Lost Sambista

A Brazil never seen.

The Pink House

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The house above was iconic for boys from my generation and from many generations before and after mine.

Inaugurated in the beginning of the last century it was the most famous brothel that Rio de Janeiro has ever had. It was situated on one of the streets that goes up the hills leading to Santa Tereza, rua Alice. This was a very good address when Rio was Brazil’s capital, and for a long time the Pink House was  the naughty place where the politicians and the wealthy who lived in the surrounding mansions the went to enjoy paid sex.

In my teens, in the seventies, it had already lost its exclusive aura but had become the most popular place for boys to be initiated in sex in town. Parents took their kids, or went alone, and mentioning rua Alice created a familiar buzz in any male conversation in Rio’s middle class. It was old school: the place had a dance floor downstairs and rooms for all sorts of budgets and tastes upstairs; the girls stayed around the dance floor sitting around tables waiting to be requested.

As time progressed, the pill arrived and relaxed the moral codes regarding girls having to marry as virgins and the Pink House became more and more obsolete.

It continued to function until the early 2000’s when it had become a place for nostalgic frequenters and for people who didn’t have money to pay for the more expensive and younger prostitutes on Avenida Atlantica, Copacabana’s sea promenade.

Currently it is a cultural center and a Samba club, yet it still sits on a special spot in memory lane for most carioca grown up boys.

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