Monday, October 02, 2006

goodbye, joe

So Joe came in Saturday night very late -- after last call in fact, but the bar stays open til 4am. He didn't want to hit the couches in the Champagne Room and dance, just sit at a little table in the main room and talk. He's been generous with me, so I didn't mind giving him a little bit of time for free. Except that the conversation quickly got emotional, with him telling me he didn't want to be seen as a customer, and me trying to make everything OK, but my guard was down, as it has been with him, and I couldn't make a recovery.

He wants to be friends, but I don't think that's reality. I'm a 26-year-old stripper with a fiance, and he's a 47-year-old businessman with three teenaged children. Maybe if he'd really seemed sincere about the friendship part, but it was pretty obvious that the version of friendship he had in mind consisted of waiting around in the wings in case I broke up with my boyfriend. "Friendships" like that are crap.

There's also the fact that the girl he thinks he loves does not actually exist. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Grace is a completely fictional character, but Grace is definitely a cleaned-up and sexified version of a real woman who is not always in a good mood, doesn't always have perfect hair, and isn't completely fascinated by you and totally hot for your body. Grace is a service that I provide; she's available only at the club, at certain times, for a set rate. She isn't someone you can date or fuck or even be friends with. Even my boyfriend doesn't get to date Grace. He's stuck with me.

When Joe says he wants to get to know me, he's talking about Grace and he's asking for something that's not possible. He wants to scoop up the happy, sexy redhead and carry her home to dance on his coffee table every night for free, and it doesn't work like that. He thinks he can see the "real me" but if he could he would see that the real me is a girl who happens to be a stripper, who wants to do her job and get paid and go home. This is the highest level of strip-club-customer sophistication, and few achieve it. Most get bogged down somewhere in the idea that their stripper is either an eager slut available for the asking, or a soiled dove in need of rescuing, or some other fantasy that casts them as the hero who gets the girl.

I didn't attempt to explain this amidst the smoke and flashing pink lights and hip-hop soundtrack of the Saturday closing-time bar. I just said, no, I have a rule that I don't mix up my dancing life with my non-dancing life, and rules wouldn't be rules if we only followed them when we felt like it. And he was upset. Today we exchanged e-mails going back and forth over the same ground, and I haven't answered the last one because really what's the point.

I'm sad. I was sad at work the next day, and tired -- a zombie dancer. I'm sorry Joel is hurt, because I do like him, although not as much as I did before. He's just another ex-regular now, and the more he tried to say he wasn't, the more obvious it was. Just another guy who can't beleive Grace doesn't really want to fuck him, after she sat on his lap and stared in his eyes and listened to him talk and smiled like that, another guy who thinks life would be perfect if a full-time free stripper would move in and spend all her time making him happy forever.

Men are so strange, so weirdly fragile. Did you know that male infants cry when seperated from their mothers much sooner than girl babies, find abandonment much more traumatic, are more stimulated by being held and caressed? I imagine pink flashing lights in a smoky room of crying male infants, and I am even sadder than before.

4 comments:

Nathaniel said...

I'e always thought men were more sensitive and romantic than women.

I suppose that's the danger of selling fantasies -- you can do it so well, the customers might believe them. Whether you're a stripper or an actress or a writer, you'll always have some fan who believes that the work you do is the person you are.

Anonymous said...

Grace, I’ve been reading your blog for some months now and I think it’s great. This post has really struck a chord with me as I am one of many “Joels” out there. I have been friends with a dancer for a couple of years now and I really feel for both Joel and yourself. It has not been easy separating the “in” and the “out of” the club lives but I think we have managed it and it has been really fun for both of us. The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was the perceived motivation on both sides. I had to be convinced that she wasn’t faking the friendship because of the money and she had to be convinced that I wasn’t faking the friendship for the sex. Once we got over that (and it wasn’t easy) we have been real friends.

I am not suggesting for one moment that this can work for Joel and you as everything you say about the difficulties of making this work are true. You have described so well many things which I have thought and felt over the past two years and haven’t been able to rationalise. I wish that I had this much clarity in my thinking so thank you for that. I really wish you well and please keep up the great blog.

Crusty Custy said...

Grace, I just discovered your blog -- sorry for the late reply.

But you can come WRITE on my coffee table any ole time. 'K?

CC

Anonymous said...

Grace you have a great ability to see inside people and describe their motivations, longing, and desires. You also pull no punches when critiquing your own trails and triumphs. This blog is not just about stripping it is also a recollection of the human condition, and human heart.