I’m trying to organise my notes on the (gradual) emergence of women onto the seventeenth-century English stage enough to have a coherent draft to turn in tomorrow morning; I even got rid of my dog for the night, for the express purpose of staying at the computer lab til it closes and then again bright and early tomorrow morning (what a chore, since I’m working a double tomorrow evening/night). I can never write about what I mean to write about though: the things I’m reading (these) only remind me of things I want to write about here.
…at the same time that Congreve reworks the feminine tropes of Stuart comedy, Marwood’s likening of Millamant’s desire to ‘Mrs Primly’s great [pregnant] Belly’ belongs to an altered public theatre where the actress’s body and sexuality are visibly present on stage. Such a vivid representation of female desire, and its outcome, could only be spoken by a carnally knowing woman like Marwood, whose character is irrevocably tainted by her sexual actions. The women who intend to survive in Restoration drama… must practise emotional containment. (Tomlinson, 105)
I was discussing a pair of implants with a customer, who refused to believe they were implants (he’d been vocal about his admiration for their bountifulness, and their improbable and miraculous perkiness considering how very large they were). I didn’t really like him, and didn’t have a good feeling about him, but the girls at his table were both cute and generous, although they were currently at the rack.
“No way! No way! Those aren’t fake!”
“Uh, yes they are. Which is fine! No judgment! But those are most definitely not real.”
He got defensive at my disbelief (and, let’s face it, derision).
“How am I supposed to know what boobs look like? I’m not a girl. I don’t have any!”
“Didn’t you have high school sex ed?” I asked, incredulous. “Have you been fucking porn stars this whole while? What tits have you been looking at?”
“They look real! They look like boobs! They look like boobs in the movies!”
Zounds, sir, I thought. And what movies are you watching? None of the porn my friends make has tits that look like that. In fact, most implants don’t look like that. “If Shelob were to lay eggs, that’s what those look like.” I said, very unkindly (but also truthfully, because, while I’m being honest, not only is it an obvious boob job, it’s also not a very good one. The skin is tight and shiny and the angle they rest at is not only improbable, it’s suggestive of an imminent explosion, one which would cover half the bar in silicon. Or whatever. Probably not saline. But she makes a lot of money, and obviously men like my companion can’t tell the difference, so, excellent. You go, girl. Take them for everything that they’ve got).
“Excuse me?” he asked. “What?”
“You know, that spider from Lord of the Rings. The one that almost kills Frodo.”
“And you’re talking about Lord of the Rings? Now we know you spend too much time entertaining men.”
I had to process that. I mean what does it even mean? At least 80% of the men I interact with could not give a shit about Lord of the Rings, or fantasy, or most of the things I care about. That’s not what they’re there to talk about. In fact, a lot of them don’t want to talk, period, which is fine by me because the freedom to let my mind wander is one of the most appealing things about stripping. Most strip club conversations, in case you couldn’t tell, are less than scintillating. (Although it does happen, and it’s welcome when it does.)
“I like Lord of the Rings,” I explained. “And fantasy.”
“No you don’t, no you don’t!” He laughed me off, doing something like a ‘Bitch-please’ hand motion. “You’re a stripper.”
“Strippers aren’t nerds. It’s impossible. You’re a stripper.”
“Who likes to read fantasy. Among a lot of other things.”
“No you don’t.” He said it so calmly, so confidently, it was like he’d found me out; he was delighted to have caught me in a lie after the way I’d made fun of him for not knowing the limits of human anatomy. “You just don’t. Just admit it. It’s okay, I don’t care.”
I was starting to get annoyed. “Well I do. Why would I lie to you, you haven’t yet, and show no indication of being about to, tip me. And there are so many stripper nerds. I worked with a girl [lunatic, really] at [redacted] who refused to work mid-shifts because her World of Warcraft team or whatever did their raids at 5pm. Nothing was allowed to interfere with the raids. Her roommate, another stripper, used to complain about it in the dressing room.” (I always thought it would be fun to have such a geeky roommate, although the one in question was so annoying it wouldn’t have been worth it). I was getting heated and outraged.
“Huh.” He processed. Then turned away, like the discussion was over. Which, it really was, there was no good place to go from there. Except,
“Do you want a dance?” You know. Just in case. And also because, after getting obviously irritated, I like to just go that extra mile.
“No.” He turned to the girls, fresh off the rack. “How much would it take to get you to give a lap dance? Ten thousand dollars?”
They stared, kind of confused.
“Would you grind on some guys dick for ten grand?” It’s always some exorbitant fantasy number, never anything real and tangibly imaginable: a pedi in one song, a phone bill paid for in 9 minutes, a month’s rent in an hour and a half.
“Maybe for ten grand…” one of them answered. She had already asked me to take her onstage so she could dance on my next set; bored and hoping for some extra dollars, I agreed. What the hell. When in Rome.
“No way!” her friend chimed in. “Never!”
“And you?” I asked him. “Would you sit on a guy’s lap for ten thousand dollars?” I already knew the answer to this one too, but I like to be thorough.
“Of course not! I just don’t know how you do it, it’s disgusting.”
“It’s easy,” I said, going for sweetness. “Have a great night.”
 and do you want to just note that everyone thought it was so wild and transgressive of this girl to get on my stage for free and take off her clothes for free–Free!–even as they shuddered in horror at the real money, the fast and (relatively) private transaction –which doesn’t necessarily involve nudity– of a lap dance?