I clutch my leather satchel with a tension that turns my knuckles white; and I haven't even gotten on the plane yet. My anxiety is eclipsed by every well-toned, brown-haired man that enters my peripheral vision - as if I'm watching the final results of the power ball tease their way into place.
For what God-awful reason am I sweating in a suffocatingly packed airport scrutinizing traveling businessmen?
I suppose you'd like to know?
Sigh, ok, but get ready. It's a long story and you might not like me very much when it's done.
You see, I'm a stripper (see? Told you wouldn't like me). Well, I was a stripper; before I made the fateful decision to pack up and escape to this airport. It may have been an incredibly stupid decision. I'm not really sure yet. Maybe you can tell me?
I know, I know, the age-old story of the innocent stripper with a heart of gold, you've heard it before, right? Well, that's not exactly how this goes. I kind of fell into the exotic dancing lifestyle - quite literally.
I was bagging groceries for a living at the time, working on my post-undergrad writing career, trying to get over the disappointment that was the writers job market. I bumped into a girl in the parking lot after my shift and just about knocked her into a light pole - which is really too bad because I was working a really great line in my head at the time and the incident completely wiped it from my memory.
I helped right her, apologizing profusely and checking for damages. She was kind enough, which was great, because it turned out she worked there too: It was her first day. And it was just her day job - at night she was a dancer. And it was no wonder: she was gorgeous. Penetrating blue eyes, long legs, great figure... Everyone wanted to be friends with her. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, especially considering I nearly knocked her unconscious at our first encounter.
It didn't take me long to notice with curiosity that she seemed to have an awful lot of cash for someone who bagged groceries.
"My night job pays very well," she explained. "You should try it sometime. You've got the body for it."
I almost laughed in her face, but kept my composure. I didn't take her up on her offer; but she didn't leave me alone about it.
"It's really fun," she'd say. "And the money's great. If you want to quit someday to focus on your writing, you're not going to get there bagging groceries."
Let me just point out that I was by no means innocent; I wasn't turning her down for any moral reason. I'd had a few boyfriends and lots of good fucks - some which involved a personal exotic dance performance - I'd just never fancied myself a public performer.
But I guess I'm more amenable to flattery than I thought; three weeks after meeting her, I agreed to meet with her boss.
"Just to talk," I emphasized. "I'm not doing any shaking or gyrating for him, okay? I just want to find out what it's like." She smiled because she knew she had me.
And, well, much to my chagrin, I did like it. It was fun and it did pay extremely well. I eventually quit my job at the grocery store so I could work on my dancing during the day. I justified to myself that my dedication was for research purposes for a future novel but, the truth is, I've always been ambitious. And I wanted to be the best, highest paid stripper at the Men's Den.
Of course, it wasn't all roses. In fact, the day that began the saga that led me here to this awful airport started very, very badly.
I was having a particularly good night with our patrons at first. My g-string was stuffed with 20's and I was enjoying the hooting and hollering as I wrapped my stiletto around the stage pole and swooped into a new move I'd mastered the week before. I was hot. And being hot is great; unless one of them walks in.
See, I'd gotten use to the diversity of the clientele at the club. Some men were needy, some stand-offish and others very vocal. Some were fat, some were skinny, some were gorgeous (we'd stand a little taller and grind a little deeper when they walked in - it was like bridesmaids at a wedding fighting to see who'd catch that luscious bouquet). Moral of the story: there weren't many being drafted as male models. But they were mostly kind and respectful and held a deep admiration for the female form that typically kept their behavior in line. I got used to enjoying the admiring eyes of even the most unattractive men - it's an essential skill for any woman giving a lap dance to a complete stranger.
And then there were the "Pots" as we called them. Ugh. Dancing for them was like unclogging a toilet - no one enjoyed it but someone had to do it. They weren't necessarily called that because they were physically unappealing; we enjoyed dancing for plenty of men who were altogether unattractive. It was more a matter of persona: the glint of greed in their eyes, the way they leered at us while simultaneously licking their lips as if readying themselves for a well-deserved meal. They were scum-bags and normally we'd run the other way. But we had a job to do and as long they didn't break the rules, the boss couldn't kick them out.
The Pot that walked in on this particular night was, well, large (and not in the good places). The rolls that cascaded down his body were accented with the glint of hot sweat trailing from his thick and stocky neck. He was such an ass. We usually held out hope that he'd do something inappropriate from the get-go so we could kick him out. He got booted for a month once - it was like Mardi Gras every day.
I'd been there six months and had managed to use my greenness to avoid patronizing him every time he'd come, but my time had run out. The girls were all too happy to pawn me off on him; at least they were kind enough to grant me looks of pity in their wake.
"Ellie!" Hissed a voice. It was Mia - the friend I mentioned earlier who got me into this mess of a business. I glared at her.
"What?" I snapped.
" The first time is always the worst, but it gets better after that. Just close your eyes and pretend it's Brad Pitt. If you concentrate really hard, it doesn't seem so bad."
My anxiety elevated. I really, really didn't want to do this. Mia took my hand tenderly then handed me off to the Pot in a regretful fashion.
"Hey baby," he said, his eyes aglow with lust. "You're a pretty little one. I bet you've been waiting on that luscious ass all day for a guy like me."
He laughed - a deep, guttural laugh, clearly satiated by my discomfort. I swallowed and closed my eyes, drumming up images of Brad Pitt while feigning a smile. I could do this. Yeah, I could. As long as he didn't -
"I think I'd like a special treat tonight, Miss Titty." Ugh, he always called us that. "Show me to the Special Lady's room."
The blood drained from my face. It was worse than I thought. I considered running. Running away and never coming back. I was sure I could get my job at the grocery store back. But remember what I mentioned before about being ambitious? Well, as sickening as it was, I didn't want to be weak. I had committed to this job and I was going to do a damn good job of it. I gingerly took his hand and let him to a semi-private room at the back of the club. It was hidden behind a faux door and reserved for those with serious stacks of cash.
At least I'll make a killing tonight, I thought.
The Special Lady's room was, well, not strictly legal. From the law's perspective it was borderline prostitution, but since no sex was technically had in the room, it was difficult to get busted for it. Still, it was something kept under the rug. I actually enjoyed it under normal circumstances.
Um, what? Why, you ask?
Well, the Special Lady's room was a room dedicated to the pleasure of the stripper. On an off-day it was torturous, but if your libido was active, it was way better than dancing to a room full of hard-ons. A lot of the girls liked it because it was a chance to enjoy a little pleasure after spending hours focusing on the pleasure of others.
Anyways, the goal of the Special Lady's room was to give your stripper an orgasm. The only rules? There was to be no removal of the stripper's bottoms (toplessness was fair game), the stripper was to do as commanded by the patron (within reason), and, shockingly, the stripper was not allowed to touch the patron - that included sitting on him, kissing him (well that rule was pretty standard across the board), or any other kind of touching. It was, however, the only room where the patron was allowed to touch the stripper - softly and gently. The room was monitored by two bouncers, ready to jump in at any indication of discomfort from one of us. If things got rough, it was taken care of in an instant. And it happened on occasion. But the activity stayed off the radar because, despite the fact that there were orgasms in the room, the parties weren't touching each other and there was no penetration.
Romantic, isn't it? Lol.
So back to my sob story: off to the Special Lady's room I went with this awful, smelly, pit-stained man. He opened the door for me, copping a feel of my ass as I walked by, and found a chair near the end of a row of about five men, all caught up in the ecstasy of the dimly-lit room.
Given that this room was likely thought up by a horny stripper, it always shocked me how much the men enjoyed it. There was something about the challenge of making a woman roar when she couldn't touch them that made them crazy. I don't think any rooms needed regularly cleaning like this one did...
The Pot sat down, his eyes scaling my body inch by inch. He reached out his enormous hand and touched delicately my purple bottoms, flipping the sequined ties between his fingers. I begrudgingly swirled my hips around, moving in and out of his waiting palm, twisting my fingers nervously in my hair, and awaiting my next instructions.
"Turn around," he commanded. I could have sworn he said "I hate women". I closed my eyes, found my image of Brad Pitt naked on the beach, and complied.