Back in the old days, when hundreds of thousands of unwashed hordes descended upon a city all at once to pillage its resources, occupy all of its dwelling places and use up all the parking spaces, our ancestors referred to that as a barbarian invasion. Today, we just call it South by Southwest.
To be fair, today’s barbarians probably use more soap. And considering they spend freely in all the pubs and taverns about town with slightly less raping and pillaging, this wench decided to get her a slice of that Southby pie.
I live and work north of the wall, so I had to travel south to get to the action. I chose The Landing Strip, because, well, better the devil you know. I was apprehensive, because the club has received mixed reviews among my dancer friends, but the deejay there is a friend of mine, and I like having allies. Together, DJ Thowed and I would be like the North and the . . . .
Fuck. Who did the North ally with?
I’m finding it’s really hard to write coherently on four hours of sleep. Also, I mostly just watch GoT for the sex scenes. Sorry not sorry.
Anyway . . . I arrived straight from work and had to get ready in the dressing room, which gave me plenty of time to grill the other dancers. Evanesce was tall, dark, lovely and pissed. “I don’t know that I’m gonna be staying tonight,” she informed me. “Funkmaster Flex is gonna be here deejaying for Southby, and girl, it’s gonna be so HOOD out there.”
I blinked, feeling awkward. I’m not the most politically correct person, but I am uncomfortable using words like “hood” to refer to a large gathering of people of color. I think it’s racist. However, Evanesce was a woman of color. I felt certain she’d be rather well-liked among the “hood” she was referring to, but I wasn’t sure how to say that without sounding like a clueless white woman.
Evanesce continued, “I mean, it’s not like they don’t like me . . .” And I relaxed. She had read my mind; I didn’t have to say anything. Clueless White Woman crisis averted. “ . . . but they never have money and they don’t want to pay me anything. They just wanna be like, ‘Oh, you’re so pretty,’ but honey, compliments don’t pay my bills.”
A large gathering of people of color did turn out to see Funkmaster Flex, and I have never felt so invisible in the world’s tiniest underwear, fishnet garter hose and thigh-high black leather boots. All night I watched as thicc women of color danced under showers of dollar bills so prolific they were later shoved into trash bags while I hustled for scraps.
I am not sure if men of color are loyal as fuck or if they just naturally gravitate to women of color. Either way, very few of them spend dat cash on dis ass.
If I’m ever having a bad night at the club, it’s really easy to blame the clientele: I’m just not their type. Nobody here likes skinny white girls. It’s not me; it’s them.
That was easy to do until Nicole showed up.
Nicole is a problem because she transcends all the racial stereotypes. She is a lot like me in that she’s a skinny white girl with a meaty ass. (Her ass isn’t real like mine, but nobody cares when shit is silicone.) She’s also drop-dead gorgeous and the men of color LOVE her.
So when I’m at the club trying to shore up my fragile self-esteem with platitudes like “It’s just because you’re not their type,” Nicole is out there dancing under the paper rain, revealing all my platitudes to be lies. Her success at the club in the face of my lack thereof screams, “No honey, it’s just because you’re ugly.”
There was one Tuesday where I clocked out with a hundred bucks. Nicole clocked out with THREE GRAND and was still counting when I left.
Nicole seems to show up everywhere I go, a constant foil to my mediocre dancing career. She’s the thorn in my side, the rock in my heels, the wedgie in my thong.
It was a long night. A discouraging one. A depressing one.
A night made 100% better when I came out of the bathroom to see the smiling face of my bestie who showed up to surprise me. He made the last hours of my night highly tolerable. Thanks for loving this ugly mug, bestie! Thanks for being my sunshine on a rainy night, the last bar on my Wi-fi, the last scrap of toilet paper on otherwise empty roll. You saved me.
In the dressing room at the end of the night, a super cute
white girl named Lauren was fuming. “Four men wouldn’t buy dances from me tonight because they said I was “too white”! Four men! They TOLD me that! Can you believe it? And I’m a SOCCER PLAYER, for pete’s sake! I have LEGS! AND AN ASS!”
In the “hood,” white girl thicc just ain’t thicc enough.
I don’t write any of this for compliments or sympathy. In fact, PLEASE don’t give me your compliments or sympathy. I write this because racial relations at a strip club continue to fascinate me. For years, this country has historically and systemically devalued the bodies of women of color, a problem that persists to this day. It’s interesting and somewhat gratifying to me that strip club culture seems to have flipped this issue on its head. Inside many strip clubs, the thicc woman of color reigns as Queen, Belle of the Blue Ball.
Despite this recognition, however, I left the club feeling too skinny, too white, too quiet and too ugly, all things over which I have very little control. This job may be hella interesting, but it’s for sure not the healthiest.
Perhaps I left feeling, to a microscopic degree, the same way white culture in this country has left many women of color feeling: too black, too big, too loud and too ugly. This country may be hella interesting, but it’s for sure not the healthiest.