The Girlfriend Experience

So in the last entry, I detailed a few “types” of customers and outlined (my perceptions of) their motivations. But I left out a big one, in my haste to publish that post: the girlfriend-seeker. This post isn’t just about that type of customer though, it’s about the myriad of services we sell, namely: the girlfriend experience (GFE).

Girlfriend seekers are the most pitiable class of customer I’ve encountered. I’ve seen variations on this theme, so many times: old rich white dude is lonely. Maybe he got divorced, maybe his latest (usually stripper) girlfriend finally got sick of dealing with his shit, and the money and resources and shelter from having to work was finally not enough. Maybe she just got bored of having to fuck some old dude, and wanted something that actually turned her on. Whatever. So newly-single old rich white dude, what does he do? He comes into the club, looking for the next one.

Seriously, I’ve seen this so many times.

There used to be a regular named Jim, who bared a striking resemblance to a frog (no really. It was WEIRD). He was a sweet old bastard, way too gullible, and lemme tell ya, the phrase “looking for love in all the wrong places” never rang so true for me as it did during the hours I spent with him upstairs. Maybe the second time we sat together (he paid hourly and was respectful, this was long before the economy tanked when hourly was still fairly standard), he goes, “You’re going to make me fall in love with you, aren’t you?” I mean really. How do you respond to that. I don’t even remember what I said. But in his gullibility, I could tell that he REALLY wanted to believe it.

Jim was looking for a girlfriend, straight up. He told stories about the women he’d “taken care of” in the past; this was most definitely a pattern for him. He told me he was lonely. He told me he would take care of me. Now, normally when guys say shit about how they’d like to date me, I generally steal myself and play along, just so I can empty their wallets and get the fuck out of there with them still thinking they have a chance. (Lately that’s not the case; I don’t give anyone the impression this is anything but ephemeral entertainment. I’m getting blunt in my old age). But eventually I had to stop sitting with Jim, because the charade just became too much, and it reached the same old tipping point of “whatever they’re paying me isn’t enough to deal with their bullshit.”

He disappeared for a while, but I’ve seen him a few times in the club in the last couple of years, accompanied by—you guessed it—one of our dancers, who doesn’t work anymore, whom I guess is now his girlfriend. I hope she’s happy, I really do.

Then there’s David, the guy Kendall and I sat with on Sunday. David was my regular wayyyyy back in the day, like after I first started, for about a year, until he disappeared. I figured he got remarried and moved permanently to his house on St. John. He’s got a shitload of money. David’s cool in that I can actually be honest about my relationship status(es) with him. He recently resurfaced; it’d been so long that I actually thought his name was Michael. But whatever, I’m crappy at remembering names. So anyways, here he is out of the blue, a few weeks ago. I sat and ate with him and we caught up, mostly about our love lives and what’s transpired in recent years. He’s recently single, and whaddaya know, back in the fucking strip club. Just bought his ex a house in LA so she’d get out of his hair. Hope that’s worth it...

What is it with these old rich white dudes constantly getting into commodified relationships? Do they lack self confidence, and figure they might as well purchase their companionship in a roundabout kinda way? Is it a power thing, so that they can get rid of whomever rather easily, if she turns out to be batshit crazy? Do commodified relationships automatically attract the batshit crazy? Because it seems to me, and it’s not just the fact that they resurface every couple of years when their latest fling goes tits up, that the commodification just fucks everything up. I mean yeah, there are plenty of perfectly healthy relationships in which one partner takes care of the other financially, this is obviously not uncommon in our culture, and lends itself rather well to breeding. But this is something different. It’s commodified from the get-go. How could they honestly think it could last? How are they not walking around constantly questioning the authenticity of their relationship? Are they even aware of that uncertainty, and if so, does it bother them?

Old white rich dudes aside, there are some guys who just have no clue that hello, this is our job. I’ve been over that here before. You get to the part where they pay you, and all of a sudden they’re clueless. Like, what? You want money for what just happened? But I thought you really liked me! Then there are the guys that want to see you out of the club (and not for cash, either. I’m happy to have dinner with someone for $500, but rare is the person who gets that, sticks to that, and can afford that). They think that, just because you provided a service, which also happens to include fake affection, this means that you want to go out on a date. So fucking annoying. WAKE UP. You're at a STRIP CLUB. We do not ACTUALLY like you.

And yeah, I give my phone number out. Some girls have business cards, others have work phones (those are also tax deductible btw). Here’s the deal: If there’s a chance I’ll get repeat business out of it, it’s almost always worth it. I make it clear that my primary mode of communication is text messages, that I haven’t listened to my voicemail in three years so don’t bother calling and/or leaving one, and that they should text me when they’re coming in next, instead of leaving it up to chance whether I might be working that night or not (especially if they’re travelers. Oh, how I love the travelers). The point is: if they want to sit with me again, I’d rather be there than not. I’d say this strategy works out about 5% of the time, but holy god, the money I’ve made over the years because of it. And yeah, I still get 3AM-attempted-booty-call-drunk-dials from time to time, from the locals. Stupid locals. To be clear, I don’t think this is like, the revelation of the century or anything, but there are some people who take it the wrong way, and are all, “Whoa! That stripper gave me her phone number! She must really like me!” And then they’re texting me with boring shit, day in and day out. I mean, some checking-up is fine, some random volleys here and there are acceptable, sure, this is a business relationship and certain ties need to be maintained. But really? How clueless ARE you?

Like I said in the previous entry, I cannot wait for the moment when I delete all the customer numbers from my phone. I have them saved in the same spot in my contact list; every single one of them has an “L/” before their name (L stands for Lodge), and some sort of descriptor after their name, because I suck at names and generally require mnemonic devices in order to keep my shit straight. Sometimes those don’t even work, and when someone I don’t remember does come back in, I tell him to text me when he’s sitting at the library bar. That way I can usually pick out the face, and save face in the process.

Seriously, I fantasize every day about the moment when I delete all of these numbers, save maybe like, five. There are five people, out of one hundred and seventy two (no really, I just counted. Trust me, I’m JUST as shocked as you are right now, probably more so), that I care about maybe having a drink with the next time they’re in Austin. Five people whose company I would keep even if they weren’t paying me.

Notable mnemonic descriptors include: “Andrew the pervy Canadian” (people’s kinks fucking fascinate the hell out of me) “Bob the nosy New Yorker” (OMG what a dick, but oh, so much money…), “Brad with the weird nose,” (for the record: I don’t remember the nose, but I guess it was weird, LOL), “Brian the SMU douchebag” (nuff said. Def remember him), “Cliff the desperate married guy,” (fuck, that could be ANYONE!), “Ed the submissive” (subby customers are really good outlets for aggression), “Hurricane Steve” (insurance adjustor, crazy stories about Katrina), “James in the chair” (god I miss him. My paraplegic customer. So irreverent, he was. He enjoyed pretending he had cerebral palsy whenever a waiter would ignore him due to that presumption, and missed the days before movie theaters got handicapped seating, because he had to park his chair in the aisle and then got to laugh when people tripped over it and down the stairs. And you know how blind people get insane senses of smell and hearing? Well, his neck was so sensitive, I could barely touch it without him stopping me. He’d had orgasms from neck stimulation. But I digress), “Jim the hot air dude” (Jim from a previous blog, “I got caught being a real person,” the one who kept asking me about my evil ex like months after we’d broken up. He flies hot air balloons), “John the cheapo who thinks art is good” (god, he was so cheap. Why did I save a cheapo number? Who knows) “Reagan octopus tie” (that guy is RAD and I hope he comes in again), “Ron with all the mile points” (can you tell what I was after?), “Scott the spanker” (that was a fun night!), “Tony the ?” (hmm. Don’t remember him. SHOCKING), “Chris with stripes” (he always wore shirts that have what I call “intelligent stripes.” He’s one of the five. And I think he lives in Austin now. I want to be his friend. He’s SUCH a nerd), and “Rob the racer” (has Ferraris, races Porsches, pity I never took a ride in a fucking Enzo, that’s a helluva box to check; fuck, I’d do that for FREE).

Phew, names. So many names. So many forgotten moments of feigned intimacy. So many remembered moments of actual intimacy, so many fears and hopes and dreams spilled out over drinks and flesh. Enough. I’ve had enough.

All that being said, we do the GFE all the time, and it’s great. People need companionship, the same way that babies in Chinese orphanages will die if you don’t touch them. I’ve said it before, but I’m okay with what we sell, even though my time to sell it is done. We provide what certain types of customers lack in their personal lives, we provide love, support, acceptance, acknowledgment, intrigue, adoration. R. Danielle Egan calls this role the “whorish wife.” Her work featured prominently in my thesis. The whorish wife provides all the emotional support of the wife, but the physical (in our case, feigned) availability of the whore. Such a great term.

Some of my coworkers bring a different meaning to the GFE. Many of my friends in there (read: the handful (<10) women I’ll keep in my life post-stripping) pick up dates in the club. Not like, people they fuck for money, but actual guys they date. To this day, I don’t understand it. I’ve tried once. But the guys that come into the club, the locals, the young attractive ones? Not the people I want to date. Generally the men in my life, especially the ones I’m intimate with, don’t enjoy strip clubs (unless they go to party, that’s a different story and motive altogether), and I like to think it’s because they can get pussy on their own. So the ones who come into the club, who are in the right age/attractiveness bracket, those guys just aren’t my speed. They’re boring. But whatever, not judging my girls, just making the point that yeah, sometimes we DO actually like you!

So yeah, GFE. Big can o’ worms, that one. Thanks for reading, ya’ll.


what men want

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to stand behind this statement, no matter how jaded or far removed I become from the biz: everyone comes to the club for different reasons. But there are certain patterns I’ve noticed, and conclusions I can draw therein. Here are a few of them. This list is not complete. It gets ramble-y, but these are some of the most important observations I’ve ever made about what stripping does to relationships and psyches, so fucking pay attention.

Exhibit A: The ideal customer.

The ideal customer knows he’s paying for an entertainment/companionship service, and doesn’t deny this to himself or to others. Last night I was bored and kept following Mazlowe around to her tables, because she picks good ones. We were busy eating and cackling with one of her regulars (this was about the time when we decided that during my last week of work, I should change my name to Pavlov and only dance to “Ring my bell” and “Who let the dogs out”), when he said something really interesting. “How do you explain to your coworkers that you come to the titty bar to hang out with amazingly intelligent beautiful women? Nobody would believe you.” And it’s true, most people don’t get it. But there are exceptional customers out there who get it. They get that we’re at work, they get that they have to pay us for our company, and there’s never a problem with that arrangement. These men must have a combination of some pretty specific qualities: intelligence, empathy, generosity, and loneliness. If they’re local, they have to be dissatisfied with their personal life. If they’re travelling, they have to be bored because they’re on a business trip in Dallas and there’s not anything interesting to do here.

I usually prefer the travelers, because they don’t have any mistaken notions about “what it all means.” Every time I find a local regular, the relationship eventually ends because they realize that they’re not actually dating me. We have awesome times together, but eventually he’ll wake up and be like, “Okay, this feels like a relationship, but I have to pay her to hang out with me. She doesn’t want to be my girlfriend.” That will be that, I’ll take an income hit, and move on. Right now my local regular could become the exception to that rule, because he’s in a romance-less marriage and they’re basically roommates and staying together because it’s cheaper than a divorce. So he’s probably “safe” in that regard. But who knows.

Now, let me be clear. I truly like and appreciate every regular I’ve ever had. I don’t care who you are, customer or not, but you don’t get to be my friend, much less see me once a week or more, if you’re not interesting as hell. Would my regulars be people I could sit down and talk with in an airport bar for six hours while we’re both stranded in, say, Milwaukee? Absolutely. Will I keep in contact with some of them after I’m done? Sure. They’re good buddies, and they have good stories, and I feel that at least a portion of our relationship(s) is/are genuine, despite the commodification. But I won’t keep all of them around. I fantasize about the moment when I get to delete the literally hundreds of phone numbers I have stored. Airport conversation or no, would I be this nice to them if they weren’t paying me? Probably not. I’ve become quite skilled at channeling my affection. But I’m tired. I’m tired of pretending to like people more than I do.

The constant channeling into different outlets can get exhausting. The Aussie and I both prefer to make all our money from one or two sources per evening. As she put it, we tire easily of the “I’m this, I’m that, I’m this, I’m that” game.

Yes, we are selling parts of ourselves. The Aussie said, “This is exploitation on my terms. You think you’re not being exploited in a cubicle? This is on my terms.” It’s true, we’re all whores for our jobs, but we strippers have a little bit more control over where that exploitation comes from, i.e. we can walk away from an abusive situation if we deem it so. The Aussie’s mom said, “We all sell ourselves, in marriage, in life.” And her daughter, my dear friend, extrapolates: “I’m just doing it the way I want to do it. And that’s why I’ve stayed so long. I don’t want a real job until I can do it the way I want.”

Selling ourselves changes the way we interact with “real” people too. I tend to be really social when I go out, relishing in the fact that I’m engaging in real interactions with pure motives. The Aussie expresses something different: “You lose the filter when you’re not getting paid. I don’t want to talk to people when I go out, I want to take ecstasy and dance and lose my shit. I don’t even know how much I’ve given up by [stripping]. I’m not getting laid.”

And it’s true. This job makes it impossible to have a real relationship. You work at night. You’re constantly selling so much of yourself, it changes the way you love. The Aussie says, “I’m so used to manipulating people that I find myself dating people who are beneath me because they’re easy to manipulate.” She’s recognized this, and is trying to break that habit. “I’m excited by people, which is why I’m a good stripper, but my instantaneous connection is sexual, which is why I’ve never had a relationship that grew. Eliza is in her first post-stripping relationship and is having a hard time adjusting to the real. It’s romance, he’s not a customer, she likes him for him, not his money. She’s basically been dating customers and is having a hard time switching back.” Now, my personal experience hasn’t been like this. I’ve had relationships, I don’t manipulate my lovers, I don’t see my patterns with customers spilling over into my intimate life, but most of them were long distance, so I could still control my time (read: work nights and schedule week/ends where I see my bf and fuck off from work). Now that I’m single, and living in a place where I won’t find a mate, and all I could really do is go out on a date here, a date there, and I don’t. I don’t see the point. I don’t want dates, I want love. I’m tired of this. You can’t put a price tag on love. When I’m done here in a few, whatever I lose in income, I will earn back tenfold in authenticity.

Some customers think you can buy love, though. Not all customers are ideal. There are some who are completely deluded, and some who are aware they’re being deluded.

Exhibit B: The Skeptic.

In “Never trust a man with a boat,” I describe how some customers can turn on you once they realize that you’re not dancing naked for them, or laughing at their jokes, or generally being adoring, because you genuinely feel like it. Well, a few weeks ago, I had a really interesting exchange with a guy after I’d done a few dances:

Him: “Wow, you’re really good. I totally think you’re going to go home with me, but you’re not.”

Me: “Um, thanks?”

Him: “No seriously, I feel like I should be giving you my number right now, but that’s pointless, because you don’t actually like me.”

Me: “I do like you. But not in the way you’re thinking. May I be completely honest?” (stealing myself a little here, ahhh fuckit)

Him: “Sure.”

Me: “You’re too short. I need guys who are at least three or four inches taller than me.”

Him: “But I’m five ten.”

Omg. He’s so not five ten.

Me: “No way.”

I take off my shoes (which is considered prostitution in this state btw, still need to figure out the arcane source of that particular blue book law), we stand toe to toe, quite literally. He’s not five ten. Whatever.

The point is: he cut through the crap. He called me out on my game. And he seemed quite put off about it.

Whatever, he deserves it. He clearly didn’t know what he was getting into when he started talking to me.


Flashback Sunday

Sundays are really fun. Usually there’s only maybe thirty of us working (a huge percentage of my friends work on Sundays too, because we’re awesome and so are Sundays, so that makes it even better), and the goofy DJ also works that night. There’s not a whole lot of customers but they’re pretty good, you know, quality over quantity. There’s no house fees on Sunday either, so you can come in at ten for a quick four hour shift and not have to pay sixty bucks. We do a poker tournament in the library that night too, thus everyone congregates in the other room where it still feels like a strip club, so it concentrates the smattering of activity in a smaller space. We typically have a lot of fun on Sundays, like, by the end of the night someone ends up doing the sprinkler dance onstage. And sometimes, the goofy DJ decides that he’s not going to play any music that was made in the last two decades, and on those glorious occasions, you get flashback Sundays. We’re trying to make it official, but the mgmt is dragging their feet. So the DJ just does it anyways, from time to time. He’s not just a strip club DJ, this man knows his music and is really into it. He makes teh good funnies on the mic too. I love him.

Well, last night was a flashback Sunday. And it was fucking epic. We made that space of patriarchy and subversion our own, we owned it. I utilized a repressive format for pure expression. Yeah. Chew on that one for a while. Dare ya.

I got out of the shower to a text message from the Aussie that said “OMG there are no customers here, only poker players.” It was 8:30, so I decided to come anyways because it typically doesn’t pick up till late. Drove my ass down there, wondering if I was making a mistake. It had picked up by the time I arrived, pretty average crowd for a Sunday (read: dead as a doornail). I ate some fajitas, got to visit with Delilah for the first time in two months, we discussed our looming moves/transitions out of the business. Ran into David (whom I’ll discuss further in an forthcoming piece about customer motives that’s going to collectively blow all your minds) and he wanted to go upstairs with a friend of mine, Kendall. We go up there, took turns dancing, laughed our ASSES off. Omg. She got her tits done in Germany when she lived over there, so now she just refers to them as her “German imports.” That was one of the kickers of the hour, in addition to when David suggested that we come over to “check out [his] baseball card collection.” The music was basically awesome, we had the speaker turned up all the way in our booth, and were giving really unusual lapdances, you know, actually in time with music. At some point I worked up a sweat. And I mean really, how often do I get to dance for a beautiful naked woman to The Cure’s “Why can’t I be you?”…that’s right, never. Too fast of a song for the club, you’ll never hear it. One of my favorite Cure tracks too. So much fun.

We got paid hourly to have a blast. One of the few times you’re going to hear me say this, in my jaded condition, but OMFG sometimes I really love my job.

Well David had bought me offstage at the beginning of the hour, and I was kindof sad about that. After we got paid for our hour and were back downstairs, I was exhilarated by both the rockin’ good time Kendall and I had just shared, and the highly respectable amount of cash we’d made (especially for a Sunday), and I wanted to dance. I mentioned this to the house mom, asking if she’d put me up onstage. She said, “Well, I don’t want it to seem like I’m playing favorites,” meaning she didn’t want to change the order of the rotation. I said, “Oh I don’t give a fuck about the list, I just want to go onstage. Like now. I don’t care if I have to go again later, in fact, I’d love to.” She picked up the phone, I told her I wanted Madonna’s “Dress you up” and “Into the groove,” and I changed into my boots. Those songs are way fast for a stage set, normally my music is a bit slower because I have no stripper moves to speak of, I just throw out a watered-down version of my normal dance moves (read: more flexing and posing and attention to angles), because I'm going to move to whatever's playing and if it's within my dancefloor-optimal BPM range of 128-135, I'm going to look like a tard and end up sweating way too much. But I wasn’t intending on actually acting like a stripper out there, not this time. And I could run a 5K in those boots.

I laid it the fuck down. I danced and danced and danced. Like I didn’t care who was watching, you know, the way it should be on the dancefloor. But it’s not a dancefloor, even though the surface is perfect, it’s a stage. Great fun, since I got the DJ up there like, timing my lights and I’ve got my coworkers screaming their appreciation, and I know all the words and all my moves were right because I have every fucking intonation and beat of those tracks memorized because I LOVE MADONNA and I was just…flying. Spinning and stomping while generally BLASTING my sexuality at people.

Thank god I snagged a bar towel on my way to the stage, because I was dripping with sweat by the time I hit my first side stage. I spent the next two songs dabbing at my face, armpits, under my tits. No really. Dripping. Do you like your strippers sweaty? Doesn’t matter cuz I don’t give a flying fuck.

Post epic stage set. Not really any money out there, and I’d already made what I normally make on an average night in my first hour, so I didn’t care. I just bought myself a couple tasty adult beverages and talked to people till I had to do my last set. I was the last girl on stage for the night, which is usually quite annoying because that’s prime time to snag your final victim of the evening, but I didn’t care. Hell, I was only supposed to do one song, and I did two. Robert Palmer’s “I didn’t mean to turn you on,” and one of my favorites to drop when I’m feeling particularly angsty, Joan Jett’s “I hate myself for loving you.” And this time it didn’t matter if anyone was watching because nobody was. Everyone was gone and the waitresses were cleaning their tables and there I was, fucking going at it with this huge sound system all by myself.

In the dressing room I’m informed that Taylor knows a Korean karaoke joint that’s open late and will serve us booze afterhours. We grab some friends and the cross-dressing regular, and off we go. Now, I’ve only sung karaoke twice, and both were rather underwhelming experiences, mostly because I can’t sing to save my life and I generally don’t enjoy playing games that I’m not good at. And I always thought those private room joints were probably lame, because what’s the fun if no one’s watching? Well turns out they’re SUPER fun if you want to make a total fool of yourself in front of your friends. Shots, sake, snacks that include cookie crisp, a playlist that’s very roughly translated from Korean, a playback system that gives you a score at the end of your song (lowest score we got was 97—that’s about when we started yelling “GOOOOOAAAAAAL” and decided that we win at karaoke), cordless mics, and a big coffee table that’s just begging to be stood upon whilst belting out Stacy Q’s “Two of hearts” or Paul Simon's "Kodachrome." Yeah. We did all that.

I got home at five. I got paid to have a blast last night. Sometimes I really love my job.


zero tolerance

Ever since I made the decision to quit the biz, my tolerance for stupid stripper bullshit has dropped to record lows. You know what we are? We’re a bunch of gorgeous women who’ve generally always gotten our way because of our looks. Men put up with our shit because we’re easy to look at. They’ll listen to the drivel that comes out of our mouths, no matter how asinine it might be, because we’re hot. But in the club, we have to tolerate each other’s bullshit, and that can be easier said than done, at least for me. I imagine dumb bitches don’t even notice when other dumb bitches say stupid shit. But I do. I notice.

Exhibit A:

So I’m in the dressing room, on the side that’s basically a walkway smashed between a big row of lockers and the wall, which is covered in mirrors, makeup lights, and lined with a counter and benches. But before you imagine the quintessential shady strip club dressing room, please note that our dressing room isn’t shady at all, it rocks. There’s two big makeup areas with nice lights, about 200 lockers, a table stocked with free food, a bathroom, two showers, a washer/dryer, and all the free toiletries and supplies you could ever need. It’s fucking plush.

Anyhoo, I’ve got my makeup laid out, my phone and flatiron plugged in, my bag on the bench. I go to grab something from my locker, and when I come back twenty seconds later, there’s a tiny, adorable, drunk airhead in my spot. Her locker is directly across the walkway from my shit, so I guess she thinks that place at the counter is just hers. But in reality, you know, the world where the rest of us live, the counter is public space, and I happen to be using it. She’s basically dropped her dance bag, clothes, boots, etc, right where I was sitting. Her fourteenth drink of the day is sitting in front of my makeup.

I walk up, confused, and she goes, “Oh I’m sorry, were you using this spot? I’ll be out of here in like ten minutes, is that okay?” It’ll only take me five to put on my makeup and run the flatiron through my hair. Am I going to wait around while she goes through her drunken getting-dressed routine? Fuck no. Also, she’s got one of those really loud nasally voices that carries really well, especially when she’s wasted. And yeah, she’s wasted. I don’t want to be within thirty feet of her, much less three. I say, “Well dude, I’m kinda already set up right here.” She frowns at me, like this makes no sense to her at all, and says, “Look, there’s plenty of room right there,” pointing down the row of benches etc, “Why can’t you just use one of those spots?” Okay, now I’m pissed. Who the fuck does she think she is? She persists: “Seriously, I’ll just be like five minutes.”

Now, I’m not a very confrontational person by nature. I’ve never hit anybody in my entire life, never even kicked a man in the balls. If I wasn’t at the end of my rope with these dumbasses, would this have been the point where I would have backed down? Maybe. But as previously mentioned, I’ve had it up to here. So I go, “This is public space, and I was here first. I don’t see why I should have to move. Why don’t you go use one of those spots?” Again, this seems to be a foreign concept to her, and she stares at me like I just asked her to solve a polynomial equation or something. Wow. Am I about to get into my first fight? She comes back with, “Look, I’m not trying to cause drama or anything, I just don’t see why you can’t wait, I’m only going to be here like three minutes.” Why does her number keep getting smaller? Oh right, she’s used to lying to get her way. I really don’t want to fight, so I back down. It was really just the principle of the thing, and in five seconds I’ve got my arms full of my stuff, and I’m moving down the row. I toss, “In anthropology, we call that ‘displacement’” over my shoulder as I retreat (one of my favorite references. Such a useful word). Again, this makes no sense to her, and she yells, “APOLOGY?! But it’s really not a big deal!” LOL. Omg. Poor thing is so confused. How adorable.

Fuming, but amused, I plop down next to Cheyenne, who’s like, “WTF was all that?” And I mutter out a brief explanation while drunk bitch is still down there loudly spouting passive aggressive crap about how she really won’t be that long and doesn’t see what the big deal is. I’m nearly done with my makeup when she apparently finishes donning whatever bullshit Ed Hardy inspired street clothes she wears, stumbles down to us, and goes, “See? All done. You can have that spot now.” My goodness, I’ll bet this bitch is downright impossible to date. I raise my eyebrows at her and say, “Um, now I’m set up in a different spot, and I’m almost done. No way I’m moving again.” And again, “Well, I’m not trying to cause drama.” Really? You’re not? Because it sure seems like that’s exactly what you’re doing. But instead of saying that, I just stare at her. When they’re that wasted, you just have to stop responding and eventually they’ll go away. But instead of going away, she puts her arms around Cheyenne, cooing, “Hey sweetie I haven’t seen you in sooo long! Did you switch to nights?” WTF. She’s still in work mode (makes me wonder if she’s ever NOT in work mode), and so she’s faking affection to try and get what she wants. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know Cheyenne well enough to be hugging her, who goes, “I’ve always worked nights.” “Oh well, I’m on days now, I have good clientele so…” and eventually she leaves. Cheyenne and I stare at each other in the mirror. I go, “Ugh. Do you even know her?” “No. I hate drunk bitches” “Me too” And that’s that.

Exhibit B:

Speaking of being impossible to date, some of these girls really don’t treat their boyfriends very well on the phone, when they’re drunk at the end of their shift and usually fishing for a ride home. The other day I was putting on my makeup and there was this girl sitting down the bench from me, going, “Alfredo. Stop. ALFREDO. Stoooop. Alfredo! STOP.” Like, over and over again. It got kindof amusing after a few minutes, and I started playing marco polo with her. She’d go “Alfredo!” and I’d chime in with, “stop?” Of course she didn’t notice, but we had a good snicker at her expense. “Alfredo. Stop. Where you gonna be when I get off? How come you not answering when I call? Alfredo. Stop.” My point is, when you walk in stone cold sober at 6pm, the girls who’ve been there drinking since 11am can be the hardest to deal with.

Being drunk and ornery isn’t a good way to convince your lover to come pick you up. But it gets worse. I remember one night, there was this chick with alcohol poisoning. I’d seen her earlier in the night, doing all sorts of stupid fruity shots with a big table, hooting and hollering and carrying on, and by 1am, she was done for. She was literally passed out face down in a puddle of her own vomit on the floor of the house mom’s office. They had to clean her up and carry her out into the hallway, and she didn’t budge during this process. Passed out cold. So they’re asking around trying to get her a ride home, and someone mentions calling her boyfriend. Apparently this situation had arisen before, because the house mom goes, “We did. He won’t come get her. This has happened too many times.” Wow. I mean, I don’t even know what else to say, but wow.

Exhibit C:

Oh, this one is the best. Are you ready? You’re not ready.

So the other night, I descended stage six and walked into the dressing room just before there was a fight at the tables nearby. Apparently this stripper attacked a neighboring table and bit a customer. It gets better. So I hear about this crazy girl, you know, the one with pink extensions in her hair, and then at the end of the night, there she is in the dressing room. She’s got a wild look in her eye and she’s singing something incomprehensible at the top of her lungs. I’m walking past her to the house mom’s office to tip out, and our eyes meet as she’s belting out whateverthefuck. I didn’t mean to, but I guess I shot her a weird look, because I mean really, WTF is she doing? She sees me shoot her said look, and starts yelling at my back after I pass, “Yeah, you’re lookin’ at me. You’re lookin’ at me cuz you know I made way more money than you did tonight, right bitch?!” I just spent four hours upstairs making bank, and never even took my dress off, so no, our respective earnings for the night were definitely not the source of the look I shot her. I still have the same wide-eyed expression of disbelief on my face when I get to the office, and the dance manager is sitting there next to the house mom, looking bewildered. I don’t even say anything, but I look at Bob, and poor Bob just goes, “Um. Yeah.” Poor Bob. His job sucks. The dance managers (as opposed to waitress managers, bar managers, general managers, etc) have to switch positions about every six months; it doesn’t take long to burn out on dealing with our bullshit.

I go back to my locker to finish getting dressed and pack up my stuff. Crazy girl is a few lockers down, and has dumped out the contents of her bag all over everywhere, and she’s rooting through it for something while talking shit to her friend. “I’m gonna go up to the DJ and pick up my CD, and you’re gonna watch my stuff. If anything’s missing when I get back, I’m going to fucking cut you.” Whoa. What a great way to treat your friend who is currently doing you a favor. So she storms out, and I turn around to her friend with the same wide-eyed expression. Her friend looks sheepish and simply says, “Sorry.” I’m like, “Don’t be sorry! I feel bad for you, having to wrangle her. WTF is she on?” And the friend comes closer and whispers, “Shrooms.” Ooooooooh holy fucking shit, this just got WAY more interesting. So crazy girl decides to take mushrooms, come to work, and is clearly having a bad trip because she’s biting customers, singing at the top of her lungs, and going all aggro on everyone. Wow.

After that, I took my time packing up, so I could eavesdrop some more. She comes back and starts spouting more nonsense, and I’m sitting cross legged on the floor a few feet away with my back turned, just laughing my ass off and trying not to make it too obvious. By the time I leave, she’s curled up on the floor, bawling. WOW. You really can’t make this shit up. I can’t believe they didn’t fire her.


puppy dog crossed with serial killer

So there used to be a regular named Scott. He weighed about 300lbs, walked with a heinous limp (he had a groin injury that wouldn’t heal because he was too fat to work out/do physical therapy), and he was one of the most socially awkward people I’ve ever met in my life.

Scott was always around, you’d see him at least twice a week. Now he doesn’t come in anymore, and nobody is sad about it. A few weeks ago I was sitting at the bar with Willow and the Aussie, having an epic cackle-filled bitch session, when the subject of Scott came up.

Everyone made the mistake of dancing for Scott at least once. Most of us just the one time; we never understood how dancers could sit with him repeatedly. Here’s what would happen: he’d ask if you wanted to go to the champagne room (he had a VIP membership but was too fat/handicapped to make it up the stairs), which of course we’d agree to, because champagne room usually spells cash money. So you’d get back there, and he’d want to talk for a few songs first. Fine, whatever. Then you dance one song, and he’d want to take a break. Two songs off, one song on, so basically it takes about forty five minutes to make sixty bucks (god, I sound like such a spoiled brat). And of course he knew this, he was trying to monopolize as much of our time as he could for the least possible amount of money. And it’s not like he had anything interesting to say either, and he’s so fucking fat, it’s really hard to dance for him (see “suck it up,” where I describe the mechanics of dancing for the morbidly obese). And he’s just…creepy. I mean, he seems totally harmless, is clearly easy to outrun, and was nice and stuff, but there was just something off about him. Like a puppy dog, but crossed with a serial killer.

So we all made that mistake once. But the thing about Scott was, he just didn’t go away. He’d come in, and even if you didn’t dance for him, he’d still manage to be awkward and creepy and cheap at you. He’d come up to the main stage, and give you one dollar. I’d cringe if he tried to touch me, like nearly gag. To avoid having to touch him (hell, people I’ve never seen before at least get a kiss on the cheek for a dollar), I got to the point where I’d just walk up, crouch down to take the dollar out of his hand, thank him, and stand up and keep dancing. And of course, that made me look like a total bitch to any of the potential paying customers who might happen to be watching the interaction take place.

But you know what? After the bare minimum tipping ritual occurred, Scott wouldn’t just leave the stage like every other customer does, he wouldn’t go back to his seat (he never sat at a table, so he didn’t have to buy a drink). No, Scott would stand there, at the edge of the main stage, under the lights and right where everyone was supposed to be directing their attention, and watch. For the entire song. Sometimes the next song as well. He’d just stand there. Not only was it creepy, but it probably shooed away other tippers as well.

It was so fucking annoying.

Here’s what would happen next: he’d show up at the second stage in the rotation, and the same thing would go down. And the next stage. So basically he’s spent three dollars, and gotten to be in close proximity to a naked chick who doesn’t want to touch or talk to him. I wouldn’t engage him in conversation because I figured that would only encourage him, but the side stages are a helluva lot smaller than the main, and it got increasingly awkward to try and ignore someone who’s standing three feet away instead of ten.

You weren’t safe anywhere in the club unless you were moving (like I said, he’s easy to outrun, and his limp is so telltale, you can spot his gait from across the club). If you were sitting at the bar, or standing there talking to anyone but a customer, he’d come and stand right behind you, or next to you, not say anything, and wait for you to acknowledge him so he could engage you in bullshit smalltalk and you could try and keep him from touching you (keep in mind, he wasn’t gropey, he was just so creepy that even a pat on the arm was like OMG DON’T TOUCH ME). He did the same thing to all of us. The Aussie told a story about how she was sitting at the bar, talking with another dancer, when he pulled his hover maneuver (although, maneuver is a bad word to use in conjunction with Scott. He’s so awkward in so many ways, I can’t imagine him maneuvering anything). She had to be purposefully rude to make him go away: “Hi great to see you but we’re in the middle of a conversation ok bye!”

So that’s Scott. Scott doesn’t come in anymore. Maybe he had a heart attack. Although probably not, because he keeps trying to friend me on FB. Nobody misses him.

Cold, right? I know. I have a ton of stories like this, that I’ve been withholding because it kindof seems like bad publicity. But I don’t care anymore, I’m three months away from quitting, and the gloves have come off. I’m not going to hold back my honest uncensored opinion anymore, just because I’m afraid of the income hit. I’ll make what I make. Dammit, I’ve learned some serious shit in my five years in that club, and I’m going to lay it all out for you before I’m gone.

Home stretch. More to come.