It’s 6:15pm. The club just opened and four keeners* have already waltzed through the door and saddled up at the bar. One, a Business Man suited in grey. Within thirty seconds of his entrance he has been sidecarred by two Colombian mamas. The remaining three are t-shirted, red faced and cacophonous on the opposite side of the bar. From my perch downwind and in the corner, my schnoz is telling me they’ve been keenly drinking cheap beer since the hour struck four.
The dude most near to me waves me over. Since the TV is directly to my left and he is straight in front of me, I can’t pretend that I don’t see him as my eyes remain fixated on the muted RoGain commercial. With grinning reluctance, I walk over.
The man is wearing a tshirt that does not look unlike this:
(matching stains and everything)
"Hey bayBEE. Come over here for a minute."
I spend all of thirty seconds swatting away this Dog’s paws before I tell him matter of factly, “unless you want a dance, darling, I’m going to go now.”
"Ohhhh Kaaaaay, BayBEE, come back later."
I hate coming back later. Strippers get asked this all the time. I would be a liar if I said I never went back. I do because sometimes they really do just need to loosen up with a few more jack and cokes. Still. I want and need to be desired by everyone, immediately and all the time. Fuck, I did not choose this job because I cream at the thought of rejection.
I’ve type-cast these men as cheap working class chaps. And, unfortunately, working class men in New York City don’t have much money (perhaps this distribution of wealth in America is about to Change #welcomebackBarry.) By my thirty second once-over, I decide that these drippy, drunk chumps aren’t worth it, and move on to a well-tailored suit with a understated, over-priced watch and freshly barbed salt-n-peppa coif.
It seems to be no use, though. The Dog tries again to call me over, only I am intercepted by his friend, who fists me a crumpled and damp twenty dollar bill. “Take him for a dance, hei?”
I take The Dog by his clammy palm, leading him towards a suitable chair in a more private area where I will swivel and bounce for the next two minutes and thirty seconds.
"Sit down." I instruct as he fumbles into the wingback.
I straighten myself up, smooth down my dress and start swaying. Gracefully, I reach for the halter string tied at my neck. Pulling it loose, my dress falls the the ground.
Within a nano second, The Dog is reaching for my thigh. My reflexes beat him to his target, a triangle carefully highlighted by my day-glo g-string. Firmly grabbing his hand, I squeeze it hard and star into his bloodshot eyes: “No.”
I release my grip, turn around, and continue my routine.
The Dog makes another attempt; I am too swift. He fails.
In New York City, two out of every three dances involve some sort of scolding charade where a stripper has to remind a client of the rules (If you’ve been under a rock for the past decade the rules are NO TOUCHING, motherfucker). As much as I love this city, after a year and a half here, the only way left to describe its male inhabitants are as self-entitled pigs.
True story. (accepting submissions for supporting arguments or rebuttals)
I turn away from The Dog to flash my bootie and obstruct his view of my rolling eyes.
I feel a smack on my ass.
The Dog has slapped my ass.
I continue turning around, raising my right arm as I pivot.
The Dog sees that I’m about to meet him and raise him one, so he lifts his drunken arm to block my incumbent whack. Stopping his block with my left hand, I slap him across the face.
Sometimes things in life are really simple:
You slap my ass; I slap your face.
I point to the door,
"Get the fuck out."
The Dog looks confused.
This marks the first time in my life where I hit a Dog. Fuck did it ever feel good.
Instead of leaving the club, the Dog returns to his posse.
I’ve dealt with the issue, whether he stays or goes matters not to me. I warn the other girls of his stinginess and aggression, and bolt to the dressing room to cool down and give my nails a file.
And then I got into TROUBLE, y’all.
I NEVER get into trouble. I never even got into trouble in high school. I went to school, then ballet class, and most lunches were picked at in the library while I was alphabetizing the poems of Sylvia Plath for extra credit. As a stripper, I’m a manager’s wet dream. I show up on time, don’t cause dramz, don’t get high, nor do I fuck clients for forty cents on the dollar. I do my job and stay under the radar. Because if you want to make money— and not enemies— that’s what you do in this business.
But today is different.
Apparently a slap across the face is more insulting than a slap on the ass. I was informed of these ethics by a man who has never danced naked for money.
And apparently the customer is always right, even when he’s totally wasted and sexually assaulting one of your employees.
And apparently if I slap The Dog back in retaliation, that wipes his slap clean off his slate and The Dog is permitted to a) press charges, or b) finish his beer.
So I got told. What I was *supposed* to do was go directly to management and have them deal with the situation in a professional and cordial manner.
And in response to that, I, along with every stripper in the world shall say this: Fuck that.
But here’s the thing about strip clubs: On any given night, there are at least three people who identify as ‘management’ and they don’t really ‘manage’ anything. They just stand and stare at the sporting events being broadcast on seventeen different television screens. And here’s the other thing about management: they don’t usually like to confront the customers about being scrotum. They would rather demean the girls they once vowed to protect rather than turn away a paying customer.
Anyway, after I got told off by one authority figure, two other figures of alleged authority may have come up to me and offered a little fist-pound for my true grit.
So now I’m leaving the question to you, babes of all passions and professions :
If you were to get slapped on the ass, without consent, would you think it fair to slap the slapper across the face?
Looking forward to your answers!
*Keener: Canadian informal. A person who is who is extremely eager, zealous, or enthusiastic.