Next: The ex-general manager. He comes in and gets dances from time to time, which is strange but nothing’s by the book here. Joe’s a good guy. We used to flirt heavily when he worked here. In fact, a few years ago, when he was just a manager, I gave him a blowjob in the office after closing. I was high, happy, and horny. He was the lucky beneficiary. Being hyper sexual all night can either make you extremely tired or extremely turned on. Usually, it’s both. We walk into the VIP area and Joe picks the booth we use, tells me it’s the only one without a camera. Why didn’t I know that? I make a mental note. The dance starts. We always have a good time together. He knows the business isn’t that serious and our dances usually reflect this. We swap shirts. Joe is a body builder, so you can imagine how hilarious my little white fishnet top looks on him. His wife beater is a dress on me. We bite each other’s necks. We wrestle. We laugh. He unzips his pants when I’m not looking. I give him shit and he puts it away. Third song ends and we’re done. My neck is all red. He hands me money. We hug and kiss. After we walk to the bar and make Allison laugh about our shirts, we swap again, and I walk to the dressing room. The club will be closing soon, so I get dressed and go upstairs to the office to pay out. My current manager (Randy) talks my ear off. I’m beyond exhausted, but he won’t stop. Half an hour goes by! All I want to do is start the long drive home, but I don’t have the heart to interrupt him. What a life.
A fellow dancer just sat down next to me (I’m sitting in my usual spot with my composition pad). We spoke of why men with real money don’t come into the club anymore. I have an inkling. It’s loud as hell. The music is monotonous and kind of ghetto. Girls badger the guys—because we’re broke and getting pressure from management—and a good portion can barely hold their alcohol let alone an intriguing exchange. The DJs harass them, saying shit like, “This is a no homo promo.” Besides for masochists, who wants to pay to be belittled and berated? Not to mention the escort market has quadrupled, and some of the girls are charging less for sex than we are for a clean (albeit hot) lap dance. Are wealthy men done with cheeseball strip clubs? I would say, for the most part, yes. As I wrote that last line, the new DJ (who uses a remote mic-a first in my dancing career) walked around the room tormenting the guys about not getting a dances. Nice upscale move, dude. That would sure make me want to spend some dough. And come back. No wonder my regulars (and men with some semblance of taste) don’t like coming here anymore. I’m not saying strippers aren’t making money, or that men don’t still come in and spend, but the days of three thousand dollar nights are long gone.
I stayed at The Lusty Lady for about eight months. I desperately wanted to get to Mitchell Brothers, as that’s where the real money was at, but I needed to hone my stripping skills and Lusty wasn’t going to cut it. So I started working at a bikini bar in San Mateo. This is where I learned how to be a real stripper. Although we didn’t lap dance and weren’t allowed to show our private areas (due to alcohol sales), we stripped down to the smallest bikinis imaginable and worked for tips only. This meant flirting and perfecting the art of seduction. My hair was finally long enough to ditch the nest and I was now strapped with a tan and glow-in-the-dark outfits from Las Vegas. After four months of unraveling a billion dollar bills, I was ready to give Mitchell Brothers another try. I danced to Sade, wore white heels and a DayGlow green rhinestone-studded mini-dress. Like the first time, I was nervous as hell, but unlike it, I won first place and was hired.
I didn’t get hired the first time I auditioned at Mitchell Brothers. I hadn’t been dancing long, and I made all the classic novice mistakes during the audition. My hair was short back then, so I bought a three- quarter wig, which started just after my bangs and looked pretty real, but it was wild and unstyled.
I picked a Monday night and a song from the “Cool World” soundtrack. I was a nervous wreck. Auditions at Mitchell Brothers were notorious for being hell on Earth. I did everything wrong. First, I had the bad wig and the bad song. Second, I bought a black patent leather outfit and matching thigh-high boots. Not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with black patent leather, but on olive-skinned, dark brunettes, it can look a little dominatrix-y. I was something of a tomboy growing up, so on top of all of this, I wasn’t very skilled at walking in heels. The stage at Mitchell Brothers is beautiful, but it’s made of slippery wood (I have a fear of slipping) and is rather large for a strip club stage. So there I was, with zero experience and a zillion nerves. It was the shortest and longest four minutes of my life. It’s a miracle I even remembered to take my clothes off! I did, however, manage to swing myself around the pole, my patent leather boot sticking to it, making an awful screeching noise. No big surprise, I didn’t place in the top three, and they didn’t hire me.
A few years back, I had a weekly lunch rendezvous with a client at the LAX Hilton. We met at 1 p.m. on the dot, every Tuesday. He insisted on having lunch with me before we humped, because he admitted that it turned him on to converse with me, which I always found to be a tad comical. Believe me when I say that I am no Aaron Sorkin in the morning. Having to be awake, shaved and half-presentable by 1pm, is the morning to me. After lunch we’d walk across the marble floor to the elevators and up to our room, which he would reserve before I got there. The hotel offered half-day rates which was pretty cool.
His heritage was exotic and he spoke with a slight accent. I can’t remember where he was from though he probably told me a million times. He had dark, soft skin, dark brown eyes, thinning hair, and big lips. He also had a wife and two kids. He even showed me pictures of them once! Men are so weird. The whole business of hooking is weird. There’s an abundance of nuisances you’d never expect. Even after all these years, I still am confounded and thrown. Men never cease to amaze and amuse me.
I didn’t sleep much during those years. Between people coming and going at all hours and the arrant fear I was constantly grappling with (that he could snap at any time), it was difficult to find enough peace to shut my brain down. I was a horrible insomniac until about eighteen. Another issue living with a bunch of cokeheads is the lack of eating. A stranger asked me if I had polio once. That’s how bony my legs were.