NEAR THE END OF MY STRIPPING CAREER

I’m still dancing. Not much of a surprise. No one has knocked on my door and offered me a position as a famous artist. A little over forty with no real end in sight. In fact, looks like I’m going to check out a few strip clubs in Dallas, Texas soon. Everything has been peachy at The Bare and then a week ago, the new owner and general manager come in and bust heads. The owner was in an extra special mood, so I knew when Shawn, my manager, said that he needed to talk to me in the smoking area, it couldn’t be good. My Friday night shift was just about to begin. I have a good rapport with this manager, which is lucky, because he was about to drop a bomb.

“So, you know you’ve gained weight since you started. We’re gonna need you to lose a little and in the meantime, you won’t be able to work weekend nights.”

Tears immediately came to my eyes “Why would you tell me this at the beginning of my shift? Why couldn’t it have waited till 4 a.m.?”

“Sorry, it’s not up to me. Listen, I love you and think that you are crazy sexy, but that’s how it is.” He continued as I fought back the tears and fanned my face, “Look, I’ve gained weight too, lord knows I need to hit the gym, we’re just at the age now.”

I

was in such a good mood five minutes ago, now I want to spontaneously combust. “Ok, honey. I get it. I’ll lose some weight. I just need a minute to myself.”

Hence, fuck off and die and take the owner with you! That short, fat fuck who has to pay for sex. I was hurt, but mostly it was a timing issue. Work is hard enough and especially a long-ass Friday night, no one needs their confidence knocked down like that before the night even starts. How am I supposed to make money now?!

I stood in the corner of the small outside smoking patio and wondered how I was ever going to make it through the night. Try being sexy and flirty after that shit. I realize that I’m in the business of looks, but this is the first time they’ve ever said anything like this to me. It was pretty devastating. I knew that I would have to put it on the back burner, not talk about it, because I would immediately turn into a crying mess. Me, miss open book, not tell my friends about what just happened? Yeah, right. I pulled it together and went back to the dressing room, and took a huge swig of burning vodka. My make-up was unhappy. Deeps breaths and self-motivating mantra on repeat. Toggled with, I hate my fucking life.

In an effort to stay out of the dressing room—hence not spilling the beans—I headed to the bathroom. On the way, I ran into a friend and told her. It only took me all of eight minutes to vomit the story. Dumb. Tears. She followed me into the bathroom. I never cry at work, she looked extra concerned, knowing that something must be seriously wrong. She had the appropriate stunned response when I told her. Followed by lots of, you’re not remotely fat. I really doubted I could pull it together enough in order to work, so I sat on the toilet and text Cargo Pants.

“I know you hate weekend nights and especially if the owner is here, but if you can come in, I really need you. Please bring tequila and a lobotomy.”

He came about an hour later. Thank God. He saved my night. Cut to 4:17 a.m. and I had the highest dance count. Of fucking course.

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