"i got caught being a real person."

so i'm sitting at the library bar with ruby, having a bite to eat and a drink at the beginning of our shift. this is customary behavior for my friends and me--it's nice to take a moment to transition out of "real person" mode and into our stripper personae. at this point, we've undergone most of our transition already--we've showered, driven to work, fixed our hair and makeup, donned our costumes--but beyond those physical transformations, there are psychological steps to be taken, and sitting at the bar for a while can help ease that process. on this particular evening we're talking about our tendencies within romantic relationships: are we pursuers or pursuees? what aspects of those roles are turn-ons or turn-offs? what makes us lose interest quickly, what keeps us coming back for more?

suddenly, a (somewhat former) regular customer of mine, jim, walks up. i stopped sitting with him a while ago because he got too pushy, and it just stopped being worth the money he paid me. he interrupts our conversation about boyfriends to blurt out, "haven't seen you in a while, how are you and your boyfriend doing?" sigh. we've been through this before, and for some reason i'm not feeling very open to having this discussion, again--most likely due to the nature of the conversation he's interrupted. "we broke up four months ago, jim, and that's the first thing you said to me the last time i saw you, and i'd really appreciate it if you'd stop asking me about that." he goes, "well okay fine, i'll go away." i say, "you don't have to go away, i just don't want to talk about my ex boyfriend anymore. i'm trying really hard to get over it, and having you ask me about it doesn't help."

either he's drunk, or he's just not getting the hint, or both, because he presses me further--"well, what happened?" ugh. in what universe is this appropriate small talk? i snap at him, "look, i don't really want to talk about it. it was really awful, and it'd be great if i didn't have to explain that to you every time i saw you." (seriously, this is the first thing he's said to me, every time he's seen me, in the last several months. either it's the first thing he can think of to talk to me about, or he doesn't remember previous conversations. either way, it's got to stop, because i wasn't lying when i said it was awful, and i REALLY don't to be reminded of my newly-acquired emotional baggage while i'm trying to undergo a smooth transition into stripper mode). dejected, he sulks off. i don't try and stop him. i turn to ruby and say, "oops. i got caught being a real person. my bad."

the next time i see jim, a month later, he asks me the same thing. he just doesn't remember previous conversations. i guess he's just a drunk, and i'm going to have to keep that in mind while pretending to not be a real person around him in the future. i suppose that's what i deserve for thinking i had a candid enough relationship with a regular to talk about aspects of my "real" life.


suck it up

it's not like i hate obese people--this is texas, hating fat people would be exhausting. hell, i don't even judge their inability to control their eating--this is america. our portions our huge, our lifestyles is sedintary, and with the exception of major (coastal) cities, our street food is drive-thru, empty-calorie-and-saturated-fat-laden, and completely delicious "fast food." in NYC, at least you can grab a gyro. in SF, a crepe (ok, neither of those are super awesome for you, but still. they're not a double quarter pounder with cheese, bacon and mayo, large fries, and a large high fructose corn syrup and caffeine injection).

my point is: this is texas, there are TONS of overweight people (the majority...no doubt), and plenty of obese people. i dance for the former ALL the time, and the latter occasionally.

it's hard to dance for obese people, logistically speaking. there's just not much lap space: because their bellies are so big, it resides atop most of the thigh real estate. there's just not enough room between their waists and their knees on which i can sit and gyrate properly, and so it's more of a physical challenge to do something erotic on top of them. they're so round, i have to lean over them in a really awkward way. moreover, when i stand up, turn around, and bend over, my ass just bumps into their enormous bellies. is that sexy to them, having a hot piece of ass resting on top of their gut? because i'd have to stand 3ft away to avoid it (but hey--at least i'd be legal!).

inversely, dancing for extremely skinny people is difficult in a different way. for example, i have a customer who uses a wheelchair on whose legs i'm afraid to put almost any weight. his lap is bony and frail, and although he can't feel anything on it, i'm afraid of injuring him. women are often more difficult too--their knees are knobbier. skinny is a different set of challenges. the point is, dancing for overly fat or overly skinny people is part of my job.

that being said, i don't mind dancing for obese people so much. so it's more of a challenge--big deal. there are moments, however, which are less savory than others. ahem:

last week was great, above average income for five nights in a row. i should have figured that would come to an end eventually. so, it's midnight, and i've been at work for four hours. i'm not drinking because i'm on antibiotics, and i feel slightly off my game. i've done one dance with the little round fish counter manager from whole foods with whom i talk liberal politics. when i dance for him, he always says, "i'm the luckiest man in the world right now!" but he's only good for one, and other than being delightful, that's about it. i do another dance, for someone who works with MIT researching social network data--we had a very interesting discussion about the politics of knowledge production and the changes in journalism with blogging (he recommends i read a book called "six degrees").

so despite pleasant company, i'm not having a good night. then the nerdy guys (a little one and a obese one) from last week reappear, minus the randy massage therapist gf. this is too bad, because i really enjoyed dancing for her--it was her 2nd ever trip to a strip club, and she was really enthusiastic. the little nerdy guy (the girl's bf) buys the fat one a dance. i cringe, but agree, as i've only made $40. i remember last week, when i danced for him once, and recall some awkward convulsing on his part. i remember him telling me how he saw his first pair of real live breasts in a strip club, how his first kiss was in a strip club, and i become fairly certain he's never been laid. the little one says, "well i'd like to get a dance, but i have a gf, so i'll buy him one instead", and i say "that's what we're here for. we're like gfs who you don't have to call in the morning." and the fat one indicates that he wouldn't necessarily MIND having to call me in the morning, and then i know. he's as desperate as i suspect, and this is real, human contact for him, not just some party-time service he's indulging in.

so i dance. he smells bad, the kind of smell often carried by the obese, because they can't reach everywhere to wash properly; later, when i mention this in a post-work gchat with a massage therapist friend, he goes "yeah. the folds get rank." (i happened to be snacking at the time, but the phrase "rank folds" made me set down the dried mangoes). anyhoo, he is polite and keeps his hands to himself, he has kind eyes and a quick smile, but oh my god he smells like piss.

and every time my knee so much as brushes his cock, it twitches violently, and he gives off a tremendous gasp, often punctuated with an "UNH." his cock twitches so hard that i'm afraid i'm going to accidentally make him come.

the thing is, it's really hard to get close enough to him to do a decent dance without touching his cock. he's well over 300lbs, so see the above about "not much lap real estate." what's more, he has that under-the-navel pooch, which basically ends in his groin, so it makes everything protrude even more. he's basically a big round belly with a poor, neglected dick at the bottom. and he's really sensitive, so every 30 seconds i get treated to a pre-orgasmic spasm as a reminder that yes, he is indeed enjoying this.

i give him the dance his friend paid for, and i leave immediately. as i'm dressing, he says another girl is coming over, but that i should come back later. so i make a few laps around the club, experience no increase in funds, and i happen to walk past the nerdy table again. he seems eager. i think, "what's another 3.5 minutes of torture for $20? this is my job, right?" so i dance again. he gets three in a row. at the end of each song, i feel relieved--not only do i have like three moves i can actually perform on someone this big, which gets boring, but the pre-orgasmic cock twitching is REALLY grossing me out--but at the end of each song, he says, "one more," and i cringe.

the phrase, "lie back and think of england" comes to mind. or rather, "zone out and think of my upcoming san francisco vacation."

sometimes $20 just isn't enough. (hell, sometimes $1800 isn't enough--i recently overheard our resident jessica rabbit bitching in the dressing room about having to endure three hours of being slobbered on, for only $1800. it's all relative, i guess). that $80 i made dancing for him doubled what i took home that night. suck it up. part of our job is fulfilling the role of a pseudo-sexual surrogate. we provide physical intimacy for people who lack it. (the next night i danced for a regular customer whose wife hasn't fucked him in 6 years. he's too good to cheat, and too sweet to leave his family, so he comes to strip clubs. i see confirmation of this "outlet valve" theory every day). i often feel compassionate for sex-starved customers, and am happy to provide this simple touching, happy to fulfill that basic human need, happy to inspire erections, happy to graze them with my knee and see ecstasy on the faces of strangers--for a price of course. but not this time, not him. he was repulsive, and i was terrified i was going to make him come. i pitied his lack of self control--not the overeating, but the oversensitivity.

so i choked back my gags, mentally tallied my budget while i did my job, and got out of there ASAP. was it worth it? maybe. probably, since he didn't actually come.

but alas, as a hair technician i visited recently said when i asked her about what it's like to wax scrotum, "it all looks green at the end of the day."