Tuesday, February 27, 2007


For going on six weeks now this case of sniffles has dragged on -- bouts of what seem to be juniper allergies giving way to throat infections giving way to lingering coughs. Nobody wants a dance from the stripper with the lung cough. And then the whole thing starts over again. My lungs, full of puss, sit heavy on my heart.

However, there is a bright spot, to wit, I can't smoke at work anymore, because it gives me a tubercular death rattle that is pretty terrible for business. Oh, and also because apparently it's bad for my health. Who knew?

Fact is, I only smoke when I'm working. I haven't had a smoke outside of a strip club in years, but something about walking in the door at work makes me want a cigarette so bad I could cry. Sometimes I'll refuse to stop and buy a pack on the way work. Come one, I tell myself, this is silly. You know better. You're a yoga teacher, for crying out loud. Then I get to the club and within ten minutes I am so frantic I'll pay the club's insanely inflated $8 for a lousy pack of Camel's because I can't even get my make-up on straight until I've had a mouthful of ash.

It's worse when it's slow. When I've asked every trick in the place if they wouldn't like little ole me to keep them company a spell and they've all looked at me like I have two heads and there's basically nothing to do but go back the dressing room and re-apply lip gloss for the fifth time and limp out and sit at the bar with my favorite bartender and talk about sex and smoke-ity smoke-smokesmoke. Makes me look busy, right? Makes me look cool, no?

So Sunday night was my first night back at work since the last bout of tonsilitis, and my first night without a cigarette in who-knows-how-long. I did it, though. Huzzah for me. It was surprisingly easy, but probably only because none of my customers that night happened to be smokers. That'll be the real test.

I don't mind canning the smokes if I'm sitting with a non-smoker, but if the customer is lighting up, I want one too. Especially if he's not a big talker. Smoking takes the place of conversation. It's something companionable we can do together without actually having to interact. It gives the whole transaction a leisurely rhythm: we dance, we smoke, we ash, we dance again.

I'm a shy person, actually, and nervous, a bit of a fidgeter. Smoking gives me something to do with my hands. Otherwise I'll sit and do weird, distracting things, like play with my hair or, worse, knit my fingers and wring my hands together in unconscious displays of desperation.

I guess I smoke at work these days for the same reasons I started smoked in high school and college -- to have something to do with my hands, to look busy, not lonely. But I'm a big girl now, in most other facets of my life, not so concerned with the things people who don't know might think about the way I look. Thing is, of course, being a stripper is all about being concerned with what people who don't know you think about the way you look. Nothing like being naked and for sale to bring the good old insecurities all back up again.

Friday, February 23, 2007

totally excited about something completely different

My new project is launched! Well, kinda: people have promised to help me find other people who might consider helping me which is good, because this one is going to take a lot of people, and time, and money. I'm making phone calls. I'm making dates. I'm making nice. Life feels real again.

Thank god. Lately stripping has felt less and less like a giddy adventure and and more more like a -- what's the word? -- job. I suck at jobs.

Putting my babykins through art school has lent the whole naked-dancing enterprise a sense of gravitas and purpose for the last six months or so, but I'm basically too selfish for that alone to satisfy me long.

The money is good, but money doesn't motivate me in any reliable way. As long as I can pay the rent on my crumbling mansion and splurge on organic groceries, I'm pretty much good in the money department. If all I'm going to do is have a job -- go to work and come home and hang out on the couch doing Sudoku and watching Sister Wendy's Story of Painting -- then I might as well hang up my heels and get some grunt-level job in public relations or marketing or whatever it is exactly for which my education befits me, and get fat, and have babies, and die.

And that's why it's good to have projects. This one is a biggie. I've been mulling it for a year now and trying to figure out how to make it work, and now it feels like I've had my shoulder to an enormous mill-wheel and I'm finally beginning to hear it creak into motion. Once it gets going, it's going to take all my money and all my time and I'm going to be up nights gnashing my teeth because it's going to seem like it will never work, and I'll lose weight and gain weight and drink too much coffee and go off my meds and fight with my boyfriend and stop leaving the house for weeks at a time and I CAN'T FUCKING WAIT!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I got an e-mail from Mr. B the other day, a sort of thank-you note. Since the beginning of his strip-club adventures in November, he informed me, he has lost thirty pounds and started dating a real-live human female. You will recall that this is the man who used to have panic attacks around women and hadn’t been laid in eight years.

“During the dark years, when I had limited to no social connections with humans, I gained about 100 pounds largely because I had substituted food pleasure for companionship pleasure,” he wrote. “Bringing me down was loneliness; bringing me back up were cheeseburgers and fries. When I discovered in late November that I was capable of social relationships with women, and that I enjoyed them, I was able to reverse that transference. The club provided me with a low-stress, rejection-free environment in which to make that discovery. And the sexy nakedness was what kept me coming back to work on it.”

I would be a real cunt if I found this anything less than charming – the happiest possible ending to the boy-meets-stripper story. Better living through strippers, indeed. Even my darling, wicked Joel has as of very recent date renounced my company forever, claiming a new and improved world-view.

And guys think it’s just a line when I tell them my ass is magical and will change them forever.

OK, I am a little bummed that nobody’s rosy new dawn includes good old me, but what can you do? I’m like a doctor. People come to see me when they’re sick. I get them at their nastiest and messiest and then they get their acts together and move on. Wishing for a customer to keep visiting me is wishing for them to be lonely and questing and chronically blue-balled forever. (Except for those rare few who are completely fulfilled by looking at me in my panties for an hour or two every once in a while, but Zen souls like these are few and far between. Oh, how I miss the Plumber.)

So fly away free, little birdies, etc. On the other hand, I hope all this spreading of love and peace is accruing for me karmically, because it is decidedly not accruing in my bank account, and I would really like to do some fun things like pay C’s next tuition installment and go back to school myself in the fall and buy a computer – this one’s fucked again – and fund my next project (it’s a big’un) and go to Sinai in April with Pam and Nafis.

Still, being a bodhisattva who induces enlightenment through her mere (naked, writhing) presence is it’s own reward, I guess.


Friday, February 09, 2007

goodbye, vickie lynn

I was at the gym earlier trying to sweat some some ojas into my winter-weary body, and of course every TV screen was blathering Anna Nicole Smith Dead, and not one of those sniggering hair-heads could summon up a nice word to say about her. Now, I can't say I've ever given Anna Nicole two thoughts myself, but it still hacked me to hear them call her stupid, and greedy, and messed-up and crazy, because this is the shit they always talk about strippers. Like they even know.

Everywhere I got in the last two days I overhear another scrap of her biography, and it kills me how it could be any story I overhear in the dressing room while glueing on my eyelashes and don't really listen to because, really, I hear enough sad stuff in a night. I know, I know. You're from shitsville Mexia, Texas and your fry-cook boyfriend at Jimmy's Fried Chicken knocked you up when you were 17, most likely bent over the front counter after closing one night between cashing out your register and mopping up the floor, and you got married but it didn't work out and then you worked at WalMart but it wasn 't enough money and besides you've got a kid, so here you are shucking for bucks and you know how it goes. I read on Wikipedia that poor old Anna -- then "Robin" -- was too heavy to work the night shift, so the management made her work days. Of course, it turns out days are the when the oil billionaires come in, so it worked out. So this wheelchair-bound octegenarian offers to take her away to a life of luxury. Who in her place would have said no?

People like to say she was a gold-digger, and of course, she was. But they say it like it's a bad thing, like it's a dirty secret they themselves figured out just now. Like a rich man marrying a beautiful woman isn't the fairy story we tuck into bed with our children every night. Men make money and women wear lipstick in the half-remembered hope that this story is still true. They like to say her husband was misguided. No way. His ninety-year-old wheelchair-bound self got to parade that hot blonde stripper around for four whole years, and probably even got to fuck her a few times, which is a few times more than you've ever fucked a Playmate of the Year, so lay off.

Men go to strip clubs looking for women who are for sale. Really, completely, for sale. As a stripper, three different men have asked me to marry them. As far as I could tell, they were serious. Mentally ill, maybe, but serious. They wanted a girl they could just buy outright and take home. I'm not that girl. (So far. Then again, no one's ever offered me a billion dollars.) Anna Nicole was.

"Tragic," everybody says with a sneer. But then again, can anybody squint their eyes and see the twisted Cinderella story in it all? It's too bad about the drugs, and the lawsuits, and the drugs, and the paternity suits, and the drugs. It's really too bad. But she lived a certain kind of dream -- Playboy, and a billionaire husband, her own TV show, a certain status as an infamous household name, and finally, her early, tragic death plastered all over television and tabloids, the biggest thing since Brangelina's baby. For a too-fat, dayshift stripper from Mexia, Texas, that's something. And if in the end it was a hollow, stupid dream she lived, well, she's not the only one who ever dreamed it. That's all.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

the size of an eggplant: a love story

I think he's in the mob. Raised in Long Island? Lives in Boca Raton? Travels through Texas occasionally on unspecified family business? C'mon. He's in the mob. Or just wants me to think he is. Fuck, I'll bite. Fantasies are fun for me, too.

If he is in the mafia, he's a little guy, a cousin's cousin, a brother-in-law's nephew,. He's got a nice watch, but his shirts are over-starched and his shoes are cheap. Fucked-up hair, too: long and gelled crisp in a style one step up from a Puerto Rican cafeteria worker. He's got a pretty face, though -- all big,dark eyes and curly lashes, ripe mouth and tight-lipped, East-Coast, Robert De Niro smirk. Also. Either he's got the most disconcertingly over-sized phallus yours truly has ever encountered or there's some kind of tragic elphantiasis in his pants region. Seriously. The first time I danced for him, I tripped over it. Literally. And then I got wet.

I've never been much of a size queen. Pretty indifferent on the whole question, actually. It what you do with it, etc. This is different. It's not just the pants-monster that does it for me. It's the whole thing.

We don't talk much. Everything I know about him I told you in the first paragraph. If we must talk -- if the bartender is closing out his tab, or the lapdance area is currently occupied -- we make cocktail-party chat: the weather, Florida, the weather in Florida. He doesn't ask me any questions. I'm not sure he even knows my name. I don't remember his. Tommy? Jimmy? Who cares?

He stands and waits for me with his elbow on the bar, the way they only do up north. All men should wear black wool top coats. His posture is excellent. I go over and ask if he wants to dance. He says yes, always faintly surprised, as if the answer's obvious. And then we go in the back to the darkest couch we can find and dance.


Hardly. I straddle his leg and press my thigh against that baby python and grind down hard until I feel it twitch.

I've never been much of a grinder, really, but this I can't resist. His heart beats so fast and hard I can hear it, and if I put my ear against his mouth I hear him groaning softly under his breath. I can smell his sweat, and it smells clean. He barely touches me, only now and then his hands, lightly, fleetingly, on my waist, on the backs of my calves. He doesn't ask for anything. He doesn't even look at me. His eyes are closed, or trained over my shoulder, watching for interruptions. If there's a manager nearby he lets me know with a soft tap.

"How can I turn you on?" they all want to know, hands straying crotchward, fingers paddling at my breasts. Honestly? You can sit down, shut up, and keep your hands to yourself. I'm not just being a wise-ass when I say that. I love a good frottage. But I can't indulge my tendencies when I've got to constantly karate-block your wandering hands away from my intimate regions for fear of (a)personal violation (b) betrayal of my nuptial commitments (c) losing my job. Groping makes me anxious, and anxious isn't sexy.

With Pretty Boy I can lose myself. I can fantasize. I can wish he would touch me, stroke me, kiss me. (God, how I wish he would kiss me.) There's a place in life for longing, for denial, for the eternal tease.

We always dance for a long time. If he comes in some silent, teeth-clenching burst of ecstacy, I don't know it. I hope so. Afterwards, he pays me, tips me well, and we exchange and handshake and a dry, formal kiss on the cheek. After all the rescue fantasies and ego-transference and complicated head-fucks of recent months, I swoon for a guy who just wants to dry-hump for an hour, pay me, and go home.

"You're not just a stripper," says this guy or that one, says Joe, says the Satanist, says Mr. B. "You're more to me." By which they mean, I want more from you -- a hand-job or a phone number or a lunch-date or a weekend fling or a thirty-year marriage.

The Godson doesn't give me any grief like this. His Catholic mama's boy up-bringing probably doesn't even let him think along these lines. I can't tell really what he's thinking. Like I said, he doesn't say much. But I like to think that in his mind a whore's a whore, and that's pretty much that. Things are simple that way and I, for one, like it.

"I'll come back," he always says as he's leaving. I look forward to it.