The experience could have been worse. At least that’s what I tried to convince myself as the stuffy smell of sweat and cum made my stomach churn. I reminded myself that I was alive, I got through the awful “first time” with a Pot, and I knew I’d be okay in a few hours. But the moment I left that room – the smiling scumbag sliding several hundred dollar bills in my top and stealing a twist of my nipple – I couldn’t get to the dressing room fast enough. I did my best not to run through the club, but I had to get out. I was suffocating. I burst through the dressing room door, kicked off my stilettos and collapsed in tears next to the trash. I didn’t usually imbibe myself in the act of crying, but in this case, it helped – a lot, actually. I opened a window and sank depleted to the floor by the mirror, waiting for the awful images of his sausage-like hands on me to dissipate.
You’ve been here before, Ellie. The same thing happened when you gave a Pot a Lap dance for the first time. You’ll be okay.
My breathing was starting to return to normal when Randy came crashing through the door.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He cried vehemently. His blue eyes were boring into me like a couple of rusty screwdrivers. In my delirium, I was tempted to let myself get lost in them, but I was feeling a bit lightheaded and couldn’t do much more than gaze in confusion.
“You practically sprinted away from him!” he continued. “Look at you, your fucking top is bleeding 100-dollar bills – is that not enough for you? Do you want him to think you find him repulsive? He may never come back now!” He was pretty irate, his face a bright tomato-ey red that reminded me of my mother’s garden growing up. I looked down at the floor, my mind spinning. I didn’t know what to say.
Mia walked in and saved the day. “Randy, give her a fucking break!” she asserted. I snapped back to reality. Her comfort with confrontation always impressed me. “It was her first time. You remember me the first time I had to give a Pot the special? I was in worse shape than her.”
Randy ran his hand through his shoulder-length hair, reluctantly considering her argument, but clearly still reeling from my display of disaffection. “Just…take care of her, ok? Get her cleaned up. You’re both on stage in ten minutes.”
He turned to the door, slamming his hand hard against the frame. “Fucking whores!” He spat. And then he was gone.
Mia walked me to the couch, gave me some peanuts and a glass of water and dabbed my forehead with a cool damp paper towel.
“He’s a real dick sometimes,” Mia coddled. “He doesn’t know what it’s like.”
“I’m just glad you were here,” I murmured. “You’re the only one he listens to.” Mia’s face flushed as she tried to suppress a shy smile.
There had to be something going on between those two. I’d sensed it for a while, but this moment confirmed it – Mia had encountered some pretty embarrassing moments since I’d met her, but I’d never once seen her blush. I cocked an eyebrow hoping to get some details, but she sneered and stomped off to her locker to get ready for the next number.
I knew what she was thinking: “I don’t need a goddamn man!” Well, you’re right, Mia, none of us do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fall for them.
I pulled myself up from the smoke-stained couch and stumbled to the mini fridge for a diet cola. I popped a Tylenol and let the brown gurgling liquid sooth my throat. I felt better. Maybe even a little proud – I did it! I made it through one of the most shitty experiences of my life. And I was starting to feel whole again. Recovery came much quicker this time.
I reached into my locker next to Mia and pulled out my black feathered two-piece to prepare for the group number. This particular costume was one of my sexiest outfits; I always felt like a million bucks in it. As the fog from the Pot began to dissipate, my normal apprehension and excitement about going back on stage started seeping back in.
For someone who never in a million years imagined she’d be a performer, I truly loved it. I’d always been a pretty girl, and I don’t think I grew up with any lack of validation or support, but God, I loved being on stage, flooded with colored lights, and moving smoothly to a captivated, adoring crowd. The cheers and the screams were like blood to me. I barely noticed the cash thrown at me and tucked into my g-string; it was the worship I was there for.
Of course, it wasn’t all ego boosts and smiles; there were downsides. Outside of the obvious run-ins with the very unappealing Pots, occasionally we’d also get a lonely guy in the crowd who would wait after hours to try to catch us on our way home. That was always awkward. The first time one of them approached me with a bouquet of flowers, I tried to explain to him that what we did was an act – that the looks we shared and the eye candy I provided was just part of the show – but I learned very quickly that this didn’t work. It only took one stalker to stage a kidnapping outside the club for me to realize I couldn’t give these guys the time of day anymore.
God, it’s dangerous to be beautiful.
Hahaha! Did I seriously just say that?! Aw man, this airport is already beginning to make me crazy – I’m gonna lose you before we even get to the good part. I look at my watch: 6:30. Where is he? Am I in the right place? It would totally be my luck to get stuck waiting here for hours for some guy who doesn’t have the balls to show up. But he isn’t like that…is he?
I’m probably confusing you. Don’t worry, it will all make sense later. It looks like I may have all night so let’s get back to the story. I was waiting to go on stage.
Well, ‘stage’ may be a strong word in this context. Our club made good money but it’s not like we had the funds of a Vegas casino. The ‘stage’ was more of a slightly elevated faux-wood platform. It had 4 poles and decent lighting, but it was covered in laminate flooring. I was quite sure most of our clientele didn’t know the difference, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I often closed my eyes and imagined I was dancing on real hardwood – the kind that makes that satisfying click-clack sound under your heels.
But so it was. Adorned in my killer two-piece, I followed my fellow dancers out on stage, carrying myself with a swagger that appeared completely unaware of the hell I went through just minutes before.
That night, I was one with the pole.
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