Three quick hand claps in the air can have a disruptive power. It means a customer has arrived at the club, and the break from 15cm high heels is over. No one calls you by your name. It’s time to get up and pretend, always pretend.
We are in a nightclub in the tourist area of Copacabana, less than two weeks away from the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The surrounding streets are burning with the presence of the dozens of women who seek money in exchange for sex. But here, boredom rules until very late Saturday night. On sofas, with tired shoulders, small bruises on the legs and fluorescent long nails, six women from all over Brazil tell their stories. The conversation will continue for a week in another nightclub in the center of Rio, where they work Monday through Friday, in the upscale apartment where seven women live together, and in a taxi that takes them to work in clubs or even the beach, daily.
Each of them has a story. There is an auxiliary necropsy a flight attendant, a physiotherapy student, an aspiring massage therapist with the New Testament in her pocket, and several mothers.
There is also a future industrial engineer who declined to be interviewed. They all have three things in coming: having sex for money, hating their jobs and coming to Rio with the dream of making a small fortune during the Olympics.