When boys of my generation reached puberty, after undergoing the domestic audio-visual introduction, they moved on to the age-old Brazilian tradition of being initiated in sex either with a maid or with a professional. From one moment to another, it seemed that everyone apart from me and my immediate circle of friends had already done it. We knew that we were missing out. As none of us had hot and available domesticas, the only way out were the pros. Given our budgetary limitations, all fingers pointed in the same direction: the infamous Casa Rosa, or the Pink House.
Many fathers took their sons to the important event or at least they sponsored the excursion. This was certainly not to be in my case. With my dad in his mid-seventies, sex was not on the cards and it wasn’t a subject of discussion, not even in passing conversation. As far as he was concerned, licentiousness was the preserve of the maids and other promiscuous favelados. I never accepted this, but I couldn’t help but inherit something of the idea that sex was intrinsically dirty that should definitely be hid away from polite society. Nevertheless, I wanted to be initiated and saved up for months, scraping together whatever I could for the big day. Finally I thought that the day had arrived. One Saturday afternoon, my friends and I arranged to meet after lunch but at the very last moment our trusted guide chickened out. Not only were we all pissed off, but so too was his dad. A few weeks later, we set off alone to the Casa Rosa. We did not know how to get there but when the taxi driver heard “Rua Alice”, he knew exactly the purpose of our excursion. On our way, we discussed whether we should lie and say that we were seventeen instead of telling our true age: fourteen. Some of us thought that this would bring more respect and would keep us from being thrown out. I was in favour of telling the truth because the lie would make us appear even more hopeless.
The Casa Rosa was big and had a faded grandeur. As we approached the house, we noticed a police car parked immediately outside, causing one of the guys want to give up. As we got out of the taxi and entered the building, several policemen were on their way out and greeted us with a reassuring smile. We sat around a wooden table by the improvised dance floor and waited, the silence only broken by the tinny noise of the black and white television under the staircase that was showing the afternoon samba show. Next to the flickering set, there was a counter with two price lists: one for the drinks and another one for the “programs”.
One-by-one, the girls came down for their matinee session. They looked nowhere close to the unobtainable beauties who lounged on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana but at least they were younger and better looking than our maids. The madam pointed to us and said:
”It’s time for the children to have milk.”
They selected us, not the other way around, and took us to their rooms. When the action was about to begin, one of the guys knocked his knee against the bed, and from his reaction, we knew it had hurt: we could hear Mauricio through the thin wooden walls, jumping around in pain. Meanwhile, the rest of us slipped into a silent and nervous mood without knowing what to do.
My girl was prettier, whiter, thinner and younger than the others. As she took off her clothes and lay next to me, I remembered the porn films. She talked to me and calmed me down, and I began to explore her body. Her naked flesh felt warm, tender and good. The act was as quick as it was disappointing, but I could at least count it as my initiation as a Latin Lover. I was not the first one to appear downstairs, which was a relief. After everyone had paid, we went down the hill making fun of Mauricio and his sore knee and his wounded pride.