Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adieu

"I found that no genius in another could please me. My unfortunate paradoxes had entirely dried up that source of comfort."
--Goldsmith

"You were spiritually dead through your sins and failures, all the time you followed this world's ideas of living... we all lived like that in the past, and followed the desires and imaginings of our lower natures, being, in fact, under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else."
--Ephesians 2:1-3 (Phi)

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
--Virginia Woolf

Unless a particularly remarkable addendum occurs to me at a later date, this will be my last entry in this stupid stripper blog. I have decided the sex industry and I are parting ways permanently, and not a moment too soon.

It happened like this:

After my annoyance with stripping reached a fevered pitch about five weeks ago, I decided to take a break, effective immediately. Although at that time I thought of it as more of an hiatus, in the last few days I have decided I would rather collect cans from the side of the road than accrue more bad karma by repeatedly flouting the law of "Right Livelihood" as Buddhists would see it, or court a lifestyle rife with mortal sin, as fellow Christians would term my participation in the sex industry. My conviction that I have indeed been living in an absolutely sinful state since I began accepting money for acts remotely sexual in nature over a year ago has lately become immutable, in fact. Reading over this blog disgusts me now. It seems to be floundering, semi-hysterical, devoid of integrity. It is certainly evidence of a painfully confused state of mind into which I never plan to enter again.

Anyhow, I'm done. From now on I shall sublimate, stifle or, ideally, transcend my exhibitionist/submissive impulses until such a time as a man suitable to be my husband enters the picture. Within the confines of marriage, such acts/tendencies would definitely fall under the category of expressions of "sanctified joy". If no such relationship emerges, I'll live happily, even so. I've been abstinent this long, and I can handle it as long as it's necessary-- even forever.

I know I am doing the right thing because I can pray again-- for the first time in months-- with no sense of separation between myself and the Divine. I possess the sincere conviction that through my repentance I am finally received back into the fold. Although I realize God's love is unconditional, I actively divorced myself from it through my sinful actions, and have been paying the price, consciously or no, for far too many months. Well, that's all over now.

As for what's happening in my life right now...

I've started volunteering at an animal shelter in Williamsburg. Maybe someday I'll get a foxy little pomeranian, but until then, I'll pet abandoned cats and walk monstrous mutts down Bedford Avenue. I spend so much time in quiet contemplation I find it necessary and indeed therapeutic for me to be in contact other living, breathing creatures-- yesterday I walked a saucy little puppy and hugged him when we rested on a bench, feeling his happy little heart beating, which filled me with joy.

When the quiet at home becomes deafening I get out and spend time with my beautiful friends. I've been going to a Buddhist temple in Chinatown with Pearl, and I find it very peaceful there:



I'm signing up to take some more improv classes, too, which I really enjoy.

I am also slowly regaining my ability to focus, and to write. This is a blessing I can hardly overstate. My capacity for sustained and virtuous labor seems to increase the longer I am away from the strip club. This definitely indicates that I'm making the right decision by making my hiatus permanent. It is apparent that I can only hope to pursue my literary ambitions by taking good care of myself and making my inward and outward environments stable and free from lewdness. Virginia Woolf was right-- access to a quiet room and the assurance of a decent, fixed income are the two necessary things a woman must have if she is to write fiction. Although I hardly possess a trust fund or annuity of any sort, I have no debt, and my savings will last a few more months. After that I hope to find a part-time job somewhere quiet and beautiful, and spend the remainder of the time resting or writing.

My sleep disorder is, as always, in effect, but I am trying to accept things as they are, since nothing seems to change my symptoms, least of all worry or self-reproach.

As far as men go...

The men I have dated in the last month are either inappropriately devoted to me or seem to be merely toying with me and saving the best of themselves for something or someone else. I can only imagine this has been the natural result of meeting people when my mind was in a severe state of confusion. Bad idea. Time to move on and start afresh with dignity, which should help me stop attracting perverts and other non-committal, undesirable men. On dates or shortly thereafter I sometimes still find myself trying to practice a sort of unholy emotional alchemy that is, at heart, merely romantic delusion, but I've largely learned to stop trying to transmute rejection into acceptance and frogs into princes. Instead just accept things as they are, feelings and people included. I have a lot of faith things will go well from now on whether I am single forever or a wife within the year.

Best of all, when my stubborn little brother finally comes to visit, perhaps within a month or so, I can receive him with a clean, innocent, undivided heart.

I rejoice at the thought.

Adieu


----

PS It's interesting to pray now and feel I really have joined the ranks of the formerly sinful and now repentant believers. When I feel ashamed I simply remind myself that I am in good company-- Tolstoy, St. Paul, etc. Not that one can ever be entirely free of sin...

Ah, life.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sassy

Sometimes I chat online with an old friend-- a former model/actor and double- Cancer sensitive type whom I met in an improv class a couple of years ago here in NY. I had quite a crush on him then (he has beautiful blue eyes and a gorgeous body), but he was oblivious and nothing developed. Now we lives on the West Coast. A few months ago we reconnected. If we lived in the same state nowadays, our friendliness and playful attraction to one another now mutually acknowledged, I'm sure we would have an interesting relationship (though I suspect never a serious one). Because we are both devoted to becoming more spiritually attuned at all times, our interactions would likely be based as much on our shared love of meditation as our slightly kinky fantasies. He knows about my no premarital sex stance, and, since he has often chosen to explore abstinence for long periods of time as well, we are on the same page about promiscuity, etc.

Every couple of months I get sassy and send him a pic or two of myself. This morning I took these:




Although possibilities are revolving on the horizon, I am not on sending-nude-pics-for-fun terms with anyone else at the moment, which is great. I'm so happy being single right now. I got asked on a couple of dates this week, but I'm not sure I want to go. Maybe I'll flip a coin.

Today I am filled with joy.

PS Had an appointment with another plastic surgeon the other day. He said he couldn't, in good conscience, touch me. To appease me he also asked a colleague and a former professor, and they agreed. Since the doctor who did my nose and *his* supervisor refused to touch me further, also, I have declared myself satisfied with my face. I'd be insane to go against the advice of five plastic surgeons who refuse to take my money. Maybe some day a less invasive means of correcting asymmetry and deviations from ideal facial proportions will be invented, and I can get myself smoothed out then. Until that day, I shall be content.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chattel

Photos taken this weekend near Madison Square Park, in the East Village and at Rockaway Beach, respectively:






I went to the beach with a friend on the 4th of July, and got a sunburn so splotchy and rash-like I decided I needed to take the week off of work. On Tuesday I went in to Tryst to show it to the manager, who gave me an infinite amount of hassle about my request. He said sunburn wasn't a "legitimate" reason for taking time off. However, in an industry where beauty and confidence are necessary to generate income, having a painful and ugly sunburn is-- obviously-- an absolutely valid reason not to be able to come in. Who would pay me for a lap dance when I felt and looked far from my best, as my body language and demeanor would no doubt reflect?

Anyway, I was treated like a liar and fined 50 dollars for my last-minute "no-show" (I had actually called in on Monday to warn the manager of my situation, but the club's policy on cancellation is giving a full week's notice or one gets fined).

"Congratulations for putting him in a bad mood," said the cashier with wide, frightened eyes. She is usually friendly to me when she's ringing me up (for the champagne sales I make and the house fee I pay, surprise, surprise) so it was news to me that she could be so cowardly and petty.

"I'm telling the truth, and I am NOT working here this week. Whatever else happens, happens," I said with a shrug.

(maybe I would expect my schedule to be more inflexible if this were a salaried office job, but then nobody would be prying into my discretionary allotment of personal off-time, for which I would be paid, rather than having to pay my employer for the privilege. I would also not have to take time off for a sunburn if I worked in an office, so the point would be moot.)

I think it's disgusting for the other adults at the strip club to run around like scared rabbits based on the whims of the manager. I was only asking for time off, something a lot of employees do in any occupation. If this audacious request sets him off like a child being denied a toy, so be it. My intention was to do the best thing for me, which I believe is-- unequivocally, and also as a universal policy-- never harmful to anyone else.

I am so tired of being treated like a dumb bitch, subject to the whims of a patriarchal system in which even the women in management try to scare the dancers into seeing things their way (which is not always the right way) and treat us like the club's chattel.

PS Last night I went out with my friend Pearl, who is dating a conservative French-Canadian chemical engineer.

"If we go anywhere, I'm driving," he said to her recently.

"Would you like me to wear a burqa while we're at it?" she responded.

Seems there's no faction of society in which men don't revel in controlling women capriciously, when the opportunity arises.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mystery

"It is the mystery which enchants, and its being is extinguished with the extinction of the necessary combination of its elements."
-- Friedrich von Schiller

I realize I've been updating this blog less frequently because the experience of being a stripper has been largely demystified for me. My adventurous mind-set has become... less so regarding the sex industry. I suppose I shall figure out what to do in the natural course of time... I'm currently taking 6 days off to try to steel myself for another unbroken stretch of work... it seems I can last about three weeks at a time without overloading, but no more than that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dogs

I keep having dreams in which I am quasi-forcibly given one or two dogs I really don't want.

"I wanted a pomeranian puppy and no other breed," I explain in the dreams to the random person trying to foist an ugly, enormous rottweiler-mix mutt or old and putrid bulldog on me. Thereafter I am somehow convinced to dog sit for these beasts. Whether the owner is coming back or not becomes ambiguous after awhile.

PS Worst week at the strip club ever, income-wise. The people were really interesting, though... I'm sure I'll be back to earning a decent amount of money per shift next week, after all the men with money are back in town.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sidney Crosby Stanley Cup Slumber Party

I can tell my life is boring when I get crushes on random athletes en masse. This phenomenon happens approximately once a year for a month-long period or so. Another inevitable part of this cycle is the need to watch uplifting sports documentaries and interviews. Based on previous year's sports fixations, it's my informed opinion that the whole thing is a fairly accurate sign that I'm definitely not optimizing my creative potential at present. However, the phase must run its course.

I tell ya, stripping apparently drains the upward mobility and artistic impulses out of me. However, when I re-watch old Joe Calzaghe interviews it's much easier for me to stay inspired. I believe life is worth living when I watch that humble man jogging down Welsh dirt roads and training in a converted shed with his father.

And when I see Sidney Crosby (who still lives in Mario Lemieux's guest house even though he is 21 years old) all snuggled up with the Stanley Cup:



I once again believe in everything that is good and noble and true about mentorship and one generation virtuously succeeding the next. In sports, at least.

Babycakes etc.

"As a Bokonist, of course, I would have agreed gaily to go where anyone suggested. As Bokonon says: "Peculiar travel suggestion are dancing lessons from God."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle"

Yesterday afternoon I decided to make myself as attractive as possible and set out for a little adventure with a friend. I surrendered my own objectives and simply did whatever he wanted to do. It was really fun.

I started by getting my hair washed and set, as I do every week, at a Dominican salon in my neighborhood. I think they overcharge me because I'm white, but I don't really mind. They always do a great job. I passed the time under the hairdryer reading the early short stories of Flannery O'Connor (I've been enjoying O'Connor so much lately I've had a really difficult time putting her books away when it's time to work at the strip club where reading is frowned upon).



I really wanted this purse:



I saw it in a boutique window a couple of doors down from Babycakes, a vegan bakery where I met up with my aforementioned friend. We ate red velvet cupcakes and raspberry jelly rolls made with spelt flour and agave nectar-- the only baked goods I've eaten recently due to my moratorium on white flour and refined sugar. Then we bought surprisingly good books from card tables set up on the street near NYU and rambled around the Village.

Afterward I had a date with a very nervous man I doubt I'll see again. He is smart, but far too ill at ease in his own skin for me.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dodge

I need to stop walking down my block during daylight hours on Sunday or else suck it up and go to church more often. Since Sunday services at the nearly next-door Pentecostal church I've often attended last all day, the odds I'll see a fellow congregant I know on the sidewalk are apparently 100& at any given time. Plus, since I'm seemingly the only white person ever known to attend this particular church, my fellow parishioners remember me well.

It always makes me feel guilty.

Today I ran into a deaconess I like a lot while on my way to pick up some fruit.

"You been working hard lately?" she asked, which is a kind way to inquire about my unexplained absence from the church.

"Yeah. Too hard," I responded briefly.

"I'm off all summer. I work for the Board of 'Ed, so I'm free till September." She smiled.

"Lucky lady!" I laughed and shuffled off with a smile and a backward wave, happy to see her but not exactly thrilled to have to dodge her questions in advance about the nature of my work, etc.

Rough stuff. I do it to myself.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Staal Brothers Make Me Dizzy





I have a big crush on all four of the tall, blonde Staal brothers, three of whom already play in the NHL (the youngest is eligible for next season's draft). Yesterday evening I watched an interview with second-eldest Jordan Staal (who probably gets sick of all those questions about his wunderkind Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby) with the sound off while dancing on the bar stage at Tryst. I almost fell all over myself when they showed side-by-side shots of him with his gorgeous brothers. Such an overwhelming dose of masculine beauty is hard to handle while one is trying to stay balanced on 5-inch heels at the end of an 8-hour shift.

PS 2 Reading over my recent posts makes me cringe. I've been such an ungrateful whiner!!!!! No more!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rut

The cancer lurks secure and spreading where furtiveness hides in rows of decaying brick.
-- HP Lovecraft, "The Horror at Red Hook"

My state of torpor has increased to such a degree that I woke up the past few mornings with an alarm bell going off in my mind-- a loud, urgent reminder that sloth is a sin. I feel like a dying pile of flesh, trapped in a paralyzing cycle of indecision. I have become another lost and morally diseased person in a dirty neighborhood of drug dealers and addicts, though my crisis has to do with total confusion and exhaustion, rather than addiction. I feel trapped bodily in my own home, with no ability to envision an outside world outside wider in scope or possibility than the strip club or occasional church sanctuary. Lack of vision is an imprisoning force-- when paired with almost total surcease of energy, the effect is as disgusting as it is weighty.

When I walk down the block to buy food, I encounter people, some of whom I know and like, yet I can't seem to find connections with others or a regular schedule of work manageable anymore.

"When are you coming back to the church?" a tall young man asked me Sunday as I passed him on the street in front of the Pentecostal church near my home.

"I don't know. I have no excuse for not coming in anymore. I'm just lazy." I said without inflections or emotion, neglecting to add that I also feel tainted with the shame of working in a dishonorable profession.

In short: things are bad.

I've found that people in this world who stop contributing to the greater good and become trapped in their own egoic cycles of misery tend to fall into a rapid state of despair and decay (in that order). I don't want to be one of those people.

I am praying right now for a sign. I hope I am able to find a way to contribute to this world positively, and manage to escape this rut.

PS I am trying to avoid all potentially romantic scenarios, but it seems I haven't tried hard enough. Somehow I've managed to give two men my new phone number this week, and the sound of their various texts popping up on my phone is horrible-- like a recrimination for lack of integrity. I don't want to waste anyone's time, so I don't respond. I should have never let them have my information in the first place... that's what I get for meeting people from craigslist ads and the like-- texts from fast-talking lawyers in New Jersey who want to get me drunk on Grey Goose somewhere and film location scouts trying to tempt me to see "Transformers 2" in IMAX. Really? If those are the interests of people I currently attract, I'll just wish them well and go buy some books instead. Whatever other issues may be arising in my personal life, I really am 100% content being single right now.

PS The animal that best represents my current state of being is the naked mole rat:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stray

"Cats know how to obtain food without labor, shelter without confinement, and love without penalties."
-- W. L. George



This morning I awoke to a frightening sight. The hale and glossy cat who recently started living on top of the storage shed in my back yard suddenly appeared mangy, dusty and as stiff as roadkill.

For a minute I was sure he was dead.

"Cat!" I cried, hopeful that making noise might incite him to move a bit if indeed he still lived. I was duly rewarded by a cursory--but still very welcome-- twitch of his dark tail in response.

I like seeing him every day. I highly suspect him of being charmingly naughty, but since he's a Bushwick alley cat he probably spends more time trying to keep his little head above water survival-wise than playing kittenish pranks.

I wonder where he goes when it rains?

PS I mentioned the cat to a customer at Tryst the other day.

"A cat on your storage shed?" he asked incredulously. "What, down by the crick? Where do you *live* that you have a *shed*?"

"Bushwick," I laughed.

Ah, me.

PS Why is the lawn furniture overturned? I swear it was right-side-up last week. I don't even want to know.

Highway To Heaven

The dress I'm wearing today (bought in Washington Heights for 12 dollars last summer) has a lovely peacock print that somewhat reminds me of the more Rococo illustrations of Dr. Seuss:



Also:

Ever since I was a child of five I've had lingering, sorrowful memories of a particularly compelling "Highway to Heaven" episode featuring a homeless, mentally challenged boy living in a cardboard box. Forced by his tragic circumstances to steal cans of tuna from the mean old man-owned corner store in order to feed his beloved pet cat, he makes a fateful birthday wish (on a stale hamburger bun, in his box in a Skid Row alley, with candles he also shoplifted) for someone to love him, upon which an angel (Michael Landon, duh) shows up to help him make it come true.

Now. Having a few days off and no other pressing interests except painting various picture frames in one of four separate pastel colors (still have to buy new mats at Pearl tomorrow):



I decided to find it on You Tube and see if it affected me as powerfully as of yore. Oh my gosh, I watched it twice in two days and got tears in my eyes both times.

I really enjoyed it. I felt genuinely inspired to be less selfish, and to be grateful more often. Whether one views this sort of religious family drama as cheap emotional pornography or, conversely, as a highly accessible and righteous form of popular culture, if the affect on the viewer is enobling (which it was/is for me), I feel the other issues are essentially moot points. Also, the fact that Michael Landon claimed he conceived (as well as subsequently wrote, directed and starred in) "Highway to Heaven" after he made a solemn pact with God at the hospital bedside of his critically injured daughter to produce television shows that made a genuine difference if she recovered (she did), either makes him the most shameless huckster of his generation or a spiritually as well as commercially enterprising man who was simply doing his best.

The episode is called, "Alone".



Note: the children in "Highway to Heaven" seemed to be on summer vacation 99% of the time. Maybe that's because most of them were runaways, terminally ill types, etc. who never went to school anyway.

PS It looks as though the latter half of the week is going to be clear. I'm so tired of this rain-- such a record-breaking, relentless deluge is terrible for business at the strip club as well as my soul.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Underneath My Tree/Teeth



I bought some adorable little drawings by Jason Sposa of Underneath My Tree (http://www.underneathmytree.com/index.html) at the Renegade Craft Fair a week or two ago. I'm really in love with his work. I think I'll buy another print or two for my mother as a birthday present, and maybe one more for myself while I'm at it.

On a totally unrelated note, I keep having recurring dreams involving tooth loss. According to the articles I've been browsing, such dreams are apparently very common. Unfortunately, not one of the various interpretations I've found regarding dreams about tooth loss is positive.

This web site (http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art10573.asp) says:

"Sometimes tooth loss dreams point to a fear of failure or embarrassment. In waking life, when people lose teeth, they often cover their mouths when talking or smiling. Is there something you want to do but are afraid of undertaking because you fear you'll look foolish if you fail? Or is there something going on in your waking life that you feel you must hide or 'cover up'?"

It seems the burden of my secret life is beginning to poison even my dreams.

I'm not very surprised.

PS I finally bought a new phone. Maybe I'll even get around to telling people I got a new phone number... eventually-ish. It's an iPhone, but this is probably the last time I'll mention that fact. People who talk about their phones or check them obsessively annoy me greatly. Most inexplicable to me is when someone grabs his or her significant other's phone and feels entitled to play with it. I can't imagine being okay with any human being checking my texts. The prospect makes me want to crack skulls, I can't lie.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sneakers



I really want some new sneakers. I feel like a brown sparrow among birds of paradise every time I cross the Williamsburg Bridge on the JMZ. Sadly, all the most fabulous, rampantly colorful ones seem to be made, at least partially, of leather.

Boo...

PS My feet hurt so badly from dancing double shifts. I'm going to see if I can find some more comfortable stripper heels around West 4th before I go back to work on Tuesday.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Love Story



Today my landlord (Barry) and 'lady (Barbara), good friends of mine, came over. I baked a crumb-topped blueberry pie, and Barbara told me her plans to write a book about their love story.

She really ought to. Anytime a Peruvian Christian man and an Hasidic Jewish woman get married, the story is worth telling.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Surfing is Legal in Chicago?

They recently legalized surfing in my hill-free hometown of Chicago, where even the waves are flat. I wonder if I'll see boogie boards and the whole nine when I visit this summer?

Time has a good article about it. I wonder why I can't seem to figure out how to do hotlinks or whatever anymore...

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1904261,00.html?iid=tsmodule

Blake/Soulless Seduction

Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.
-- William Blake



Once again I have been reading and gazing upon the sometimes beautiful, often hellish but always visionary works of William Blake. This drawing-- "The Night of Enitharmon's Joy" struck a particular chord in me today. Enitharmon is so peaceful, even when surrounded by demons. You can tell she finds blackest night and devilry to be matters-of-course.

Thought: I refuse to stem the the occasional tide of undirected, yet radiant loving energy I feel when I'm at work. This is, perhaps, a mistake? Should I hide my light under a bushel basket even while stripping? Just a thought because:

I felt a lightning bolt of attraction for a customer yesterday evening that shook me up quite a lot. In fact, I believe it's been about a year since I felt such an instant rapport with a man-- we seemed to be on the same wavelength, instantly. Though this customer comes in most weeks, I've never had the opportunity to speak with him before. Another woman always seems to get to him first, and, because he spends most of his time upstairs, he is never on the floor for long. He wears beautiful Italian suits with high, aristocratic collars, has pleasing, symmetrical features, large, hypnotic eyes and a shockingly beautiful body.

After a few minutes of interesting conversation he bought a dance, and I stripped off my dress and ran my hands down his muscular arms, sinking briefly to my knees while looking up at him. As in a fever dream I imagined the two of us alone, and all the delicious things he might do to me as I knelt before him in such a submissive posture. It made me dizzy.

He asked me what else I do with my time, and I actually told him that I write for a feminist publication instead of my usual lie about being a student. We discussed various schools of feminist thought and social mores. In response to his query about my particular brand of feminism, I said that I equate feminism with freedom.

I looked steadily in his eyes. "I'm also very submissive."

"I know," he answered simply, the way a discerning man in a hurry (which he was) sees a watch he likes in a shop window and buys it instantly, and without fanfare.

"I know you know, because you're clearly very dominant." I suddenly found myself wanting to kiss him, which was a first for me regarding a customer.

"Yes I am," he answered with warmth but no fire. I wasn't sure if he was being a gentleman or trying to make me feel I hadn't earned it quite yet.

I smiled but did not laugh, because I could somewhat intuit that he was about to attempt to seduce me. My usual coquetry was strangely absent, as if my genuine attraction for him had stripped me of all my sham sexuality. In spite of myself I suddenly recognized that we were in agreement about something deep I didn't care to analyze. Not that it had to go anywhere, of course.

"I know you're going to say something that really surprises me," I said in the soft voice that passes as a whisper in a loud strip club, as I writhed nearly nude on his lap.

He obliged by asking me to come with him to his friends home in the Hamptons for the weekend. The train was leaving in half an hour. Of course I declined. He tried mightily to convince me, but I'd be a fool to date a customer. Especially one with money who comes in fairly often, and spend hours at a time in the champagne room with girls he likes. Why give anything to him for free?

"Well, we missed a fun opportunity, but you'll see me around again," he added with a smile as our dance and my shift ended simultaneously.

"Was that the royal we?" I asked rhetorically and with playful scorn, suddenly feisty and unwilling to be included against my will in his statement.

He smiled.

"Have a lovely weekend," I said in parting as I added his money to the roll on my ankle garter and bounded downstairs to get dressed in my street clothes. Suddenly I wanted to get away from him and the strip club and blot out the memory of all the other overwhelming propositions and soulless seduction attempts by strange men I'd fielded lately. None of them meant anything for more than five minutes, after all.

I decided everything about Tryst is meant to be forgotten after my work day/night ends, and I mean to be more assiduous in my efforts to do so from now on. Nothing that happens there is going to carry an ounce of weight in my real life anymore. Other nighttime fantasies pale in the morning light, why should not those I create as a stripper follow suit?

(Scary aside-- a super-creepy customer kept trying to convince a dancer from work to go home with him. "No." she said perpetually. When he asked why, she said: "Because you might chop me up in a million pieces and throw me in the East River." He replied, "No-- I'd only chop you up into three pieces.")

Spoooooooky.

PS Afterward at a restaurant some asshole construction worker sat next to me, got absolutely in my face and wouldn't stop hitting on me no matter what I said.

"It's because I'm black, isn't it?" he asked.

I gave him a withering look. He was undeterred.

"You got a boyfriend?" he asked. He was loathsome. I imagined cutting his tongue out with a scalpel and rubbing his fat, ugly face in his own blood.

"Do *YOU* have a boyfriend?" I asked in return, wishing someone would come and shoot him nobly on my behalf. Nobody did, so I left, as he unleashed a loud torrent of profanity and insults so disgusting everyone turned around to look. Awesome.

I'm so full of anger right now. Recounting the experiences make me feel that I was genuinely abused, and that I hate life. At least I can be grateful enough to say this is the first encounter I've had with such an awful stranger since I moved to New York two years ago.

PS2 I still haven't gotten a new phone. I don't care anymore. I don't want to talk to anyone right now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Exotic



Random thoughts:

1.) I'm not an exotic dancer. My dancing is extremely conventional-- I just do it semi-nude.

2.) I will not subject anyone to the fascism of my expectations.

3.) I am completely content.

4.) Among the many types of lawyers I have met in the past couple of years, I find I have the most rapport with litigators. They are really ostentatious and usually have a creative streak a mile wide, even if it is generally of the jazz and Miro-loving variety I never do understand.

5.) I want this adorable pomeranian puppy I encountered in a pet store near Union Square. One nearly identical to it will do in absentia.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fattened Tentacle's Grasp

Anthony was glad he wasn't going to work on his book. The notion of
sitting down and conjuring up, not only words in which to clothe
thoughts but thoughts worthy of being clothed--the whole thing was
absurdly beyond his desires.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Beautiful and Damned"

Yesterday I decided to absolutely wallow in indolence in hopes of tiring of it as quickly as possible. I told myself I didn't need to write anything, ever again, hoping that some noble instinct in me would rebel against such wasteful drivel, break through my facade of indifference and spur me to write, after all. I was surprised that such a tactic did indeed, almost immediately (well, say after 7 hours) enable me to wriggle out of sloth's fattened tentacle's grasp and begin a short story. SIGH. Well, finally! My cup runneth over with gratitude.

Tonight I have to work at the strip club from 5-1, and it's raining AGAIN! The amount of rain we've been getting lately is really disheartening for those of us who depend on clear weather to attract customers. I really want to ditch work, but I need to earn some money this week-- Tuesday was awful, and I only worked one day last week, so I can't justify staying home again. I'm beginning to resist going in to work every day now. Well, until I attract a new source of income, I will stick with stripping rather than be unemployed.

Ah, well, I'm so grateful that I began a promising bit of writing that I will try not to let my other occupation get me down. I will make it as fun and profitable for myself as possible, and look forward to finishing my story this weekend.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dreams

Last night I had a dream that I had a party, and someone left a small bottle full of LSD one could only use by means of an eyedropper (as actual eyedrops) in my medicine chest as a present.

I shrugged ("I've avoided drugs all this time, and I'm miserable anyway. Oh, why not?" I thought) and saturated an eye with harsh liquid LSD. Very little happened. I kept anxiously waiting for the hallucinations to begin; however, the outlines of a few prosaic domestic objects getting wavy was the only change I noticed. It was a really anticlimactic dream.

Oh, and for posterity it's worth mentioning that I constantly dream of movie theaters. It's been this way for years. Sometimes I just stop by for popcorn. They always let me in to get it. I wonder if it would be like that in the waking world, if I tried?

Lately I have also had quite a few disturbing dreams about my teeth falling out.

PS I really want to have a party. When I tally up all the holidays I was either too ill, depressed or stressed out to celebrate this year (my birthday, Easter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve) I can hardly believe it. So pathetic. Maybe I'll have a belated housewarming or tea party/bunch for my estranged girlfriends. Any excuse to bake pretty little treats will do, honestly, especially now that my house is finally fit to show other people. I find the prospect really exciting, especially if I get to buy a new dress and shoes also.

Acedia

"To the "virtuous" person (by which is meant the person seeking integrity) no value is attached to happiness that involves non-virtuous means. But the solitary by nature of his or her disengagement from the world and society has a very low threshold for non-virtue. Put another way, they have high expectations and standards for what should be considered good and worthy in life."
--Kant on Acedia

Ah, Kant, you sting my sinner's heart with truth.

Acedia, as defined by various dictionaries secular and otherwise I am too indifferent to name specifically, is:

The spiritual paralysis of the powers of the soul.

or:

A state of restlessness and inability either to work or to pray

My sense of equanimity has returned, attended by a listlessness I little thought the happy recession of my misery would occasion. I decided it's probably acedia, really, an amorphous state of spiritual ennui omitted as one of the Seven Deadly Sin after it was apparently judged to be too indistinct to be used as a measuring stick of personal accountability of the same magnitude as the the other watchwords of moral offense that DID make the cut-- sloth, lust, gluttony, etc.

Excellent article about it here: http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/acedia.html

My week off was spent in quiet contemplation, solitude and very pleasant shopping trips that felt a bit like reconnaissance missions until I told myself-- for once-- to stop being so hesitant and buy everything I needed without allowing myself a return trip. My home is finally decorated well enough that its state no longer preys upon my mind. I am satisfied with it for now, FINALLY.

Yesterday I went to the annual Renegade Craft Fair in McCarren Park, and bought my little brother another Squidfire shirt (I have a bunch and buy them for him regularly as well):


http://www.squidfire.com/

I'm going to start laying aside little presents for his visit. I needed this time off to regroup so that I can really work for the next few weeks-- I don't want to do so after he arrives. I'm not sure how to time my plastic surgery yet... guess I'll figure that out when I have the last little bit of money for it saved. No stripping allowed when he is in the picture, that's for sure.

PS Have not checked my voicemail or texts in about 10 days. I'll fax my phone replacement form to the insurance company tomorrow morning and finally get a new phone-- I'm starting to actually miss chatting with people. Well, my brother, anyway.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Should Do the Hunting

The other day at Tryst I had a conversation about love with Rachel, a brunette Russian girl with porcelain skin and lush curves. Her flesh seems as fertile as a newly ploughed and loamy field, and she looks dewy- sweet as a girl her age (20) ought to, although young strippers who actually look youthful are quite rare, drugs, stress etc. being factors.

Our conversation took place at the bar stage in the front of the club, as she shifted listlessly from one foot to the other and gripped the pole in the center for support.

(I swear, I must be one of the only women who even bothers to dance at the bar-- everyone else either stands or does the least energetic little shake imaginable.)

I sat in the plush red chair at the foot of the little stage and nodded up at her as we spoke of her probable move to the West Coast.

"My boyfriend is my equal in everything. But if I move to California, he won't follow me. I would follow him to the ends of the Earth! What is wrong with some men, to let the girl they say they love get away so easily always, not even to trying..."

Her English is expressive, if not always grammatically correct.

"I know exactly what you mean," I said. "If you were my girlfriend I'd camp out on your doorstep if you ever threatened to leave me."

"Thank you! I'd do same for you! But if a girl does it, it just looks silly. Makes me wish I was a boy! I should do the hunting in relationship, but it doesn't pay off," she sighed.

Sometimes it's hard to hold off really going after a man one wants. Fighting back the impulse used to keep me up at night, up until a few years ago when I realized no man likes it a bit, and was ever after able to largely let it go.

PS On the walk to work yesterday I ran into a dj friend I haven't seen in a few years. Although we once knew one another fairly well, he didn't even recognize me at first glance. I can't really blame him-- I've lost 25 lbs, had a nose job, grown out my hair, stopped dying it black and gotten it straightened since last we met. However, *he* looked exactly the same, which is to say handsome, charming, and glowing with health. I used to have quite a crush on him, in fact, although I felt only friendliness toward him this time around. Crush or no, I missed that guy-- he's a genius musician and a true gentleman as well. It was nice to hug him and once again see the way his brown eyes light up the way they always do when he talks about his music. He told me his studio is in my neighborhood...

I've known him since I was practically a kid. I wonder what he would say if I told him I'm stripping?

Who cares, I guess.

"What are you doing over here?" he asked, for few bohemian types of our sort hang out in Tribeca aimlessly (he was going to the bank).

"Walking down the street," I shrugged.

I should have said:

"Eating the fruit of forbidden knowledge. It's my thing right now."

It would have been more honest.

PS 2 Tonight I watched some anime and found myself sighing wistfully at the appealing romantic silliness of it.

dialogue sample:

"All you need to do is shut up and be loved by only one person, me."

I wanna say that to someone someday, but I'm not enough of a sociopath. The only boundaries I don't respect are my own.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It Only Takes One

I'm psyching myself up to get ready for another day shift at the strip club, but it's not easy. Luckily, after today I have arranged to take the rest of the week off. I need seven days of peace and quiet so badly I could scream. I hear the morning rain pattering against my window, which means business will probably be slow. But, as a fellow dancer told me the other day:

"It only takes one."

Which is to say it only takes one man with money to make one's day or week profitable. My ideal sort of customer is interesting as well as generous-- hopefully such a person such will stop in today.

A thought occurred to me just before falling sleep last night:

Service to idealism is a fountain of youth; service to materialism is a sepulcher of death.

I'll spend the next 30 minutes in meditation, then set off to expose myself.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shopping/Perfect Strangers



Even though I feel like the above Christian Krohg painting, I went shopping again today.

Looking at the various strangers waiting with me in the Essex station, I thought:

"I love you all. Bless you."

Sometimes it's so easy to love strangers. From afar (in terms of familiarity, not proximity), humans seem so vulnerable, with unmistakable insecurities no different from one's own. However, this doesn't mean they are really flawed. Nobody is less than whole, I believe-- it's only our observing ego and limited physical senses that falsely deem them so.

In comparison to the often-judgemental (despite my best efforts) manner in which I relate privately to others of my acquaintance, the way I view people I don't know is often ideal-- they are, in my estimation, perfect strangers. After hello it's all downhill, I usually find, but before then!-- each person is an unbroken vista of perfection and possibility. That familiarity breeds contempt is an unfortunate notion many have expressed before me, yet I still wish-- foolishly, perhaps-- that nobody ever felt so.

Anyway, although I am assiduously saving money for plastic surgery, apparently my need to buy home decor trumps all. I am so happy to be nearing the finish line in terms of making my house a lovely little nest that I just can't bear to stop now. Also, since I spend so much time in my house-- especially my bed-- the half-finished state of my surroundings is beginning to drive me mad. So. If my nip and tuck is delayed by a couple of weeks, so be it.

From my favorite Indian curio store on Second Avenue I bought a pretty cotton bedspread and a white, wicker-trimmed mirror missing half its curlicues (it wanted to come home with me, what can I say?) and, by a really Herculanean effort, managed to shlep the heavy thing all by myself from the LES to my home in Brooklyn. I suppose I could have gone with a friend or date, but I didn't want to see anyone. At all. I'd rather just take care of everything by myself right now.

Tomorrow I'm going back to that store to pick up a few pillow shams and some fabric for my bedroom wall. I need two goes at everything in life, it seems, including shopping excursions. I love to haggle with the proprietors of the store. It's so fun, in fact, that I'll be happy to do it for the second day in a row.

My body is starting to go limp now and then in the afternoons, especially if I leave my house. I feel faint and dizzy often. Lately my ankle sort of dips mysteriously and dangerously now and then when I dance. This week I almost lost my balance twice. If this is the onset of cataplexy, as I think it may be, I am in big trouble.

That's ok.

I have few ambitions left to be thwarted.

Is this despair or the inevitable malaise of maturity?

Actually I think malaise is totally avoidable, and the reality of the situation is I'm very ungrateful, and feeling the well-deserved negative affects of refusing to recognize my blessings.

"Have a good day, sweetie!" says the stranger as he exits the train.

"You made me joyful," the man writes in his email.

"I miss you so much." another man says via text.

I respond to none of them, though I am lonely, lonely, lonely.

So much adoration, yet they all run away when I don't have sex with them. For me, romance seems like one big exercise in futility, so I will be a really good hermit instead. At least I know I can excel in that capacity.

Locked Out

When we locked up the house at night,
We always locked the flowers outside
And cut them off from window light...
The flowers were out there with the thieves.
--Robert Frost

Friday night I practically kicked down my own front door trying to get my downstairs neighbors to hear me and let me in. It seems my keys fell out of my pocket at work, unbeknownst to me until I arrived home, upon which I proceeded to pound and then kick the door, trying to make enough racket to be heard.

I've rarely felt so pathetic. There's something about making an extraordinary effort to be let into one's own residence that makes one feel like a beggar-- as though the primary comfort and security of hearth and home were suspect of being as capable of cupidity and caprice as a lover of the inconstant sort...

This doesn't surprise me. I feel so separated from love, God, other people, my own emotions, my family-- life itself, really-- that the door churlishly deciding (I'm convinced!) to play its part in the latest miserable tableau on the stage of my life is far from shocking.

When paradise within is a locked gate, surely one's own terrestrial front door following suit is only natural. I suppose I shall awaken tomorrow to find my bed has collapsed. "No rest for the wicked" and all that...

Eventually I was let in by Senora Maria, the squat, redheaded mother of my close friend who owns the house and rents it to both of us. Her shrill voice generally annoys me greatly, as does the way she inevitably refers my very-occasional queries as a matter of course to my friend, never mentioned by name, but called simply and with weirdly smirking pride,"My son" (She's from Peru, and still definitely subscribes to its patriarchal belief system) but I still felt quite badly about scaring her by kicking so hard at the door that she had fear in her eyes when she opened it.

After all, the prospect of forced entry is enough to give one a heart attack--
ESPECIALLY in this scary part of the hood at night. Ah, Bushwick.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Block

I polled a friend of mine who is devoted and admirably focused on his stand-up comedy career abut my own inability to write anything but this blog lately.

We discussed it via IM:

him: It's funny-- right before I start writing stuff I get bored with my own act and start not doing so well. There's this subconscious block, but I work though it and make something new. I think you're going through the same thing, and will come out of it the same way.

me: Could be. The thunderheads loom ominously, the rain comes down, and then the sun shines and one can make hay as diligently as before.

him: Is that a Bible verse?

me: Nooo I just made it up.

him: You should've written the Bible. Maybe in a past life you did, and now you feel like nothing can live up to that. Sorry, I've been getting into Carl Jung lately.

He's a very spiritual person. I'm very happy we're friends.

Everything Is Easy



Thanks for the reminder, Derek Erdman.

I miss living next door to you and your gallery/studio in Chicago.

Bye Bye Megan/Sanctified Joy vs Carnal Knowledge

"People are endlessly making up fictions... implying that the whole of nature is as crazy as they are."
-- Spinoza, "Treatise on Theology and Politics"

"Oh, how beautiful has your harlot been... Green was grass, and fresh was the flower, the bay tree spread itself, and the hawthorn, but the time is coming of fading; the flower will fade, and the grass will wither, and the whoredom and the enchanter must come to judgment."
--George Fox

I've been reading the doctrinal books of George Fox, who founded the Quaker religion. I want to go to a Quaker service, which is to say I want to sit in a room with other Christians and be quiet.

Megan moved back to Utah today. Earlier, she gave me a few things of hers, including this bamboo plant, which I like very much:



Before she left, she and I discussed being flush with spring fever, and how we have both been struggling not to pounce on cute boys on the subway, etc. lately. My sleep disorder has been making day to day living a challenge the last couple of days, but even severe exhaustion doesn't prevent me from imagining being entwined with a beautiful stranger I've yet to meet, his silken skin beneath my fingertips, biting my lip as he slips my ankles over his shoulders... sigh.

After my date with that Marine last weekend, I felt a few delayed ripples of lust wash over me while riding the J Train home. I shook my head and tried to distract myself with other random thoughts, which worked. After awhile, that is.

I thought about finding a date for this weekend in a normal way (ie not at the strip club), but I can't face the reality of dating at all. When I think about how much I dislike the way I look and how pointless my recent forays into intimacy have been, the daunting thought of trying again stops me in my tracks. In fact, I reject myself outright in advance, and do not care to involve another party in agreement, nor, conversely, dispute someone with a dissenting opinion of my looks.

In fact, I suppose I really shouldn't date till after I get my last little bit of surgery. Or maybe ever again. Nothing lasting or worthwhile ever seems to come of it, after all, and I hate wasting my time or anyone else's.

The one thing that makes me question really giving up the pursuit of a romantic relationship entirely and forever, is that I have a resource at hand, namely my young body, which is, except at work, being completely wasted-- in its prime of potency and ability to give pleasure, no less. I hate to squander the ability to love and satisfy a partner on a physical level, though it would be a pointless endeavor if said enjoyment stemmed from the purely sensual variety of love, rather than the "sanctified joy" that has always been my idea of heavenly sexual union. Lord knows I don't need to wrack up any more carnal knowledge, thank you very much.

And yet, here I am, a virgin, and so sick of talking about it as well as my career as a stripper that I bet I'll spend the weekend reading the Bible and buying some new shoes with lucite heels for work instead of going out, even with a friend...

Stripping is starting to absolutely overwhelm me. I feel as though I'm drowning.I'm going to take next week off if humanly possible. I need to think. I need to pray. I need to get away from that strip club for a minute.

PS Tonight I'm sad. I feel overwhelmed and completely cut off from reality, whatever that means. I'm lonely, but not in the way the presence of another human being can assuage or even touch. Faith and I also seem to have parted ways for the evening, but I cannot mourn our separation because I do not care enough to do so. In short, nothing matters...

PS 2 I wish I had someone-- father, mother, husband, etc. to take care of me. My friendships are wonderful, but they are generally not familial, and family is what I want so much right now. I could cry, I feel so separated from any sort of unconditional love. I feel pitifully abandoned, even as I acknowledge that my emotional state of starvation is self-imposed.

I must not be giving love. Otherwise it would flow to me in return. Although I know this misery is but a shallow fiction written in an artfully shaky hand by my own overly dramatic imagination, I can't seem to avoid believing in it for now.

I am so very unhappy I don't even know what to do. If I could just wake up I'm sure I could figure something out, but I can't.

I am so tired I can barely lift my head from the pillow to get up and turn off the light...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Civic Duty

"I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you. "
--Walt Whitman *

Interestingly enough, as soon as I began writing and thinking quite a bit about Jonathan Knight in his unbearably handsome and sensitive youth, I randomly met a tall, sweet, 21-year old Marine who looks quite a bit like him, although his skin is slightly darker-- a luscious combination of honey and olives. Like myself, said Marine (let's call him Alessandro) is also from Chicago, with grandparents who emigrated from Italy. He was here in NY for Fleet Week, aptly named because he is due back in North Carolina by the 28th...

On Saturday night we spent the most sweetly romantic four or five hours I have, perhaps, ever shared with another human being, appreciated by me even more because he risked quite a lot of punishment to sneak off and be (relatively) alone with me (it is mandatory for Marines to travel in groups of no less than four). Unfortunately, due to other restrictions he had to stay near the Times Square area, but we sat quietly together and held hands in Bryant Park, ate Korean barbecue, and went to my favorite candy shop. He utterly refused to eat anything there. Barring the times when my brother and his friends (who are professional athletes) were in training for a big competition, I have rarely been in the presence of another human being in such sparkling good health, and so disciplined in terms of his physical well-being. He was also innocent and sweet-- even angelic and ethereal, despite his two long tours of Iraq.

Indeed, I never met a person who was so tabula rasa. I felt I had nothing to fear from him, ulterior motive-wise. We were simply attracted to one another and feeling the romance of spring stirring in our young hearts. It was delicious.

Upon leaving Bryant Park we passed the building which clandestinely houses the old dungeon where I used to work I saw a zaftig girl with punk-rock highlights coming down the stairs. It was very obvious to me what she was, although I didn't know her personally. I paused, smiling, and told him to look at her as she passed.

"She's a dominatrix." I said, and explained my six month stint as a domme. When I shared some of the gory details of the medical torture sessions I had often conducted, he replied:

"I suppose you wouldn't have much trouble killing someone, then."

"No." I admitted, remembering the blood that had spattered my vinyl naughty nurse's outfit and the rush of dopamine I'd often felt pulling large-gauge needles out of a willing victim's flesh.

However, to satisfy my conscience, I added:

"Although it would have to be in the name of a worthy cause, not that I can think of one..."

"It's the same for me. I don't enjoy killing, but I'm not afraid to do it in the name of the greater good." he said without bravado. He'd put a bayonet through someone's throat before, he then mentioned in passing.

It's a funny thing. I do not believe in war, or murder, yet I have joyfully engaged in many acts of violence. Really, all such acts are equal in concept; the only difference is in the degree of expression. So who am I to judge a Marine, or any other soldier, for the sin of murder? Perhaps I am little better, though I fancy myself to be so because I made such choices at my own discretion, rather than at the behest of a commanding officer.

Outwardly angelic, yet both capable of bloody deeds, we had so much common, did Alessandro and I. I suppose it's a far from unheard-of combination of traits, although I rarely seem to encounter it in a man.

"Why did you join the Marines?" I asked him, suddenly curious.

"My mother has an incurable disease. So I wanted to fight alongside her..." he answered. My heart stirred. What a sweetheart.

"Why do so many men in the military get married at such a young age?" I wanted to know next.

"I'm not sure. It's so difficult to see your girlfriend any other way, sometimes the only way to maintain a relationship is getting married. And some guys do it for the bump in pay, although I can't imagine making a promise that big for a reason like that."

I hugged him about a dozen times for that one.

He told me when he's out of the Marines, he expects to join the SWAT team in Chicago, for he's never been "book smart" and doesn't feel college is right for him.

We met up with a warm acquaintance of mine to watch the Matt Serra/Matt Hughes UFC fight at the Playwright's Tavern in Times Square. I was introduced to his girlfriend, who seemed nice. This acquaintance is a brilliant actor, comedian and improviser I'd like to know better, although I felt a little strange when, after we parted so I could walk my date back to his friends, thereby to depart for their ship, I received a text, referencing my virginity, that said:

"For God's sake, don't lose it to a serviceman." which I thought was funny at first, if only it hadn't been eventually followed, despite my lack of response, by:

"I'm serious. Kiss him if you need to but don't be silly."

Wow. How weird and bossy!!! Not even a best friend would send me something like that. I wondered if he was being overprotective or had some other motivation. I never understand men.

Anyway, I walked my Marine down seven crowded, glittering, neon-lit blocks back to his meet-up spot, parting in front of the subway with an unavoidable sense of finality that indicated the Universe had somehow declared we wouldn't see one another again in New York, despite his most ardent wishes or mine. A little girl snuggled in the arms of her father passed by as we began our good-byes.

"She looks so sleepy and adorable!" I gushed.

"Like someone else I know" he said, surrounding me protectively in his strong arms. I was so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude at having met him that I kissed him a hundred times or so and bounced down the subway stairs, sending him off with a wave and, characteristic of me, no backward glances.

He couldn't get liberty to spend any more time hanging out over the holiday weekend, but I did get a text that said:

"On a serious note, I think I may be having serious feelings for you".

SERIOUS.

He hardly ever even sees women, so I can't take it to heart. The life of an active-duty Marine is often lonely, and I'm sure I could have been almost anyone...

I believe we'll keep in touch, but I don't think we're meant to settle down together, although having an unbelievably handsome and loving husband who is gone for all but major holidays would be a perfect arrangement for me.

Ciao, Alessandro... maybe I'll see you in Chicago on the Fourth of July.

PS I'm convinced we had the most innocent date a Marine and stripper ever had. Ever.

PS2 He'll be off to Afghanistan by the end of the year. I hope he comes back.

* This quote seems kind of mean, but I'm feeling very unattached personally toward all men just now. In my mind they are turning from a seething, unmanageable, problematic mass into a harmless collective vessel for experiments of Virtue and experience.

So It Goes

Whoever showed too much fight, and denied her lover,
He held her clasped high to his loving heart,
And said to her: ‘Why mar your tender cheeks with tears?
As your father to your mother, I’ll be to you.’

She, who is virgin, who hates Cupid’s darts,
Gives people many wounds, has many to give.
-- Ovid, "The Art of Love"

Spring is in the air, and, while I am aware this is a wonderful time to fall in love, with my annual round of April/May romantic try/fails now ostensibly behind me, I am settling in for another go at being creatively productive instead. I know the shape of my ideal relationship, and since it is not to be found at present, I shall therefore set my hand to the plough artistically, and be very grateful I have life and energy enough to share my love in another form.

The boon of maturity is perspective with neither rancor (which is, as Ortega y Gasset says, "An outpouring of a feeling of inferiority") nor regret.

Example:

In a very pleasant catch-as-catch can sort of way, I was dating a funny, broad, stunningly honest, good-natured person for a month and a half or so until, riding with him on the subway Sunday night, I realized, in a flash of insight, that it probably just isn't going to work out for the following reasons:

1.) The only relationship talk we ever had was sparked by his declaration that he "Didn't want anything serious". I said that was fine, no harm done, but that we'd never see one another again, since that's not what I need (no rush of course, but eventually an exclusive relationship is what I want), upon which he took what he said back. The whole thing made me feel depressed. "I'd like to keep sleeping with other women" is not the ideal sentiment I'd like to hear from a man when he is snuggling in my bed with me. I don't say,"No, no, no" to dozens of men a week (a habit formed long before I worked in the sex industry) to throw away my love and attention on a man who is still definitely, actively, enthusiastically weighing his other sexual options. I know it's sometimes difficult to be with me, considering my refusal to have sex. That's why my partner has to be sure of his feelings. Otherwise it's just a mutual waste of time, and I refuse to knowingly squander time or any other valuable thing. It seems sinful.

2.) His friends came first, in terms of resources and consideration. I would have been satisfied with a 60-40 split for the present, considering there are more of them than me, and they're already proven to be loyal and supportive, whereas any newcomer (namely me) is inevitably on probation for quite awhile. However, that wasn't the case at all. I certainly gave him as much consideration as my other friends and dates, never less. This one stings, I must admit-- it's a deep dig that affects a soulful part of my being, rather than my superficial ego. I guess it comes down to feeling, subconsciously, "You're not as important to me as the other people I like." Which manifested in practical terms as him saying, ""I have to save money, because my friends are coming to town next week." (meaning: so of course I'm not spending any on you, although, of course, it could be any resource, you come last, this is the precedent, and I'm setting it). Really? Red flag, full stop, very hurtful, unacceptable. I've re-arranged my whole schedule around him many times, and used my very last bit of energy to make our time together sweet for him. Maybe I didn't always succeed, but I did try.

3.) He will let me go without a bit of protest, I feel sure, even though he knows where I live and everything.

4.) I'm sure I did more things to make it an impossible situation also, starting with ever believing I am capable of attracting a loving relationship while I'm stripping.

I sound like a whiner (we had a nice time together, it wasn't forever, but what is? the end), so I'm cutting myself off, and devoting the rest of my morning to baking cupcakes and hanging pictures in my apartment. Some of them are sort of heavy, but I'll surely manage. After all, neither love nor manual labor universally require a partner in crime. As surely as a person can harmonize with the infinite, expansive joy that is true love-- with or without another human being-- so can a single girl make her home beautiful solely with her own capable hands if she so desires.

As Vonnegut said, "So it goes"...

PS Back to the strip club tomorrow. I don't want to go!

PS2 I already hung these shelves:



PS 3 Re-reading the state of affairs with this boy, I am shocked I let things go this far. I really seem like a sucker, ah well, live and learn.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hair



Goodbye (for now), track weave...

PS When my extensions were clipped off and my hair was unbraided, I couldn't stop scratching my long-hidden scalp. The sensation was so unbelievably wonderful I practically purred like a cat. It's a shame I don't have a boyfriend because my hair can finally be pulled without reservation again.

PS 2 Although I have quite a backlog of significant (to me) experiences from the last couple of weeks I really ought to write about, I believe I'll save all that till tomorrow. Or another day.

PS3 I wonder if my earnings will take a dive now that my hair is so much shorter. Ah, stripping...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jonathan Knight/Dead Fathers



When I was a child I used to have a huge crush on Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block. I admitted this to no one, of course. Tellingly, the only figures in popular culture I would openly cop to admiring/adoring were:

1.) Shirley Temple
2.) General Patton
3.) Punky Brewster
4.) Bret Hart
5.) Saint Bernadette

About eight years ago I saw Mssr. Knight on Oprah Winfrey, having a panic attack and explaining his lifelong struggle with stage fright, depression, etc. I fell in love all over again. He is precisely the neurotic flavor of man I find most fascinating: talented, attractive and totally at the mercy of his fluctuating, punishingly intense emotions. On some instinctive level I probably recognized his issues all along, and, indeed, liked him primarily because of them; after all, I tend to be attracted to artistic people with depression/mood disorder issues as significant and longstanding as mine, even on a seemingly superficial celebrity crush level.



So. Lately I've been wearing this red enamel heart-charm necklace with Jon Knight's name emblazoned on it (bought on Ebay 5 years ago). Almost nobody notices. Even when I point it out, no one seems to care, sadly. I really want to see New Kids on the Block in concert. However, I don't have a single friend or acquaintance here in New York who would be super jazzed over the prospect of going with me. Everyone I know here has painfully good taste. Booooring. I need to make a new friend who shares some of the same guilty pleasures I do... come one, now, we can't go to Gemma and Film Forum all the time!

Today a repeat customer with red hair and freckles took me to the champagne lounge for a couple of hours. He recommended some P.G. Wodehouse works I always meant to read but never got around to checking out. Then he told me his father died Monday. It seemed sad. He didn't talk much about it, but apparently they were close.

"Tell me something good," he whispered in my ear.

After a moment's pause, I said:

"You are obviously a kind-hearted person, without any karmic roadblocks or sharp edges. I can tell you treat people well, and that means, without a doubt, you will receive the treatment same in return. You're going through a sad but very inevitable human experience right now, but I truly foresee a very happy life for you otherwise."

This seemed to satisfy him. I liked him when I met him the week before, and I liked him all the more after he spent a thousand dollars on me. Being in the prolonged presence of his grief, however, was not without its after-effects. A palpable veil of misery had been draped over me physically and emotionally. I felt as though I'd absorbed some of it by osmosis. The unpleasant sensation lingered the rest of the evening, but I shook it off by the time I stepped off the train back at home in Brooklyn.

Sometimes I wish I made less of a sincere effort to connect with customers on a genuine level, but it's my inevitable M.O. at the strip club or anywhere else.

I'm such a Pisces...

My own estranged father's last act after getting diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor (he was dead within a month of finding out about it, although the tumor had, in all probability, been growing clandestinely/insidiously in his brain for more than a decade) was to cut my brother and I out of his will and donate his body to medical science. My mother maintains that his dying acts simply proved the tumor made him insane. I think it just affirmed that he was an asshole...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Show, Not Quite

"An American woman who respects herself," said Mrs. Westgate, turning to Beaumont with her bright expository air, "must buy something every day of her life."
-- Henry James, "An International Affair"

This morning, for the first time in over a week, I truly woke up-- felt the wet carpet of torpor roll back and could once again embrace the prospect of living with a sense of renewed vigor, joy and energy.

The first order of business was to get my track weave washed and set. Sadly, I ended up spending twice as long as usual-- over two hours!-- in the local Dominican beauty shop due to length of time it took to dry out the moisture trapped in my too-thick under-braiding (note to self, never go to that African hair-braiding salon for extensions again). The braids under my weave are still a little wet, in fact, and smelling musty. Nasty-- I can't wait till after the holiday to get this weave taken out. I want to get the last bit of Barbarella mileage out of it this week before I go back to having short hair for a bit, though. It's good for business, if not my peace of mind. Or scalp.

My long salon delay ensured that, since I was more than an hour late, I had to pay the same 50 dollar fine at work as if I was a total no-show. Seems pretty unfair, but every rule for dancers is ultimately made for the benefit of the club, and they rarely cut anyone slack whatsoever. I took the train into Manhattan to explain my salon issue to the manager and pay it in person as well as to see if it was worth my while to stay and dance that day, fine or no. However, I just couldn't bear to get dressed and finish my shift, somehow. Instead, I scheduled myself to work the next three days in a row, sigh. I really made a particular effort to set things straight and be a responsible employee, but it's a losing battle when nobody ever believes anything one says, and almost everybody in a managerial position is a fucking bully, jerk or totally forgetful. NO SUPERVISOR I'VE EVER MET IN THIS INDUSTRY IS NICE AFTER ONE'S FIRST WEEK. EVER.

Note: this is the first time I've ever been late for work at Tryst and I didn't even get one iota of a break, nor did I expect one. Treating employees as disposable, to put it mildly, is S.O.P. in every strip club I've ever known.

Afterward, blinking on the sidewalk outside the club, and as happy as a dove who had flown her cage, I sat in the shady, mossy graveyard at nearby St. Paul's for a little while, ignoring Ground Zero a few hundred feet away as well as every other thing that reminded me that I was in the middle of an enormous city or ever had to work again.

Then I took a meandering walk down Broadway, ending up not quite by chance in one of my favorite stores, the mega-colorful French novelty shop, Pylones, and bought a few little things for myself:



These little plates are so cute I immediately felt compelled to have a romantic/fun picnic somewhere with a friend/date. It didn't happen. Day jobs make spontaneous daytime jaunts difficult for most other people I know. Booooooo. Plus my cell phone is really iffy right now, and I'm kind of loath to get a new one just yet. I like the idea of being progressively incommunicado, at least for awhile...

When I finally got home I called to book a plastic surgery consultation for next week... I can't wait to finish saving up for these little cosmetic procedures and get them over with so I can treat myself to shopping excursions more often, hopfully with my little brother by my side. Although I suppose I'll have to stop working when he's around, so money might be a problem then, sigh.

I was so happy not to go to work today my heart was absolutely singing. Maybe this means I'm in the wrong line of employment?

What else should I do with myself, though? Be my own housewife? Run away to Alaska? Marry for money? My rent is only 400 dollars a month, though, better marry for love. Eventually. Or never?

Who knows, maybe I'll die tomorrow.

Ah, I want to go on a picnic so badly right now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shelves



I hung these shelves with tiny nails today. I wonder if they'll hold?

I may come back from stripping tomorrow night to find them on the floor.

As pants the hart for cooling streams...

"My little studio has never been profaned by superficial, feverish, mercenary work. It’s a temple of labour, but of leisure! Art is long. If we work for ourselves, of course we must hurry. If we work for her, we must often pause. She can wait!"
-- Henry James, "The Madonna of the Future"

Since I am working for Art and not myself I shall pause objectively and with good humor, trusting in my Muse's eventual return, rather than inwardly launch invectives of bitter self-reproach (today, at least).

I have noticed this capacity for objective thinking and prudent, pruned-in action emerges in me only when my emotions and physical impulses are at a very low ebb.

Example: I read 3 of the driest Henry James novels by 10 am today, and have no desire whatsoever to jog.

Other objective thoughts:

I have noticed that every time I date someone who captivates me physically, the focus and ardent attention I usually reserve for quiet union with the Divine seems to divert itself into entirely sensual channels upon which I concentrate instead.

Psalm 42 says:

"As pants the hart for cooling streams
When heated in the chase,
So longs my soul, O God, for thee,
And thy refreshing grace..."

Yet how easily does my mind substitute an inward-seeking "heated in the chase" longing for God with an outward-searching one for pleasure with Man!

Even so, I refuse to believe any interaction rooted in true affection (on my end, at least, I can confirm) is otherwise than blessed by, as well as the essence of, true Divinity.

PS It was my little brother's birthday yesterday. He is now 15. I hope to see his dear little self very soon, and figure out some way to do it which does not involve him finding out I'm an "Off-Broadway dancer for matinee shows" as a friend recently and politely termed my occupation.

PS 2 I just realized, with the exception of art modeling, which I did for 7 years, most of my other jobs have all lasted almost precisely 6 months apiece. I wonder if this will hold true for dancing?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

So AMERICAN

"We may take the stories least like poetry as our guide to the truth"
-- Plutarch, "Parallel Lives"

The romance of poetry holds neither appeal nor ring of truth for me in these times of exhaustion. I long for plain words, comfort food, also to give and receive service impersonally and efficiently.

In fact, all I wanted/was able to do today (so far) was:

Read short stories as well as Ovid and Plutarch, clean my house, eat junk food and sleep. Again.



Around 3, feeling as gray and gloomy as the overcast sky, I shuffled slowly down the 2-block stretch of Broadway that is my particular stomping grounds for groceries and treats here in Brooklyn and bought myself a bag of vegan Doritos. A friend told me about them recently-- a new flavor blissfully produced sans milk. Since I haven't had Doritos in 14 years being able to eat them again is quite a treat-- it's a repeat of the joy I experienced a few months ago, when another helpful companion told me Oreos are now vegan also, and I devoured them on a daily basis, dunked in soy milk, for weeks. These discoveries neither aid me in my eternal quest to lose weight nor curb my bouts of binge-eating, but whatevs.

Somehow, eating this kind of food makes me feel so AMERICAN:

PS I smooshed an avocado as dip, after waking up this morning with an unbearable craving for one. The cause was a vivid dream I had last night, the gist of which involved a fellow dancer I know, recently come back to Tryst after a month in Brazil, lavishly rubbing my scalp with "avos", which may or may not be the word for avocados in Portuguese as well as Spanish. That's the word she used in my dream, anyway.

In reality, it would take more than an avocado to fix my hair woes. If my hair were a person, I'd drop 'bows on him/her. My track weave, which has undoubtedly been good for business because, surprise surprise, men generally like long hair better than short hair on strippers, has become an enormous source of annoyance. No matter how much I wash, dry and style my extensions, the sad truth is they have begun to smell musty and look ratty. Gross.

It makes me want to shave my head, give up trying to be "attractive" and get me to a nunnery.

I hate my fucking hair. 600 dollars and counting since late February and it still sucks.

PS The "Tin House" volume I'm reading was given to me by the Asian lawyer on our last date aka his birthday. That night, trumping my efforts at gift-giving (cookies I baked myself, fish I drew myself, a card, etc.) he gave *me* dozens of expensive presents, with the promise of a puppy the next day, but, truly, as wonderful as getting to know him was, it had to end. I was just not attracted to him, and he deserves a fabulous relationship with a loving woman who wants to be with him for all the right reasons. So I figured I'd just remove myself from the picture so she could show up in his life that much sooner-- his last couple of emails are still unanswered in my mailbox, ah well. God bless.

PS 2 Re: me reading a lot of Plutarch and Ovid lately-- I know I'm really in the doldrums when I start resorting to my comforting childhood refuge of snuggling under a blanket in the pouring rain and reading Greek/Roman mythology/history. When I also start making Cream of Wheat I know a sad call to my mother is inevitable. But I shouldn't worry her. I'm just a depressed person sometimes. She can't solve that one for me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Solitude/Sleep Hallucinations/Narcolepsy/Champagne Room

"Dreams are jealous of being remembered; they dissipate instantly and angrily if you try to hold them. When newly awaked from lively dreams, we are so near them, still agitated by them, still in their sphere..."
--Emerson

This week my sleep disorder became almost unbearable. I felt so totally spent I could barely breathe. The advent of spring itself may have triggered it, for in my experience the spring rain is more soporific than any poppy. Dancing so much and dealing with the overload stemming from so much time spent in the ever-chaotic, sexually charged atmosphere of Tryst are also factors. Truly, it seemed my body was worn as thin as ancient, tattered lace, and, in a fit of active self-abandonment, I longed to clandestinely fold myself into a forgotten steamer trunk in our attic, thereafter to enjoy a few dusty decades (at least!) of delicious, sleepy solitude.

In short I wanted to dream and be alone.

Eventually, for good or ill, like a shipwrecked passenger tossed too long on battering waves I simply surrendered, allowing my miserable sense of gravity to sink me like a stone till, translucent with exhaustion, my ghost lay dark fathoms below, on the cold sand with all the other bottom-dwellers unable to get in the swim of life... life which I am nonetheless grateful to possess, in as much as a vessel of water can be said to possess the greater seas..

Though I tried to still my mind and listen to my inner voice, no great inspirations seized me; however, when I meditated with Megan Tuesday night, we both feel strange, helpful forces stirring immediately afterward.

So I've also been having my annual/sometimes-seasonal spate of weird sleep-related hallucinations, which are symptoms of the aforementioned low-grade narcolepsy that is, apparently, my endless cross to bear in this lifetime... what happens is the split second I wake from my dream I retain the image of a figure or object which last appeared in it to such a vivid degree that I believe it actually exists for a moment-- much like the imprint of the sun one gets after a bold, unwise glance skyward on a bright day. Monday night I awakened in alarm, quite sure my dream's star figure-- a strange monsieur (rotund, fatuous-- a plushly outfitted gentleman I felt I had seen in a Monet canvas that probably does not exist who was holding a canary in an ornate cage identical to the ceramic bird my mother sent, which I decided to display in a little metal lantern I bought at Pearl River Market, one of my favorite stores in New York) was in the room with me, demanding a sexual service of some sort I was unwilling to perform.



At least I didn't scream aloud this time, and was fortunately spared, also, the ordeal of waking a boy sharing my bed with my sleep issues, which make me seem insane at times, though I am not. Yet.

Insanity is a family tradition that hits most of my relatives at age 29 or so, after all...

This week I felt, indeed, so worn out and overwhelmed that I could not bear to work at the strip club for the first four days of the week. I decided to call in for a personal day, a first since I started working at Tryst nearly two months ago (the bout of laryngitis that rendered me genuinely unfit for two shifts awhile back was a different matter entirely).

Using manual labor and color therapy-- the only remotely effective measures for managing my narcolepsy of which I am aware, since pills rob me of all my creativity and are therefore off limits-- I painted my home, frustratingly-vexing-to-tape wainscoting and all, for two days straight. By the end of my second 12 hour day I was calling it "The Bataan Death March of painting" to myself, which just proves-- months of regular meditation aside-- that I have an extravagant amount of disgusting self- pity in reserve yet.

After more meditation and prayer I am absolutely sure such unwholesome tendencies/expressions of ego-based sentiment will eventually be shed from me in the manner of, say, toxins held deep in pockets of fatty tissue which, poisonous though they may be, do come to the surface and dissolve after faithful adherence to a fitness regiment.

When I went in Thursday I made a grand total of 75 dollars, due to my 50 dollar fine for skipping work Monday as well as the pouring rain, which always spells a miserable vibe and lack of customers at Tryst. Friday I was also doing poorly until five minutes before my shift was over, upon which a ridiculously drunken heating/air conditioning apprentice who deemed me "way too good-looking and sweet for this place" whisked me up to the champagne room for 3 hours, which meant I made about 750 instead of merely 300 for the day, and therefore the week, not counting that pathetic 75 from the day before.... he told me to get dressed for the last hour and offered to "get me out of this place".

I told him I wanted to be a stripper for a little while longer, but if he wanted to really do me a favor he could buy me a p-o-m-e-r-a-n-i-a-n (spelled for the benefit of the reminder text he was sending himself) puppy in red or blue... however, I doubt he'll be coming anywhere near the club after he sobers up enough to cringe over that 1500 credit card bill...

PS I'm not over it yet. I am spending a large portion of my Saturday afternoon napping, or would be if my downstairs neighbor's banda music wasn't ridiculously loud today.