Irritated doesn’t begin to describe what I was feeling every time I stepped into the world of Jen: my own peers fawning over her like she was an oracle, asking hustling advice, laughing at everything she said, complimenting her taste in clothing. Barf. Traitors.
I made sure to stay away from her and anything she was saying. She definitely played the caring manager role very well. Sure, she took care of my house fees every now and then, but did she have to befriend everyone around me too, making me look like some forlorn lost cause? Okay, I was making myself look that way, but she didn’t deserve my friendship or seal of approval. I wanted to forgive her but my stubbornness just wouldn’t allow it.
I was mean. I ignored her whenever possible. She tried to make jokes, talk to me, said hi and bye, waived fees, tried to direct me toward men who had some money…I made a point of disobeying any suggestion out of her mouth. Eventually, she stopped giving them. It definitely worked against me. Other friends were making quite a bit of moolah from her directives. A lot, actually. To the point where it started to be a bit suspicious. See, it seemed to be the same few girls who got all of these champagne rooms all of a sudden. Back to back to back. Night after night. Soon it was obvious to everyone, not just my bitter self, that she had selected her favorites. I nicely dubbed them, the A-Team. And on that team, was my very good friend – the one who left me the note: “Do not call Jen” during my hospital stay.
I tried very hard not to be angry or judgmental of her. After all, I knew that she was doing it for the money. By ‘doing it’, I mean befriending Jen. She was the boss and it’s always best to be in his or her good graces, no matter the industry. Plus, my friend’s large, burly ‘can-I-just-get-one-more-steriod-shot-for-the-road‘ boyfriend was calling the shots, I’m sure. Our friendship went through a ‘stiff’ phase during this time. I was disappointed. It was my first lesson in strip warfare: money will always reign supreme. All others are secondary. I sucked it up and kept my head high. Let her make the money. That’s fine. I had my pride.
It came to a boil, however, when a meeting was called. Great. Was she being promoted to GM now? Co-owner? Who’d she sleep with this time?
No promotion. Just criticism. Taking care of back house fees, wearing classier clothing, arriving on time, respect your new manager…blahblahblah. I decided to push the envelope. I mean really push it. I raised my hand and asked a question. Shocker. We actually speak.
So, what if we had a problem with management? I felt the tension build in the room. It was also very still, like everyone was holding their breath. Nate replied, what do you mean? He was like a box of rocks, sometimes. I mean, if one has an issue with management, what do we do?
Nate: What kind of problem would you have with management?
I mean, it doesn’t help that our manager has favorites. How can anyone trust management when it’s obvious that not everyone is on a fair playing field? All of the same people make all of the money because management only takes care of her A-Team and leaves the scraps for the rest of us. It’s one thing for other girls to be cutthroat in making their money, but when management encourages it and participates in it…how’s that fair?
Ping. That’s the sound of a pin dropping – if someone had dropped it. Nate was flustered. As his overly tan face and neck changed from an orange hue to the color of boiled lobster, he looks to Jen, then the security guy, for answers. Of course, Jen had something to say.
I am always willing to help anyone who wants it. I’ve tried talking to you, @#$%^&, but if you don’t know what to do with the information I give you, then how is that my fault? I can only do so much.
She kind of had me there, so she won that one. But what kind of bull-headed, angry, irritated stripper would I be if I didn’t try to have the last word?
What? It’s all I had. There was more dirt on Jen that I really, really wanted to blurt out, but it would also put a couple of buddies under the gun, as well. I wasn’t 100% that I wanted to go that route. See, there were more than a couple of incidents where I would talk to a guy, get some dances, even push for a spaceship or VIP – to no avail. Reason? I wasn’t going to do any special favors. Nothing new for me…moving on. But what was different is that when any member of the A-Team talked to said guy after I did, they went to the champagne room. Hmm, you say. Well, I thought so too…it was just all too much of a coinky-dink. There was a reason Jen hadn’t tried so hard to recruit me to her precious team.
The meeting dispersed, but not before Nate told me that he needed to speak with me in the office. And here we go. I followed Nate and Jen into the office, towards doom. But I wasn’t scared. I was hopeful. There were plenty of strip clubs out there who would be glad to have me. But more importantly, what the hell was I doing still stripping anyway? It had been over a year and what did I have to show for it? Nothing. I decided that it might be the best thing for me. My swan song at 2001 Odyssey…
Eh, it didn’t quite go as expected.