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Illustrations by Cei Willis. Since last September, notices have started to appear in the windows of Amsterdam's brothels. The flyers are there to advise potential customers of what does and doesn't constitute appropriate behavior once they're inside.
In practice, this is a well-intentioned piece of bureaucracy. In reality, it's something nobody is ever going to read. In fact, given the flyers' size, the effects of a customer's Dutch courage, and the other distractions in and around the window area, it's unlikely anyone would even notice them. Which might be an issue for those of you who've never paid for sex before but maybe want to do so on your next trip to Amsterdam, or Nevada, or Cologne, without coming across as both an amateur and a dick.
I've been having sex with the "window girls" of Amsterdam for a while now, keeping a blog of all my experiences that led to my being interviewed by VICE last month. So instead of making you rely on the small print tacked up around the red-light district, I thought I'd use the knowledge I've picked up over the past couple of years to gift you my own informed guide to the etiquette of sleeping with a sex worker.
If there's one major thing I've learned from interviewing the girls I've met, it's that they were as clueless at the start of their careers as johns are ahead of their first time. That said, the preconceptions of those guys who are new to the window experience can be more damaging, invasive, and just plain rude. As far as I can tell, that grabbiness is mostly fueled by the expectations young guys get from internet pornography, like that weird thing male porn stars do where they try to fit their entire hand in a girl's mouth during anal sex.
Unsurprisingly, this kind of behavior isn't thought of too highly by the window girls. Personally, I treat prostitutes as though they're my girlfriends.