Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Eraser

My biggest fear these day is that I'm just as lonely as they are.
But instead of the strip club as my reprieve, no, my solution to my loneliness, the strip club is my cause.  It's isolating working when your peers socialize: nights and weekends.
Upon further thought, I'm realizing there's no possible way I could be as lonely as some of the customers, and it's insulting to their plight to even insinuate it.
Their loneliness is raw like a stench.
The way their work-hardened or age-weathered hands fumble to hold your hand, even for the briefest moment during a dance.
The way they blatantly put their face into your hair and deeply inhale your scent.
These men are starved for female attention.
Most of the time it grosses me out, or makes me sad, but only for a moment.

This is the perfect segue into something that's been on my mind for a long time now, and a big part of why I don't write.  I brought this up with my two best stripper friends on the car ride home after Saturday night's shift, and they confirmed it happens to them, too.  I'm going to call this "thing" a defense mechanism.  Much like from Men in Black, our brains wipe themselves clean after pretty much every interaction.  As I put it, "It's like, 'BOOP! That didn't just happen!'" Oh that guy I just danced for that smelled like urine, diesel and whiskey, but still had the gall to ask me out for dinner?  Nope, didn't happen.

Notable things happen every night, but I forget.  The mechanism gets in the way.

The next night, I set out to fight the mechanism.
It wasn't difficult at a certain point.
There I was, resting my back on the pole and sliding down in front of my audience, one leg already going into the air before I was seated, and the other leg came up.
I looked beyond the men, and up to the TV screen.
Where I work somewhat resembles a sports bar, in that there are flat-screen TVs littering the place, playing everything from golf to UFC.
Tonight it was UFC.
There I am, about to engage in my stage routine, the careful balance I've struck between '50s "I'm really such a lady" coquettishness and straight-up twerking.
I can't stop visibly cringing and wincing as I look beyond the tip rail and see a man's bloodied face spraying blood all over the mat.  It was the most blood I have ever seen in a fight.  His face and bald head were literally COVERED in blood.
This grotesque mashup of extreme violence and selling sex appeal is something I want to be as far away as possible from, and I wanted to ask after I got off stage that they change the channel, but it would fall on deaf ears, as I'm sure almost no one would understand my distress.

Writing this now reminds me of why I can't work at Hooters.  I'm very specific about the kinds of environments I prefer to sell the idea of sex with me in.  Hooters to me is the apex of patriarchy.  Sexed up women serving you food (as they should, being women and all, wink wink;) while you sit back and watch the game.  Vomit.  I began my unexpected "career" dancing at a very traumatizing establishment that mandated a lot of my behavior, and as a bonus, served an all-night free hot dog buffet!!!!! (The consumption of said hot dogs by dancers was strictly forbidden.)  I work now in a place that's jokingly been referred to as the "place where strippers go to retire."  Fuck yeah.  So down with that.  Women run the VIP, the bar, and the full-time DJ is a woman.  Generally, I give my current place of employment a round of applause.  Let's kick our 6-8" stilettos up, and fucking sell (the idea of) sex the way we want to.  No face punching allowed.