing this.

    Have you been able to talk to Bella at all about your concerns? What has her response been?

  9. Serpent,

    Bella came by twice: once on my first Saturday while I was in the shower and once yesterday for just a few minutes. At that point I did not care and was not going to go and greet her. I really have no idea what she does. Her sister and daughter are involved in the running of the brothel, she really isn’t.

    The long-time girls do know her and seem to know her well. She hasn’t made any real effort to talk to me (except briefly on Satuday on her way out). She just wants more “professionals” from the conference to come and work for her.

    Since Gitmo detainees get more sleep than I do, I’m in a completely foul mood this morning and likely to stay that way.

    XX

  10. Cash,

    A co-op brothel is not fucking CUTE. It would be a place of business like any other. My ethics and yours differ. We already know that.

    I might try another brothel to compare experiences, but not at this moment.

    Ed,

    I do thank you for sharing your experiences with the brothel system. I will be asking around and doing more research — unfortunately most research I find is from the client-side and is only a partial picture of the situation. But if I DO go to another brothel — I’ll blog about it!

    I also realize a sex worker -run co-op brothel in Nevada is a pipe-dream. But it’s one I’m liking right now. A brothel could be a hell of a place to work if it was run correctly and attracted the right client-mix.

    Mike B,

    If you are who I think you are, you are not included in my class remarks. You treated me fine, we had a great time, there are no complaints at all. Class — for me — is about a certain mindset as opposed to strictly money. I don’t like people who gleefully wallow in their ignorance or who are highly prejudiced based on really stupid things — like skin color.

    I am a highly prejudiced person, but it’s based on the character of the person I’m interacting with. If you’re an asshole, I won’t like you. It’s a really simple system and works for me.

    XX

  11. Has Bella read all this stuff you wrote about her and how you want to change the way Bella runs her brothel and how you want to change how Nevada runs the brothel system? Also Nevada is full of good ole’ boys, truckers and miners I am sure that when some of them read this stuff it won’t be taken lightly (yes believe it or not most rednecks, truckers and miners can read). I don’t care one way or another but I wonder what the outcome of all this will be.

  12. Do you think that there would be this same exploitative attitude in a brothel in Amsterdam, Oz or NZ? I would think that it would be even more pronounced, given the demographics of the sex workers there. This may be something that you’ll encounter on your tour of the world sex industry.

  13. Thanks for the info Amanda after reading this I would never go to a cesspool like Bella’s or any other brothel in Nevada for that matter. It was a good and clever move how you infiltrated this brothel and brought to light how terrible these places are. It is very noble how you are doing your best to liberate sex workers from pimps, madams and other leeches. I am sure after these girls at Bellas had the honor of meeting you they will pack there bags and leave when you go. You are a hero to these girls so they can be indies. Plus I always liked indies because most of them do gfe dfk etc. where in a brothel they have to many dumb rules.

  14. Carmine,

    Yes, I’ve thought of everything you mentioned. Why should I censor myself to make someone else feel better? The brothel system SHOULD be changed, it needs it. Why pretend otherwise? And Bella’s brothel could be changed for the better, of course. Everything can always use improvement, including myself (I’ve pointed out several areas that could use it). Or I could just choose to be silent and let people go on thinking everything is just fine.

    Randy,

    Most sex workers in NZ are quite happy with its system. It’s not a brothel system, it’s a decriminalized country. I don’t know about Oz. A friend of mine is working down there right now. I look forward to her report. Amsterdam — have no real interest in working there. Even the sex workers mention problems with its various systems.

    Jon,

    My intention was not to “infilterate.” I was hoping to find a place that fully supported sex workers and had a great working environment. I also wanted the brothel experience since I had not had it before. Nor am I trying to convince girls to go indie. I barely talk about my indie experiences with them. I have a feeling they wouldn’t believe it (several of them have worked for escort agencies and had bad experiences).

    The negatives I’m pointing out might not be negatives to a girl who has never worked before or has only worked the streets. To an indie, they’re big deals. To me, they’re big deals. Other girls might roll with it better or see it with different eyes.

    The “dumb” brothel rules of safer sex are one of the few things I truly like about the brothel system. Though not kicking out a guy after he fails a DC is bad.

    XX

  15. Gilette,

    Glad you’re enjoying the journey. It’s been rocky for me, to say the least. I’m still sincerely hoping to finish with a great weekend. Despite the negativity on here, I really do want to end it well.

    I’m trying.

    XX

  16. My germ-phobia.

    You make it sound like that is a bad thing. Given that some of the germs you might come into contact could literally end your life, germ-phobia is a good thing, IMO.

    I am so sad that this has turned out to be such a disappointment for you, for many reasons. At the same time, I recognize that it is a completely unbiased report of what goes on inside the brothel, and therefore I trust what I am seeing here more than I might from any other source. I do hope that you try out one of the others at some point to see if it really is systemic or if it is something unique to Bella’s. I hope it is the latter.

  17. OK Amanda when I said cute I didn’t mean cute like “babies are cute”. I never seen you say the F word before you sound a little testy. You sound like you need a good 12 hours of undisturbed sleep.
    Now correct me if I am wrong is a cooperative brothel where a number of women own the brothel and chip in equally towards all expenses and bills?
    Then whatever money each woman makes is hers minus her fair share of the brothel expenses (rent, utilities, phone bill etc.). Or if someone makes more money they can chip in a little more. But the bottom line is there is no brothel owner that doesn’t do sex work. Rather the sex workers equally own and run the business. Also no non-sex workers make any money off the women except for say a cleaning lady or some other assistant who would be an employee to the ladies rather than the other way around. Is this what you have in mind?
    Now as far as ethics I think as long as adult parties agree to a business deal that they both consider fair and they both do their homework and research pertaining to that business transaction it for the most part is ethical. That sums up what I deem as ethical.

  18. Alexa,

    We shall see if the problems I’m finding are systematic of the brothels. If they are…I can’t imagine how this system works for any of the workers.

    Thanks for applauding my germ-phobia. It seems out of place here, unfortunately.

    Cash,

    Yeah, I’m on edge. I’ve lost weight too. I have no sense of humor right now. None.

    I’m not sure how a co-op brothel would be structured, but I imagine it would be what you describe. It would also be a non-profit type of thing. Profits would be split among the workers or go to brothel improvements since no one really “owns” the brothel. Again, I have not really looked into it. I’m sure there are others more versed in co-op businesses than I.

    Okay, good definition of ethics. However, I don’t feel that the owner of a given brothel is neccessarily ethical and it’s VERY easy for them to slide on ethics. I don’t think the situation is ethically sound because it’s such a personal business for the worker. Sex work is generally a bit of a tangled mess, as you already know. It’s not always easy to make everyone happy, safe and conduct fair business.

    XX

  19. Very interesting reading. I just can’t help but feel like you need to get the heck out of there. You are so very smart and lovely, with a keen wit and charm…this place is seemingly bringing you down and bad for your soul and psyche. Enough is enough…your fans/friends appreciate all you have written about this experience, but I think those who truly care about you want to see you making track outta Bella’s. Go home and be happy, K? 🙂

  20. Hi Amanda, Followed my friend Gillette to your blog. This has really open my eyes as well to a world I’ve never expeirenced. I have been thinking of visiting a brothel this next month just for the expeirence, now I may rethink that idea. After reading what you’ve written here in one sitting, I can tell you’re burning out already. Don’t stay there too long.

    Take care.

  21. “Bella’s is run in a way that makes money for Bella”

    Aren’t all brothels, agencies, strip clubs, massage parlors…pimps…run in a way that makes money for the business owner? As an independent, nobody guilt trips you for saying NO, for not lying on your back to make money for them regardless of how it will affect your health and psyche. Of course they want to keep money, no matter how little, from walking out the door. THEY are not the ones sucking and fucking for it. They take a piece of whatever little you make, no matter what it costs you. I haven’t worked in a brothel or a strip club, but this was the feeling I got from the escort agencies and I will never go back.

  22. Amanda, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a long time. You’re terrific – one in a million. Best wishes.

  23. I finally had time to catch up on my favorite blogs today & oh my lord did you not disappoint!

    This experience you’re going through is fascinating, though my heart also goes out to you. Glad you’re having a little fun but sounds like it’s mostly a drag, learning experience notwithstanding.

    Seems the strip clubs in Austin have picked up a tiny bit this past month, at least for me which is a godsend as it’s been a slo-o-ow year. I really hope the same happens for you out there in brothel land. You’re in my thoughts…

    xo ~ casey

  24. Hey Girl.

    Thanks for the clarification on your Low Class remark.
    What you call Low Class, I call No Class. Your right, they
    come from ALL walks

    mb

  25. I am so glad you’ve reported on this. I know that I would not like this situation anymore than you are liking it. I think our temperaments and expectations are similar.You need to leave sooner rather than later. Please! And I think you need a hug…and food. So, *hugs*

  26. I read through Alexa’s blog that you were considering working at a brothel and I couldn’t believe it! I had to see if your experience would be different than what I imagined that level of work to be all about. I’m so sorry to see it’s not. That place sounds terrible! I think you should leave as soon as possible. The harm this is doing to your psyche and potentially to your body is not worth it. You know you’re better than this and it kills me to hear about you suffering through it. You mentioned exploring work in Europe. I think that sounds like a good idea, far better than this! My thoughts and well wishes are with you.

  27. I noticed someone gave you the URL to Nevada Brothel Times earlier. There are several websites out there covering Nevada brothels including mine Sex in Nevada. Our message board is located at http://www.sex-in-nevada.com/MB/ . Every Nevada brothel is different and none that I know of are like Bella’s. They differ both in physical plant as well how the owner treats the workers. Most go the negotiation route but some (Shady Lady Ranch in Beatty and Inez’s in Elko) have fixed prices for basic service. I’ve been involved in LPIN (Legal Prostitution in Nevada) as a customer since 1992 and started my website in 1998. The brothel system is far from perfect but it isn’t as bad as your experience is portraying it. I’ve known girls that have had as bad an experience, or worse, as yours but I also know some that find it empowering. Every form of sex work has it’s drawbacks and the women involved have to find the place where they have the largest comfort level. For some this is on the illegal side, for others it’s the only legal alternative and that’s the Nevada brothel system.

  28. I have to say, in the past four years that I have been working in the legal houses in Nevada I have seen/heard of everything you are talking about. However, Mark (of Sexinnevada.com) is right, many of the houses are very different from the one you are in. I never chose to go to any of the “smaller” houses, and opt to stay in the larger more well known houses. They have their issues too, but not like what you are likely seeing. Perhaps try one of the larger houses? If you find a free moment, please drop me a line, I’d love to compare notes!

  29. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It’s very interesting and useful to have an insider’s perspective on this. Sorry our intrepid correspondent ended up suffering for the story.

    I’m with the other commenter in supporting your germ-phobia. You need to make taking care of yourself a priority. That’s your right. And it’s not just for your own sake, either; your other clients are counting on you to keep them safe. Heck, strict hygiene is one of the major selling points the NV brothels push in their literature. Your stories of the failed DC and the drunkenness on Sunday are very worrisome. Stay safe.

    From reading some websites (already mentioned in other comments) and a Reno visit last year, I don’t think all NV brothels have the same price structure; no race to the bottom and less emphasis on volume. Maybe geography has a lot to do with it. You’re way up in the northeast, where you probably get mostly truckers and locals, with not very high incomes. Many others are near Vegas and Reno/Lake Tahoe, which see a lot of money and out-of-state traffic, tourists, and gamblers. A wider distribution of incomes, and a lot of people out partying instead of driving for work, and you’re more likely to see big spenders, and the brothels more likely to hold out for them, turning away smaller spenders instead of lowering the going rate that they can collect from all, including the big spenders.

    Personally I hope you decide to give one of the Reno area ones a try, because I’d like to know if they’re really different, or it’s just my outsider’s perspective.

    Derek

  30. Thank you all for your support, comments and suggestions. Yes, I’m going to email some of you privately to continue the conversation and ask some questions.

    I’m out of there and am processing right now. About to write another post, so…

    XX

    PS: I’m kind of on self-imposed vacation, so please excuse my brevity.

  31. I think before you scrap the whole legal brothel idea you should as suggested by some of the other people check out some other NV brothels. Also I think Bella came to that sex worker function and sold her brothel as female owned, we are all sisters here and told you what you wanted to hear. It doesn’t matter what the gender is of the owner what is most important is their brothel and their system compatible with yours and can you make money in a way that won’t stress you out. What is the story with Dennis Hofs’ brothel I mean besides what we have seen on the HBO mini-series. Is his place a decent brothel for the ladies to work? Are there any women you know who worked at Mr. Hofs’ Moonlight Bunny Ranch?

  32. Cash,

    Bella did say a lot of nice things. She was a great saleswoman, obviously. Perhaps since she hasn’t worked in her own brothel, her perspective is quite different. I hesitate to accuse her of simply trying to get more warm bodies into her place. Though she billed herself as the only female brothel owner in Nevada, I’ve discovered through very little research that it’s not true. There are other female-owned brothels. And yes, it really depends on how the brothel is run, not who is running it. The best way to figure out how it is run is by talking to the workers, not the owners!

    My escort mentor later worked at the Bunny Ranch and did quite well for herself.

    Ajay,

    I’m not in Dallas right now.

    XX

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