“Emanuel obviously knows that such a state of affairs is intolerable to children, as he sends his own to a progressive school whose director staunchly opposes standardized testing.”
And this is like my favorite thing I’ve seen on craigslist:
I practiced new tricks with Regan and Autumn last night, and got one, but the Ironman one that Regan does so easily (even after over a month exercise free for her implants) is killing me. I finally got it at one point, letting go of the pole with my hand and relying on the tension between the back of my right knee and front of my left, only to slowly slide to the ground whimpering in pain.
“your face has a really unattractive expression on it right now,” Regan observed dispassionately.
the expression of one manfully controlling shrieks of intense anguish, I’m sure.
The incredibly leisurely drinking of coffee in my underwear is my most important morning ritual. One which my neighbour, on an agitated and peripatetic phone call that has ended in him mostly stationed outside my open living room window, is interfering with. I want to tell him normally this view would cost him 2 dollars for every three minutes but more than that I want him to find some place else for his noisy phone call.
Regan is out for a month adjusting to her boob job. She’s living her dream! Work is less hilarious and more tedious without her, and I have to find a new partner when I hustle bachelor parties and two girl dances. (On the bright side, when she’s back I think her boobs will be a big selling point with bachelors and birthday parties, so that’s something to look forward to.)
She went out in a blaze of glory, however, winning the honour of Most Dances Sold in June, I think with 189 dances (I had 130-something), and sharing the honour of Most Dances in a Single Night (29) with me.
The thing about having a lap dance partner in crime is that a lot of guys have a short attention span. They get three or six or nine dances from you, and then suddenly their attention wanders, and they want fresh meat. They say, “Later, give me 20 minutes,” and before you can win them back over someone in furry legwarmers is pulling them back into the lap dance room. Sometimes we can bounce the same guy back and forth, or, if the guy is really feeling wild, get a two girl show. That way we both win. And she’s a mildly judgmental prude like me, so the fake lesbian thing is (yessss) off the table. I don’t think Regan believed me that guys would just go for a two girl dance that wasn’t frisky until she actually saw me sell a few with Shawna and Autumn. She laughed her ass off the first time (so did Shawna and I. I laughed so hard I fell over the customer’s feet and went down in a graceless heap, while Shawna distracted him by shoving her boobs in his face) and told us “That was the worst dance I’ve ever seen.” But having performative cunnilingus happen in their lap isn’t every man’s dream. (thank god. Or I would be out of a job)
The last Friday in June I got out of the dance room and went to find my next customer. He looked uncomfortable, no, he did not want a dance any more. He bobbed his head awkwardly and I mentally cursed whoever got in there while I was busy. Fine, fine, I turned away from him and walked into a pudgy bespectacled man who said eagerly, “I want a dance!”
It was so ideal and soothing. I beamed at him and led him to my favourite booth.
Cut to 1.30 am and I’m exhausted but not about to stop. Regan and I have spent the whole night back and forth with that same guy, until a few songs ago, when he decided to simplify things and just get us both back there. Regan made me take off my shoes, which I don’t normally do, in case I stab her hand while clambering up the chair as we maneuver around each other. The guy is nice, but he talks a lot. And I’m getting so tired I’m not even sure what’s coming out of my mouth any more.
I purr into his ear. Regan, on his other ear, has to turn her head away for laughing. She just found out about this when I told her about Plaid Shirt Who Doesn’t Like Cats and she can’t believe that anything that cheesy has a success rate. Our current customer smiles, “Do that again!”
I can’t do it without laughing.
I’m Katniss, he comments, idealistic and brave, and Regan is someone more misanthropic, he names a character I’ve never heard of and thus can’t remember. He starts talking in a Pirates of the Caribbean/Jack Sparrow accent–my fault, for explaining my stupid Teenage Bad Judgment tattoo, which is ripped straight off Johnny Depp’s arm in that movie–and I take a break from dancing, sitting on the armrest and keeping up the patter while Regan takes over. He’s talking about string theory now and I move into his lap, thinking about how weird lap dance conversations always are. He seems to expect an answer.
“I don’t really do math,” I explain. “It’s part of why I’m a history major. Math makes me feel desperate and filled with despair.”
“It’s about black holes!” he said urgently. “Entire universes in black holes!”
“…like the final credits of Men in Black?” I look up from current position between his legs and try to avoid Regan’s ass.
“I love that movie!” Regan chimes in, climbing down.
“Yes!” he agreed, pleased. “Just like that!”
“Hmm, that sounds really interesting.”
He nods, and lapses back into Russian. He doesn’t actually speak Russian, it’s guidebook phrases–“I don’t know, I don’t understand, USSR”–I think stemming from my confession that I don’t speak it very well and request to practise. I haven’t commented on his very limited vocabulary.
“I may move here,” he says. “I want to settle down and get married.”
“We will marry you,” I offer magnanimously.
“We’ll be your sister wives.” Regan agrees.
We continue in this delirious fashion for an hour. At one point Regan makes me laugh so hard that I collapse on the edge of the seat. She’s making fun of one of my moves, a habit so ingrained that I don’t even notice I do it, like pinching my nipples.
“I’m going to pee!” I gasped. “Oh no, I’m going to pee!” This seems like a real and terrifying possibility, since I’m naked I will actually be peeing on our customer and it’s the danger of that that stalls me. Regan is merciless and keeps going, but I can keep my laughter in check. Guy seems amused and indulgent of the fact that he’s basically incidental to our own entertainment, the dance has stopped being even nominally for his benefit and is just the two of us cracking jokes over him, while we all laugh. I lean over him again while Regan kneels down and it’s in this pause that he decides to lick my nipple. My slap is instinctual, and immediately I’m horrified. We both apologize. Mine is less sincere than his, but I think of the hundreds he’s spent on me and the hundred’s more that I want and I accept his apology.
Regan’s looking up at me from his lap and I can feel her thinking “Don’t fuck this up.” I agree. It’s harsh because I want to hit him again, and harder, but there’s her money to consider too. And I don’t want to go back on the floor and hustle up someone else who might be even more difficult, for less money. I purr in his ear and we keep going until the bar closes.
At the end of the night when the bouncer is tallying up our dances I have 29, 20 of which came from that guy. Regan has 28.
“Just lie!” I said gleefully. “You’re so close! We did it together!”
“Really?” the bouncer looks baffled. “You want to get charged for a dance you didn’t do?”
“We want to be tied! We’re going to win!”
1-the club keeps track and posts on a monthly scoreboard, something I never used to pay attention to because I try to curb my competitive urges but what with our lapdance competition and all I started to pay attention, and winning is satisfying.
2-It’s so awkward having to pull the other girl aside to specify “No body fluids!” before a dance.
3-To be fair, we were trying to make it bad. Shawna in particular was having a terrible night and our revenge was selling a string of absolutely no-contact air dances under the guise of “A wild two-girl show”. The first target was a guy I gave a dance to earlier who wouldn’t stop trying to squeeze my ass, and the look of dawning disappointment on his face as he realized neither of us would come within a foot of him was the most delightful thing ever. Aside from him, however, no one seemed disappointed at all.
4-This one shares the title of Ultimate Gulag Tattoo with the one on my chest. I heard some Russians making fun of it and saying it looked like a prison tattoo last week.
5-He told me on my first dance with him at the start of the night that he just got back from St Petersburg.
“Govoritye po-russkii?” There’s nothing like practising my Russian to liven up a dance.
“I do!” he said. “And you do too?”
“Not very well.”
That was key. He started talking and at first I couldn’t make sense of it, and then I realised he was just saying guidebook phrases. “Nye znayu, nye ponimayu, s s s errr.” I had to smother a giggle.
6-It’s the same look she had while we were between dances with him and I got called to the stage and she was on standby. She glared at me. “Go get him! Make him come to the rack!”
I made a face at her. Peevishly:”I think he’s tired of me.” The night was too good, I didn’t want to ruin it by getting rejected. Sometimes I’m perverse.
“He has a black card!” she hissed at me even more urgently.
“Oh, all right.”
I waved him over and he sat down, and between the two of us we managed to keep him at the stage until Regan finished her set a song after me.
“Are you ready for more dances?”
Yes, he was.
Mozzarella ciliegine is like one of the more disgusting things I can think of that is actually amazing. I mean sitting there in its grey water, like eyeballs at a Halloween party? The overpriced packages at the grocery store always grossed me out but my friend brought some over for dinner recently and I was hooked. I have always been a cheese hound but these are a strong argument in favour of this same friend’s half-baked theory that all dairy is chock full of opiates, which is perhaps why she remains a mere judgmental vegetarian rather than a full-fledged and self-righteous vegan. she claims to have gotten a hangover from the mozzarella balls, further proving the addictive and destructive nature of dairy. Maybe it’s the dark side, but I can’t stop eating them.
Regan says if “friendly competition” sounds too passive aggressive I should go ahead and call it an unfriendly competition. She’s winning, by the way. She works two shifts more a week than I do, but more importantly, had a mass windfall of 19 dances on a night I wasn’t working, boosting her to 80-something now while I linger and languish at 60-something. “Cash before ass” she told me.
I haven’t been taking as many notes because the competition keeps me busy, circling the room and being more consistently friendly than I thought it was possible to be. Sometimes I go to the bathroom just to hide where there are no cameras and let my face relax from smiling. I breathe deep and then go back out.
The night shift just started and I was making the rounds when I saw this guy who looked like Jesus. No one else looked particularly promising so I headed over to him even though I knew if Regan was watching she’d be shaking her head. This might even have been the night of Compromise, it’s hard to remember.
“Hey! How are you tonight?”
“I’m good I’m good.”
I tried to slide in close to him and realised I couldn’t: his legs were crossed yoga style on the bench, feet in Jesus sandals and everything. This was gonna be good.
“So what brings you to ____ tonight?”
“Well… I was meditating and I had a revelation.”
“Unh huh. And it said, ‘Get thee to a strip club,’ did it?”
“I had this revelation that life is a field dappled with light and shadow, light and darkness.”
“And I have been afraid of darkness and I have fought it in myself and in this revelation I realisedno more. I have clung to the light!”
I looked across the room for Regan, checking to make sure she could see my face and that I will have a story for her later. “So you were like I need some darkness, time for a strip club.”
“No! I have cleaved to the light and I need darkness in my life! I need to admit the darkness in myself! I need to embrace it!”
“I think a lap dance would really get you in touch with that.”
“Well… I don’t have any money, I left my wallet in the car.”
“That’s really great.”
I wandered off, barely able to contain my laughter until I made it to the dj booth.
“And how did that go?”
“I was meditating!”
“And–and, I HAD A REVELATION.”
“And it said, YOU NEED TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DARK SIDE, EMBRACE IT, SO GO TO THE STRIP CLUB BUT DON’T BRING YOUR WALLET.” It’s a good thing the music is always loud because I was practically howling. “You need a FREE REVELATION OF FEMALE FLESH.”
“That’s… really something. I saw you go for him and I just knew.”
“He’s wearing Jesus sandals and has his legs crossed yogi style! He had a revelation! Embrace your dark side! Embrace it!”
Later that night we were talking about a girl who always seemed sad who just left to go work for the skinhead club manager.
“Why would you do that?” I wondered.
“Everyone’s embracing their dark side,” Regan answered drily.
One of those nights where I’m so in love with my job. I like leaving the dressing room and my eyes adjusting and seeing Regan floating around upside down in midair, looking like a really hot mutant. The most perfect thing I’ve seen in a while was her dancing to Ironman a little bit ago. Sometimes I make her flex her biceps just so I can giggle.
It’s basically all Beastie Boys all the time tonight. Too soon?
Tonight started off obnoxious with a snide and judgmental man whom I somehow remained sitting with, determined to win him over into not being such an embittered asshole. This is a tactic I stupidly pursue in friendships and relationships too–I blame too much byronism at an early age–but eventually, thank god, I was called onto stage, before he had soured my mood–altho not before Autumn, who just started waitressing, came up and innocently asked if he wanted to buy me a drink. He did not. He would like me to die, that was my translation of his evil look.
And from there it’s been dances, and the two dollar bills and upped dance prices are working out great, despite the fact that Sparky is trying to foment rebellion among the dancers–girl wouldn’t know a good thing if it wanted a half hour VIP that didn’t require her to swap body fluids with another girl. In fact, she’d probably do it anyway. That is not a work ethic, that is bad business/health practice.
My second batch of dances was for an Israeli who is in town for a for a coffee conference (he’s opening a coffee shop in NYC. “Good!” I told him. “It needs more good coffee!”). I tried to bond by referencing the Midtown stumptown at the Ace and it worked, so we talked coffee shop for a while. I recommended he try Coava and Water Avenue, two of my favourites, and told him where he could get Intelligentsia and Ritual. Then we talked about my classes this term and how I missed Passover to work. Not that I’m observant, but part of my grade this term is based around a community experience &project. He said he’d be back tomorrow night to tell me which local roaster he liked best, so maybe more dances tomorrow. He was a sweetheart.
My work person Bibi smacked my ass so hard it brought tears to my eyes. At first I thought I was being a baby but she left a perfect print!
1-although they also upped the cut that we pay out from 5 to 8 dollars a dance. Before, most guys were usually too lazy or indifferent to ask for change, so my actual take home from dances has shrunk. I’m going to start asking for tips to try to mitigate this.
2- Regan makes fun of me, she says I start side saddle grinding when I’m having a conversation and forget to smile, and then she’ll do a bad babysitter impression of me, complete with gumcracking. Which is not fair because I do not chew gum in my dances!
3- her term, she explained she likes to have someone to check in with, laugh, regain her equilibrium, and then resume hustling. Like recharging a battery. which I get, she and Regan are my checkin battery/work lodestones
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.