I counted up the profits for the last couple of weeks of diligent, single-minded labor and laid them in hundred dollar piles on my floor last night:
My goal is to have enough saved for the plastic surgery procedures and veneers I want by June 1st, After that I must plan for my little brother's extended visit, which means getting myself nipped, tucked and reasonably healed before he shows up. It probably means taking a hiatus from dancing, too, which could be a great thing by then, considering I'm getting a little burned out working four long shifts a week, and may be downright crispy a few weeks from now.
Actually, I wonder if I'll finally have the desire to strip out of my system entirely by then. Lord knows I cannot-- seemingly-- be a writer and a stripper at the same time. All of the finer artistic impulses which require me to concentrate for more than an hour have gone by the wayside since I started earning my living selling lap dances in a nightclub. I'm ok with that, because I still enjoy being a stripper, but I will need a free mind and schedule again soon.
PS Sharita, a street-wise veteran stripper who broke up with her boyfriend of six years recently, gave me some sound advice about money and men the other night:
"Don't tell anyone you date you're a dancer right away. And afterward, NEVER give your man ANY of your money. A man who won't treat you on a date because he assumes you have a lot of cash from dancing-- or any other reason-- is not worth your time."
I find her permanently-dilated pupils sad, but she does have a lot of sage insight to share about the perils of stripping.
I do know I have reached a stage in my life that totally precludes me from ever going dutch or picking up the tab for my date. The occasional dessert, cab ride, etc. for which I insist upon paying is a totally different matter, of course, because it's MY initiative, rather than his expectation that dictates my actions. This does not conflict with my feminist sensibilities whatsoever. In my opinion, the fact that I no longer wrangle with my dates to pay my half of the check simply means I've learned how to receive kindness with grace. Although most men I've dated typically spend a couple of hundred dollar per date on me, mas o menos, it's the thought, not the amount that counts.
A couple of months ago I witnessed a pathetic exchange which solidified my disgust for men who expect women to pay for their half of a given date. I was at a cafe in Williamburg, when a boy and girl in some sort of unfortunate relationship began arguing. Shockingly, he began berating her for having to pay for their coffee.
"I bought dinner AND drinks last night," he said, unashamed of his cheapness and horrible manners. He truly thought he had a valid point. It was horrendous.
"What an asshole." I thought at the time, 100% sure he did not love her, and that no man who truly loves his lady as such would ever expect her to pick up the tab, let alone bring it up in public in such a humiliating way.
"The mortgage lender I'm dating won't even let me buy him a bottle of water." I added to myself, sure I had-- at least!-- assurance of his civility, if not his love. Our relationship was brief, but would have been a lot briefer if he had ever suggested I pay for dinner.