Body Fantasies Vanilla Fantasy: Smells like a Chips Ahoy, or any of the other brands of cardboardy store-bought chocolate chip cookies that come in a package. Serves its purpose, but there are better versions of this out there. Such as…
Body Fantasies Iced Cupcake Fantasy: Warm and creamy where plain old Vanilla Fantasy is hard and stale, this one smells like gobs of butter and sugar that you just want to smear all over your face and maybe your best friend, too. Tacky and overly sweet, but infinitely charming. Exactly the kind of thing that goes over big in the strip club.
Body Fantasies Cotton Candy Fantasy: Lord have mercy. My best friend in high school used to wear this stuff. Actually, she’d chase me around with it, threatening to spray it on my person until I was all but crying. I wasn’t kidding when I told her that it was awful, and I haven’t changed my mind since then, either. Trying to be slightly more objective, I gave it another sniff. Well, it lives up to its name. Cotton candy. Pink. Sticky. Rots your teeth. I like cotton candy, but this stuff is foul.
Body Fantasies Sexiest Musk Fantasy: Well, I’ll be ding-dong-damned if this isn’t the poor man’s Musc Ravageur. More gooey cinnamon bun than sweaty armpit, this scent combines the best things about a gourmand fragrance and a more straight-up skin musk note and comes out with what might be the ultimate stripper pussy spray known to man. It is sexy indeed, as well as sweet and hot and dirty and all the other adjectives channeled by those bad bitches who might as well give out the champagne room as their mailing address. If only I’d known then what I know now, I’d have been all over this one.
Coty Wild Musk Deodorizing Body Spray: I couldn’t find a proper link to it online, but this stuff is often sold in the big cardboard displays in drugstores with all of the other deodorizing body sprays. I don’t know how helpful that is, but I swear it exists. And it’s the best thing possible for eliciting that, “I like you because you smell like a woman” reaction. It doesn’t matter how thoroughly you drench yourself in this stuff, because it doesn’t smell like a traditional perfume. It smells like warm skin, Flex balsam and protein shampoo, and good times, baby, good times.
Bath and Body Works Hello Sugar!: Probably the only body spray I’ve ever bought post-stripping, this one is a cheaper version of Laura Mercier’s wildly popular Tarte au Citron fragrance. It’s the same buttery sugary cupcakey deal rendered in Iced Cupcake Fantasy, but with the addition of big old tart lemon note. Smells like a lickable birthday cake and like any good pussy spray, sticks to you all day. The only downside of this one is a poorly designed square-shaped bottle that, while cute, is hard to get a good grip on while you’re spraying it.
Bath and Body Works Velvet Tuberose: This is a ripe, tropical floral that smells a lot more expensive than it actually is. It doesn’t have the bizarre rubber-and-bad-butter quality of a true tuberose, but is rather a jasminey floral bouquet backed up by a nice dose of musk and some assorted woody accords. But true floral scents, I’ve found, are tricky in the strip club. They smell too much like other people’s wives to create that aura of exotic comfort that strippers rely on to weave their magic. Wear it, but save it for the boyfriend at home.
Victoria’s Secret Lovespell: The original pussy spray! If you have worked in a strip club, chances are the inside of your lungs have already been coated in this fruity-sweet concoction more than once (or no matter how quickly you moved out of its way). It’s grapefruit and berries, as far as I can tell, and it smells like stripper. I could theorize all day on why this is the pussy spray of choice for so many ladies of the pole, but probably this scent is so popular because it is perfectly inoffensive. It’s too tart to be cloying, too juicy to be sour, and too reminiscent of a fruit cocktail to be threatening. Fits in perfectly with my theory that Victoria’s Secret is the largest mass-market stripper store in the country.
Strip clubs do not smell good; I don’t care how nice they are. They smell like smoke and beer and bad breath and old carpets and body odor and the dusty smell of fog machines and the unmistakable auto-shop tang of the metal poles. Strippers, on the other hand, are supposed to smell good. But taking a shower is not really enough. Nor is dabbing a demure little drop of something expensive behind either ear. To cut through the thick haze of strip club funk, a stripper has to go on the offensive. The sweat and adrenaline of a job well done in the strip club are no joke, the kind of thing that the advertising team behind Secret deodorant’s “made for a man, but P.h. balanced for a woman” campaign could have used as an example. Only you’re not just supposed to smell acceptable. You’re supposed to smell like an expensive hobby or guilty pleasure. A new friend once asked me shyly how strippers got their hair to smell so good. I almost said, “pussy spray,” but caught myself.
“Body spray. Multiple applications of it. The cheap stuff. It cuts right through everything.”
I know that I used to give myself a good dousing. Back at Club Wizzards, where it was called “pussy spray” for reasons that remained elusive to me for far longer than they should have, I’d see girls standing off to one side of the room and spraying every single inch of their bodies with the stuff. I’d always heard that men didn’t like perfume, so I was careful with it at first. But after a few weeks, I caught on. I’d take whatever outfit I was planning on wearing and lay it out on the dressing room table and spray that down. Then I’d flip my head over and spritz a good three or four sprays through my hair. Then I’d do a walk-through. I’d do it all over again several times a night; every time I changed outfits.
These are the ones I used, over the course of my career, in chronological order:
Healing Gardens Lavender Bath Therapy: This one was the first, the one I bought after my first week of day shifts at Club Wizzards, the one I bought after I realized that not only was I coming back the next day, but the day after that, too. It was, like the rest of the gear I picked up during the earliest days of my G-string career, a totally misguided purchase. See, this smells like beautiful seashell-shaped grandma guest soap, with the kind of herbal astringency that makes sure you know that it is meant to be clean. I used up a whole bottle. “You smell so good,” guys would murmur into my neck. I took this personally because I didn’t know yet that they always say that, no matter what.
Bath and Body Works Cotton Blossom: This was the second bottle of pussy spray I went through at the Wizz. My obsession with squeaky-cleanliness had yet to ease up, and this was another soapy little girl-next-door number. It smells like fabric softener and warm sun and a little bit of musky skin. It was a sleeper hit with the other girls. They were always trying to nuzzle up on me after I put it on. After I’d used it up, they fought over who got to buy it for themselves after me, because we didn’t fuck around on another girl’s body spray flavor like that at this club.
Bath and Body Works Coco Cabana: My man up in the DJ booth hated the shit out of this one. “You smell like flowers,” he would tell me, glowering at me beneath a furrowed brow. “I don’t know what this is, but I don’t like it.” It was definitely a departure from my usual fragrance style and truth be told, kind of nasty: pina colada mixed with cocoa butter. Thick, unctuous, and undeniably tropical. I liked the smell of it, but wearing it was akin to being bodysnatched. If asked, I will deny, deny, deny that I stopped wearing Coco Cabana because a man didn’t like it. I stopped wearing it because he was right, it wasn’t how I was meant to smell.
Blue Q Miso Pretty: I picked this stuff up right after I made the transition from Wizzards to Cheerleaders and was trying to class up my game a little. This costs like twelve bucks instead of seven, you get it at Urban Outfitters, and it smells like peonies, fresh cut grass, and a delicate aquatic note. Lovely for a twelve year-old or a boardwalk date, but it didn’t really cut it in the strip club. Meaning: it wasn’t strong enough. It didn’t cut through the smoke in my hair or the musty, metallic smell that clung to my dance outfits after they’d been in my dance bag for a few shifts. I think I ended up leaving this somewhere before I’d used all of it up. I switched to Dior’s Hypnotic Poison after that, and that one is most of what I remember about Cheerleaders.
Bath and Body Works Night Blooming Jasmine: This one smells almost like a proper perfume, floral notes of lilac and jasmine balanced out against fresh, powdery underpinnings. But since it’s from Bath and Body Works, it packs the same weird fruity-alcoholic punch that all of their body sprays do. I’m convinced that whatever the thing is in body sprays that make them all smell like that is the magic ingredient that makes them so thoroughly effective at masking the permeating funk of strip clubs everywhere. But since the notes in Night Blooming Jasmine are not in and of themselves cloying fruity-weird ones, the fruity-weird body spray hallmark served mostly as an anchor. The house mom at the Crazy Horse was enamored with this one and I would spray a mist of it for her to walk through every time she saw me use it. I was mostly into “real” perfume by then, but I remember that this one tempted me back into pussy spray territory.
I’ve been sniffing around at the body spray display in my local drugstore a lot lately. This might have to be a mini-series.
“What drives me insane is the twofold nature of this nymphet–of every nymphet, perhaps; this mixture in my Lolita of tender dreamy childishness and a kind of eerie vulgarity, stemming from the snub-nosed cuteness of ads and magazine pictures, from the blurry pinkness of adolescent maidservants in the Old Country (smelling of crushed daisies and sweat); and from very young harlots disguised as children in provincial brothels; and then again, all this gets mixed up with the exquisite stainless tenderness seeping through the musk and the mud, through the dirt and the death, oh God, oh God.”
–Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
The fastest track toward the most titillating kind of filth often lies in the age-old device of draping it in some universal concept of innocence. This is by no means a plot unfamiliar to us, and we no longer judge ourselves for the feeling of satisfaction derived from an old theme soundly realized even as we are horrified by this innocence’s inevitable corruption. Nabokov’s Lolita is the kind of deliciously despicable novel that gives (and really, should give) responsible adults the sick willies even as they find themselves unable to stop turning the pages. Humbert Humbert, a grown man of worldliness and intelligence, is fixated on the pubescent Lolita to a degree that, while undoubtedly gross, also has the kind of idealistic luminescence that mirrors what adults find charming about children. This makes it very difficult not to sympathize with his character, even as he commits the sorts of crimes that if revealed in real life would result in public outrage. At the novel’s end, we must reassess whether the loss of innocence is perhaps a necessary part of growing up–a part which the seducer, lost in his obsessive dreamworld, has somehow not completed himself. I know that by the end of the book, I inevitably feel sorrier for the ruined Humbert Humbert than the compromised but seemingly well-adjusted adult Lolita.
Perhaps the most fascinating and disgusting part of Humbert Humbert’s inappropriate attraction to his nymphet is his certainty that it has been specifically engineered by her for the purpose of attracting him. To read this book as a grown woman is a leap of faith–I am sure there are few of us out there who have not been around enough men to understand that they all think like that, criminal or Eagle Scout. The point of the book–which is that it takes a special kind of perv to act on this secret everyman certainty with a thirteen year old–is not lost on me. However, the loving detail with which Humbert Humbert recalls every offhand gesture of his Lolita’s as a sexual overture intended for him resonates right between the bones of sorest misunderstanding between women and men. To read Lolita as a woman is to realize all over again that dreadful sense of recognition the first time you heard that boys didn’t really want to be your friend. You don’t really have to be thirteen or dating a pedophile to feel threatened by this.
Scratch what I said earlier about feeling sorry for Humbert Humbert: after completing this novel, I felt far sorrier for myself than any of the characters involved. The whole idea that women are still seen (by men) as passive in their relations with men even while participating in them is scary, upsetting, and completely paralyzing if you, you know, care. It forces you into making an unfair and distasteful choice: rejecting entirely this idea of yourself as some kind of zoo exhibit to be observed and judged and therefore finding yourself constantly misunderstanding and misunderstood by men, or manipulating it to your own advantage, which involves a certain degree of both acceptance and pandering.
On a good day, a safe day, the kind where the men in your life are loving and familiar and supportive, the idea of making this choice seems ludicrous, like something only a desperate woman would even consider. It doesn’t take much to flip a safe day, though. There will be some guy in the park, some offhand comment from a boyfriend about another woman, some line on a TV show, some book like Lolita, some reminder of the way some men really do see women, at least sometimes, perhaps on unsafe days of their own. And in either desperation or a kind of cold-blooded rationality, you will find yourself wondering whether to shave your head entirely or put your hair into some cutesy pigtails. To snarl at the inevitable catcall or to smile. To demand more or trick yourself somehow into needing less. None of this will be what you actually want for yourself. It will be purely defensive. When you realize what you have been doing, it will seem far more humane for a car to come barreling out of a convenient plot device and run you over than to untangle all of this into something you can actually live with. Meanwhile, part of you is still thinking, “poor guy. I make his life so hard.”
I thought I was making peace with this conundrum when I worked in strip clubs. The idea of pandering to an idea of what men wanted from women was comfortable when I knew what I was doing and why I was doing it. Before I danced, the male gaze often just seemed inappropriately omnipresent and malignant, something I begrudgingly had to take into consideration while trying to live my life. In the strip club, it was just cut-and-dry commodity. And I felt a hell of a lot safer pandering than rejecting. It is a perfect temporary solution to feeling unsafe. But wait for the resentment to build up. Wait until you see yourself turn into some angry bitch who really isn’t satisfied with anything. Then comes the part where you realize and try to blame yourself for even that in hopes that with claiming responsibility, it will go away. Watch it persist anyway until you find yourself in the middle of a conversation with a man where you are trying to get what you want and he is being resistant and you are getting frustrated and then you look up at him and can see that he’s trying to be on your side, lizard brain and all. He wants the same basic thing Humbert Humbert wanted from Lolita, which is for you to hang out with him so that he can watch you be you up close for awhile, in peace and quiet, but he wants this badly enough to work out the rest of it. After all the shit you’ve been through, thinking about this stuff, this will be simple enough to make you want to scream.
But here’s the point: you’re not Lolita. You’re a good fifteen years away from that, making his interest in you fully legal, mature, normal, and therefore something you should also be able to deal with as an adult. And considering that you’d been identifying with a thirteen year old this whole time, isn’t it maybe time to rewrite yourself out of the one about The Hapless Dude and His Object and into something that suits you a little better?
“Watch later tonight. When the lights go on, they scatter like cockroaches.” I shiver at the way PJ draws out the syllables in that last word. From my vantage point in the raised DJ booth, I can see how it might be an appropriate metaphor. I think of the sick feeling it used to give me in my old apartment when I woke up in the middle of the night for a glass of water and turned on the light only to see what seemed like hundreds of the scaly vermin waddling their fat stoic little bodies across the countertop, the oven range, the floor, and disappear. A righteous human disgust made unpleasant only by the accompanying suck of terror at catching what hides in the corners in the act of not caring about you. Then I think of the moment in the nights when the lights switch on, exposing pores, smeared makeup, stretch marks, basic imperfections that the black-lit darkness smooths and sculpts into the impossible aquarium perfection found only in subterranean places. The way we all walk in those ridiculous stilt-like shoes, like our hips are disjointed from the rest of our bodies; the way that might look if someone were doing it fast; scurrying for a safe crack to hide from the light.
“This never stops being surreal. It doesn’t matter how long you stay. I know you’ll try to intellectualize the whole thing, it’s how you are, but you won’t be able to. There is no rationale for any of it. It’ll always keep moving out from under you.” He spreads his hands out, palms down, in the direction of the stage, where legs and hair sway, gentle as seaweed, accompanied by the grinding guitars of Marilyn Manson’s “Dope Show.” He looks at me. I look at him. I don’t know what I’m thinking; it’s all visceral recognition, the kind you get when someone makes it impossible for you to write them off.
“Okay, I think this has gone on a little too long; people might catch on,” he says and I’m surprised, although he’s probably right. I don’t want to leave. I also don’t want to be having this conversation with him here. Something about standing in the DJ booth at a strip club, dressed in wisps of glow-in-the-dark violet leopard print and struggling to connect with someone in a healthy, humanish manner strikes me as both absurd and some less weighty synonym for tragic. “Oh, am I being dismissed?” I ask.
“You and the vocabulary words,” he says, laughing.
“Well. Thanks for the dialogue,” I say, and he smiles. I leave and retreat into the dressing room, feeling my little tendrils of feeling retreat back into the flesh armor I use to keep everyone else here off the important stuff.
“No, you come to the club where I work tonight. It’s so slow and I miss you. I need you start driving your car here right now, okay?” I’ve never seen her here before tonight, but her name is Genie and her high-pitched, strident voice is every imaginable stereotype of an asian girl talking loudly in public on her cell phone, complete with switched L and R consonants. I’m back in the dressing room alternately brushing my hair and staring at the wall. There are a bunch of us back there doing more or less the same thing: Alexis, Kiki, Keisha, and Sincere. Slow, boring Friday night. Having been dismissed from PJ duty, I have nothing better to do, but now I’m glad for it. “You come to the club right now? What you mean you can’t? You get in your car and drive here.” Then Genie’s voice picks up an added register of low-grade menace: “Oh, you little fucker! You fucker! This is good cookie, mister, good cookie, and you don’t even know what you getting, dumbass!”
Alexis catches my eye in the mirror. We raise our eyebrows at each other. “Is she for real?” Alexis mouths. I nod at her like, I think so. When I look over at Keisha, she’s smiling into her eyeshadow palette. Kiki’s got a hand to her forehead and the strained expression of someone holding on to their composure by a thread. Only Sincere is doing a good job of pretending she’s not listening to this, but she probably actually isn‘t.
“Look, dumbass, what I tell you when I meet you and you don’t know how to do pussy-eating? I tell you I show you how and you do pussy-eating okay now. I teach you fucking, before you don’t even know. You get another heart attack now I take away this good cookie. You fat and bald and you already have one heart attack. I give you another one, fucker!” I can’t help it, I start laughing out loud and can’t stop. Alexis plasters both hands over her mouth, shoulders shaking helplessly. Sincere looks up from an In Touch magazine and her eyes go wide. That pushes all of us over the edge. We are howling like monkeys.
“I may be stripper but I am no stupid. The pussy, it come with me when I leave you sorry fat bald ass, fucker. I know things. I know about art. That was my ex who sell that painting at garage sale, dumbass. He don’t know what it was, he don’t know who I am. And I need sewing machine. Go to Wal-Mart and get sewing machine for me, sewing machine’s cheap. I gave that one to my teacher. She had no sewing machine so I have her borrow. Dumbass, just go to Wal-Mart! Not like sewing machine going to break your house!”
“Oh my God,” Alexis yelps between spasms of laughter. Kiki puts her head down on the counter, moaning. I can hardly breathe and my stomach hurts and it feels good, like something I needed tonight.
“What are you thinking about?” asked PJ. I was looking at his three gray eyelashes and mentally turning them into something far more profound than they actually were.
“Just looking.” Pause. “What are you thinking about?”
He bent down and kissed my left nipple so cinematically I was sure he knew I was watching this and thinking it was beautiful. “Okay, I’m leaving in five minutes. Unless you want to kick me out now,” he said.
“I think I like the company,” I said, burying my face in the pillow. I stretched out next to him and he spooned me, head on my shoulder, hand artfully arranged around my waist. It felt so good I toyed with the idea of kicking him out right then, before I had the dangerous chance to get used to it. I listened to him breathe for awhile, feeling my heartbeat slow down and my thoughts fade out into a lulling static.
“All right, I have to get out of here,” he said. “Places to see, people to do.”
Yuck, I thought. He got up and put his shirt on. I turned my face to the wall. “Are you letting me out or am I letting myself out?” I got up and put a big shirt on over my underwear, and we walked out of my apartment, down the stairs, half-blinded in the hazy morning sun. I wasn’t ready for it to be morning yet. On the doorstep, my half-naked self half-obscured by the door, we kissed. PJ smiled at me. I smiled back. “See you next week?” he asked and I nodded. I shut the door right as he was looking back to see if I was watching him go. I slitted my eyes against the hollow darkness of the hallway.
“This is good cookie, mister,” I whispered to myself as I walked back up the stairs.
Well, boys and girls, I’m back on the pole. Not everyone, it seems, is cut out for waiting tables, myself among them. I was in the tight spot of having quit a perfectly viable job that I hated a month and a half before an already-planned trip to Europe for the holidays. And a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and this particular girl has a rather long and ornate history of doing just that.
I probably could have gone back to my last club, but the idea of looking whoever had to clean out my disgusting locker after I left in the eye was almost as unappealing as the idea of going back to the place that had finally burned me out. I’d been drunk and miserable at the Crazy Horse, and even the comparatively professional environment and potential to make a huge pile of hundreds without trying very hard were not enough to coax me into turning it around. Plus, I didn’t feel like seeing anyone I knew or answering any questions or facing up to any bad behavior I may have indulged in while drunk, miserable, and at the end of my rope. The idea was to find somewhere divey, get in, make some cash, get back out again, and go to Europe. I mean, that’s still the idea.
The place I ended up consists of one small room with a bar, a two-pole stage up against the back wall, and rows of tables and chairs set up facing the stage. This arrangement lends the place the not unpleasant vibe of an impromptu dirty movie theater set up in the basement of some other, more respectable establishment. The dressing room is downstairs, through a maze of cement-floored hallways. The floor is covered with scrap carpeting and there are a few unframed mirrors propped up along the walls, next to the lockers. On rainy days, one of the walls leaks rather spectacularly, calling to mind a Japanese water sculpture as it trickles through a hole in the wall onto a pile of construction scraps. My new club will not win any hospitality design awards, but it’s serviceable enough for my purposes. Divey strip clubs just make more sense to me than leopard-carpeted pretensions of luxury. Is the entire industry not built around an uncomplicated promise of boozy, slummy titillation?
Besides, the grit and grime are a necessary prop for me to do what I’ve come to think of as my thing. My blonde pageboy and proper English are as kinkily freakish in this setting as a long furry tail, turning my lapdances into magical souvenirs from the kind of place where some nice normal girl you might see in the supermarket or a bookstore will fall into your lap for the bargain price of all of your money. I play this up with minimal makeup, demure lingerie, and the unexpected four-syllable word. Lots of strippers do this, and do it really well. But at this club, I pretty much have the monopoly on this schtick. My first week back on the pole, unlike my entire stint as a waitress, has been full of all the attendant triumph of doing something one is good at. And I find myself profoundly grateful that I am still capable of not only stripping, but finding again the place where it is a powerful expression of myself in my element, full of all the crazy fuck-you sensual exuberance I was taught to keep under my shirt like a good girl.
The hardest thing about stripping, for my lazy ass, is that it’s completely chaotic. You show up when you want, or not, you only have a boss in the loosest possible sense of the word, and if you feel like sitting around getting drunk and not making a penny all night, no one’s even going to helpfully suggest that this behavior might be counterintuitive. I fell into the bad habit at my last stripping job of living wad-of-cash to wad-of-cash, going into work only when I was down to my last ten bucks in the world and then panicking when the money wasn’t coming in as easily as I would have liked. This time around, I needed a plan, an incentive, a system. First of all, I made a schedule that I’ve promised myself to stick to even when I am fully aware that nothing will happen if I don’t. Secondly, I bought myself a bottle of L’Occitane Eau de Miel and hid it in my locker so I can’t even get at it unless I’m working.
This has been working out well so far because the lighthearted lilac-honeysuckle-beeswax tease of Eau de Miel is something I fell in love with recently enough for its absence in my perfume cabinet to feel like a genuine loss. It’s amusing to me that I’ve become so proficient at bait-and-switch that I can even do it to myself, but Eau de Miel has proven itself quite the bait, enough to get me into work. Another unlikely point in Eau de Miel’s water-based favor is its fleetingness, something that would be a problem if I were not wearing it in a setting where skin proximity is of inevitable importance. But most importantly, Eau de Miel conjures up an olfactory springscape of hazy light filtered through treetops, virginal laughter, and bees buzzing drunkenly through an open bar of newly-opened blossoms. It’s far more maypole than stripper pole, which works in perfect harmony with my carefree college nymph alter-ego as well as reminding me not to take myself or my job so seriously. Eau de Miel is, for me, is about fun, not sex. But try to tell that to all the random men I’ve heard shamelessly snuffling at my neck during the dozens of lapdances I’ve performed in the past week. I suppose that could be, as most things are, more about context than content.
In response to a gentle, manicured tap from the luscious and wily River City Kitty, this is a list of all the strip clubs in which I have ever shaken it for money. My list is not particularly long or impressive, but I’m glad to participate anyway. To keep this from being a five-sentence blog entry, I’ll add a brief description of these clubs as well as their names. In chronological order:
Club Wizzards, Philadelphia PA
“Every woman has a price,” my old manager Eddy used to say. “Just make sure yours isn’t forty bucks.” Certainly words to live by. The woman who hired me was named Vanity and told me at my audition that I had a really fat pussy. This was almost enough to traumatize me into never going back, but when I spun around the pole for the first time, the entire room lit up with neon lightning that zigzagged across the ceiling on a time-release so that it looked like real lightning. I had a torrid affair with the DJ. Left after almost exactly a year.
Club Diamonds, Charleston SC
I worked here for about a month while trying to avoid the Philadelphia winter during my first year of dancing. What I remember best is that there was a long, rickety metal stairway that was seriously, at some parts, held together with duct tape. Once an hour, “Girls Girls Girls” would start playing and no matter what we were doing, every girl in the place would have to run to the dressing room in order to descend from this long, steep, and terrifying staircase onto the stage. Then we handed out T-shirts and gave 2-4-1 table dances. The trashy factor was counterbalanced by the generosity of the patrons, many of them visiting South Carolina’s golf resorts on company trips. I drink Cristal for the first and only time in the Club Diamonds champagne room. Then a girl named Paris licked some off my boobs. I love the South.
Cheerleaders, Philadelphia PA
I was always sure to launder any hundred dollar bills I got from this place at the convenience store across the street before trying to deposit them at a bank. The management gave us fluffy pink bathrobes for Christmas. And the DJ gifted me with the charming and eloquent soubriquet of “Shady Sadie: The Girl With the Checkered Past.” I learned everything I never wanted to know about football at Cheerleaders and successfully stayed out of the weekly wet T-shirt contest for the entire season, a feat accomplished through no small amount of effort on my part. I stayed here for about another year, maybe a little more.
Delilah’s Den, Absecon NJ
I worked here for a night with my friend Tracey. We wore bikinis under our gowns, which I thought was kind of weird. The lap dances were all performed a foot away from the customer. Slut that I am, I couldn’t, at least in the four hours I was there, figure out how to make money this way, so I gave up and drank shots of Sambuca at the bar with a guy who I still remember was the head waiter at a BYOB in Cape May. Jersey wanted nothing to do with me, pretty much.
Crazy Horse Too, Philadelphia PA
This is the place where all my stripper gear is possibly to this day still hanging in my possibly still-locked locker. When the club was crowded, the money was obscene. The men were rich and easy. The girls were barracudas, and I mean that as a compliment. The bosses were from Vegas and so mobbed up it was leaking out of their eyeballs. Unfortunately, the club was not always busy enough to turn it into the stripper’s paradise that it could be on “on” nights and I was reaching the end of my rope as far as stripping went. This was the last club I worked at, and I lasted about eight months. When I quit, I lived off my last night of work for almost two months. The club has since been sold to Rick’s, and I have no idea how that affected anyone because I removed myself pretty thoroughly from that particular loop.
Filed under: Perfume, strippers | Tags: Dior, Hypnotic Poison, Jessica Rabbit
Christian Dior’s Hypnotic Poison is the kind of scent I can’t help but kind of love even while every fiber of my being screams out that it is wrong, bad, and evil. It’s sort of an olfactory composite of everything women’s magazines tell you that men like turned up another 10 notches until it becomes this scarily effective fem-bot on a rampage to steal your boyfriend.
Bitter almond, jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood are blended here to create a high-pitched shriek that is part rootbeer float, part lapdance, and all it’s own phenomenon. No particular note sticks out to me, rather, it’s the sum total of its parts working together to create a distinct and unforgettable effect. It’s not a rootbeer float and a lapdance, rather it’s a seductive pull on the straw stuck in a rootbeer float while performing a lapdance. It’s a mean-spirited comedy sketch about frumpy suburban women so desperate for a man that they dab vanilla extract behind their ears after reading about it in Cosmo, performed by a twenty-two year old Russian supermodel in a spangled garter belt. Hypnotic Poison’s genius lies in its cruel sense of humor. Hating it is beside the point. It’s a lot more likely to make you hate yourself.
Part and parcel of Hypnotic Poison’s “funny” little joke is the way it sticks around literally days after you’ve put it on. While most perfumes seek to avoid offending, Hypnotic Poison courts it. Spray it on your clothing? Well… remember that roommate you used to have who was hotter, skinnier, better with boys, and smarter than you to boot used to like to borrow your shirts sometimes and you’d end up letting her keep it because it looked so much better on her than you? It’ll be kind of like that. If this stuff gets on your clothes, it will own them.
Wearing a fragrance like this one requires a lot of guts. You can’t be afraid that it smells too strong, or that its distinctiveness is off-putting to others in your proximity. You need to make up your mind about Hypnotic Poison before spraying it on, because if you haven’t, you’ll spend the next week feeling self-conscious and writing apologetic emails.
Christian Dior is one of my favorite fragrance lines for this reason. No pussyfooting around. They’re an entire line of love-em-or-leave-em’s that stick around long after their welcome is worn out and you would like to move on to something subtler, tamer, and more appropriate for the office or the boyfriend’s parents. They have a new one called “Midnight Poison” coming out sometime this year that apparently makes good use of patchouli. I can’t wait.