In class with my favourite professor, a dapper, intelligent, and sometimes hilarious professor of Jewish history (I would go straight for him if only he weren’t gay), we are covering medieval Jewry under the Islamic empire.
He spreads his arms wide. “It’s legit!” He picks up his coffee mug. “I’ll see you next class. Don’t forget the readings.”
The day goes by, I do whatever it is I do when I’m not at school or work (more coffee, extensive time at the bookstore or library, yoga, maybe a pedicure) and head in to work. It starts off slow but I get a few dances, which is nice. There’s a tall dark and handsome guy at the bar who I walk up to.
“How’s it going?”
He shrugs. “Good, good. How are you?”
I don’t know, bored, hungry, chilly, not really in the mood for small talk. Want a dance? “I’m great! A little chilly, but warming up.”
“Well, look what you’re wearing”
“Bikinis in January are an occupational hazard. Where are you from?”
“Oh really? Have you been here long?”
“A few weeks.”
“And is this your first time at [club name redacted! duh!]?”
“Then you haven’t had a [club] lap dance before! are you ready?”
“I don’t believe in that.” He hesitates, asks, “Can I speak honestly with you?”
If you were wondering, this is always a bad sign and you should always say no to this question, at least in a club, but in the spirit of honest intellectual inquiry I say valiantly, “Of course!”
“I think this is all very degrading. I don’t like it.”
I can’t even engage with this. “Okay, well, I hope you have a great night!” I pat his shoulder.
The next time I see him it’s three hours later and he’s sitting at my rack with some annoying female customers. One of them throws a dollar at me and shrieks, “Isn’t he so cute? He’s from Islam!”
The guy from Israel and I share a glance; probably the only thing we will ever share. Because hanging out in a strip club with girls who are A) not working and B) don’t know the difference between Islam and Israel is inherently less degrading than talking to strippers.
“Islam?” I ask her. “Really?”
She bristles at me. “Yes, why.”
Practical applications for the degree I’m going into debt for: lecturing strip club customers on the difference between a religion and a country.