What It’s Like To Be A Stripper In New York


I tell my mother I am a cocktail waitress. It sounds seedy, but just enough so that I don’t feel too guilty about lying. She calls me before my shift to wish me luck at work. “Make lots of money, have a great night,” she squeals through the phone in the most supportive, motherly way. I remind myself I am a terrible human being before I hang up.

The evening begins early, at my local discount sushi joint. Three dollar rolls, including beer, wine, and sake. There is never a wait and the waitress knows my order by heart: two glasses of white, veggie dumplings and an avocado roll. No small talk required. I sit across from my stripper friend and talk about her photography gigs and my bed bug situation. Wine arrives and, without missing a beat, we split a vyvanse capsule open and pour the powdery contents into our glasses. We discuss the details of our impending joint business venture; logo design, client lists, schedules, et cetera, as we inconspicuously gulp our amphetamine cocktails. I pause to text my coke dealer. I do not understand proper drug ordering etiquette , but know that I am supposed to text in code: two tickets to the game tonight? The waitress comes back. Another wine? She’s already walking away with my glass in her hand before I can respond.

I slink into a slow and drunken high with a bit of a twitch, to be precise, and complain to my stripper friend about my real job. No one respects my work, or me, for that matter. I recognize the irony as my vyvanse kicks in and my heart speeds up. My friend and I trade sarcastic remarks between each other. I guess we’re just coked out drunken strippers living in the city, huh? We laugh like hyenas as our eyes bulge out of our heads. We can barely control ourselves at the absurdity of it all. We are certainly not that, but we don’t mind laughing at the fact that currently, we most certainly are. There’s no time to contemplate the validity of our actions, however. There is money to be made.

We are on a particular mission tonight. It requires some finesse on both our parts, as my friend is currently not being held in the high regards of the stripper boss.

We head home to complete our mission and win her back into his good graces. We are greeted by the coke dealer, whom we had forgotten we had called. He seems angry, but it could be the drugs. I apologize and collect a small bag of what is most likely a lot of powdered sugar and possibly some horse dewormer and do not ask any questions. Upstairs, we get right down to business.

Two shots of whiskey and a beer later, I have one eyeball traced with a dark smudge of eyeliner and a lacey black thong up my ass. My friend is sprawled on the sofa wearing a red dress made of what looks like swim suit material as she fiddles on Photoshop, liquifying her hips and drawing dark makeup around her eyes. We send the finished product to stripper boss and beg him to let her come in tonight. As we wait for his response, I dole out a bump of horse dewormer on my apartment key and nudge it towards my friend. She attempts to gather it into her nose but proceeds to choke and cough all over the key, spewing white powder everywhere. We shrug and try again.

Thirty minutes later and still no response from stripper boss, I am forced to leave my friend behind. She tells me to be a happy stripper as I pout all the way into a cab. I snort mystery powder bumps in the backseat as I consider the utter hopelessness of my life. Then I remind myself I am just being dramatic, and instead consider offering a token of friendship to my cab driver via a generous serving of drugs. My mind is not made up, but it’s too late. We’ve arrived.

Wobbling on my toothpick heels, I exit the cab. I check the time, 9:23pm, five more hours to go. And then I strip. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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