Anatomy and physiology

“you know what I really like about you?”
my mind? My scintillating wit? Oh, oh, my ass! Amiright? No? Well, it is small. Ok ok, it’s that I’m paying attention to you. Right? I really see you.
“no… But I bet you’re about to tell me!” bat those lashes, girl. Bat, bat.
“your nipples. You’ve got those nipples that are just part of your breasts.”
Unlike all those other girls’ nipples that mysteriously float free of their breasts.
I look down at my meager cleavage. It is a warm night, and I haven’t pinched my nipples in a while, thus, he is right. They are un-erect. Blending into the rest of my breast, “just part of it.”
“like… Barbie breasts?” I venture.
“Yeah!” he agrees enthusiastically. “you’ve got Barbie breasts!”

The dark side, and unfriendly competition

Mozzarella ciliegine is like one of the more disgusting things I can think of that is actually amazing.  I mean sitting there in its grey water, like eyeballs at a Halloween party? The overpriced packages at the grocery store always grossed me out but my friend brought some over for dinner recently and I was hooked.  I have always been a cheese hound but these are a strong argument in favour of this same friend’s half-baked theory that all dairy is chock full of opiates, which is perhaps why she remains a mere judgmental vegetarian rather than a full-fledged and self-righteous vegan. she claims to have gotten a hangover from the mozzarella balls, further proving the addictive and destructive nature of dairy.  Maybe it’s the dark side, but I can’t stop eating them.

Regan says if “friendly competition” sounds too passive aggressive I should go ahead and call it an unfriendly competition.  She’s winning, by the way. She works two shifts more a week than I do, but more importantly, had a mass windfall of 19 dances on a night I wasn’t working, boosting her to 80-something now while I linger and languish at 60-something. “Cash before ass” she told me.

I haven’t been taking as many notes because the competition keeps me busy, circling the room and being more consistently friendly than I thought it was possible to be. Sometimes I go to the bathroom just to hide where there are no cameras and let my face relax from smiling.  I breathe deep and then go back out.

The night shift just started and I was making the rounds when I saw this guy who looked like Jesus.  No one else looked particularly promising so I headed over to him even though I knew if Regan was watching she’d be shaking her head.  This might even have been the night of Compromise, it’s hard to remember.

“Hey!  How are you tonight?”

“I’m good I’m good.”

I tried to slide in close to him and realised I couldn’t: his legs were crossed yoga style on the bench, feet in Jesus sandals and everything.  This was gonna be good.

“So what brings you to ____ tonight?”

“Well… I was meditating and I had a revelation.”

“Unh huh.  And it said, ‘Get thee to a strip club,’ did it?”

“I had this revelation that life is a field dappled with light and shadow, light and darkness.”

“Mmm?”

“And I have been afraid of darkness and I have fought it in myself and in this revelation I realised no more. I have clung to the light!”

I looked across the room for Regan, checking to make sure she could see my face and that I will have a story for her later. “So you were like I need some darkness, time for a strip club.”

No! I have cleaved to the light and I need darkness in my life!  I need to admit the darkness in myself! I need to embrace it!

“I think a lap dance would really get you in touch with that.”

“Well… I don’t have any money, I left my wallet in the car.”

“That’s really great.”

I wandered off, barely able to contain my laughter until I made it to the dj booth.

“And how did that go?”

“I was meditating!”

“uh huh?”

“And–and, I HAD A REVELATION.”

“Oh wow.”

“And it said, YOU NEED TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DARK SIDE, EMBRACE IT, SO GO TO THE STRIP CLUB BUT DON’T BRING YOUR WALLET.” It’s a good thing the music is always loud because I was practically howling. “You need a FREE REVELATION OF FEMALE FLESH.”

“That’s… really something.  I saw you go for him and I just knew.”

“He’s wearing Jesus sandals and has his legs crossed yogi style!  He had a revelation! Embrace your dark side!  Embrace it!”

Later that night we were talking about a girl who always seemed sad who just left to go work for the skinhead club manager.

“Why would you do that?” I wondered.

“Everyone’s embracing their dark side,” Regan answered drily.

Summer reading/heatwave

Image

I’ve been making my way through this list the Rejectionist posted, starting with The Last Nude a few weeks ago and reaching a real peak with So Much Pretty and especially Half-Blood Blues. Which may be my favourite book of the year, it gave me that tingly feeling I haven’t had in a while, maybe since The Magician King or probably since before that, since I-don’t-remember-when.  I had to take Ceremonials off repeat and dig up old jazz, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, things I haven’t listened to in years.

Bessie Smith singing St Louis Blues

I tried to find a specific early Ethel Waters version of that on youtube and couldn’t, but I found this instead and maybe it’s better.

I started listening to old jazz when I was twenty.  I was sleeping with this boy who was “kind of a big deal”, (so he assured me) although I was usually too high to actually sleep for more than a few hours.  I’d leave when the sun came up and wander around smoking until coffee shops opened.  One morning it was already hot and I found an old place with the door open, fans already going and this girl’s voice that sounded like sunlight, warbly and scratchy and old sunlight, coming through the door.  The barista told me it was Josephine Baker and I was immediately obsessed. I went out and got some of her records and for good measure Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith.  I couldn’t stop listening even at work; I was doing doubles at a tiny little place with good decor (a rarity in my town) usually first shift by myself, reading onstage until a customer came in, dance a few songs lethargically in the heat, glare at the customer until he went away again.  Nights were more exciting but nights I couldn’t play my music.  The day bartender like to have killed me, he was so sick of it.  There was a hair metal cd I threw on sometimes to change it up but the place was so sleepy and hot and you could see the dust in the sun coming through the windows.  He just didn’t understand atmosphere.

It feels like the heat and bad choices of twenty are pressed in those pages along with the story.

Dressing room conversation

I’m spacing out, staring at the wall waiting to pay my stage when something jumps out at me.
“is that real? Is that a typo?”
Blank looks.
“is there really a girl going by —–? Like that’s not a typo?”
“—–?” another girl echoes, and comes over to look.
“No, it’s real,” someone says authoritatively. “she does mids mostly?”
I’m caught on someone naming themselves —–. I understand the desire to affiliate with luxury items, at various times I’ve felt (but not acted on) the impulse to call myself both Balenciaga and more recently Lamborghini.[1] But, “That’s not like… Lexus or Porsche or Mercedes, that’s like, Auto.”
“It’s weird right?” another girl adds. “Plus, i was like, you might as well name yourself Genocide.”
Silence while the rest of us try to figure this one out.
Then it clicks. “oh no! That’s —–, she’s spelling this ‘—–‘. but yeah —–, maybe not a great name.”
“I worked with a Jezebel.”
“Climax. With an x x x.”
“Aphrodisia.”
The list of questionable names is endless. We run through some more before deciding,
“—– isn’t the worst name.”
“No, definitely not.”

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1-There’s a new model that looks like the Bat Mobile that makes my heart hurt with the need to drive it.

every day I’m hustling

My shoes are getting loose and my ankles keep twisting as I back my ass up and down on this guy’s lap. It hurts and my thighs are getting tired and he’s driving me crazy. I mess up the rhythm accidentally-on-purpose, partly to give my ankles a break and get grips on a new angle and partly to throw him off so he doesn’t come.  He’s dead set on coming. We’re two songs in and I swear this is the longest song I’ve had to give a dance to since my bitchassho of a friend Ellie got mad at me and decided to make me suffer through an 11 minute Sisters of Mercy song six years ago at the tiny club where two girls switch off the stage through five hour shifts–the same club where I met Hundred Dollar Dave, in fact.  That was awful but this is pretty close to as bad.

“We gotta compromise,” he keeps declaring.  “We gotta come to a compromise, a conclusion.

“About what?” I giggle inanely.  I already know about what.  My last breakup didn’t even involve this much discussion and begging for compromise. He’s driving me crazy.

The bouncer walks by and I see a ray of hope. Last Friday, the first, I accidentally gave a two-song-long dance instead of one because, I don’t know, I’m deaf or all the dubstep really starts to sound the same after a while.  It worked out because it was a couple’s dance and I charged them 40$ each–it really is twice the work, not to mention the annoying stress of having to make everyone feel included, and the goddamn boyfriend kept noisily nuzzling and kissing my shoulder whenever I got near him, I wanted to charge him a gratuity for all the saliva: I deserved compensation for the time it will take to wash off as well as the emotional effort of keeping my temper in check, but we all know how that would go over.

But if I confused two songs for once, maybe I’ve done it again. That would explain this interminable lap dance.

The bouncer nixes this idea, it’s only been two.  And I was paid up front for three.  If it was theoretical money still to come I’d probably call it quits at two but there’s no way I’m giving any money back. No way.

As soon as the third song ends, however, I’m done.  He still wants to compromise, we really need to talk, he wants more but I need to stop being so afraid of my own pleasure.

“You like it too much, I can tell.  Girl don’t be afraid. We just need to work this out, you need to stay doing that same thing, let’s do two more.”

“Oh no!” I trill. “So sorry, so thirsty, oh my. So thirsty! Let’s check back after I’ve had a glass of water.” I’m shooting this over my shoulder at him cause I’ve already grabbed my stuff and am heading out at a fast trot.  I pass Regan, who gives me a questioning look.  I make a face at her.   With any luck she’ll nab him and get a few dances out of him before he wears her out.

Regan and I are having a competition (If I put the word friendly in there, that actually makes it seem less friendly); I’m not sure if it’s who can get the most dances this month or who can get to 100 fastest, but either way I’m winning.

When I got back out there she got him by the ATM[1].  While he fucked with it she leaned over to talk to me.

“He’s exhausting,” I explained. “I like can’t even handle it and I really don’t want him to come on me!  seriously. But he tipped so ask for a tip for sure.”

I wandered off, found someone new.  A sweet faced German boy.  I led him back and saw Regan still at it which means she definitely got ahead of me for the night. I caught her eye as we walked past and started laughing hysterically; shoulders shaking, she hid her face behind her hair. I beamed at my customer, steered him to a chair where I would have a good view of this past the curtains and sat him down.  Regan looked mildly tortured, shoes off and dancing away with determination.  I couldn’t tell if he was trying to boss her and she was ignoring it or if he just gave up, but he seemed more tractable with her.  Maybe he was afraid of her.  I think once she said she shoved a customer up against the wall and choked him with her arm.

“I can’t do that,” I said wistfully. “I got in trouble for slapping a customer.”

“Yeah, but that was at the rack.”

For a while I was slapping guys at the rack on a fairly regular basis: if they didn’t tip, if they tried to touch me, if they threw dollars at my ass, if they were at all aggravating to my perhaps already frayed temper–and focused on the important part. “How did you know about that?”

“I was in the office when they were going over the footage to try to see what happened.”

“He deserved it.”

“It was at the rack.

Compromise seems content to lay back and let Regan do her thing.  My customer is staring at me with a look of baffled delight, an expression I really enjoy.  I stop making eye contact with Regan because I can tell my uncontrollable giggles are confusing him. We do three songs and leave Regan still at it.

Continue later, I just got exhausted.  And I have so much more to write!

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1- Present tense got exhausting.