so the two men who fell in love with me. one is named dean and one is named jake. jake is a bro kind of dude. he’s big, he always wears crisp baseball caps and clean clothes. he works part time as a bouncer at a non-strip club club and his other job, well let’s just say that it requires he be big, strong, unafraid and really good at observing details. he’s ocd about my hair in my face so i took to wearing hairclips when he was visiting. dean is older, spends more money, and has generally less interesting things to talk about. i gave them both my email as that is my typical mode of communication with customers. both of them were convinced i was the perfect woman incarnate during the same time period and both of them liked to talk extensively about the guns they owned. one is a drinker and one uses steroids. mr. manager in his ass kissing bravado would shake hands with both of them, give them free drinks and check in periodically to ask how they were and compliment me in front of them. he’s kind of a bro dude also so during his regular customer ass kissing, mr. manager and jake became bro friends. they exchanged numbers and then one night mr. manager suggested jake join him on a rendezvous in the phillipines. i never felt altogether comfortable with their comraderie but jake always seemed so pleased to be getting his ass kissed i couldn’t do much but make homoerotic gay jokes about their mutual affection for each other.
i did my best to keep jake and dean visiting on separate nights. jake in particular, with his large tattooed arms and total lack of interest in any other dancer but me, had a jealous streak. of course, one night they both walked in. i took a deep breath, asked them both to stay calm while i explained the other one wanted my full attention, danced for both, made about seven hundred dollars and ended up deeply offending both of them. dean stopped visiting for awhile until he couldn’t resist my wonders anymore and finally returned. jake kept visiting but upped the pressure on me to share my phone number with him and go shopping. i had already told him my fake real name and he persisted in talking about how much he felt a friendship growing between me and my fake real name. truth be told, i did like the guy. he would regale me with stories about his work all night long and we generally spent a lot of time laughing and i liked the way he smelled and the softness of his athletic undershirt he always wore as a gesture to my tender nipples. he never tried to grope me though i’m sure he knew that mr. manager wouldn’t have lifted a finger or a voice to him.
one night he said he couldn’t make it. he’d gotten into some trouble he said. he didn’t want to talk about it over email. he lost a great deal of money in his trouble and over the next couple weeks he stopped visiting me though he frequently would send me emails saying he missed me and he was working on building his bank account up to come back and visit me and mr. manager at the club.
meanwhile, there was really no love lost between mr. manager and the general stripper population at the club. every decision he made seemed ill-timed, misinformed, and questionably intentioned. Manbo has a very strict policy about walking girls out to their cars at the end of the night. even if one drunk customer is still outside in the parking lot waiting for a cab, we all wait for the parking lot to clear out for Manbo to walk us out (this is just one of the reasons i tell Manbo i love him at least once a night). mr. manager on the other hand would walk me out with my customers still in the parking lot, he’d stop and talk to them telling them to come back another night while i stood awkwardly in my shabby street clothes and smeared make-up and then he’d try to walk me straight to my car while they all watched. he would threaten to kick customers out of the club who weren’t spending much money but would let customers who were spending no money stay. he’d spend money fixing up the dressing room when our stage lights are in bad need of repair. he hired and fired bouncers and cocktail waitresses needlessly and would hang around in the corner when Manbo worked, lurking all night until tip out when he’d stand close to the new girls hoping they’d get confused and give him tips instead of Manbo. he talked incessantly about his “start-up companies” in the phillipines and how he planned to retire there.
one night Manbo was working he asked some of the strippers to come do a private show for a notoriously not-nice motorcycle gang at their hotel. he claimed he would be security for his motorcyclist friends and that the girls were guaranteed a $150 show up fee. he didn’t ask me, i assume because he knew i knew it was a bad deal, but not even one homegirl took him up on the offer of spending a night making less cash than they can make at the club with a gang of men who operate by their own laws.
my coworker told a story about getting groped back when we had the small statured dance-counter. she said she had been holding the groper’s hands over his head and yelling at him to stop and he had been struggling against her, continuing to try to grab her. “he just watched!” she said of the dance counter. “yeah,” i responded, “mr. manager told him not to do anything.” “fuck that. i don’t care if it’s your job to protect me or not. as a man watching a woman getting practically molested without her consent he should have done something.”
rumors flew that mr. manager would get fired but it just never quite happened.
then one night while i was at home, ignoring my informal schedule that has me usually working that night, i got an email from jake, “you’re not at the club.” “nope. are you?!?”, i responded, surprised that he’d show up without checking to see i was working. “yeah, i’m working here.” “excuse me? what do you mean?” “i’m working the door for mr. manager” it was 11:30 pm and i was trembling rage. my manager had just hired my regular to be security. had i walked into work that evening, as i very well could have, my bouncer would be the same man who had spent thousands of dollars on my naked companionship. this man who i lied to about my name and where i live is my coworker, working with my other coworkers who do know my real name and real hometown. jesus, did he have access to my application papers?!? why didn’t mr. manager go ahead and just hack my bank account and hand my driver’s license over to my envious and gigantic regular. i didn’t think i could sleep so i, very sweetly mind you, asked jake how it had come to be that mr. manager had hired him. jake told me that mr. manager’s other bouncer had been out of town so mr. manager had called jake, “but,” jake concluded, “you’re not here :(“ i couldn’t really genuinely sympathize with him on that but i did say it was probably better off i wasn’t there since we couldn’t have that much fun as coworkers. then i sat down and composed a letter to the owner simply so that all my thoughts were down and out in words then fell asleep and dreamt strange dreams.
i woke up the next morning and called another stripper to ask if my outrage was reasonable. “imagine if you walked in and your regular was working the door.” she said my outrage was reasonable. so i called the owner. i introduced myself and i’m pretty sure my name rung a bell in her head because i know she knows i’m pretty good at making money and i don’t play drama. i asked if she had a few minutes to talk and she said she did.
so in clear language i laid it all out. mr. manager hired my regular. financial idiocy, yes, but most importantly a huge breach of my safety. i wont work there anymore when mr. manager is working and will quit the club altogether if my customer stays on as security. furthermore, mr. manager is a smoke blower. yes, we all want the numbers to go up but he’s throwing basic safety precautions out the window. she thanked me for calling and said she would handle it.
and then she fucking fired him.
she called me back to tell me herself. of course it wasn’t because of me, she had already planned to do it, “but,” she said, “you were the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Manbo also called me and we spent about twenty minutes commiserating on the horror that had been mr. manager’s employment at the club. having no nearby companion to truly celebrate with, i called back my stripper friend to announce the good news.
jake emailed me to let me know that mr. manager had “quit” (“but please don’t say anything!” he asked of me) and so he probably wouldn’t be working there anymore. he also told me that dean had been at the club the night before. i thanked god i did not show up the night before to find jake bouncing and watching me with dean while mr. manager verbally wanked off his general douchbaggery management. then i responded that i wasn’t surprised mr. manager had “quit”, i knew there had been upper management tension and mr. manager hadn’t been happy but i would be pleased to see jake for lap dances when he was ready.
it does seem, that at least for this moment of time, in this corner of the world, good has won out over evil.