Close your eyes and Sera-Jane sounds like just another Aussie chick. Open your eyes and you have what looks to me like the lead singer of 90’s band the 4 Non-Blondes with a ring through the middle of her nose and tattoos scattered around her body.
When I laid eyes on her she had just acquired a new one in what must have been a shady beach tattoo hut in Palolem- one of Goa’s most visited beaches. It was on her shoulder and definitely didn’t stay wrapped up and out of the sun for whatever the recommended time was.
It wasn’t until the end of my stay in Palolem that I spoke to Sera and her friends and I might never have, had it not been for the scooter accident she’d recently suffered. Nothing like a few scrapes and bandages and talk of strong pain medication to get a conversation started.
Sera and her friend had come short somehow and went from on top to underneath the scooter to paying an exorbitant price in damages. The fee might have been exaggerated, but so is any hostage asking price- the scooter company were in possession of their passports. When one’s passport is at stake one generally puts away their bartering skills and does what they’re told.
But I digress, the fascinating thing about Sera is that she manages a brothel in Melbourne, Australia. I recently read an autobiography of a sex-worker who went from working the streets to being an employee at various brothels around Melbourne. All to feed her heroin addiction. I was instantly curious, right in front of me sat a girl who was fully immersed in the fascinating world of prostitution which I had read about. A world which she insists there is no shame in.
Coming from a country where prostitution is illegal is probably a big contributing factor to why I find it so fascinating. Sex for money, across a majority of the board, is illegal and frowned upon. Never mind the idea that sexual intimacy is ‘supposed to be reserved for marriage or close relationships’.
It was during my conversation with Sera that the penny dropped and I realised that the thriving sex-industry in Australia could be a big reason why Australians are so sexually uninhibited. In all my travels I’ve met a great deal of Australians, guys and girls alike, who don’t put a lot of emphasis on the idea of sex- other than they like having a lot of it.
I compared what I’d read to Sera’s real life where she forms close bonds with the girls, half of which are locals and the other half just travelling through making a quick buck. I was familiar with the concept of regulars and falling in love, getting paid to connect verbally and charging prices you won’t believe for fetish sessions. Apparently golden showers are rather popular.
If there’s one thing in this life that I cherish its (the idea of) happiness in the workplace. Sera absolutely loves her job and is really happy to be considered part of the industry. She says the biggest and most continuous learning curve is how to remove judgment from your day to day life.