Lap Dances in the Time of Coronavirus

On the evening that the City of Austin announced they were canceling South by Southwest for the first time since it’s inception 34 years ago due to Coronovirus fears, I went to dance at Bare Cabaret and found there was no soap in the women’s bathroom.

Austin, I have found Ground Zero for the Coronavirus!

There was much chatter in the dressing rooms amongst the dancers as to the impact that the SXSW cancellation might have. The general consensus was that people would come to Austin anyway and just have more money to spend at the strip clubs. Clearly, all these dancers are optimists.

I wondered if Coronavirus fears would keep people away.

THEY ABSOLUTELY FUCKING DID NOT.

Let’s see, how to explain how packed the club was on Friday?

At Bare Cabaret, there are private stalls available for lap dances. Once you’ve secured a client, you lead him to a private stall, dance as long as he wants, leave and hustle somebody else.

Friday night, I did not even have to leave the stall. Nor did I have to hustle anyone. Dudes were literally lining up outside the stall. I didn’t even have time to dress between dances. In all my dancing days, I have never seen anything like it.

I danced for men from Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Washington, DC, Seattle and San Francisco. I am definitely getting coronavirus. I am just going to lick every dude who comes through here and get this shit over with as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, friends, if you don’t wanna hang out, I totally get it.

I didn’t realize this before I started dancing, but Austin is a huge destination for bachelor parties. Dudes come here from New York and LA to party. Canceling Southby isn’t going to prevent jack shit. They are coming anyway.

It’s only a matter of time.

A Tale of Two Titties

In my almost two years in this business, I have come to realize that the different types of strippers can basically be boiled down into two distinct classifications: genus ratchetus and genus snobbicus.

Genus ratchetus will first ensnare you with a highly sexualized verbal or phyiscal greeting and is the type known for defying anatomical realities with their dance moves, such as pounding their pussies in your face while clacking their heels together over your head. (I am not this kind of stripper. I might be if I could move like that, but at my age, I’d just break a hip.) Conversational topics will almost always be about her problems and how much she needs money. You will most likely feel sad or brain-dead after said conversation. Your wallet will empty for one reason or another: you’ll either feel compelled to help the ratchetus, her incredibly vulgar dancing will drain all your self-restraint, or she’ll just straight up scam you.

WARNING: Both classes will leave you light in the head, heavy in the nether regions and especially light in the wallet regions.

Genus snobbicus, the classification to which I belong, will first ensnare you with witty, intelligent conversation intended to make you laugh and is the type known for giving subtly sexy but otherwise rather restrained lap dances, which will lead to your request to be slapped in the facial regions with our mammary glands or gluteus maximi. It is well-known that the male species derives extreme pleasure from such activities and can be persuaded to part with a large amount of the local currency in his possession in order to participate in said activities. Conversational topics will almost always be centered around you, which the snobbicus will then use to silently judge you harshly. Your wallet will empty in hopes of one day gaining the snobbicus as your girlfriend, but soon those dreams will prove to be as empty as your wallet.

Comedian Rae Sanni, in a bit in which she laments the humiliation of being a broke-ass stripper (which you can view here), has a more succinct viewpoint:

“So I was in the strip club being myself. Hey, don’t be yourself in the strip club! They don’t want yourself in the strip club! I’m at the bar talking to customers. I’m like, “Well, this tattoo’s from a book of James Baldwin essays . . . and this tattoo is from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which is about four lovers in Russian-occupied Czechoslovakia, but really it’s about Nietzschen philosophy . . . Do you want my titties in your face?

“No! He don’t want your readin’-ass titties in his face! He wants illiterate titties. He came to the Bronx for some Reganomics, defunded public school-ass titties!”

Now, there’s an argument to be made here for a number of things. First and foremost, much could be said about how I should not be perpetuating stripper stereotypes; nevertheless, they persist because we strippers are often not helping our cause. Another argument could be made that negative stripper stereotypes persist as a direct result of any politician who defunds public education. Sex work and sexual exploitation increases in bad economies and under-educated societies, so there’s a lot to explore from a political standpoint.

I’m sure plenty of strippers exist who defy all classifications — hell, I know some of them — but quite a few of us are not rising above; no, as last Friday proved, we are doing quite the opposite, diving headfirst into the shallow, foaming cesspool of negative stripper stereotypes and splashing around.

It was quite gratifying to learn, when I applied to work at Bare, that it was staffed by former managers from my previous club, namely, Caesar, the former VIP manager. However, while I filled all my new contractor paperwork, Caesar put twenty dancers on suspension leave for involving themselves in a 20-girl pileup the night before.

All the red flags were waving, but you know what? It’s hard to see red flags when you’re wearing rose colored glasses. As I usually do, particularly when it comes to my relationships, I looked at those red flags and thought, “Oh, my! How pretty!” And then immediately found myself all tangled up in them.

On my second night at Bare, Caesar beckoned me into a large VIP booth and told me to stay put. Before long, he stocked the booth with nine more dancers, all of whom seemed to know exactly what to do. Immediately, they arranged themselves in a semi-circle around the booth, naked asses out and twerking.

When a large party of very young birthday boys arrived and were greeted by this sight, they were terrifed. Only a few of them had the courage to slide into the booth, and they were immediately rewarded with at least two pussies in each face. “Man, they all got fat stacks!” I heard one dancer squeal. “We gon make some monies!”

Most of the hella uncomfortable young men milled around outside the booth, occasionally turning to throw a wad of singles into the air or film the scene on their phones. Before long, the booth looked like Jeff Bezos had thrown up everywhere, cash swathing the carpet like a prom dress on a debutante and dangling from the seams of the surrounding mirrors.

At the height of the spectacle, one dancer writhed around on the floor on her back, and I admired her courage. I do not have the ovaries necessary to roll around on the ground while ten pairs of ice picks stomp around my face. I did my best not to stick a stiletto in her eyeball. Two other dancers hopped on a nearby pole, hooping and hollering while the men flung dollars. Those of us lacking faces to thrust pussies into danced solo as lasciviously as possible.

I didn’t want to be there. Not only was I recuperating from the flu, but I was exhausted, having slept less than two hours the night before. None of these men wanted to engage in witty and intelligent conversation. I did my best to keep up, but my genus snobbicus self was far out of my element.

Not only was I feeling completely out of place, but all this chaos did not strike me as the best way to monetize my time. Judging by the amount of cash decorating the booth, my take would be about fifty dollars max. Singles seem like a lot of money until you count them. I was ready to go, but I wasn’t sure how to get my booty out of there without also taking my share of the loot. I cannot emphasize enough how much cash was frickin’ everywhere. I expected someone to get twitchy about it any second now.

I didn’t have to wait long, but I was surprised to find myself the target.

I don’t know; perhaps there were some incredibly well-rounded ladies in the booth that night, but at first glance, mine appeared to be the only readin’-ass titties present. So there I was, minding my own business, making a half-hearted attempt at shaking my flu-ridden ass, when I heard another dancer yelling. “She’s ugly as fuck, she’s barely shaking her ass, and I am not splitting all this money with her!”

My first thought was, “She is surprisingly articulate.”

My second thought was, “Is she talking about me?”

Oh, yes, she was. Two seconds later, two dancers grabbed me by the arms. “You can’t be here,” they said. “You need to leave now.”

“Why?” I asked.

“You just . . . these guys don’t want you here. They don’t know you.”

That was a lie, obviously, so my third thought was, “Bitch, if you kick me out, your take goes up by about five bucks, but it’s okay. Math is hard. None of us would be here if we could math.”

I let them pull me out of the booth. A couple of dancers shot me sympathetic looks; others ignored the spectacle. Part of me was mortified but part of me was too exhausted to give a fuck. Besides, they were inadvertently solving my problem for me. Behind me, one of the men protested. “Where you goin’? Nah, let her stay! She good, man, she good!”

My titties might have been readin’-ass quality, but they were still the best titties in that booth.

BOOM.

Once out of the booth, I marched straight up to Caesar. “These girls are kicking me out,” I told him, “So I’m gonna go, but I need to be compensated for my time here.”

I could almost read his mind. He knew we had been just one “Bitch, don’t touch me!” away from another 20-girl pileup. I had decided to overlook their physical assault, and I could see the relief in his eyes over the fact that he wasn’t gonna have to suspend another twenty dancers. “Come see me when you tip out,” he said. “I’ll take care of you. Just don’t tell anybody I’m splitting the money with you.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I really don’t know what I did to piss them off.”

Caesar winced. “Man, they’re just a bunch of Reganomics, defunded public school-ass titties. Don’t pay ’em any mind.”

Actually, that’s not what he said, but I can’t repeat what he really said on this blog.

Can I please just work at a club full of readin’-ass titties? No. No, I cannot, because one doesn’t exist. I’mma have to go back to Bare, and boy, am I dreading it.

To Choke a Hamster

An unexpected side effect of being an exotic dancer is that it is ruining places of business for me all over town. For instance, there’s this one little restaurant in the heart of downtown Round Rock that I can no longer patronize because the owner severely violated my boundaries during a lap dance a few months ago.

Now there’s about 15 bars in downtown Austin I can no longer frequent.*

I’m tempted to name drop. Who wants to know the names of local businessmen who treat strippers poorly? Raise your hands!

It was 8 pm at Palazio on Saturday night, and I’d only made forty bucks dancing onstage. The female manager, whom I suspect took an instant disliking to me for some reason, pulled me offstage mid-song demanding to know why I wasn’t wearing regulation t-backs.

Because I don’t have any that went with my outfit? Obvs. Did this club cop not respect color coordination?

She did not. Ugh. I had just emerged from the dressing wearing *two* frickin’ pairs of underwear when *he* beckoned me over.

“It’s about time,” he said when I arrived. “I’ve been waiting for you all evening.”

I smelled money. My night was perking up.

He had blue eyes made all the more striking by his blue fleece hoodie. He waved me onto his lap but refused to uncross his legs. That should have been a red flag, but it wasn’t. In my 20 months of dancing, no man has ever refused to uncross his legs for me.

“You are the hottest thing in this club right now,” he said.

“Just wait a few hours,” I told him. “It’ll pick up.”

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. This dude would spend the next hour complaining about my lack of authenticity. For a sharp-eyed businessman, he certainly wasn’t paying attention.

They never do, though. I am just a museum collection of very nice tits and ass, an odd but beautiful specimen lacking brains and heart and a voice.

Also, who the fuck comes to a strip club seeking authenticity? You may as well go to a Catholic church seeking a moral compass, or this blog, seeking wholesome content.

He slid a practiced finger into my bra and pushed it aside. “You have perfect tits. I like perfect. And you’re tiny, too. It’s so hot.”

I tried to hide my annoyance. You want to see my tits close up? Either find me flashing tripping hippies at a rave after midnight or buy a lap dance, asshole! I’m not your free admission to the museum.

“I own 15 bars in Austin,” he said, giving me his name. I recognized his last name immediately. “And now I want to own you. How much would that take? Forty thousand a year?”

“Um . . . *only* you?” I’m not averse to wearing a very expensive collar, but I need it to be really loose.

“Well, yes, but you can lie to me. Or look, how about a free apartment, and you blow me once a day?”

“A free apartment where?”

“Look, what’s it gonna take to get you to go to breakfast with me? Money is no object. I don’t give a fuck about money.”

He mumbled something to his friend next to him about charging five times more for sandwiches in areas hit by the coronavirus, which he seemed very pleased about.

His friend wore a “Crows Before Hoes” GOT-shirt, which made me like him a lot better. He shot me a sympathetic look.

“Three grand,” I informed Mr. Moneybags. I had been thinking two, but my price increases inversely to my calculation of what a stellar human being you are.

“Alright,” he said, “But I get to fuck you five times.”

Too bad for this guy I only fuck broke musicians. Usually only *after* buying them dinner and driving them home, though. I mean, I try to be a lady about it.

“I don’t fuck men for money,” I protested. “That includes an evening in VIP, and then I’ll go to breakfast with you.”

“Fine. Three times, then.”

“We’re done here.”I pushed myself up to leave, but he put his hand over mine on the side of the chair and tightened it.

“Look,” he said, his eyes glinting. “I really do have a lot of money, and if you walk away, I promise you’re, at some point, gonna think ‘Tsk, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.'”

I must’ve looked really pissed at this point because he softened his tone. “Look, I really do just want to get to know you better, that’s all.”

“Then come spend an hour with me in VIP,” I said. “Yes?”

“Alright,” he said reluctantly, allowing me up. I took his hand and led him to VIP, a cute waitress dutifully following us.

I led him to the most expensive cabana in the back while the waitress explained how the transaction would work.

Somehow in VIP, the confident, cocky businessman turned into a scared child. “Wait, this booth is $600 for two hours?” he asked incredulously.

“Plus a thousand an hour for me!” I rolled my eyes on the inside. I thought he said he didn’t give a fuck about money.

He looked at me, wide-eyed. “Six hundred dollars is a lot of money! I’d rather just spend that on you outside the club.”

If I could have rolled my eyes harder, they’d be knocking down strippers like pins at a bowling alley. I cannot even begin to count how many times I’ve heard that particular phrase. Whenever you hear it, that’s a good sign that it’s time to pivot on your heels and stalk away, your clenched backside communicating your contempt.

“Look,” I said as kindly as possible, making one last attempt to salvage the past hour in which I’d received exactly zero dollars. “If you want to spend time with me outside the club, the best way to do that is to take really good care of me inside the club.”

This is 100% true, but they never get it.

The waitress shifted her feet, and I decided he had wasted enough of our time. I stood up. “I’ve gotta get back to work.”

“There are women in here who will fuck me for free!”

“Go talk to them, then!” I retorted, striding away, my backside clenched tight enough to choke a hamster.

The only thing good he had done for me was convince one of the managers to let me stay for the full night shift. While I danced for frat boys and blue collars, all of whom showed me greater decency and kindness than Mr. Moneybags, I caught glimpses of him across the club. Dancer after dancer cycled through his lap, but he didn’t buy dances from any of them.

I checked on him once when I found him curled up in a chair in VIP, bowed in almost a fetal position. He looked up when I approached.

“I really did just want to get to know you better,” he said, looking at me with eyes that were both petulant and pleading.

“You can for three grand!” I exclaimed brightly.

He groaned and slumped back over.

I’m not sure Mr. Moneybags had done me a huge favor, allowing me to stay for the entire shift. It had not been a lucrative evening. When I tipped out the deejay, he picked up the stack of ones and peered at it suspiciously. “Are there twenty bones in here for your skip?” he asked.

“What?” I asked. Then I realized what the deejay meant: While I was in VIP trying to wrangle three grand from Mr. Moneybags, the deejay had skipped my turn in the dance rotation, which costs twenty dollars.

Which meant that my hour with Mr. Moneybags had actually *cost* me money. MOTHERFUCKER. I hope they cure coronavirus real soon just to spite him.

I mean, for the obvious reasons too, but I am hella petty.

In the meantime, if you don’t see me out at my usual haunts around town, it’s because I realized I know the owner. UGH.

—————————-

*On the other hand, Bar 1919 in San Antonio is owned by a fantastic human being, and you should definitely go drink his delicious cocktails and smoke his humongous cigars.

Bitch, I Don’t Strap on 8 Inch Stilettos Just to Walk on Eggshells

Somewhere deep in the heart of the State Capitol of Texas, in a small room dimly-lit with expensive torchieres and the smoking ends of fat cigars, a bunch of old, creepy, definitely white Congressmen hunched their portentous bellies over their tiny brains to think. In the dank recesses of their misogynistic minds, they thought bitterly of all the beautiful, powerful women who refused to fuck them long ago and concocted a set of the most inane, flabbergasting, and frustrating laws regulating the bodies of beautiful women that they could possibly imagine.

And then, they refused to write any of them down, choosing instead to communicate them via an oral tradition that would result in a vast and confusing array of rules that would vary from strip club to strip club.

When this task was done, they sat back and laughed and laughed and laughed at the onslaught of chaos that would inevitably ensue. Their revenge was complete.

I know of no other way than the above scenario to explain my bewildering and mortifying Saturday evening back at Palazio.

My favorite targets at the club are the men who look like they haven’t talked to a woman since the Regan administration, and one of these men was Roger. Roger appeared to have forgotten all of his conversational skills, but he was polite and agreed to a dance when I asked.

During the dance, as any stripper worth her stilettos should do, I did my best to determine what the client wanted from me. Roger definitely just wanted me to grind on him. I checked in frequently, “How does this feel? How’s the pressure? Lighter, harder?”

Harder, definitely harder. I bore down with all my strength and sawed away. By the end of song number two, I was a hot mess. Roger was too. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead. “How about let’s do two more songs,” he gasped, “and I’ll pay you for five?”

The songs are looooooong at Palazio. It’s the best lap dance deal in town. I felt like a raccoon dying in a desert.

“I’d love to, Roger!” I beamed.

No, I really want to do something else now, Roger, but apparently you want to cum in your pants, so I’m gonna wear myself out for your hundred bucks, because that is the kind of greedy bitch I am.

I don’t know where I found the strength to keep thrusting for eight more minutes, but when I was done, I felt like a sex machine.

The minute I clambered off Roger’s lap, dripping and gross, one of the female managers appeared at my elbow.

“Genevieve, can you come with me, please?”

Puzzled, I followed her back to the relatively quieter space in the VIP lounge, fastening my top as I walked and racking my brains as to what I might have done wrong. For a moment, I wondered if a VIP member had seen my sex machine act and wanted a piece of it for himself, but nooooo, my luck is not that good, and my life is not that cool.

“First of all,” she said, “You can’t continuously grind on our clients like that. It’s simulating sex, which is illegal here.”

“Oh!” I said. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea!”

Bitch, this is a strip club, not Mitch McConnell’s bedroom! Sexy things happen here! We sell nothing but sex, so how is it that simulated sex is somehow illegal?

As tough as it had been to grind on Roger for four songs, I once did the same thing for eight back at my old club, and nobody said a gotdamn thing.

The night before, some dude practically gave me a mammogram with his mouth and another wanted me to rub my nipples all over his beard, but somehow we draw the line at dry humping?

“Second of all,” she continued, “The clients usually don’t want that. You need to look at what the other dancers do and mimic them. It’s supposed to be more like a private show.”

“I usually prefer to do something more like that,” I assured her, “but in this instance, the client specifically requested this particular . . . thing.”

Bitch, you did not just imply I don’t know how to give a lap dance!

“Well, people were looking at you and talking about you. I want you to do well here, but you won’t with moves like that.”

“Not a problem at all. I won’t do it again. Thank you for telling me. I know it wasn’t easy, but I appreciate it.”

“Yeah.” She grimaced. “It’s awkward.”

Bitch, maybe if someone wanted to make a list of everything that’s illegal in this stupid club, you would have a lot less awkward conversations. It’s not super cool to find out I’ve broken a law only when I’m getting chewed out for it!

Contrast her little shame speech with the one I got from Rocco the Pirate at my last club. He once said to me, “You should charge these guys to lick your butthole so you can tip out more.”

Notice that I went from that to this.

Honestly, I’d kind of prefer to work a club where butthole licking is an option. Not that I really want a client’s tongue anywhere near my butthole, but sketchy places have fewer rules. And I hate rules.

Bare Cabaret is looking better and better. Perhaps I should consider giving them a shot.

Hey, Baby, Wanna Fuck a Felon?

I spent all day Friday ravaged by anxiety. I moped about at my day job, a tattered veneer of focus shrouding me like a decaying burial cloth.

Yes, that’s melodramatic, but you’d be freaking out too if Uncle Sam were looming over you like an executioner with a hoodie and axe. I had zero budget for paying my taxes. The amount I owe doesn’t even include my dancing income yet. SIGH.

I arrived at the club promptly at 7:30 pm, and the manager whisked me to the back right away. He pointed at a stage off to the side. “Go dance on that stage for one song,” he said. “Topless.”

I had forgotten how good it felt to be onstage. I danced longer than one song. When the manager realized I was still going, he abruptly motioned me to get off and come over.

“Put on your top, and go fill out your paperwork,” he said, striding away. And that was that. Easy peasy. I felt dumb for being so worried.

I hated it immediately. They would not let me use my stage name, Circus, or my burn name, Aphrodite, or another name I wanted, Hella Dangerous. “It has to be a real person name,” they said. I was very disgruntled about this. Real person names are boring.

While I deliberated on a “real person” name, Sunshine, Memphis and even one girl named fucking “Soju,” cycled through the stages. They were all black, though. I assumed that if a black girl tells the club those names are real names, the club clams up for fear of being labeled racist. Damn my lily white skin and the lack of appropriately cool enough white girl names.

I couldn’t pick one, so they gave me a list to choose from. Genevieve was one of the names on it. I chose to use it in honor of the real Genevieve, who was so kind to me at my last club. Still, it doesn’t resonate with me. I spent the whole evening introducing myself as, “Circ – er, Genevieve.”

Also, the VIP set-up was much more pretentious. At my previous club, a client could get a VIP cabana for three songs for a hundred bucks. Get you 4 – 5 of those customers, and it was super easy to make good money. Here, VIP starts at $350/hour for a cabana plus $800/hour for your dancer. Ain’t nobody gonna pay $1,150/hour for my normal girl self. I was gonna have to eke out a living at $20 a pop and seduce a lot of customers.

Since it was my first night, they let me work as late as I wanted. Seduce a lot a customers was exactly what I did. Coming from a club as dead as my last one, the chaos was welcome but overwhelming. By 2 am, it was standing room only, and you could barely walk around. The music was so loud you had to yell into someone’s ear if you wanted them to hear you.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT IS TO SEDUCE SOMEONE IF YOU CAN ONLY YELL IN THEIR EAR? How is a girl supposed to cash in on her personality if nobody can hear her? Like, seriously, these dudes do not even like me until I talk to them, and I could barely talk to them. HOW ATTRACTIVE IS IT WHEN I YELL?

Nevertheless, there was a shit ton of money floating around in this club. At one point, I had barely started to dance for a incredibly drunk guy when his girlfriend walked over and told him it was time to go. Angrily, he jumped up and began pulling twenties out of his pockets, throwing them at me. Ooh, baby! Pitch that hissy fit! Pitch it harder!

“I’m so sorry,” his girlfriend apologized, “But I’ve got to get him out of here.”

“It’s fine,” I said, collecting all the twenties off the floor and thrusting them at her, “But I don’t think he should be throwing all his money around like this. I’m not into taking advantage of drunk guys.”

I only said that because she was there looking out for him. I totally take advantage of drunk guys.

“Girl, he is soooooo rich,” she said. “Keep it.”

Consider your little hissy fit thoroughly pitched, Drunk Rich Dude. And come back and do it again next week!

I walked out of the club with more money than I’ve made on a Friday for months, even after the relatively expensive tip-out fees. Still, mid-shift is a really shitty shift. Also, from now on, I’ll have to leave the club by 10 pm, and it’s hard to make money prior to 10 pm.

I walked out in my heels, and the lady at the front desk stopped me. “You can’t leave the club in your stripper shoes,” she said. “It’s illegal.”

How illegal? Misdemeanor? Felony? I decided felony sounded cooler. I kept them on and kept walking. Felony number one!

This is really gonna level up my pick-up game. Everyone knows sex is better with a felon.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Just kidding. I’m super awkward at seducing people in real life.

They run a tight ship at Palazio. What was acceptable at my old club was illegal here. By Saturday, I had committed around fifty two and a half felonies. This story gets much, much worse.

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.

FUCK.

My Strip Club Christmas Miracle, Part 2

One of the best things about being my roommate is that when I record a new song, you get to hear it 153 million times. It’s a good thing Jesse LOVES it. I’ve got another song coming out soon, and Jesse has already said he wants to hear it 154 million times.

NARRATOR VOICEOVER: Actually, Jesse didn’t have the foggiest notion what was going on in Wendy’s life and mostly just cares about when she’s gonna clean up the paint she spilled in the garage three months ago.

HERE’S THE MASTERED VERSION, YA’LL: https://emastered.com/profile/JOHNWAYNEPOSSEE/track/1576725113-FsLoaJb

(Sorry, I’m not sure how to turn it into a link that you can add to your Spotify playlists. I’m technologically challenged because whenever I wiggle my eyebrows, some nerd will offer to do complicated nerd things for me. If one of you nerds wants to figure out how to make this a downloadable file, let me know.)

It is, like my child, full of flaws that get on my nerves, but still, it’s my firstborn, ya’ll.

I mean, other than my *actual* firstborn.

Okay, enough with the shameless self-promos and back to the story.

The second half of this story is about Genevieve. I knew who Genevieve was long before we became club buddies. I knew Luis, the coke dealer, was twisted over her, and I knew all his bodyguards and buddies had a deep amount of respect for her. Secretly, I drooled over her outfits, which were sexy as hell and flawlessly accented with a long, slick ponytail and glittering jewels. Genevieve is a shining diamond in a club full of coal.

“I have a hot pink velvet tophat I think you’d like!” she told me one night where we both found ourselves at the same table. “I’mma bring it to you tomorrow!”

A hot pink velvet tophat sounded RIGHT up my alley, but I didn’t think much of her offer. People almost exclusively say things at a strip club that they don’t mean.

Much to my complete shock, Genevieve did, however, bring the hat to me the next night. It remains one of my favorite possessions, and we’ve been friends ever since. I absolutely adore people who stand by their word because it’s so goddamn rare.

I suppose a Christmas present from her should not have come as another complete shock, but it did. Not only that, but she completely nailed my goth aesthetic. I don’t think I’ve ever received such a thoughtful present before. At the club, I’m a bit of a closed book. I get my job done, I don’t make drama, I don’t make friends (usually), and I go home alone at the end of my shift. Somehow, Genevieve had managed to pierce my psyche, read me accurately and go on the hunt all over town for a gift guaranteed to bring me delight.

Her gift gave me a new perception that I’ve been pondering ever since. I’m an introvert with anxiety. I manage it well, so if you know me in person, you probably can’t tell. I assure you it’s there, however! Something I’m learning about anxiety is that it increases feeling of narcissism and decreases feelings of compassion, both of which can be incredibly alienating. I want to connect deeply with people in ways that are real, but I don’t really know how, so I don’t do it easily. The deep connections I wind up are with those who were consistent and persistent. With everyone else, I generally assume, without even really thinking about it, that most people have no interest in forming connections with me.

On the other hand, Genevieve showed up, she saw me, and she reached out to me with an open hand and a generosity of spirit that left me choking back tears. She didn’t assume I wouldn’t want to be her friend; she saw that I needed one and chose to befriend me. I want to be like that. I want to live my life with a radar for good people whose souls may be just a little bit lost or floundering and let them know that I see them.

In social gatherings, I generally feel like a moth among glittering social butterflies, but I think now it’s time to be neither. I want to be the light for both of them, the way that Genevieve was, this Christmas, for me.

My Strip Club Christmas Miracle, Part 1

I almost didn’t write this story. The day before Christmas break, one of my co-workers told me that she was drunk-texting her ex the evening prior, and the next thing she knew, he was making plans to whisk her off to Breckenridge, CO for Christmas. They made love in a hot tub as a blizzard howled outside.

GODDAMMIT. I never drunk text anyone! Perhaps I should reconsider all of my excellent life choices and engage in some dumb ideas instead.

So, yeah, my story is not miraculous like THAT. Nevertheless, when Hallmark or Lifetime makes a movie about my life, today’s story will feature prominently towards the dramatic climax.

HAHAHAHA. I’m kidding. We all know that’s never gonna happen. No one’s making a movie about my life unless it’s Wes Craven, it’s been such a shitshow.

What happened on Friday night was pretty great, though. Not monetarily of course. The club has been in such decline that I really haven’t been making good money. No, this is one of those stories Hollywood loves to make about how love is so much better than money and then goes off to make gobs of money and marry trophy wives, as if their own goddamn movies taught them nothing.

Heartwarming movies with wholesome messages about love > money are only for the poors, apparently. Maybe it’s a conspiracy to tamp down our ambitions so they can hog more money for themselves. Maybe they just want us to feel better about being poors as they take our money. Anyway, I digress . . .

I was standing at the front desk clocking in when I heard my first and only original single ring out over the speakers. (You may remember that song from my last post.) I immediately proceeded to freak out the front desk girl and then rushed into the deejay booth to hug DJ Rob, who laughed with sheer joy and immediately proceeded to grab my butt.

Rob had added some rap lyrics from a local rapper named Chiclopz and mastered it. My voice streamed through the speakers like silk. Onstage, a dancer twirled gracefully around the pole LIKE IT WAS A REAL SONG OH MY GOD.

Another dancer bounced into the booth, singing my lyrics back to me. She lives with DJ Rob, who is always taking in stray dancers, and had heard my lyrics a million times, bless her heart.

(Still, it’s an amazing feeling to hear someone sing your own lyrics back to you.)

I apologized profusely. “No, no, no, it’s okay!” she exclaimed. “I love this song so much!

Then she bought me a drink and told me that her boyfriend had recently landed in prison. She drove eight hours round-trip once a week to see him. A few months in, he called her to ask her to make a special trip, only to break up with her when she arrived. She cried all the way back home.

DAMN. Who makes a girl drive eight hours just so he can dump her? I mean, if there’s ever a justifiable reason to break up over text, being in jail four hours away would definitely be the right situation for that.

“Your song helped me so much,” she said in that super cute earnest way that only 20somethings can pull off. “I listened to it over and over because I needed to hear it. I knew you had gone through something similar and you understood how I felt. Please keep doing what you’re doing because you’re a real person, and you can help a lot of people.”

Say it with me: AWWWWWWW. I’m sure every singer/songwriter who’s written anything even remotely inspirational has heard those exact same words, but it’s a pretty damn good feeling to hear them said TO YOUR OWN STUPID FACE.

This night at the club was starting to feel more like being at home for Christmas with my family than the real thing. My real family is kind but also super unimpressed with me.

You kind of don’t expect this sort of thing to happen at a strip club. I mean, let me be real: Strip clubs are the IHOPs of the entertainment world. You only come to us when all your better options are unavailable. You don’t expect to find something special like love or family at such a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Just as I was still glowing from DJ Rob’s surprise, my girl Genevieve texted me.

To be continued . . .

Where is Magic Born?

On the night that I met one of the magical men I know, he told me one of the darkest, most horrifying true stories I have ever heard: a tale of fame, of abuse, of love, of a suicide attempt, a rape, an abandonment, a rescue, a missed shot at redemption and a headlong dive back down into a spiral of abuse and darkness. I can’t give you the details, my friends, because it’s not my story to tell, but it did not have a happy ending.

“She left me to die in a basement,” he told me, “I wanted to die. I spent the next month sitting in that basement while my friends set up a schedule to be with me around the clock to keep me from killing myself. My best friend slept at the foot of my bed every night.”

He looked at me, his beautiful blue eyes bleak with the recollection. “I felt like all my magic had died.”

And yet, here he was, three months later, utterly entrancing me.

At one point during our whirlwind of a first date, he mentioned “. . . the man who taught me how to hurt myself.”

Before I could ask what he meant, he began banging himself in the face with a metal cup he had pulled from his backpack. I watched in astonishment as he set the cup down and removed a long nail from his nose.

“I’m into weird shit,” he said with a grin. It grossed me out, but not enough to keep me from fucking him that night. Mostly because, well, he quoted poetry to me before going down on me, and what red-blooded American female can resist that?”

On our third date, he wanted to go to Museum of the Weird downtown. Remembering his antics on our first date, I looked around thoughtfully. “You should work here,” I suggested.

“No way could I ever work at a place this awesome.”

“I think you’d be great!” I said. “Ask them if they’re hiring.”

He suddenly became shy. “Circus! I can’t do that!” he exclaimed.

“Hey!” I called over to the cashier behind the counter at the gift shop. “Are ya’ll hiring?”

“As a matter of fact, we are,” the cashier responded.

You’ve never seen a man remove a business card from his wallet so fast before. He whipped it past my ear with a whoosh and slammed it on the counter. “Hi, I’m Tim,” he said, shaking the cashier’s other hand with a smartly executed flourish, “and I’d like to be your new tour guide.”

The Museum of the Weird hired him a week later. He became one of the best tour guides they’d ever had, making nothing but tips but raking in more than I earned a stripper. In a few months, he quit his first job at a smoke shop and paid all of his bills by working at the museum a few days a week.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat this: A man fresh off a suicide attempt is not a healthy person, and he put me through hell. We broke up, drifted apart and recently reconciled as friends. A year of consistent therapy had helped him a lot. He told me he had started a traveling sideshow, working numerous gigs around Austin each month. They were about to go on tour on the west coast, and once that wrapped, he planned to settle in LA and pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. I think he’ll be a resounding success.

Tim told me his magic died in a basement after his lover left him, but I think that is where it was actually born. If we let it, magic is always birthed in the silence and darkness of our pain, in the tumult of our despair and the exquisite torture of our regrets.

A few weeks ago, I was in my usual perch in the deejay booth prior to my shift, pouring my heart out to DJ Rob. He turned from his mixer and looked me dead in the eyes, his usually jovial face entirely solemn. “Wendy,” he said quietly. “You need to be writing right now.”

He was right. When the pain is nipping at your heels, let it propel you forward.

The next day, the lyrics to a song I entitled “Where the Magic’s Born” poured out onto my paper. I took them to DJ Rob. He read them and nodded. “This is good,” he said.

DJ Rob knows a thing or two about magic. He broke his leg recently, but he hasn’t skipped a beat. Instead, he’s been using the time he’s been laid up to write another shit ton of music. I watched, flabbergasted, as he switched the hook and the first verse and wrapped one of his melodies around my lyrics. I’ll be damned if they weren’t a perfect fit.

In four hours, we had a rough cut of the first version, AND HERE IT IS, YOU GUYS. I am so nervous/excited to share it with ya’ll. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.

I’m not confident enough in my vocal abilities to say with certainty that I’ll be performing this song with the band, but it’s definitely going into my musical, for which I promised to blog about the unfolding creative process. I think I’m gonna call the main character MAGIC.

I hope you like it.

Here’s the link to the song: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MXjXrqU5kgKmlvw_VMiWn2fZzCvxKYjW

An Unhappy Ending for a Sad Little Man

Do ya’ll remember George? It’s a toss-up between him and Jim Bob as to who is The Worst Client Ever, but George is definitely a strong contender.

Or was, because George is no longer a client. I grew tired of dealing with his racism, misogyny, homophobia, and childishness, not to mention his absolute refusal to respect my boundaries, so I stopped dancing for him. I decided his drama dollars weren’t worth the Irritable Bowel Syndrome he was giving me every weekend.

This doesn’t mean the drama stopped entirely. Being racist, shallow and very entitled, George only likes skinny white girls with large breasts who will spend a lot of time cooing over him at the poker tables. Whenever George has felt he has received sufficient attention, he will “reward” the dancer with a few dances, subject to her to whatever excrement is floating through his stinking swamp of a mind at the moment, promise her more dances later and head back to the poker tables. This leaves the poor girl with no choice but to spend almost all her time fawning all over him in the hopes of receiving more dances and making it worth her time. And fuck your life if you’ve got more than one regular client in the club that night; one of them is gonna end up mad at you because George hates competition.

There are two flaws in George’s otherwise perfect strategy for extracting maximum attention from gorgeous women. First, the amount of money that he spends on dancers is not proportional to the level of bullshit he dishes out, so dancers will not tolerate him for very long. Instead, George must constantly cycle through an endless stream of new dancers who don’t know any better, training and retraining them to his preferences.

Second, almost none of the dancers check all of George’s boxes. There’s me and one other regular dancer, who also refuses to play George’s game, so George must settle for less than everything he wants. He is clearly unhappy about this, because lately he has taken to tipping me every time I’m onstage and telling me how “fucking hot” I am every time I walk past him. I know he’s hoping to lure me back to the poker tables, but if I had to stroke his back and coo at him one more time, I’d probably just vomit into his ear.

George had a pacemaker put in a few months before I stopped dancing for him, and I’ve watched over the past year and a half as he’s grown ever more frail and rickety. Nevertheless he has doubled down on his club attendance, drinking himself into a stupor every weekend and requiring an escort just to leave the club. I suspect George has become an alcoholic if he wasn’t already. All of the other regulars at the poker table are united in their belief that George is a Grade A asshole.

I am skeptical that karma comes for all of us in the end. Wealth and power seem to provide an excellent shield, and even if it does, the punishment rarely fits the crime. Nevertheless, karma came for George last Saturday night.

I don’t know how it happened. Perhaps George fell and hit his head. Perhaps someone hit him with a car. Perhaps someone punched him in the face. All I know is that when I was leaving the club last Sunday morning, George was limping between two men who were supporting his weight. The left side of his face was unrecognizable, crumpled like a bloody napkin, most likely requiring facial reconstruction surgery. It was extremely disturbing to see.

Watching him as I walked to my car, I wished I could have felt feelings of glee, the sweet satisfaction of vindication. Instead, I felt nothing but pity. I suspect we’ll be seeing very little of George from now on. His life will likely end the way most lives spent indulging in vainglory and selfishness usually end: quietly, without fanfare and with no one there to mourn his passing. In fact, everyone at the poker table may buy a round of drinks to celebrate.