Monday, October 7, 2013

Teacher, leave them kids alone...

Well, the unthinkable happened at work.

Just as I stepped onto the floor at the beginning of my shift, freshly-painted face and wonderfully blown-out hair, I noticed a strangely familiar face across the bar from me. As my brain quickly went through its bank of faces, my mouth let a loud "Oh, FUCK!" escape and my feet, as if unconnected from the rest of me, raced back to the dressing room.

It was a student of mine. No, not a former student. A current one. He did not see me - he was busy organizing the singles in his wallet. But I got a clear enough look at him to know for sure that it was, in fact, him.


The housemom, shocked and sympathetic, let me hide out in the dressing room and gave the DJ strict orders to not put me on stage until the guy had left.

I mentioned my twin sister the next time I was teaching, in case my student-customer (who, admittedly, isn't that bright and probably believed it) had caught a glimpse of me. This was hands down the creepiest "small world" moment I've had at work. Others include:
-the fact that one of the lapdance bouncers works out at my gym, so we're often taking turns on the benchpress or lat pulldown.
-the fact that on Tinder, one of my 'matches' was this dude who shaves his chest and likes his nipples yanked and bitten and I've been lapdancing for for years.
-the time a guy from the club saw me on the subway - fully dressed, heading to the East Village for a night out - and tipped me $5.00 ON THE TRAIN in front of some very confused strap-hangers.
-the night I had dinner at a restaurant table adjacent to a customer who always forces me to make out during dances. He was nervously glancing at me throughout dinner, looking from me to his wife and two daughters, probably worried that I'd out his face-raping ways.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

5 haiku about stripping

Call me exotic
And watch me take all your cash,


Dear lapdance boners,
Why do you always go left?
The right pant leg's bad?


"Waiting for a friend,"
Lonely guy at the bar says.
You're so full of shit.


Don't use Summer's Eve.
Your vag is supposed to smell.
Sprayed it near my lunch.


House fees and tip outs
Violate employment law.
Still we pay it all.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Baby Got Back Problems

Ouch! I dunno if it's my new sleeping arrangement, or I pulled a muscle mid pole-trick (okay, it's obviously not the latter since I don't know any!), but I worked the other day with an extremely painful back. I couldn't call in sick, since my summer days at the club are numbered and I'm trying to max out before the semester starts up, so I popped a prescription painkiller, chased it with a wee bit of tequila, and worked a generally slow shift completely stiff and unable to lift my leg, hoping to look graceful nonetheless. Lucky for me, this super awkward dude (perhaps somewhere on the Asperger's spectrum?) who was VERY well schooled in the realities of corporate media bullshit about surveillance and the War on Terror (yet completely incapable of making eye contact or a joke) wanted to give me a few hundred bucks to just stare at my ass. Nice! I didn't have to give a painful dance; after talking dope politics and having my ass worshipped, I could just camp out in the dressing room and massage my lower back out of spasm.

Ass Worship dude isn't alone in his love for politics and random strip club behavior. Recently, another dude came in who was similarly awesome in his politics. This white, handsome, middle-aged dude wanted to talk at the bar about media bias, US empire, and the ways the US "creates" terrorists - both by pissing people off through shitty foreign policy, and by literally grooming militants against "our" enemies who then turn their weapons back on us after we've armed and trained them. And he wanted to tip me generously while we talked! Score! Anyhow, I was sort of leaning on him while we talked about all kinds of fascinating stuff - the bullshit Zimmerman verdict, terrible media reporting about homeland security, and Snowden. I counted later, and during the course of this interesting chatter, he'd tipped me a few hundred in singles. Sounds like easy money, huh? But as soon as I pulled away from him to go on stage, I noticed his nasty, veiny, pink dick had been OUT the whole time we were talking!

In other news, this other guy has been convinced that, even though I've told him several times that I don't give my number out at work, if he comes to see me enough times, I'll change my mind. Here's a literal exchange between me and him:

Him: So can I have your number? We can go out for dinner sometime?
Me: Sorry, like I said last time, I can't give my number to you. I don't give my number to any customers I meet here.
Him: No, you will give me your number. Maybe not today, but you'll give it to me. You'll see.

I'm sorry, what? Who is he, the little engine that got wood? Does this kind of creepy persistence EVER pay off? Or has he just watched one too many Bollywood movies and now believes harassment is the way to a woman's heart?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Standing on shaky ground.

I have seen and heard some disgusting shit in my nearly half-decade as an NYC stripper. You name it: guys who wished to wear soiled diapers during a lapdance for the purpose of being humiliated. Guys who paid me to walk barefoot in the club bathroom so that they could lick the sole of my foot afterward. Dudes who had secret fantasies about having sex with pregnant dogs. The guy who jerked off into his own mouth during a session in the champagne room (that one a coworker's story, not mine). But today, by far, exposed me to the sickest, most vile, corrupt, immoral, unethical, nausea-inducing crapfest I have ever witnessed in my years as an NYC stripper.

I told a dressing room full of girls that my feet were tired after marching all across Manhattan and eventually sitting down, along with thousands of allies, in Times Square the night before to protest the disgusting outcome of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. I was greeted by a barrage of colorblind, post-racial, STUPID ignorant bullshit that would offend even the horniest dog-fucker.

"I hate how Americans make everything about race," said one African American stripper who was raised in the South Bronx.

"Tons of white people are killed every day and don't make the news. Why didn't people protest with the Casey Anthony case?" chimed in an older white dancer.

"That kid was walking in the rain, in the dark. You want to tell me that doesn't look sketchy?" the sole East Asian in the room offered.

"Let's just take the race card off the table. I'm so sick of seeing it played. And you know, I'm not a racist. My kids are half black."

Everyone - black, white, Puerto Rican, and Haitian - had something to say in defense of George Zimmerman. It was like the United Nations of post-racial colorblindness. One African American girl (perhaps an incarnation of Bill Cosby?) had the ovaries to say that black men who wear sagging pants and act like thugs "clearly have no respect for themselves," so why should anyone else have any respect for them?

"You know, I'm sick of hearing about slavery," one woman said. "Slavery has nothing to do with you acting like a thug right now in 2013."

Everyone assured me that race wasn't a factor in the case given Zimmerman's own "Hispanic" identity. Everyone. I was the dissenting opinion in a room of almost 10 women. No wonder those 6 jurors unanimously reached their baffling conclusion.

(So first of all, fuck all y'all who say we should boycott Florida, or that the South is messed up. This is a bunch of "Yankees" I'm talking about. This is Amerikkka.)

They were all quick to addendumize, adding that "none of that means that Trayvon should have been shot." But the consensus in the dressing room was both that the case had nothing to do with race, and that the thug-ish persona of Trayvon made him less than an upstanding citizen. It was clear that what was on trial was not George Zimmerman, but Trayvon's young black manhood. And in spite of their addendum, it's clear that Martin received a guilty verdict.

I know. Naive me. These are things that the general public has been saying throughout and after the trial (a trial that wouldn't have even happened if it weren't for public outrage - how long after shooting someone dead did Zimmerman even get arrested?). I live in a deliberately selective world of activists, artists, anti-racist scholars, and genuinely thoughtful people who have some sort of well-thought-out critique of the disproportionate policing of neighborhoods of color. People who understand that our jails are being privatized, open for corporations and shareholders to control for profit-making purposes. That our jails are filled with inmates who are almost ALL poor, and mostly people of color (including Latinos, Native Americans, and African Americans). That law enforcement, vigilantes, and the government gets away with killing approximately one black man every 28 hours. That voting rights are denied to convicted felons routinely across the country. People who know that not ONE PERSON was held accountable in a court of law for the sub-prime mortgage fraud that shattered our economy just a few years back. People who know intimately - and continue to be infuriated by - the stories of Troy Davis, Amadou Diallo, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., Oscar Grant, Rodney King, Emmitt Till, Ramarley Graham, Kimani Grey, Sean Bell, Aaron Campbell, Wendell Allen. People who see those names not as coincidences or proof of black criminality, but as crystal clear evidence of a deeply flawed system.

I guess I just didn't expect it in a strip club dressing room in fucking Queens, from a group of working class girls - mostly women of color. Women of color, working class women, poor white girls. Women, many of whose boyfriends, baby daddys, fathers, or brothers have become enmeshed in a criminal "justice" system and carry a criminal record that brands them for life, barring them from jury service, or the polls, or subsidized housing, or a gazillion jobs (are there still jobs, by the way?). Women who are sex workers, who themselves are targeted by public stigma, media shaming, and unjust law enforcement action. Women who, more than my fucking middle class 'model minority'* ass, would be served by raging against a system in which courts, cops, and laws protect an entrenched structure of class difference and stratification.

I shut my mouth after a few weak attempts at (I now shudder at the phrase) self-defense. I was all at once outnumbered, paralyzed, saddened, and unsure of my own right to speak in this space. I regretfully heard a terrible inner arrogant voice, one that wanted to yell "Yeah, you probably do think that - what was the last thing you read? 50 Shades of Grey?" A terrible academic haughtiness in the face of anger, insult, and shock. Shock at how entrenched our 'colorblind' rhetoric is. Shock at how even people of color and poor folks take up arms in the fight to protect a white supremacist system. Shock at just how systemic our ignorance is. Who was I to speak, when faced with the effects of a system that has (through education, safety, and - at times - racial privilege) served me, and disadvantaged so many others?

This heartbroken post is dedicated to all children whose lives are devalued and lost through the ravages of US empire, whether at the hands of a vigilante gunman, a suspicious cop, a drone strike, or a sanctions program. But it is also dedicated to good people in the world whose opinions and knowledge are shaped by a corporate media, a flawed education system, and deeply restricted social discourse. Right now, I struggle to believe another world is possible.

Read this, and this, and this, and this.

*used with an understanding of how the term is a myth/misnomer!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

If you're willing to "Putin" some work...

We Are Dancers, an outreach and community-building project by and for exotic dancers in New York City, is seeking a current or former dancer to translate our website into Russian.

The website,, is approximately 10,000 words, and we can pay our translator $500. We need this work to be completed within the coming weeks, ideally by July.

If you are interested, please contact us at

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Day of Res-Erection?

Happy Zombie Jesus day, all! This Easter, our club threw its annual Easter party, and we were all required to wear Easter colors (pastel pinks and yellows and greens) along with bunny ears. This is bullshit for several reasons. First, I don't know what to make of Jesus' resurrection intersecting with adulterous erections in the space of the strip club. Second, I think it's probably a total violation of employment law to have us independent contractors (is that what we are?) spend a day shopping for pastel thongs and bunny ears which we pay for ourselves, but the club requires us to wear. And finally, does any customer even give a shit about this? Seriously, strip club dudes out there - are ANY of you ever like, "Shit, the girls at 'Mixed Emotions' are wearing bunny ears today! I better go get me a beer and a lapdance, pronto!" The same goes for our mandatory naughty-Santa themed outfits the month of December, or the "Dominican independence day" Dominican flag outfits. I did a little bit of calculating, and it turns out that in my four years of stripping, I have probably spent about $350 on 'theme' days at various clubs. Do you know how many dicks I had to sit on to earn that $350?! Not to mention the penises I had to press against...

As if that wasn't weird enough, I had to hear a customer passionately digress on his favorite subject, "Euphology." Well, that's how I erroneously assumed it was spelled. Actually, Guillermo is passionately into UFO-logy. The study of UFO's. Now, I'm not so arrogantly human-centric that I've ruled out the strong likelihood of life outside planet Earth, but Guillermo told me that he woke up from a nap the other day, looked out his window, and "I swear to god. There was a spaceship there." See, Obama and the other heads of state around the world are actually all in on this huge secret, which is that the earth is but one planet of many that needs to be governed and ruled. And what we perceive as our government is actually part of a much larger assembly of universal leaders or heads. Our local leaders distract us with day to day shit so we don't notice that there are aliens who really run the universe. (They are humanoids, by the way. The look a lot like us. But their brains are millions of years more evolved.) If I would just look at the sky on a clear night, I might see a UFO and start to understand some of what Guillermo was talking about, and he can also recommend some fabulous books to me the subject.

Finally, I gave a dance to a customer who told me that he would "tear my ass up" if he got ahold of me. That he'd "destroy my pussy. Just totally destroy it." What would happen if I reversed this dynamic for sexy talk with men? Say shit like, "I would RUIN your cock. I mean just tear it off and put it in a vase with water in it. Maybe those little stones at the bottom for a decorative flair. I mean I would just bite that shit off and, you know, chew on it like a Tootsie Roll. And then spit it out like chewed-up paan on a Bombay sidewalk for some pigeon to eat. Yum."