“Cum play with me tonight, baby ;)” I type out a text to one of my regulars, hoping he’ll come in. If he does, I’ll have a champagne room kind of night.
I’m already doing the calculations in my head before I even hit send. One hour champagne room: $400. I look up from my phone, adjust my posture, fix my hair and scan the room like a predatory bird.
A few regulars playing pool, a row of empty bar stools except for one or two older probably out of town business-looking gentlemen attentively watching whatever sport is on the TV.
My eyes gravitate to the main stage where I watch a dancer spin slowly around the pole under black lights to a melancholic slow jam that sets the undertone mood of the club that everyone absentmindedly matches. I stare mesmerized at the tantalizing art and she smiles at me, and I smile back.
“Jasmine, to the stage” the DJ announces.
I strut to the stage and offer my hand to the dancer stepping down. I grip the pole in my hand and it feels sturdy, so I close my eyes and trust fall back into a slow spin. I feel eyes on me so I stop spinning and reluctantly readjust my focus to make eye contact with this stranger approaching my stage.
I saunter over to him, kneel down, introduce myself and start dancing for this stranger, become slightly more and more flustered at what this creep is probably thinking or visualizing, but then it’s over and I bend down to pick up a few dollars and what’s left of my dignity off the floor. I thank the man and simultaneously try to quiet the internal frenzied panic I feel and step off stage in a seductive manner, then retreat downstairs to the brightly-lit dressing room, where the signature stripper scent of a floral/fruity blend calms my nerves.
I shove the bills in my bag and sit in the chair, telling myself to go back upstairs and hustle stage guy for a dance, but instead reach into my bag, pull out a bottle of bubbles and start blowing my anxiety away.