Archive for November, 2009

Part I of A Stripper’s Weekend: Gmail Chats & an Atypical Friday or “Sometimes the Truth is More Boring Than Anna Likes”

November 9, 2009

A Gmail Chat Conversation from Saturday Afternoon

Usernames were changed to protect the guilty. The order of the chats has been altered so the conversation will make sense to anyone, rather than just No Guac and me.

No Guac: Sup?

Sent at 2:30 PM on Saturday

me: im exhausted

had a bad night. i owe money to the club for working there lol

didnt even make tipout

first time in my career as a stripper.

No Guac:Ouch. Sorry to hear that.

me: Me too

No Guac: You could make a post out of it.

Show people everything about the biz.

No Guac: Be pro stripping, just honest, straight forward.

me: yeah but it can’t be my second post

No Guac: Why not?

Please, all the shittalkers are ripping you for being happy? show them you’re aware of your surrondings(sp).

me: lol but i AM happy

No Guac: I KNOW you are.

You don’t have to tell me.

But you have to show them.

Sent at 2:55 PM on Saturday

me: poop

No Guac: I know you’re a good person. That’s what pisses me off about the comments.

me: it’s okay

they don’t bother me

i promise

No Guac:I know they don’t. They do me.

No Guac: Jus saying. Slay the nay-Sayers.

me: [Other Anonymous Internet News Forum] trained me well.

me: if you say something on the internet, the masses will attack.

me: “the sky is blue”

me: OMFG NO IT ISNT ITS JUST A REFLECTION OMFG U R SO DUM

me: MORAN

No Guac: I know, I know.

Monday

No Guac: hows it going?

Sent at 7:25 AM on Monday

me: i am turning this into a bigger project than it needs to be.

my first entry was just over 500 words

right now, i’m at 2k

that’s ridiculous

i need to boil it down

i think i should just post on saturday

No Guac: or split it into two posts

a double header

part one and two

me: yeah but how

sat. is more respresentative

friday was the occasional not-so-awesome night

No Guac: I understand that, but it should be easy to split

me: if i start with friday, i start off on the wrong foot

sat. first then friday?

No Guac: No, Friday first then Saturday, just start with a disclamer

me: i don’t like it

No Guac: stating you are going to show both sides of the biz, the ups and the downs, state this hasn’t happened

that offten, I mean

what’s the percentage of days worked that represent Fri night

me: mmm

like 20%

No Guac: in your histroy of stripping for monies

so one out of every 5 days is shitty, make that clear

me: but i never throw a fit about it. this last friday, i didn’t even stay til 4am

mmm let me work on it

let me work on the disclaimer

Sent at 7:33 AM on Monday

me: I take it back; it’s like 15%.

Sent at 7:45 AM on Monday

No Guac: you would know better than I

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Preface No One Cares About: “Blogging ad Nauseum,” or: “I Hate This Entry and Might Delete This Particular Section If I Lose Confidence in It.”

Let us preface this entry: As my “bad” nights go, the one on Friday was in my full control, is no one’s fault but mine, and has a diminished entertainment value because it doesn’t even rank on the Bad Night Scale* itself.

I had hoped that my second entry would be more representative of my shifts as a part-time stripper: Tired and happy at the end of the night, I pay the required nightly contractor’s fee (also known as “tipout” or “rent”) for working at the club, tip the bouncers, say good night to everyone, bounce across the parking lot to my car, and melt into my increasingly sore muscles to the relaxing beats of late-night KPR music on my way home to bed.

More often than not, that’s exactly how it goes.

Alas, I really must show and not tell. And, generally speaking, Friday does come before Saturday. I did take a writing and reporting class in college and I’ll never forget how silent the room was after our professor passionately exclaimed: “As a journalist, the worst thing you can ever be… is wrong.” Or misleading.

Or overly self-important when all you’re doing is posting on a damn blog. About a stripper. In Kansas.

And so, to keep my over-active conscience unhampered even by what may or may not be construed as manipulation, Friday comes before Saturday on this blog, as it does everywhere else.

No one cares.

Onward.

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Actual Post

Six months of being a (part-time) stripper! I sprang out of bed on Friday. Thrilled to mark the six-month anniversary of this outlet for previously unacceptable behavior, I was even bouncier than usual. “Hell @#$% yeah!” I croaked in my morning voice as I danced into the shower. I looked down at my body. Well under the average height of an American woman, I’m no model, yet I feel confident as a rockstar. I’m not blonde. My body is far from the mainstream ideal, and nowhere near that of a Playboy centerfold. Though very pretty, I am the least attractive person in my family, and have never attracted a looks-obsessed date in my personal life.

I giggled out loud. No one would ever guess just by looking at me that I’m a stripper during my off-hours.

For my day job, my hair is usually tied back and my make-up is minimal. Pedestrian. Indeed, nothing about my mall store wardrobe suggests that I can or do spin around a pole at night with a wicked grin on my face. I get the best of both a normal sphere and the sexy underworld, yet still wake up safely each morning to lead a regular life. I wiggled and danced under the water.

Hehe!

Once at the East Lawrence Ballet, I quickly dress the part in my usual Bettie Page-style outfit and heels to sashay over to our first customer. I struck a proud, sexy pose at his table. He laughed and opened his first beer.

Hell @#$% yeah, I thought. Can’t wait for the crowds to get here. Even just thinking about how the energy grows with the crowd each night, I can feel it.

“Hey, sweetheart! My name is Anna,” I flashed a fresh, white smile as I reached to shake his hand. “Hi, beautiful,” he grinned. He told me his name.

“Welcome to the East Lawrence Ballet,” I chirped as I twirled around to sit in his lap. As I turned, he ran his hand around my butt and slid his fingers within a millimeter of a certain exit-only orifice covered by my thong.

I maintained my smile and expertly swished my hips just far enough away to avoid contact as I sat down.

The rules are clearly posted on large, bright signs at the entrance—in two places. With a few extra hints to make things clearer. And multiple underlinings in black Sharpie. Stripper, 1. He Who Blatantly Disregards Clearly Posted Rules Written in His Native Language, 0.

I ignored his behavior and maintained my pleasant demeanor. Most customers do not try to take advantage of me, but this secret identity is not without its occasional challenges.

“Where are you from?” I asked him, still smiling. He told me. “That’s so far away!” I said. “You came all the way out here just to see us? We love that!” I hugged him and patted him on the head. “It makes all the make-up and hair wrangling worthwhile,” I said. We laughed.

“Would you like a dance, babe?” I shot him my sexiest smile and batted my eyelashes dramatically. “Why yes, I’d love one,” he said. Yesss. The tip for each dance starts at $20. If I can sell two more dances, I’m covered for tipout and am allowed to keep everything else I make.

Halfway through the song, he pulled my neck in close to his outstretched lips and slid his hand toward my underwear. Yikes! I whipped my head around so my thick, dark hair suddenly fell in his way to my skin and lurched my lower half out of his reach.

“What?” He asked me softly, sounding hurt.

“Sorry, sweetheart,” I purred politely as I resisted his strong embrace and shifted on his lap to more easily block his unwanted kisses. I gave him prepared customer communication lines nos. 24 through 26.

“We don’t allow that here and we’ll both end up in the parking lot if the bouncers see you doing it. You don’t want me to lose my job, do you?” I gave him my best big-eyed pout and held his gaze.

I have to make him want to follow the rules. If he got mad, he might stop buying dances. If he stayed and behaved, we’d both have a good time, and I’d make some money.

“Well, no,” he said at last. “Sorry,” he mumbled. I continued dancing and smiling seductively at him. C’mon… I thought. When you follow the rules, it’s a good time for both of us.

He tried it again. I expertly ducked out of his arms and spun around. “Honey, I can’t dance for you if you keep doing that,” I said sweetly but firmly. “I’m a dancer; that’s all I signed up for.” Line nos. 27 and 28. Sympathetic but serious face.

“Oh, okay, I’m sorry,” he said. “I won’t do it again.”

Forgiving smile. “Thanks for understanding,” I said. Most customers are much better behaved with me. “Have you done any travel recently?” It’s important to smooth over embarrassing moments so the customer feels comfortable and is more likely to have a good time and buy dances.

He appreciated the radical change of subject and exchanged stories about our experiences in North Africa and opinions on Muslim life as it really is, versus how it is perceived.

“I’m surprised you’ve traveled so much,” he said.

I smiled. I am used to the wealthier customers assuming that I do not share the education, opportunities, and experiences their socioeconomic status has afforded them. I’m a stripper! What have I ever done and what will I ever know but boobs and booze? I shouldn’t be so smug about it, but I am, sometimes.

His tip made me glad I handled his bad behavior and (attempted) rule-breaking without incident. He left.

Like every Friday, customers streamed steadily into the ELB. Yay! I forgot all about the first guy and scanned each new group for the best person to approach.

I sashayed and swished, as I always do, from table to table, looking for good conversation and an opportunity to make some money. I use my own cheesy pick-up lines to get their attention and make them laugh. (Example of my typical approach: Sit in customer’s lap. Grab customer’s boob. Gasp! Exclaim: “OMG! We just went to second base! Isn’t that scandalous?! Would you look at us? We are so naughty!”)

Despite my best flirting, chatting, and tossing out clever one-liners to make customers laugh—no one seemed to want a dance from me on Friday night, even with the growing crowd. I sighed. Nights like this are a little less fun than others, but it seems to balance out.

Fortunately, around 1am, a cynical guy from out of town was interested in talking to me. He was attractive, funny, and seemingly intent on steering our conversation south.

While most customers only hit me with one or two of The Awkward Questions You Really Shouldn’t Ask Lest They Ruin the Magic, this guy hit me with the full list: “What’s your real name? Where do you live? Do you really like me? You hate me; I know it. You hate us all! Do lap dances turn you on? Can I get your number? Can I give you mine? Can I haggle for a cheaper lap dance? Are you a lesbian? Do you hate men? You’re only here for the money.”

I patiently answered each one. “My real name is Anna. I live in Kansas. If I thought you were mean, I wouldn’t sit with you. We’re both here to have fun! If I hated you, I would quit being a stripper, silly. Would a gentleman ask that question? It’s illegal for me to give you my number. If I take your number, I get fined $400 and/or fired. Would a gentleman ask that question? No, I’m not a lesbian. No, I don’t hate men. Sweetheart, I need groceries, too, and since I’m a professional party girl, why don’t we have fun paying for them?”

He stubbornly declared that he knew my opinions and feelings better than I did, and the Fail Train that was this conversation could not be stopped. He was totally unresponsive to my best attempts at party-mood CPR.

“You know, I think I would like a dance,” he said, finally. I was so glad that I forgot to ask for my money up front. Oops! Most times, this isn’t a problem, and a lot of dancers don’t do this to avoid offending sensitive customers. BUT… there are reasons why management will insist that you ask up front every time.

Five songs later: “But I did give you the money.” The Cynic looked genuinely confused. Oh, hell. Here we go.

Politely forgiving but firm response.

“I already paid you,” he said angrily as he looked at me, indignant. (Was he yanking my chain? I couldn’t tell). In an atypically undisciplined move, I let myself get mad.

I said nothing and left The Cynic at his seat to wrap things up at the front desk and leave. My attitude told me I needed to go home. I handed a bouncer all I had for tipout and quickly said: “I know I’m short, but I have to go,” I steadied my voice. “Stay in control!” I admonished myself internally.

“But it’s 3am and people are still coming in,” the bouncer said. “There’s still time.”

“I know, but I got here at 4pm and I shouldn’t stay,” my voice wobbled slightly. “I have to excuse myself. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to tip anyone tonight.” I saw The Cynic out of the corner of my eye and ducked into the dressing room, packed with girls. No privacy to compose myself. I pulled on my clothes and hurried to my car, head down. A bouncer walked me to my car.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked with concern in his voice. Another bouncer followed us out, saw me, and asked the same thing again.

“I’m okay, I promise,” I said. Tears. Dammit! My face was hot. I hate feeling unprofessional. All the times I felt embarrassed in front of a superior involuntarily rushed to the front of my mind. Ugh! I wished I’d gotten into my car faster. At least only they saw. “I swear I would tell you if something was wrong. I’m just being ridiculous and want to avoid making an unprofessional scene. It’s time for me to go.” I smiled at them, embarrassed. I’d let a silly customer reduce me from crazy, wild, happy stripper to unprofessional, blithering parking lot idiot.

No matter! I drove home to my argyle and pearls to sleep away my sins and start anew on Saturday.

Titles for Part II Discarded in Favor of Simply “Part II:”

“Even if I get a concussion, at least people liked the show.”

“ZOMG A LOCAL CELEBRITY! … ZOMG LIKE FOUR LOCAL CELEBRITIES!”

“Avoid the nipples during the sacrifice.”

To Be Continued…

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*The Bad Night Scale is a series of values between zero and 10 that capture the combined influence of several critical factors contributing to the quality of a stripper’s shift. Though the highest value is technically 10, in some cases, a Bad Night Score can reach eleventy for reasons the great mathletes of our time have yet to discern (at least on this blog). The Bad Night Score represents the combined influence of the following critical factors: the numerically scored attitude of everyone I encountered on a specific shift, my discipline in maintaining a professional attitude regardless of the customer attitude score, the night-long potential to make money (or number of customers who entered the club), and the wild card influence of any additional external forces that acted upon my ability to do business that evening. (This last variable could be anything from a simple power outage to an unanticipated national disaster of catastrophic proportion).