Tonight started off obnoxious with a snide and judgmental man whom I somehow remained sitting with, determined to win him over into not being such an embittered asshole. This is a tactic I stupidly pursue in friendships and relationships too–I blame too much byronism at an early age–but eventually, thank god, I was called onto stage, before he had soured my mood–altho not before Autumn, who just started waitressing, came up and innocently asked if he wanted to buy me a drink. He did not. He would like me to die, that was my translation of his evil look.
And from there it’s been dances, and the two dollar bills and upped dance prices are working out great, despite the fact that Sparky is trying to foment rebellion among the dancers–girl wouldn’t know a good thing if it wanted a half hour VIP that didn’t require her to swap body fluids with another girl. In fact, she’d probably do it anyway. That is not a work ethic, that is bad business/health practice.
My second batch of dances was for an Israeli who is in town for a for a coffee conference (he’s opening a coffee shop in NYC. “Good!” I told him. “It needs more good coffee!”). I tried to bond by referencing the Midtown stumptown at the Ace and it worked, so we talked coffee shop for a while. I recommended he try Coava and Water Avenue, two of my favourites, and told him where he could get Intelligentsia and Ritual. Then we talked about my classes this term and how I missed Passover to work. Not that I’m observant, but part of my grade this term is based around a community experience &project. He said he’d be back tomorrow night to tell me which local roaster he liked best, so maybe more dances tomorrow. He was a sweetheart.
1-although they also upped the cut that we pay out from 5 to 8 dollars a dance. Before, most guys were usually too lazy or indifferent to ask for change, so my actual take home from dances has shrunk. I’m going to start asking for tips to try to mitigate this.
2- Regan makes fun of me, she says I start side saddle grinding when I’m having a conversation and forget to smile, and then she’ll do a bad babysitter impression of me, complete with gumcracking. Which is not fair because I do not chew gum in my dances!
3- her term, she explained she likes to have someone to check in with, laugh, regain her equilibrium, and then resume hustling. Like recharging a battery. which I get, she and Regan are my checkin battery/work lodestones
The waitress is moving on through the series! I got the first one last week to reread.
They upped the prices of dances at my club and started handing out 2$ bills. It’s Tuesday so I can’t tell if this is affecting anything yet. It’s fun though.
Regan and i play drawsome at work, and I just made Autumn download it. I picked “Unicycle” to draw for her thinking even if I fucked it up, it’s pretty recognizable. She blanked.
“Ask Regan! I can’t tell you but it won’t be cheating if she tells you.”
“It’s a bike with one wheel! What’s a bike with one wheel?!”
When Autumn still looked confused, Regan giggled and hit the bomb button. Autumn wrinkled her forehead, still blank.
“okay, so a bike is a bicycle, right? A cycle! And then what’s left over?” She checked Autumn’s screen. “okay and now that part goes first.”
“I got it!” Autumn yelled triumphantly. “All by myself!”
“Strippers!” I cheered.
Regan sent me this picture as we sat in a row being nerdy.
Work has been really good but not that interesting. Or, it’s been interesting but I’m really hung up on an awful presentation I did for class this morning, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m frustrated and baffled by the fact that I can take my clothes off in front of crowds no sweat, but will totally blow a presentation on a subject that I already know and then spent the weekend refreshing myself on. I’m talking blow to the point where the feedback (from my darling professor) included the soul-searing comment, “At risk of sounding parental, try to keep things–hoodie strings, your cuticles–out of your mouth; it makes you look unprofessional.” And no, it’s not because I spend so much time with my finger coyly in my mouth at work. I guess that’s one thing to be thankful for.
So I’m on a mish. It’s the same skill set, right? Being graceful in public. Only I need to expand it to involve calm and collected academic speaking.
I had a photoshoot for next month’s ad this morning before class that is also stressing me out, but I’m trying not to think about it. The photographer had no paperwork or releases for me to sign, which both reassures me–I didn’t sign away my right to those images! whew!–and freaks me out–how fucking unprofessional! I think the shoot should yield mostly flattering photos but aside from whichever one ends up in the ad, I want them all to disappear.
I got up at 8.30 this morning to take my dog to the vet after working a double after class yesterday, because I took a week off for the start of term and also to grow out my pubic hair so I can finally get waxed and stop beard clipping it which is so irritating but so much better than razor burn–and both mid and night shifts were great, which is good because my vet, a very sweet and kind lady who we have seen for a long time, broke the not exactly startling news that Manny needs more teeth removed. And he has a heart murmur. So bloodwork, ultrasounds, insurance (needed to be renewed) and the ultimate surgery will be about a grand after the insurance kicks in.
I had to take a moment to stare at her blankly trying not to cry before the immediate and visceral poor person panic faded. I am not that person any longer. I am no longer stuck in a minimum wage job. I can actually afford to take care of this. I went saggy with relief and we scheduled for the beginnings of May just to give me some extra time, and then I paid for that visit and his insurance renewal with last nights filthy bills–paying for anything in cash these days always makes people do a double take, especially if it’s over 100$. Which is funny because every local business around here has signs about how great cash is for local business. You guys, I’m supporting you and saving you from credit card fees, now stop giving me that look–and felt really, really grateful for the first time in a while that I’m a stripper.
I’m reading old articles on racism, sexism, and fandom instead of revising an article that is way too academic for words, and definitely for its vehicle, and mentally preparing myself for work.
Now, before I start getting ready for tonight, here is a snippet of conversation from one of last night’s donations to Manny’s tooth fund:
Squirrely little guy, deep nerd, the kind of guy who is a sure thing. He wants a dance but he doesn’t understand why he can’t pleasure me as well.
“Because that’s not what happens in a dance,” I sigh for the third or fourth time.
His friends, regulars, are getting impatient. “Get the dance man, come on!” I approve of them and wish they would just get the dance (couple! Not only enthusiastic, but extra $!) but they are someone else’s regulars. So I’m stuck with Nerdy.
“I just want to lick you all over,” he sighs. This was yesterday’s theme. Good thing I’m calm.
“Well, you can’t. Drink that drink and I’ll be back for you.”
I get another dance, a nice guy, who gives me the patience to go back for Nerdy. I sit in his lap. “Come on, sugarcookie. Your time has come.”
He wraps his arms around me and tries to lick my ear. “No, the time has not come for that. For your dance, silly!” I want to laugh with frustration but his expression is ochen’ seryozno so I keep it to myself.
He’s basically a total chore to dance for, sighing about how much he could pleasure me if only I would let him the whole time. It reaches a real and improbable pinnacle with,
“I just know I could rock your world.”
Who says that? I want Regan there to hear, but for once she’s not delightedly observing my dance-face.
Luckily, I get a private delight from transcribing absurdities here, and it gives me the fortitude to keep going with a straight face.
“Unh huh. Tell me all about it.”
“I can keep going forever. For twenty minutes!”
“And I’m very dedicated. I would wear a tutu and flipflops for you.”
This is like performance art, this is like a joke. And I don’t want to corpse it, so ok. “Oooh I love ballet!”
He preens. “See? I’m dedicated! Once I had a lover who liked me to use an electric mixer–”
I can’t help it. “A what? What did you do with it?”
“Well, it was difficult and it would take a while.”
“Yeah but what did you do with it?”
“I can’t say. It was a difficult angle. But I would do it for you too!”
“That’s really great.” The song has, thank god, ended. I don’t even want to ask him for another, even on the off chance he has enough money. I start getting dressed.
“I just want to chew on your ribs,” he tells me longingly.
“Great! That sounds like a blast. Go sit down now, I don’t want to get charged for two dances.”
Happy Passover! Don’t Passover a lapdance tonight.
1-who shall hereafter be known as Manny, and incidentally the name of last night’s best customer, on hearing which I said delightedly, “Manny! But that’s my dog’s name too! Want to see a picture?” and he was graciously delighted as well.
2-People! Do not buy purebreds! I did not buy him, he was left to my care and I love him and am exceedingly fond of his other mother. But I think this is a purebred and a small dog thing. Big bummer.
3-per Kat’s recent post, not in ones. Clearly.
4-this has actually been a running theme and the novelty has worn off. I don’t want to act as your phone sex operator, I don’t want to listen to you run on about how you’ll pleasure me. I want to think about my homework while I sit in your lap and purr in your ear, or I want to talk about my dog and advertising (see above, the Mannies) or about whatever. Unless you can make it entertaining–electric mixers!–I’m not that invested.
On stage and the one guy at my rack is giving super intense eye contact. He’s one of those.
“hi, how’s it going?”
“it’d be going a lot better if you’d be my girl tonight.”
“sugar, it can happen. You ready for a lap dance after I get offstage?”
Pouty face, “I can’t afford the things I want to do to you.”
I’m not going to touch that. Let’s stick to the financial. “Well, son, maybe this isn’t the place for you.”
“I just want to do things to you. Don’t you want to hear? First I’d–”
I’d got up close to whisper in his ear, now I back away quickly, gesturing at my ear. Mouth, “what? I can’t hear!” leave.
(or, “I’m grumpy and want to complain”)
Eat a cookie in the dressing room. When he comes in back to check on the rotation, sees you eating your cookie, and grabs your wrist to try and take a bite of the cookie while it is in your hand, without asking, say very firmly,
He will of course still expect his ten percent of your income at the end of every shift, and he will give you a lackluster and ungrateful “good job” as you hand him several twenties, concentrating on Pema Chödrön, or at least not punching him, while you do.
1- Unsurprisingly, eating other people’s food is actually a serious problem he has and the manager has yelled at him a few times.
Regan is telling me about the place she’s going for tattoo removal. She, like me, has a teenage bad judgment tattoo, but unlike me has done the research on getting it removed and is in the process of this. She has seen me in action enough to know I’ll be interested.
Hiding in the poker room (the warmest room in the club, with the most comfortable chairs) reading a textbook (The Jews, which I later find out has started a rumour that I am a religious zealot. Ok.)
A finger pokes into my chest. “What is that?”
Do not look up, do not respond to provocation.
“It’s my birthmark.”
“Pfaw, no it’s not! What is it really?”
“It really is.”
“Well… What are you reading?”
“Yeah but what book?”
“A printed one.”
I can hear Regan, playing poker and cleverly hidden by the back of a chair, snickering. I can fix that.
“You know what? She has tattoos!”
Regan sucks in her breath but it is too late! Too birds one stone, the guy has wandered off.
“You got tattoos? I got a tattoo! Here, lemme show you.”
“So, how much is it?”
“It’s 1,500 down and then I pay–” whatever, I forget how much she said she paid, “per session. And it hurts like a motherfucker. But yours will be easy because it’s all blurry thick black lines!”
“Are you being sarcastic?”
“No! That’s supposed to be the easiest. But until then, Red, Kat Von Dee has some amazing tattoo hiding make-up you can use!”
“Kat Von Dee could do me and tattooed girls everywhere a bigger favour and tell the men of the world how deeply we don’t appreciate talking about our tattoos and how it’s fucking dumb as shit and also annoying and I hate it.”
1- only hers is a fairy and between a blurry Louise Brooks with guns and a fairy I will take my tattoo any day. But mine does make customers (weak-willed things!) think that I am angry and cost me extra effort for lap dances–which honestly just makes me more irritable, so yes, removal looks appealing, esp if in so doing I remove the inevitable future countless fucking pointless conversations about it.
is what some guys say in response to whatever my line is. Which, what they’re really saying is that they’re cheap but just think about getting a lapdance at home. It’s what I like to do when they tell me that. Your girlfriend grinds on your dick through your jeans for three minutes and then leaves.
(Anything other than that is foreplay, it is not a lapdance. I know I’m maybe not selling my dances hard here, but that’s not the point. Any more than getting off is the point of a lapdance!)
I imagine that and then I grin broadly and squeeze their shoulders and tell them I’ll be back after they’ve had another drink.