Saturday, January 19, 2008

ready or not

Last week I got an invitation to the club from a customer so gentle, so polite, and so harmless that I've probably never mentioned him before.

The Historian comes in at several-week intervals and we talk about geeky things like the coming apocalyptic battle between the zombies and the vampires, and then he buys a bunch of dances and pays me and goes home. These are pleasant, drama-free, low-gropage interactions and I appreciate them

When I got his e-mail last week I hadn't worked in a month and while C. and I hadn't totally depleted the little jelly roll of cash I set aside before Christmas, we were starting to feel the pinch. Still, I hadn't been able to get myself to the club, and as time went on my reluctance was only getting stronger. The thought of getting naked in a room full of people was scary all of a sudden. I don't remember being so terrified of my own nakedness even when I was new. Then again, back then I didn't know exactly what to be scared of.

So this invitation from a nice guy with plenty of money and a self-declared code of chivalry that obligates him not to grab my crotch was what you might call an offer I couldn't refuse. I dithered all week, but on Saturday I sent him a reply and we made plans to meet.

When I got to the club, I didn't recognize a single girl there, but other than that nothing had changed --same protocals of checking in, getting dressed, getting ready for stage. Different girls all around me doing the same things girls in strip-club dressing rooms always do, having the same conversations.

On the floor, I didn't feel nervous. I've gained two or three pounds and I need a haircut and I'm pale as a trout, but it doesn't matter. My body knows what to do and no one really sees me, anyway. If I walk the like hottest girl in the room, they will fall for it like they always do.

I cross the room longways to see whose eyes will follow me. A curly-haired guy at a big group table looks up, is caught. He doesn't even know that he is staring, breath suspended in his throat. I feel good. This is not just a den of bourgeoise perversion, upholstered in cum-rags and dusted over with a thin layer of body-glitter. It's also the place where I make my money.

I find the Historian at a table in a corner and he jumps up. He looks so happy. He is enraptured by me, by the shape of me in space, or the idea of me, or something. I take a seat on his lap. All I have to do for the next several hours is have an amusing social interaction with a rather socially awkward man, which is hard work actually, but I won't notice that I'm tired, or bored. The trick there is the suspension of the personality, divesting the self of any trait that might be less than agreeable, of opinions that might offend and flaws that are not lovable.

Simulating a simulation of femininity, the money pours into your garter and the money is tonic, analgesic, stimulant, and mood-elevator. Sometimes you'll strain a ligament in your knee, like I did that night, and won't notice until you get home. Sometimes you'll sit with a customer all night, you won't realize you didn't really like him -- not like like him that is, not like you said you did -- until you lie down in bed and close your eyes.