Monday, January 14, 2008

When I started dancing, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t get jaded. After all, I like people, even creepy men. Lots of my best friends are creepy men. I figured I would be able to handle anything. Well, yes, I can handle anything. Whatever a customer says to me, good, bad, disgusting, obnoxious or pathetic rolls off me like water. It doesn’t have any effect on my self-esteem or how I view myself. What it does do is give me a sort of contempt for them. It makes me think while I’m smiling, “You fucker. I can’t wait to take your money. You are drunk and awful and you deserve it.” It’s made me a better hustler. I just don’t care anymore about the ethical or sociological aspects. I’m all about the money.

There’s an attitude that strippers are money-grubbing and amorally greedy and I don’t understand this. It’s a job. Of course we want to make money. Doesn’t everyone go to work to make money? Don’t waitresses expect tips for their services? Doesn’t anyone in the work force expect to be compensated, whether they enjoy their job or not? Why is capitalism wrong only in the sex industry? If you disagree with the sex industry, that’s fine, but if you’re actively patronizing it, why would you expect anything other than an equal exchange of currency and service?

Ironically, I think strip clubs exploit men more than women, and I think men are deeply, uncomfortable with this. Lots of men justify spending money at strip clubs as charity—“helping poor, single mothers”—and they love to make us feel like we’re lucky that they’re giving us THEIR time. What a joke. Even worse are the guys who want to be my sugar daddy—and probably mean it. I want to say, “I make more money than you, asshole. What are you going to do for me?” If I wanted that, I would be out at the campus bars every night looking for some engineering major to marry me and not working my ass off for a bunch of dirty bastards. I also hate when guys act they’re making some big gesture by giving us a dollar bill, as if we’re Chinese factory workers and think that’s a lot of money.

But really, deep down, most men know the truth about the job: that we don’t care. We don’t care what they do for a living or how much their marriage sucks or how big their penis is. We care about the money. And men don’t like that; it takes away their upperhand. Everyone knows men like to have more money than women, it’s what makes them providers, primally dominant and important in the species. And so if they’re going to shell out money (as “charity”), they all want to be told that they’re special, that they’re “different” from the other customers, that we’re talking or dancing with them because we want to. If you can learn to play that card as a dancer and convince a man for a moment that this is true, you will make bank, even if you’re missing a limb.

On Saturday a (drunk) customer came up to me and said, “You know, you’re really beautiful. I don’t want a dance from you, I want to take you out to dinner and really get to know you.

I smiled sweetly and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t date customers. It’s not personal.”

He replied, “You know, you girls are all the same. What if this was it, you know. What if I was the guy for you. You’d never know because you’re looking right past it and just trying to get at my money. Here, I’m a nice guy, just wanting to take you out, and you’re throwing it away.”

I said, “I’m sorry. I just can’t. You’re really nice, though.” I didn’t say, “What the fuck, dude. This is a strip club, not speed dating. And you’re a slob that I wouldn’t consider getting near under the influence of anything but money.”

He looked drunk, pathetic and somewhat genuinely scorned. Later on, I saw him buying dances from some other girl. The moral of this story is that men who don’t want to pay for my attention need to stop being emo and go out and get real girlfriends (who will probably just take even more of their money.)