Thursday, December 8, 2011

King of Clubs

Today was totally a reminder of why I love stripping so fucking much:

The chance to wear ludicrous - yet somehow, still sexy - outfits, makeup, and hair, and get paid for it.
Getting paid to flirt.
Having the crock of romantic monogamy repeatedly debunked while at the same time hearing guys spout ego-boosting expressions of romantic monogamy.
Oh, yeah,

This super-friendly, attractive (in an ordinary sort of way), moneyed dude immediately took a liking to me, and once I struck up a conversation with him, he pointed out that we'd met before. Yes, he's been a customer of mine at each of the three clubs I've worked at, and each time, we've gotten along fabulously! It's a small world, after all! Now, if only Disney would (in between putting ridiculous racially stereotypical comic relief and/or villainous characters in each animated film) make a ride featuring strip club customers! As soon as we began our banter, the memory of him came back to me like an eager housemom asking for house fee. We had a blast, and he promised to visit again next time he's in town.

His visit aside, I gave a marathon series of dances to this other dude who was filled with some of the best lapdance quotes of all time!
"You're, like, the freakiest Indian girl ever! You're giving the other billion of you a bad name! You're giving Hinduism a bad name!"
"Damn these boxers! I keep having to readjust my dick in these jeans. Next time I come, I'm going to wear slacks."
"Well, if you're going to hell I suppose you might as well take me down with you."
"Girl, the way you're grinding on me, it's like you know I just got paid today."

I had to keep turning around and putting my ass on him so he would(n't) see me crack(ing up)!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today was my first shift back after a gluttonous Thanksgiving* weekend and, man, I was as bloated as a stuffed turkey. (Word to those who are even remotely attracted to me: Please stop reading.) Yes, I hadn't laid cable in a couple days, and suddenly had the urge halfway through a mega-busy shi(f)t at work! I am never 1 to do a #2 at work, and I was too busy working the floor to s(h)it down with my UsWeekly for 20 minutes, so I just had to hold it (figuratively speaking, of course) while I did stage sets, sipped drinks with customers, and did more than my fair share of dances.

Of course, it has to be the one day I'm fighting my little feud with Mother Nature that I give a lapdance to Cheek Puller. This dude always grabs both cheeks when I'm straddling him and, in trying to get me to move the way he wants me to, ends up pulling them apart like a Thanksgiving turkey wishbone! I was like Ass Ventura, When Nature Called!

One of my regular customers strolled in today and, in making my day perfectly thematic, decided to talk about why he's NOT into any kind of scat-play. I don't know why he felt the need to discuss this with me today of all days. This was like the physiological equivalent of how hearing running water makes you want to piss; I totally thought I'd have to drop off John, Kate, AND their 8 at the pool right there on his lap.

As if I wasn't dealing with enough shit already, I had to spend a crapload of time with this asshole customer. He was this white, shaved-head, sexist dude who immediately started telling me 1) how I didn't belong here if I grew up in suburbia 2) that I had a rare combination of hot body and nice face "which most chicks don't have" 3) that I was hot now, but had probably been an ugly kid because I seemed too down to earth for a pretty girl. Then he told me, in an extremely condescending voice, that I should definitely try getting fucked up the ass, "especially since you're a g-spot girl. Clit girls don't get off on anal." He also told me he had a lot of money, and was THE head honcho at [major corporation]. Needless to say, this Rockefeller spent a whopping $38 on me. The hilarious part was him asking me to guess his age. Being the great stripper I am, I always guess a good 7-10 years younger than I actually think, so I said "30." And he said, "Pretty close! I'm almost 28." WHAT! I guess being an asshole really adds years to your face. "I'm not a cop," he told me at one point, "so you can tell me your rates for BJ's outside the club. I know you're horny." Other gems from this dude: "You like kosher sausage?" [grabs his crotch] "I'm a great husband, other than cheating on my wife all the time." "This would be a great lapdance if my boner weren't getting all bent inside my pants."

Whew! I feel so much better just having unloaded all this. Also, it's nice to have written this blog post.

*Speaking of Thanksgiving, I worked the night shift before Turkey day and, any time I cozied up to a white dude and tried to get a dance, I'd say "So, does this Pilgrim wanna sit down with this Indian for a lapdance?" It worked like a charm! Dots, not feathers, you racist motherfuckers!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupied Strip Club!

A month after the Occupy Wall Street movement took off, and it's still going strong. Yeah, they haven't exactly ironed out the tensions downtown about the race and class dynamics of the whole thing, but it seems an inspiring, emergent move to radically critique our fucked up political and economic system. I've been down there a bunch of times, and it's certainly better than staying at home watching the Kardashians on E! (Then again, giving a lapdance to a guy in sweatpants is better than that, too, so I suppose that's not saying much.)

Notes from my strip club on Occupy Wall Street:
The bouncer, a muscle-bound dude from Honduras, and I have a rapport. We talk mad shit about US imperialism; he's a religious Christian and I'm a secular type, but this is one thing we agree on (that, and the fact that the guy who wears 3-feet long furry angel wings to the club every couple months and dances flamboyantly to Michael Jackson just ain't right!). Anyway, the other day he gestured toward CNN and asked me if I'd been down to Wall Street for the movement. Yes, I told him, and he gave me a big high-five. "Americans can't sleep forever. They might have comfortable beds, but no, they can't sleep forever."

An Egyptian customer told me he hopes what we see in Zuccotti Park is the next Tahrir Square. Then he asked me if I "have a big pussy" and put $5 between my breasts. (I'm not quite sure what answer he was looking for.)

Then, there was this amazing douchebag who went off on a 7 minute rant that went something like this:
"You know, this Occupy Wall Street thing is just scary. And I know who's behind it. Obama's behind it. And Soros is behind it. It's all Obama and Soros. Obama, I mean, what a scary fucker. He's nothing but a Marxist Muslim. He's a far left, radical, Marxist Muslim. And he hates Israel. I can't stand liberal Jews. Jews who are Democrats. They're so brainwashed by this bullshit liberal media. I don't even watch the news. If I do watch anything, maybe I'll watch Fox News. But, these liberal Democrat Jews just don't understand how the Democratic party is against Israel. I know, I know Michelle Bachman is an evangelical Christian, but at least she cares about Israel. I mean, the Democrats just really control the media, and they've brainwashed the Jews into being Democrats. I am a proud Republican Jew. Now I don't like Ron Paul. He's all right sometimes, but I just don't agree with his anti-military position. I like Herman Cain the most. Yeah, I'm not racist. I am not a racist, even though people might think I am. I mean, I hardly even see race. I see people. Like my daughter, she just happened to marry a good Jewish boy, a doctor. But if he'd been black, I'd have been okay with it. I might have been concerned that there are some degenerates in his family, some criminals, but I'd have been okay with it. It's the goddamn Democrats. You know, when bad stuff happens, the Republicans always get blamed. If Waco happened when we had a Republican president, it would have been a way bigger deal. A WAY bigger deal! Only Republicans get in trouble."

This dude totally deserved to get molested.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Strapped for Cash

The club I'm currently at requires us to band our cash together with rubber bands and keep it strapped to the inside of our ankle. The other two clubs I worked at had no such rules, and after experimenting with rubber bands, tiny decorative purses, and garters, I realized the purse option was my favorite. It was a tiny accessory, it didn't scream "tacky stripper style!" the way the other two options did, and it also allowed for a small stash of lipgloss, my cellphone, and hand* sanitizer.

Not so at my club now! The purses are not allowed, I think because they are worried we'll take our cellphones onto the floor with us (which sounds like totally illegal employment practice since we are independent contractors, but don't get me started on that!). There are a few perks to strapping your cash to your ankle - it's super secure. It's right there, on your leg, and you'd physically know if it went missing. And (I'm just guessing here) it arouses the shit out of guys with a stripper fetish.

That said, after working a day shift last week I hurriedly got dressed (a skirt and blazer because I'd come from my teaching job in the morning that day - which caused another girl to remark "Man, you look so professional. What, are you telling your man you work in an office or something?") so I could run to the gym for a quick post-work workout. Yikes! Almost forgot to take the money off my ankle!

Imagine walking down the streets of Queens to the subway with a wad of cash literally wrapped around my ankle! Or, better yet, going to the gym, where the manager and I have developed a steady flirtatious banter, and awkwardly attempting to explain how an assortment of singles, twenties, and (not enough) hundred dollar bills ended up neatly folded around two rubber bands!

*And by "hand" I mean anything anyone with questionable hygiene may lick, kiss, grab, or (in the most extreme case) cover in semen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The best of times, the worst of times.

Weird! I was on stage, doing my thang, and I look out to see a) a friend of mine from way back when and b) a guy I've danced for a handful of times over the years...sitting together! Drinking a beer! Looking at me! Huh? Well, I knew that (a) and (b) had been part of the same grad school program, and part of me always assumed they knew each other, but being the discreet (not trying to blow customers' cover) dancer that I am, I never asked her, "Do you know Steve?!" Well, apparently, she does...the two of them met up today for a beer and she ended up mentioning her grad student South Asian stripper friend and he put two and two together and brought her to my club pronto for a 3-way lapdance!

This experience was far superior to another lapdance experience I had involving tears streaming down a customer's face. He was 21 years old and it was his first time in a strip club or getting a dance, and he "felt so sad" that we girls had to do this for a living. "This isn't what intimacy is supposed to be like," he told me, before he forked over enough dough for 4 more dances. He's actually the second lapdance crybaby I've had - the first one cried out of a combination of frustration at his sex life ('cuz he hasn't slept with his wife in 13 years) and because I'd "never love him" ('cuz he's a pathetic loser - I actually judge his wife for sleeping with him 13 years ago). Well, I guess better tears than another liquid discharge!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gaza Stripper

About a month ago, Norm Finkelstein, Rashid Khalidi, and Peter Weiss gave a talk at Columbia University on the Goldstone Report and the bullshit human rights violations that occurred during the massacre in Gaza in 2009. It was pretty hot, because they managed to hold the event without any counter-protesters accusing the speakers of anti-Semitism (which happened the last time Finkelstein was brought to Columbia for a speaking engagement) so the audience could focus on the content of the talks themselves instead of the context of the event (not to deny that the latter's importance!). Anyway, I got there early enough to get a choice seat - 2/3 of the way back, in an aisle, so I could make a premature getaway (I can never sit through a whole 2.5 hour event like this) without disturbing anyone. As the hall filled up, I noticed a very regular, loyal customer had taken his seat not 10 feet away from me. I waffled between hiding from him (I was in glasses, braids, no make-up, and a bookish sweater) and waving hello (he is super-nice and probably respectful). I went for the latter; he gave me a polite nod and mouthed a few friendly questions ("how are you? working tomorrow?") and then let me be for the rest of the evening. It's a small anti-racist world after all!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Something's Afoot

Well over a year ago, I met this customer at my Manhattan club who lived in Boston but was in NYC on business. I vaguely remember meeting him; he refreshed my memory last night by saying he blew a lot of money telling me "just keep giving me lapdances till your shift is over." Apparently he took down my email address and dropped me a line. It prompted me to search my e-mail history today - here's what he sent me in 2010:

"You are brilliant, beautiful and can I say just a gorgeous girl. I would love to stay in touch. I was wondering, if you have sometime tomorrow I'd love to take you shopping at Tiffany's and have brunch before I leave. Please answer. Good luck with school!"

I turned him down, and he left town...I didn't hear from him for a year or so, until just a few months he reported his intentions to come to NY for an orthopedics convention (he's an orthopedic surgeon), offering me a HUGE chunk of money to meet him at a restaurant wearing anklets, toe rings, and black heels.

Let's just say, easiest cash I've ever made. No sex, mostly talking, and I was fed a great dinner and some fruity champagne drinks. He confessed to his foot fetishism being linked to a sort of submissive sexual identity, so I proceeded to come across as super-confident and bold; someone he was powerless but to listen to. He ate it up!

I'm not sure if I'll see him again, but things certainly got off on the right foot! Figuratively, only, of course...

I've entertained probably close to seven or eight foot fetishists at work. One was actually my friend's customer, but when she was out sick, she ordered him (he also saw her as his mistress he had to obey) to worship my feet in her absence. Basically, I'd take a bar stool into the lapdance area, sit on it, and shove my feet all over his face for four or five dances. Once in a while, I'd chime in with "Worship my feet!" Another one is this super-old guy who's deaf and not 100% together up there, yet still has no difficulty wandering into strip clubs every few weeks. He rarely buys lapdances, but will tuck singles into your stilettos if you give him a little sniff of your toes or play footsies with him.

Now, having my feet worshipped is not something that gets my engine going. And while I often put my foot in my mouth, I'm not too keen on putting it in others'. But when it comes to a paid encounter, a foot fetish is about the best thing you can ask for. You get to keep your clothes on, you get compensated for shoe shopping, and provided the guy is more into stockings than stalking, you're sure to stay safe!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Daily Grinding

Today, this guy who never buys lapdances or acknowledges me (but always lurks around the club stingily) got all kinds of generous when I was on stage and then bought a lapdance from me. I gave him a pretty low-contact dance, because he seemed happy with that, but two-thirds of the way through the guy comes in his trousers, and I feel something wet and sticky on the back of my thigh! UGH! I've seen some gross shit at the club, but 'cum' on! And then he has the audacity (or maybe he was just making a hilarious pun) to say he hopes he got me "real wet" during the dance.

My fortune turned when this super-attractive white man who looked like a tall, hot version of Michael J. Fox really took to me. We had all kinds of witty banter going. Like, he was telling me his philosophy on "what's allowed" in VIP rooms, saying "I don't mean to paint it with broad strokes, but most clubs, you can very easily get a hand job." So I replied, "Well, this broad doesn't stroke, so don't get any ideas." He bought a ton of dances and tipped generously, and I was totally tickled by how adorable he was! God, I love the rare (I'd say one out of every sixty) customer who I find myself attracted to, and lucky enough to get paid for rubbing my body against them. After the dances we chatted over a few drinks, and :sigh:, he's a staunch Republican free market guy. I found myself going from "I'd hit that" to "I'll punch that." I sarcastically asked him why, if he believes in laissez-faire so much, could he not keep his hands to himself during lapdances! Of course, that shit cracked him up too. It was the first time someone referred to my breasts as "hot, perky Marxist tits."

Finally, damn! There's this new dancer at the club who I'm totally in love with. She's pretty, smart, and so fucking interesting. We talk during slow moments at the club, and in my three years of dancing she's the first dancer I've met who is politicized, beautiful, and dancing because she really loves doing it (though I know you ladies are out there!)! She's also really involved in the NYC burlesque scene and into race politics, particularly as race/sexuality/beauty standards intersect. Also, she practices polyamory and we've had all sorts of awesome conversations about the problems with monogamy. Man, I think I need to call up my momma, say I'm in love with a stripper, yo!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fools and their money

Is it me or have guys just gotten douchier in the last 4 months? Seriously, it's like they've gone from run-of-the-mill douche-bags to giant douche-suitcases.

Exhibit A:
An old man came into the club and was taken by me & one other dancer (my friend Sheila!). I had guessed his age at about 58, but he informed that he was 71 and a stroke survivor. He hung out with Sheila for a while before asking her to excuse herself so he could talk to me. What follows is a truncated, condensed transcript of our actual conversation...

"Now, what is your ethnicity? See, I've always really admired the Indians. They are such a hard-working people, very very hard working. And they are all smart! All of them! Now, the kama sutra. I've always felt that Indian women were extremely sensual, beautiful, and attractive. Now Indian men on the other hand, they are just assholes. I hope you don't mind my saying. They think they own the world, and man, they are just such mama's boys. Enough about myself, tell me about yourself. Do you have any kids? I ask because I've got two children and 5 grandkids. And the woman I'm married to right now, she's actually my second wife. My first wife left me, took my children away, and moved to Portland, several years ago. But I wasn't going to let her! No, I flew out to Portland and staked out in front of her house to see what her schedule was, and after a couple days, I just broke in and kidnapped my children. We drove up to Seattle, got on a plane, and flew back to New York. Now, this was like 35 years ago, so you know, the cops weren't ever able to find me, and now my kids are grown men with children of their own. But I need to write to their mother, make sure she's written her children into her will in case she kicks the bucket soon. Are you really into politics? Because, I'll tell you - there are three things I'm passionate about: my grandchildren, Jesus, and my conservative politics. You ever heard of Winston Churchill? He said if you're young and a conservative, you have no heart, and if you're old and liberal, you have no brain...I know a lot about the world. I watch Fox News, and man, Obama...He's going to drive America into bankruptcy if he keeps doing what he's doing with the budget! Now I really want to give you my phone number so we can just talk on the phone...but I don't know, I gave it to Sheila earlier and I am a fairly monogamous man..."

Again, the actual conversation lasted about an hour, and my only words were reaching over for his stack of money and asking if I could "buy myself a drink." I'd go to the bar, get a glass of ice water, and pocket the money as my own tip...I know someone's an asshole when they actually make my left-wing ass wanna defend the oh-so-centrist Obama...

Exhibit B:
I had met a customer about two years ago at the club who was a BIG talker. But he was also a big spender, buying me commissioned drinks and tons of lapdances (especially when he got drunk). He's a US-born Punjabi Indian, who had an arranged marriage to a girl from back home and had a couple kids with her. She was great - really reliable, a great mother - but not exciting, so he started dating a Puerto Rican stripper and fell madly in love with her. At the time I met him 2 years ago, he had broken it off with the stripper and had "left" his wife (though not divorced her) and was trying to get me to be his new girlfriend. I informed him that I couldn't meet him outside the club. A couple days later I got an apologetic e-mail from him, telling me he was going to give his marriage a shot and that he couldn't email me or meet me (not that I'd agreed to meet him to begin with!) because he was going to move to India with his family and work things out.

Well, he was back yesterday. He went to India and "manipulated" (his words) his wife into coming back to the US. ("I promised her I'd be with her and I love her, but really I just wanted my kids near me. It was all lies, and I feel bad, but come on - these are my kids!") Meanwhile, he's struck things up with Maria again, and even though she's pregnant with another man's baby, she wants him to marry her and be father to the kids. He's still "legally married to his ex wife." He's "dating" a stripper from the club because after Maria got knocked up by some other guy ("granted, I was fucking other women too") he couldn't trust her anymore, and he's "hedging, because I don't want to get hurt" by making sure he has another girl on the backburner. Of course, I talked to said backburner-stripper in the dressing room, who ha$ a very different ver$ion of what their relationship i$ about...

I know these assholes are a dime a dozen, and I've had innumerable conversations like the ones above, but I just can't seem to justify these guys being extremely wealthy (and, in the Case of the Kidnapping Republican, having the right to vote while felons who perhaps sold a bag of coke are disenfranchised - fuckin' 'democracy'!). My age-old question is, are these guys big douche-totes everywhere they go, or do they just save it for their strip club therapy sessions, a commodified, judgment-free space of alien intimacy?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Race to the Bottom

To say asses are racialized is a foregone conclusion. Everyone remembers the joke "What's the only difference between dating a white girl and a black girl? The answer to the question 'Do these pants make my ass look big?'" Of course, thanks to Kim Kardashian, heir to the immense throne left by her predecessor J.Lo, the fascination with large asses has become appealing to white boys too (or maybe this has more to do with the fact that I'm in NYC?)

Anyway, the other day I had this Marshall Mathers clone customer who was all over me because, in his words, "I love a light-skinned skinny girl with a huge ass." Each of the three elements of that compliment could, of course, be highly insulting (or equally complimentary) in certain settings.

This regular custie, this Bengali guy, always touches the small of my back after lapdances and tells me "European women don't have this," referencing the curve at the top of my ass.

And of course, the NUMEROUS times customers haven't believed that I was South Asian because "Indian girls NEVER have asses; you must be Latina" has been documented on this blog...

With people who are more conscious of race as a social construct, the "bottom drops out" of conversation. I was kicking it with this Chinese Lower East Side-bred gangster and his crew at the club the other day, and his friend made the same "you have a nice ass - for an Indian girl" remark. The Chinese guy was like "Man, you are narrow fucking minded; you have a certain idea of what you think women's bodies are like, but open your eyes. There are Indian girls with asses that you're choosing NOT to see. It's like people who are surprised that I'm Chinese and built! It's like, haven't you ever gone out of your little circle that reinforces your ideas about race?" Then he switched gears, started talking about how he got in a fight at a club the other day (had swollen knuckles to show me to prove it) - with this guy who was dancing all crazy and kept bumping into him. "I felt real bad, though, because after I hit him I found out he was gay. I felt real bad. I don't hit gay guys." It totally echoed the macho "Never hit a woman" sentiment that suggests it's fine for testosterone dudes to wrestle each other over whatever the fuck they want but you treat "your woman" like a precious little flower petal. Are gay rights here being articulated in the same way?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Andhra Praneuer

I made a new friend at the club. And by "friend," I mean strangest customer ever! This guy, about 60 years old, looked South Asian to me, and he spotted me right away and flagged me over. We began conversing in Urdu; he's from Andhra Pradesh and speaks very little English (though my friend hilariously pointed out that this limited English guy was proficient enough to locate a place he could see some tatties!). Anyway, he got a couple dances from me and then took me for a drink at the bar, asking me where I live. "With friends," I told him. He responded "Zindagi mein sirf do dost rehte hain: Ammi aur Abba." (Translation: In life, you only have two friends - your mother and your father.) He told me to quit this job and start a business. I assured him that I was a student and didn't plan to strip for my whole life (I had a sense that lecturing him on his rescue mentality would be lost on him, so I went this other angle instead -- I'm just doing this "for now."). "Don't worry, when I'm done with school, I'll get a job," I told him. "Naukri kabhi mat karo. Business start karo." (Don't ever get a job; start your own business.) He told me how to buy a car at auction and then use it to start my own car service; or I could open an eyebrow threading salon, there's lots of money there.

I love how, as much as he wanted me to find an honorable calling for myself and appointed himself career counselor, he had no qualms attempting to fondle my breasts throughout his lapdances! I wanted to tell him, I do have my own business, and you're my customer, biatch!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rio de JanHAIRo

Ah, pubic hair! Can't live with you (imagine a bush protruding from the sides of my teeny G string...), can't live without you (how else can people distinguish my vag from a pre-teen hairless one?) I had never allowed wax to get any closer to my birth canal than my bikini line until about a year ago, when I realized that a Brazilian would get rid of everything down there, and that too, for several weeks. Without the pesky razor bumps or immediate stubble of shaving. If the thought of yanking out coarse pubes by the root with hot wax sounds painful to you, you're absolutely right! But big ups to my girl Nyra at Bliss Spa on 57th Street for giving me a relatively ouch-less Brazilian every 4 ish weeks. I'm not really into masochism, but I'm totally happy forking over $80 to Nyra to induce pain on my labia for a few minutes; it spares me the weekly hedge-trimming I'd otherwise have to engage in! Going at my vag with electric trimmers? Check, please!

After a not-so-brief hiatus from dancing, I'm back at it today! Hence the talk of getting my body hairless and back in shape for club nudity. Going back on a Tuesday should be slow enough for the culture shock to not be overwhelming, plus I've got Irish Gold and a few other oldie/goodies coming in to say hello. Still, I'm nervous! Any time I take a break from dancing, I get trepidation before going keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, friends!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Easy Access

Thanks to all of you who were encouraging and supportive through your comments to my last post! The event went really well – I shared some humorous anecdotes about my customers (an adaptation of my monikers post) and then transitioned into an ode to Irish Gold, one of my favorite people from the club scene, and perhaps anywhere. People were laughing and really into my reading, and it felt good standing up and sharing a part of myself to academics, who usually see a very very different version of me. Afterward, a professor even approached me and encouraged me to do my dissertation on this topic (thanks, but no thanks – I’m not interested in seeing what the genealogical ranking and ordering of geographic areas, distinct separation of topics like “feminism” and “race,” and the cold/removed way academia sometimes deals with sex work would do something that’s been a formative part of my sense of sexuality, humor, independence, and happiness).

But, I have been thinking about academia and stripping in another, more pressing (to me) way. The debates rage in social science about how to study elites. How do we gain access? Does participant observation work? Can we interview elites, and take their word for what they say, when we’re ultimately critical of the power they wield and distrustful of their words? Must ethnographers be allied with, or sympathetic to, their subjects? You know, all the same age-old shit that anthropologists were asking in the 80’s is still being asked in newfangled ways. And social scientists continue to struggle with it.

Meanwhile, in the strip club scene (or many other sex work arenas), you get easy-ass access (literally, I guess) to all kinds of elite subjects. In fact, you get the sort of access that an ethnographer would only dream of. You get to hear their confessions about finance, friends, family; you get to know about their sex lives and politics. Unfortunately, Institutional Review probably wouldn’t approve lapdancing as an acceptable methodology, but man, if they did…*writes strongly-worded letter to National Science Foundation*

This reminds me: remember the Wolf in Veep’s Clothing? I got the most patronizing e-mail from this Republican a-hole recently.

I thought of you concerning the liberation sweeping Arab lands - actually, I thought of, and felt for you. I felt a wave of sadness that Arabs (and Muslims too) have been so oppressed, both physically and psychologically, for so long. It really washed over me. While I feel happiness at the successful rebellions, my sadness was / is actually a stronger emotion: I just felt "why did such repression have to go on for so long, for what?!?" Wanted to give you a hug. May sound strange coming from someone who you know only slightly and from a parallel universe you might say. Hope you feel liberated and positive and optimistic. I've always felt you harbor a lot of inner anger and resentment. If so, maybe that will ebb away. Anyway, Cheers.

Thoughts: First, you should know I corrected 13 spelling errors here to make it easier for you to read. Second of all, how fucking patronizing! He has me on his listserv which sends out bi-weekly articles he’s written about how Obama’s a socialist and how we need to privatize everything, and then he has the nerve to feel overwhelmed at Arab liberation struggles? Does he not get how his neoliberal economic politics rely upon the very oppression he’s trying to critique? Also, I did not appreciate his whole sense of harboring inner anger bit; true, I get pretty miffed at the club when he says things about how good colonialism has been for people of color or about how unfettered free markets are the way to be (yeah, that shit's personal). But, seriously, I do have my jovial side (I guess white male libertarians are deprived the oh-so-envied access to it…).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Discipline, or Pun-ish?

This evening, I'm reading some of my reflections on my career as a stripper at an event that's meant for scholars to share what they do in their creative/less academic moments. For me, there's no greater gulf than the one between my stripping and schooling. Grad school for me has often been alienating; I sometimes feel my brown skin and less-than-academic pedigree sticks me out like a sore, subaltern thumb. While I've found some buddies along the way, in general I feel that the grad school experience has been depoliticizing at times, or maybe pseudo-politicizing. In other words, a whole lot of sitting around and reading about stuff, and not so much interrogating how we - right there in the left-leaning academic department - are perpetuating, encouraging, even relying upon the oppressions we critique in our dissertations and panel presentations.

This will be the first time I go in front of an audience of people - many of them peers, some of them "superiors" - and talk about my work. At first, I wanted to talk about race and intersectional issues around dancing; I realized pretty quickly that it felt like pandering to the thirst for Third World Feminist knowledge that I anticipated my audience to hope to hear. (I thought they might expect some high-brow theoretical, overtly political reflections on sex work, race, and gender.) So I scrapped that, and instead I'm going for the raunchy humor - stories about gross customers, good customers, loyal customers, customers with funny nicknames, etc. Yeah, I'm sort of worried about the raunch factor. It's sort of giving a middle finger to all those Foucauldian ideas about how sex should be talked about, right? I mean, no one has a problem with Elizabeth Bernstein teaching a class on sex work politics, or with critiquing the law that has cast "unnatural" sex acts by prostitutes in Louisiana into the same category as pedophilia.

But, why then, do I perceive a greater anxiety emerging when an actual sex worker - not only incidentally a brown woman - talks about boners and grinding and bikini waxes. Is it in my head?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sneak Peek

Several months ago, I heard rumor that Sanjay Leela Bhansali was going to make a movie about Heera Mandi (entitled Heera Mandi!), the famed redlight district. More interestingly, it was to star Kareena Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan! I thought the two families hated each other since loser Abhishek broke off his engagement with the equally-unremarkable Karishma Kapoor (Kareena's sister) several years ago. I guess there's no business like (s)ho(w)business and the two are speaking again. I mean, if Abhishek's dad can make out with Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek still goes on to marry her, what's a broken engagement here and there? Am I right? Am I right? (crickets chirping)

Well, anyway, if and when this movie is made, it's sure to be done in the regular Bhansali fashion: very high production value, very heavy handed, about as pretentious as the chopstick-in-hair girlfriend (Patrice) George Costanza dumped in the episode The Truth. (more crickets) Here's hoping Kareena's two-facedness (dollar for every Seinfeld reference in this post?) veers closer to hot than not in this film, and that Bhansali is able to score some good song and dance numbers. And, of course, that the sex worker doesn't end up a) dead b) widowed/abandoned by her lover, or c) being rescued from the profession.

Remember how fuckin' boring Black was?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Many happy returns of the day

A bit of a belated post, but one I've been meaning to do. I went into work on December 31st, hoping to pull a double-shift. New Years Eve, after all! A lucrative holiday to be at work! Luckily, the club was raining by 2 p.m. and I had a feeling I would be able to countdown with friends at a party instead of counting stage tips after a set.

First, there were SO FEW girls during the day at the club, and SO MANY customers! I'm not sure if the dancers preferred to celebrate the holiday and take the day off, or if they assumed that it'd be a slow shift, but thankfully, there were just a few of us to a club FILLED with customers by 12:30 in the afternoon. And generous customers too! Everyone was in the mood for buying you a drink, tucking a fiver into your g-string when you walked by, or (and this was actually rarer) buying a lapdance. It wasn't much of a lapdancey day; it was more like groups of guys starting their parties early and feeling real generous and festive.

I was flagged down on stage by an Eastern European guy who had some cuteness potential, so I joined him after my set for a round of drinks. He could tell right away that there was no alcohol in my drink (my vodka tonic = tonic) and insisted that the bartender mix my drink right in front of him. She looked at me sympathetically, but somehow managed to mix me a real alcoholic drink and STILL (through some sleight of hand) slip me a virgin drink without him noticing. God bless her! Cuz, this guy was hell-bend on getting me drunk. It was one "vodka" tonic after another, so I got to fake a guilty tipsiness - "I better stop drinking, I think I've had too much!" and increasing sloppiness as the drinks went on.

Suddenly, he turned to me: "Do you like Shakira?" He gave me a $50 bill, told me to give it to the DJ to play a Shakira song and put me on stage to dance to it. I went up on stage and got showered by $200 in singles - which was quite the production, but very hard to gracefully squat down and scoop up, and even harder not to slip upon while I was dancing on stage. About an hour later, I got called up for my next stage set and while I was up there, another customer asked me if I'd have a drink with him after my set - I obliged, got a small tip from him, and then returned to Mr. Hips Don't Lie. He told me he was disappointed in me, he couldn't believe I talked to another guy, and asked me to get lost. I did, but laughed all the way to the bank as I walked away.

I'm not quite sure why, but the DJ has been playing these weird censored versions of songs at the club. For instance, he'd play a version of Kanye's Runaway that says "I sent this girl a picture of my . I don't know what it is with females, but I'm not too good at that shit." So, apparently, "shit" is okay, but "dick" needs bleeping out? Also, the censored Runaway version goes "Let's have a toast for the douchebags. Let's have a toast for the ." So, no assholes? Aren't we in a strip club here? I'm practically EXPOSING my asshole to all the douchebags when I bend over to gather my freshly showered bills, anyway...

Regardless, to a 2011 filled with good tips, no raids, and awesome new customers for all!