When they look at you, for a split second you actually believe they want you, not the five-dollar bill in your hand. For a split second, you get to feel like a rock star. These are the “kind nug” of strippers, the top of the food chain. This is the beginning of the end.
“This Saturday,” I chime in. “Maybe you can talk some sense into him.”I grab Ted’s drink to keep it from spilling as Candi falls back onto her ass and slides towards the middle of the stage, slowly bringing her legs up to her chest.
“I’ll see what I can do.” I watch as Candi extends her legs and spreads them out directly in front of Ted. Her feet move up his chest and around the back of his head pulling him into the promised land.We’re using the ole’ “Dead Man Walking Scam” to save money on the cover charges. It’s ten bucks to get into the Platinum club, unless you are a lucky bachelor about to get one last night out with the boys. Then it’s free. So tonight we are a bachelor party. Aside from Chuck, none of us really frequent the east side, unless there’s a special occasion, so the bouncers never catch on. Since it’s Ted’s night, he gets to be the bachelor. We’re just the buddies giving him the big send off.
Candi with an “i” will be busy for a while, so Shitz and I head to the bar at the back of the club to get another round, while Phil negotiates a free lap dance with “Kiki” the Hawaiian goddess. Chuck and Sean are of searching for another stage with a redhead dancing. They seem like the most honest strippers, according to Sean.
“It’s such an empty promise,” I tell Shitz as he throws up two fingers, pointing at an empty bottle on the bar and waits for the bartender’s nod of compliance.
“Strip clubs. They pretend they like you, they strip down and take your money, but in the end all you get is a hard on and an empty wallet.”
“That’s one way to look at it, I suppose, Esch. I choose to look at it like performance art. Live action porn without the mess. Besides, look at Ted over there.” I look back at the stage to see Ted’s face still buried, the hair on the back of his head mussed and sticking straight up. “He’s not worried about finding a new job right now, and that’s the point of this little adventure.”
One bottle of piss-water beer is $9.50, so needless to say, we won’t be staying here too long. It’s a sad thing that Ted is among the unemployed and all, but we’re still on a budget.
We get back to the stage just in time to see Ted stuffing his last dollar bill into Candi’s g-string. He spent all of his money on the first dancer to come around– the strip club equivalent of a premature ejaculation..well, the other strip club equivalent of a premature ejaculation.
“Good luck, sweetie.” Candi with an “i” kisses him lightly behind the ear, grabs her pink nightie, now sitting in a pile on the other end of the stage, and with that she’s gone. A new dancer steps up to the stage as Candi steps down, almost like tag team partners in a pro wrestling match. The next one’s name is Silk, and she’s garbed in thigh highs, a short plaid miniskirt, a lacey bra, and glasses — for now. We can’t afford Silk, though. We have places to go, people to see, and a very limited resource of cash. The first riff of “Talk Dirty to Me” cuts through the garbled conversation of horny men all through the club as Silk studies her audience, in search of the most generous, or drunk, spenders. Her eyes move right past us, as if we were empty seats, and onto a legitimate bachelor with his own pile of dollar bills.
“You know, Ted, that was supposed to last you a little while… You weren’t suppose to blow your whole wad on the first dancer.” I say as my head moves around the club, half in search of our troops, and half to look at all the cliched fantasies spinning around on poles and humping stranger’s faces.
“You know I nevah…I nevah seen you like so goo-od, you nevah act the way you should, but I like it…”
In the world of the strip club, within these walls of naked hope and empty promises, hair bands are still king. Every song is an anthem, a declaration of party. Here, ten dollars gives you a backstage pass to hang out with the groupies.
“I couldn’t help it Escher, I just didn’t want her to stop…ever.”
I might be stoned, or I might be drunk, but me thinks there’s a smile starting to creep onto Ted’s face.
“Don’t worry, Tedster, you can fall in love all over again when we get to the next place.” Shitz says with a pat on the back, as he steals a smoke out of my pack. “I’ll go collect Chuck and Sean, why don’t you guys go find Phil.”
“…And ba-aby…talk dirty to me.”