Billy's friend Marigold (I swear to God, nobody comes up with a better alias than an exotic dancer) had gotten me on at the Silver Fox, but I was still too chicken to get up and dance. They let me be a "shooter girl," which meant I reluctantly waltzed around in an eeny meeny G-string bikini toting a tray of liquor filled day-glo test tubes, like some maniac hybrid baywatch- girl -cum -mad -scientist. You tipped the "shooter" (test tube) up to the patron's lips ( *sigh* can't men do anything for themselves?) while standing in front of them laying backwards against their shoulders. It gave them a good view of you in a virtual backbend and provided them with a peek down your decolletage, as well as some flesh contact (unless you were like me and tried to keep your fingers as low down on the tube and far away from their mouths as humanly possible). As you arched back your spine, you exposed your suppline neck and torso, two of the most sensuous errogenous zones. Then you got a tip. At the end of the night, management would count up how many shots you'd sold and then you'd get a "cut." So there was a profit motive! 20% commission on all shooters "shot!" Hey, I'm an independent contractor! A small business entrepreneur! Woo hoo!
The Silver Fox was a step up from the other grungy places I'd been visiting, but it was still pretty small potatoes. The stage was minuscule, there was tacky neon graffiti everywhere spelling out commands like "SIZZLE" and "SEDUCE," black light, and all the waitresses and shooter girls had to wear styleless, chunky silver fox animal charms threaded through slinky chains slung around our waists. In a way, it was a weight-limit test. If you couldn't wear the chain, you couldn't work the job. Some girls cheated and added extenders if they put on a few after they'd been hired. And some just quit because they were tired of always having to be thin and not eat. I also think this is why a lot of them purposefully got pregnant.
Ah, the pregnant stripper. Why would a girl solely dependent on how good her body looks allow this to happen?
Well, first of all, it gives you an easy excuse to quit if you're tired of the business, but can't bring yourself to stop b/c your boyfriend or husband won't let you, b/c strangely enough, "sig othz" like the easy money, too. Sometimes they were also into "showing you off" or enjoyed being cuckolded or were secret voyeurs.
It was also hard to quit if you got addicted to the attention, the druggy-drunky lifestyle (if you need drugs, head to a strip club. Dealers enjoy having a harem of women and think it makes them look like a big shot. They dig playing "kingpin"), or you were simply hooked on the "rush" of participating in a taboo lifestyle.
So, since no one wants to see you in acrylic platforms past your 2nd trimester, being pregnant got you off the hook.
2nd of all, you're surrounded by beautiful, naked woman all day long. So you're always thinking abut sex, or at least always in a piquant, heightened state of sensory arousal and sensual awareness. Thus, you are generally easier to get "in the mood." Thus you are easier to knock up.
When Marigold and Teena (that's TWO e's) both found themselves in the family way, they spent ages lolling on the couch, indulging in tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough and tubs of rocky road ice cream, gleefully exclaiming "WE'RE PREGNANT!" when somebody would ask them, "hey, what gives with the buffet?"
I tried to tell them that just b/c they were pregnant didn't mean they had to completely let themselves go, and that if they laid around and did nothing active after having normally spent five to six hours a day dancing, they would REALLY be regretting it once their babies came, but they gave me an icy glare, and stated that for once in their lives they did't have to work out or wear thongs or worry about what a scale said, so I shut up.
That's what I mean about sometimes girls getting pregnant on purpose. They could finally climb down off the stage and eat.
Before Teena stopped dancing she used to do this number with this enigmatic girl who called herself "Tank," after "Tank Girl," the comic book heroine. Teena and Tank, yes indeed. It involved a racy routine set to "You Can Leave your Hat on," and featured ropes, a chair, and a vibrating strap-on. I guess you could leave that on, too. Anyway, this routine KILLED. Afterwards, Tank would get up and solo dance and men would grovel at her feet.
I was stupefied. What on earth got them to do that? Tank had bad skin, a shaved head, tiny boobies, and big round pop eyes. But she always left that nightclub FLUSH.
One day I couldn't take it anymore and I demanded for Marigold to tell me her secret.
"I don't get it. This girl isn't attractive. How does she make so much money? Her skin is always broken out and she's so skinny if she turns sideways and sticks her tongue out she looks like a zipper. She has a SHAVED HEAD for the love of Jesus, and I don't even think she can do any tricks or splits or aerial work or anything."
I don't know why but it INFURIATED me.
"Don't you get it, Evie?"
(I called myself "Evangeline." Always thought it was a beautiful name.)
"No. I guess I don't."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Not all women have to be drop dead gorgeous to... have allure. She fulfills a fantasy. She's got the androgyny thing, she always wears black rubber and leather,the spikes and pumps. It's a fetish. She fulfills very specific desires some people have. You can imagine her doing bondage, girl on girl, latex stuff. You know, that scene."
"No, I don't know that scene."
"Plus, she's a natural blonde," Maridold said.
"HER HEAD IS SHAVED."
"Yeah, but you can still tell. Everybody loves blondes."
I took another look at Tank next time she went onstage. With a different lens to view her through, I started to see her appeal. Her lack of make up, flat chest, and shaved head (she did leave the bangs long, a la "the chelsea") gave her a slender tomboy look. And Marigold was right, when you really looked, as shaved as her head was, you could tell she was a natural blonde. Since people like to pet the downy stubbs of shorn scalps, and experience that touch and texture, I could see how that might turn them on. Her bad skin made her more approachable, like she was less likely to turn her nose up at you and walk off. It took away the stuck-up princess vibe a lot of dancers had. Her legs, though really skinny, were beautiful. Not a speck of cellulite or a bruise or wrinkle on them, and they were tinged a smooth, caramel colour, she had an effortlessly natural tawny tan, like she'd just spent a few breezy months out in the summer sun, maybe building a big fiberglass fishing boat or sodering a huge metal sculpture together, cause let me tell you, girlfriend looked TOUGH. But, if you could see through everything distracting you, the patent leather spikes heels and the industrial-strength scary piercings, she almost looked a little wholesome, and she definitely was completely unaffected by the environment we were in. Tank always acted the same, what you see is what you get. No small feat that.
One day Tank caught me looking at her and clicked over my way in her spikes, stopping right in front of me, taking my head gently in her hands. Up close, her bug eyes were perfect amber circles, her smile was subtle, and she radiated a pleasant, cool vibe of confident sincerity and assurance.
"Oh Evangeline," she lazily cooed, "you're so beeeeaaaaauuuuuuutiful." and she kissed me, softly, on the lips.
"You." she said.
Then she clicked away, dollar bills rustling in her garter and drifting off the sides of her T-Bar, loud wolf whistles begging her to come back on stage.
It was true. You didn't have to be beautiful to be sexy; beauty comes in all different forms.
I would rarely be jealous again.
It's such a crippled-ego, wasted emotion anyway.
I started trying to not always look at people with my own eyes and my own plentiful judgements and preconceptions. I tried to be more open to other interpretations and impressions.
'Cause just the Butthole Surfers say: "You never know just how you look through other people's eyes."