The Five People You Meet at a Talk Called “The Making of a Madam”

LISTS, previously published in The Hairpin

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sit back and learn the ways of a madam

1. A male who spent 31 years as a railroad worker before switching professions nine years ago.

2. A 60-something Turkish woman who tells you she’s there because “I thought I should know something about everything.”

3. An accountant who helps independent sex workers looking for guidance on how to pay their taxes and national insurance.

4. A psychiatric nurse who tells you there are two kinds of men in this world, “Men who don’t have the chance to cheat, and men who cheat.”

5. No one else, because everyone else is too busy giving each other shifty eyes.

Also: 20 Tips/Guidelines on How to Become Madam Becky Adams

1. Remember to be saucy, not crude. Refer to male bits as “gentleman’s parts.”

2. Cover your ears, wrists and fingers with diamonds the size of golf balls. Dress in all black to offset your white-blond wispy hair.

3. If anyone asks you where it all went wrong, tell them your slide into illegal debauchery started with the Catholic Church — specifically, because you were educated at a convent in rural Wales and deprived of boys until you were 13.

4. Also, “Blame mum for everything.”

5. Start off with a love of ponies and dreams of becoming a riding instructor. Train at the British Horse Society.

6. Later, make jokes about how you learned to ride something else.

7. Fall in love with an ex-convict. When your ex-convict boyfriend and his friends botch a small robbery, tell yourself,  “I’m not going to watch a man cock everything up,” and become his partner in crime.

8. After you get “captured” for bank fraud, get released on bail, and start a topless car wash service. Paint “Best Hand Job in Town” in hot pink on the side of a van to boost sales.

9. But no matter what, never forget friendship comes first. When a friend says she’s going to become an escort so she can make ends meet, volunteer to drive her to jobs, so if she gets into trouble, someone is there to protect her.

10. Deem the outside appointments too dangerous and open a “massage parlour” that offers “tension release.”

11. Partner up with cooperative of mums from your daughter’s school.

12. Add a transvestite make-up and dressing service. Feather boas will be key here.

13. Tell nosy neighbors you are a “recruitment consultant.” Close enough.

14. Hire an Albanian madam from another brothel to help expand your business. When you find out about her plot to murder you and take over your company, let her go. Who needs her, anyway?

15. After 20 years in the business, flee to France for two years. When you return to the UK, become a university guest lecturer for criminology classes studying the indoor sex market.

16. Make jokes at your talks like, “Thank you for coming. It’s so nice to say that at the beginning rather than the end,” and “Audience participation costs extra.”

17. Write a tell-all book. These are your memoirs of a very British brothel, in case you weren’t sure.

18. Warn everyone that even you are worried about how young people are saturated with sexual imagery and how it’s negatively shaping their views about sex.

19. Always give back — start a not-for-profit sexually enabling service for people with terminal illnesses and disabilities called Para Doxies.

20. And of course, never kiss and tell — even when the News of the World offers to pay you.

Previously published in The Hairpin