When a Gorilla Gram Becomes Madam Lash

I have spent almost my entire life searching for (legitimate) ways to make money.

I have been lured in by countless money making schemes and have had more first, second and third jobs going at one time than I care to remember.

Many of these jobs lasted merely a day.

I’ve tried Tupperware, hairdressing and real estate. I’ve been a Jenny Craig consultant, a camp counsellor and a wedding decorator. I’ve driven a lunch truck, worked as a waitress, a bar attendant, a hotel receptionist and as an usher. I’ve been a tour guide on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and at the Sydney Opera House. 

I am, for now, a flight attendant.

My earliest memory of trying to make money goes back to when I was just six years old.

My brother and I had a packet of lollies. They were Fantales, one of my all time favourites. Fantales are the ones that have chocolate on the outside and a centre filled with chewy caramel.

I had a brilliant sales idea that would mean we could enjoy the taste of the lollies and still make a profit.

This involved sucking off all the chocolate and carefully re-wrapping (being as careful as a six year old can be anyway) the now 'caramel-only' lollies back in their original packaging.

We then sold these for a few cents to Mrs Sentamato, (or Mrs Tommy Tomato as we liked to call her) the next-door neighbour. We stood in her kitchen and watched her eat them while she told us how delicious they were.

Probably not my finest moment.

But by far the most memorable experience for me was when I enquired about an ad for a second job as a Gorilla Gram.

I was about 16 or 17 at the time and working full-time at Catch Hair Design in St Marys, which I talk about in a previous post A Westie In Vaucluse.

I was only earning about $100 a week and struggling to get ahead financially so I started trawling through the local newspaper to look for a second job. The Classifieds had an employment section called Situations Vacant. I’m not sure why it was called this and not Positions Vacant but I can tell you that I was about to find myself in a ‘situation’.

After noticing the ad for Gorilla Grams I thought to myself that this would have to be the easiest way to make some extra cash. After all, no one would even know it was me!

I conned my workmate Bryce into applying too. We made a phone call and spoke to the sweetest lady who invited us to come to her home that night for an interview.

When we got there it didn’t take us long to realise she specialised in more than just gorillas. She was in the ‘entertainment business’ and supplied a range of impersonators and singing telegrams that people could hire to presumably spice up their parties.

Such as Madam Lash.

To our surprise she suddenly got down on all fours and demonstrated with a whip how easy it was to be Madam Lash.

Dressed in lingerie, all you had to do was get the birthday boy (or whoever was the 'client') down on the floor, jump onto his back and whip him into some kind of ‘I don’t know what’.


I was horrified.

I had never had a serious boyfriend before and most certainly wouldn’t have known how to ‘sex it up’ if I tried.

Bryce wasn’t spared either. She pulled out a tiny pair of underpants stitched with a big gold Z for Zorro on the front. Another popular one apparently. Now, I have to point out that Bryce wasn’t opposed to dress-ups. No one did a better Boy George at the Culture Club concert than Bryce but this was too much even for him!

After a few more torturous minutes we made a hasty retreat and told the sweet lady we’d think about it and get back in touch.

Like, never.

This was one moneymaking scheme that wasn’t quite right for me.

Back to the drawing board.

Back to the Situations Vacant section.


  1. This is too funny, Sandy! I love your courage, sense of adventure & willingness to give (almost) anything a go!

    I remember Gorilla Grams in the early 1980s. My dear friend John was turning 21 and we, his closest friends, got together to arrange & pay for a Gorilla Gram to appear at his birthday party at one of the smarter pubs in The Rocks. We had given the Gorilla Gram company lots of relevant (& probably irrelevant) information about John and we were promised a poem about John to be performed by the Gorilla at the party.

    It was my job to wait for the Gorilla outside the pub, in order to make contact, confirm the details and lead him inside. Naturally, to avoid early detection, the Gorilla was going to be dressed in civvies. I was told to look for 'a guy in jeans, t-shirt & carrying a red sports bag' and that would be the Gorilla.

    Of course, that particular mid-February evening, there were many men walking by wearing jeans, t-shirts & carrying red sports bags. The only way forward was to approach each one and ask, "Excuse me, are you the Gorilla?" Seriously.

    Eventually, after using what has to be one of the more unusual pick-up lines I may have employed as a young lady, I found him. A fun night was had by all. Oh and he gave me his phone number.

    1. Oh my God Liane, you are so funny! I can just picture it too! I think you should start up your own blog. I would definately be a fan.

    2. Thanks, Sandy. I'll leave the blogging to you! I'm happier as an audience member than having the pressure to produce :-). Happy to sit back & enjoy your blog!


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