lecherous death-eaters

So, there’s this girl who’s been getting on my nerves lately. On the second night that I knew her, she made the mistake of coming up behind me and poking me in the ribs. I yelled and threw an elbow without thinking about it—this is what happens when you come up behind me and poke me in the ribs, without fail. I turn to shoot her a look, and instead of apologizing like most people do when I inform them of exactly how much I hate that and how uncontrollable my reaction is, she goes, “Wow, you’re really high strung, aren’t you?” Oh man. Not the best foot to start out on with me. It gets better. She’s really loud and obnoxious, and never seems to have anything nice to say. Every time you hear the unmistakable sound of her storming into the dressing room, she’s whining about something at full volume. It’s really fucking annoying, to the point where I’ve had whole conversations with other women about it, and actually went so far as to say to her last week, “Girl, you don’t seem to be having a very good time at work lately. When was the last time you took a few days off work? Do you think you might be burned out? You might consider taking a rest.” She just stared at me. Or fired off some excuse, I don’t remember. But seriously, negativity turned up to eleven with vocal projection to match? It’s not something I want to be around every day, but I don’t really have a choice. Doesn’t help that her locker is about four away from mine.

Now I’m pretty sure she’s on drugs. Two nights ago she crashes into the dressing room doing her “Whhyyyyy doesn’t anybodyyyyy like meeeee” (Seriously, this is what’s coming out of her mouth—can you say ‘self fulfilling prophecy’? I knew thatcha could!) routine, but I’m in such a good mood it barely touches me. I’ve just spent three lovely hours messing around with someone I would date if he wasn’t married (I only get to see him about twice a year, and it’s always a treat. He can see the future. And he has fangs) and playing concierge to the rest of his roomful of work colleagues up in VIP. Naturally, my hair got a little messed up, so I’m redoing it: about twice a week, when I don’t feel like washing/drying/straightening my hair, I put it in a bun and throw on these hair pieces instead. They look like tribbles: they’re color-matched, mostly braided, hair “scrunchies” (no, not that kind of scrunchie). They’re an instantaneous updo, and the end result is rather messy and irreverent looking, and it accentuates my neck. I love them. Anyways, they got messed up (to the point of falling off) when I was upstairs having my neck bitten by a wise person, so now they’re laid out on the countertop for reapplication. I return from a bobby pin excavation excursion to my locker, to find whiner girl leading a team of two other women of color in making fun of my tribbles, literally pointing and laughing and throwing out comments about how only black chicks can wear those things. Whoa. I’m not a very confrontational person by nature, and I’m really not interested in spending two minutes applying my tribbles in front of these women who were just mocking them and me, so I grab my things and head over to the other side of the dressing room. A while passes, I can’t shake that feeling, and the incident is kindof gnawing at me. So when I’m talking to this really awesome fedora-and-three-piece-suit-wearing bar fixture, and whiner girl elbows her way in fishing for a drink, I confront her. I tell her that what I thought she said was rude, and it made me really uncomfortable. Now, if the situation was reversed, even if I didn’t mean it or give two shits, I would most likely have acknowledged the other person’s feelings and apologized and explained the miscommunication if one existed. She does no such thing. “Aw, come ON, we were only JOKING, and besides, that’s not what we said.” And I’m like, “Dude. You were making fun of the shit that I wear, right in front of me. Not cool.” And she persists: “Oh, come ON. Lighten UP. Here, let’s kiss and make up” and then, she grabs my head and slimes the lower half of my face with saliva and lipgloss for about ten seconds. I’m trying to pull away the entire time, I’m completely revolted (hell, even fedora guy walks off—and he’s one of the most perverted people I’ve ever met), and when she finally lets me go I shoot her this look of total disgust and stomp off to the dressing room to clean off my fucking face. I think she actually sexually harassed me. And that, my friends, is a really difficult thing to do.

So I did something I’ve only done once before in my four year career as a slutty independent contractor: I told on her. I talked to the house mom, who was horrified, and fetched the dance manager and made me repeat my story. I felt really weird, doing that. Flash forward to last night, and who do I run into at the back door on our way to sign in for the night? Yeah. I avoid her for as long as possible, thinking she probably got in trouble and she knows it was me, but I guess not, because she goes “sup bitch” and I’m like “you were off your tits last night” and she’s like “yep. Gonna do it again tonight.” Ugh. GROSS. I really wish she would go away. I’m going to see if I can get her fired for doing coke in the bathroom or something.

I manage to avoid her while we’re getting ready, and go to visit my favorite bartender to have a salad and a tasty adult beverage. While sitting at the bar, one of the fixtures is asking me about my academic career. I tell him I didn’t get my MA because I thought it would make me more employable, I simply wanted the knowledge. He had done something similar (finished grad school with like 180 hours), and we have a conversation about how education is so belt-knotchy these days. He says to me, “Consider yourself a particle that enjoys brevity in motion. You’re just bouncing through life.” I find this so awesome I run off to the dressing room to write it down, but end up just sending it in a text message to a new lover, a writer, who laid this one on me in return: “Bouncing slipping sliding bending writhing moaning spinning somersaulting gyrating lubricating motivating inebriating bifurcating licking sucking coming sighing and the bouncing all over again. Sounds about right.” Oh sweet lord in heaven, that’s a luscious thing to read right before going onstage to dance naked in front of a crowd. I am the goddess incarnate, and your souls hereby belong to me. Pay homage or die.

On stage four, I receive a tip from a rather muscley person and we talk about body modifications. He’s nice enough, so I sit down with him and his buddies once my relief arrives. I have a pretty good time laughing with this table, and muscle dude has some interesting things to say about tattoos. He won’t let me dance for him though, so his time is limited. “Look, I’d rather just pay you to sit with me, here’s ten bucks.” Ten bucks? That’s not gonna go very far, I’ve been there for like half an hour. Pretty soon I give up, and he’s cool about it—“I understand, go make your money girl.”

Off I go. I snag a lap belonging to someone who tipped me onstage, and end up giving him his first lapdance ever. I love popping cherries. Then I find Mazlowe (yes, her stage name is literally a reference to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, because she is that awesome), a burner friend who comes into town a few weekends per month to work at my club. I sit with her and the dude she’s working on, just passing time till the night gets busier. Somehow we’ve kept missing each other when she comes to the club, so I soon discover how awesome it is to work with her—I really like her attitude, jokes, and her positive yet berating disposition. We fuck around with her dude for about fifteen minutes before his buddy shows up. Buddy is taking a while to warm up to the environment, and we’re all talking more, cackling at her jokes. In fact, buddy doesn’t seem to like me at all, so I’m pretty sure my time at this table is also limited, just like the last. Somehow the fact that I went to grad school comes up, and Mazlowe’s dude asks me what my degree is in. I’m in a playful mood, so I go, “guess.” His first guess is “animal husbandry” and we all have a good laugh about that one. I give him a few more guesses before I finally tell him “women’s studies” and then, he goes, I shit you not, he says “that’s retarded.” Now, as I mentioned in the "men's studies" blog, it’s my personal policy to try and discourse with people who have misguided impressions of my field of study, but not this time. I feel like pouring my drink on him. Instead I just walk off without saying anything. The feminist outreach program is closed due to lack of funding.

Then I’m pissed. The club is full but not busy: there are lots of people sitting around drinking, partying, but not buying dances. This is typical for a weekend, but sometimes you can get lucky. Well, turns out one of my good friends happens to be making a rare appearance, so I go up to VIP and mess around with my two friends who are keeping him company. Seriously: he and I are so close that there’s no way I can dance for him anymore. It’d be like giving my uncle a lap dance. But I’ll mess around with Rhiannon, oh yes indeedy I will. She’s fun. We spend a considerable stretch of time trying to leave marks on each other’s asses. My time with these friends recharges my emotional batteries—I was having trouble playing the roles downstairs, so it’s really nice to just be myself with these people I’ve known for years.

He has to leave, so soon I’m on my own again, working the trenches. I’m making laps, not seeing much, when I pass muscley dude. He goes, “You should have stuck around, all of this could have been yours” and shows me about five hundreds in his wallet. WHAT THE FUCK. I say, “But you didn’t want dances, and you gave me ten bucks after about thirty minutes. What was I supposed to think?” and he’s like, “You screwed it up. I would have given you all of this.” Omfg, really? Does he feel so powerless in this place that he needs to taunt me with money? Does it get him off to have girls throwing themselves at him all night in hopes of being paid, and then teasing them with what “they could have had” if they had just gotten it right? Is there a right way to play this guy? I don’t really give a fuck, I’m so incensed, I have no desire to even think about what I “could have done differently.” I go, “whatever” and storm off. On my way back to the dressing room, I pass Mazlowe’s “women’s studies is retarded” asshat, who motions me over to the table. I flip him off and keep walking. Fuck this shit.

I sit in the dressing room. I eat cake. I read the book I brought with me, which happens to have been recently released by that aforementioned lover with the talented texting thumbs. His shit makes me laugh, and it's exactly what I need in that moment. I send him a picture of the book on my boot, thrown over one knee, with lockers in the background, and I tell him how nice it is to have him in my locker. He likes this. I’m on a particularly amusing section, so funny that I’m reading quotes aloud and nobody is getting them, which I find even more amusing and insist upon telling him in another text. I distract myself from this wretched night, and salvage what’s left of my state of emotions, I re-ground myself by indulging in the writing of someone with whom i shared a spectacular shag a few weeks ago. I tell him how nice that is, and regale him with quotes I hear coming out of strippers: just down from a (apparently pointless) stage rotation, one goes “well, that was a waste of lipgloss.” LOL. Whiner girl says, “I might throw up, would that help?” Wow. What an attention whore. But worth relaying nonetheless. Along with quotes, I send him increasingly provocative self portraits holding his book in my stripper gear. Soon they release us from this mirrored cage, and he instructs me to come hard when I get home. I thank him for getting me through the last part of my horrible night and tell him I’ll leave some wet spots on my bed for him. He thanks me and says that my sexiness will inform his dreams deliciously. How refreshing, what a contrast, what a beautiful way to come back to myself after being attacked by lecherous death-eaters all night. Thanks for that, sexy man. I owe you one.


hearts on fire

I was on fire last night. It was weird, too, because usually my first night back after a vacation is rather clumsy. Generally it’s a shift I have to get out of the way, dip my toe back in the proverbial pond of pretending to like people for money before I actually get my game back. Not this time.

I jerked off before work, my customary pre-shower activity. I’ll let you in on a little trade secret: I save my pussy juices and combine them with my perfume. It’s so awesome to watch guys’ eyes roll back in their head when they smell me. They don’t KNOW they smelled it, but they did. Gotta love pheromones. (Don’t believe me? read this). And I love my new hitachi—thank god I only recently got one, because if I had discovered that thing at a young age I would have developed the female version of what Dan Savage calls the “death grip.” But I guess I should be more worried about carpel tunnel?

But I digress. Last night I was glowing, batteries recharged from visiting the only place on earth that makes me feel whole (i.e. San Francisco), it felt like I had a beam of light (and fog, and eucalyptus, and lube) emanating from my chest. My stage sets were perfect—this happens about once a month—I’ll get up there and something just clicks. I love dancing, and I love it when I don’t have to think about it, and that doesn’t happen very often when I’m alone on a platform in heels with lights and an audience that is scrutinizing my body for flaws. I experience that psychological weightlessness on the dancefloor all the time, pretty much every time I try…but not very often at work. Sometimes, though, sometimes it clicks. And last night it did. Both sets too. That never happens. I mean, I love my music—I make sure I keep a CD up with the DJ of songs he’ll only play for me because I brought them into the club, and I switch it out about every six months—songs with meaning, songs that make me feel powerful and sexy and dirty and fierce. Like I own the place. But just because I love my music doesn’t always spell a spectacular set, where every move is perfectly timed without thinking about it, and I feel effortlessly graceful while also oozing sex. Well, last night was one of those nights.

In addition to feeling like captain badass superslut onstage, everyone I talked to gave me money—and that almost NEVER happens. The night started off with my awesome regular Ken, a customer I actually missed when I was in California. We talk with my friend Rhiannon about hunting (yes, this girl is an archer. How hot is that?), and how she wants to do a photo shoot/reality show in camo body paint and not much else. I tell tales of my trip to Cali. I do four dances, and again, every move is perfect. Lap dancing is a bit different, it’s more about nerve clusters and pressure points than timing, but still, there are some nights that I just feel on. Ken regales me with updates on what his crazy soon-to-be-ex-wife pulled while I was gone, and he and I make plans to pop our Ikea cherries together sometime soon. He’s got a new apartment to furnish, and neither of us has ever been to the Swedish home furnishing monolith. Besides, I hear the meatballs are awesome.

I go onstage. I glide and spin and writhe to Miss Kittin’s “Metalhead.” (Incidentally, this is the track that played when I took my first spill onstage, the event which catalyzed the beginning of this blog, my very first entry. It’s dark and mean and hot as fuck, and thus still on my CD years later). On stage three, I receive a tip from a very nice man named John, he’s clearly taken with me, and moves straight to the top of my priority list for post-stage profit-garnering activities. On my way to stage four, a bar regular I’ve chatted with but never actually done dances for slips a twenty into my g-string. I’m like, “wow. Thanks! What’s that for?” and he goes, “Because Robby [my favorite bartender] says he loves you and I think you’re awesome.” Fucking sweet. I love free money. On four I practically get mauled by an overly intoxicated but very funny good ol’ boy. On five, the female half of a couple literally leaps out of her seat to come and see me. On six, I get to heckle a bachelor party, a favorite pastime of mine. Then I’m off to see John.

Well holy fucking shit, turns out we have something huge in common: debate. I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it, but I was a debater in high school and college. (In “never trust a man with a boat,” the boyfriend I described living with for a summer and residing in a dorm while he worked at a summer camp—that was a debate camp. When I wrote that I intentionally hid the debate detail in an effort to protect my privacy, but this morning I am no longer worried about keeping that a secret). Well, he’s a lawyer, I mention debate, and turns out this guy was the high school debate partner of a very successful college coach who recently passed away. Fucking crazy. I impress him with my debate record, we discuss the differences between Lincoln Douglas and Cross-Examination. We talk about non-monogamous relationships and commitment. Recently divorced, he says that I give him hope. And I am so touched that I send myself text messages from his phone, the only way I can really take notes while actually on the floor.

He asks me if I have any piercings that he can’t see, and I spew the saga that was my hood piercing. The “short” version: pierced once, totally easy, loved it, lost it while messing around with Ruby in the backseat of my ex-fiancĂ©’s WRX while he drove us home to fuck, woke up to an ice storm and no clit jewelry, couldn’t get to a shop for three days to get new hardware, and it had sealed up. Fancied myself a badass (he says, “but you ARE a badass!”) so I got it re-pierced in two places, must have had scar tissue because HOLY SHIT that hurt so much I could barely hold still, and the healing process literally included clawing at the walls of the shower when I cleaned them. Then I found myself working around them when I jerked off, and finally met someone who could consistently get me off with his mouth who said it was in his way, so I took them out. I used to say my clit piercings were neon arrows that said “RIGHT HERE, DUMBASS” but at the point where they’re interfering with pleasure? Gone in half a second and haven’t looked back since. So then we start talking about cunnilingus, and he tells me that the next time I meet a man who does it right, that I should immediately demand he give me lessons by having me practice on his ear, and that I should go lysistrata on his ass (read: withhold blowjobs) until he complies. The lysistrata reference was mine, not his. I fucking love lysistrata.

So, that happened, I made about $80 from him in half an hour and had that fantastic conversation, he leaves and off I go in search of my next victim. It’s about a ten foot journey to a table of three guys, two of which are occupied by some of my favorite bitches, so I figure I’ve got some good odds with the empty lap—or at least a majority vote. I sit on him and quickly earn his trust by saying I won’t try and swindle him into the champagne room. He likes garters and stockings, so I go put some on—fine, twist my arm. I spend the next half hour pretending that I actually want to date him because it seems this is what it takes to gain entry into his wallet. Very interesting contrast to John, who I didn’t have to pretend with at all and who actually gave me sexual advice—I have to lie to his person. But whatever, it’s all in a night’s work, and I definitely have the power of persuasion in my bag of tricks.

Another $80 later, and I’m onstage again. This time it’s Primal Scream’s “Some Velvet Morning” and I fucking rock it out. I feel so hot. Hell, I AM so hot. It’s late after that, and the remainder of the night passes in a blur as I do a dance here, a dance there, the most memorable of which comes from the unlikely couple consisting of a hot (and very fucking randy) Persian chick and her body builder boyfriend. I’m like, “So how did you guys meet?” and she goes, “I like muscles.” Nice. Cute. I dance for them both, she gives me this really amazing kiss, and they promise to come back in tonight.

All in all, a great night. It ran the gamut from conversing with a trusted regular and friend, updating each other on what’s transpired in our lives in the last week; a new potential regular whom I don’t have to pretend with and who adores me for my smarts; an easy mark I could play without even thinking about it; and picking up on the vibe of a hot couple and getting to make out with a pretty girl with an accent. I made about $400, below average but totally acceptable, and I had a blast. I was on fire, all my moves were right, it was easy and fun. I really love my job. Fuck social acceptance and medical benefits, I’ll take my life on the fringe any day.


Men's Studies

As I may or may not have mentioned, I’m a grad student in a women’s studies program. When I attended my first sex work conference (and subsequently became a stripper), I remember a particularly interesting encounter with another stripper/researcher who warned me to be careful that I not “hide behind the research.” Driven by other accounts of stripper/researchers who had customers say, “oh, you’re just doing this for the research” (Katharine Frank, G-Strings and Sympathy 13), I refuse to hide my researcher status from inquiring customers. So when I mention I’m a grad student in women’s studies, I usually get a response like, “Well sweetie, I’ve been studying women for over 30 years, whaddaya wanna know?” or, “You’re already a woman. Why do you need to study them?” while at first these jokes were annoying, I got used to them—I literally hear versions of these statements several times a week. They might be belittling, but they’re not overly offensive. And besides, it’s really hard to offend me. Well, the other night, someone completed that seemingly insurmountable task. Ahem:

I was on the third stage, twirling around a pole for dollar bills, when I apparently caught the eye of a distinguished looking gentleman with an extremely kind face. He approached me, tipped me, and I told him I’d come “bother him” after I was done with my stage rotation. Temporarily ignoring the advances of a VERY hot couple by stage six, I went and sat down on Steve’s lap instead. (sometimes these decisions can be difficult—when you get tipped by 10 different people, who do you approach first? You make the wrong call, waste 10 minutes talking with someone who doesn’t pan out, and your other leads are either busy with someone else, or have vanished altogether. It can be stressful. Every stripper has her own strategy, and my internal dialogue went as follows: I see this couple in the club almost every Saturday night, but I’d never seen distinguished-looking-steve before. also, couples usually aren’t worth more than a few dances, and I’d already seen steve do at least five with a hot Russian babe while I was sitting with someone at an adjacent table earlier in the evening).

Steve starts asking me about myself: this is a good start. Sometimes guys don’t give a fuck who I am, where I come from, what I do when I’m not dancing for dollars, so it’s nice to be asked. I tell him I recently completed a master’s degree, and he asks me what my major was. I say “women’s studies” and he goes, “UGH.” I say, “What was THAT reaction?” and he rolls his eyes. I press on: “no seriously, you just had a very strong negative reaction to women’s studies. I’m really curious as to where that came from.” And he asks,in a very combative tone, “Is there a MEN'S studies?” (omg. Really?). I go, “Honey, the whole goddamned world is men’s studies. Women’s studies was invented because some people thought an alternate perspective was needed. Besides, the school won’t let us change it to gender studies. Also, we spend most of our time talking about race, class, ethnicity, orientation, disability, and all sorts of other categories that separate people and lead to discrimination. Women’s studies is really a misnomer.” Then he goes, “Well, do you think you deserve special treatment?” I scoff: “No.” He asks, “Do you feel victimized?” “No, and I resist that label whenever possible.”

At this point, I really want to bolt. This is clearly going nowhere profitable. But I think to myself, “Part of the reason you got into this business was to challenge people’s stereotypes about what constitutes a stripper, what constitutes a feminist. If you stomp off, he’s just going to chock you up as a bitchy feminazi, and that won’t do anyone any good, now will it?” and so I remain. And then, after insulting my entire field of study, he proceeds to launch into a truly offensive train of thought:

Steve: “So, do you have a doctor?”

Me: “Yes.”

Steve: “Are they black? White? Male? Female?”

Me: “She’s white.”

Steve: “Would you be opposed to having a black doctor?”

(Sweet baby jesus on a stick. Where the fuck is he going with this?)

Me: “Of course not.”

Steve: “What about if he was over 50?”

Me (ignoring the presumptive "he" in that last statement): “No. And what does that have to do with anything?”

Steve: “Well you know, up until about 30yrs ago they didn’t let blacks into medical school. So any black doctor over the age of 50 was given a free pass, and didn’t have to compete.”

Me: “So what? It’s not like they were automatically given a free pass through all their classes as well. They still had to do the work and get the grades.”

Steve: “I just think there should be an even playing field.”

Me: “But there’s not an even playing field, and there certainly wasn’t one back then. And you owe me a drink for that comment.”

Steve rolls his eyes, but complies. I know I’m not going to get any money out of him, and I feel I need to be compensated in some way for the time I just spent listening to his racist diatribe. I’ve had this affirmative action debate with other rich white men before, and I really can’t stand to hear someone who refuses to acknowledge their privilege rail about how “there should be an even playing field.” Of course you think there SHOULD be an even playing field, you rich white motherfucker, because for YOU, there always HAS BEEN. I have a dear friend who once made the mistake of bringing up a similar argument in my presence: “Well, I’ve not received jobs because they gave it to a black person instead.” I said, “So fucking what? How many jobs do you think you’ve gotten because you’re white? There’s no way to know, because that’s your reality. But people of color encounter hidden prejudices like that every day.”

To be clear, almost nothing pisses me off more than a rich white man talking about how he’s been discriminated against because of his skin color. Cry me a fucking river, asshole. You’ve been given EVERY opportunity in life, and just because our government decided that certain classes of people might need a helping hand doesn’t mean your life is any less cushy as a result. So what if you didn’t get that one job? You make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. So what if you have to pay a higher insurance premium to fund the healthcare of someone who doesn’t have a job? You can still afford a giant TV and fiber optic cable content, high speed internet, a gas guzzling truck, and bottled water delivered directly to the door that leads to your climate controlled home. You walk on a treadmill in your living room instead of walking to an hour long bus ride to work every day.

My point is this: privilege is often unacknowledged by those who possess it, and the privileges of whiteness are often as invisible as the category itself. And that, my friends, might be the most important thing I learned in grad school.


never trust a man with a boat

people with boats can be really fucking shady, yo.

a few nights ago, i met a customer with whom i got along inordinately well. he was irreverent, a total smartass, and he appreciated my brain. i met him at the front bar, where he dropped a $20 on me to "stick around." he keeps telling me that he wishes he'd met me outside of the club, and mentions repeatedly that he wants me to come to his hotel room. this is not out of the ordinary, and it's easy to brush off. after he buys me a drink and we talk for about ten minutes, i take him over to a booth so i can work my magic without his buddies around.

i sit through a song, talking, before deciding i need to make more money--great conversation, but i'm starting to become antsy stripper and let's face it, twenty bucks only goes so far. i stand up, and do a few dances during which i have to tell him repeatedly that "if you don't behave yourself i'm going to start charging you extra." i'm only sortof joking; he really can't keep his hands to himself. i mean, some touching is fine, i actually prefer (most) customers to touch me a little bit--it feels less stiff than them just sitting there with their arms glued to their sides while i basically snuggle with them to a beat. but constantly trying to grope me, and refusing to lean back in his seat not only bugs the CRAP out of me (especially that last part. i need to have control over the situation, and when guys lean forward they gain more physical leverage), but also means he receives an inferior lapdance. i can't get close to him and relax while i'm constantly having to police his hands or push him back in the booth so he doesn't knock me over, try and grab me, or overpower me. after two dances he says, "i think i just want you to sit here, since i can't control myself." fair enough. i tack on another 20 to the mental tally i'll give him when it comes time to get money.

so we sit and talk for about 20 minutes, and after another "i wish i'd met you in a regular bar or something" we get on the subject of hooking up with people one meets in bars, and the strategies, goals, statistics therein. i avoid mentioning my assessment of strip clubs as spaces which try and make patrons feel as though they're in a single's bar, only with all the odds stacked in their favor. i don't think it's a good idea to have a discussion about the game with this person; his bubble seems a bit easier to burst than others'. i often have really great conversations with customers about the nature of strip clubs, and they still pay me money. but this one seems like he needs to believe that i would be behaving exactly the same way if he wasn't paying me. fine, i can play along, god knows i've done it before. and then he tells me this story:

a number of years ago he went out to a bar with a buddy, the kind of guy who can regularly pick up two women at once. true to form, his buddy picks up two women, and off they go to buddy's boat. they're expecting a third friend, and suddenly it dawns on my guy that this other friend is much more attractive than him, and thus will undoubtedly usurp his ability to mack on this girl. in an effort to secure any chance he might have of getting laid, he makes his buddy pull the boat out, and eventually they have to break the no-wake rule because the 3rd friend shows up just in time and chases them down the pier. heh.

so they get out to the bay or wherever, buddy goes downstairs to bang his girl, and my guy is up top chatting with the other chick. they're getting along just fine, but he can tell it's just not going to happen, she's not interested, whatever. no big deal, they're just hanging out. pretty soon buddy emerges from down below, and pulls my guy aside to ask how it's going. my guy says, "i don't think anything is going to happen, but it's cool, we're just talking." and then his buddy proceeds to grab this girl by the arm and haul her to a different part of the boat, where he tells her off. "what the fuck did you think you were coming out here for?" "do you know how much it costs to fill up this tank?" he's yelling at her, he's poking her in the chest. all the while my guy is trying to wave him off, because he really doesn't think it's a big deal. wow. "that's fucked up," i say, and he agrees.

here's the punchline: after being told off and guilt tripped for not putting out, for not filling her function as a token warm wet hole, the girl returns to my guy, and snuggles up to him. and then he fucked her.

now i know why he prefaced the story by saying he'd only confessed this to a small handful of people. i'm in shock. i manage to convey how much i appreciate him telling me the story, and he talks about how guilty he's felt about the incident ever since that night. while i'm horrified at the tale, i really am grateful he told me--it's not every day you get to hear stories like that from a virtual stranger, at least not in person (want to read anonymous confessions on the internet? check out http://postsecret.blogspot.com/). but that's one of the things i love about being a stripper--it's the manifestation of my lifelong desire to be a fly on the wall of the men's locker room.

a long time ago, i lived with a boyfriend for a summer, who had to spend a good chunk of his time working at a certain camp for teenagers. his duties included some dorm admin stuff, so he had a room there, and i stayed with him. at night, i would stalk the halls on the boy's floor after they were confined to their rooms, just to see if i could overhear something interesting. i never did. i've always wanted to know how boys talk to each other when girls aren't around, and as a stripper, i believe i get an approximation of that. it works like this: even though they are most certainly aware of our presence as token T&A, they don't care what we think because we're just strippers. also, they never have to see us again, and so it's a relatively risk-free environment. therefore, they don't censor themselves a whole lot around us (and lemme tell ya, it's a rough world out there in the maniverse if some of the stuff i see and hear on a regular basis is actually censored). what's more, i hear all sorts of interesting tidbits that don't have to do with chauvinist underpinnings: i've had people confess all sorts of weird stuff, tell me intimate details of their relationships, talk to me about kinks that i'm sure they don't share with their male friends (like, say, how they want me to fuck them in the ass). often times, the talking i do feels like a therapy session. i'm no stranger to this, and i quite enjoy it--especially when i'm getting paid well.

i know i've got to be onstage in a bit, so we finish our chat and rejoin his friend at the bar for more drinks. he makes another couple comments indicating he wished he had a chance to try his game on me in a "real" bar, and how i should TOTALLY come to his hotel room. i make a joke about him not being able to afford it, to which he replies, "well, i don't want to PAY you." i go, "well that's too bad, because i have to be onstage soon and you owe me sixty bucks." the expression on his face reads as, "?!" and i truly believe he was actually surprised that he owed me money for what had just transpired. "i owe you SIXTY BUCKS?! for WHAT?!" and i'm like, "well, we did two dances, and then you told me you just wanted me to sit there, which i did, naked, for over 20 minutes, and i think i deserve another $20 for that." "but i just gave you twenty bucks!" "yes, and thank you, but that was an hour ago and i considered it a tip." he doesn't budge. i can see him shutting down, getting the kind of attitude i am sometimes on the receiving end of when it comes time to talk about money--but usually that's not until the end of the night when customers are more inebriated and have grown weary of hemorrhaging cash. you can see it in their faces: their bubble bursts, and they just turn on you. they can't deal with acknowledging that they just paid you to be nice to them, so all of a sudden you're a golddigging bitch and they're "not paying anyone else any more fucking money."

over the course of about three seconds, he turns into a pouty child who's determined to get his way. he folds his arms and holds firm in his stance that he's not going to pay me. he says, "how big are the bouncers? i wouldn't mind fighting my way out of here." he keeps bringing up the twenty bucks he handed me--AS IF that's some colossal sum of money. i say, "yes, and thank you for the tip, but that doesn't cover services rendered." he clearly has no idea that i'm AT WORK. "but i thought you liked me." "yes, and i did have a great time with you, but this is my job." his friend, thank god, is no stranger to the strip club game and pulls me aside, apologetic, and gives me all the money in his wallet--forty bucks. "i'm really sorry, he doesn't understand that this is work for you." oh well. i thank him, cut my losses, go on stage, and proceed to forget about it.

the moral to the story: never trust a man with a boat. they'll use their ability to contain you as means to control you. and they have shady friends.