I’m at the trickling end of my period, so I went to the bathroom to do a check before hitting the floor. The two times that I didn’t and should have are branded on my brain:
“I didn’t know you were pierced down there,” said my sweet regular who was about to Never Talk To Me Again out of sheer mortification.
“I’m not!” I said, confused, and then I got it. I started cackling hysterically because how funny is that and he blushed beet red, visible even in the red lighting, and backed away. The second time was onstage and a dancer caught sight and warned me before I could ruin my lapdance prospects for the night but you get the idea. We all check our vags religiously.
Another dancer was on the phone in front of the mirror so I used the one by the sink: a little higher but not useless if I stretch my leg up. Good thing we’re all used to ass by now, although the female customers who sometimes interrupt the ritual always look a little shocked.
Reassured, I readjust my bottoms and start to wash my hands. I’m smiling inanely at myself in the mirror, thinking about what a good night it’s going to be, when I feel a finger.
It pokes into my vagina through the cloth of my bottoms, lingers for a second, and then runs up my ass crack.
I have to take a second to breathe. My first impulse in situations like this is to hurt as violently and quickly as possible, it seems like the only actual response to being violated. I understand logically that violence is not the answer, blah blah, but apologies are free and easy and meaningless, and nothing short of actual physical pain or the threat of it ever seems to give these assholes pause.
However, I work with some fairly handsy girls and I wouldn’t be entirelysurprised if one of them had gotten drunk a bit early and progressed to full on fingering. I would be upset still, but not surprised. So I bite my tongue, take a deep breath, and say calmly,
“Don’t do that,” as I turn to see a middle aged female customer directly behind me, finger still out.
The funny thing is, she looks nice. She looks like some late thirties activist type who maybe has a social justice tumblr, an androgynous black lady with short bleached blonde hair. She looks like someone I’d see around at clubs or maybe know, or maybe just a swinger with cute style, in my city you can never tell. So I’m truly shocked when she says,
“It was in front of me. You put it in front of me, I touch it.”
“Don’t,” I say. “Don’t do it again.”
At which she repeats herself. My mind is reeling, I literally can’t process that a woman is saying this shit to me. After 9 years of dancing I have come to expect this logic vocalized from a certain type of man, but never a woman.
I snap the first thing that comes into my head, my voice rising because I get a little high pitched when I’m upset. The girl on the phone is watching now, and I’m embarrassed but can’t stop. ”Are you stupid? If a man did that it would not be ok. If a man did that to you, you would not like it.”
“I would love it,” she replies, and I’m so angry that I have to leave before I punch her or start to cry.
The answer to this feeling is almost always to go into the dressing room and try to make it funny for other strippers.
“… and I wish I could poop on command!” I finish. “Because I would have gotten it all over her hand. And then she’d be sorry!”
They’re scandalized by her too.
“You know who we need?” someone offers. “We need Mamie! She would—” she stretches her arm out grandly, pointing to the door, “just kick people out in this really dramatic manner. ’Out with you sir! Out—with—you!’ Women too! She didn’t care!”
“Yes!” I breathe. “Yes why isn’t she here?” I have little hope the bouncers will kick her out. People take women so much less seriously that they get away with all kinds of crap. That crazy bitch who bit my ear (my entire ear. IN HER MOUTH) and I had to pull her off by her Bump-It, and she was so drunk she didn’t notice or take offense.
The bouncer comes in looking for the next girl. “Autumn, stand by.”
I try anyway, what the hell. ”This woman poked my vagina!”
He blinks at me.
I rehash the entire story and “Can you at least poke her in her vagina?” I finish. I understand that this is unfeminist and unkind and I can’t bring myself to care. I just know she’s not ACTUALLY going to love getting poked in the vagina by this particular guy. Call me psychic.
“I’ll kick her out,” he offers, and I tell him what she looks like. Then I remember the other dancer. “She saw the whole thing! The girl with the wildly curly hair who’s doing a double.”
Later he comes up to me. ”I kicked the woman out but you might want to double check your story. Lola says you two were talking and laughing and she didn’t see anything.”
I kind of can’t process this. I find Lola.
“Hey, you were in the bathroom when that woman—”
“I don’t want to talk to you. I’m not getting involved. I don’t like liars.”
The look she gives me is disdainful. ”I don’t like liars.” She walks away.
I’ve been processing this all night—it happened at 9.30—and I still can’t make sense of it. Granted, the woman’s body blocked the actual act of getting slammed by her finger, but our exchange wasn’t quiet, the bathroom isn’t large, and… I still don’t get it. I have no idea what happened. None. Talking and laughing? I don’t know who I want to beat with my curling iron (turned up high) more.
But the rest of the night was amazing—a fisherman fresh off the boat fell in love with me and bought my time until 2am because he “didn’t want anyone else looking at his girl” and promised to buy me a pomeranian and pay off my student loans, and also used the word “weiner” which, really, Grown Man? Weiner? And he really deserves a post of his own but I did want to end on a bright note.
1- Pause to think that, maybe strippers actually don’t want random people touching/spanking/pinching/licking/biting them. You would perhaps be astonished at how astonishing that idea is to some people, to which I respond “rape culture” and “strippers are mindless sex objects with no feelings or autonomy, DUH” except that it’s not just strippers, it happens in my Real Life too, and to my non-stripper friends, which just… makes me homicidal but anyway.
2- the funny thing is I just know that if we were to spank the main Grabby Offender as often as she runs around spanking other people, she would have a fit, but would see no parallels.
3- In terms of sheer disgustingness I’m pretty sure there are a few female customers who far outstrip even the most disgusting male customer I can think of, but I’ve never actually heard a woman express this sentiment. Act entitled, act like a spoiled brat*, yes, But never explicitly say anything like this.
4- As in “I want my weiner in your mouth.” LOL!
*Friday I had two female young marrieds sitting at my rack. One of them had been trying to get me to make out with her husband earlier. Neither of them were tipping. I told them as the first song ended that it’s customary to tip at the rack and if they needed change we have a girl walking around for that Specific Purpose, but that if they didn’t want to tip, the rest of the club was their oyster. Not those specific words but I tried to make it friendly because you never know. Maybe they just needed a reminder, maybe they legit needed change, maybe they can’t read.
As I got offstage the manager hustled me in back and told me that they complained that I threatened and frightened them. Laughable. I despise female customers.