Yup. And I know that most curses are nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecies, but this Friday night was really something else. For one thing, I started my period that afternoon and thus was bloated, grumpy, and hobbled with cramps. For another, it was the end of the month, which is a slow time in this business. There was a crowd, but they were young, and broke, and surly. I made the rounds, accomplished little, then stumbled on a guy who said I danced for him before and was all excited about seeing me again. Had me sit with him about ten minutes while he drank a beer and told me how much he was looking forward to getting some dances. Then he told me he had to go call his wife, because she would expect him home. I said OK. Guys goes out to make a phone call and never comes back. Because I have a charitable heart, I'm going to assume that Wife yanked the leash on him and he had to bail, rather than that he is the kind of cheap perv who can con sufficient masturbatory material out of ten minutes of flirtatious chatter and surreptitious thigh-rubbing. But this was regular bullshit -- nothing compared to what happened next.
Those of you who have been paying attention know that I teach yoga at a shelter for domestic abuse survivors. You might think that I'd be less likely than most strippers to encounter folks from my day job, but however low the odds are, when they come up, they're up. Barely an hour into my shift a guy walked past me who looked vaguely familiar, but not in a club-regular kind of way, and after a rummage through the mental Rolodex it clicked that he was in fact an employee of the shelter, and a regular class attendee. So I follow him with my eyes, and sure enough, there is a whole table of shelter employees whooping it up front and center by the main stage. To their credit, they were tipping and seemed to be having the best kind of cheerful good time. If they'd been anybody else, I'd have made a beeline for them. But shit.
So I tipped the DJ to take me out of rotation and scuttled back to VIP to hide. It was more or less dead back there, save for a customer of my acquaintance named Sam, who talks a lot, looks like the sort of simple, good-hearted goon character who would be rubbed out halfway through a movie about the mob. He has allergies and his eyes water all the time as if he were crying, and given the way he talks and the things he talks about, you actually think at first that he might be. He did eventually buy a few dances from me, but for every dance you sell this guy, you have to start again from the beginning and explain that you won't date him, because he gets quite emotionally confused every time and thinks you are in love with him. And he feels bad about it because he's not sure that he loves you back. It's hard work, and I was at it for three hours, because that's how fricking long my yoga students were out there living it up in the front room.
Finally, they left and I was released but the night was pretty much as dismal as before. I sat with the world's most depressing bachelor party, honoring a groom-to-be who had just been released from prison that morning and attended only by an aging former stripper and a guy who races stock cars out in Killeen. They called me over to their table to dance, then wasted another ten minutes of my time before they figured out that they'd already squandered their meager funds on cocktails and couldn't afford it. So they gave me everything they had left -- about $8 in ones -- and a napkin with the address and number of their hotel room in case I wanted to stop by after work and party.
By then there was only an hour or two left of the shift -- too short to make any serious money, too long to just go back in the dressing room and put my head down. I was headed back there anyway, to kill some time reapplying eyeliner or whatever, when a middle-aged Dude in a Suit flagged me down as I passed the ATM, and asked me for help because he didn't have his glasses and couldn't see the buttons. I navigated him with utmost charm through the withdrawal of several hundred dollars, and he indicated that he was back in VIP with some other very important persons, and I should stop by. A last chance at redeeming the spectacular awfulness of the evening, thinks I. But then I got to the bathroom and discover that my own personal crimson tide has burst through it's fragile packed-cotton barrier and soaked my (black, luckily) thong with blood. And it's the only thong I had with me.
A trooper would have borrowed a thong -- or made one out of leaves and twigs or something -- and gone back to VIP anyway to hustle the rich guys. But this little panty waist simply sat on the pot with her head on her knees and moaned. Then I packed my things and got the hell out.
Happily, the next night was better, up until the very end when Joe came in and schizzed out on me and broke my heart. But that's it's own story.