sometimes, i really love my job

well, i mean, i usually love my job. with rare exception, i make "enough" money, i.e. more than i would have made at my previous gig as a beer wench. it's always interesting, always entertaining in some way, and usually quite pleasant. i have burnt out moments, shifts, and weeks...but for the most part, it's okay.

i'm writing this to remind myself, during those burnt out moments, just how awesome it can be.

last night was a dream.

i got in early, needing to make a pile in 3 shifts this week, so i can take the next 10 days off and go to austin for halloween, election day, and other festivities the following weekend. starving, i sat at the bar and treated myself to a greek salad with chicken, and a tasty adult beverage. i finished my meal, chatted with a coworker for a minute, before spotting a dorky, eccentric-looking, well-dressed fellow at the ATM. timing my approach so as to catch him as he was exiting the money-dispensing cubbyhole, i turned on the charm and wit. and oh boy, did i meet my match in this guy. within 3 minutes i was becoming somewhat overwhelmed at his intelligence, quickness, and humor, and literally had to sit down.

so we sit. i hear my name 4 girls up on the list, giving me about 20 minutes (at 2 song sets) to charm this guy into buying me offstage. we go upstairs "to do some dances", i mention something about having to be up in a few, to which he replies, "oh well, we won't worry about that." he buys me off, doesn't indicate that i should even think about taking my dress off, and seems to know the waitress and VIP manager really well. when he calls the house mom (a fantastic, amazing, retired feature dancer) to come up for a glass of wine as her day shift is ending, i start to get the feeling that i might have stumbled onto something big.

the house mom stayed for probably 90 minutes, with our waitress (who also happens to be one of my favorites, the one i suggest to customers whenever possible) and the VIP manager (also a retired dancer, and literally my favorite manager) popping in and out to join in on the conversation. i still haven't taken my dress off, we're drinking, we're snacking, and i know that i'm getting paid for all of this. in fact, at the point where he's got good relationships with these people that seem to span at least a decade in some cases, i know i'm set. these savvy women would not like this guy so much if he was a cheap bastard who screws girls out of money. so i don't mention anything about it.

the night wares on, he buys me off stage again, we get some privacy eventually and mess around a bit, but he never crosses the boundaries of club rules (which are the strictest in town, and people get canned all the time for disobeying). the conversation never stalls once, i don't have to conceal my political views, this guy is hilarious, engaging, interesting. at one point it comes out that he recently purchased a giant corporate law firm, where one of my ex's used to work. (oh, the irony.)

the club begins to initiate shutdown procedure, he orders me credit card "funny money", again, nothing has been discussed. he tells the waitress, "you know how much to put down" on the order slip.

it turns out to be a thousand bucks.

i mean, it's not 3 or 400 an hour (the standard VIP rate), but for the entire night? of literally being as entertained by this guy as he is by me? for someone smart, polite, humorous, and liberal? shit. that's a fucking dream shift. i barely took my dress off, i never went downstairs, i had fun hanging out with some of my favorite coworkers, and i banked.

sometimes, i really love my job.


"i always wanted to see that waitress naked!"

when people i know from the "real" world come into the club, funny shit always happens--especially if they didn't expect to find me there.

the first time this happened, it was a guy about my age whom i used to wait on at my previous job as a beer wench. that was back when i worked the day shift, and he had come in with some of his work buddies for a bite and some eye candy. i spotted him just before i had to go up for a set, sitting, of course, right in front of the main stage. i was nervous. but i quickly learned that being discovered in a strip club by someone who knew you before you were a stripper is almost ALWAYS more embarrassing for them than it is for you. customers have a lot of shame, too. and rightfully so--after all, they're also participating in this seedy underbelly of a social microcosm--but the only difference is, they're the ones blowing their cash on expensive, sexualized entertainment; at least we make piles of money in exchange for soiling our reputations.

anyhoo, so i get up onstage, he sees me, i give him a shit-eating grin. in classic biggest-bang-for-my-buck, typical-lunch-crowd form, he waited until my second song and i had taken my clothes off to come up and give me a dollar. i went and hung out with him for a few minutes after i got off stage, at which point he informed me that his first reaction to seeing me up there was, "holy shit! i always wanted to see that waitress naked!"


in fact, many of the "real" world people i've encountered in my club have known me from my gig at the bar. there was the lawyer, who's now dating one of my friends. there were tons of people who just looked familiar (and when i can't place where i know someone from, it's usually the bar. this is a bit more of a loaded sensation, now, walking through the grocery store, wondering if that guy who looks familiar has seen me naked). there was the husband of one of my professors (but again, i knew them before she taught me a class in grad school, from waiting on them). THAT was a funny one. it was a busy week night, and he looked like he had been dragged there by his work colleagues. i had spotted him before my set, sitting right up against the main stage with a big group. i walked out for my song, pointed right at him, and said, "hey, i know you!", much to his embarassment. a paralyzed-animal-in-floodlights expression came across his face, and he looked down into his drink like it was a time portal that could hopefully dispatch him from this hostile environment. his friends erupted, and quite a few of them came and tipped me, at which point they found it all the MORE hilarious when i told them his wife taught me a class in grad school. in women's studies.


then there was the rockstar wannabe, whom i had one of my top 3 worst sexual encounters with. ever. again, i met this guy in the bar, gone out for drinks with him the next week, and back to his shitty apartment, whereby he proceeded to fuck me in the most boring ways, with a semi-hard cock, on a futon. a futon he didn't even bother turning into a bed. that was during one of my boyfriendless sport-fucking phases, an early one, during which i failed to glean any quality partners and just became more sexually frustrated. anyhoo, so, 4 years later, here he is in the strip club. with a mixed group. i initially thought one of the hot chicks with them was going to turn out to be his girlfriend, and then i was going to delight in getting him in trouble by casually referring to "that night we hooked up" (if you could even call it that). alas, such was not the case, however i did get to dance for him, and made sure to really turn on the sexy. his dick got harder during that 3.5 min song than it EVER did in the 20 minutes i let him try to fuck me when i was 22. priceless.

like i said before, it's got to be the lights. my stripper aura just did it for him. not surprisingly, while "real" world acquaintences make for funny anecdotes and friendly conversation in a club full of strangers, they're not worth much money. they're in awe of the aura, perhaps, but they've seen the real person behind the slutty costume and the club persona, and they're not buying it. at most i get a dance out them, for novelty's sake.

when i have actual friends come into the club, sometimes they'll throw me some cash (since they know i'm still at work), but generally i just hang out at their table, let them buy me drinks, tell funny stories about the girls onstage, answer questions about my work, and recruit my hot (and anonymous) friends to dance for them. in order to spend serious amounts of cash on a stripper, it helps to not know her first. while i've gotten to know some of my regulars quite well, and had conversations with a few of them that were downright intimate, the fact remains they met me in the club. i had no pre-existing subjectivity, so they may project upon me whatever they like.

either way, strip club/"real" world crossovers never fail to be entertaining. i guess it helps that i'm not ashamed of what i do, and not concerned with anyone finding out. it'd be much worse if i was closeted or something.


promises and hookups

i work in a high end club, and thus get a lot of high end customers. super rich fuckers with the black diamond amex, car collections worth more than some GDPs, and the reckless and/or tightwad spending habits that come along with those traits. building rapport with guys like this (and other generous, successful-but-not-necessarily-super-loaded dudes) can glean any and all manner of gifts: vacations, plastic surgery, cars, houses. while i have girlfriends who've been gifted those big-ticket items, so far the only perks i've received are plane tickets and hotel rooms bought with business travelers' excessive airline points, and extra cash. but oh, the promises. "is there anything i can do for you?" is a question that makes my stomach do a little flip when i hear it in the VIP room. "sure, you can pay off my student loans."

but that never happens. i think it's the lights. i think the surreal, casino-like environment (no windows or wallclocks, labrynthian layouts that make it difficult to exit the building, especially when intoxicated), augmented by decor and lighting, contributes significantly to the Stripper Aura. and the Stripper Aura is probably what makes men want to promise us fancy, shiny things: because in there, we are larger than life. i swear it's the lights.

anyhoo, so last night i encountered the 3rd bachelor party whose company i've actually enjoyed. generally speaking, working bachelor parties (or saturday night at all, ever) is like going out on new year's eve: it's amateur night. usually it's a bunch of dudes standing around holding their dicks (no, not literally), paying one girl at a time to dance for the bachelor, using their groupthink dynamic to make fun of strippers, or using us to make fun of each other, or just straight up making fun of each other. they're not worth much money, they're hostile, there's at least one guy who's a total douchebag, and one guy who REALLY doesn't want to be there, and...well, let's just say i don't like working bachelor parties. this is why i don't work on weekends--i like the business travelers that populate our wing-backed chairs on tue/wed/thur. they're way more polite.

but the guys last night? oh man, they were awesome. pleasant, good-natured, hilarious bunch, most from the bride's extended family, and most of whom worked for the patriarch and the son-in-law, who--wait for it--own a premium jeans company. uh huh, that's right. and they're bringing me jeans (as long as i tell anyone who asks how to buy them), they want to bring me to trade shows and get me free samples of stuff, make me their vegas booth girl so i can rub elbows with fashionistas, and--wait for it--drive the new porsche 911 on the local speedway next week. one of them likes fast cars, and supposedly received enough speeding tickets that require him to go to court, and has been invited to try out the new german rocket on the track. and he wants me to come. and drive.

vroom vroom, indeed.

but alas, this one still resides in the "promises yet to be fulfilled" column, though i am going to do my very very hardest to try and move it over to the "oh fuck yeah i get fashion hookups and get to drive 2x as fast as i've ever driven before" column. i've already sent text messages to my two girlfriends who are seemingly the most adept at getting guys to buy them things: one of them received TWO cars for her birthday, back in her vegas days; the other just bought a house and managed to furnish the entire thing without spending a dime of her own money. both of them have never paid for washer/dryer sets. how does that HAPPEN?! i'm not nearly on that level *yet, but gods dammit, i'm going to do my very best to get there before my stint in this crazy business is over.

let's hear it for fancy jeans and fancy cars! wheeeeee confetti!


falling onstage

i knew it was bound to happen eventually; falling onstage is practically a mathematical certainty. frankly, i was surprised it had yet to happen...but after 2 years, 5 months, and 12 days in the business, i did it. i checked that box.

i fell onstage.

not just on "stage", which implies that there's only one--oh no, i fell on STAGE. like, on the big, shiny, main stage, about 5 seconds after i was announced, and not even twirling.

no, i was not attempting a super-extra-double-hard move on the international ho-bag degree of difficulty scale. i was not spinning, kicking, sliding, sashaying, or what the fuck ever--i was walking. walking. in new shoes. i blamed--and will continue to blame--the shoes. what the hell made me think it was okay to suddenly graduate to a platform, albeit a single inch? who approved the decommissioning of my training wheels? and who let me go up after i jinxed myself by telling the ladies in the dressing room that i was "not going to fall in the new shoes"? (uh huh, i said that. about 15 seconds before i fell.)

(oh yeah, right--nobody. because i'm an independent contractor, and i answer to no one! how silly of me to forget.)

but hey, it could have been worse: the club could have been 90% full (it was more like 75%--and they all stopped talking at once, lemme tell ya); i could have hurt myself, or fallen off the stage (as it happened, i went down rather gracefully onto a knee. i have not a bruise to show for it. too bad); i could have not been a good sport (i raised my arms in victory, received applause); and i could have been ignored afterwards--but suddenly the edge filled up with my girlfriends laughing at me and high fiving me, and pleasant customers cracking jokes (and everyone gave me money. the "pity tips" actually made for a damn good take on an early-evening stage set, for me at least).

so i changed into my backup shoes, resolved to teeter around my apartment in the new ones for another few weeks before i have the guts to sport them at work (emphasis on the sport, of course), and went about my shift. hell, at least they have nifty chrome heels, it'll give me greater incentive to train myself to wear them again. because everything i own would be chrome, if i had the cash.

in the end, my silver shoe debacle did garner a monumental silver lining: it was the final kick in the ass to start the stripper blog i've been meaning to begin for months. hooray for clumsy catalysts! hopefully my next entry will be about how i shattered my record income for a single shift.