The best part about working at a strip club is the fact that I will never run out of stories to tell. For all of us who work in dark buildings with strobe lights and half dressed women, work is rarely boring.
The beautiful, half dressed, young woman who was pouring my club sodas one recent Friday was telling me how awful her week was. A breakup with a boyfriend followed by some trouble with the law had her a little bummed out. “You got in trouble?” I asked.
“I got pulled over the other night because the road I needed to drive on to get home was closed off so I had to go another way that I wasn’t too sure of. The cop must have seen me hesitating and pulled me over. Of course, then he smelled pot in my car so he made me get out while cops searched my entire car until they found it.”
“Oh No!” I said. “I hope you’re not in too much trouble!” She didn’t look like the kind of girl who drives around with a bunch of weed in her CD holder.
“I’m in big trouble”, she said, “And worse, I was wearing THIS when he pulled me over!” She pointed to her low cut, rhinestone decorated corset, panties, and stockings.
“Yes! The officer said to me, ‘M’am, I noticed you’re not wearing any pants. Where are you coming from?’ And I had to tell him I was coming from work. Then I had to stand outside in the cold like this while they searched my car!”
“That really sucks. I’m so sorry that happened to you.” As she walked away toward the other side of the bar, I added, “Do you mind if I blog about this?”
“Go right ahead”
The moral of the story is that strange things happen to you when you have a job where wearing pants is not a requirement.
Later that same night, I was sitting with a friend of mine at the bar when a dark skinned dancer with long, curly hair approached him and asked for a tip. My friend is a Pilipino gentleman whom we shall call Martin. I’m not sure if Martin is much of an Asian name, but that’s what we’ll call him.
As the lady cocked her head to the side and gave him a sweet smile, Martin took a dollar from his pile and said, “Beautiful dance, Lexxus” as he placed the bill into the strap of her bikini.
I watched the expression on her face go from pleasant to pissed in two seconds flat. “Lexxus? Really?” she exclaimed. “Do I look like Lexxus to you? What, you think all black people look the same?!”
And suddenly a simple mistake was now a racial argument. Martin awkwardly offered her another dollar and an apology. “I’m sorry. And it’s all Asian people who look the same.”
The girl was a good sport in the moment. She poked fun and teased that she was going to start calling him by the name of our Chinese bar back. The two look nothing alike except for the fact that they are both Asian.
Later that night, our Chinese bar back must have gotten busy because we hadn’t seen him in a while. Martin looked around the room and then back at me. “I’d better go check on him. That girl was really mad at me. I hope she didn’t mistake him for me and hurt him.” I laughed a little.
Back in the dressing room, the girl expressed her hurt feelings to me. “He always calls me Lexxus. I tell him every time I see him that’s not my name.”
“It’s not just you” I said. “He does it to everybody.”
“I’m never talking to him again”. She pulled the dollars out of her top and walked away.
This happens a lot. It can’t be easy to remember every single dancer’s name. Marty is famous for mixing up names. It’s so bad that I had to suggest he give up trying. He mixes them all up, and not just the black girls’ names. He was calling a white girl by a Spanish girl’s name earlier that night.
Here’s the thing, though. The black girls get way more offended by name mix-ups than the white girls. For the black girls, it’s insulting because it implies that all black people look the same. We have a set of twins at the club now who are constantly mistaken for one another. They are sisters and have some similarities but one is much taller than the other. They have different facial features and wear much different hairstyles. Emerald is mistaken for her sister, Rose, all the time and gets very upset about it.
“Why does everybody keep calling me Rose? I tell them a thousand times that’s not my name but they keep doing it. It’s like we all look exactly the same to them.”
The girl was clearly upset one night when I pointed out that it’s probably less about race and more about the fact that Emerald has a very large tattoo of a rose on her stomach. She still maintains that it’s about race. I still think it’s about the tattoo.
This happens with white and Spanish girls too, but it’s different. When you call a white girl by another girl’s name, she will picture that person in her mind and decide whether it’s a compliment or not. For example, if you call a white girl by the name of the gorgeous, young, fit new hire, she’ll probably smile, bat her eyes, and tell you that you were mistaken but she didn’t mind. But if you call her by the name of a girl who is fatter or frumpier than she is, all bets are off. I’ve seen plenty of stripper rage over this and you’d better believe that it’s a mighty fine way to end up with Malibu Bay breeze or whipped cream flavored Vodka dumped down your shirt.
So if you’re “not good with names” I suggest you either get a little notebook to write them down or you just stick to, “Beautiful”. You can’t really go wrong with that.