Every evening, as the red light district moves from a bustling thoroughfare to a touristic hotspot, the otherwise nondescript and well hidden red light windows that play host to Amsterdam’s sex workers spring to life. Filled with dozens of women dressed in little more than bikinis and a smile the windows are world famous and attract tens of thousands of tourists every year, with the promises of more legal drugs and sex than any man could ever consume. As the evening sets in many begin to contemplate their next move, are they ready for a night out or would they rather go to bed a bit earlier? For the sex workers of Amsterdam however, the day is just beginning and their focus turns towards plying their trade for another night.
With 800 or so of the famous windows crammed into just a few hundred square metres the competition for male attention is fierce. Many of the women have turned to Botox to give themselves a competitive edge, while more than half have silicone breast implants. Some women use a costume to stand out, and those who do so pose as maids, police officers and naughty nurses. Despite the glamour and showiness of their attire photography is strictly prohibited, and any tourist who breaks this unspoken agreement quickly finds themself facing the wrath of several very angry women.
As the rain pours down on a cold November evening you find yourself pulling up a chair on the second floor of a café that overlooks three of the famous red light windows. The girls have already started work for the evening, and as you await your traditional Amsterdam munchies food of waffles and hot chocolate you find yourself absentmindedly watching them go about their business, a voyeur besot with curiosity. In the first window a tall, black haired sex worker in an electric blue bikini sits idly playing with her phone and looking incredibly disinterested. A shorter, blonde haired sex worker in red heels, lipstick and suggestive nurses uniform fidgets with a strap on her corset in the second window. The third window, although open, is currently empty and the woman nowhere to be seen.
Over the course of the evening you sit and talk with your friend, enjoying the comfort of the café, the sound of the pouring rain outside and the seemingly endless supply of sweet hot chocolate. As the conversation piques your interest so too does the routine of the sex workers below as they flitter between texting, fidgeting and trying to entice passers-by to part with their Euro.
*tap, tap, tap*
*tap, tap, tap*
The three men passing by the window stop, apparently surprised that the short blonde girl on the other side of the window has even noticed that they were even there. She ceases rapping on the window with her fingertips and instead singles out the man closest to her, blowing him a kiss to get his attention. As of his friends have suddenly ceased to exist she locks eyes with him and begins to wiggle her finger suggestively, inviting him to make contact with her. He stands memorised before turning to his friends and, after a quick conversation, he clasps one of them on the shoulder and shakes hands with the other before they melt away into the darkness and the rain, leaving him alone with the woman.
Glancing left and right, he looks to see if anyone he knows just happens to be wandering down the same alleyway at the same time. Satisfied that he’s anonymous in the crowd he lowers his hoody and he steps from the darkness and into the vivid fluorescent glow that the red light window casts upon the cobblestones. Taking care to display her ample cleavage the naughty nurse opens her full length window and leans out to converse with the potential suitor. After a few moments of conversation she stands up, brushes down her costume as if making herself presentable and opens the window entirely, allowing the man to enter. As he eagerly steps inside and disappears from view she draws a large red curtain across the window and turns her attention towards her waiting client.
It takes approximately one hot chocolate and half a waffle before the curtain is drawn back and the man steps back out onto the street. Raising his hoody to cover himself from the worst of the rain he turns to thank the woman, however she has already drawn the curtain again and closed the window, not bothering with the formalities of saying goodbye. For a few moments he stands there, unsure of his next move. He takes a few steps in the direction he came from, before seemingly realise he was originally headed the other way. As disappears into the night he has a slight spring in his step that he didn’t have before.
Fifteen minutes go by and as your thoughts begin to turn towards bed the blonde sex worker suddenly reappears, drawing the curtain back in the same manner one would do to let a bit of light in on a sunny morning. She has rearranged her makeup, applied new lipstick and once again begins to fiddle with the laces on her corset, setting everything back in place the way it was at the start of her shift. Satisfied that her uniform is ready to go she straightens up and casts her eyes up and down the alleyway, scanning for single guys or groups of men. After a few moments later two guys wander past, seemingly enjoying an animated conversation. Their attention, however, is waylaid as a sudden distraction dressed proactively in a naughty nurses costume seizes their attention by rapping on the widows with her fingertips.
*tap, tap, tap*
*tap, tap, tap*