Things fall apart

It’s funny how fast things can fall apart. Relationships, obviously, but also work. Work environments. &c&c. Kind of a lot has happened since last week and I took notes which is good cause I don’t even remember it all off the top of my head. Some really fun shenanigans with Regan and this girl who I can’t think of a pseudonym for–it’s midterms ok and I have so much I should be doing besides this, like for example sleeping, or rereading Daughters of the Shtetl, or maybe Polin 18. But Regan and Shauna were having a bad night, and to be honest I was only having a good night because I’d lost my mind and was full on channeling Bibi and just going all out. I figured one way or another–blog, tactless comments made on fb about the new two way contact policy–I’d probably lose my job soon so what the hell, I could hustle with impunity. I started telling guys firmly that I wouldn’t be taking no for an answer and then frog marching them into the back room. One guy took advantage of my back being turned on the way to the room to try to stick his finger in my butt. I had to hold his hands really tight the entire time.

“Oooh you just have the strongest grip! Mmm, I love a man with strong hands. Yeah, squeeze them!” He got really into it and managed to make it through the whole dance without touching me, and he was the only problem customer. I’ve been able to keep selling my usual amount of no contact lap dances, which is a relief, but not enough.

One of the surprise offshoots of the two dollar bills is that the past four weeks stage money has been awful, so I need to sell a lot more dances to leave with my normal (pre-two dollar bill and club cut of the lapdance increase) take. I happened on a drunk 21 yr old, who was having his first night in a strip club. He was very vocal. I could tell from the way he kept looking around the lap dance room and then increasing his moans that this wasn’t about a lap dance at all, he just wanted to be seen enjoying a lap dance. Totally different, and in a way kind of more fun. Since we were both performing more for everyone else in the room than for each other, realism went out the window.
“Oh yeah!” i said gleefully. “Mmm!” I got loud too, because what the hell. The girl three seats down from me was getting a deep tissue breast massage from a customer as she kissed another girl. On the scale of obnoxious lapdance behaviors, the outrageous (and probably painful) way i was slamming into his lap and slapping his inner thighs seemed like less of a risk to other girls’ money than the rampant gropage and touching happening around the room. I spanked myself and told him how great he was, then I squeezed his bicep.

“Oh my god, your bicep is huge!” I grabbed the other one. “Oh my god, the other one’s even bigger!” I’m not above stealing lines from nineties teen movies.

“I’m the hottest guy you’ve had all night, huh?”

Autumn was giving a dance next to me and kept looking over and giggling. It made me moan louder. I winked at her. When my back was turned to him, I let myself laugh.

“Oh sugar, are you. I wish I could just dance for you all night.”

“You can!” he said eagerly. “Or at least until my money runs out.”

What a straight-forward offer. He really won me over with that one, and his ten dollar tips for each song. 8 songs later, he was out. He’d dropped a 20$ on the couch during the first song, and I’d watched it slowly slide toward the floor, thinking if he didn’t notice its progress during the dance then ok: compensation for all the moaning. By the 5th song I was feeling guilty about this–20 isn’t enough for another dance, so it’s not like he could spend it on a different girl. Plus, I try not to be too greedy, even though it’s hard on nights like that. I picked it up.

“You dropped this,” I said.

“Why’d you do that?” Regan asked later. “It’s all fair game!”

Bad habit, I thought.

So more on our demented hustle later. Regan’s out of town this week and I couldn’t face working without her tonight. I counted back over the past seven months and I have actually never worked a shift without her in my entire time at Weird Club. Isn’t that shocking? I’m practically in mourning[1].

1-My last conscious action before passing out after a blurty Saturday night off was deleting my impulsive drunk facebook status: “Live Regan!” The sentiment holds, however, even if it’s not on facebook any longer. she was giving me advice so good I could practically hear her shaking her head via text.

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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.