Up late tonight, but these are normal hours now. C. is out of school and has resumed his normal nocturnal habits; I am undressing til the wee hours four nights a week. It's nice that when I get home he is still up to rub my head and debrief me.
I've finally got the customer every stripper dreams about at night, the kind who comes in three times a week and buys out your shift and treats you like a princess all night long so that you get to walk through the room all tall and sassy on your way to and from the dressing room -- no sitting at the bar chain-smoking like some washed-up floozy from Talladega tonight, baby, nosir. Gotta hurry, mama, can't talk right now, gotta guy waiting for me up in VIP.
We've got a whole little routine going, loverboy and me, with a corner staked out in the VIP and the hostess knowing by heart what shots we like, and the whole damn bit. I feel bad, is all. Well, a little.
He came to the club for the first time a month or so ago, with a bachelor party. I wasn't there, but as he tells it to me, he was dreading coming -- hadn't been to a titty bar in years, and had a panic attack the last time. Seriously. A panic attack. But at the bachelor party last month, he made a conscious effort to relax and have a good time, and succeeded so heartily that he has been back a few times a week ever since. I met him on his second or third visit. He told me about his search for enlightenment and better living via strip-clubbing. I said righto, and we had the sort of meta conversation about what-it-all-means-anyway-this-strip-club-thing that I usually weasel out of like crazy, because they are a big downer, and then the guys get all remorseful and quiet and don't want to play anymore. But this guy was smart, and sweet, and sort of touchingly enthusiastic about it all, and so I gave it up a little bit, and then he bought a ton of dances and everybody had a good time.
And then he just kept coming back. And back. And back. He's in a honeymoon stage with the whole idea of paying girls to take their clothes off. We've bonded over Holy Grail and WoW and Hitchhiker's Guide, and bagged on LARPing together and compared SSRI's and shitty past relationships. He says he hasn't been laid in eight years. He says until he started coming to the club a few weeks ago, mere conversation with women was enough to overwhelm him with anxiety. He's an odd bird. Nice, though. Seriously nice. I like him a lot, actually.
There's a cycle to these things, though, and we are on the verge of enterting a heavier phase. He will want more, whatever that means -- almost certainly in this case "to be friends" -- and eventually he will butt up against the boundaries of the possible, and then he will be hurt and rejected and feel that it was all for nothing, and all a big trick any way, and what a gold-digging cunt I am, anyway.
The really cool stripper is the one who can prolong the honeymoon phase for months (years?) and slam dunk the break-up over a weekend with three text messages or less. I seem to get stuck in the reverse pattern a fair bit. I get confused and tell myself that honesty is the best policy, and still it all ends up very messy and later I think of a million lies I could have told that would have served me better. I'm a lesbian. I'm a lesbian, except for my long-distance boyfriend. Did I say boyfriend? I meant ex-boyfriend who hurt me so badly that I'll never even consider trusting another man again, not ever.
I tell myself that they check ID's at the door, and everybody who comes in to the club is an adult. They know what they're doing, they're responsible for their own emotions, they choose their own adventures, and so on. Still, I can't help feeling like somebody just handed me a rope and told me to walk the lamb up to the slaughter. Then again, it's slim pickings for strippers in the holiday aftermath, as last month's credit card statements start coming in. Not a good time for moral high-horsery about where the money comes from.