So that guy and I did have coffee, and he didn't ask to put his tongue in my ass. Instead we had a very productive conversation about state mental health policy, which led to him telling me about being abused as a kid and later institutionalized for bipoilar disorder back in the 60's.
I told him about having major depressive disorder and he stretched his hand across the table and said, "The only thing I still don't know how to deal with is the loneliness. I've done so well in life and I have a lot to be proud of, and sometimes I feel so alone that it just doesn't matter. I don't know how to be with people unless I'm working." He asked me if I was ever lonely.
Huh. You know, I've had variations of this conversation over and over in the last few years. I have met this man -- this lonely, successful man -- so many times, but never while fully dressed. And you know, it makes a difference. With my pants on, I felt less threatened, less overwhelmed, less tragic. Clothing gave me distance, and distance bred a truer compassion.
I told him the thing that makes me feel best is to subsume my own tortured ego to the service of others, and to find ways to belong to groups in whose aim and purpose I believe. And he nodded, and he said I had a friend in him, and he said he would help me and my project in any way he could. And we shook hands. "I respect what you're doing," he says.
I went in to work that night. When I stripped my jeans off in the locker room I realized I hadn't shaved my legs in the several days since I'd been to work. The sink in the dancers' bathroom was clogged and overflowing. It often is. I don't know if the plumbing is just completely shoddy (probably) or if girls are forever dropping cigarettes and used napkins down the drain (also, probably) but anyhow, it's gross.
I went out to the old sinks in the dim hallway behind the stage, where the old bathroom used to be, hopped up on the counter, and put my feet in the sink. I had just finished shaving and was wiping the counter down with a paper towel when the manager rushed back -- the "handsome" one all the girls have crushes on -- and asks me what the hell I think I'm doing.
Shaving my legs, I say.
"Yeah. You can't do that back here, honey. This sink is for customers."
Bullshit. We are in the hallway behind the stage between the dancers' dressing room and a random room where Christmas decorations are stored in the off-season. No one comes back here.
"Dancers have their own bathroom, sweetie," he says. Like I don't know this. Like I haven't worked here almost two years. Does he even recognize me? Hello?
I tell him the sink in the dancer's bathroom is clogged, and maybe he can talk to someone about getting it cleared. It's like he doesn't hear me.
"Don't. Do it. Again," he says, in the loud, simple tone of voice people use on children and pets. "OK?"
"Where am I supposed to go?"
He raises his hand in a shushing gesture. "Just do as I say, OK?" He turns on his heel with out waiting for an answer, and he's gone.
Stupid little interaction. Annoying moment. Trivial. The kind of thing you ought to forget about the second it's over. But I brood about it for the next half hour. I hate being treated like a child. I hate it so much.
I know managers have to deal with a lot of dumb, drunk, young girls. But I've been here for a long time. I'm never dumb, rarely drunk, and have never caused a second's trouble for anybody here. I wish that counted for something, for anything.
The rest of the night is unremarkable, till the last thirty minutes, which I spent with some giggly, ham-faced guy who tells me within minutes of sitting down with him that he has "a lot of money, if that counts for anything."
I take him to the couch for dances and climb onto his lap. He tries to stick his hand under thong all sneaky. I climb off his lap, put a safe distance between us, and give a dance that consists mainly of striking sexy poses while defending myself from his marauding hands. "You're so hot," he says. "Are you going to cum? Are you, baby? Are you going to cum?"
Er, I'm two feet away from you, standing up, swaying back and forth and slapping at your wrists. But yeah, sure, I'm going to cum. Just give me a another song baby, and I will have a mind-blowing, earth-shattering orgasm after which I will fall in love with you, take you home, and give you oral sex til dawn. Seriously, just one more song.
This goes on until last call and the DJ turns off the music and the lights come up. Grabby McPhee pulls out his wallet, hands me thirty bucks, and says "That should cover it, right?"
"Well, how much do I owe you?"
"It's $20 a song and we did six songs."
He says he has to go ask his friend for more money. He says his friend is outside and he will go talk to him. He says he will be right back.
I say no. I follow him to the front door and take firm hold of his sleeve. I say, call your friend on his cel phone and tell him he has to come back inside and bail you out because you're a retard with no self-control who's really bad at math.
Fortunately, the friend comes back in at that exact moment, before things get really ugly. The friend seems like a very nice guy, raises his eyebrows at his friend, and pays me my $90. I hope Grabby catches shit about this from all his friends for a month. I also hope he catches crabs someday, if he doesn't have them already.
These small things. These little moments of indignity. These things I will not miss.