Friday, October 27, 2006

silver city blues

Baby Dolls wasn't hiring, but fortunately all the strip clubs in Dallas are within about a five-mile radius, so we headed down the highway to a club called Silver City, which I'd heard about from girls at the P10. We were hired with no questions and taken upstairs to get dressed in an enormous, echoing locker-room. Our hiring manager then collected us and gave us a tour. The club was very well appointed, close to empty, and creepy. It's hard to describe why.

Might have been the extreme seclusion of the VIP, which had booths with doors; I have worked in a club with booths before and they were called blow-job boxes for an excellent reason. It could have been the hard expressions on the faces of the other girls. I don't know. Neither of us felt good. We seperated and walked around the floor for about ten minutes befor bumping into each other and achieving instant consensus that it was time to leave.

We went up to the dressing room and suited back up. On our way out, the manager followed us to car, begging us to come back in. I just Googled the club and apparently there've been a number of high-profile stabbings, killings, and sexual assaults at this place. Check it. So we're not crazy, after all.

So back to the Men's Club for a couple of decent but unrewarding days. I'll finish out the week here, which is more than I would have promised Wednesday night, but after that Dallas can crawl up its own ass and die as far as I'm concerned. A more coherent analysis most likely to come.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

prick city

On Monday my travel companion, whom I'll call Tommi, and I applied at the Men's Club of Dallas, which is one of the Big Kahuna clubs here in Big D. It is spectacular inside; the only club I've seen to rival it is the Scores in Vegas, and this was perhaps even a little glitzier -- lots of gold and mirrors and velvet curtains and a courtyard with statue of Venus de Milo with exageratedly large boobs. We were hired on the spot, which I guess says something nice about our pretty faces and/or Tommi's hilariously large breasts.

The first two nights I made what I'd make on very best nights at home, and this is a Monday and a Tuesday we're talking about. One the other hand, the money is very grueling to make. The men here are big, angry, carnivorous, and carved out of something very dense of hard. They are impossible to talk to, educated only to the point of profitability, devoid of interests or interest, and apparently take no pleasure in life beyond coming to a dressed-up titty joint and sulking by the bar. I don't usually have a problem making conversation. I can bullshit about a variety of pleasant subjects, including football, golf, music, computers, art, religion, horses, my ass, blah didddly blah. But this was not a club where personality seemed to be at a premium. Looking perfect, sitting still, and smiling seemed to be a profitable skill set. Yikes. I felt like I was milking every last dollar out of rock. Please understand, I am a stripper who generally like customers, enjoys customers, sometimes becomes overly emotionally involved with customers. And so far, I have not met one guy I could stand the sight of after thirty seconds. The possibe exception was Peter, the fruity drunk from Western Massachusettes (Sixty, I was trying to figure out for an hour if this was you) who was amusing in the way that Ivy League graduates born into entirely too much money can be amusing, if you do the aural equivalent of squinting and crossing your eyes.

Yesterday, the club required us to work day shift as part of the new-girl hazing. It was lamentable. Girls who had worked there for years and had regulars were banking, I know. A blond girl named Star with perfect breasts and zero body fat, tanned the color of tea, was floating around with tributes of jewelry and Godiva chocolates which is an everyday thing for her, I guess. Kudos. But it was not for me. We had meant to stay and work a double shift til at least midnight. I left at 8pm with the kind of money I used to make back in my weeping-stripper days at the Crazy Lady. Tommi was hanging on, so I walked back the motel right around the corner and called C. and cried for an hour. At the end of that hour, Tommi too trailed home defeated, which makes me feel better, because she is an astounding and tireless Superstripper, so if things weren't working for her either then it wasn't just me.

Tonight it's a big Fuck You to the Men's Club and off to check out Baby Dolls, which has a reputation as an enormous emporium of wickedness, but girls have told me that there's easy money to skim off the top without having to do any sucky-sucky. We'll probably return to the Men's Club for the weekend, unless Baby Dolls is just astonishing.

I miss my boyfriend. Post me, I'm lonely.

Monday, October 23, 2006

grace does dallas

Woot! Leaving for Dallas in about ten minutes. Scared shitless and probably forgetting a ton of stuff. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

crow's feet

I look tired to myself tonight. Eight hours of sweat and cigarette smoke and the paint and powder seems to exagerate the lines on my face more than it disguises them. I made good money tonight, the lion's share from a breeder of show-horses with whom I had the same two-minute conversation -- "You're beautiful." Thank you. "I could make you happy." I bet you could. "I love you." Oh, silly you. -- over and over for three hours. Then he tried to gyp me out of money, but in the end I won.

People throw the word love around in a strip club like it's nothing. They trip you with it like a wire, slap you with it like an open palm, wheedle you with it, like it's candy. If it were my world, you would have to pay a dollar every time you said it. Then maybe people would fucking think.

I just get tired of it is all. I get tired of being on the receiving end of so much emotion, of being blamed for feelings that no one can fix. But it's my job and it's what I signed up for, and so be it. I just get tired of it is all.

I come home through the rain and my love has cleaned the kitchen. He waits for me asleep in the big bed in the room with the bay window. He is my heart. I think he will still find me beautiful when my face is full of lines and my bones are melting away. I think so.

Pam pointed out to me that I dropped the f-word a few entries back without warning or explanation. So yes, C. and I are affianced as of a week or so ago. Or, as I prefer to say, afinanced. It's not a hard decision. I wake up in the morning and see his face on the pillow next to mine and feel giddy. I can't imagine anyone I'd rather have coffee with every morning for the next sixty years. He's such good company. We're still impressed by each other, amused by each other, in awe of each other, even. It's nice.

Still. I spend four nights a week talking to lonely men, the vast majority of whom are at least once divorced. It could make you cynical. Or, at the very least, wary. But the canary in my heart beats its wings. C. and I are different. We will always be different. We will always be in love. I will always want to fuck him. He will always hold me after.

We will. I will. He will. Right?

Sometimes I'm afraid all the love will just get up and walk out one day and there'll be nothing either of us can do about it. I had a dream once that I was standing on a dock and C. was in a dingy and didn't seem to notice that he was slowly drifting away. It was one of those dreams where you need to scream, but can't. How is that people let love go?

I remind myself often how much I love him, how lucky I am. I try to do it every day, like brushing my teeth. I am not good at remembering things, but I hope I will remember. As far as I know, that's the best I can do.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

clark kent

Speaking of being eaten alive, let me tell you about Clark Kent, so-called for bearing an uncanny resemblance to that bespectacled Man of Steel. Only this is Clark Kent if he married Lois Lane and settled down and had two kids and got a job as a warehouse manager. And Lois got jealous and lazy and fat and stayed home all day watching soaps and yelling at the kids and complaining that their house wasn't nice enough. And Clark became nervous and withdrawn and put on some weight and adopted the permanent stooped posture of the broken-hearted. And then Clark decided he couldn't live like that anymore, and with the kids out of high school he wanted to enjoy whatever was left of his life, so he sold all his stuff and moved into an apartment.

His first night in the apartment he went out to a strip club for the first time in more than ten years and only halfway into his first rum-and-coke he was familiarly accosted by a redheaded stripper named Grace. He was so terrified he couldn't think of anything to say, and after about two minutes of attempted small talk she patted his knee and left, and the sight of her walking away filled him with such feelings of abandonment and loss that when he saw her on stage ten minutes later he walked up and tipped her $50. Because maybe if she would just come back, it would be like everything was OK. And she did come back, and for a while everything was.

He gave her his business card and asked her to call, but she didn't, so the next week he came back and spent even more money. And because it was lonely in his new apartment all by himself, he came back the next night and the next. And she was always glad to see him, and she was always nice to him, and she always took her clothes off any time he asked. And he told her how he thought about her all the time -- every day at work and every night while he was falling asleep. He told her how much he'd love to take her up to upstate New York where he was born, and he told her how she should meet his parents and how much they would love her, and he told her how he thought he and she would have beautiful children together, and how every love song on the radio reminded him of her. And then he asked her to marry him.

And she never says yes to anything, but she never exactly says no, and any time he tries to bring it up, he finds they are suddenly talking about something else. She told him that she has a boyfriend, but he knows it won't last, because that guy doesn't love her like he does and someday he will make her understand how much he really loves her and they will be together forever and everything will be perfect. And now she's changing her schedule without telling him, working different nights, nights when he can't make it in. Sometimes she has other customers and is too busy to spend time with him, and that seems to happen more and more lately, but that's OK. He understands, and he just sits at the bar drinking rum-and-coke and watching her walk around the room. Now she's telling him that she's going to be traveling and might not see him for a while, and he's sad, he will miss her, but not too sad, because he knows that meeting her was no accident -- it was mean to be -- it was fate. And nothing can stop fate.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

grace and satan and the dog with cancer

I was talking to Slayde, the Satanist's room-mate the other night, and she told me he had just gotten back from taking his dog to a specialist three hundred miles away to see if anything could be done about the poor critter's cancerous throat tumor. Turns out the answer is no, and the dog is going to die. He was devestated, she said, which is bad news she says, since when he's depressed he tends to go on drug binges. Six months ago he over-dosed (I forget on what) after breaking up with his girlfriend and nearly died. This is how young Slayde came to move in with him and take care of him. Apparently he is one of those lovable, self-destructive types who needs an entire team of devoted followers just to keep him functioning.

I told her I'd give him a cheer-up call the next day and because I'm not a liar I did, and left a message. He called back sounding awful, more or less on the verge of tears. We talked about the circle of life, and the karmic cycle, and that stuff. I truly felt for him, cause he is just lovable, but I also started to get nauseous tremors of paranoia. I've been suckered into nurse-maiding emotional cripples before, and it's not cool. The Satanist's disembodied voice -- light, querulous, tenor -- was a dead ringer for the alcoholic mailman I lived with an loved the year I was 21, during which time I declined into a long and terrifying depression. Maybe it was that giving me the cold chills. At any rate, I logged about twenty minutes on the phone with the Satanist and then I had to make my excuses and go.

He was in Friday night, though, and seemed better. Same old sweet self. We danced and smoked and he told me the correct way to appease the spirits when taking soil out of a cemetary for the manufacture of voo-doo gris-gris -- cigar smoke and pennies, in case you ever need to know. He was passive and blissful while I danced; seemed tired. Nothing heavy. I'm wary, though. There really are excellent reasons for a dancer to keep some professional distance between herself and her customers. I like my customer, most of them. Some of them I like a lot. I just don't want to be eaten alive.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


OK, it's time we had a talk. This blog is not a democracy. It's mine, and I made it because (a)I'm a compulsive person and writing is one of my compulsions; if I didn't blog I'd smoke more (b)my boyfriend is tired of my stripping stories (c)I enjoy the shout-outs, feedback, and occasional constructive criticism.

I do not enjoy random, inarticulate abuse. I deal more than enough at work with the various manifestations of desire as it curdles into hatred, and I don't propose to do so on in spare time, in the vulnerability of my pajamas. If you just don't like reading about strippers, there are 18 grabillion other things on the Internet for you to look at, like this or this or this. If you feel a burning desire to express hostility towards a woman in the sex industry, you can turn it sideways and shove it up your ass.

Articulate objections to my personage, prose style, and line of work will be considered for posting. Abusive drivel will be deleted with a light heart.

Go and sin no more,

Thursday, October 05, 2006

grace loves satan

So last night was slow again. Mercy. They told us things would be better by October. They, of course, is a notoriously unreliable source. I still made my nightly goal, by magic, at the last minute, and only because of a Buddhist and a Satanist.

Has anyone else noticed that many of my best customers are followers of obscure sects? Maybe I've forgotten to mention that detail, but there's got to be a good joke in it. The Buddhist, the Satanist and the Charismatic Christian walk into a titty bar looking for Grace...

The "Buddhist" was a bit of a pill, actually. Since when did Buddhism become new Satanism in terms of attracting disaffected loners who long to identify with something exotic that won't require too much from them beyond the purchase of some cool new accessories? At least he had the class to wear his prayer beads under his shirt.

The treat of the night was another visit -- the fourth in three weeks -- from my buddy the Satanist. OK, I give -- he's not a Satanist, but I like to tease him about it because with the long white goatee and the Grandad glasses and the toothy smile he looks like Anton LaVey if you met him at a Halloween party and he'd gained some weight and was doing keg stands and then later you sat on the porch with him and bummed cigarettes and told funny stories. I adore him. Last night he came and paid me above and beyond my normal Champagne rate to sit on the couch with me and read to me from Robert Tallant's Voodoo Queen by candlelight.

In real life, the Satanist is a fashion and fetish photographer of some local reknown and he has fallen in love with my belly scar and wants to take pictures of it. If I haven't described my scar before, or if you are just tuning in, said scar runs from sternum, flanked on either side with rows of scarrified dots from where the staples came out. I got it when they removed my ruptured spleen and picked the bone shards out of my heart and lung after my car accident. The Satanist calls me Zipper Girl. One of the other dancers at the club is his roommate, and pulled me aside in the locker-room last night to tell me that the Satanist is a really great guy, a very professional photographer, and has a crush on me the size of a cow, so if I have a boyfriend I should tell him before he breaks his heart over it. So I do tell him, and he takes it in stride. I really, really like this guy.

Still wants to take pictures of me, and I think I'll go for it, as I do need promotional shots before I can start booking out-of-area and I've seen his stuff before and it's quite good. He'll have to Playboy it up for me a bit -- I don't think the Suicide Girls look will go over too well with club managers in Tempe -- but I think we've got ourselves a deal. He'll take Glamor Shots for me, I'll get naked and crawl around in a cemetary in a bloody wedding dress for him, and everbody can go home happy. Don't tell me this job isn't all about networking.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"wanna see something cool?"

You know your job is hardcore when you're chatting casually with the cute co-worker you've been flirting with on and off for weeks and he asks you whether you and your boyfriend would threeway with him and you say maybe and then and all of a sudden he busts out his cellphone and shows you a 30-second video clip of his girlfriend, who is also your co-worker, sucking his erect, slightly-larger-than-average penis and this is so very much not the weirdest thing that happens to you at work that night that you only remember it two days later at breakfast and laugh so hard that you blow chunks of muffin across the table and your boyfriend asks you what's so funny and you say, "Oh, nothing, really. Just some shit at work."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

hello, joe

Shit. He's here. Everybody, hide the bong. I mean, everybody welcome Joe, who has apparently stumbled into our secret lair. I forgot that he's in some respects a Computer Guy and, like the rest of us, probably spends too much time on the 'net Googling through the infinite after our lost desires.

First my yoga students come to my titty bar. Now the regular for whom I have ambiguous feelings finds my blog. For fuck's sake, is there no such thing as anonymity anymore? I guess not when you go and post about your darkest feelings on a public board under your real-fake name for all the world to see. Even precious C. has started mooning around over my shoulder while I type. I hate all of you. Go away.

Monday, October 02, 2006

goodbye, joe

So Joe came in Saturday night very late -- after last call in fact, but the bar stays open til 4am. He didn't want to hit the couches in the Champagne Room and dance, just sit at a little table in the main room and talk. He's been generous with me, so I didn't mind giving him a little bit of time for free. Except that the conversation quickly got emotional, with him telling me he didn't want to be seen as a customer, and me trying to make everything OK, but my guard was down, as it has been with him, and I couldn't make a recovery.

He wants to be friends, but I don't think that's reality. I'm a 26-year-old stripper with a fiance, and he's a 47-year-old businessman with three teenaged children. Maybe if he'd really seemed sincere about the friendship part, but it was pretty obvious that the version of friendship he had in mind consisted of waiting around in the wings in case I broke up with my boyfriend. "Friendships" like that are crap.

There's also the fact that the girl he thinks he loves does not actually exist. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Grace is a completely fictional character, but Grace is definitely a cleaned-up and sexified version of a real woman who is not always in a good mood, doesn't always have perfect hair, and isn't completely fascinated by you and totally hot for your body. Grace is a service that I provide; she's available only at the club, at certain times, for a set rate. She isn't someone you can date or fuck or even be friends with. Even my boyfriend doesn't get to date Grace. He's stuck with me.

When Joe says he wants to get to know me, he's talking about Grace and he's asking for something that's not possible. He wants to scoop up the happy, sexy redhead and carry her home to dance on his coffee table every night for free, and it doesn't work like that. He thinks he can see the "real me" but if he could he would see that the real me is a girl who happens to be a stripper, who wants to do her job and get paid and go home. This is the highest level of strip-club-customer sophistication, and few achieve it. Most get bogged down somewhere in the idea that their stripper is either an eager slut available for the asking, or a soiled dove in need of rescuing, or some other fantasy that casts them as the hero who gets the girl.

I didn't attempt to explain this amidst the smoke and flashing pink lights and hip-hop soundtrack of the Saturday closing-time bar. I just said, no, I have a rule that I don't mix up my dancing life with my non-dancing life, and rules wouldn't be rules if we only followed them when we felt like it. And he was upset. Today we exchanged e-mails going back and forth over the same ground, and I haven't answered the last one because really what's the point.

I'm sad. I was sad at work the next day, and tired -- a zombie dancer. I'm sorry Joel is hurt, because I do like him, although not as much as I did before. He's just another ex-regular now, and the more he tried to say he wasn't, the more obvious it was. Just another guy who can't beleive Grace doesn't really want to fuck him, after she sat on his lap and stared in his eyes and listened to him talk and smiled like that, another guy who thinks life would be perfect if a full-time free stripper would move in and spend all her time making him happy forever.

Men are so strange, so weirdly fragile. Did you know that male infants cry when seperated from their mothers much sooner than girl babies, find abandonment much more traumatic, are more stimulated by being held and caressed? I imagine pink flashing lights in a smoky room of crying male infants, and I am even sadder than before.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


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.