Sunday, December 13, 2009

Union Jack-off

For some reason, there has been a flood of Englishmen in the club lately. What, cheap tickets crossing the Pond?

Anyway, recently there was this one dude who looked just like an Indian Jeff Goldblum with whom I struck up conversation. It was a mad slow day and I didn't have a whole lot of money, and I tend to do well with the brown guys. We started chatting, and he let me know he was in town from London, and wasn't interested in buying lapdances but really wanted to take me out to dinner.

Me: Sorry, I don't go out with customers.
Him: Well, technically I haven't spent any money on you, so I'm not a customer.
Me: Touche, but I don't really think I can. Sorry. (gets up to leave)
Him: No, no, please sit.
Me: Well, my shift ends in a minute, so I should probably try to make some money before I have to head home.
Him: But, seriously, how often do you meet someone like me? I mean, we're both Indian, we both seem well read. There's so much we could teach each other.
Me: I appreciate that, but you're coming on really strong and I do need to make money.
Him: Listen, I didn't get to be who I am today by taking no for an answer*. Why not just sit and have a drink with me?
Me: I'd be happy to, but again, I'm at work...
Him: Okay, I'll pay you $150 to stay an extra hour or so and drink with me.
Me: You should probably do $200, because they will charge me an extra $50 to stay past my shift.**

So I ended up sitting and drinking with him, and I still can't figure out exactly why, but I wanted to slaughter this irritating-as-fuck man. Maybe it had something to do with his constant references to his years at Cambridge and Harvard. Maybe there was something really pathetic about a grown man asking me "What are your ambitions in life? Where do you see yourself in five years?" Maybe it was that, any time I started to answer any of his contrived questions or engage in a conversation, he'd cut me off and go into a ten minute diatribe about how we should definitely go out together, spend a day together, kiss, etc. Maybe it was because he name-dropped on the Chatham House and the way the staff at Bombay's Taj Mahal hotel treat him like royalty. He also tried teaching me some principles of interpersonal communication he learned at Harvard Business School.

Anyway, a good half-hour of his paid-for-in-advance time with me was spent with him trying to convince me to skip work the next day.
Him: Come on, I'm only here in NY for another day or two. Then it's back to London.
Me: No one is saying you can't come visit me at work...
Him: I don't want to see you there... It's not the kind of interaction I want. I just want to have lunch and drinks, take you shopping.
Me: Sorry, I have to go to work. I have customers who are expecting me and money to make.
Him: Well, I'm willing to skip work for you; you should be able to do the same for me.
Me: Well, I'd be foregoing hundreds of dollars at work and I'd be fined by the club for being absent, and as a grad student, I just can't forego that kind of money.
Him: Please, I know you're well-to-do. You're not broke.
Me: (resists the urge to tell him that's none of his business) You know what? Maybe we should just say our goodbyes tonight.
Him: Okay, I'll give you a thousand bucks for bunking work tomorrow. I promise, no sex, and we can stay in public the whole time.
(lather, rinse, repeat about a dozen times and you have a sense of our conversation)

It just so happens that he DID show up at work the next day. I greeted him warmly and said I was so happy he changed his mind. He told me "I just came to talk, no dances or anything." So I told him the club did not allow us to sit with guys and chat and went and sat alone in the corner. He kept trying to wave me over and tell me to come talk to him. Finally he caved, walked over, and said "fine, give me a dance." Halfway through the dance, we decided to take it to the champagne room, where the asshole kept trying to finger me!!! I was so disgusted by him, and by his arrogance at telling me that I "didn't know how to accept pleasure" and that he "could make me feel really good if only I'd let him."

Before he left he offered me his silk tie as a parting gift/souvenir. I told him to go hang himself with it. (Okay, I didn't really say that...)

* Yes, he actually said that.
** Not true, but I was charging him an "asshole" tax.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Champain Room

Last week, I had a crazy fucking day. First of all, I spent pretty much my whole shift in the champagne room with different guys. This is noteworthy for me because I'm not a big champagne room girl. I spend most of my time on the floor and make most of my money off of lapdances. I was thrilled - mostly because I pleased management with my lucrative day!

One guy was buying lapdances from every single dancer in the house. When he got to me, halfway through my first dance he called me naughty and asked me if I needed to be whipped into shape for misbehaving. I played along, and he got really really into it. Next thing I knew, we were in the champagne room and he was telling me (in no particular order) that a) I was his little slave girl, b) he wanted to put a collar around my neck and humiliate me, c) that every time I hear the word Daniel I'm going to come, even if I'm in a restaurant, and that I'll feel humiliated whenever that happens, d) that if I couldn't come on command upon hearing his name he'd have to punish me. It was possibly the easiest champagne room I've ever done in terms of physical work, but the emotional work (Hochschild 1979) was ridiculous. I was also confused by the racial dynamic of the whole thing; I know S&M people can be into the whole slavery thing, but what about when it's complicated by race (i.e. me a woman of color and him the whitest)?

Okay, my next trip back was with a guy from Hyderabad. Just turned 30, still a virgin, planning to get married soon. He asked me whether it was better to buy lapdances or go to the champagne room. Normally, my answer to this question is lapdances - I make more per hour giving dances than I do in the champagne room, plus I don't have to worry about unrealistic expectations or unwanted gropes. But this guy seemed pretty tame, and I wanted to impress management with a second room for the shift, so I suggested we retreat. This man was so so into my anus. It "tookus" no more than a minute before we were playing lapoeira , though this time it was anal-tug-of-war. The man couldn't take no for an answer! It's like there was insulin up there, and he was a diabetic (Chris Rock, anyone?). I think he thought the fact that we both speak Hindi gave him free reign over my hindy...An hour of keeping my anus away from him, and...I was exhausted by this Hyderabadass...

Back on the floor, a 1/2 Greek, 1/2 Turkish guy asked me if I was Arab, and if he could do a temporary nikah with me so we could have sex. I politely turned down his booty call/marriage proposal, and then he asked if we could go to the private room. Holy crap, three in one day? Sure! Back there, he revealed to me how much he loves Bollywood music and that I remind him of the Indian movies he grew up watching. Then... he tried to stick his finger up my ass. What, do I have stimulus money in there or something?! I shrieked and jumped away, and then he started laughing and singing Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna to me! I chimed in for the female vocals, and thought we might just have a nice round of antakshri for the remainder of the hour. No "can" do! As soon as he got to the last verse, he went straight for the butthole again! I pulled all kinds of maneuvers to get his hand off of me, and then he resorted to standing up and bhangra-ing with me for a few minutes. Repeat a few times and you have a sense of how my hour with this guy went.

The story ends with a white publishing industry guy waving me over to him and straight up asking me if I want to go to the champagne room with him. Note: This never ever happens!!! I considered myself very lucky... Until I got back there, and he started asking me if my orgasms are mostly clitoral or g-spot. I told him clitoral, but I can also come through penetration. And then, very quickly, he goes, "let me try something real quick" and tries to stick his Finger In My Ass! Call F.I.M.A.!

What is up with this? Should I just take these as backhanded compliments?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There's the rub...

This customer has showed up twice so far. He's not really picky about which girl he spends his cash on (as long as she's dark-haired), and he always parks himself in the darkest corner of the club. I've danced for him on two separate occasions, and neither time did he allow me to take off my dress during lapdances. He just wanted to massage me. It was actually kind of nice at first - a shoulder rub, fingers through my hair, etc. But both times he's gotten all up in my face, literally and very deeply massaging my cheeks, my forehead, and then repeatedly doing this thing where he'll pucker my lips with his hands. (Picture a fishface being held in place by his creepy ass fingers.) With this pose in place, he may or may not try to kiss me. He'll also try to massage my eyelids or put his fingers in my mouth. The whole thing turns into a sort of Lapoeira-esque push and pull situation, but those caressing hands are strong! He'll "spin my head right round" and go right back to massaging away! It's so fucking creepy. I'm not sure I want his fingers all up in my grill (trying to get me to a hotel) when I have a pretty delicately-applied layer of makeup on my face, when swine flu clings to all sorts of surfaces, and when I think having a smashed, contorted face during a dance is just pretty fucking awkward.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gentleman's Flub

A month or so ago, I had this great customer. Really nice, older white dude, very generous. We spent an hour in the champagne room and bonded over our shared politics, and he shared with me some great suggestions for dining and theater. The hour in the back ended with kind words being exchanged, along with email addresses. I went home and Googled him to discover that he's a very successful producer on Broadway.

The following email exchange ensued:
Him: I had a blast meeting you today. You are awesome, and we definitely had a spark. Good luck with the new school year, and write me back with when you're free for dinner.

Me: Thanks, I felt likewise meeting you. You're terrific company. Unfortunately, I don't think I can go out with you since you're my customer; if you find yourself in NYC again, stop by the club!

Him: I know you feel hesitant about meeting me, but please consider it. It's impossible to deny that something rare happened between us.

Me: Yes, I know we had a connection, but I feel very uncomfortable crossing that line. It's not you,* it's just the rule.

Him: Please reconsider. Perhaps we can meet in a very public place, just dine, and leave it at that.

I never responded to that email; I figured the more I said no, the more he'd just step up his persistence.

A few weeks later I was dancing in the cage in the front of the club and some guy was talking to me and tipping me for shaking my ass and in strolled Broadway Guy! I thought he reconsidered and decided it was better for us to hang out in the club than not at all, so I gave him a big grin. He nodded at me, but walked past. I assumed he was being respectful toward me and the customer I was entertaining. Said customer ended up swallowing much of my time for the rest of my shift, so I didn't really get to see or talk to Broadway.

The next time I was at work, Broadway came back again. This time, I was not busy when he showed up. He walked right past me, over to one of the waitresses, and started lavishing compliments on her, holding her hands and playing with her hair, right there in front of me. Another waitress walked by and he did the same thing. Then he went and sat with this dancer, right in front of me, and was talking to her really loud and being showy about all the affection he was giving her. When he walked past me at one point, I grabbed his arm to say hi (I didn't really mind that he was hanging out with others, though I did mind the cold shoulder) and he looked at me and then looked away, and kept walking.

Um, seriously!? You really think acting like this is going to make me wish I'd gone out with you? Were you so busy making millions of dollars these past few decades that you forgot to become an adult? Is it normal behavior for grown men to behave like fucking imbeciles?

Also, he literally just rolled into the club, lavished every girl except me with a few hugs and compliments, and left. If he really wanted to make me regret it, he should have given a very visible million dollar tip to someone, or something. I'm not sitting there like "Damn! I wish I was that girl not making a buck while this rich old fart admires my red toenails!"

*Not entirely true. I generally don't date bald, 52-year old rich white men who spend all their spare time in strip clubs. But, to his credit, he was really charming and funny and intelligent the first time we met.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A wolf in Veep's clothing

There was this dashing older man in a tie tipping me at the stage, so I pulled up a chair when I was done with my stage set. He didn't seem that interested until I said something about summer almost being over. "You're in school? What do you study?" The conversation quickly turned into a double-entendre-peppered debate between a libertarian trained as a political scientist, and myself. In the real world, I walk away rolling my eyes. In strip club world, I tolerate his elitism and ignorance and embrace a Maria Shriver-esque bipartisan camaraderie so I can take all the money this colorblind meritocracy has allowed him to earn. Indeed, he does end up spending a chunk of money on me, after giving me a very long speech about how confused his penis is, ("He came here looking for anything other than intelligent conversation with a hot cosmopolitan woman!", he tells me, talking about his penis in the third person, I suppose) and how libertarianism is anticolonial. My gentle (still trying to get his cash!) protests only excite him more. He slips me his business card (containing his first, middle, and last name - each of which sounds like a very old-school English last name...) before he leaves, and tells me to get in touch. ("Coffee, tea, or me" were his exact words, I believe.)

Dutifully, I google him as soon as I get home. The man was a nominee on the primary ballot for VP in several states a few elections ago*! I found a gazillion news articles about him, his happy marriage and four children, his Ivy League pedigree, and his views on how libertarian politics can solve all our foreign policy issues. I can't believe I was debating politics with a right wing U.S. politician! It's like playing devil's advocate with the devil himself...

* Apparently there are only a couple states that even have a primary ballot for VP.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Their byte is worse than their bark...

Giving regular customers my email contact is a great way to let customers know when I'm working, thank them when they make my day, alert them when I'm taking time off. It's also a great site for some absolute hilarity. Checkitty check some exchanges from various customers below:

Exhibit (A)
Him: "Hi, it's Sam from Delhi. I met you today. Care to meet for drinks Saturday night?"
Me: "It was great meeting you too. Unfortunately, I don't go out with customers. Come meet me at the club again!"
Him: "What about Sunday? I can get us a hotel room."

Exhibit (B)
"we are on the lake. this is a fine evening.....not very hot....nor very breeze from the lake....i am there....and you are there too....

now we are at the middle of the other boats are near by......far away we can see the sun setting slowly.......full bright red sun.......sometimes hiding in the clouds....and sometimes peeping out of it.....slowly immersing into the water.....we can see ducks moving around.....maa goes in front and the ducklings a line. some times it lifts out of the water and shake its body....we are standing in the standing in front of me....i am holding you from behind.....we are just standing there ... looking into the vastness....staring at the stars now slowly emerging.....the moon slowly ascends.....your face is shining in the moonlight.....what a beauty to look at your smiling with your eyes closed now.....touching my heart you telling me 'what is inside here matters'......i am deeply touched.....tears come into my soon you found it, oh my are always with me since the moment i saw you.......always,always thinking about you......

my dear...i can't wait any longer to see you......i miss you....."

Exhibit (C):
Him: "I will come see you on Friday for sure. And tell me, can we plz have SEX in the champagne room?"
Me: "Looking forward to seeing you, but sorry, I don't break those rules."
Him: "Ooh, don't break the rules, you're teasing me even online. Also, can you please send me a picture of you?"

Exhibit (D):
Him: "Amazing meeting you today!!!"
Me: "Great meeting you too. Pay me a visit next time you're in NYC, please!"
Him: "I have a lot of road time today. May I call you?"
(I didn't respond.)
Him: "Here is a picture of my dog Chuck"
(I didn't respond.)
Him: "Here is a picture of me before a baseball game."
(I didn't respond.)
Him: "My son is enrolling in this honors program at his college this fall. (hyperlink)"
(I didn't respond.)
Him: (sends the same baseball picture of himself in an email, no text)
(I didn't respond.)
Him: "Hey! I haven't heard from you in a while. Everything all right?"
(I didn't respond.)

I think he's playing hard to get rid of. Ick.

Meanwhile, I have this new customer who's absolutely awesome. He's a literature guy and feeds me tons of great reading suggestions, and after a few minutes of talking about Melville and Hawthorne's deep friendship, interspersed with some witty banter, we transition to moneymaking time. He tells me he thinks I'm awesome, pays me, and leaves. It's perfect because he's nice and has good boundaries, but then he'll be like "Oh, I came on Thursday and you weren't here. I was pretty disappointed." My schedule isn't the same every week, so I want to give him my email address, but I think that might be TMI for him given how appropriately guarded he is.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two Wrist Attraction

Customer yesterday, mad obsessed with wrists. In the lapdance, he just wanted to kiss my wrists and didn't even want me to undress. Score! That's all I got...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Club Hoping

So, a full week after the raid, I am gainfully employed at a higher-end Manhattan club and generally very happy.

The cons?
-There are a handful of old customers who I don't know how to get ahold of who won't be able to find me at my new joint.
-This club is pretty strict about scheduling, fees, fines, etc.
-I won't have as many irritating or disgusting stories to blog about.
-The DJ played "Breakfast at Tiffany's" once this week.

Needless to say, the pros are numerous. The club management treats us really professionally, and the physical layout of the space reflects that. I'm fairly certain (not sure yet) that there is no fucking or sucking happening in the club. Lapdances here are actual lapdances; at my old club, they were sitting on the guy's lap and grinding on him. That practice has come to a grinding halt at this new club, where you always keep one foot on the ground, 1950s sitcom style, during a dance. Money comes much more easily at this club, probably because it attracts a professional/touristy blend of customers. And three of my old customers have followed me to this new spot. All in all, I feel good. A week of work and not one guy has tried to get a tit in his mouth, a kiss on the lips, and definitely no one's tried anything below anyone's belt. I realize how different the job feels when it doesn't seem like Lapoeira .

I am sad because I miss my friend coworker from the other club. In the raid, everyone scattered, and she's working somewhere else now. I discovered the raid actually happened because of some discrepancy in the club blueprints or some BS, which to me sounds like code for cops have issues with this club, or something. I think the neighborhood's impending gentrification does not bode well for adult establishments in the area.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bad Raidings

I'll give you the bad news first. Yesterday, my club got raided. The good news? I wasn't there. My friend from work emailed me to let me know. I don't know what exactly happened, other than ten cops showing up, and the club now being closed 'indefinitely.' No girls were arrested... Knowing my club, the violation could range from the open and unabashed cigarette smoking to the open and unabashed soliciting (blow jobs and sex are available from many girls for the right price). Then again, knowing how law enforcement deals with strip clubs, there might not have been any real violation, but rather an underwhelmed group of cops dealing with a slow Thursday afternoon.

Anyway, I was less than pleased to discover I would not be able to go to work today. Not only that, but my heels and outfits are all stowed in my locker at the club, so I can't even hit the road and find another place to work, even though there are a half dozen new clubs I'm eager to try. It's kind of like the opposite of all dressed up and nowhere to ho.* From my brief research, it is likely that my club will be up and running in a few days, but the idea of being "out of work" is really unsettling.

Even more unsettling is the realization that these raids happen - frequently - and if I choose to continue dancing, I may not be as lucky to go unscathed. I happen to not offer "extras" in VIP unlike 80% of the girls at my club, but this fact rarely matters when the long arm of the law swoops in... In fact, usually raids end in indiscriminate arrests regardless of what "laws" the girl is breaking.

Speaking of laws, is there a guidebook out there in terms of what constitutes legality in the sex industry? I've talked to dancers who have been arrested for giving a lapdance and being within a half-foot of the customer. I'm sorry, but I've had lap dances where I've had a half-foot in the guy's mouth! Clearly, this is a violation. Apparently when guys tuck stage tips between your breasts, this counts as a form of sex work as well. At the end of the day, it's up to the cops, the connections club ownership has with the police, and dumb luck. If a cop wants to arrest me for prostitution, he pretty much can. I've heard of girls being taken in for patting another dancer on the butt!

Knowing this fucked up aspect of our so-called justice system was actually a big part of why I went into dancing in the first place ... but thinking about how close I am to a criminal charge actually scares the shit out of me. Apparently, it's easy to shake such a charge if you hire the right lawyer, but am I looking to spend all my hard-earned cash on a sex crimes attorney just to clear my name? The recommendation is generally to accept the charge, pay the fine, and have a misdemeanor on my record.

Right now I'm fighting the urge to spend a couple hundred bucks on new shoes and an outfit so that I can start working again today; I think I should let dust settle, let the weekend pass, and see what the deal is for my current club in a couple days...

*Thanks, $pread Magazine!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cowboy and Indian

This is another, let's let the transcript speak for itself type post. Friday afternoon, a new guy strolls in the club and flashes me a smile. I approach him.

"Well hello there, young lady. Do have a seat."
"Thank you! You're a new face - nice to meet you."
"Well you are a VERY well spoken young lady. I'm guessing you're hyper-intelligent."
"That's my story and I'm sticking to it."
"What are you drinkin?"
"Water, neat."
"Ha, ha. Water neat. Well if I don't have you drinking whiskey by 5:30 then I'll be damned. So tell me, what is an intelligent, well-spoken young woman like you doing working here? I mean, I don't mean this with any level of disrespect toward these girls, but most of them have an abusive boyfriend, who resembles quite closely their abusive fathers, and side jobs selling dope. But you know, you look like an Asian woman, probably someone from a tradition where family is very very important. And you're hyper-intelligent, which is sexy as hell. You could look like Rosie O'Donnell and I'd be coming back from Amarillo Texas just to see you. But you know what the great part is? You're as sexy as you are hyper-intelligent. It's those eyes. You speak with those eyes. I can tell you started off trying to dumb yourself down for me. You must dumb yourself down for a lot of guys in here, which is a damn shame, because it's how hyper-intelligent you are that is a big part of your beauty. That, and your wild hair. Woo! (girl steps down from stage for a tip) Well, hello young lady. Here's a little something for you; I'll tell you, there's nothing a cowboy like me loves more than a beautiful black woman. Take care now. Anyway, see, you're nothing like her. You are hyper-intelligent. But that can be a curse too, because no guy is good enough for you. Let me guess... You hate relationships, because the boys get too clingy and get in the way of your ambitions. And you do have ambitions, let me tell you. You probably appreciate older guys, in their 50s like myself, because we know to give you space, and we know how to make love to you. Do you, let me just ask you this, do you know where your G spot is? Oh, my god, I love how honest you are with me. You know, the biggest medical myth is that every woman's G spot is in a different location. But actually, and I know you appreciate the scientific method, reliable studies have proven that there is actually more variation in size and location of the clitoris and not the G spot. You see, the G spot corresponds to the prostate on the male, it's differentiated earlier in embryonic development. But it's in the same space. Now, let me just take a moment to tell you how breathtaking you are. I'm only in town from Texas now and then, but you call me, on a moment's notice, we could be eating seafood in Barcelona, admiring Gaudi. And the good thing about Barcelona is that there are plenty of men my age with women your age; we'd fit right in. Now, I wouldn't say I have a foot fetish, but there is nothing more erotic than a beautiful, hyper-intelligent woman showing me her feet in stockings, and letting me suck on her toes. Have you ever taken Viagra? Next time I come, I'll bring you some. Don't tell anyone; that sort of thing can get me fired. But it doesn't make you hornier, it just makes your genitals more sensitive; the blood rushes there. Now there is nothing a man loves more than the scent of a woman's genitals. I mean, it's just the source of all pheromones. Men, on the other hand, we need to wear musk and cologne to attract women. Oh, see that girl? I'm embarrassed to tell you this, but she's given me oral and manual stimulation in the lapdance room. I mean, I'm sure she does what she needs to. But I can tell by looking at you that you don't break any rules here, or anywhere. No, you're not looking for a pimp or a sugar daddy. I mean, I won't insult you by paying you a fee for our trips to Spain, but believe me, I will treat you right. We can get a suite, stay there. I will shower you with affection. And if you don't want intercourse, that is fine. I am an old man. I've had enough intercourse in my life. I want you. I want intimacy. If I have to hold you and caress you for three nights straight, and then fly straight back to Texas, I'd be fine with that. Yes I would."

This conversation lasted as long as his supply of $20 bills did - a LONG time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

(The) Skids These Days...

July has sucked so far. It's been slow, agonizing, frustrating, and uneventful. Money trickles in, but nothing compared to my lucrative spring months. Not only is money slow, other shit is going down that is crazy-making.

1) A bouncer was hired at the club a few months ago. A retired cop (not my favorite category of people... but better, I suppose, than a working one!) was put in charge of collecting money for champagne rooms, house fees for lap dances, etc. He is one greedy motherfucker. He has charged my customers double the rate for champagne rooms, pocketing the extra cash (not only ripping off my customers, but eating away at the tip that would be, ordinarily, mine). He never watches the lapdance area, making it easy for guys to be grabby assholes, and then has the nerve to ask dancers for tips! I had a pretty good day a few weeks ago (before recession hit) and he was complaining to another dancer (a friend of mine who loyally reported back to me) that he was really upset with me, that I should share my earnings with him, blah blah. I did slip him a couple papers, begrudgingly; it was a wise move. Asshole is now the club manager. And to think I was going to go to management with my complaints about him!

2) I have realized that I am not a good stripper on days when the club is slow. I get cranky, I don't have patience to talk to customers, and all I can think about is making the money I need to make. Friday, I even wrote a note to a deaf customer that read "stop staring at my feet and give me $10." This is not an approach I normally use! When money is a-flowing, I have no problems stroking a guy's arm, chilling with him while he orders yet another cheap ass beer, etc. Desperation breeds desperation, I suppose.

3) Michael Jackson died. I get it. Talented, legendary figure is gone. But, does this really mean we expect dancers to moonwalk across the stage in stilettos during a stage set? I'm not quite sure what to do on those multiple occasions the DJ spins Billie Jean, Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, or a remixed Smooth Criminal while I'm trying to seduce the portly old guy on the corner of the bar. Crotch grab? It's "bad." "Remember the time" they used to play good ole Sean Paul, Pitbull, and classic rock at strip clubs?

4) I keep running into these conservative, or mainstream liberal, type nationalist guys at work. Maybe they are running on July 4th patriot juice, but I can't keep still and focus on money when these guys go on about America being the greatest nation, how fucked up the Arab world is, how hard work = success. Perhaps it's only in the midst of those conversations I actually find myself wishing an MJ tune would come on... beat it!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Taxing Ride

The great thing about working day shift in the summer is, it's daylight when you leave! Today I marched out of the club at 8 and straight into a beautiful pre-sunset NYC summer's eve, leaving behind the Summer's Eve vaginal freshness product buffet in the club dressing room. It was nice enough, and early enough, that I figured I'd walk the block to the subway rather than drop my hard-earned cash on an unnecessary cab ride.

But in that one-block walk a very persistent "gypsy" cab driver (what's the non-offensive term for a gypsy cab, by the way?) kept honking and asking me where I wanted to go, he'd give me a good deal.

I thought it over. Here's the thing (we started off friends*) - a big part of me was like, fuck it, take the cab. I had a very, very lucrative Friday at work and the $20s in my bag were burning a hole in it. Also, I had some shitty stuff happen: 1) My regular, generous customer got really sweaty and wet in the lapdance and pushed his dripping, glistening face into my freshly flatironed tresses, turning them into a pile of frizz (and nauseating/disgusting me at the same time!... I know guys tend to think a little sweat on their dancing girl is a turn on -- just FYI, the reverse is NOT true). What could I tell him? He pays my rent! Then, this other customer who is hell-bent on getting me to call him and meet him outside as a date got all teary eyed in lapdance (2nd customer who has cried on me; I think I'm cursed) when I told him I don't go out with customers (or guys I'm not attracted to (I didn't tell him that part.)). And every time I was doing a stage set he would tip me but without looking at me, and instead burying his face in his hands and hanging his head. THEN, the bouncer was telling a bunch of girls that he was pissed at me because I was "doing so well and not tipping him" - (this bouncer is an asshole who has stolen money from girls, the club, and customers on numerous occasions) so I had to abandon my pride and slip him some cash (which he got without having a drop of sweaty guy's perspiration in his fresh coif! imagine!) so that he wouldn't cause any further drama for me.**

Long story not as short as it could have been, I thought I owed it to myself to be spared a subway ride home, so I haggled with the driver for a minute and hopped in. "How are you, M? Same place I dropped you last time?"*** Shit, he KNOWS me? Conversation as follows:

Him: So, you're still working here? Didn't switch over to the other place?
Me: No, still working here.
Him: Is it busy?
Me: I don't think it's busy, but business is fine in general. What about for you, driving-wise?
Him: Slow, slow. But you don't work night time?
Me: No, I do it occasionally, but I hate getting home at 5 a.m. and a lot of times the guys are too drunk and rowdy for me.
Him: So what kind of guys come during the day?
Me: You know, guys who are on their lunch break, or are married, generally a tamer crowd.
Him: You like this job?
Me: Yeah, I like it.
Him: A Pakistani? Indian? Whatever you are? You like this job?
Me: Yes, I like it.
Him: (pulls over the car and stops) You like this job?
Me: Listen, people scrub floors or tell dirty lies in court or pick plaque out from between people's teeth and don't get asked the questions you're asking me now.
Him: Do you go in the private rooms there?
Me: Yes.
Him: And you still like the job?
Me: Yes. I think I know what you're asking, and no, I don't have sex in the private rooms. Just regular lapdances.
Him: Just dances? You don't do everything?
Me: No, not everything. Can you start driving again?
Him: So, I see. How old were you when you were naturalized?
Me: 3.
Him: You parents know what you do?
Me: No.
Him: You know these other two girls I picked up from your club before. Brandy and Licorice, you know, they came out with a customer and had me drop them off at a hotel. Do you do that?
Me: No.
Him: Yeah, one time Brandy even paid me to keep the car waiting for her outside when she was done. But some of the girls are just like you, they go straight home afterward.
Me: Yeah.
Him: So I saw you on the R train last week, kissing somebody.
Me: Oh... (I'm not sure if he really even saw this, or if it even happened, but he caught me off guard so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. He might have just been "testing" me...) What time was it?
Him: 3 a.m. You're married?
Me: No. I'm not a big marriage person.
Him: What are you doing tonight?
Me: Hanging out with friends. You can just let me off right here.

*Excuse the pop music interjection. My life would suck without you.
**In my efforts to not make my job sound like shit, I should mention that not only did I make good money, I also got a visit from my favorite friendstomer who temporarily erased a chunk of my woes and made me laugh.
***Conversation translated from its original Hindi/Punjabi mix.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cyrano de Berg-her-rack

It has dawned on me: about 50% of my regular customers who seem to be infatuated with me are actually infatuated with male, hetero friends of mine.

Example 1: One of my customers was absolutely tickled when I explained to him the difference between a movie having been filmed in IMAX versus just being projected onto an IMAX screen. When I said the words "aspect ratio" to him, it was like dirty talk! He got mad excited. But the only reason I really knew that is because a film buff pal of mine nerded out on me and told me all this stuff just a few days before.

Example 2: When I started talking about Pau Gasol's moves on the court (I've already forgotten the information at this point...sports? big snooze!), another customer was like "wow, a girl like you sure does know a lot about basketball!" He was completely floored. I was just glad I was listening the night before while some guys hooted and hollered at a TV screen.

Example 3: I talked to a graphic designer about using Wacom Tabs for design and illustration; he ate that shit up. The only reason I know? You guessed it -- dudes who design.

My conclusion is that a lot of these guys dig a woman's body, but when it comes down to it enjoy the company of whatever it is many straight men are socialized to be. (Showing again the falseness of our ridiculously rigid gender constructs!) Wouldn't it be cool to, like, have an earpiece and transmitter so that my hetero male pals could feed me info to converse about with these customers?

It'd be like the movie Roxanne, except instead of a large nose holding the boy back, it'd be a (large?) dick! "Talk to him about the Manny Ramirez scandal!" "Ask him if he's ever heard of X-Men Noir!" "Tell him your new widescreen TV is 1080p!"

In my Hollywood ending, the customers realize that we all exist on a sexual continuum and genders and sexualities are fluid. (Roll end credits)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Rock in a Hard Place

I am a huge Chris Rock fan, with his race commentary and hilarious critiques of U.S. foreign policy. But why are his gender politics so whack? (skip to the 3 minute mark)

As a student, non-abused, day shift stripper, I gotta say - he's way off the mark! Then again, if you're reading this post, you probably already knew that...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In-kind is unkind

Lately I have had a slew of formerly generous customers show up without cash, but with some sort of gift. Thompson Thompson showed up with a huge box of cookies that he must have picked up at Costco or BJ's or Sams. I wasn't there that day, but Sheila kept them for me until my next shift, and gasped/doubled over laughing when I chucked them across the room into a garbage can filled with tampons and sweaty baby wipes. (I wish I knew basketball lingo; I'm sure I could be more descriptive...) I'm sorry, after that asshole's ever-shrinking wallet and ever-grabbier hands (see previous post), he makes me want to toss my cookies in more ways than one.

Then came Sumit, who has gone from taking me to the champagne room to buying me a few rounds of drinks and tipping me $20 to, most recently, swinging by after work to give me a DVD. I must admit, I was touched; I know he just stopped by to give me the DVD. But I shouldn't let the fact that we're friends take precedence over the fact that this is my workplace, yes? Couldn't he have tucked a $5 bill into the DVD cover?

So my recent frustration with gifts instead of cash had me briefly wondering if I was turning into a materialistic, money-minded automaton: the stereotypical stripper. But, really!? Perhaps this is just a reflection how impactful those 'stripper stereotypes' are; I think teachers, lawyers, and graphic designers would complain if they were given cookies instead of paychecks. I have every right to as well! So, Sumit and Thompson, pay up!! (Actually, Thompson, you're getting to the point where your money won't help you with me; I'm officially disgusted!)

Okay, this is not to knock gift-giving in strip clubs. Some of my best customers have given me comic books*, DVDs, perfume, and Victoria's Secret giftcards. And not in lieu of money, but in addition to it.

*Imagine gifting a stripper Art Spiegelman's "Maus." What would Marcel Mauss say?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can I give you a laughdance? / Lapoiera

Crazy Johnny came in the other day, and my coworker Sheila and I had the same routine we always have with him. He took her for a lapdance, then brought me back to join them for a 2-on-1 menage-a-crazy with him, and then kept her back there for another song or two after I left. He is so fucking hilarious (and not in a "you're so funny I want to date you" kind of way, but in a "how are you able to function in the real world" sort of way) that I can't help but laugh (I mean, hysterically! side-splitting laughter!) throughout every second of every lapdance I give this guy. First of all, he gets us both on his lap and grabs the back of my head, forces it between her legs, between her tits, and does the same to her with my body. Then he tries to get us to finger each other. All the while, he nods along with a maniacal look in his eyes, his mouth almost watering. (Picture the craziest of the three main hyenas from the Lion King.) Sheila is so used to his antics that she just screams "Johnny! I love you! I love you!" and fakes orgasm. At which point he looks at me like we're both in on some little secret, and gives me a nod, a wink, and whispers "she likes it!" At some point, when he gets too aggressive, Sheila says "We can't do that here, we'll get fired! Let's meet in a hotel room on Sunday night and we can all finger each other and fuck each other then." Then he asks me, very seriously, if I'm free on Sunday (hyena mode fades temporarily). Yet, the laughter has taken over my body and I can only manage to nod between gasps for air. Please note: She makes the Sunday promise every other week he comes into the club, and still, we manage to put on the same routine for him.

If laughter is the best medicine, then I will live to be a hundred and have Crazy Johnny's hyena antics to thank for my longevity.

They say capoiera is part dance, part fight, created by Afro-Brazilians hundreds of years ago. It combines elements of martial arts, dance, and sport. I swear, a lapdance customer of mine had me feeling like I was learning this beautiful art form! He had thrown a couple hundred at me, so I was putting up with his bullshit more than other customers and trying to be nice. But, man, was he grabby! It was like, he's slowly extend his arms toward my breast, and I'd lean back, or start shaking my ass in his face. Then he'd try to bite my ass, and so I'd drop to my knees and rub my fingers down his chest. Then he'd try to slide his hands between my legs, and I'd start dancing further away from him. I swear, it was part dance, part self-defense, part me attempting to look graceful, part fight! I think I'm going to call it Lapoeira, and start teaching classes to rich white people at upscale studios on the Upper West side. (starts writing craigslist ad)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bobby Jin-dull

This guy came into the club on Monday and took 30 minutes of my life I can never get back. At first, I was kind of excited, because nerdy, self-conscious South Asian men are my forte. I was on him like curry on rice. This dancer came by and (I think this was very awkward) was like "Are you in love with our beautiful Pakistani girl yet? All the Indian guys love her." The thing is, I don't think he loved me, or anything remotely close. And the feeling was way mutual. He started yammering and went on uninterrupted for the longest time, and sounded arrogant and boring and irritating as hell. Here's pretty close to a direct transcript of the conversation. Imagine it being spoken in an extremely nasal, Jindal-esque manner. (Note: At first I was nodding along and acting interested, but but the end I was droopy eyed and yawning and glancing around awkwardly. It didn't seem to stop his monologue, though...)

"Yeah, I'm pretty much the whitest Indian you'll ever meet. My good friend, he's Italian, he calls me a coconut. Yeah, I'm a coconut. I mean, like, I was born in India. I don't know where you're from, but I'm from Calcutta. So, yeah, I speak Bengali, and my Hindi is pretty weak. But I mean, I moved here when I was two years old, so I'm pretty much American. But I'm also like the whitest guy you'll ever meet. I mean, I just don't understand why all these Indians have so much cultural pride. I mean, it's cool if that's what you wanna do, but it's just not my thing. Like, my older brother, he married a Bengali girl, and she's a doctor too. So it was like my parents' dream come true. I mean, it wasn't even an arranged marriage. It was like, they met on their own, even though our moms are close friends. It's like that movie the Namesake. But yeah, so they got married, and actually they're having a kid next month. I mean, I'm really happy for them, but I don't think I'll marry an Indian girl. It's gonna have to be a white girl. Yeah, I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. And I don't mean Philadelphia, or like some cool part of the state, I mean, there were like 10 Indians in the whole town, and four of those were my family. So, yeah. I mean, most of my friends where white and stuff, and that's why I'm like a white guy too. Even like, Bollywood, I don't understand why Indians care so much about their movies. I mean, I watch Hollywood films, and I can't understand what the big deal is about going to see an Indian movie. Really. So, yeah. I mean, I kind of broached the subject of marrying a white girl with my mom, and I think it's been a little easier since my cousin married a white girl. He married a white girl, get this, they dated ten years before they got engaged. And they're having a kid too. But I think he broke the ice for me. I mean, like my cousin's mom, and his wife's mom, are like best friends. I mean, they talk on the phone and stuff. Before they got married, I doubt anyone in my family talked to white people on the phone. So yeah. But their wedding, they had a traditional Bengali one and a Greek Orthodox one as well. The girl, my cousin's wife, is Greek Orthodox. And her family actually didn't approve of her marrying my cousin. Her dad didn't even come to the wedding. I mean, my family didn't approve either but at least they showed up at the wedding. And eventually really started liking the girl. But her dad, no way, he didn't want anything to do with it. But I mean, I feel like watching how happily married they are, and stuff, he kind of made it a little easier for me to marry a white girl. I'm not dating anyone or anything right now, but I know once I do I can tell my family about it. I don't know, I mean, cultural pride is fine and everything, but I don't understand why they're so into traditional dance and stuff. And movies, and following politics in India or whatever. I mean, we live here now. So yeah I'm a real coconut. You and me, you know, we're not like the rest of Indians. Or, you're Pakistani? But I mean, we're not traditional like that. I mean, we feel at home in this country. So, yeah. I mean eventually races are all going to disappear, but I feel like Indians, you know, we're slowing that down by just staying within our own community. But like the town in Pennsylvania I grew up in, it was all white. Even the Dunkin Donuts was owned by a white family, probably the only one in the US. So yeah, I mean, I did come to New York a lot, and we moved here when I was young. But my real young years were in that town. But once I came to New York there were all these Indians. It was a new thing for me. I mean, when I go to these family gatherings, it's so annoying. All the men go into one room and the women into another. And the women, all they talk about is who's dating who, and which celebrity got divorced, and fashion and recipes. But then the men try to talk about politics but they don't have a clue. They just talk about Barack Obama and stuff. It's pretty crazy. But yeah. So yeah, I'm a real coconut."
"Excuse me, do you want a lapdance?"
"Yeah, but let's talk a bit more first."
"I gotta go." (puff of smoke in a shape of my silhouette lingers)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Monikers galore!

Over the course of the year, my coworker and I have amassed quite a long list of nicknames for some regular customers. I just realized this the other day as she showed me the contacts list in her stripper phone. (She has a prepaid phone and stores regular customers' numbers in it -- but not under their real names! She'd be likely to forget them if that was the case. She uses the phone on slow days to call these guys and tell them to come visit.)

-Biracial dick (a lot of the girls in the club have seen it and claims it's clearly two different colors; luckily I have been spared!)
-Vibrating ring man (the guy keeps a vibrator in his pants and turns it on during lapdances...I'm fairly sure that's not the only thing that gets turned on! All I can say is all us dancers hate it...He really wants us to grind up on it real hard! If he were to ask a petite girl if she had double A's, I'm guessing it'd be batteries he was asking for...)
-Teddy bear (I was shocked that my coworker called him this. He was my regular customer for a while until he got a little too aggressive and irritating. When she was like "How come you don't dance for teddy bear anymore?" I realized she was dead on! He does look like a teddy bear! Short, portly, ears stick out, big grin. But there is nothing soft or cuddly about him...)
-Sweater vest (see previous posts; hairy ass chest)
-Tuition guy (Ugh. The first day this guy came in, he told me he would help me pay my tuition. I think he should pay for some therapy for himself, though)
-Crazy Indian (This man from Bihar likes to shake his legs around like crazy during a lapdance! It's like a Sharper Image massage chair gone nuts)
-The Penguin (I think this is actually a rather mean nickname, but everyone in the club calls this guy the Penguin - he kind of walks in this shuffle/waddle way like Danny DeVito in the Batman movie. I'd rather call him Pees in Alley because people have seen him peeing outside the club. He is hilarious! Once he asked me during a lapdance if I minded if he did some dirty talk; I said sure. He proceeded to say "I'm gonna shower you with a hundred kisses!" If that's dirty talk, then I must be one foul-mouthed biatch!)
-Superman (This guy thinks he rules the world, but he's an idiot. He talked to me about Born Into Brothels once and how he just wishes he could save all the poor children in India from their uneducated parents. He once told me that I *have* to be a lesbian; what other girl would work in a strip club? He also buys and sells diamonds, but he must do a piss-poor job because he tried to appraise my $4 necklace once.)
-Academic Asshole (This is a white guy with a black fetish. He talks to me pretty humbly (maybe because we're both grad students?) but the other girls say he uses academic jargon as a way to degrade them and make himself feel cool. What would Franz Fanon say?)
-Lazy Eye Crybaby (I'm gonna devote a whole post to him, so some other time)
-Bearded Blow Job (This guy gets really turned off by girls who refuse to give him head in the VIP. He'll be really friendly at first, but once they say they can't do it, he'll be downright rude. Not so with me! He asked me if I would give him head, and I looked at his crotch and said there's nothing I wanted to do more, but recently club security had been really strict and fired a few girls for said act. I then went on to graphically describe what I'd do and how I'd do it, convincing him that blowing him was something I was really into. He became a semi-regular of mine! Psychology and stripping - strange bedfellows.)
-Rockefeller Racist (also deserves his own blog post)
-200 (A regular customer of mine who has had sex with over 200 prostitutes. We also call him "Tax Return Guy" because he once spent a large portion of his tax return on me.)
-Sweaty Rabbi (A Hasidic Jew who likes his nipples pulled *hard* during a lapdance)
-T-shirt guy (Not very creative. He sells t-shirts in Central Park.)
-Tibetan Fanboy (He's Tibetan. And a fan of mine. That's all.)
-Benjamin Button (See 3 posts back)
-Professor (A teacher who rolls into the club and grades exams at the bar; he has offered me and several other dancers thousands of dollars to have a child with him)
-Crazy Johnny (He's just crazy.)
-Lebanese Greek (Some days he's from Lebanon, other days's he's from Greece. He's the guy whose first name is the same as his last -- previous post. He used to talk to me at length in Arabic, but it was all Greek to me...)
-Coach Purse (This guy claims to work at Coach and has promised several of us a Coach handbag. I'm still waiting for mine, a year later.)
-Serial Killer with Glasses (This guy met me at the club a while ago and we hit it off talking about R. Crumb's drawings. He was super nice to me and I was certain he'd become my regular. Well, the next time he showed up he talked to another dancer and acted like he didn't remember me. I was surprised, but whatevs. Anyhow, later on that dancer he was talking to told me that he was asking her all these questions about me - like my real name, for instance, and where I live - and told her he's really into violent rape sex fantasies. Check, please!)
-Wet Kiss/My Boyfriend (This guy shows up every couple months, and will go up to a dancer and say "Can I get a lapdance?" Once the dancer walks him to the lapdance area, he says "Let's sit for a while before the dance." The naive dancers will sit with him for a minute before realizing he's broke and not about to buy a dance. Once you get up to leave, he tries to give you a kiss on the cheek - the wettest, most slobbery kiss ever. Somehow he got dubbed My Boyfriend recently - I think because one of the other girls, as a joke, told him that I really like him, so he kept following me around annoyingly.)
-Foot Fetish Nerd (Tall, big huge glasses, obsessed with feet. I've only danced for him once, because his favorite girl wasn't there, and he asked me to repeatedly say "WORSHIP MY FEET" and he kept calling me a goddess.)

Note: We generally don't have nicknames for people we like. A) We can remember their names without needed a mnemonic device because they are interesting and memorable enough on their own. B) We like and respect them enough that we're not trying to shit-talk them when they're not around. C) It's difficult to essentialize and condense the interesting/fun guys into a one or two word summary.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pigs, Swine Flu, and Normal Flirtation

I was already paranoid about this swine flu epidemic and working at the club in close proximity to people. But the fear was amplified when I got to work! Coworkers were talking about it, and the bartender was coughing, so I refused to drink anything she dropped a straw into. I must have washed my hands ten times! The hypochondriac in me gingerly stepped out today. What made it worse was two nasty customers, one who wanted to kiss me and the other who wanted to put his hands near my mouth. Man, did I fight them off! I should have epidemic-mindset at work every day - I'll show customers to challenge my personal boundaries! Anyway, some funny shit came up with a coworker who was even more paranoid than I was. Key quotes? "These whores are probably all carriers of the flu anyway. They give a guy a lapdance, then we give him a lapdance, boom, we're dead." "I don't want to get the flu! If I do, the CDC will be all over me asking where I work, and then boom, the next thing you know there's a front page story about me, the stripper, who spread the swine flu all over NYC."

Flu fears aside, I got to thinking about flirtation. Strippers always say they don't know how to dance like a normal person (not a stripper) when they go out dancing. But I was thinking, I don't think I know how to flirt like a normal person anymore! There are times when subtly stroking your breast or the guys' thigh just isn't appropriate or fun. Like, when the guy is not a strip club customer at all but someone you know outside. in the real world, and you're trying to charm him. How does one make the transition from trying to score a lapdance to trying to score a soft kiss, a date, or a relationship?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Discursively Dissed and Cursed

An experienced stripper warns a newbie about the dangers of telling everyone what kind of work she does. The newbie naively casts aside the caveat; she knows not to tell people a) dangerously close to family and b) those whose gender politics are questionable*. Other than that, she’s proud of herself as a dancer, and cavalierly lets people around her know it.

The decision is regrettable.

The experienced stripper was onto something. Be very, very selective in who you tell about what kind of work you do. Newbie is sad that this adage holds true; she was hoping that people who are in the sex industry would find comfort in progressive allies and use their tales (the flippant, the funny, and the frightening) from work to illuminate the realities of sex work and bring it into discourse. Not to say this hasn’t happened – indeed, Newbie has opened up a lot of dialogic spaces about sexuality, labor rights, health, and rape in personal relationships where they weren’t there before. But Newbie regretfully looks back at the brazen decision to tell anyone and everyone who didn’t easily fall into groups a and b about her decision to start stripping and provide consequent updates about titillating tales from work.

Experienced stripper thought it was a bad idea to openly declare what we do for a few reasons.

  • · People will think you’re really rich and have all kinds of opinions about what you should do with your money.
  • · Guys will think you’re easy and their relationships with you will become hypersexualized.
  • · Word about your true identity might spread and reach your customers, blowing confidentiality.

But there’s more, Newbie learns…

Because strippers are considered performers in the entertainment industry, the performative aspect of the work may be thought to exist outside of the bounds of the shift itself. In other words, she’s a stripper to prove something to the world. Her stripper identity is as much an act off-stage as it is on…

Whore sexuality is threatening. It’s threatening to non-sex-positive women and men; it’s threatening to people who talk about progressive sexual politics but in practice that’s defined simply by promiscuous fucking.

Well, words are boomerangs, and Newbie’s na├»ve openness and excitement about her work are hitting her in the head. Can’t take ‘em back, but she can critically reevaluate spaces where she does talk about work, critically assess which allies are truly allies, and think more about the systematic ways sex work is excluded (again and again) from discourse at all levels.

That said, she’s damn proud of herself and the work she does. It takes something to deal with a cop begging for oral sex and flashing a badge; to fight off a 200 lb. guy who’s too aggressive in the champagne room and then be accused of hurting his wrist; to overcome discomfort with being outside of conventional standards of attractiveness and be ok with brownness and curviness; to handle jealousy or concern from intimate partners outside of work related to the job; to reevaluate her relationship to money, men, and her body on a daily basis. It’s a sense of empowerment that may cause discomfort or seem self-congratulatory, but she’s thrilled to embody it.

* Newbie incorrectly assumes that she can easily identify group (b)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin's Buttons

It's taken me a while to get around to this post, likely because I was suffering from PTSD after this incident. A few months back, a stout young chap* came into the club when there were no customers there. He wasted no time; grabbed me, and took me to the champagne room. There, he asked if I would have sex with him. I said no. He told me all the other girls do. I told him I'd be happy to give him his money back and he could spend it on another girl, in that case.** He declined, said he wanted me. Asked me if I'd blow him. I said no. Asked if I'd jerk him off. I said no. Asked if he could "jerk off near my mouth." I said no. He congratulated me for not selling sex, telling me that perhaps the reason he liked me more than the other girls was that I didn't do it. He tried to shake my hand as he left -- I politely waved instead. There was something really gross about him. I was actually disappointed when he reappeared a week later, and I was getting myself all prepared to decline the champagne room. Instead, he suggested we go for lapdances instead. I agreed, but gave him "airdances" - he smelled better this time, but I still didn't feel like making real contact with him. At some point during the fourth or fifth song, he pulled out his junk. And I mean, all of his junk. The frank and the beans. And there was something seriously wrong. I tried describing it to a friend of mine who's in public health; I thought she might be able to tell me what the condition was. But to date, we haven't been able to pin down exactly what STI he has. The best way to describe it is this: it seems his balls were covered with what looked like those fabric-covered buttons. I was too traumatized and too busy staying far far far away to get a proper look, but any medical experts out there, feel free to weigh in. What might this have been? Flesh-colored moles? Smooth*** warts? Molluscum contagiosum? (That's the one my public health friend guessed.)

1) If your junk was covered in buttons, wouldn't you warn a girl before you whipped it out and traumatized her with the sight?
2) Why whip out your balls at all?

*I should also mention foul-smelling.
** Classic/brilliant response we use, if I may say so myself.
*** The only thing smooth about this guy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nice guys get blogged about last...

I was chomping down on a lamb kabob after my shift last night and it dawned on me that I only* write about the guys who show up without underwear, who turn into semi-stalkers, who are cheap and grabby, etc. This a) perpetuates the idea that strippers work in demeaning environments, hustling assholes for a buck and b) is completely inaccurate! Maybe this is just part of the whole, using a blog to process stuff thing, so talking about the regrettable shit seems more worthwhile. Or, maybe I just want to make people chuckle with titillating/disgusting tales from work. Today's post goes out to the nice guys, a sizeable minority among strip club attendees! Thanks for tipping well, not insisting on getting my real name/phone number, asking if you can touch, offering good money for my used g-string (I still haven't sold it to the poor bastard), being up front about how much you expect to spend, not getting jealous (often times, even getting excited!) when I go make money off of other guys, bringing presents that are not ugly earrings or redundant bottles of perfume, wearing underwear, not wearing sweatpants, not crying during lapdances**, not asking my friend/the bartender where I live or if I have a boyfriend, and liking sounds other than your own voice.

*Asian gambling man is the exception
** This blog post has been a long time coming

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pun Job

The following exchange got me a series of lapdances from a guy, who I assume will become a semi-regular customer. Who says guys don't find a sense of humor sexy? (Either that, or take extreme pity on girls who make dorky jokes...)

Customer: So, you going on stage any time soon?
Me: I don't think so, I was just up there. Besides, I'd prefer your lap to the stage anyday.
Customer: Oh, yeah?
Me: Yeah, though I'm guessing both would have hardwood surfaces...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another nautch(girl) on the bedpost...

Props to Bollywood and the Indian film industry! Leaps and bounds ahead of its Western counterpart, which only recently began making films about dancing girls, often derogatory/sensationalized and still underrepresented. Unlike Hollywood, the courtesan, nautch girl, tawaif, sex worker in Hindi films has never been invisibile. No, this does not mean that she is unanimously treated with the humanity, agency, and respect she deserves (often the films leave her love unrequited, her lover dead or with another woman, or her honor ruined). But she is capable of love; she can protect herself and impart wisdom; she is a real and tangible part of society; she is visible. Today's post features some awesome musical numbers featuring girls who sell some form of sex from Hindi films through the years...

Mangal Pandey/The Rising - Main Vari Vari

Devdas (remake) - Maar Dala

Umrao Jaan (original) - In Aankhon Ki Masti

Pakeezah - Chalte Chalte

Mughal E Azam - Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya

Umrao Jaan (remake) - Salaam

Pakeezah - Inhi Logon Ne

Friday, March 27, 2009

How to lose a guy in ten dances....

Dancer-customer relationships are usually short lived. A regular might be a steady, once or twice a week guy for a few months, but my thoughts are that a 'regular' club relationship might not last much longer than that. The guy will either tire of you, be sick of not getting sex/blow jobs/hand jobs, find another girl, insist that the relationship can only continue if you meet outside the club, or feel guilty about his marital issues. Here are some tales of regular customers with whom relationships went the way of the British Empire.

1 - Hot young pushy married designer guy
This guy, Ricardo, comes to our club every Friday during his lunch break. He gets two lapdances - always from a different/new girl - and comes in his pants at the end of the second song. (Yes, we girls have compared notes on Ricardo.) Anyway, a few months back, he brought in his co-worker, Eddie, a real looker. He's from Peru, married, and works as a designer in New Jersey. He took to me right away, and started coming in every Friday. Moneywise he was okay, maybe $60 per visit. But each visit got a little more intense - i.e. on the first visit "Do you cook?" on the second visit "When are you going to cook for me?" and on the third visit "Where's the food you were supposed to cook for me?" - and he started making demands and requests. Will you send me a picture? I brought you an article to read, will you bring me something? Where do you go out dancing, and can I meet you there? He seemed like the really sensitive, egotistic type, so I knew that saying "I don't go out with customers" would have killed our relationship and stopped the cashflowescrow. So I told him, instead, that I think about him all the time and would love to go out with him, but I can't stand the idea of going out with a married guy (i.e. I made it 'his problem' instead of mine.) His brilliant response was that he's never cheated on his wife before me. At least my strategy kept him coming back for a while. On his last visit, he had put roses under his shirt and had chocolate covered godiva strawberries to feed me during a lapdance, which was followed up with a final request/ultimatum that we go out together. Which was followed by my final rejection. Eddie, now, has gone the way of the scrunchie.

2- Thomson Thomson
Yes, his first and last name are the same. His business card told me so. He was my first regular customer! He had me at "hello, here's $20 for your smile." He definitely was not a big money guy - $40 per visit tops - but I could count on him like death/taxes. But then he'd throw in $50 bonuses before I went on vacations, had a birthday, or for Valentine's Day, which was nice. He took to me like a daughter figure, in a weird way, and would shower me with blessings and prayers for an awesome future husband who loves me. (Fyi, Thomson hates Eddie. He would get really irked when I'd spend time with him. He wasn't jealous of any of my other customers.) Anyway, Thomson is probably pushing 65 or 70, and we converse in Arabic at the club (I think I had HIM at "Marhaba!"). He feels this protective, fatherly urge toward me, except when he's subtly pushing his old-man erection against my butt cheeks. Thomson is one of those guys who can reach orgasm just from a tight, long, high contact hug - which is basically what my lapdances with him consist of. Anyhow, he takes the baklava when it comes to club relationships. We have been 'together' for 9 months, and he never missed a beat. But a few weeks ago, the tight hug just didn't do it for him, and he reached down between my legs. I tried to move his hand away, but he resisted, and (get this) he SHUSHED ME. And then promptly ejaculated in his pantaloons. Motherfucker. The next time I saw him, I gave him icy treatment. And the next next time, I told him I was on my period so he could not travel south of the border. I haven't seen him since. Farewell, Tommy Toms, I got better things to do than spread eagle for a guy who doesn't even pay my Visa bill.

3 - Sweater Vest
I call him sweater vest because he took his shirt off in the champagne room, and for a second I thought he was wearing one. Nope, just chest hair. He was a wealthy, white, married, Wall Street character who had recently lost his job. You know shit's scary when a freshly laid-off exec hits the strip club scene to celebrate with his generous severance package and ample savings account! Anyway, he took to me, and became a regular, and treated me as both a therapist and stripper. I don't know what the hell happened to him, but my last conversation with him involved the affairs he's had since marriage and the guilt he's coping with. Since our heart-to-heart about his dishonest ways, he's been nowhere to be seen. I just hope his wife didn't find traces of my eye-glitter in his chest hair! (Lipstick on the collar is so 80's, no?)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Best (or worst, you decide) Quotes from the Strip Club

5. "Right now, there's just a thin layer of fabric between us. Why not just make it a thin layer of latex?"
(See my post below on "Customer of the Week" for more info...)

4. "We Spanish and black girls have to suck it or give hand jobs to make good money here. But you're the only Pakistani girl, so you don't have to show no one your fallopia."

3. "This thing on my mouth, it's just a pimple, not a herpes."

2. "I'd never actually ask for a blow job at a strip club." (5 minutes later) "Can you give me a blow job?"

1. "What extras do you do in the champagne room?" "None." "And, what do you mean by 'none'?"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Work with me, now...

Gripe: Relationship between club staff and dancers are so complex, undefined, sexualized, and dependent.

Example #1: When I had first started working at the club, the DJ at the time was obsessed with me. He kept telling me I had a really exotic face (if I had a penny for every time the word exotic was used...) and a nice ass. He'd also intently watch me whenever I did my stage set. Also, the DJ tipout at the end of the night seems kind of low, so I always tip above and beyond that (unless I've had a really shitty day) so I think he started appreciating my generosity. Anyway, one night he stayed past his shift and was drinking, and then started hitting on me, telling me how much I turn him on. He asked if he could buy some lapdances from me, and I agreed. What he didn't tell me was that, as a club employee, he wanted to get his lapdances in the champagne room (i.e. complete privacy) and pay lapdance rates! That's like paying for McDonald's and eating filet mignon...My hands were tied! DJ revenge in a strip club sucks, and DJ friendship is really important. DJ revenge? Well, when a DJ hates a dancer, he might never put her on stage, or play really awful hard-to-dance-to music when she is on stage. Once this DJ didn't like this dancer and whenever she took a nasty-looking pervy guy for a lapdance he'd play really really long songs! On the flipside, there was this one S&M sweaty a-hole who used to come in for me and as a courtesy (probably because of my generous tipping), the Deej would play really really short songs. So I could make $80 in like ten minutes. Anyway, I didn't want to create a tense DJ-dancer relationship with the DJ that night, so I didn' t bother pointing out to him that it wasn't exactly fair to me that he pays me for a lapdance when what he's really getting is a champagne room. Back there, he ended up whipping it out and trying to jerk off (as I gingerly inched away from him, wanting nothing near it, and eventually making him put it away). And after that night, our relationship went back to "normal" in the club.

Example #2: The relationship between the busboy and dancers is ridiculous. The dancers make way more money than the busboy, who happens to be an undocumented immigrant. They send him out for smokes and dinners and pay him only for what he buys, and never bother tipping. It's fucked up. One day he had a few drinks, and started telling me that he really liked me. He told me he watched me on the cameras sometimes and that he knew I was one of the few girls who didn't "do sex" and that he really liked that about me. Could he get a few lapdances? Sure. The lapdances were nice - i.e. he kept his pants on and his hands, generally, to himself. Then he paid me the next day. Since then, I think we have a really nice friendship going. He's attracted to me, but he also respects me as a person (and he says that "Pakistanis are generally very nice and don't cheat on their wives" and he really respects my culture...). But then he has these wierd days where he'll be really horny and will talk to me really dirty - our (or should I say, HIS) running joke is now "you coming home with me?" at the end of my shift. And I say "you can't afford me" and we laugh. It's all very harmless and jovial, but it still occupies this strange gray area. The power dynamics are evident: he is male; he is responsible for my security in many instances. At the same time, I'm a dancer, a US citizen, well-off (certainly when compared to him). So there was this time when he took the joke a bit too far ("Wanna come home with me?" "You can't afford me." "Well I'm gonna wait outside and kidnap you.") and I threw my stiletto at him, laughing, but still pissed.

Example #3: Management! I have dealt with four managers so far, and only one of them wasn't fucking around with dancers. The others? One of them, Eric, was a serial monogamist when it came to the dancers. He would have a long, intense relationship with a dancer, then there'd inevitably be some drama, and then she'd "get fired because she missed a shift" or something ridiculous, and then he'd start a new relationship with another dancer. Eric, FYI, was also a retired cop. The current manager, Larry, has also found himself infatuated with me. Mind you, he hangs out with other dancers, having sex, doing blow, etc. But with me, "he finds himself thinking about me all the time." I think it started because he realized we share some politics (we ended up having a really engaged conversation about Che Guevara once), and then he realized I don't turn tricks (which always gets the guy to think of you 'respectfully' instead of as a ho, which is fucked up in its own way), and the rest was history. I've found out that he actually asks other dancers in the club for personal information about me, like, do I have a boyfriend? would I ever date him? etc. etc. Luckily the only dancer I actually share personal information with is an absolutely loyal friend to me, and would never trade info about me.

Conclusion? There is something really strange about the relationship with male staff at the club. I've had many a customer throw $40 or $50 at the lapdance bouncer so we can have more "privacy" (i.e. "Don't interrupt me when you see me grabbing her tits") during our dances. I know that money talks in a club, and dancers should never have any illusions that the bouncers are truly there to ensure our safety. Not only can they be tipped to turn a blind eye, often times, they want to break rules with the dancer too. I was reading a great article about the sex work industry and how feminists would never try to protect sex workers they way they try to protect women who are looking for abortion services. It's true, the dancers, tricks, and whores - especially those of us who don't fulfill the image of the downtrodden, oppressed, rape/trafficking victim - are hardly worthy of energies of "the feminist movement" to make sure we get home safe, to make sure that even a joking threat ("I'm gonna kidnap you!") is seen as profoundly offensive. And so we've turned to hiring males to do the work in the club of ensuring our safety. This option, it turns out, has been largely problematic as well.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Customer of the Week

I must share the tale of, let's call him Dave...Dave. He truly made my week last week. Dave's a semi-regular customer of mine. I can expect to see him once a month, and he only spends money on me. He spends good money too - he'll buy a couple of lapdances, take me to the champagne room, and tip $90-150 depending on the day. He's an Asian statistician at some bank that pays him a lot of money - enough where the company car drives him to strip clubs and the driver rolls around the city while he has fun inside with me. Anyway, he's great! His generosity is awesome, but any dancer will tell you that money alone does not a great customer make. (Some day, I'll post about Billionaire Asshole and you'll see what I mean.) It's also that he's really a blast to hang out with... He must be like 40 years old. He's really into Indian girls (hence, me) - and educated and open-minded ones at that. He told me that Chinese guys like Indian girls because of our thick black hair, the fact that we have full lips, and that "we have more ass than Chinese girls."

Anyway, he cracks me up. He comes to the club, and we sit and talk for a few minutes. The conversation inevitably starts out by talking about work, school... and then he shifts gears into dirty talk (the line he used last time was - "When I walked in and saw you on stage I immediately went from 6 to 12."). The dirty talk usually involves more frank conversation about our likes (he likes medium sized breasts, missionary style sex, and penetrating with his fingers) rather than the "ooh you get me so wet" variety of dirty talk. Shortly after a few minutes of talk, we retreat to the champagne room, where he playfully begs me to allow him to finger me (the playful tone makes the whole thing rather comforting, rather than extremely annoying, for me, which is hard to explain). He also once asked if I'd insert a finger in his ass, which I politely declined. Had just had a manicure, see. He always wavers between begging for sex and commending me for not doing it. (He's not the only one! I've had way too many guys say "I think the reason I like you more than these other dancers is because you don't break too many of the rules. I know you're clean, and I like that you're a challenge." I hate that when it comes from most guys... It's patronizing as hell, plus it doesn't stop them from begging for sex...)

But usually our time in the champagne room is a combination of dirty talk, laughter, and lapdances. He really makes me laugh back there! He'll say stuff like "After the age of 20, hand jobs just don't work anymore" or "Do I have the Asian curse?" (in reference to his dick). He's really self-deprecating and humble, and it's hilarious! He'll also told me, during a lapdance, "The only thing between us is a thin layer of fabric. What if that were just a thin layer of latex instead?" which cracked me up pretty hard. Coming from any aggressive or dirty pig, it'd piss me off, but his neurotic, funny, and generally harmless demeanor makes it really endearing.

Anyway, last time he had some more hours to kill so he ended up spending a lot of time in the club after his champagne room. He made my day! He kept doing this thing where he'd make bets with me, like "If you can get a guy to take you for a lapdance in the next 20 minutes, I'll match whatever he spends on you!" And he kept his word! And then, he kept doubling the odds and "making it interesting." Wow! That day, needless to say, I broke my personal record! I came home with a nice chunk of change. Wouldn't it be cool if there were some way to combine the following two vices: compulsive gambling, and stripper fetishes?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Onions make me cry...

A big thumbs-down to The Onion, a usually funny and satirical paper that really pissed me off for the following:

The piece denigrates those who *do* strip as a way of life, and implies that dancers are stuck in abusive relationships and abysmal work conditions.

And boo to me for every time I politely smiled and nodded along as a customer commended me for "having something else going" for me in my life, not like the other low-life girls at the club who didn't have education or politics.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recent uses of babywipes

I'm not sure who uses baby wipes more: a new mother or me at a shift at the club. Baby wipes are as crucial to strippers as exotic natives are to anthropologists! Anyone? Anyone? okay, anyway, What would happen if one were to do like a commodity chain ethnography of baby wipes in strip clubs? (Wenner Gren leans in, tantalized...)

Baby wipes - Use #1
The obvious: freshening up any and all parts of your body after a stage set and before a lapdance.

Baby wipes - Use #2
High-friction lapdances can often get guys really hot and bothered. Actually, low friction and no-friction dances can do this to. But even just a little knee-near-the-groin action can get some guys to blow their load in their pants. I would say this probably applies to somewhere between a third and a fifth of the strip club customer population. Actually, once I gave a guy a lapdance and halfway through the first song he told me I could stop, that he'd already finished his business. I was hardly making any contact with the region!!! Thus proving that orgasms are as much in the head as they are in the ... other head. Anyway, there is nothing like a sweatpants (or trackpants) customer whose bone-on you can feel pretty plainly. I tend to hover above these boys in dances rather than actually sit on their laps. I call it hoverdancing. The skill of being able to hoverdance is known as hovercraft. Anyhow, the last thing I want to come (pardon the pun) into contact with is semen. I have successfully (knock on wood -- not too hard, though! that's friction!) avoided such contact since starting the job. Still, when a guy comes in his pants during a lapdance, baby wipes are necessary mostly as a psychological cleansing tool...

Baby wipes - Use #3
This customer I nicknamed Slouchy Hussain came in last week. Usually he takes me to the Champagne Room, which is where he earned his odd moniker. I call him slouchy because he does what so many guys do during lap dances - they gradually slide down till they're almost horizontal, laying flat on their back! What is it about sitting up straight that is so loathesome to them?! Usually when guys start doing this I pull them up by the back of their neck and have them sit up straight again. But Slouchy Hussain looks so intent, so focused, that it would really be a shame to break his concentration by adjusting his posture. Slouch away, 'Sain! Anyway, last time he came in it was pretty empty so instead of a Champagne Room we just went for lapdances. And usually, common courtesy for boys is to empty their pockets of wallets, phones, keys, exacto knives, whatever things they have in their pockets that might jab or poke at you*. Slouchy didn't empty out his pockets, so when I started giving him his lapdances, I felt what I thought was a key poking at my thighs, side, stomach, butt, throughout the dances. Afterward I went to the back to freshen up (7 lapdances! I was a hot mess.) and noticed that I had a dark, brand-new vein in my thigh! For a split second, I thought I might have to quit dancing or get laser treatment to erase it when I realized that it was no vein, but PEN scribbling all OVER my back, thigh, butt... ARGH. Who the hell a) doesn't empty sharp objects from their pockets before a lapdance and b) has an UNCAPPED pen among those sharp objects? Anyway, use #3 for babywipes involves erasing pen markings from your body.

Baby wipes - Use #4
There are oh so many ways to violate someone sexually! It doesn't have to involve whipping out a dick or penetrating anything. There was this guy who KEPT trying to make out with me during a lapdance. He would grab my hair, my back, the back of my neck/head, anything! Eventually I had to turn around and give him the kind of dance where you're clapping ass in front of their face most of the time, because I wanted nowhere near his mouth. After the dance he asked if he could kiss me on the cheek, which I obliged. But I feel like he must have been collecting saliva or something that whole time because he refused my cheek and went instead for my ear (which was so NOT okay) and gave me the oral equivalent of a wet willy. Needless to say, I gave my ear a thorough rinse-out and scrub down with soaped0-up wipes (and gave the guy a dirty look). Does anyone make colonics for ears?

*except their penis

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A dancer's right to shoes

My first pair of dancing shoes weren't really dancing shoes. Huh? What? Erm, how could that be??? ... Well, it so happens that the closest thing I've come to wearing a heel was having a large wad of gum stuck under my shoe. So, the idea of putting on a pair of stilettos was particularly frightening to me, almost frightening enough to keep me from dancing altogether! Seriously, the idea of baring my chest in a room full of people was less daunting than the idea of walking (forget the gracefully part) in a pair of heels.

When I was toying with the idea of dancing, I called a club I was interested in to ask what their audition requirements were. The guy said, "Bring an outfit and six inch heels." I dropped the fantasy of becoming a dancer for a few weeks.

But alas, I found these chunky heels in a Union Square shoe joint that were really high but looked really sturdy. There were straps on the shoes and all. They were like the SUV's of high heels. So I bought em and used them for my audition, and danced in them for almost a month!! But then the other girls were like 'Honey you really should get stilettos.' Some of the girls were even nicer, like "Do you want to borrow my shoes until you can afford a pair of your own?" And some of the girls were really nasty, like "You should get stilettos, it'll distract from all your flab." Either way, it was clear I needed real dancing shoes!!!

So I went to this place that sells stripper stuff and looked at their least intimidating shoes. In my mind: Still. Really. Intimidating. But I settled on this clear pair that had little rhinestones across the top. (Note to self: these little rhinestones may get caught in fishnets, leading to three things: 1) Torn fishnets. 2) Broken shoes. 3) Potentially embarrasing fall on stage mid-set. -- Only 1 and 2 actually happened, but 3 was a close call.) Anyway, I walked around in them at home for a while but they still scared the crap out of me. I got used to them, though, and I make a habit of taking my shoes off during lapdances so it's not like I am wearing them the whole shift. I also run around the club with the shoes in my hands when I'm feeling casual (aka my feet are killing me!) and want to come across as the quirky fun-loving gal you just want to throw money at. (Guys are always surprised by how short I am without them!)

But like 7 months later, those shoes started to fall apart. And for some reason, all the stripper shops in town had limited stock of shoes, so I couldn't be picky and choose the friendliest pair. Well, I got this black pair that had monster high heels and a HUGE platform. They are like stilts! And they have these little silver heart detailing, just what horny bankers like to see before they shell out the big bucks, right? I realized that my shoe phobia had just been dormant for a while, but was still definitely there. That pair was the best I could do, though, and I really wore out my clear pair until I had no choice but to go to the new pair.

Well, good news, once you go black... Okay, forget it. What I mean to say is that these stilt shoes are way more comfortable than the clear and superficially friendly ones! Maybe it's the extra padding from the platform, or maybe the height of the platform translates to a "net" heel height that's actually lower (any stilettomaticians out there?), but whatever it is, knock wood, these shoes are nice! At some point, I'll upload the pic I took of them with my camera phone.