Friday, December 07, 2007

eight: decay and fall

All night there's this table of rich dudes on the main floor behind the DJ booth. Early in the evening, I approach the guy at the head of the table and unpack my charm, but he's guarded and dismissive. Geez, dude.

In his front pocket there a wad of "funny money", the club's mechanism for charging dances to credit cards. He must have a thousand dollars folded up in his pocket there. But he's making it plain in no uncertain terms that I am the kind of girl he wouldn't stoop to scrape off his shoe with a stick, so I buzz off and figure I'll come back later when he's drunk.

The club is slow that night, and back in the dressing room the talk is all about this table of guys. How much money they have, how little they want to spend it. They are the top brass of some Atlanta-based construction company, in town to romance prospective clients. I stop by once in a while to cut a junior officer from the herd and make a spare bit of scratch, but there are girls all over that table like sea birds on a tidepool. In fact, nearly ALL the girls are over there, which leaves the rest of the customers to just a few of us. Not a bad thing.

Except by the last few hours of the night, the customers are all bored with the small number of girls not pursuing the El Dorado of that folded wad of funny money. Soon all the regular guys go home. The table from Atlanta is still there, though their battleline has broken and scattered. The captain, the one I spoke to earlier, sits slumped and alone. I got over and perch lightly on the arm of his chair.

"Damn, you've got an ass," he says, barely looking up. He is an old man. Old. A night of drinking hasn't made him any younger. His eyes are bloodshot and his face is a map of lines. His speech is slurred so I bend down to hear him and he is offering me a thousand dollars to go back to his hotel room where he and his friend will double-team me. I look at his friend, a spry lad in his sixties, who nods confirmation. These two old men want to run the train on me. "I've got to put my tongue in that ass," my new friend says. "A thousand dollars. How does that sound?"

And I think: you dumb fuck.

And I think: Tithonos, all withered but your lust, aching forever towards the dawn.

And I think of a lyric in "Else" by Built to Spill: your body breaks/your needs consume you forever. It's better when you sing it, even better when you are singing along with it in the car on some mix-tape from some long-forgotten boyfriend, driving through a foggy late winter dusk in the city, and you pull up to a stoplight and a bum taps on your window and pats his knuckles on his lips in the international gesture meaning "I have none; give me yours."

I declined the offer from the guys from Atlanta, and went back to the dressing room to take off my shoes and sit on the floor by my locker and smoke.

When I got home I had an e-mail, in my real-life legitimate inbox, from a man I met on Monday while working on Dayjob Project. This nice retired guy volunteers helping troubled youth, and since this is tangentially related to the aims of my work, we got into conversation and exchanged business cards and agreed to have coffee later on. His e-mail follows up on that. At the end he signs off, "Look forward to seeing you again."

Which is so harmless. Which is nothing. It's just the way you end a letter to someone when you're making plans to meet them. But I feel anxious and ill and weird, like all of a sudden in the middle of coffee he's going to lean across the table and ask if he can put his tongue in my ass.

If he even puts his hand on my knee, I think I will scream.

I will scream.

It's a stupid thought, but I haven't been able to shake it, and I've felt strange ever since I woke up.


Pamela said...

Don't worry, dear. I won't ever ask if I can put my tongue in your ass.

And yes, even when full-of-shit, unreasonably attractive Levantine flatters tell you nice things about yourself, it absolutely doesn't mean they aren't true... :)

Mark for Cabernet and Chocolate said...

For a number of years, I tended and managed bars in an upscale Seattle market. I remember being out with some acquaintances who I knew because of one of my non-restaurant friends, and was very suprised when they showed no interest in order mass quantities of alcohol. It was so unusual to me. The consumption of alcohol in such fashion had become such an occupational norm for me and was not for others. Lesson learned.

Mimi NY said...

hear ya sista. i still have nightmares.



Anonymous said...

Yes I often feel the logic of calling Grace 'sister'.

Thanks be to Goddess in all her good graces that you had the good sense not to go anyplace with those revolting cretins.

Of course every job has its down side, yours included but this is beyond the pale.

May that bastard rot in hell for what he said to you. May he get herpes and prostrate trouble and planters warts, and all the worst maladies known to man.

You would have been more than happy to show him a fun night of naughty old fart fun, but he had to be a dip shit and ruin it for everyone. I hope he had a horrid weekend and that he never ever comes back.

You are so above that loser its not even funny. If he does come back don't even go near him.

Anonymous said...

During a time when I was still dancing this summer, I was walking in a trendy suburb on my off-day. I passed a cafe with outdoor seating, and a table of older middle-aged gentlemen glanced at me, and I remember bracing, cringing, waiting for them to tell me how much they'd like to suck on my tits. Like they could smell the stripper on me, like they'd be right to say those things even in this sunny, outdoor, public setting.

That was... well. yeah. You know.

Unrelated: I should listen to more Built to Spill.

Never commented before. Have loved reading your blog for months and months now. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

part of me never got completely over violations like that...the boundary crossing predators that came to the clubs and said and did things they knew not to try anywhere else...that i could shrug it off with a repeat of my stage name (reminds to see the good in everything) so that i could get thru the rest of the night and make enough for rent, food for my child and I , medicine to breath with, was nothing short of heroic.
There is a layer of post traumatic stripper syndrome with me still...I'll shake it all the way off some time. Meanwhile there is grace in it.