Saturday evening was a tumultuous one. Several of you receiving frantic texts and phone calls from me can attest to this.
(BTW, everyone I reached out to responded back with care and concern and willingness to help, so thank you, you wonderful human beings.)
Before all the trouble started, I was with a client chatting about renewable energy and carbon emissions, because who doesn’t like it when a dancer talks nerdy at a strip club, when another dancer walked by, her eyes throwing Molotov cocktails at me.
I stopped talking about my fascination with the highly successful break-through technology of T. Boone Pickens regarding the transformation of garbage into 5.5 million cubic feet of methane gas per day at McCommas Bluff long enough to remark, “Wow, she looks pissed!”
“That woman hates you,” my client informed me, “And, unfortunately, I may be somewhat responsible for that.”
“What the fuck?” I hadn’t said as much as two words to that dancer before. In fact, I had labeled her as “one of the Cubans” whom I had assumed couldn’t talk to me anyway. Other than writing her off for not speaking English, which she had no way of knowing, I had done absolutely nothing to earn her vitriol.
“She came up to me earlier and gave me a massage while you were dancing onstage. She was talking shit about you the whole time.”
“What the FUCK?” I said again, a lot more vehemently this time.
“It was just really catty stuff. She’s obviously very jealous of you.”
This Cuban could speak English. Noted. This English-speaking Cuban also felt spiteful as fuck towards me. Also noted.
“What did she SAY about me?”
My client squirmed like a Republican spokesperson on NPR and completely dodged the question. “I didn’t have the heart to tell her I found you extremely attractive. After the massage, she asked me if I wanted a dance, but I told her it was time for me to go. But obviously, I didn’t go. And now I’m here with you.”
Not only did my client turn this dancer down, but he turned her down for someone she actively disliked. It’s one thing to be rejected. It’s quite another to be rejected in favor of your enemy, or at least your perceived enemy.
I thought about the Cubans: how they flocked together around one table like a beautiful but mean girl sorority, checking their phones and chattering to each other in Spanish, breaking out into laughter every now and then. Were they sometimes laughing at me? Did they all despise me as much as one of their stripper sisters did?
Up to this point, most of the dancers have been extremely kind to me. I have even made a few friends and helped them find clients and make money. I naively assumed everyone felt a similar spirit of goodwill towards to me. I often look at the world and see a mirror instead of seeing it as it really is.
The mirror has begun to crack, and some of the darkness behind it has crept in. I’m going to have to watch my back a little more carefully from now on.