killing time: what I’m reading, what customers talk about when they’re trying to sound smart, what I fall asleep when reading. And what I’m eating.

So… expect more posts now that I’m back in school.  Inspiration strikes hardest when my attention is supposed to be elsewhere: for example, right now I’m trying really hard to focus on “The Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies” but all I can think about is how there’s a pun in there somewhere about naked girls.  This is after falling asleep multiple times when trying to read the text for my mandatory science class–four years and I’m just now taking it. I feel really good about the past four years of history, literature, and almost nothing else, and the bitterness I felt about having to take art history–which at least had some awesome pictures, including this picture:

(which my friend recognized from the last Indiana Jones movie, exciting because it’s real! I always figured it was a set.) is nothing compared to the quiet bitterness of having screwed myself so that my last term is eaten up with this dullness.  I might take a class on colonialism and imperialism in the middle east winter term just to make up for this. 
But mandatory science–okay, it’s one of two non-science science courses, the other being science through science fiction[1], and both are in high demand from all the history/liberal arts majors who can’t be arsed to do actual science or math–is that a harsh judgment?  I’m extrapolating from my own situation, which is driven by sheer lack of interest–this mandatory science class (I like calling it that and think I will for the rest of term) is taught by a very kind, very dull instructor who has already promised us lots of group work and given me a talking to a bout using a laptop to take notes. Which is fair because it was actually an email to a friend in which I complained about everything that was happening in class in real time.  I haven’t sent it yet, but I’m sure she’ll be stoked.  
So here I am: falling asleep over Woman[2], which is the text for mandatory science, and which is something like if Jeanette Winterson immediately followed Written On the Body with a sort of 90s update to Our Bodies, Ourselves.  Or something.  It’s indescribable, and yes, it is entertaining, if at times entertainingly self indulgent. I read a line which I really wish I’d managed to underline and dogear before accidentally falling asleep–it was ten or fifteen word sentence with three interior rhymes. And she keeps doing that!  I haven’t found that one again but here’s this example:
“Estrone alone for the merry crone.”(203)
or this:
“Until we cry aunt and have the uterus abolished.” I don’t even know what I want to italicise more in that sentence, it might actually be cry aunt. 
There’s also a nice reference to Heloise and Abelard, which I appreciated.  I think if Heloise had been able to express herself in hair metal lyrics, she would have written No One Like You 800 years before the Scorpions got to it.  
Which reminds me that one night a few weeks ago I let my smile slip and a customer asked me what was wrong.  
“I’m bored,” I answered, being candid since I’d made enough to be impervious to their money.
His friend took offense at this and asked me what kind of intellectual stimulus I needed. “Do you need to talk about Abelard?  What do you think of his misfortunes?” It’s like when someone aims a ball at your head expecting to hit you but it turns out either it’s nerf or maybe you’ve got better coordination than they thought.
“I think it’s a real bummer that Fulbert castrated him,” I answered.  “What did you think of his ideas about intentionality and sin?”
“Not much.”
We laughed. 
This has been brought to you by the best batch of chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made, and I’m not sure what I did different this time.  Which clearly means I’ll need to do it a bunch more until I have isolated and memorized the difference.  I think it might be running out of baking soda (or powder, I can’t tell the difference, but I didn’t use either one because I was out) and they’re so amazingly delicious and chewy.  Also extra vanilla because you can’t have too much of a good thing?  That’s not true.
the inscription on this book (I know, I should stop bitching about it and just read it, except I already read it what! what I’m avoiding right now is Copernicus, hello) is so awesome(ly bad) it’s almost worth the (second hand) cover price!
why is “us” “WOMAN” singular?  Why would you say that?
I wonder if Ivy enjoyed it.


1-which a different friend highly recommended, but only from a certain instructor,  and this term it’s offered but by someone other than the person my friend liked and I think it would take someone really amazing to make me focus my eyes on a combination of science and scifi, cause I’m strictly a fantasy nerd and can’t get into scifi no matter how hard I try,  although I did just finish Embassytown and really enjoyed it, so that could, maybe, change at some date in the future, with a lot of work.  But with so much awesome fantasy why bother with scifi? so I opted for Science of Women’s bodies instead, and here I am. Plus I ‘m a Capricorn, myself, so I like a known quantity,  I digress)
2-which has the most embarrassing title/reductive cover design ever.  I had to buy another copy of Sarah Rees Brennan’s book (which I already own but miss since loaning it out) and The Diviners just to justify going to the register with such an unspeakably women’s studies book.  I know I started this blog as a queer feminist stripper dyed in the wool fantasy geek and I’m still a bunch of those things but I will never not be embarrassed by bad design that is essentially a vulva–no, it’s not even a vulva, it’s definitely just a crotch[3], or maybe a martini glass. The martini glass makes me happy so let’s go with that.
3-A word that Regan hates when I use, “because it’s terrible!”–as in “Move over, crotch hog,” because I’m tired of smilingly entertaining the customer’s gaze during a lapdance and I want to give my face a break but she’s hogging the prime territory of his lap, which allows you to avert your face in a number of ways.

Aural sex

“Fuck me like a bitch in heat,” I repeated to Regan, barely controlling my giggles.

“He said that? Like a girl?”
I considered. I knew what she meant but, “Not like a girl exactly. Or even like a command. ‘Fuck me like a bitch in heat fuck me like a bitch in heat fuck me like a bitch in heat,'” I mimicked the way he’d actually said it, jaw and teeth clenched, a high-pitched singsong whine of trite sexiness. I couldn’t finish without exploding into a loud cackle of laughter and even Regan had to cover her mouth so she didn’t spit out her energy drink.
“I had to keep slowing down and moving because sometimes it seemed like he was actually going to come. But then he caught on and got mad and didn’t want any more dances.” I frowned. It was a slow slow night, like the past three had been, and I was worried about both my average (for vanity’s sake: I broke the record of the most dances sold in a month at my club and am unwilling to dramatically drop in number, even though bachelor party season is over so it’s to be expected. Also Regan has sworn she is going to beat me, and since I’m about to take some time off, I believe her. But I don’t want her to beat me by too much) and my income, because of the approaching time off.
This worry led me to target people I would otherwise pass over–too much trouble, one-offs, &c–which is how I found myself an hour later ferociously clutching a different customer’s hands, on high alert to keep dodging his tongue, which had yet to spend more than a few seconds consecutively in his mouth; like a dormant zombie it lay inert, hanging out of his lips until I came within some magical limit, and then it would flicker to life, leading him to crane his head toward me while his high pitched giggle made a constant soundtrack to our struggle, punctuated every now and then with,
“You control those hands, girl! Control those hands.” Like he had nothing to do with it. If someone had told me that he was a corpse animated by some distant voodoo practitioner who was speaking through him, I would not have been surprised.
After the song ended he paid me and left and I collapsed against the cushions. The bouncer on back room duty poked his head in and trilled, “Control those hands girl! Control those hands!” and started cracking up. Very helpful.
The cherry on the sundae of that night came at the very end, when Regan and I hustled a last two girl show out of a guy I’d been working on all night. He was a little bit slow[1], with a group of people as annoying as they were broke, and the first time I tried to get dances from him he had trouble with his card, but Regan decided he should run it as credit, so we tried various prices until finally the minimum charge for a two girl show was accepted. The bartender, looking increasingly harried, shoved the receipt at us and went back to cleaning up; we took him in back. The only other girl dancing was Courtney. With the advent of curtains I find her lapdances less objectionable–it’s no longer a constant battle to keep the customer from noticing what’s happening across from/next to us, saving us both arguments about economics as it becomes clear that my fingers won’t be going anywhere near my orifices–but I’ve never danced near her when the room was empty, and it turned out either I’ve been missing something, or she’s added some new tricks to her repertoire.
“Aaaaaughh…. Mmmmmmmm ohhhhyeah, ohhhh baby just like that. Ohhhhh yeah like that mmmmm oh harder baby harder oh harder ohhhh it’s so tight. Ohhhh yeah oooooooohhhhhmmmmmyeah.
The onslaught of Courtney’s dramatic moaning was the last straw after the frantic moaning of everyone else. My facade collapsed first as, despite my best efforts at muffling myself, I let out a small strangled croak. I got ahold of myself and resumed dancing, with only some small shaking to give me away, but after a minute or two Regan lost control; a huff of breath alerted me and I had time to shove the guy’s face in my cleavage while she sat in his lap, covering her face with her hair until she was calmer.
“Ooooh ooh oh oh oh oh oh yeeeeahmmmmmm, baby!”
1-He reminded me of Buster from Arrested Development if Buster was a body builder. At one point I vacantly commented on his sizeable biceps–this is something that seems to work on nearly all men: whatever the size of their biceps the vast majority will mumble “d’awwww,” and flex for your admiration. This guy took it a step further, and shoved his drink at me so he could flex like the hulk and show me his traps. I think bulky traps are gross at the best of times, smacking of poor posture and self-upkeep, with a correlating drop in vocabulary and brain function, but his rose all the way to his ears, forming a perfect triangle with his head and the edges of his shoulders. I gagged, jumping to cruel conclusions at how perfectly he illustrated my theory about the correlation between overdeveloped traps and underdeveloped vocabulary/social skills/brain function.

Lazy morning, 9/12

Reading this:
“Emanuel obviously knows that such a state of affairs is intolerable to children, as he sends his own to a progressive school whose director staunchly opposes standardized testing.”
And this is like my favorite thing I’ve seen on craigslist:

I practiced new tricks with Regan and Autumn last night, and got one, but the Ironman one that Regan does so easily (even after over a month exercise free for her implants) is killing me. I finally got it at one point, letting go of the pole with my hand and relying on the tension between the back of my right knee and front of my left, only to slowly slide to the ground whimpering in pain.
“your face has a really unattractive expression on it right now,” Regan observed dispassionately.
the expression of one manfully controlling shrieks of intense anguish, I’m sure.

Men and money: anecdotes and digressions

I wrote this days ago and then forgot to post it because I was running late to work.

I have a backlog of surreal anecdotes but I’ve been too exhausted to blog, something that’s a little weird because I run on nervous energy, but I was too tired to even be surprised about it until the other day, staggering home from the grocery store with a heavy bag, so tired that I wanted to throw up. I had a revelation, total deja vu:
Flashback to a few years ago, similarly knackered by exhaustion to the point of nausea, carrying a heavy bag of groceries and wanting nothing more than to pass out on a park bench. It sticks in my head because on that walk to my bus this guy, some sort of public safety/trafficy person, a man in an orange vest directing traffic, told me to smile. I stared blankly back at him, with thinly controlled hostility–attacking him crossed my mind but I was too tired. He could tell, though, and he said “Smile! It’s not that bad! You’d be beautiful if you smiled.”
I almost had a rage-induced aneurysm, but path of least resistance won: walking would end in collapsing into bed much faster and with less effort than spewing all the thoughts crowding my head[1], which would, I knew from experience, only lead to a prolonged interaction and his defensive hostility as I questioned his right to tell me to smile[2].
Fast forward to now, almost six years later but I felt exactly the same. I recognize it now, the exhaustion/grocery bag combination jogged my memory. Pregnant.  That dual exhaustion/vomitousness?  Total pregnancy.  Some people find being pregnant to be totally awesome, a really great experience to be lived again and again (Michelle Duggar, apparently); I am absolutely not one of them. I’ve never been more miserable in my life than that fall, too constantly tired/nauseated to work and get the money to pay for the abortion that would have gotten rid of my hormone induced exhaustion, a maddening trap. The whole thing was an accident, the result of some bad-judgment summer fun with an ex-sniper whose main charms were a Byronic temperment[3] and a motorcycle. So crazy! Luckily I had a miscarriage[4], because he wasn’t going to give me that money. He still spits at me (literally) on the very rare instances when our paths cross, proving, like Heathcliff, that brooding Byronic appeal is just genuine bad nature willfully misinterpreted by the delusional or drunk as a Good Time (which, it can be, but don’t forget the birth control).
I was walking home from the grocery store and I had that flashback, and it all became clear. And the solution this time was much simpler and cheaper.  No, I am not pregnant, me and the nuvaring broke up as soon as I got home. Hormonal birth control and I are over. IUD + me 4 lyfe.
If I wasn’t behind on getting to work, you bet I’d have a whole digression on men and smiling. I had to take my car into the shop, and the bus stop I had to wait at to go home might as well have been tagged “Rapists corner.” It was 11 am and I had no less than five different cars circle the block; four of them pulled up to proposition me, and one of them had a buddy come meet him there to check me out. I put 911 on speed dial and waited anxiously to see if they were actually going to stuff me in their trunk. After about 10 minutes they left me to the mercy of an angry drunk who also turned out to be waiting for the bus, but didn’t let that stop him from yelling at me to pay attention to him.
But I have my car back! Life is good. And now I’m meeting with an accountant to try to untangle my taxes (still) before heading over to Regan’s to do free laundry at her house. I have a list of requirements for my next apartment:
Second or third floor so I can be indecent with the windows open whenever I want.
Southern and eastern exposure.
No mold!
Washer & dryer in unit.
Absolute sanity on the part of both property manager and landlord a must. Property manager here left a pile of cat shit on my back stoop last weekend, under the mistaken impression (perhaps she’s never had a cat?) that it was my 8lb chihuahua’s. When I called the landlord to express my extreme unenthusiasm re: this behavior, he explained “She has a hard time talking to people.”
1-something like: “my mouth just naturally turns down, it actually is more effort for me to smile than frown, I’m having a bad day/week/month and don’t feel like smiling, my emotions are none of your business, why would you even say that, I’m going to carve a smile on your face with my key ring, you know what makes me really not feel like smiling?  Being told to smile, and also I hope you get hit by the traffic you’re so inattentively directing”
2-Yes, I suppose he has one.  This is America, after all. Nevermind my right to live my life and move through the world as unimpeded by the gratuitous and unnecessary commentary of passersby as possible.
3-which, like many Byronic temperaments*, revealed itself to be severe mental health issues rather than a tortured yet tender soul railing against the inadequacies of life and, I don’t know, the capitalist system.  The military industrial complex.  Whatever.  Which, let’s face it, would also have gotten tiresome but less quickly than his actual asshole antics did.
*Except that, when I think about it, it’s totally Byronic to be an abusive and manipulative asshole.  Hello Augusta Leigh.
4-Four times as expensive as an abortion, it turns out, and ruining my credit for the foreseeable future. A few years ago the Department of Revenue (who got the bill since I went to a state hospital) hunted me down: “Do you think you deserve health care you can’t afford to pay for?” the woman on the other end of the phone asked me incredulously. I listened with an equal lack of credulity, thinking about the entitlement to health care and safety that led me to the emergency room when it became obvious I was having a miscarriage and not just some spotting; I definitely know people who would have waited until they were actually at death’s door to go to the ER and frankly, I wish I had waited–the ER gave me some diaper sized pads and told me to come back for an ultrasound and for that charged me 1,600$. But If I hadn’t had the constitution of an Irish peasant, hardened by serious drinking and prenatal vitamins? Should I have bled to death politely at home for lack of money to pay my ER bill?
“I’m hanging up now,” I told her, stuttering with anger.  That was when I quit dancing, went to work in a low income health clinic and got back in school. I got respectable, sort of.  The feeling of being a disposable piece of trash never really leaves you once it’s got you.  I think before I was always too drunk and frivolous to feel it, it started with not being able to afford an abortion and the lack of health care options around that, and it was only further impressed on me by that bill collector.  As a girl, as a stripper, as a poor person, few people care what happens to me. Bad things happen to strippers, it’s just part of the narrative.  Things happen to strippers, and usually they were asking for it. I mean if they weren’t asking for it, they wouldn’t be living that whole… lifestyle.
The clinic used to make me cry.  I was glad to be a part of helping other people but the lack of options for clients only mirrored back to me my own lack of options.  It felt like drowning.  Around the same time, just before I quit dancing, I had an argument with a customer.  I was tired again and worried about money and he told me “Relax, money isn’t everything.”
Everything I wanted to say to that–how he had the money and the power in our conversation, how my rent directly depending on him and people like him understanding that this was a financial transaction and valuing the service of my attention appropriately, how much it sucks to not have groceries or to keep pushing paying your electric bill back or getting your phone shut off, how the kind of bland zen wisdom that prioritizes… I don’t know, some kind of abstract bullshit love? over the concrete security that money offers makes me want to hit people (because I have anger management issues I should acknowledge here, that this post is making eminently clear)– kind of choked me so I just stared at him and he smiled, thinking he’d silenced me with his wisdom.
I finally got an answer to him the other day reading my friend’s blog: she paraphrases something Oprah I guess said, about how money isn’t everything but the lack of it is.