Hard times, difficult dances: part two

I’ve been having third and fourth and fifth thoughts (I had my second thoughts before I even started it) about blogging about work and then making it public—then it’s been midterms and moving and after all that I’m feeling super burned out and of course got sick. I’ll probably have some sixth or seventh doubts about this later, but in the meantime, let me tell you how it ended with the hand holder.

We passed the bouncer and I rolled my eyes at him. I pushed Grabby down into his seat and didn’t even bother waiting for a new song to start. Sometimes you just know. He repeated his desire for sweatpants and I squeezed his hand hard. “Next time, sugar cookie! You wear those sweatpants.” I backed away any time it seemed like he was skirting dangerously near getting off: body fluid would be the absolute last straw and I would probably have to strangle him. We both made it through the dance safe and dry.

He gasped at the end. “That was just amazing. That was just what I needed.” He handed me sixty.

Most times I would accept it, no questions asked—why look a gift horse in the mouth or whatever—but he seemed like such a pill.

“Do you want change?” I asked reluctantly.

“No, no you keep it. You earned it,” he squeezed my shoulder.

“Aw, well thanks. You have a great night.” I passed the bouncer and made another face at him before retreating to the dressing room. One of the minors was in there; it sucks to be a minor because you’re basically captive audience to whatever lunatic older stripper feels like hiding out in the dressing room, a situation I still remember bitterly from my own days as an underage dancer after a bartender at the local lesbian bar gave in to an overactive conscience and called the clubs I was working at to let them know I was using a fake id. What a b. But today I figured I would take full advantage of my seniority.

“The guy I just gave a dance kept wishing he wore sweatpants,” I announced dramatically, sitting on the counter and glaring at her.

“I love that!” she answered, enthusiastic.

My glare faded to total bewilderment. “You love it?”

“Oh yeah! I love when they wear sweatpants! That way you can feel when you’re doing a good job!”[1]

“I can feel an erection perfectly well through denim,” I replied stiffly, thinking that I enjoy, and some days even love, my job but feeling boners through sweatpants has never been one of my gauges of if I’m doing well. A bulging purse, an extra big tip, that tells me when I’m getting it right. Boners can happen anywhere, and like to happen for free. An erection guarantees nothing except blood flow.

She looked at me like I had just said I hate fun—which, you know I do. This club is so weird. But before she could continue one of the usual suspects came storming into the dressing room, long hair flapping.

“Are you new?”

I didn’t know what was happening, but felt like I was in trouble, a feeling I deeply resent at work, considering customers to be high maintenance enough without girls and management thinking I owe them something. I ran through possible misdeeds, only coming up with this blog. Admit nothing. I settled for, “I’ve been working here since thanksgiving?”

“And do you do a lot of dances?”

Oh for FUCK’S sake.

“I pay my bills,” I allowed cautiously.

“Well, I have a guy, and he says he just paid you $100 for two dances, and that you didn’t do a good job. So I told him, I said ‘I think she’s new, I’ll go back and check on her. Maybe she doesn’t know how we do things around here’.”

My jaw kind of dangled, I had so many responses and all of them were rude and some of them would probably get me fired. But in any club, EVER, prices are always negotiable upward. Undercutting is of course excessively frowned upon, and I would never do that—for a lot of reasons, some ethical, some to do with personal profit (I have to pay out portion of each dance to the club and charging less would cut into that) but also because I don’t need to; I don’t have a problem selling dances for the baseline set. But that wasn’t the question, here I was being scolded—by a fellow dancer—for overcharging. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Plus it wasn’t even true.

“He tipped me extra,” I said, striving for calm. “But I asked him if he wanted change and he said no.”

She looked at me like I’d decided to write ‘thieving harlot’ on my forehead in Lady Danger. “And did you do a good job?”

I waved my hands. “Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t let him fist me, maybe that’s the problem.”

She ignored me. “Well, we do contact dances here.”

I found a smile somewhere deep inside me. The only thing to do was patiently let her talk, she had to have customers—maybe Grabby—that she would need to get back to at some point. “Oh, okay.” Like I don’t grind on dick for a living, just like she does. Whatever.

This was clearly the right response, however, because she looked satisfied and calm almost immediately. “See, I told him you were new. Some guys,” she leaned into me kindly, “they just want you to grind on them.”

My smile started to become genuine, this conversation was so stupid. “Ohhhh,” I breathed.

“He said he wanted a dance from me, so I gotta go!” she finished triumphantly.

“Okay, have fun!” I told her.

Later that night she came up to me, still triumphant. “He said I gave him the best dance ever,” she announced, like I’d questioned her abilities. “He just wanted someone to grind on him for a long time.”

“Awesome!” I hi-fived her. “You go!”

[1] I have a digression I want to make, about commodified sexualized services, (to use Katherine Frank’s term), and what we’re actually selling and what people think we sell, &c&c&c. which is its own post which means I won’t really make it right now. It’s complicated and changes with each customer but I’ve been thinking about it recently, cause of the changing (evolving) dance styles in my area.