The Baron – The Italian Period (1726 – 1729)

Fig 12. A Milanese sex worker of the period going from house to house offering handjobs for a lira. Note the child in tow, and the general unpreparedness of the potential client.

On arrival in Milan, the Baron looked around for employment. As usual, his shrewd business acumen immediately picked up on the lack of proper business premises for the exchange of sexual services. At the time, almost all of the people employed in that industry worked door-to-door, which was far from ideal.

The Baron quickly realised that if there was a centralised place from which the favours of these women (and occasionally men) could be sold, then that would mean that they would spend more time on their back and less on their feet, clearly a much more efficient use of their talents.

Investigating further into this, he was the first person in civilised Europe to conduct a time and motion study in working practices. By timing the client’s motions, he worked out that the average time from start to finish was about an hour and a half. But looking closely at his figures, he noticed that:

 “… in the case of comely wenches, this time could be dropped to about three minutes, whereas in the case of dog-faced addled harridans, it could take most of the afternoon for the client to finally arrive at a satisfactory conclusion”. 

Fig 13. The “Venus and Her Pink Clam” club established most of the guidelines for modern day establishments, including the ubiquitous “don’t touch the girls” rule.

He thus embarked on a campaign of only employing lovely young girls, and created a “15 minute slot” system. Working hours were from 11am right through till around 2am the next morning, with half an hour for lunch, (taken standing in order to allow them to drain).  This meant that a popular girl in peak time could service up to 58 men a day. They earned good money, but it didn’t take long for the tread to wear from the tyres, so to speak.

But even for this, the Baron had a system. Once a month, the girls would be inspected in the following manner:

 “The wench would be instructed to lie down, and three tennis balls would be placed within her. She would then stand and perform a series of star jumps. If two or more balls fell out, she would be pensioned off with an allowance until she found other employment.”

The other innovation that the Baron introduced at this time was the lap-dancing club. The first one, which went by the name of “Venus and Her Pink Clam”, opened in 1728 in one of the most opulent thoroughfares in the city. It proved a roaring success, and the lessons learned there are still used by such clubs around the world today.

The money coming in from this allowed the Baron to travel widely, and then in 1729 he disappeared on an extended tourism spree across the European continent.

Little is known of what transpired during the next 5 years, but his monetary situation seems to have declined sharply, as the next record modern scholars have of him is in as an impoverished musician-cum-poet on the streets of Paris.

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