I’m trying to change it up so I don’t get burned out; I’m only working three shifts a week at my main club and then trying to work at least one shift at every club in my city[1]. That’s at least fifty. I’m doing it for Art.

Today I’m at a club I worked at five years ago; hustling’s not allowed, which is fine cause stage money is great and people are asking for dances. Downtime I’m working on homework and my stripper comic.
This conversation actually happened:
Guy: I like your swagger.
Me: yeah? [2]
Guy: Yeah, you’re…
Long pause.
Me, helpfully: I think the word you’re looking for is ‘perfect’.
Guy: yeah! Yeah that’s the one.

Longer review of today’s club to come, as well as long story about what a soul sucking pit it is, which is why I left. It’s even turned me vegetarian again.


1- This is maybe impossible, as there are a few where the circumstances in which I left are so… acrimonious (me to club owner, “I think you’re morally bankrupt” for example) that it’s going to be SUPER EXCITING trying to get back on schedule.  But today’s club was definitely one I had doubts about and here I am, so never underestimate the power of implants and a smile.  I like a challenge.

2- Swagger and sagging pants happen to be two of the top things I look for in a guy, aka ‘sagnswag’, so I’m into this as a compliment.


Russian red, gingham style: a tale of two lap dances

Thursday night was all geek love, IT guys and gamer nerds who were stoked for a hot nerd stripper and basically darling and frequently hilarious. Last night was the exact opposite.

“Can I ask where you’re from? I can tell you’re not from around here.”
He looks disappointed. “But your accent… It’s Ukrainian maybe?”
Now, I’ve been having a conversation with this guy for a reasonable amount of time, he’s heard a good sample of my speech patterns. I talk fast and slur my words a lot but don’t have a thick Boston accent, and I’ve been tainted by the west coast to the point where it’s almost impossible for me to make a direct statement, or even say “I think”. Instead it always comes out “I feel like–“, a habit I’m trying very hard to break. But my accent is very American English.
“Ahh, my family is from the Ukraine, yes.”
“I can tell, I can totally tell.”
He looks thrilled. “So, are you ready for a lap dance?”
He gets three, and at the end calls me by another dancer’s name. We’re not easily confused: She’s tiny, nearly a foot shorter than me, South American, and it’s a Spanish name, but the name does sound a lot like “Yentl” and I can only imagine it’s some fucking shtetl fetish coming out.
“It’s Red,” I correct him gently.
He looks startled. “But Y—– is such a Russian name.”
I almost die. Because it’s not, at all, like a Russian name, because he’s so attached to this narrative in his head that it’s like I wasn’t even there. But if you ask him about last night he’d probably tell you all about the hot Ukrainian stripper and her accent. Two totally different lap dances were just had.
“It’s Red.” He looks hurt and baffled so I make it easier on him. “Like Russian Red.”
His face clears. Later he gets more dances.

“You! You’re so hot!”
“So are you, are you ready for a lap dance?”
“Whoa whoa whoa! No no no!”
Okay. “I like your shirt. It’s very gingham, very Dorothy Gale.”
“Aha, no. Gingham. It’s what this pattern is called.”
“I thought it was called plaid.”
I sighed. Deeply. I was already annoyed by him, I don’t know why I kept going. Because I’m a Capricorn and I love money.
“So what’s your name?”
“Pfaw, no it’s not! That is not what your parents called you. I’ll tell you my real name. —– [2] What’s your real name?”
Seriously, are you seriously going there. It’s been a while since I heard this and I was hoping it got old and was now universally recognized as a signal for time wasting bad taste–which it really is. Not that I followed it.
“I’ll tell you during the lap dance.”
“Hold your horses tiger! I’ll get a dance, I’ll get a dance. Not right now.”
Yeah ok whatever. I waited 10 minutes and enlisted my young redhead doppelgänger in the cause. She’s pale like me, more babyfaced but we both have round enough faces and pointy chins, so when we tell people (guys) we’re sisters they don’t question it, they just look thrilled. She got his friend into the back and I followed with Gingham.

Gingham kept being charming.
“So I just got back from three weeks in Europe and you have a lot to live up to.”
I rolled my eyes. Because you go to an strip club in the states to have the same experience offered by a prostitute, European or otherwise. Idiot.
He kept talking and trying to grab my breasts. “In Prague the girls are so hot. Are those real? It takes a lot to get me hard.” He reached out for my chest. I ducked away again and grabbed his hands. “Are they real?”
“Why don’t you tell me, doctor.” I inadvertently channeled Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express, fitting because he was about as winsome as Clive Brook.
The song ended and I moved away from him with relief.
“That wasn’t the best lap dance ever. You said it would be.” He remained seated, sulky look on his face like if he complained enough I’d say, “oh, ok. That one’s on me then.”
“I did not say that, and I wouldn’t bother to do my best for you, you’re way too arrogant and annoying. Maybe you need to go back to Prague. Forty dollars.”
He still didn’t move, although now his face looked shocked.
“I don’t have forty, I only have a fifty.”
“That’s fine, I have change! And how much change do you want back and how much do you want to tip?” Now that I didn’t have to put up with him anymore, needling him was fun. He looked way more distraught than the situation called for.
“I will not be tipping. You didn’t earn it. Ten dollars.”
“Oh no,” I made a sympathetic face. “I only have five!”
“Then I’ll pay you in twos!”
“Oh no. I have enough twos. Let’s go to the bar and get you some change, big boy.”
He glowered. “I will not be forgetting you.”
What a threat! I rolled my eyes again. These guys were such badly behaved babies. Plus, after last week I got myself bear spray.
He got change from the bar and thrust two twenties at me with his face averted. It was like I’d destroyed his innocence.
“Thank you!” I caroled, and walked away.

A short while later a bouncer found me.
“I heard you were mean to a customer in a lap dance.”
“Oh my god!”
I told him what happened. He’s not one for overt laughing, but his face cracked.
“After last week I thought maybe you’re going on a rampage, hitting people, being mean to them.”
“I did not hit this guy! Don’t think I didn’t want to!”

1- When I was younger I would pretend to have a French accent when I was drunk, and run around insisting I was an exchange student from Paris named Ludovine, but it’s been a while. There is absolutely nothing about my accent to suggest Eastern Europe or Ukraine. I could do it if I thought about it, but that’s rarely a noticeable asset so I don’t usually bother. If someone seems to have a Russian Mail Order Bride type fetish I can just start dropping pigeon-Russian into my speech, whispering пожалуйста in their ears, whatever.

2- I don’t know why I’m leaving his name out, he doesn’t deserve the protection of anonymity.

Battle cry of the Brat Pack: “I just want to give you pleasure”

Stripping is an ongoing and very abject lesson in “You never know.”  You just never know.  I was talking to a guy who looked like Emilio Estevez in the Breakfast Club–a lot of it was in the hair but also sartorially. He was a pleasant and amusing conversationalist and within five minutes he suggested we do a dance.[1] Easy as pie, I thought. One of those dances where I’m laughing the whole time and grateful for customers like him.

I took him to the back room and we continued talking until the next song started.  He kept talking after that but all my energy was sucked up by monitoring his hands, letting out a half-hearted laugh where it seemed like he expected one, and then more hand holding.

“No touching,” I reminded him sweetly, and then more firmly.  “No touching when I’m naked, you don’t want me to get yelled at, do you?” This is a cue for the bouncer to intervene.

He loomed into the room. “Keep your hands to yourself!”

“Oh yeah oh yeah,” Emilio nodded.  “Right.” Bouncer went away, the guy explained, “It’s just so hard, I just want to give you pleasure.”[2]

“Ahaha, right. Well, you can’t, sorry. Not why I’m here. Now you just relax, don’t move, and enjoy yourself.”

We got through the rest of the dance without incident, holding hands for the rest of the song. I weighed the merits of another 40$ against the constant vigilance, handholding, and probable irritation of another song; decided I could cope.

“Let’s keep going!” I smiled, played with his collar. “I’m not done with you yet.”

“I don’t know… You know, I think you wiped me out but I really enjoyed this. You were great.” And with that, he swooped his hand toward my lap. I’d already turned away at “wiped me out,” but caught the motion from the corner of my eye and managed to catch his hand an inch above my [3].

I slammed his arm into the armrest of the chair and bent his fingers back. “If you try that again, I will break your nose.”
I paused to let that sink in and let go of his hand, moved away to dig around for my bottoms under the chair.

He found his voice. “I didn’t do anything!” I stared at him blankly. “You’re a crazy bitch! I didn’t do anything! I didn’t do anything.”

“Pay me.” I tried to give him a cold look but felt over the whole interaction. Annoyed and tired and almost hopeful that he’d try something so I could actually hit him. What a whiny little shit–it went with his entitled poufy haired aesthetic.

“You know what? You know what?” We waited while he figured out where he was going to go from there. “You can have forty dollars! But you’ll never see me again.” He flung two twenties at me with hilariously ineffectual force. I collapsed in laughter, spite giving extra force to my cackles until I actually sounded like a witch. He gave me a dirty look and flounced away, poufy hair bouncing indignantly.

I finished laughing, and hustled off to spend the rest of the night re-enacting his grand and unsuccessful gesture.
“And you will never–see me again,” I intoned dramatically in the dressing room, arm in the air like I’d just made it rain. Autumn and Virago stared at me incredulously.
“Really?” Autumn is easily shocked, a satisfying trait in one’s audience.
“Like, ‘Oh no’,” Virago laughed heartly. “Oh no, you’re never gonna see him again! Oh no, there’s not a club full of men out there who are probably nicer and richer. Oh no.
“He just wanted to give me pleasure,” I sighed. “I’m such an ingrate.”

PS: No, you’re not entitled to your opinion.  Cause some opinions are more equal than others. True fact.

1- He was actually really funny and made me laugh a few times, but this was a month ago and I didn’t take notes–the whole interaction was so funny that I thought it would stay in my head but turns out only the last two minutes stuck. With reason.

2- This is like, a thing. Guys say this all the time, about how their only pleasure is in giving pleasure, &c&c&c. But think about it. The guys who talk about giving me pleasure are so wrapped up in their vision and version of what’s happening that they’re totally blind to what’s actually happening.
How responsive and good at um giving pleasure can someone so unable to pick up on cues be? My cues, for example, aren’t so much cues as solid verbal warnings and directions: “No touching, only I touch you, no you can’t touch me, no you can’t touch me, you really can’t, I am the only person who touches, just sit back and let me do my job, I will hurt you if you do that again.”

Can you imagine someone that wrapped up in themselves being good in bed? Happy chance alone would account for it, I doubt he would register it if you explicitly told him he wasn’t getting you off.

3- It’s so annoying that there aren’t any non-embarrassing crotch euphemisms for girls.  Women.  Ladies.  Whatever.  Vulva is technical and embarrassing, crotch is, as Regan rightly claimed, terrible (although also terribly hilarious), most of the rest are infantilizing (kitty? yikes) and a bunch are worse than crotch. Gregology.net (seriously where do I come up with this shit? By googling “vagina euphemisms.” BECAUSE I CARE) suggests droog which, as the russian for “friend” (although the fact that it is a male friend, and not “padrooga” is stupid–or the etymology of this possibly entirely made up word could be totally different) appealed to me most but actually I’m just going to leave the whole thing as a footnote. I have an exam to study for. Though to be honest I might just end up finishing the Forsyte Saga and wondering why male gingers are always so unattractive except for the Weasley twins. Call me, boys.

Aural Sex 2.0: the curtains have a flaw

I’m sitting in this guy’s lap giving him a lap dance[1].  No two way contact but it’s still solid and he’s having fun until we get to the second song and the moaning starts next door.

“Unnnnnnnh unnnnnnnnh unnnnnnnnnhmmmmmm.”

It’s female: a dancer.  A dancer is moaning.  It’s like the aural equivalent of having to distract my customer from the guy diagonal from us who’s squeezing big handfuls of that dancer’s ass.  I didn’t want my guy to get ideas so I sat him over here and now a moaning girl is in the next area.  My customer immediately looks distracted; I’m not making that noise so I must be defective: somewhere along the line he got screwed.

“I promise you, nothing is happening in there that isn’t happening in here,” I assure him. I mean maybe she’s getting her ass grabbed too but he doesn’t need to know that.

He still looks longingly at the curtain, from whence the “unnnnnnnhs” just keep coming.  Oh my god.

“Do you need me to start moaning, sunshine?  Would that make your experience complete?” I want to kill the fool next to me–he was definitely going to go for a third before she started but now I’m not so sure, blocked by the curtain and fueled by the moaning, his fevered brain is coming up with all kinds of lascviousness which, bitchy me, I’m not indulging him in..

He looks confused. I swear to god.  People say the purring is cheesy but they can’t have heard fake moaning.  At least the purring is quiet and private and doesn’t fuck with anyone else’s hustle.

I try to channel a girl I worked with at a tiny, tragic little dive bar in 2006 who called herself Hot Pocket and always made the most embarrassing noises onstage.  If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right.

“Oh yeah, mmmmmmmyeah,” I start off low in his ear. His expression actually brightens like he believes penetration might not be far behind.  “Unnnnh mmmmmmm yeeeeeah mmmmmmmunnnnnnnnnh.” I feel stupider than words can express, mildly implicated by having resorted to moaning myself.  He looks less unhappy and cheated, but when the song ends he doesn’t get a third.  He pays me and then loiters by the dance area until Moany comes out, and he leads her right back in.  Only got one song from her though, and then left, looking more disappointed than ever.  There’s no pleasing some people.


1- Lap dances are kind of an ephemeral service, and quality is subjective, but mine probably occupy the (happy?) medium between the dances of when I first started dancing (which were adamantly not “lap” dances–by the standards of 2004 I’m a filthy whore) and the dances the other girls at my club do, and the dances that happen in most clubs in town.  Mine are good: not shocking (unless you’re some people), not tame, not terrible or amazing, probably kind of average unless my feet hurt and I resort to neck and shoulder massages–I do have repeat customers who pay me to do that.

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.

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.

No panties


Ivan and Natasha expressed interest in a couple’s dance, and despite my very best intentions I find the lure of a fast 80 dollars difficult to walk away from.  I already knew Natasha wasn’t wearing underwear because at the rack she’d lifted her dress to show everyone.  Forewarned is forearmed, I planned to be getting paid up front and then not go anywhere near her.  In the meantime, we had to find some common ground.

“So… do you speak Russian?” I’m obsessive, it can’t be helped.

“No,” Ivan laughed.  “We’re third generation.  My grandfather was involved in the plot to kill Rasputin and fled Russia.”

It shouldn’t–but still does–surprise me how many people tell me that[1].


“Yeah, he wrote a book about it.  I’ve been thinking about digitizing it.”

“Oh you should! Seriously!  If you do, email me!”

He blinked and looked surprised at the enthusiasm.  “Sure… do you want my email?”

“Oh yeah!  I’d love to read it!”

Somehow from there it came up that Natasha wants to get on stage.  This I had already deduced from her pantyless state.  Female customers. They took “No Panties” as a divine revelation without stopping to listen to the rest of the lyrics.  What the hell.

“She can come onstage,” I offered, hoping to seal the deal on the couple’s dance after I got offstage. Sometimes–very rarely–I haul a customer onstage, leaving the burden of entertaining customers to the starry-eyed amateur while I sit back, laugh, and hustle dances off the rack. I do this rarely because  while it in theory works, in practise they tend to flail around, humping the pole like dogs and it’s awkward and embarrassing and once I got kicked in the head.  A relaxing set it is not.

Almost immediately I regretted it.  Sparky, up before me, is a big fan of taking girls onstage so I gave her a heads up.  Natasha could play with Sparky and get it out of her system before I got there. It almost seemed like it would work, too.  She got off before I got on, but remained in her chair at the rack, buck ass naked, and only waited a beat before clambering back up.  I expected her to go for the pole the way most girl customers do, clinging to it and humping it while I continue to move around them, but she threw me for a loop by frog-hopping her naked ass up to me and trying to rub it all over me.

I tried not to visibly cringe and moved away from her, and that set off 3 minutes of hell, as she hop-chased me ass first around the stage while I gave up on looking graceful and settled for scrambling away from her as fast as possible, trying not to let her vagina or ass touch any part of me.  I tried to incorporate her into a normal, contactless two-girl routine, thinking as she latched on to the pole that it worked, but I congratulated myself too soon.  Somehow she’d launched her crotch at me, wrapping her legs around my waist and doing a full on Gnomey from Showgirls dolphin sex flail,  before doing an odd back bend and somersault off me as I clung to the pole, weighing the equally undesirable options of holding still while her vagina made contact with the crawling flesh of my hip, or choosing death over dishonour and letting us both fall off the stage.  The thought that my father would surely find out how I died and never forgive me decided me: I held on, promising to autoclave myself after I got done.

She picked herself up from the somersault and recommenced frog hopping around the stage with her ass in the air, a grin of manic delight on her face.  It was like being chased by an anthropomorphized biohazard box.

(I swear)

Finally the song ended, and Ivan, smiling and nodding approvingly at the rack this whole time, helped Natasha down.


1-No matter when they left Russia, dedushka is always involved in some plot to assassinate Rasputin, or the tsar, or both. Or they otherwise try to school me on topics they know nothing about. Later in the night, giving a lapdance to a different guy, he asked me what the text was on my shoulder. There should be a rule against asking about tattoos, there really should.  Especially for people who are unwilling to take a simple answer and want to argue about it.

“It’s a verse from a Russian poem.”

“Oh yeah?  Who?”


“Oh, him.  Have you heard of his contemporary, Mayakovsky?”

I’m tired and willing to give this the benefit of the doubt, even though the only Mayakovsky I know of is a full century later. “I haven’t, his contemporary?”

“Yeah, massively influential during the revolution.”

“Oh, right.”

We didn’t bond any further, mostly because he was an idiot who’d come to the strip club looking for a budget submissive to boss.  “Now pinch your nipples, hard,” he instructed me, and I couldn’t help laughing, comparing him to Hundred Dollar Dave. He tensed, and I knew it wasn’t going to work out.

Hands off

12.30am after that last post I was set to leave, there were enough girls that my 12.20 stage set would be my last. I did a cursory circle, not wanting to miss out on a last lapdance, and was passing the stage when a bachelor party in matching tuxedo tshirts walked by me. Though they’d hovered around the stage shooting the shit on my last set, only one of them had tipped me. This guy reached out as I navigated through them, grabbed my tits in a smooth, deliberate gesture, and squeezed.

I don’t like not making money, I don’t like losing sleep to not make money, and I especially hate getting treated like a blow-up doll as I lose out on sleep and study time to not make money. Any one of those things is bad enough; he didn’t make eye contact as he moved on and I could tell he didn’t think anything of it. It’s what you do when you go to the strip club, don’t pay the girls, make their night that much more stressful, and then reach out and fondle them because of course, they’re not autonomous adults with personal preferences but objects there to facilitate a specific (and apparently free) leisure experience.

I grabbed him by the neck of his stupid fucking tuxedo shirt and hauled him back to me before I could think about what I was going to do to him. His shirt ripped, startling both of us; he let out a hysterical squeal and started trying to pull away from me and I jerked him back. I mentally ran through my options as fast as possible. Outside of the lapdance aggression is frowned upon–I got that lecture about slapping customers who touch me at the rack and since then I’ve limited myself to casually taking their outstretched hands and bending their fingers back as hard as possible before moving on–but I couldn’t let this go. His friends heard his yelping and started moving back toward us.

He had a half full pint in his hand and I grabbed it with my free hand and poured it over his head. One last tug ripped his shirt further, just as a bouncer walked over.

“He grabbed me,” I explained. The bouncer grabbed him and hustled him out. I went in the dressing room to cool off.

The girl who’d been onstage during the incident came back after.

“Someone write ‘Hands off’ on my ass!” she demanded.

“What happened to you?”

“That same party, the one you grabbed? A different one grabbed my ass and slapped me!”

“I hate them.”

I found a sharpie and wrote “Hands off” arching across each ass cheek. Thought about it, added an exclamation point and a little heart.

She inspected it, pleased.

“You’ll have to change into a g-string so it’s visible,” someone advised.

I changed, left.

My test Thursday morning didn’t go great, my essays were overly general, I forgot the specific details that would have made them solid, as well as what the hell the Turkish national Pact was. Unnh. You can’t win them all.

Last night was better than Wednesday (almost inevitably, it would be really hard for anything to be worse). I tried hustling an old man who seemed perfect and was in reality awful. He kept grabbing me by the shoulder and back of the neck and shoving my face into his to whisper inane commentary into my ear.

“I love redheads.”

“I’m out celebrating with my son.”

“My night’s so much better now that you’re here.”

It was the longest minute of my life, and every time he shoved me into his face I felt the impending doom of his spit meeting my skin, and I flinched away from him. He wasn’t having it; I needed to be thisclose to his face for him to be certain I could hear him. Or something. Eventually I pried his fingers off my shoulder and fled.

I went up to Regan to complain and caught the eye of a girl sitting at the rack. I had to transition expressions, from bitchy horror to friendly smile, but it worked. Her girlfriend bought her a dance from me while she got a dance from Hands Off. Even better, my girl didn’t frantically hump me, and she was wearing underwear, and leggings. After the last few dances I’ve given to women–the girl from C—–, every couples dance ever, another woman a few weeks ago who wasn’t wearing underwear, a fact I discovered to my horror when her skirt rode up and I felt something like beard stubble against my ass–this was a piece of cake.