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I was single and not feeling guilty about stripping for the first time in years. I felt good about myself and my life. It’s strange that drugs and alcohol were big players in this freedom.

The club often hired cute, young male techs. I’d heard stories about girls hooking up with these guys on the down low—if a manager or Jim found out, the tech would be fired—but I was always in a relationship. But now, Mama had a brand new bag! I was trying to decide between two new baby techs and I went with the dumber of the two. He was a sweet kid with big blue eyes and ratty dime-store-bottle-black hair. He also had what is still probably one of my top ten all-time favorite dongs. He didn’t really know what to do with it, but I didn’t care. He was fun, and his cock felt good. We carried on for about a month until one lazy shift, I caught eyes with the other tech, Jackson. We started talking, and I discovered that he actually had some depth. He also wasn’t quite as shy as I’d thought.

We started hanging out. It was pretty magical. I felt like a teenager—only this time I was happy. The fact that he was ten years my junior helped in this youthful feeling. He was still living with his mother, for fucks sake! A cool woman from Ireland, she was warm and friendly, although I imagine she wasn’t thrilled that her son was dating a thirty-year-old stripper.

Jackson and I had been seeing each other for a couple months and during an afternoon cocktail in the Mission, I asked him to marry me. He said yes and twenty-four hours later, we were in Vegas. We checked into the Hard Rock Hotel, had a fancy-ass dinner, and followed it with a strip club outing to the Olympic Gardens. It was Christmas Eve, so the action was a little slow. After a couple of drinks, it was time to get hitched. We got into a taxi, but marriage joint after marriage joint was closed. Closed! In Vegas! I hadn’t even considered the possibility. I was leaving for a three-week trip to India in a couple of days, and we really wanted to do this before I left. Our taxi driver was kind and patient, and we finally found a place that was open, the Silver Bell. The nice man at the chapel told us he’d wait for us to get back from the courthouse. Our cabbie took us downtown and back and also signed as our witness.

I got married in jeans and Chuck Taylors. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Jackson was the first man I had been with who not only accepted me for who I was but who also really understood what it was like to be a stripper. He was there in the trenches with us. It was incrdible not being made to feel bad about dancing. Jackson was mature beyond his years. We had a wonderful thing and lots of fun together. I moved to Los Angeles with him in 2001 to give his band a chance to succeed. They were getting some attention, and L.A. was the place to be, so my friend moved into one of the bedrooms in my house in Cole Valley and we moved to Hollywood. I never, ever thought I’d move to L.A., but it turned out to be a great and was a welcome change. I had no idea how much I needed to get out of the city. I was such a San Francisco girl. But with every square inch of the Bay Area home to a hundred memories, it was nice to start with a clean slate. After living in L.A. for about a year, the shine wore off for me, and I asked Jackson to move out. Although he was mature beyond his years, he still didn’t have the life experience and independence that I had. In fact, I supported us financially for most of the relationship. I was happy to do it as I was making more than enough, but as my love haze dissolved, I felt more like his parent and less like an equal. Jackson moved into a studio down the street. I filed and paid for the divorce. Considering we got married on a whim so early on, I thought it was a miracle that we lasted for two-and-a-half years. The break up was much harder on Jackson than it was on me. I was his first real love. We remained friends for years.

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