Like being a Playboy model, a wrestler's days are alas numbered. And it was thus that in 2002 a somewhat out of shape former wrestler called Norbert Sendlhofer decided to get into the pimping game. Yes, in tough economic times one must do what one can, and Sendlhofer decided that the770 inhabitants of St Andra near Salzburg needed, not another pub, but a brothel. So without thinking too much - prostitution is legal in Austria so he thought opening the den of iniquity would be a piece of strudel - he put in a planning application to turn an old hunting lodge on the outskirts of the village into a brothel to be called Villa Erotica.
However, the journey to erect this pimp's pleasure palace ended up taking nine years.
First the mayor went ballistic, and then, backed by his constituents, threw as many spanners in Sendlhofer’s works as he could blocking his plans with any piddling regulation they could find. For years planning experts and officials trooped into Villa Erotica, asking questions. The Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported that in July 2005, St Andra government officials told Sendlhofer that his application had been turned down because the local public health officer had said there were “inadequate sanitary facilities” for “transactions which specifically deal with the excretion of bodily fluids”.
Additionally, it was found that Villa Erotica could “impair the moral, religious and psychological life of the village” said the rejection letter, reported Der Standard. Sendlhofer wasn't going to be put off and hastily put in new showers to meet hygiene requirements. Later, when the council said Villa Erotica’s drinking water wasn't up to snuff, he dug new wells.
In 2007 the local busy bodies were getting desperate. As a last resort, one right wing nut hit upon the brainwave that prostitution could be classed as “physical labour” and therefore subject to special health and safety regulations.
A medical expert wrote a report for the council, which said that “prostitution is heavy physical work which is carried out in all possible postures”.
After much research into the daily lives of hookers the experts reached the conclusion that the ceilings of Villa Erotica were too low for suitable work spaces and that there were too few cubic metres of air to give sex workers the “volume of air” needed to carry out their strenuous physical duties.
The ploy worked for a while but then a higher court in Salzburg last year quashed the verdict and Villa Erotica was given the green light. Next, it was in fact the brothel’s red light that caused the next headache: believe it or not you need special planning permission to install unusual external lighting.
When the brothel opened recently, Sendlhofer, his pet parrot Booger and Head Madam Heidi had the last laugh. The nine-year fuss resulted in massive press coverage and they were able to boast to the wrestler's opponents by telling TV cameras there was “no better location in the whole of Austria” for Villa Erotica.
God bless Sendlhofer's entrepreneurial spirit! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie too. Who should play the wrestler in the movie (tentatively titled Villa Erotica - A Long Time Coming) do you think? Might Arnie be persuaded to put on a leotard and play the ex-wrestler do you think?
[This story is not made up. Nevertheless, all pictures have been posed by models]
Who am I? Displaced Londoner now living in the States with my two little girlies and long suffering husband. Co-author of hilarious parenting book Cocktails at Naptime www.cocktailsatnaptime.com
My mom's an Austrian, my dad's a Brit, which makes me a Britaustrian, or possibly an Austrish?