Tuesday, December 18, 2007
A Penny For Your Thoughts (Or, a nickel for your Soul...)
I tried to be as tasteful as possible.
Last Friday night, I was out with friends. We were at my cousin's house, listening to music, drinking some fire water, having a good time. After while, my cousin decides that he wants to go out. He asks me if I want to roll with him. I roll out, wondering where he was headed. We end up at Magic City.
Yeah, THAT Magic City.
As we walk in, I noticed dozens of men; older, younger, married, and even some WITH THEIR WIVES. It tripped me out how many men were standing around, dollars in one hand, drinks in another, waiting on the next young woman to come out and "shake what her momma gave her" (DJ's words, not mine).
The announcement came on. The woman that was coming to the stage was named "Soul For Real". As I was thinking to myself why she would name herself such a thing, the DJ answered my question for me: "Because she candy coats your raindrops!"
I see her, slender woman, about 5'7", wearing heels that make her look almost Amazonian. She's wearing a little black dress, and when I say little, I mean, little. She's writhing on the pole, dancing with it, snaking her long legs around it, twirling around the pole as if she was going down a fireman's pole. She strips off the dress and the crowd goes wild. She has on tear drop pasties, and a G-String. She bends over, her read end gyrating to the crowd of men (and women) throwing the money at her. I see one girl walk up front, right to the stage, and smack Soul's ass. Soul responds by looking at the girl seductively, and taking the 10 spot the woman has, and... well, to not be so graphic, candy coats her rain drop.
Use your imagination.
The crowd goes nuts. She finishes her set, picks up her money (which I estimate had to have been well over $750 dollars for a 5 minute set) and leaves. Three other strippers come back on stage and resume their posts, dancing for their patrons, talking with the customers, trying to entice them out of their last dollar.
My cousin has retreated to the bar, and while he is purchasing drinks, I look to the left and I see Soul come from out of the dressing room. She looks different now, almost as if she's on her way to class. She has the rolling luggage, and she is talking and laughing with a couple of people on her way out. I stop her. At first, she looks at me as if I wasn't human enough to even speak to her, until she looks in my face. We then realize that we knew each other, she was one of the aspiring girls I went to high school with. She smiles, gives me a hug, asks how I'm doing. Then, the question I knew she was gonna ask next.
"What are you doing here?!?"
I smile then tell her I could ask her the same thing. She blushes for a sec, and then tells me a story about wanting to go to college, becoming pregnant on Grad night with a guy she barely knew, working a couple of jobs that didn't make sense for her, and finally being approached by her suite mate (she made it to Old Dominion University) about possibly becoming a stripper. She said at first it seemed so cliche' because she didn't want to end up the butt of people jokes, or be looked down upon simply because she was trying to get money. Besides, she had a 7 year old daughter to take care of, and if stripping for a couple of nights out of the week can take care of home AND allow her to handle school, then so be it. She told me she's been doing this for 2 years now, and once the Spring semester is over with, she can stop, because she'll be getting her degree.
I walk with her to her car, talking along the way. She told me while it's not right for her to keep the stereotype going of "sex sells", it was either this, or end up not doing anything with her life, and she didn't want to end up like so many other females we've seen in our time. I told her, I could understand why she would feel that way, it was just a shocking thing to know that it was her that was on stage, doing things I wouldn't have expected her to do. I told her I felt bad, because I saw parts of her I would have NEVER seen otherwise, and I wanted to do something, ANYTHING, to make sure she was ok. She smiled, told me that I was always noble and kindhearted, but that she'll be fine, it wasn't like she was selling her soul.
Our conversation ended there, and over the weekend, I thought long and hard about what she said and what I saw. She might not have been selling her soul, but I kinda feel like she was selling everything else but her soul, and honestly, how much more would it take for her to finally come up off that last piece of her.
What does it take for a woman to do such a thing? Is it just a college education? I'm not saying every stripper is in college, but I'm not buying into the myth that every stripper that talks about college is lying about college either. It takes a lot for a woman (and in some cities, a man) to come on stage or in a party or even in your home (!) and bare all, including their soul. Forget the point that they're either half naked or fully naked in front of a bunch of leering men (and women), it's the fact that in some social circles, the preconceived notion that they are doing this because they like the easy money, that they aren't competent enough to get a "real job", or they are looking for the "golden ticket", you know, that one guy (or girl) who'll come along and treat them like a queen (or king), waiting on them hand and foot (and wallet) is just enough to make ME want to scream, and I'm not even a stripper.
So what is it, strippers? Are you just selling a fantasy? Are you selling "sex"? Are you letting people who, in a normal situation, would never even get a hello out of you, see you naked because you want money? (Let's not even get into lap dancing) Is all of this for the almighty dollar?
For what it's worth, your soul is worth much, much more than a nickel.