Adventures--or a lack thereof--at a strip club on a midweek afternoon

I walked halfway into a bathroom stall at a local titty bar, then right back out again, the toilet clogged with paper, pee, cigarette butts and a Styrofoam cup. The other stall seemed all right. On the way out, I was met by a gorgeous Amazon sporting a major buzz.

Her name was "Brandi," well really, Elizabeth. Dancers in titty bars, unless unfortunate enough to have actually been named Misty, Candy or Doe, don't use their real names with strangers. But Liz was traveling at warp speed. Within seconds, we were way past strangers and on to best friends.

"I'd never sit on those," she said, tilting her head, leaning against the mirror. "You could catch anything." This from a girl I'd watched an hour or so ago rub her scantily clad cuchie up and down a dance pole.

She was relieved on my behalf when I assured her I hadn't sat on the toilet seat. Her pinball eyes shifted back and forth, but the tilt of her head and her naked desire for somebody, anybody to chat with, was too powerful to ignore.

Hell, there was nothing much happening on the floor. On a midweek afternoon, the girls are pretty lackadaisical. A little bump, a little grind, a few bastardized yoga moves, some more graceful than others. That shit wears you out. You want to hang on to the good stuff for Friday and Saturday nights when you get the big tippers.

A midweek titty bar is almost like a social club, with the girls about as sexed up as planks of wood. They, after all, have to pay to come to work--$40 to come out of the sunshine into a dark, smoky room in order to gyrate, shake and otherwise wiggle what they've got. Generally, it's worth it. I'd been talking to a girl earlier who said an old guy comes in once a week and pays her $400 just to sit there with her top off and drink with him all afternoon. Needless to say, he buys.

The only way I can figure it is that stripping, lap-dancing, the whole sex-worker-just-short-of-whore thing, is kind of the female analog to dope dealing. If you're dumb, lack resources or, like a lot of them, have a kid or a substance habit to support, the decision whether to work at McDonald's for minimum wage or take off your clothes and bring home hundreds a day is kind of a no-brainer. And all of it is probably not as dangerous as drug dealing--no guns, since everybody gets wanded upon admission. The guys getting lap-danced, except for one part of their anatomy, have to stay absolutely still, no groping allowed. On the main floor, anyway.

I watched one girl, her face as bored as a tuned-out student in a high school math class, really do a guy up: crotch and tits everywhere but down the poor schmuck's throat. I've never seen anyone do the splits on a person's face before. She swanned over to the bar afterwards for a whisky and Coke--a drunk was buying rounds for everything female within a 5-yard radius, and these girls have radar for such things. "What are you thinking about when you're doing all that shit?" I asked.

"My kid," she said, proceeding to tell me all about him. I lectured her on the error of feeding him fast food every day, but she said it wasn't a problem, that he's real skinny, and anyway, it's the only thing he'll eat. He really hates it, she said, when she brings him into work, and she can't figure out why. Still, he's got a right to feelings, so she's decided to stop.

Atta girl, Jade.

The dancers were a friendly bunch. After a couple of hours, I had three invitations to go out partying with them after work. I turned them all down; I could never keep up with those girls, but it was nice to be asked.

The only intimacy in a titty bar is between the girls who work there. It's an incredibly unsexy place in the way that Disneyland is an incredibly unfun place.

Back in the can, Brandi and I smoked ultra-lights. She likes astrology and told me all about myself until at some cue undetectable by me, she crushed the butt out in the sink and foofed her hair. It was show time.

"I was born the day the Beatles broke up," she said, holding the door as I followed down the dark hall back to the main room.

"I remember that day," I tell her. "I cried all day long."

She paused, turned and tilted her head, pleased the way she'd been when she'd guessed I was a Sagittarius on the first try. "What do you know?" she said. "We both spent the day doing the same thing."

Up on stage, Brandi embraced the pole with her ass cheeks and touched her toes, no small feat in 6-inch platform shoes. She looked tired, bored, Wednesday afternoon-ish. Her buzz, I believe, had begun to wear off.