I can vividly remember being at the opening of my first solo art show and saying to those around me that I felt it would be easier to stand in the window naked than expose myself like I felt I had in the work that was hanging on the walls. Last night I got to experience something very close to standing in the window naked. Last night I had a 45-minute lesson on how to work the window of a window brothel.
It was a Saturday night so I knew that the Red Light District would be busy, but it was also St. Patrick’s Day so there was more than the normal amount of traffic. I arrived about 15 minutes early so that I could get the camera and the video camera set up to document the lesson. Mariska met me and gave me a glass of white wine and a pair of impossibly high shoes that actually looked really good with my “working” clothes. (See yesterday’s post).
She turned off all of the interior lights in the room, so that only the red lights and the black light were on. Then she asked me to sit in the window but to only look at her and not out of the window just yet. She sat off to the right of the window in the darkness behind the curtains.
We sat there for about 10 minutes or so, while she explained to me how eye contact worked. First, she said, you do not look at anyone, but over their heads, then you gradually look around, and smile, begin careful to size up the men that are looking at you. She said you will begin to notice men who walk buy more than once, they are interested. The ones that come really close to the window are memorizing you for “later”, and she said you want to look for men who are not overly confident or aggressive but who seem like they want you to look at them and invite them.
I could feel men looking at me through the window the whole time Mariska was talking, It didn’t bother me at all. Now it was time to try and look out.
I began looking at the buildings, the signs, and .the bicycles. There were about 20 men gathered around the window. I was a bit shocked at the number. When I had first sat in the window there was no one outside. Mariska kept coaching me, saying things like “Smile”, “Pull your hair off of your face”, actually things that my mother used to say to me when I was teenager!
Soon I was able to go to the next step, actual fleeting eye contact. Mariska said to scan until I found someone who looked like a good prospect and then flirt. If I got nervous, she suggested to return to looking at inanimate objects or to pick a woman out in the crowd and make eye contact with her. At one point I looked at this young, sweet faced man and smiled, he smiled back, thought he kept on walking and I thought how sweet that was.
I didn’t find it hard to make eye contact at all, but a one point I apparently looked at the wrong person and Mariska suggested I back up from the window and talk to her. Apparently there is a gang of boys causing some trouble in the Red Light District and there were three boys outside of my window who were members of that group. They were probably 17 or 18 and they were aggressive in their gaze and when I looked at them I did get uneasy.
I turned around and spoke to Mariska as she instructed. The boys left, but there was still a crowd outside. Mariska then said to me, “You would make sooo much money, look outside!”
I turned back to the window and more people had gathered and that is the first time it registered that in a real brothel, I would actually have to open the door at some point if I was going to make any money!
Standing in the window was not really that bad at all, I am comfortable with my body, I was comfortable in the lingerie and let me tell you how flattering red lights are! But, I was not comfortable with the idea that in a real situation I would have to open that door.