Friday, December 31, 2010

Five Minutes

I’d say I never dated guys I met at the clubs I worked in but that would be a lie. For the first six months or so, I’d meet some guy that seemed really cool and I’d give it a shot but it always turned out to be one of three things…

1. They thought I’d be stupid and easy. I’m neither.
2. They turned out to be married. I don’t play with other people’s toys.
3. After about the 3rd date, they’d start bitching about my job. Hello? Where’d we meet?

I pretty much just gave up on men altogether for a long time. Not like I changed teams or anything, I just realized that it wasn’t worth it to try and date someone I met at work and since all I did was work and school… I was just happier alone.

There was a firefighter I dated for a few months that seemed promising but he turned out to be a heavy drinker and I already babysat one drunk and wasn’t about to go that route again.

I started working at the clubs in April 1996 and by October 1998, I was really getting burned out on it all. The money was amazing, the hours were short but I was really starting to hate guys. I was trying to hang on until I graduated massage school the following April but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

One night, it was SUPER slow and there was a feature dancer so the money wasn’t flowing well. It was about 10p and I had another hour to go on my shift. I was walking over to the manager to see if I could leave early when this group of 6 guys came in the door. I figured I’d squeeze $50 out of them real quick, and then go. One of them had a streak of blood down the front of his knee from a cut of some sort and since he was the cutest one and had a built-in ice-breaker, I went up to him first.

I leaned over him and said, “If I promise to be careful of your knee, would you like a dance?” He looked a bit shocked (odd) and said yes. I gave my usual up sell, “Would you like it here or in VIP?” and he said VIP so up to the little bench-couches we went.

By then the song was mostly over so we decided to wait for the next song. I forgot about the feature and the next song started her next set. We aren’t forbidden to work while the feature is up but it’s strongly advised that we don’t. It’s considered rude. Whatever. So this guy and I sat in VIP and we started talking. He was crazy funny and was really crackin’ me up! We talked for nearly an hour and I finally gave him a dance.

This is where the story differs as he swears he asked me out but I know I asked him. I told him that I was getting off work and that my friend and I usually went to the 5 and Diner to get something to eat and if he and his friends wanted to meet us, that’s where we’d be.

I went upstairs and changed and when I came outside, that guy was there by himself. He said his friends didn’t want to leave but that he could use a bite to eat. We drove our separate cars to the Diner. I was really embarrassed that Mary didn’t show, like I was just giving this guy a line or something, right? But it turned out just fine! We talked for 2 more hours and Dave and I have been talking ever since!

Even at the diner he was killin’ me! After we ate, he said he’d pay and I said, “Don’t be silly! I invited you. I’ve got money. In fact, I got-ch-your money!” The waiter laughed at that but Dave insisted so he paid.

Our first official date was a double-feature Jackie Chan at the Drive-in Theater. I suggested it but Dave went for it and I thought that was cool!

I worked at the club for a few more months after we met and he was never weird about it. He knew it was just a job for me. It wasn’t until months later that he said the reason he agreed to get a dance was because I caught him off guard asking about his knee. He’d just recovered from reconstructive knee surgery recently and was shocked I could see the scar in that dark club. I told him about the blood on his knee and we had a stupid laugh over that.

I actually got fired New Year’s Eve 1998. I was dancing for one guy and his buddy kept touching my leg and I did that “I’m-smiling-but-I’m-pissed” thing and said, “Stop touching me.” and signaled the bouncer. I saw the bouncer heading our way, so I turned my back on Touchy McToucherson and continued the dance for the one guy. The Toucher one smacked my ass about as hard as he could. I turned around and clocked him right in the mouth. I hit him so hard his chair tipped over backwards! By this time the bouncer was there and stopped me from stomping that asshole with my heels.

The manager called the cops. He apologized to me for it but said for liability issues, he had to. When the cops showed up, they asked McTouchy if he wanted to press charges; the guys lip was split, puffy and bleeding and he said, “Hell yeah!” Then the cop turned to me and asked if I wanted to press charges for sexual assault. The customer was all, “Wait. WHAT?? WTF??” and the cop said, “Look, sir, you know you’re not allowed to touch anyone in here and as far as we’re concerned, she was just defending herself.” I said to forget it and I just went home. Before I left, the manager said he had to fire me (liability purposes again) but that if I wanted to come back in a month it’d be fine. I said, “You know, Mark. I think I’m done. If I can’t be diplomatic anymore….. I don’t know, man.”

I borrowed some money from my mom and finished massage school. Dave and I moved in together the following April and got married the April after that!

The thing is… I was leaving! And Dave never goes to any bar much less a strip club (a fact a friend of his confided to me a few months later). He and his crew just finished a huge 3 month job at the golf course and they talked him in to going out to celebrate. Had it been 5 minutes later, we would’ve never met.

Fortuitous five, Ruth!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friends In Low Places

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

Part Four:

I didn’t make a lot of friends at the clubs I worked in. Most of the girls that worked there were all full of drama and I don’t have the patience to put up with it. But, as I said before, I have that face that makes people tell me stuff I don’t care to know and then they ask my advice even though my advice is usually along the lines of “fix it or shut up about it already”.

There’s the tiny, young chick who was complaining to me about her boyfriend. She said to me, “You wouldn’t like him.” I said, “Why do you say that?”
Her: He’s in jail.
Me: What’s he in jail for?
Her: For putting me in the hospital. He nearly beat me to death. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks.
Me: Why do you like him?
Her: I don’t. Not really. Not anymore. We have a kid together and I think I’m pregnant with another one of his.
Me: How’d that happen? You said he’s been in jail for a few months now.
Her: He pays off the guards so we can sneak into the bathroom together. I don’t really want to even visit him anymore much less have sex in a jailhouse bathroom but I have no choice.
Me: What do you mean you have no choice?? You always have a choice.
Her: No, you see… he’s head of a gang and he sends all his little gang-banger cronies to check up on me. Last time I didn’t visit him, he had one of his boys come find me and beat me down. I’m scared to not visit and do what he says.

I gave her the name and number of a person who helps abused women get away safely. I don’t think she ever did anything with it and she was pregnant again.

There’s the girl who’s boyfriend would drop her off when the club opened at 11am and pick her up when it closed at 2a then next morning and take all her money to buy crack.

There’s many others and like I said, before and after work, I got ready in the locker room as fast as I could manage to avoid all that mess and drama.

I did have a couple of friends though.

At TD’s, we had a “customer appreciation” night and the club wouldn't have to pay the club the usual $5 an hour to work those nights because there were lots of “free” dances. I put free in quotes because if the DJ or waitresses caught a guy not tipping after a free dance, they would call them out on it and embarrass them.

On these free dances, you would give a guy about half a song and move from guy to guy. At one point Cheryl and I ended up at the same guy and we laughed and gave him a double! It turned into a very profitable gimmick for us and we would dance together for people all the time. Sometimes, after work, we’d go get something to eat together but that was about the extent of our friendship.

At Ten’s I became pretty good friends with a girl we’ll call Mary. Mary and I talked at work all the time and we hung out outside work quite a lot. She was another with man troubles though. She was dating one guy who was a complete tool and dating is a rather loose term for what they had. He mostly booty called her and she’d always go when the phone rang. She was at the end of him when we started hanging out. I remember she called me from a bar a few miles from the really crappy part of town I lived in. She was there with that guy and his buddy and they were all playing pool and did I want to meet them?

I had nothing better to do so I went. She and I were sitting by the pool table waiting our turn, she put her feet up on my knees and I asked how her ankle was doing (she’d twisted it slightly at work the previous week). Her guy came over and said, “Oh, now I know why you like her [meaning me], she’s obviously a dyke.” I said, “I’m not but with guys like you around I wish I was.” He got all up in my face and we almost threw down! What a dick! When she finally dumped him, she told her mom how much she liked him and how heartbroken she was over the break-up and her mom asked if Mary would mind if she [mom] dated him!

We actually saw them at a hockey game we went to. They were on a date! WTF?

Mary ended up dating and eventually marrying and having a kid with some other abusive asshole and we fell out of touch. Last I heard, she divorced that guy. I wonder where/how she is?

The club had Feature Dancers about once a month. These were “professionals” – either porn stars or women who made their living posing naked for magazines. The feature hangs out in the locker room and every two hours from 7p-close, she comes out and does a 4 or 5 song show. Different costume each time and lots of build-up inbetween. Then she signs pic’s of herself and sells them or sometimes, she’ll take polaroids with the guys and sign/sell those. On top of the picture sales, the clubs pay them a few thousand a night to show up and do their thing.

I remember one skinny neck bitch whose man had parked his truck practically on top of my Mustang in the parking lot. His back bumper was touching mine and had scraped some of my paint. Now the old girl's paint was bad enough without help so I asked for their insurance info. They refused to give me that info so I had to call the cops and it was this big stupid scene. It was pretty funny though when she made a run at me and the cops put her ass on the ground!

There were the twin sisters feature act and I thought that one was a bit…disturbing. They didn’t touch each other but one show they did, one sister was seated, topless, blindfolded and tied to the stage pole while the other (wearing a floor-length hooded cape and not much else) dripped candle wax on the seated sister’s tits. Ummm. Ew.

One feature was really nice to me. She was a tiny, curvy blonde and her claim to fame was getting the cover of Swank magazine more times then any other model. She took a shine to me and we talked for a long time in the locker room, when I was getting ready to leave. I told her how cool it was that she could be so sexy and never wear stilettos in her shows! (One outfit was a construction worker’s costume w/timberlane boots). The conversation went from there. When I mentioned her impressive number of Swank covers she said, “It’s not as impressive as it sounds, my dad owns the magazine.”
Ummmm. Ewwwwwww. I went home shaking my head the whole way. One of those things you can never unknown, right?

One of the best features I saw involved a shower. I thought it was her own set-up but turns out it was a new thing that Ten’s had purchased for the club and she was just the first one that got to use it.

They put a kiddy pool at one end of the barbell stage and she stripped her way over. At the top of the pole, they had a shower set up and when they hit the strobe light, she crawled over to the kiddy pool, dipped her long hair into it and flipped her head back. With that strobe light? Mesmerizing!

I used that shower set-up a few times myself. Ten’s had a couple of “Best Dancer” competitions and I entered them all. I didn’t actually care about being voted best, it’s just that the prize money was pretty great. I got second place ($250) when I wore the chaps, stripped out of them and did that same thing with my hair, that strobe light and that pool!

Still flipping my hair flirtatiously, Ruth!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Regular Crowd Shuffles In

Part Three:

I wanted to finish this story that I started before the year ends so here’s the next bit about how Dave and I met….

Working at the clubs, we would have “regulars”. I think being a regular at a strip club is not a very good thing. I mean it’s not so bad if you come once a month with the guys or once every few months; but I’m talking about the guys we’d see once or twice a week and a couple that would come nearly every day. That’s just sad.

Of course, most of the regulars had nicknames that they didn’t know about and I’m going to tell you about them here. This isn’t for the eyes of minors or the delicate of composition – it’s a strip club, people! Nothing too disgusting, most of them actually made me laugh but I guess most “decent folk” may find it a bit gross.

At TD’s West, there was this older guy (had to be late 60’s/early 70’s) that we called The Flinker. He’d wear these khaki shorts that were mid-length (not super-short but not to his knees, sort of in-between). The whole time you were dancing for him (whether it was one song or 10 – 3 minutes each, mind you), he would be flinking his junk. That means he would flex his keigels (do men have those?) and just slightly bounce his peen the whole time. He got air dances from even the dirtiest of dancers (“air dancing” is dancing a good foot away from the customer). Flink, flink, flink…. the WHOLE time! It was actually a bit impressive but also super-gross. He never tried to touch anyone and he looked you in the face the entire time but it was probably to make sure you were looking and seeing what was going on in the groin area. Blech.

Another guy with a shorts problem was The Cyclist. He always showed up in his cycling outfit - the tiny hat, the skintight shirt, the special shoes that click into the pedals, the cycling shorts with padded bottom - and he'd get dances. Those shorts are too tight to be getting lap dances from sexy women. Ew.

There was another guy the girls called ShitMan. He carried a baggie and $100 cash. I’ll let you take it from there. Far as I know, no one ever took him up on his offer. (Gross!)

Then there was The Fisherman. When I started working the clubs, Regina warned me about him, even pointing him out to me so I’d know exactly who he was. He was this harmless looking, skinny guy who would get dances from all the girls he was attracted to and eventually would make them an offer – if he brought in a fish, would she slap him with it for $300. At this point the dancer would turn him down and he’d stop getting dances from her (and when I say he’d stop, I don’t mean just that day… he’d NEVER get another dance from her. I think maybe he was too embarrassed after he reveals his kink and gets turned down?). Regina said it was pretty easy money since it usually took him awhile to build up the courage to make his request and he paid for every dance after each song ended, tipping quite well along the way. He never got dances from me (not his type I guess) but I always ask anyway. [Aside: The thing about strip clubs, you ask everyone, every time you go ‘round the room. Enough beer, they all say yes eventually.] One day, he said yes! Regina was right; it took him nearly TWO HOURS to get the courage to make his request. I leaned over, gently gathered the front of his shirt in my hand, pulled him close and whispered in his ear, “Baby, for $300, I’ll beat the shit out of you with a Bass.” I was just joking, of course, but when I let him go, his mouth was agape, his eyes were agog and he sat back in silence. When he’d collected himself, he handed me a $100 dollar bill and left the building. Now, I didn’t work every day but I never saw him again!

The Painter was this morbidly obese guy who would come straight from work to the club. He always wore a white chambray shirt and jeans and it was covered in dried paint, like a house painter or something. He never showered (and from the smell of it, “never” is a little more literal then I care to remember) and he always looked super-pissed and never spoke a word. I’m a jokester so I’d always try to make him laugh or even crack a smile but it never worked. I always wondered what in his life made him look so angry all the time and I always wondered when I’d see him in the news after he snapped and went all postal somewhere, killing everyone around him…hoping it was never going to happen at the club because it’d be a bitch to try to run in those 6” stilettos!

Santa Claus would show up about every 3 months or so. He was a long-haul trucker and looked just like Santa on his time off. And he never came around during December. Hmmmm. (just kidding)

The Widower was just that. He never got dances but would pay you to just sit there and talk with him. Most of the girls hated it and wouldn’t sit with him; they don’t want to get to know you, they want to give you a dance (or 10) and leave. I didn’t mind, it was a nice break from standing in those heels and he was a nice, seemingly-normal guy (which probably means he killed his wife, right?). He’d talk to you for about 30-60 minutes, pay you the regular rate of the dances you would’ve done in that time, plus a healthy tip and he’d leave. He showed up about once every 3 months or so. He was lonely and sad and just wanted to chat.

Foot Guy would always take his sandals off and try to put his feet on your feet or lower legs. Gross! I would remind him that he wasn’t allowed to touch us and that touching with feet was still touching. I told him this diplomatically at first then I looked at him with a big smile but a voice that indicated I was about to kick his ass and said, “Don’t touch me.” I also put my stiletto on his foot and told him that if he stepped on me, I was going to step on him. He put his shoes back on and never tried that again with me. I would see him do the same to other girls and they’d never say anything to him but…. GAH, that’s so nasty!

Most of the other regulars were just normal guys that didn’t seem to have much of a life outside the club.

There was a gay guy who came with some friends and he was a sweet, flamer who would always compliment you on your outfit and say even though he was gay, he still loved “the boobies”. He always made me laugh!

One guy I remember that wasn’t a regular but I’ll never forget him…
He was there with an older man and the older man said, “Come give my nephew a dance!” So I did and halfway through the dance, the man said, “Make it an extra good one, girlie, he just got released from prison after a ten year stint.” I was a bit shocked at that and thought the man was kidding since the guy looked too young to have been in prison that long but then I took a look at the kid. He had a bunch of prison-like tattoos and a sort of dead look in his eyes. The part about his eyes may sound like I’m just being dramatic but I actually noticed that when I started dancing for him. His eyes reminded me of The Painter and it was a bit creepy. When his uncle told me about his prison time he got pissed, “Why do you have to tell people that? I served my time and I just want to forget about it.” He got about 5 dances from me and was polite and quiet and that was that. But I’ll never forget the hurt look in his eyes when his uncle laughed at him for getting mad about telling me.

There was a deaf kid (about 21 years old) who would come with his cousins. His cousins would get drunk and act like jerks (trying to touch and being rude) but he was always sweet and since I was taking a lot of ASL classes back then, he and I would sign to each other from across the room (or at the same table) and have a good laugh about his asshole cousins.

I guess that’s about all I remember of the regular crowd. Like I said, most guys that came to the clubs weren’t regulars and were just there to have some fun and blow off steam. It wasn’t a bad job and oftentimes was actually quite fun. But there were times/days that you just wanted to start smackin’ people. I guess in that respect, it was like any other job!

Remembering regularly, Ruth!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Several months ago, my friend Donna had a great idea for a WIP Cup to coincide with the World Cup. We started a Ravelry group and I actually got quite a few WIP's finished but I don't think I ever posted about them. Here they are...

The Chevron Scarf - started 3 years ago and never finished is now done. I adore the way Feather and Fan looks but I discovered I hate making it. It's not even hard, just boring.
I also discovered if you're going to take a pic of a blue-ish scarf, best not to take it on blue sheets.

This picture is much more true to color.

Way back in 2003 when I first started knitting, my LYS had two lone skeins of koigu on sale because they were different colors and not enough to make a pair of socks each. I bought both with no clue what I'd ever do with them. I didn't even knit socks back then! This scarf was perfect for them and I love it!

Next up, we have my Odessa hat. About 2 years ago, I received a luscious ball of this yarn in a swap, found the perfect beads, cast on for this, did the ribbing edge and tossed it in a bin. I have no idea why but maybe I was intimidated by the beads and the fact that I didn't understand how the swirlyness happened without moving stitch markers and such but it does! It just does and it's amazing!

I wore it all day when I finished it and am still waiting for it to actually be cold enough to wear it again.

Next up (and the thing I'm most proud of finishing) is the Bed Jacket of Doom. If you were here a couple of years ago, you know the saga behind this. Let's just keep it brief and say this pattern was kicking my ass. I finally finished the whole thing except the edging (even seamed the sleeves!) and threw it in the closet. With the WIP cup, I finished the edging. It took an entire skein of the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece plus a little extra to do it! I'm actually thinking of pulling half the edging out but for now, it's finished.
Here's a shot of the little edging I put on the sleeves. I tried the original edging called for in the book but learned that I am NOT a fan of sawtooth edging - too court jestery for my tastes. Also, you need to knit miles of edging and sew it on?!? No thank you. I crocheted this edging on and it only took about a day.
I made this specifically for wearing about the house when it's chilly and I've been wearing the hell out of it lately! I'm one of those mean moms who says, "Leave the heater off, go put on a sweatshirt!"
The WIP on my list that I didn't finish are these chunky mitts. I was following a basic chunky knit pattern but the thumb seems to be way too high up!

I was also in the Ravelry 10 in 2010 group. My list changed quite a lot during the year (perfectly allowed within the group - yay!) and I finished 8 things so far with an easy goal for the last two to be done before the year ends.
I have already joined the 11 in 2011 group and next year they are allowing WIP's so I've got these mitts on that list. My list is pretty... impressive (read: stupidly large) but I think I will still manage it! We'll see. I'll post that list here soon....
WIPing away in Margaritaville, Ruth!