“I could kill an alligator between my thighs!”
In the locker room, Arwyn scowled in the mirror at an imaginary manager as she recalled being asked to leave a club across town.
“Sure, I had gained weight,” she continued, “but, I mean, look at me. I’m not fat. Obviously, it was all muscle!”
With two thick red braids brushing her thighs as she moved, Arwyn looked every inch a fierce Celtic warrior. She was the only dancer at the club who could make her tits clap together just by slightly flexing her pectorals. I immediately felt sorry for any alligators who dared to piss her off.
“Anyway, it’s fine,” she continued. “The managers here are way more chill. I just wish it weren’t such a long drive for me.”
“Where do you live?” I asked her, trying to make my winged eyeliner match the other eye.
“Holy fuck! Why do you not just dance in Houston?”
“You mean Prosti-Houston?”
I immediately fucked up my eyeliner. I wiped it off and tried again. “Is THAT how it is there?”
“Honey, there are women at the clubs in Houston who will do things for fifty bucks that I won’t even do with my husband. I can’t compete with that.”
“Is that sort of thing less common here?”
“Oh, yes, Austin is WAY better.”
I thought back to a conversation I’d had with another dancer, Miss Andrews, who was new to the club. She was bummed because she’d only made four hundred dollars that night.
At the time, as a server making a hundred bucks on a good night, that was a lot of money, and I told her so.
“Yeah, but I’m used to dancing in Houston,” Miss Andrews told me. “I can make $800 in one night there with just two clients.”
“Ohmigosh, HOW?” I asked her.
She hadn’t responded. Perhaps now I know why.
Besides Arwyn, there are a number of interesting dancers at the club. Easily one of the most popular is Mariana. Kind, beautiful and Queen of the Goddamned Pole, Mariana once swam ankle deep in dollars onstage after a particularly breakneck dance that involved swinging among the rafters in the ceiling. The deejay called for a bucket, and I ran one over and helped her scoop all the dollar bills inside. It took a minute.
Up close and in person, previously hidden by the darkness and strobe lights, I noticed deep scarring in one of her legs. The damage was so extensive that it was impossible to tell whether she had been mauled by a wild beast or partially burned at the stake. Either way, there’s a story of serious warrior fierceness there, and perhaps I’ll learn it one day.
Also amazing on the pole is Ecstasy. Tall and lanky, she never wears an ounce of makeup but has a different wig for each night of the week. I suspect Ecstasy is a transwoman, but it seems rude to ask for verification.
Ecstasy once came to the stage while I was dancing and detained me for about five minutes while everybody watched to tell me that she didn’t like my twerking.
“I need you to pop dat ass a lot harder,” she informed me. “Cuz, girl, I really don’t know what you doing otherwise. I don’t like it.”
I’m not sure why my twerking abilities meant so much to Ecstasy, but I found it both hilarious and endearing. I plan to work on improving them just to make her happy. I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that getting better at twerking basically just involves being less white, and I am SO white.
My clients are not shy about discussing the other dancers with me. They do it so often it almost seems like they consider it their job. I know which ones they consider “ratchet,” or “hoodrat,” or “in desperate need of a sandwich.” I know whose asses are clearly fake, whose tats are really shitty and whose tits look like flapjacks. The judgment is deep and rampant, and it bothers the fuck outta me.
“Everybody is somebody’s type!” I remind them, and it’s true. There are some nights where clients will practically chase me down and throw money at me, and then there are other nights where no one hardly pays any attention to me at all.
The night that Ecstasy critiqued my twerking skills was a particularly lucrative night for me, but in the locker room at closing time, Ecstasy bemoaned her lack of success. The next night, a client with a MAGA hat spent the entire evening cradling her in his arms, eyes closed and looking as blissful as a baby in its mother’s arms. It is such a fucking crapshoot for most of us here.
And I’m okay with that. If I took rejection personally, I’d be too mindfucked to function. We’d all do well to learn the lessons of Arwyn: I’m not fat; I’m an alligator-murdering MACHINE.