“Fuck me like a bitch in heat,” I repeated to Regan, barely controlling my giggles.
Boris and Natasha expressed interest in a couple’s dance, and despite my very best intentions I find the lure of a fast 80 dollars difficult to walk away from. I already knew Natasha wasn’t wearing underwear because at the rack she’d lifted her dress to show everyone. Forewarned is forearmed, I planned to be getting paid up front and then not go anywhere near her. In the meantime, we had to find some common ground.
“So… do you speak Russian?”
“No,” Boris laughed. “We’re third generation. My grandfather was involved in the plot to kill Rasputin and fled Russia.”
It shouldn’t–but still does–surprise me how many people tell me that.
“Yeah, he wrote a book about it. I’ve been thinking about digitizing it.”
“Oh you should! Seriously! If you do, email me!”
He blinked and looked surprised at the enthusiasm. “Sure… do you want my email?”
“Oh yeah! I’d love to read it!”
Somehow from there it came up that Natasha wants to get on stage. This I had already deduced from her pantyless state. Female customers. They took “No Panties” as a divine revelation without stopping to listen to the rest of the lyrics. What the hell.
“She can come onstage,” I offered, hoping to seal the deal on the couple’s dance after I got offstage. Sometimes–very rarely–I haul a customer onstage, leaving the burden of entertaining customers to the starry-eyed amateur while I sit back, laugh, and hustle dances off the rack. I do this rarely because while it in theory works, in practise they tend to flail around, humping the pole like dogs and it’s awkward and embarrassing and once I got kicked in the head. A relaxing set it is not.
Almost immediately I regretted it. Sparky, up before me, is a big fan of taking girls onstage so I gave her a heads up. Natasha could play with Sparky and get it out of her system before I got there. It almost seemed like it would work, too. She got off before I got on, but remained in her chair at the rack, buck ass naked, and only waited a beat before clambering back up. I expected her to go for the pole the way most girl customers do, clinging to it and humping it while I continue to move around them, but she threw me for a loop by frog-hopping her naked ass up to me and trying to rub it all over me.
I tried not to visibly cringe and moved away from her, and that set off 3 minutes of hell, as she hop-chased me ass first around the stage while I gave up on looking graceful and settled for scrambling away from her as fast as possible, trying not to let her vagina or ass touch any part of me. I tried to incorporate her into a normal, contactless two-girl routine, thinking as she latched on to the pole that it worked, but I congratulated myself too soon. Somehow she’d launched her crotch at me, wrapping her legs around my waist and doing a full on Gnomey from Showgirls dolphin sex flail, before doing an odd back bend and somersault off me as I clung to the pole, weighing the equally undesirable options of holding still while her vagina made contact with the crawling flesh of my hip, or choosing death over dishonour and letting us both fall off the stage. The thought that my father would surely find out how I died and never forgive me decided me: I held on, promising to autoclave myself after I got done.
She picked herself up from the somersault and recommenced frog hopping around the stage with her ass in the air, a grin of manic delight on her face. It was like being chased by an anthropomorphized biohazard box.
Finally the song ended, and Ivan, smiling and nodding approvingly at the rack this whole time, helped Natasha down.
1-No matter when they left Russia, dedushka is always involved in some plot to assassinate Rasputin, or the tsar, or both. Or they otherwise try to school me on topics they know nothing about. Later in the night, giving a lapdance to a different guy, he asked me what the text was on my shoulder. There should be a rule against asking about tattoos, there really should. Especially for people who are unwilling to take a simple answer and want to argue about it.
“It’s a verse from a Russian poem.”
“Oh yeah? Who?”
“Oh, him. Have you heard of his contemporary, Mayakovsky?”
I’m tired and willing to give this the benefit of the doubt, even though the only Mayakovsky I know of is a full century later. “I haven’t, his contemporary?”
“Yeah, massively influential during the revolution.”
We didn’t bond any further, mostly because he was an idiot who’d come to the strip club looking for a budget submissive to boss. “Now pinch your nipples, hard,” he instructed me, and I couldn’t help laughing, comparing him to Hundred Dollar Dave. He tensed, and I knew it wasn’t going to work out.
I’ve lost that loving feeling. The first thing I woke up to at eight am was the news that the owner of my club has decided to allow two way contact in lapdances. Because that’s a reasonable response to the fact that dances aren’t selling as well since the prices got upped. Rather than dropping them back down.
More on this later, from a computer. In the meantime, SPEAKING of getting finger banged:
Almost immediately after pressing update on that last post things went to hell. A regular of mine was really rude to my friend who was already having a bad night–and he was the difference between the good night I had and the shitty one I would have had, so it felt good to give her some of it as a tip later. Consider it his asshole fee.
Courtney Love’s doppelgänger was working. It’s a really harsh toke to have to share a shift with her, she’ll finger anything that holds still long enough. No one warned me about her on my very first shift, back in November, and I sat at her rack with a customer. WHOA.
Immediately girl was rummaging around over my gstring, about to get all up in there. I freaked out, having seen where her hands just were (someone else’s mouth). I shoved myself back from the rack, trying to be cute about it so my customer didn’t think I’m a big prude.
“I’m straight!” I yelped. “totally straight! So straight!”
“that’s ok!” she laughed. “So am I!”
“No, really though!”
She moved on, and I made a note to never sit at her rack again.
Despite that precaution, sometimes I just can’t blank her out. Usually it’s enough that she’s masturbating furiously onstage and touching things, but some nights there’s a girl, or a few girls, in the audience who came to my club specifically for attention. You can usually pick them out immediately because they’re dressed in forever21’s finest, weird studs and sequined seethru mini dresses, and they’re chair dancing, twitching their shoulders and looking longingly up onstage. I ignore those girls, that’s not my clientele, I’m saving myself for Jesus or whatever, but Courtney will haul their asses up onstage, disrobe them, and set to with gusto. I think the term jackhammeralmost applies.
Friday night she was seriously busy, at one point she had four customers up onstage, giggling girls doing something that literally you could not pay me to do. At least, not in that context. Nevermind herpes or chlamydia, let’s talk about BV and yeast infections, about dirt tracked onstage from the girls bathroom which we share with these seriously dimwitted girl customers and all it’s mysterious puddles, and butt pimples, and staph, and now the multiple vaginas Courtney is touching? Are you kidding me? For pocket change?
I was trying to hitch my smile up over my incredible disapproval when Jenny came up to me, seriously bummed out.
“I just had to tell him, no, I don’t want to finger your girlfriend.” her voice was so small and sad, just picture it. It was hilarious and awful. What happened to stripping, that this is something we have to say on the regular?
“back up,” I instructed her. “what?”
“this guy just wants me to finger his girlfriend and that’s not what I do! But try and tell any of them that while this is happening!”
“send them to Courtney,” I said callously. “she has more room up there.”
We looked gloomily around. Despite having hit my quota (thanks to my jerky regular’s generous tip) it was still depressing. A room crowded with people, all wanting services that mostly aren’t on offer for a price that’s not even market rate. Sometimes Friday is amateur night.
I approached a bar regular, hoping I could get one last dance from him. He waved a pile of two dollar bills at me angrily.
“I hate this!” he said. Honestly, after doing the math and seeing how much less I’m making from my stage sets than normal, I was with him, but he kept going.
“I like having a choice. A choice is important. I choose whether to give you a dollar, or two, or four. I choose! Johnny took that away from me!”
Jesus Christ, son. This isn’t Roe v Wade. It’s a fucking dollar. I can’t even have sympathy with this attitude. Like, I’m frustrated too, but this is my livelihood and you want me to rub your back over you losing the option to tip me a single dollar bill?
The price of sitting at a strippers stage has been one dollar for thirty years.
1-with PEOPLE LIKE YOU
… the GG Allin-esque stage shows and dance area that resembles a swingers’ living room were a bit much for me. (Especially when the customers look like they’re going to destroy Toontown just as soon as they’re done watching the young alternative things pleasure each other.) I don’t want my work environment to feel like I stepped into a time machine with a bunch of Suicide Girls and stepped off in the middle of an ancient Greek orgion. (I want it to feel like a rap video with forklifts of cash and oiled up butts and whatnot.)
I sat down for a rest with a short little man who wasn’t sitting at the rack and read as extremely queer. He was wearing a very loud polyester shirt, which I used as my opening.
“that’s a colossal shirt you’re wearing.” I figured if he got either reference we were set.
“I found it in a free box,” he beamed in a thick Southern accent. “it is pure polyester and breathes like a bitch.”
“Looks like it!” i made a sympathetic face. “Where you from, sugar cookie?”
“Mississippi, and the south will rise again!”
Uh, okay. “you think?”
“I know! You don’t think so, I can tell, but I know.”
Great. When I was 19 I would totally have engaged with this, I was that stripper, combative and righteous and totally willing to battle with customers about the stupid things they said. I don’t even know how I made money, although I did, enough to fund some very excessive habits; now I’m older and tireder and make a lot more, probably because I can make it through a whole shift without assaulting any customers. However much I may want to.
I closed my eyes, suddenly exhausted, by my job, by life, by this tiny little racist man whom I’d been hoping would be a totally awesome homo. Could he possibly be fucking with me?
His voice cut through my stupor. “I think she likes girls.” I already knew what I was going to see but I opened my eyes anyway. Yep, there they were, enthusiastically performing bisexuality to a crowd of mixed interest. It seemed a little early for cunnilingus to me but what do I know?
“I don’t know if she likes girls any more than she’s actually getting off.”
He laughed. “I know that, I watch porn!”
I didn’t really have anything to say to that but I was saved from any reply by my friend, who had two guys interested in dances. I rose and escaped.
“Hey, how are you?”
“I’m doing well. How are you?”
“pretty awesome! Are you ready for a dance?”
“I have to be careful, I don’t like to get dances from lesbians.”
“I think that the energy that happens during a lap dance is really amazing and special, between a man and a woman. It’s really special, and something that can only happen between a man and a woman. And if a woman is a lesbian, and she’s in that dance you know, and she’s dancing and thinking about women and he’s feeling really special, she’s exploiting him.”
I mostly think about how tired my thighs are getting or how hungry I am or how funny that guy my friend is giving a dance to across from us is acting, all air humping, but ok. “i’m only gay for pay!” I assured him brightly. “sometimes I just make out with my friend onstage for money. So we’re good!”
“I don’t like that either. I just don’t understand why people want to see that.”
“so… Do you want a dance?”
In class today we had a guest speaker, a curator from the local art museum. Her lecture, on Japanese block prints, was lively and interesting; I’ve gotten lucky this term with the good lecturers.
She paused at a faintly tinted print of a couple embracing under a cherry blossom tree:
…Erotica, of course, was the cash cow of the print industry. For better or worse [name of museum redacted] has almost none… I think you can trace that to the interests of our donors. This print is from early on in a folio; as in this image here they generally begin with almost genteel foreplay while later on it will move to more athletic prowess. These two: the woman, almost certainly a courtesan, acting modest and retiring, while the man entreats her–I can’t really read you the top bit on this page, but I assure you that nine or ten pages in the dialogue has for the most part dwindled to ‘ooooh’.
For no good reason it reminded me of a particularly pointless conversation with a customer a few weeks ago.
He didn’t seem like an especially good prospect, but his friend–currently in the bathroom–did. We watched the usual suspects hop up on stage and then one of them face planted in the other girls lap. Various lesbianic poses ensued, and a worthwhile amount of dollars flowed.
“Wow,” my companion said. “Yikes! You must be so horned up! And those two!”
“What?” I asked, more to get reassurance that he had in fact spoken out loud the phrase “horned up” than because I hadn’t heard him.
“It just must get you all so worked up to work here! They must be so horned up!” He stared at the two on stage again, one of them inverted on the pole while the other stood, face in the pole girl’s crotch.
It looked like work to me, strenuous and mildly uncomfortable, hanging upside down while your friend gave you head for a few minutes, then moving to the next pose, maybe tongues half way out for one of those lesbian kisses that cry out for a man to do the job right. It wasn’t hot, it was stage germs and random girl ass germs and money germs and bacteria and even more tedious: performative lesbianism for not enough money, dollar bills to be having unsafe sex amidst other peoples ass germs. killjoy I thought.
“Totally,” I assured him. “We are totally… horned up. Like all the time. We even have pillow fights back there sometimes. Naked ones. And we giggle.”
“Wow,” he said again, looking deeply satisfied.