Friday, March 5, 2010

What's your real name?

"I know that's not your real name," he says as I look for a lighter to light my cigarette. "What's your real name? Come on you can tell me."

"Listen," I say. "I know it's kind of special to get the real name of someone who entertains partially hidden behind a facade. The thing of it is that this facade creates a fantasy and that fantasy is both for you and for the woman providing it. When I am on your lap, I am not Patricia or Anna or Samantha or whatever my mother named me, I am not the name on the bills I have to pay, or the dry-cleaning I have to pick up, or the parking ticket I got last week. I am Nicole, the woman whose flesh is pressed against your flesh and who, for this moment, exists entirely to suspend reality. Does that make sense to you? To say my name eradicates all that. It casts this moment into reality. And let me tell you something, honey, I don't need to think about my dry-cleaning tonight."

"That's the best line of reasoning I have ever heard."

"You know us strippers. We should double as diplomats," I respond. "Can I have a light?"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Occupational hazards

Stripping makes you so hard. It has to. It's like that pair of ten-inch Alexander McQueen shoes. Until your soles get calloused solid, it's going to hurt like hell to walk in them.

I like it to hurt. I like to be human. I don't want to get hard.

A job like this has three liabilities: the first is that you lose the understanding of what a dollar means. You can't help it. Four minutes of your time are $20, and 30 are discounted at $260. Four half-hour VIPs and you're already making more than people who make $20 per hour are making per week.

You start looking at stuff in terms of VIPs—a pair of Manolos? That's a little more than a one-hour VIP. Never mind that rent is three one-hour VIPs and this makes no financial sense. You know how fast you can line up those VIPs. No big deal.

This is called falling into The Life.

The second liability is what it does to your perception of men. If you're a good looking woman, you know what it means to have so many possibilities you spend your entire life shopping for someone better. It's just like that. You have men all over you all day and night long. The first stage of this malady moves in silently, so silently, you don't notice it. It's the death of the intensity of knowing someone likes you. Yeah, yeah, of course he does.

The second stage, on the other hand, hits you like a brick wall. Its name is Doubt. Do they really like you or do they just want to fuck you like everyone else? Do they really know you or are you playing the role of someone else like you do for a dance? How do you know they mean the shit they say when you hear the same shit a hundred times every night from drunk men you end up never seeing again?

Stage two manifests with a combination of Resentment, Bitterness, and Rage.

I call it heartbreak.

The third liability is a combination of the two. I remember when I was younger, an older woman friend told me to accept every date. “Why not?” she reasoned. “It's a free dinner.” I always thought this was a terrible deal—put up with someone talking with you for a few hours for food? When you're younger and have nothing to do, it doesn't matter so much. But as reality seeps in and time becomes a luxury, the idea of trading in your time for food becomes less and less sensible, even if it is the newest restaurant in town.

When you dance, weekends are out of the question, to start. Right off the bat, this dude is costing you at least $500. Is he worth it? This is why so many girls go into escorting. Until you try, you have no idea how many men will hand you money after you tell them, “I can't. I work every night. One date night is $800 less for me and I need that $800.” It's a small step to negotiating the price of sex after that.

Next thing you know, you're not dating, you're working. These men aren't boyfriends, they're tricks.

I call this The Loneliness.

I don't want to get hard. I don't want to forget the value of money or lose sight of what genuine connection feels like. So I cut the callouses. I let myself bleed.

I'll tell you one thing: it's hard.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Say it with me: I cannot take her home.

I'm not going home with you. I'm a fantasy. I don't exist outside the Faraday cage. Enjoy the transience of the moment. Feel the humanity. Stop trying to own everything. It's owning that weighs us down. It's this weight that kills the fantasy. Don't you get it?

Just enjoy it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I was sitting on his lap, my hair cascading over my chest so you could barely make out my nipples, hard and erect between tendrils.

(Ew, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like a Danielle Steel novel. I just remember looking down at my chest and seeing my nipples rising out of my hair and thinking that was one of the most erotic things I'd ever seen, but as they say, words can only go so far and I'm afraid my grasp on the art of erotic word play leaves much to be desired. You forgive me, right?)

"Where's home?" he asked.

This question causes me a slight degree of cognitive dissonance. Home? Is that where my parents live? Where I grew up? Where I spent the most time while growing up? Where I feel most comfortable? Where I spend most of my time?

Where do I spend most of my time?

I travel a lot. Moving is living. The less we move, the more comfortable we get, the less we experience. We settle into routines--the human being is a creature of habit. Our bodies call for some order. No matter what we're doing, or how crazy, if we do it enough, we will start to streamline it so it's easier. So it takes less time.

That's routine. And routine is the enemy of fantasy.

Mind you, I respect time management. I have my own little routines. I can't help it any more than you.

So I travel. I travel to jolt myself out of routine, to put myself in situations where I am not yet prepared. That's how I ride the edge of life again.

So--where's home? Home is where the heart is. Right here on your lap.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why Are You A Stripper?

I don't think any patron who asks a stripper this does so to be annoying or to moralize. Most of the time, the question symbolizes a move to another level, that the dancer is no longer a pretty thing for the purpose of entertainment, but a human being.

This question encapsulates a host of simultaneous, complex emotions and ideas in a patron and the handling of it is the subject of much debate among dancers. Does one wave it away, say we love it, and that we get off on it? Or do we agree, say we hate it, but that our circumstances make it necessary?

The former gives license to enjoy--we enjoy, therefore, you should be able to get over it and enjoy. The latter gives it a cause--we need you, therefore, you're not a pervert for having us on your lap.

These answers aren't lies necessarily, simply incomplete answers. The truth could easily be a combination of both.

In my case, it's about resistance. I'm waging a war on reality. I want to be an active participant in the creation of the extravagant, decadent and delightful. I think it's appalling that desire and wonder have been pushed so far out of our daily lives that they can only exist for us in stolen moments like this.

That's why I do it.

(I'll leave it up to you to figure out how the Faraday cage figures in all of this.)