Last night I was sitting with an old man, as I am wont to do. Born AND RAISED in New York City, he was on the other side of 75 and had never in his life been into a strip club. (A rare breed!) He was bullied into coming in with his 30-something colleagues and so down he sat and paid he did for a twenty dollar beer. His eyes blink repeatedly as he scans the room. He can't seem to settle his gaze on anything that doesn't make him uncomfortable.
We speak in French, chat about travel, and when I ask him for a dance, he politely declines.
Then his friend calls me over.
"Hey, here's twenty bucks, will you dance for him? He needs to loosen up."
DUH. When a man declines a dance, I usually assume he just doesn't really want to pay for it.
I take the money, and stand in front of Old Man Rivers, peel off my dress and smile like a Mousketeer: "It's time for your initiation! I promise I'll be nice."
I stand, two feet away (if you're going to visually assault a newbie, don't climb up on top of him straight away. It's too much. Plus this one might be closer to cardiac arrest than most).
As I shimmy, Old Man Rivers turns away, covering his face in shame and/or horror.
I keep swaying, hoping he'll come around. We had a nice chat earlier, so we're not strangers anymore. We are friendly strip club pals! And, since my tits are supremely plump today and I've been kale-smoothie-ing like a motherfucker latey, I think, SURELY HE WILL COME AROUND.
I realize now this sounds rapey.
With an impressive-for-a-geriatric leap, Old Man Rivers jumps out of his chair...
Have you ever been to a strip club? They're kind of a labyrinth of smoke, mirrors and thick, dark curtains. It's hard to tell which way is out.
Old Man Rivers climbs up some stairs, and pushes through a velvet curtain. Then another one. And another one. He's waltzing into occupied VIP rooms, one after another.
With a frenzied finesse, he flows through curtain after curtain, when all he really has to do is look up for one of the three glowing red EXIT signs.
Since I have developed an iota of compassion over these past few years, I turn away. Old Man Rivers needs to come down off this bad trip without me in the audience.