So then the next night was wonderful. I walked out of the dressing room and ran slambang into D., the sweet kid (well, he's my age) who's been coming to see me here and there for a couple of weeks.
They're a distinct type, these shy boys. They're cute and funny, prime boyfriend material, and when I meet them at work I'm not really sure why they're here in a strip club with me and not home spooning on the couch with a cutie during the Daily Show. Except they never have girlfriends and they seem really deprecating about the whole idea that they could ever have them.
C. was like this when he was younger. A late-bloomer and a virgin til 21 (when he was deflowered by a childhood friend who had become the town whore) he got the idea in his head somehow that girls were just not for him. Around 25 he had some kind of mysterious Saul-of-Tarsus moment of epiphany, after which he got laid like crazy for a couple of years and then met me. If I knew the secret of his converstion I would bottle it and sell it, but he says it just happened.
In the meantime, they pay me to get naked, and I pocket their money and no harm, no foul. I think D. might have a genuine crush on me, though. Oh well. He's a smart kid. He'll survive.
After D. left a waitress came and told me someone was looking for me, and lo and behold it was John Wayne, my irregular regular who splooged during a dance in the Champagne Room last time I saw him and then disappeared. Our reunion was awkward and affectionate. Pro forma, he asked me back to his hotel room and I said no, and we parted friends.
After that I made a random lump sum from some guy I'd never seen before who claimed to be a long-time regular of the club. I believe him; he had the professional regular vibe. These guys usually hate me, and it's mutual. I'm neither hot enough to be their evening's glamour queen nor slutty enough to give them something juicy to post about on ASPD, but I must have had my mojo working because this one rolled for me like a cream puff.
I ended the night back on the couches with some wild Lebanese dude who only wanted me to sit on his lap and stare into his eyes for $20 a song. "I love you," he said. "You are different. You are special. You are unique."
Sometimes you have to take a breath and remind yourself that just because some weird Lebanese dude in a strip club is telling you these things in between yelling for shots of vodka doesn't mean they aren't true.
"You are beautiful," he is still saying when I tune back in some time later. "You are amazing. I will hold you until the morning. I will never let you go. We will listen to jazz records and smoke pot together all day."
About thirty minutes into this I start getting nervous. I should have gotten my money up front. My intuition gives it fifty/fifty that he'll skip his tab, or pass out without paying me, or forget that I've been dancing this whole time, or claim he though dances cost $5. Some jive.
I'm gearing up to try and extract some cash from him in the here and now before he has a meltdown and gets taken away in an ambulance, but then DJ announces last call, and to my utter surprise, the dude takes out his wallet, pays the full (substantial) sum owed, tips, and wishes me a good night.
All in all, so sweet and easy. No one stiffed me. No one called me names. No one tried to zing me in the cooter.
This is the kind of night I'll be thinking about when I'm getting all rheumy and nostalgic in the nursing home about my glory days as a high-priced hootchie-cootchie girl. I must have talked to a score on asshats last night, too, but they are forgotten and nothing's left in my mind but the feel of swaying through a crowded room on six-inch heels, the glitter of a sequin on a dress, the smell of money on my hands.