I work at a new club now, a bigger one, with more customers and pickier hiring standards. Let's hear it for me. I went by the new place after picking C. up from work. We stopped at Schlotzky's so I could do my stripper make-up in the bathroom under the flickering flourescent lights to the tune of an endlessly skipping muzak trumpet. Made my face into a blank canvas with concealer and base, painted it back on again with blush and eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara. Walked back out into daylight.
"Jesus," sez C. "You look like you put it on with a roller."
"It's stage make-up," sez I. "I'll be in the dark." But C. spits on a napkin anyway and swipes at my jaw and nose until threatened with direct and immediate reprisal.
We head due east towards the club. C. drives and I flip the passenger's side vanity mirror up and down, frowning at myself. We pull into the club parking lot, and C. asks if he should come in. Mais non. Boyfriends in Strip-Club Land are like anuses in the rest of the world: everybody's got one, and nobody wants to see yours.
"But I want to look at girls," sez C.
I strap on my high heels and strut across the parking lot. It's still light outside, but inside the lobby it's 1 am, as it is in every strip club in the world, every day, all day long. The universal strip club smell of cigarette smoke and Victoria's Secret body spray surrounds me like a familiar ghost. The front desk girl is friendly, hands me an application and phones for the manager. He waits the requisite fifteen minutes that all strip club managers must make aspiring dancers wait, then strolls out and starts talking with the door girl about some sort of paperwork SNAFU. I stand. And stand. Finally, she points me out. "This girl filled out an application," she sez. His eyes wander around the room and finally settle on my face with profound boredom.
"Give her a packet," he sez.
She gives me a packet with a tax form and a list of club rules, which I have to sign, signifying that I've read it, and that I understand I may not straddle a customer's leg, legs, torso, head, or any body part with my legs, knees or ankles. I also agree not to wear a transparent G-string, and to keep one foot on the floor during all dances. This is standard boiler plate of city ordinances governing lap dances, but it's refreshing to actually be asked to read and agree to it. There are plenty of clubs where the rules are, so to speak, more fluid. I sign, and I'm hired. I can't work because I don't have my driver's license, and also because my boyfriend is outside in the car. But whatever. I'm hired.
This will be the first time I've worked night-shift as a dancer, ever. I wonder how different it will be. I wonder how different the club is -- cleaner, hopefully. If no stranger ever tried to suck on my nipples again, it'd be too soon. Did you know you can get herpes that way? Think about it.