The Good, The Bad & the WTF’s

Honestly, this title could apply to my entire blog, but I chose it for this particular entry because there is nothing like stepping into a strip club for the very first time.  All the while knowing that the stage you’re walking by is about to become your platform and the people you’re passing are  no longer men, but “customers” and see all the goodies your mom, dad and God gave you.  And pay you for it.  It’s a bit nauseating, actually.  In fact, as I remember the jaunt from the front door, through the main floor and into the dressing room, a slew of acronyms come to mind that hadn’t even come into existence yet: OMG, SMH, LOL, and my favorite, WTF!  But let me share even further the growing knot of nervousness that started as soon as my foot touched down onto Tampa pavement.  (BTW, there will be another incident that lands me face down on this very same pavement years later that could have hindered some of you from ever meeting me.  Sad, huh?  But I digress…)

The first thing one notices when entering an exotic atmosphere?  The neon.  It was everywhere.  Mostly hot pink because apparently focus groups across the country voted this as the number one attractant when considering which strip club to visit.  Orange was a close second.  There was the huge sign featuring the clubs’ name; it was on every edge, crack, column of surface space.  And let’s not forget the huge “bubble” perched precariously up and in the rear of the building.  With its flashing, strobing pink lights it looked like a very gay spaceship ready for takeoff at any moment.  And I swear it swayed a little.  My friend informed me that it did, in fact, sway when it was really windy and you could feel it moving when you’re up there.  Needless to say, I was not super-excited about this revelation.  I made a mental note that I’m not there to make a fortune and I would not be setting foot in the spaceship.  Ever.  I don’t care how much money was involved.  (insert present day, sarcastic LOL).

Once I diverted my attention away from the glow and buzz of the electric atmosphere, I looked up to see a huge beast of a man reaching for my bag.  My first thought?  Shit!  Am I really being robbed right now in broad neonlight?  But that was only for a split second because from this robust man came a gentle voice: “Hello, ladies.”  My two friends knew him, introduced us and I stopped panicking.  Ohhh, security.  Of course.  His hulking presence wasn’t for me, it was for the customers.  This thought process happen in the space of three seconds.  The “Gentle Giant” carried our bags to the dressing room ahead of us.  How sweet!  I felt like a rock star as they led me into the club.  Yeah, a rock star…

And through door #1…enter me.  The front entry was a tiny foyer, like a ticket booth but without the glass.  The alcove had doors on either side: in or out.  And here is where I met one of the lovely door girls.  I will say there was one in particular who was my favorite.  I don’t know if it was the blonde curly hair, the raspy voice or the dirty jokes, but she was always nice, honest and drama-free, at least to me.  Little did I know how rare that was.  So I meet her and the manager, who’s standing right behind her.  Luckily, he already knew I was coming thanks to my, shall I say, “sponsors.”  Unluckily, I hadn’t officially been hired yet.  I had a fleeting visual of him seeing my body and saying, ‘uh, nevermind.’  How funny that I would be doing his job years (and years) later, but with a completely different attitude.  FYI: I digress a lot.  Slightly for intrigue, but mostly because that’s the way my mind works.  You’ll get used to it…I sure have.  Anywho, my new soon-to-be manager informed me to go get ready and then meet him in his office.  Great.  Of course I had all kinds of horrific thoughts floating around in my head thanks to bad porn plots and Cinemax:  His office.  New hire.  Alone.  Half naked.  How excited I was!

And through door #2: enter me.  Or not.  It’s locked.  Everyone had to be buzzed in.  The door girl giggles a little.  In a nutshell, she explains it’s for our protection: from sleazy guys and the police in case of a raid.  Hm.  Fabulous.  Buzzzz.  And here we go…

OMG.  Later in my stripper life I would come to appreciate having a separate entrance for entertainers, because let me tell you how awkward it is when there is only one way in or out and you happen to be a female entering the club: WOW.  Every head turned to see who was coming in.  I was on display before my display was ready.  Sooo wasn’t prepared for that.  Another thing I wasn’t prepared for were the half naked women scattered precariously throughout my current field of vision; leaning on tables, sitting on laps, standing around looking bored…FYI: One would think that being surrounded by naked women constantly over the course of 10+ years would be heaven.  On the contrary.  I was a lesbian when I walked into that club, a lesbian years prior and definitely one now that it’s over.  But now, a naked woman does nothing for me.  Give me a hot woman in a business suit anyday and consider me smitten.  But not too hot.  You can’t trust a woman who’s too hot.  Another side effect I deal with daily.

And so we walked.  Pushed, actually.  It was pretty busy being a Friday night and all.  The girl on stage seemed to be doing okay.  Guys were around, money seemed to be flowing and, yep, more neon.  Everyone seemed to be glowing thanks to the ever-popular blacklight.  To this day, I don’t understand what’s sexy about a woman whose eyeballs, teeth and acrylic nails glow like toxic waste.  But, I will say there was excitement in the air.  I do remember stepping away from this club for a little while and, during a visit, stepping back into work and feeling that rush again.  It was electric.  Pun intended.

We finally made it through to the dressing room.  If I thought there were a lot of women on the floor, it was nothing compared to the naked asses, fake tits and hoo-hoos crammed into that dressing room.  And the noise.  50,000 conversations happening at once.  Everything was okay until some of those conversations were directed at me.  Mixtures of friendly advice, ugly looks, eyes rolling, hair flipping.  It was at that moment I learned my first lesson:  No one likes a new face.  And by face I mean, ahem.  It’s amazing all of the information that flows from ears to eyes to mouths between women in a dressing room.  TMI…

Up Next: “What’s that little handkerchief for?”

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