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Dirty Needles, £10 Blowjobs and Bankers: I Worked the Bar at a 'Gentlemen's Evening'

21/02/2014 12:04 GMT | Updated 20/04/2014 10:59 BST

I work in a pub. This typically involves me pouring overpriced drinks for city suits and confused tourists in exchange for an hourly rate five penny chews above minimum wage. But don't worry. I don't want your sympathy, not for my lot at least. Working in a watering hole you meet plenty of people who are worse off than yourself. Lonely vagrants, committed alcoholics and unhinged squaddies on military leave from Iraq are just a few of the stereotypes you see propping up at the bar most days.

Last week I worked a 'gentlemen's evening'. Pause for a second. Appreciate that phrase from a purely literal perspective. Now, forget the literal meaning because there is nothing gentlemanly about gentleman's evenings. Of course, you may have known that already but it's worth repeating to peel off the cloak of respectability from these depraved assemblies of sexist exploitation and implicit prostitution.

The evening began respectably enough, if not a bit oddly. A colleague informed me that I'd be working downstairs: "There's a lady setting up in the basement bar, go and help her out." The lady was an overtly friendly Moldovan garbed in a long red dress. "Hello," she said, "I'm Lucky". Maybe because it was the first time I'd met a Moldovan, or maybe because of the survivalist brand of naivety I practice when at work, but I didn't question what the abundance of red velvet and cheap perfume was all about. Moldovan custom? I don't know, who the fuck knows anything about Moldova?

Anyways, it's customary to ask the event host how they want the chairs in the bar arranged. Lucky said that I should arrange the seats around a pillar, facing the three photo-booth type creations she'd set up at the back of the room. Then the girls began to file into the bar, a gaggle of full-length faux fur coats crowned by pointed gaunt faces. I waved at them, and they waved back with forced smiles and began to take their clothes off. I hadn't seen this much skin since my last Game of Thrones marathon. Bras casually unclipped, knickers and thongs anywhere and everywhere but on the hips they were designed to fit.

Ages ranged from early 20s to the late 40s, the youngers wearing more makeup than Boy George, the elders sporting scars and leathery figures. I tried not to think about the cause of each scar. As I set up the bar, I struck up occasional dialogue with the girls - "Where are you from? Do you shop at Tesco's or Sainsbury's?" - but they weren't giving anything away. Lucky, who by this point I'd worked out to be the group's Madam, must brief them to keep schtum on the more intricate logistics of their trade. One very pretty girl wearing a sultry housemaid outfit gave the most away when she said, "I'm looking for someone with big pockets."

The pockets finally arrived. A diverse bunch, but not in the way your average equal opportunities employer would like to envisage. This was a diversity of lechery, a broth of bankers and perverts. Some looked respectable enough, smart suits, plenty of money, whilst some gave off the distinct impression of being on the sex offenders register. One seemed to have modelled his look on the Super Mario villain Fawful, which would have been hilarious if it wasn't so menacing. Every time he waddled over to the bar to order his half of Stella I had to fight the temptation to use my coke gun as a de facto N64 controller.

It's no surprise that Lucky's gentleman's evening attracts such folk. The six girls circulated the room, roosting their bare buttocks on the punters' laps, whispering into their ears while being manhandled. One of the more respectable clients, a CEO from the city who looked like Ken Clarke, got stuck into some Bullingdon-style motorboarding on each of the girls. There was little jealousy between the girls and, indeed, a collective understanding that this was a team effort. The punters wanted more than one girl for their money and Lucky made sure that they got the '£10's worth' they paid for at the door.

The private dancing booths were in constant use, red velvet curtains rippling with desperate frolicking. Each private dance cost £20, a tenner of which would go to Lucky. By my loose reckoning, the girls averaged 10 private dances each throughout the evening. I'm fairly certain that blowjobs were the minimum requirement for each one.

Perhaps more demeaning than the mandatory cock-sucking was the way the girls would walk the room asking the punters for spare change. Worth is a difficult concept to judge, especially when the product is sex and the currency pounds sterling. And perhaps more surreal was the manner in which the punters justified their behaviour. I got chatting to one mousy-looking guy: "Look, we're no trouble are we?" he said, "We just come in, do our thing and it's all very civilised." I laughed - what else would you do in such a situation? - and could not believe that I was talking to a senior civil servant from the Home Office. A triumph of desperation over reason I suspect.

This may sound like a prudish MailOnline article imbued with false outrage. Throughout the course of writing it I have thought to myself, "Jack in the moral posturing and see that it's all just a bit of fun; the girls get paid and the guys get laid." However, I challenge any liberal who is committed to basic human rights and in possession of a moral compass to go and sit in on one of these evenings and not feel physically sick. The girls come away from the nights with around £200, but each night they do causes serious damage. The aforementioned scars that form a lattice across the bodies of the older girls, the haggard faces, the dirty needles sticking out of makeup bags...

As I say, it's not a gentlemen's evening. It's a networking event for economy prostitutes and lonely old men. I know with who my sympathies lie - and they definitely don't have big pockets.

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