A couple of years ago, I was in Vegas for a lost weekend. This is one of the many adventures I had:
What’s with the chick hunched over?”
I looked over in the general direction one of my escorts pointed and there was one of the night’s entertainers walking—no pacing—to and fro at the edge of the stage. Her stiletto-enhanced height was easily 6’5 but she wasn’t carrying it proudly. I was impressed she could pace so easily in her skyscraper slippers. I wasn’t impressed with her carriage. Sure, it’s not the usual thing a girl dreams of doing with her life: stripping in a third rate club in Vegas. I wanted to give her a pep talk: “You could do worse: this is better than selling yourself on a street corner; it beats the shit out of slinging fast food, and we all have to shitty jobs from time to time to get by. So straighten yourself up, hold your head up, and be the best stripper. Don’t forget many women exploit and prostitute themselves in a myriad of ways sanctioned by churches and states. Marrying strictly for money is another form of sex work”
Fortunately, my ribald company didn’t allow me to get completely inward and morose; deep and scintillating conversation went something like this:
“Jesus, she’s tall.”
“She’s not any taller than I am, and if I slouch like that. EVER. Kick my ass or something.”
“Is she going for the sexy librarian look?”
Mmmmm more like the pissed off domme.”
“Is that a thing?”
“Aren’t most dommes pissed off as a rule?”
“The idea is to NOT piss off your domme unless…you know…that’s how you like it.”
“I wouldn’t really know, I’m not a kinkster.”
What do you expect? We were three drinks into a long Vegas night; we had already covered the weather; these guys don’t read Austen so discussing the condition of the roads would be lost on them; and our political views were so adverse to one another the only thing that would accomplish was hurt feelings and tears (mine probably). What else was there left to do but deconstruct strippers? And trust me, these strippers were worthy of a sound deconstruction because um…to be perfectly honest they weren’t terribly cute. Or talented.
“What’s up with these chicks? Why aren’t they dancing? That’s fucking Katie Perry, Hell I can dance to that in high heels!”
“Whoa, Laura, so many talents! When’s amateur night?”
“More like Pitiful Old Lady Night if I’m up there.” I continued with my incredulous tirade, “All they are doing is undulating against the pole and rolling around the floor. Is it me or is this incredibly boring?” Shit, I hope they are more interesting in bed. Was my unspoken end thought as I sucked back on my spendy rotgut bourbon and coke.
Sure they were young, beautiful and well rounded in some cases. Fortunately, most of them were newbs and hadn’t started enhancing their breasts so we had the benefit of the real thing. A few of the dancers made regrettable decisions in regards to size and shape. They looked like victims of Boobs R US or Joe Bob’s Big Box Boob Shop leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind silicone or saline bags were involved. Too bad none of them had well thought out augmentation. Like the woman I ogled on a Mexican beach a few weeks before. Her surgical enhancement was a thing of beauty and art. It was to weep how perfect her breasts were. Completely straight women were praising them. The only reason I knew they weren’t completely her own was because NO ONE on this planet has natural breasts that perfect. I wanted to run up to the man sitting next to her; slip him a $500 peso note and a tearful thanks for making the world a more beautiful place for everyone.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of this woman and her restraint as I watched these hapless young women prance, kneel, arch, and practice pole moves completely oblivious to the beat of the music; their breasts completely oblivious to gravity. What ever happened to strutting to music; slowly peeling off your clothing one item at a time; giving a little shimmy here and there? Hell, Natalie Wood taking off a single glove was sexier than the high-heeled groveling I witnessed that night in Vegas. The artlessness of it all perplexed me and because I’m naturally curious I had to pose the question:
“So it’s been a few years since I’ve been to a strip club in the states. Do they not dance anymore? Is the whole swinging around a pool and inching across the floor considered entertaining?” My question was met with shrugs and monosyllabic declines of going to these places much. (liars)
“Whaddya mean ‘in the states’? Do you make it a habit to go to strip joints when you travel.” Oh my goodness, who knew my buddy was so prim but he was—literally—suffering through this outing after my insistence I needed to “experience” a strip club in Vegas. I think that like mega casino resorts, strip joints are such a Vegas thing. I wanted to do “Vegas Things” that weekend. The seedier, the better.
“Maybe, maybe not.” I winked at him and silently admonished him. Don’t you read my blog? Duh, we went to the world’s most innocent strip joint in Mexico last year!
After the third dancer, I gave up even feigning interest and was chatting up my escorts. Even their booyah conversations about guns was more interesting than the barely legal women not bothering to dance and succumbing to sudden and highly random butt seizures called the Harlem Shakes. But we all jerked our heads to the stage when the announcer blared in his–suspiciously ironic sounding—unctuous radio voice “Let’s hear it for Nikki* and the twins!” Instinctively, we knew this was Our Lady of the Slouchy Disposition. I swiveled my chair so quickly there was a breeze.
Nikki climbed the steps slowly, using an enviable super model walk featuring one foot carefully placed directly in front of the other. She beamed curt and cutting glares into the audience. She paced the stage as the—again danceable—music throbbed around her. She was covered from neck to crotch in a semi-transparent fishnet body suit sort of thing with the tiniest skirt covering her nether region. Everything was left to the imagination, everything, that is, but her surly distain. That was telegraphed via her sharp but beautiful Slavic looking face. Her features were all prominent: pointed nose, wide voluptuous mouth, heavy brow, and menacing eyes semi-hidden behind slender decidedly European framed glasses. I was to be diminished by her glower. How dare I enjoy myself. How dare I enjoy the ludicrous presentation on the stage. How. Dare. I. Enjoy. Anything. Ever.
Nikki the Nihilistic Stripper.
Does every club have one? You know like the the bad school girls, naughty nurses (GAH don’t get me started), French maids, sexy librarian? Is Nihilism a new fetish? Has the stripper world turned towards philosophy for new fetishes to form new routines? Are the twins a counterpoint symbol for the futility of dualism in a lost world?
She dared us to look at her as she skulked from one side of the stage to another. I wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be immolating a caged animal, or impatient mistress as she bisected the stage with her impossibly tall shoes. Nikki was a tricky thing when she attempted to fool us with a light-hearted one handed, single footed twirl around the pole; lulling us to recall carefree childhood innocence. But then she reminded us who we were.
Who she is.
And that we sat in the middle of a dingy dark room the very symbol of the Universe.
After her twirl around the pole, she stood in front of the pole, her back pressing into it; slowing sliding up and down with perhaps the most half-assed wiggled I had witnessed. It looked more like a bear scratching her back on a tree than “sexy time”. Her chin proudly held high (finally, some self respect, thank YOU Nikki) as she looked over the audience, daring us to look her in the eye or in the chest. This was the big reveal.
But she didn’t coyly scoot the shoulders of her fishnet top down her arms; nor did she tantalize us with a peek at a nipple. Oh no, Nikki dared us to look at her breasts as they flopped out of the top of her leotard in a defiant purge of mammary glands. I could hear her interior dialogue as she stood there slowly looking over the crowd, that generous mouth pursed in a line; her pendulous and very real old lady-ish breasts lolling on her slender torso: “Stupid people, is this all you have to do? Look at my breasts. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHY ARE YOU HERE? WHY DO ANY OF US EXIST? IT. IS. ALL. SO. POINTLESS. THIS THING CALLED BEING. IT IS NOTHINGNESS. IT IS ALL NOTHINGNESS.”
Poor Nikki, I don’t think she meant for me to laugh at her existential angst. I think I was supposed to be a little shivery and turned on by her anger and defiance. I think I was supposed to feel challenged by her ire. Challenged by the sheer power and largesse of “the twins”. Challenged. The only challenge I felt was to not make an ass out of myself guffawing with laughter. I just hope she doesn’t quit her day job at the library or in the philosophy department at UNLV because she wasn’t too great at the whole “exotic dancer” gig.
*I changed her name, it’s the least I could do. A few years ago, I would have been alarmed by her distain for the audience and spun a story of subjugation, exploitation, with a dash of white slavery and human trafficking on the side. But this young woman was nobody’s fool. Best of luck to you “Nikki”.