Frowning at my phone. Glaring, really. Regan is on her own phone, kicking my ass at Word Scramble, as usual. So she’s distracted.
“hey, what’s this word?”
She reaches out for my phone and I hand it to her, hoping she doesn’t look too close at the top.
S_H_L_ _ is where I’m stuck.
“Scholar,” she says after a brief pause, and hands it back.
“thanks!” I try not to let the giddy relief of postponing my inevitable loss sound too clearly in my voice and I finish my turn without laughing.
I hear her phone alert her that it’s her turn.
“Whose word was that?!”
I can only keep a guileless smile up for so long before I start cackling hysterically.
“you’re ridiculous.” she says without heat, mildly disgusted but more amused, and I lose my shit still further, doing a little footloose dance of glee in my 8 inch heels. She’s shaking her head at me.
“your turn!” I gasp.
Regan and I have two new games we play. This partially accounts for my slacking here; also there is the fact that Beautiful Professor sent me some very true feedback that had me sobbing in therapy, whereupon we spent the next hour constructing potential scenarios in which I do not faff off and read fantasy, leaving 15 page term papers til 5pm days after they are due. I have actually been timely (well, with studying. Being consistently on time to a morning class is a work in progress) and only missed one class, last week when my engine died.
Let me tell you about being relegated to biking and public transit. It is rapidly sending me back into the baleful vale of hate that caused me to have a total meltdown and quit dancing because men on the street seem incapable of allowing a woman to simply go about her day, and life, unmolested.
I got a taste of this on my first trip to the grocery store without a car:
“hey, how about you come over here and make fifty bucks the hard way?”
This alluring invitation was issued by a creepy white dude in a creepier white van. I’ll pass, but thanks for reminding me again of reason #3 on the list of Why I Love My Job.
However. Despite assholes inside the club and out, and despite rapidfire word games with Regan, I remain on top of things. I paid 1,000$ on my student loan, my new engine is paid for, and I even got an A on that midterm I thought I did poorly on. My classmates remain ridiculous and mockable, particularly a long-winded and begoateed fellow I have dubbed Shakespeare-in-Love.
1- While on the street I’m fair game to any creepy asshole misogynist laboring under the (notreallymis)-apprehension that he can harass, follow, and even potentially assault me with impunity, the club destabilizes this. It’s the one space I can think of where this sickeningly prevalent idea about the easy availability of free female attention–or forcing that attention if it isn’t immediately given– doesn’t hold. In the club, if they want my attention, they pay. Through the nose. And even that doesn’t give them the unfettered access to my attention and person that they can force on me outside the club. I say what happens when, and I can choose to walk away.
Stripping lets me profit, even from interactions that anywhere else–and let’s be real, they happen almost everywhere else– cost me a sense of security and peace of mind and make me dread running simple errands. In the club it costs them.
Although, honestly, unlike street harassment, the vast majority of customers run the gamut from nice to boringly innocuous to harmlessly weird or gross. Only the ones that stick in my head for being outstandingly awesome or hilariously terrible make it on here.
2-I learned years ago from reading the scrabble dictionary that “be” in front of anything is a valid word. My personal favorite, and one that made me laugh for ever, was bevomit. Like bedeck, but more acidic and foul.
There should be a more predatory synonym for circling. There’s prowling, but I’m thinking something more evocative of the frustrated circling of a shark in an aquarium where there’s nothing to eat.
So I’m circling tonight, fruitlessly. I sat down with a likely looking guy, glasses, looked bored, always a safe bet.
“I’m here because my friends brought me!” he said jovially.
“that’s great!” I said encouragingly.
“so, what, do you go to school?”
“yes, I do.” His tone is snide and I don’t want to defend my existence as a stripper putting myself through college. Yes, they exist. Also single mom strippers, married strippers, phd candidates, under-21yr olds, high school drop outs, & any other girl remotely resembling our culture’s beauty standard who recognizes that she can parlay the near constant barrage of male attention into a solid income.
“what do you study?”
“History.” my brain is slow tonight, maybe because I was so sucked into my new book that I didn’t look at a clock until 8.30, at which point it was too late to eat or stretch or make coffee, or do anything beyond put on makeup and rush over. I can’t quite pull my charming stripper self into place or deflect his hostility.
“History?” he’s totally scornful and I should exit, but like I said, I’m just not on my toes. “why would you study that?”
“oh, because I hope to be unemployable for the remainder of my life!” I answered brightly.
“well, where are you from?”
“I’m from Boston.”
“You don’t sound like you’re from Boston.” still snide but at least he didn’t do the usual, “Baaahstan!” cry of delight and recognition. That makes me cringe.
I really don’t know why I was still sitting there answering him, it’s entirely against my normal policy. “My mom is from Illinois. She corrected how I spoke.” I mean, also, as if accents don’t fade with relocation. Or as if anyone actually walks around saying “let’s pahhk the cahhh in hahhvahhd yahd.” if I had a dollar for every time I hear that fucking one.
“she’s from Illinois, huh.”
This entire conversation started to remind me of that post of Kat’s, about how if she didn’t redirect them most customers would follow her personal history back to the moment of conception. I’m usually too impatient to allow things to get that far.
“keep this up and we’ll be all the way back to my mom’s birth canal,” I smiled.
“so where were you conceived, the back seat of a car?”
I blinked at him. “and you, were you raised in an alley?” I didn’t even wait for a response. “let’s go do a lap dance now.”
“oh, this is a surprise visit, remember? I don’t have any money.”
“that’s really great.”
I got a birthday dance onstage and then one lapdance from a guy wearing sweatpants. I didn’t notice until I got him back there and of course stupidly I didn’t get the money up front. I sat on his lap and felt both his boner and a wet spot where it ended, sticking against my thigh. I flinched and twitched off him. The rest of the dance was a solid, 2005-style no contact dance, counting the minutes til I could get paid and run and wash my thigh.
It’s an exhausting night. I wish I could leave early but it’s far too slow, I can’t justify paying to leave early–after tip out, stage and the leave early fee I’d have an amount I don’t even want to acknowledge. I’ve heard the amount of girls from my club who are seeking new pastures since the touching rule went into effect has caused a hiring freeze at two other clubs. Depressing!
I do my rounds of the club every fifteen minutes or so and then go back to hiding in back, playing drawsome:
and updating this, which, Regan says, is even dorkier than playing Drawsome. She says this as she plays her dragon game, so let’s just acknowledge that there are things even dorkier than updating your blog from work.
“yeah but at least I drew you back before I started playing!”
And on the bright side, Regan is back!
(I missed her suitcase full of tidily ordered gstrings and Victoria’s Secret Monster bras.)
And so is Bibi.
and I just did another dance. All he would say when I got him in the lap dance room was:
“and your name is?”
“and your name is?”
“and your name is?”
“it’s still Red.”
“and your name is?”
“I’ll tell you for an extra $30.”
He tipped me an extra $60 for being annoying, however, and since I don’t have to give the club a cut of that I kindly threw in my name as a freebie. What the hell.
1-third book in the best zombie apocalypse trilogy EVAR.
Pre-ordered it months ago and it just came yesterday.
“it’s so funny you drew an underwear thong and not a flipflop.”
I considered. Maybe because I haven’t heard a flip flop referred to as a thong in years, the only thongs i see regularly are on strippers. “Would you have drawn a flip flop ?”
“well, that’s cause yr straight.”
Ps, I got a B+ on my only midterm. Not super but good considering I was 200 pages behind on the readings until two days before.
The waitress is moving on through the series! I got the first one last week to reread.
They upped the prices of dances at my club and started handing out 2$ bills. It’s Tuesday so I can’t tell if this is affecting anything yet. It’s fun though.
Regan and i play drawsome at work, and I just made Autumn download it. I picked “Unicycle” to draw for her thinking even if I fucked it up, it’s pretty recognizable. She blanked.
“Ask Regan! I can’t tell you but it won’t be cheating if she tells you.”
“It’s a bike with one wheel! What’s a bike with one wheel?!”
When Autumn still looked confused, Regan giggled and hit the bomb button. Autumn wrinkled her forehead, still blank.
“okay, so a bike is a bicycle, right? A cycle! And then what’s left over?” She checked Autumn’s screen. “okay and now that part goes first.”
“I got it!” Autumn yelled triumphantly. “All by myself!”
“Strippers!” I cheered.
Regan sent me this picture as we sat in a row being nerdy.
“Right?” she asked me.