There was a time when a hotel room key was a key. And then your room key became a plastic thing, the size of a credit card that was programmed at reception when you checked in and presented to you in a paper holder with your room umber written on with a ballpoint pen. The room door has a variety of contraptions for you to swipe, or hod the car hovering in front of a red light waiting for it to turn green. Sometimes you can’t work pt at all what you need to do and have to go sheepishly back to reception and ask to have it explained to you. And sometimes, even worse, you get back to the hotel at some unearthly time to find that you have had the key too close to your phone in your bag and it’s become unprogrammed. Key cards are a nuisance. Too often hey get in the way of sex. Imagine you are going back to the room, you are totally fucking horny, you are taking each other’s clothes off even as you make your way down the corridor, you know you are probably just going to crash through the door and make out on the carpet, you won’t even bother with the bed. And then……the door won’t open.
And then there are the lifts that you have to swipe the keycard to operate them. Of course we know why hotels do this and it is clearly a good thing that non-residents can’t simply wander into private areas with all the implications that would have for safety.
But this is a real problem for sex workers, whether hey are doing incall from a hotel room or outcall to a client’s room. It is fundamental to sex workers’ safety that they meet clients in their rooms, to ensure that the client has a genuine booking at the hotel and also give a friend or partner the room number so that if they don’t return from the booking at the expected time their friends know where to go looking for them. A note here to erotica writers. I have seen stories where sex worker and client meet in the bar. This is not how it happens.
I read a tweet recently by a Toronto based dominatrix who was looking to tour in Ottawa and asking about suitable hotels, that is hotels where clients could discreetly make their way to her room. She offered to do a survey of hotels in Toronto in return.
Of course even before the days of card keys hotel reception staff were alert to sex workers visiting clients and it was not unusual to be challenged. One way round that was for agencies to bribe staff at particular hotels to let their ladies in but to exclude rivals. I guess the hotels no longer need to worry. But I wonder why hotels think t is any of their business what (legal) things their guests get up to in the privacy of their rooms? Why should it be a problem if a guest has a sex worker visit them in their room? Or, to look at it from the other perspective, why is it a problem for sex worker to work from a hotel room when it isn’t for, say, a businessman in a suit to make a Zoom call from his room or send a few e mails? It’s all work after all. And hotels really are the last places that should be making a show of protecting public morals.
For, as Tom Stoppard once said, hotel rooms occupy a separate moral universe. I can vouch for that. I have had some quite fabulous illicit sex in hotel rooms. And, at sixty years of age, I haven’t finished yet, provided, of course, I can work out how to unlock the door.