I never intended to end up in a brothel. It wasn’t a key goal when preparing for my baptist missionary trip, but life has a habit of putting you in random places when you least expect it.
As soon as I walked in, hot, sticky and tired, I sensed all was not well. The waitresses looked friendly (surely to be expected in the hospitality industry), their skirt length was less than demure (it’s a hot country to be fair) but it just didn’t have the usual vibe of the cafes I’d frequented during my time in El Salvador. The waitresses seemed surprised by my presence and then … something strange happened.
The (all male) cliental were ushered away and out of the cafe, something which caused a storm of protest and which left just me in the ‘cafe’ as the sole customer. The ‘waitresses’ then gathered around me as I sat there drinking my coke. They kept asking me if there was anything else I might like and I kept assuring them:
“no thanks, I’m fine”
“really, it’s very kind of you but the coke is lovely: cold and fizzy as it should be and I’m happy with it”
One long, awkward silence and a few exasperated faces later … reality dawned!
THIS WAS NO ORDINARY CAFE!
The excessively short skirts.
The graphic pictures on the walls.
The name of the ‘cafe’ (la casa de amistad / house of ‘friendship’)
The clearing out of their customers.
This was a brothel where the ‘waitresses’ were selling more than just drinks and they were banking on me being their cash cow for the day but:
1) I was penniless, on a baptist mission trip and soon to take part in a bible study.
2) I carried very little cash (about 5 quid) enough to give a potential mugger and/or get myself a drink if necessary.
3) I wasn’t in the market for sex.
They got rid of their customers so they could focus all their efforts and attention on one potential customer, someone whose profile fitted their dream client and someone who they could confidently make some assumptions about.
One young, white, male gringo who has knowingly entered a brothel = one hormonal desperado with loadsa plata!
It’s an obvious equation, right?
But this young, white gringo had not knowingly entered a brothel, nor did he have loadsa plata. He was in fact, Mr Penniless-Pocket, blended with Mr Scrounger Scrooge. As for hormones, well, I was 18 years old, but far too innocent to head to a brothel for my kicks (and of course, at 44, I still am).
We all make assumptions about things and people we know very little about, hedging our bets too quickly, without doing our due diligence. I refer to it as Daily Mail thinking. The need for general, sweeping beliefs, so we can quickly make sense of our world and feel like we understand it, whilst avoiding the effort of research and testing whether or not our beliefs are well founded.
And we all go through life, experiencing relationships and situations where we fear asking direct questions, just in case we get answers we don’t like. So the impulsive assumptions stick and they become our ‘well-researched’ truths, leaving us ignorant and narrow-minded.
Learning is critical for success, even if what we learn is painful and not what we would have ideally wanted to hear. As for assumptions, if you’re interested in; performing at the highest levels, mastering your time like a pro and being a high achiever, you must consistently question your assumptions.
ASK DIRECT QUESTIONS + MAKE LESS ASSUMPTIONS = TIME EFFICIENCY + BETTER RESULTS … now that’s an equation that makes perfect sense!