Dancing at the Edge of the Universe

On New Year’s Eve at the club, we threw a party and no one came. I cleared $90 after house fees and tip out. My costume for the evening cost twice that.

The negative ROI was the last straw. I was done.

My club has been dying slowly over the past year, but the real slump came when the new manager got rid of all the drug dealers. Idiot. You can’t yank the electrical cord out of the wall and expect your lights to stay on. Rumor on the street has it that a club called Wild Bill’s out of Dallas will be taking over soon. That’ll probably amp it back up in six months or so, but I owe two grand to the IRS, and they are probably not gonna wait that long.

It was time to find a new club.

I decided on Thursday evening to go looking. My heart was not in it, though. I haven’t worked at the club in three weeks, and my self-esteem was at record highs. I was not super excited to start comparing myself to twentysomethings again. That, of course, didn’t stop me from NOT dying my gray roots. I was clearly half-assing it.

When I climbed into my car to head out, I wrinkled my nose. Something smelled like yesterday’s sushi. Then I realized it was my dress. It’s the sluttiest one I own, with a neckline to my belly button and a hemline that barely covers my ass, so I probably should not have been surprised that it smelled like rotten fish. I put the car in drive anyway.

Definitely half-assing it.

I hit up Perfect 10 North first. The doorman slowly got up to open the door for me, but he smiled politely when I entered. The itty bitty thing at the front desk told me not to even try. “The manager has turned down the past five girls who have come through here tonight. We’ve just got too many girls right now.”

I would have been smart to bail on my club a lot sooner. Honestly, I knew this a long time ago, but it’s tough to leave your comfort zone and people who have become like family.

A lot of those people aren’t there anymore either, though. Even DJ Rob has bailed for another club.

Foxy’s was next. I drove in and counted eight cars in the parking lot at 10 pm on a Thursday night. I immediately drove back out.

Palazio’s parking lot had a satisfactory number of cars. The doorman opened the door for me, but I realized the manager was also standing outside, so after the doorman checked my ID, I turned to him. Standing a bit further away than was necessary, I shook his hand and politely inquired if they were hiring dancers.

“We are currently auditioning ladies for our mid-shift,” he said politely in return. “You are welcome to audition.”

An audition? I wilted. I had never had to audition before. This is why I don’t dance at classy clubs. Previously, I just walked into the sketchy ones and landed the job on the spot. FUCK.

I walked into the lobby to do my paperwork and immediately realized I had forgotten to bring my social security card. “Come back tomorrow!” the front desk lady told me breezily.

Maybe. I was grumpy about the whole mid-shift thing. The hours, 4 pm to 10 pm, were terrible. Not only are those the slowest hours at the club, but they pretty much shoot your whole weekend in the ass. I couldn’t work on a Friday because my day job doesn’t end until 5:30 pm. I’d have to work either just Saturday or Saturday/Sunday. Neither option was ideal.

There was one last place to go. Bare Cabaret. Perhaps not the Sketchiest of the Sketch, but close. DJ Rob told me the place gave him bad vibes.

I was so desperate to not go there that I texted an old lover. He comes to parties at my house from time to time because he’s friends with my roomie, but I had not privately conversed with him in nearly two years. “Hey!” I said. “Weird question: still wanna do that Chaturbate channel with me?”

“I do!” he responded back, “but my current partner would probably not like that.”

Well. It had been worth a shot.

Bare Cabaret was so close to my house that all I had to do was drive through a super seedy neighborhood to get there. I passed six cop cars and, of course, one of them pulled me over and gave me a warning for not having license plates on my new car. License plates are so overrated. Honestly, the only thing license plates will get you is toll fees. I will delay putting on license plates until I am practically arrested.

There were eleven cars in the parking lot of Bare Cabaret at 11 pm on a Thursday night. Not great, but better than Foxy’s! The lobby was also full of millennials. I like millennials. They hardly ever come to strip clubs, but when they do, they come to party.

Like I was accustomed, the manager gave me a job on the spot. He actually seemed eager to have me, edging closer and closer while I kept backing away. I didn’t want him to get a whiff of me and change his mind. Feeling wanted was nice, though. One likes to go where one is appreciated, even if it’s a club at the edge of the universe, like this one.

I had doubts, though. The club is BYOB. How the fuck does a club make money if it cannot sell alcohol? Does it just leverage heavy fees on its dancers? Probably. How much was I gonna have to pay to work there?

Also, the club is all-nude. How the fuck does a girl dance all-nude when she’s on her period? Asking because I’m on my period. I could wear femme cups, I guess, but in the past, they consistently gave me yeast infections. I missed out on a number of tantalizing sexual encounters because of those stupid yeast infections, and I’m still hella resentful of them for it. Are dangling tampon strings sexy? I have never pondered this question before, but I doubt it.

I texted DJ Rob. “Where will I make the most money?”

“Palazio,” he shot back.

FUCK. Looks I’m gonna have to go through with that damn audition after all. The anxiety is crushing.

On my drive home, a half-blind armadillo hell-bent on a suicide mission threw itself under my wheel. I swerved to miss and still hit it. The squishy THOINK stayed in my head until I fell asleep.

Lucky armadillo. It’s not gonna have to audition at a classy strip joint tonight.


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