Tonight was the sort of night that makes me feel so grateful and blessed to have this job. I’m so lucky, really. I had dinner and drinks with a friend before work and stopped to get coffee and still made it to work on time. It started off slow as hell. I sat down opposite two guys because i couldn’t decide which to choose and SM sat down a bit later and picked the one with money. It’s always such a gamble! My initial lack of initiative paid off, however. I did a circle and got rejected a bunch and walked smack into this group of guys. One was at my stage earlier, the rest not, and there was a woman, all usually bad signs but one of the ones who had not been at my stage was immediately taken with me. It was hard to keep his attention because they were all high as kites but he said he wanted dances and actually stood up and came with me.
cut for length
We passed Regan and walked by a girl I like but don’t know very well and he asked if we could bring her too. We’re all shiny novelties. It’s worrisome because you can never be positive until they’ve paid what will happen; he might balk at paying for both our time or he might decide he’d rather go with her or he might be decent, who knows.
I went for it because what the hell. I told him he wanted a half hour with both of us and he handed all his money to the bouncer. Lord knows how much it actually was but the bouncer said it was 500 so we were safe! & so began the most bizarre two hours. He reminded me of a toddler, a harmless fish-mouthed baby man. He was too high to really want to do anything but talk so we just made fun of each other for two hours. He couldn’t remember anything and kept telling us, “Look at that ass! That ass belongs on Instagram!” or “Have you seen your boobs? your boobs are perfect!”
repeated so often that I started to ask him. ”Wow! Look at that ass”
“Do you think it belongs on Instagram?”
“Have you seen your boobs?”
“I would never have noticed them if you hadn’t pointed them out.”
His mouth could be avoided but even though he wasn’t gropey every twenty minutes or so his hand would just latch on to hips or ribs or arms and dig his surprisingly long and pointy (the better to snort cocaine?) nails.
“Gentle touches!” I had to keep reminding him. The other girl laughed, she never worked in a daycare. I used full on daycare language with him. “We use gentle touches with our friends!”
The whole thing was a ridiculous mess but I got 20% tips for us out of him and he ended up getting two hours, like I said. I wish I could remember more of the conversation. I like stripping (and waitressing, and the service industry) because it requires you to be so fast and clever on your feet but wit is so ephemeral unless you’ve got a way to record it and I mostly forgot what we said.
He liked our tattoos and wanted us to give him one. The bouncer wouldn’t give me a pen but when the waitress came by I asked her for a sharpie and she brought one. He wanted “Diablo” on his chest in old english font and then we each signed our handiwork—I have a picture but I let my phone die because I’m tired of it.
“You’re sweaty!” he kept accusing Other Girl. She’d look at me, uncertain. She wasn’t really sweaty and is this even a good thing or a bad thing, who knows.
“My armpits are sweaty!” I rubbed my hand in my armpit and wiped it on him. “See? My bellybutton too.”
“How is your bellybutton sweaty?”
“Idk it just is. Feel yours!”
We took turns sitting on his head—not his face, his head, or shoulders piggyback style (we wear bottoms in dances)—while he sat in the chair. Harder angle for him to do his sudden claw thing from. He asked me to hit him, so I did, but that was too hard. I leaned over and pinched his nipples. “Like charging a battery!” he crowed.
This is all stuff that would be better illustrated I think.
Anyway I made the deposit which is good, just to be sure after paying my student loans yesterday.
I went into the kitchen after we were finally done and SM, who had been waiting her turn, (canny hustling lass!) snapped him up and came running back to offer to share him with me after finishing their hour. I asked Becky.
“Should I stay or should I go? :/”
“Weeeeell. If you go there will be trouble.”
rolled my eyes.
“But if you stay there will be double.”
“That’s it, I’m leaving.”
Not my smartest move but I said no and paid to leave early. The bouncer yelled at me about drawing on the guys chest, said we could all be sued if his wife saw it. I listened as patiently as possible but in the end my extreme disinterest must have shown through because he cut himself off and I took the money and ran. SM’s plan was kind but just would have involved waiting a whole hour and meantime going onstage and who knows what all. Paying that much attention to someone is sort of draining, even if it’s all laughable and pretty easy. I let a few other girls know to be on the look out at two when their hour ended and suggested my favourites to SM and then took off to go drive by new apartment.
It’s lower to the ground that I thought, which stresses me out. I don’t understand why fifties architecture was so anti a high foundation. The one time I’ve had a breakin as an adult was my apartment before this, vintage tile, hardwoods 20s bungalow with toxic mold, very easily breakinable. and still higher than this one.
On the other hand, private basement with my very own washerdryerrrrr still. and windows in three directions. and hardwoods and pink vintage tile.
but then that lesbian couple got broken into in NE ten years ago and were raped and murdered.
Yeah ok I have an imagination of disaster but it’s also real.
On the other hand there’s a big bright second floor apartment in a building w secured entry. Coin laundry in basement. secured entry! I’ve gotten to really like that.
I’ll apply for that one too what the hell.
tonight was slow and good only for the experience it provided of switching cash to credit and closing out credit tabs on their system. It also highlighted male entitlement, what jerks people are to people in the service industry, and the bizarro female habit of coming to the strip club in packs to treat the women working badly, not tip, and generate a lot of bad feeling so they can soothe themselves that at least they aren’t fucking strippers. ok then.
I danced for this guy a little bit ago and he seemed like he would be fine but he kept trying to touch me. After the first song I stopped being so pleasant about it.
“I’m sorry!” he said. “So many rules, it’s so hard to keep track of!’
It happened again.
“You have so many rules, I don’t understand!”
“You’re an adult, I know you can do this. Remember what I said about no touching.”
“Why do you have so many rules? :(((((( ” (literally that face) “Are they really necessary?”
I pinched his nipple as hard as I could and dug my nails in around it.
“Ow!” he said. “Ow! wow! why! that really hurts!”
“You don’t like that?” I acted surprised. “You don’t want me to do that again?”
“No! Thank you no.”
I did it again.
“Are you sure you don’t like that?”
“Yes!” he yelped.
“What about now? Are you sure?” I pinched harder. “I mean it’s just really hard to keep track of what you do and don’t like there’s so much, are you sure, what if I just do it a couple more times, I bet I can change your mind!” I pinched harder and twisted.
He sat there in silence for the rest of the dance and left without tipping but more importantly without touching me again.
Ms R., a California sex worker was beaten and raped by a client in her apartment last year. When she applied to the state government for help with medical and mental health expenses, she was told that her status as a sex worker made her ineligible. A year later, she’s on the verge of changing that policy.
idk being like “a pretty girl” and also working in a strip club it’s really really hard to miss that most men objectify or dehumanize women to greater or lesser degrees. Not all men are rapists but most men see us as people or beings or even things that are there for them to look at and interact with—that’s why guys are always grabbing my arm to ask about my tattoo, or touching my hair bc it’s “so red!” or telling me to smile, or whatever. They don’t do that to men.
and in the strip club where the whole illusion is that it’s a safe space to drop whatever self-policing they do bother with it’s even more obvious. A big thing I like about stripping is that I’m paid really well for shit that I have to take on the street for free, even be nice about. Plus I am more afraid of being hurt and assaulted by the guys yelling at me on the street than the guys yelling in the club.
But with all this it’s just like, it’s impossible to not see that an uncountable number of men think that women exist more or less for them.
In the club it’s the flinch of the entitled man when the person-(usually woman)-whose-boundaries-he’s-been-violating-for-who-knows-how-long unexpectedly breaks the rules by reaching back; it articulates the understanding so many customers are working from: it’s not that they’re in our place of employment, paying us for our time, energy, patience, and attention, it’s that we are the toys—more or less accommadating—that they get to play with; toys are for fun, they’re to be pleasing, and toys are played with (to get all obnoxious, acted upon. Toys don’t act). Strippers do not take initiative and touch back unless invited to perform some kind of service.
Most guys aren’t this awful and are happy to accept contact, a back rub and shoulder squeeze, let these actions ease the way into a dance, so we can still work under the illusion that we’re on the same page, my energy for his money. But the guys who are make it impossible to miss the gap: we aren’t all on the same page. They highlight our status as object and call everything else into question. Because once I noticed that this was how certain guys were operating, I couldn’t stop myself from interrogating even nice customers. And to a man they didn’t get it. “I don’t know why some guys can’t just be chill,” they say.
And if no one gets it, what then? Like if they don’t understand that it’s a transaction of money for service—whatever the service is, for me it’s my attention and proximity, for other girls it’s other things, like whatever they are offering—but if they think that we owe them the service and the money is just to keep us quiet and pliant, like what then?
I charge when people violate my boundaries—not because that makes it in any way less of a violation, but because I deserve some kind of compensation and the only compensation they can offer me is financial. But this runs the risk of like… creating this perception that even things I say are off can be on the table, for the right price. Sometimes this is true. You can touch my boobs for 800-1600 dollars depending on how much I like you. Sometimes it’s not true. Some people do not even get to touch my boobs for 1600. No one gets to spank me. Ideally no one would give me those awful wet shoulder kisses when my back is turned, but they always do. I don’t want to make it seem like shoulder kisses are ok for $20. Money doesn’t unviolate my boundaries.
What I would love is to find a way to violate them, to make them feel it and regret it.
So when I see a guy flinch, beyond the burning rage—that they think they get to reach out and do whatever and are immune from the same, that I have no right to reach back—it’s also a signal that they’re violate-able. I get a vicious thrill from it.
it’s the flinch that leads me to actual physical violence, that I’m trying to redirect into gross-out tactics that are more violating and more lasting than just a punch in the stomach, so like when I licked my hand and wiped it on that guy’s face. Things they’ll think about hours later washing, like i do loofah-ing my shoulder. Things that lead them to leave the club, which is good, because they’re not good customers.
Bubbles once said that it was disingenuous of me to express surprise at how badly men behave in the strip club setting.
I keep returning to it in my mind bc it’s something I’ve been hearing for most of my life: what do you expect from men if you tattoo a girl with guns on your chest/dye your hair red/walk down the street in that dress
the point being, right, ultimately, that men behave badly everywhere.
& while logically I know this, on some level it never ceases to shock me: the things they do and say, the way that, taken all together, there’s just this collective laziness and lack of empathy or imaginative ability to see other people as as real as them.
For a while, until I became more profit driven, men would ask me about my tattoo and I would say that just because something is visible, doesn’t mean it needs to be commented on. They would, to a man, get hysterically defensive and say “but you’re visible in the world, what else do you expect?”
“You’re balding, in public, yet I have until now refrained from commenting on that.”
“Your pastel polo is visibly tacky, should I let you know?”
obviously this is not a profitable line of inquiry and I mostly let it go now, but they never took the point.
or even in a strip club setting, like, these are scantily clothed naked women who would never otherwise be near you, and you can’t muster up any semblance of respect or even marginal politeness? and even the ones who can, if I talk about it with them, it’s not for the right reasons. There’s this missing of the point—that I’m as human as they are. That sounds extreme maybe but it’s not. Like the bachelor who couldn’t even begin to wrap his brain around my question.
This wave of exhaustion comes over me whenever I accidentally stumble on like some anti-sex work post by someone I like/follow. My brain shudders to a halt, the tired desire to just peace out and never talk to them again warring with stuttering thoughts like
“But you don’t actually know what you’re talking about?”
“You have no personal experience to draw on here, you clearly don’t count many sex workers amongst your acquaintance, I would venture to say you haven’t spent much time researchingwhat you’re saying—but you think it’s oppressive and wrong and must be stopped. Not all opinions are equally valid here, bro.”
Sexual abuse happens in many jobs across the board, I’ve been assaulted by friends and family and threatened with rape by white business men on the street; this notion that the addition of money into the equation somehow makes… I mean what, makes rape more likely? That’s what they’re saying and that’s so funny to me. It’s not the lack of legal protections, it’s not that we live in a misogynist patriarchal racist society, it’s not that women’s bodies are already seen as disposable and not worthy of protection, it’s the money. Trading sex/ualized services for money is the problem here.
What makes sexual abuse MORE LIKELY is being an invisible and criminalized population, being known as a population that people think are basically unrapeable—which is not unrelated to the feminist argument that once money enters the picture rape is inevitable, like they’re both sides of the same fallacious stupid ass coin—and having this backed up by the lack of legal protections, by the way cops laugh at and abuse sex workers and get away with it. And so the answer is to make it more illegal or stigmatized. Of course of course, how could I have been so foolish? (bc I’m a stupid sex worker)
The assumption that trading money for services is somehow more corrosive and coercive when the services are sexual is so offensive. Do we look like Walter White to you, that once money enters the equation all scale, personal preference, and personal ethics get thrown out the window? Do you feel the same concern for the banker whose pay check requires her to foreclose on people’s homes?
Sex workers are willing and able to make judgment calls about what they will and won’t do for money, and what would actually be useful in protecting sex workers from harm is if we weren’t seen as a disposable population that no one gives a shit about, forced underground so that we have no recourse when people violate us.
Plus again with the notion that sex is some deeply private thing that money violates. Like, it’s not? not for everyone anyway. Oh my god I go to work and I flirt with men and I play with their hair and I get paid and then I go home and day dream about making out with my crush like my emotions are not the finite resource here.