Saturday, January 20, 2007

scheduling conflict

Sure enough, Mr. B asked me out last week via the mysteriously universal Let's Go to a Concert Thursday Night Gambit. Only I work Thursday nights, so no go. Also, I don't date my customers because I'm not a prostitute, but "I'm working tonight" sounds, you know, gentler, so that's what I say. This is all by e-mail, and at the end of the e-mail I wish him a good time at the concert. He writes back and says he won't be going now. I counter with "Well, now that you don't have plans for tonight..."

I don't really expect him to show, but he does. I don't directly solicit business like that very often, and it always blows my mind that it works. It also blows my mind that people respond to junk mail,too, but I guess if they didn't it wouldn't exist. So yeah, people are suggestible.

Unfortunately, when he shows up I am in mid-session in the private dance area with a NASA scientist who wants to give it all up and pursue his dream of professional snow-boarding. (One nice thing about the job is that I really don't have to care if the stories people tell me at the club are true; thus I can spend my evenings with millionaires and former pro ballplayers and snowboarding rocket scientists.) Anyway, Mr. Rocket Science is in love with me because I spent a semester in engineering school and like movies; he has a lot to get off his chest and is paying handsomely for the privilege, so I am not immediately available to cater to B's need for titty. He is sitting in the area immediately above and behind the private dance area sadly watching television, and I am just wrapping things up with Rocket Boy when some other trick whose face is instantly familiar but whose name escapes me even now comes and sits on the couch right next to us and make it apparent that he is in line for my services. I stop to say hello and explain that somebody is waiting for me, but then I see B roll his eyes, get up, and storm back to VIP in an apparent dugeon. I get back there quickly and am just starting to get his feathers smoothed down when I hear my name over the intercom. Apparently I am already late for main stage. B indicates he will not be waiting around for me to get back.

When I get home there is an e-mail waiting for me saying that he "didn't feel like much of a priority" to me last night. I am sad. I really like B. But then again, I'm not sure what I was supposed to do differently. I express electronic remorse. He extends his forgiveness. I hear nothing for several days, then get an e-mail saying he is going to be taking a break from the club for a while. I'm sad to see him go. Spending time with him really was a treat, as he is good company, makes me feel pretty, and is fairly free with his dollar. I've been getting quite fond of him.

A break's not a bad idea, though. (And I do hope it's really a break, not a final farewell.) I've been getting really lazy the past few weeks, what with hardly having to work the floor at all. It's amazing how quickly those skills can can atrophy. So back to the grind, as it were.

But this is part of why I don't want to "be friends" with customers. At the end of they day, a customer comes and goes as he pleases and without obligation. Me, I'm like the ballerina in the jewelry box -- always there, every time you open the lid, twirling and smiling. It's the nature of the relationship. It's what makes the relationship attractive. I get it. I support it. At the same time, a person who can disappear from your life on their whim without warning or explanation doesn't make a very good friend. Or not for someone like me, who gets pretty attached to the people I like. Sometimes I almost want to explain this, but better not. Better just hold out the cookie of the impossible someday, and back slowly away. Forever.


desert diamond said...


Rachel said...

I really relate to this post. Recently I've been feeling the same way about a particular customer of mine, who only comes in every two or three months. I don't want to be 'real' friends with him outside the club, but I have so much fun with him when he comes to see me at work, and it's definitely not just about the money. Recently I find myself looking to the spot where he always sits at the bar as soon as I get to work, just in case he's there, and I'm usually disappointed.

It's a strange, confusing kind of power dynamic, and I think you're right that it's better not to talk too honestly about feelings like this (with the customer himself, that is) because unless we really do want to be friends outside the club, frank discussions like this usually just end up upsetting the already precarious balance of the stripper/customer relationship. I guess even the friendships that feel genuinely enjoyable are still based on a certain suspension of disbelief on the part of the dancer as well as the customer.

It always seems like other strippers just manage to negotiate these relationships without wasting any energy worrying about them, so it's good to know that someone else out there is dealing with these sorts of feelings too!

PamelaRiver said...

I guess in the bar where I worked when I was 23-24, I was also tipped to be "friends" with lots of people, to listen to their woes and boost their egos. Some of them I really, honestly did like. But the attraction of the relationship was that they could come in any time and I'd be there for them. It was my job. If we actually became outside-the-bar friends, we'd have to deal with his shitty apartment and the fact that I lived for free in an unlit basement and lived on pub food while I put away traveling cash, and the fact that I was super busy with my real life outside the bar, and I was moody and ridiculous sometimes while I was trying to filter through the past 24 years and figure out what the hell to do with my life, and blah blah. Basically, we'd ruin a perfectly idealistic and fulfilling little relationship that both of us enjoyed and replace it with the vagaries of real life -- which both of us certainly had enough of as it was, and which very easily could have blown up to nothing, or worse.

People need to learn to get through life without grasping so hard to everything. You can't pin down that perfect wave and stuff it and put it in your living room. You just gotta catch it and enjoy it and move on to the next one. That's life. And if the wave happens to last months -- or years -- hell, even better.