It is warm and dark, save the disco lights hovering over her bare ass. It feels like an underground tunnel with zero airflow, but it’s okay, because I’m vaping, and I really don’t notice.
She – Melanie, maybe; she looks like a Melanie – is wrapped around a gold pole upside down. Her shoes sparkle from way up there like diamonds. Her left cheek has a crinkle in it, like a dog bit a chunk out of it.
My friend leans over and screams over the music into my ear. “What are you thinking right now?”
“Honestly? I was thinking of writing a book about a strip club.”
He tilts his head back, letting out the first laugh of the night. His girlfriend told me that he felt really awkward about the whole naked-bitches-on-a-stage-thing.
“Are you serious?” he asks me.
“Well, yeah. It would be interesting, no? The drama. The faux camaraderie and the genuine hatred and jealousy. Digging into the psychological conditions of what, exactly, leads a person to decide to take their clothes off on a stage for a living.”
His girlfriend is laughing. It is funny, but I didn’t mean for it to be. I do that all the time.
They lean back in the chairs that probably have jiz embedded in the stitching.
She is laying on the stage, her body bent into an impossible arch. I realize I haven’t worn underwear like that since I was sixteen. It reminds me of the second Anchorman movie. I had been watching it with my friends, laughing at an impossible sex scene. The woman’s big ass, covered by her period-underwear – that was always what my girlfriends and I called it in high school – presses up against the glass and my guy friends laughed, joking at how sexy it was. I remembered looking down, thinking well it ain’t sexy but it sure as hell is comfortable. I know that because it’s what I wear every damn day.
At the club, a man approaches the stage. He has a single dollar in his hand. The girl, sexualized by her own impossibly stringy outfit, crawls to him and spreads her legs out on either side of his head. She accepts the dollar, and crawls back towards the shiny gold pole.
It is the only dollar I have seen her make in the five hours since I arrived.
I watch three of them surround another friend. They speak in a high-pitched manner and laugh dramatically, with their hair flipping to and fro. My companion for the night – a Christian friend of mine who didn’t want to come with us but was alternatively convinced via peer pressure – leans over and whispers in my ear.
“I can hear their IQ through their voice,” he says.
I laugh even louder than they do, even though I don’t mean to. I tell him I feel like an asshole for laughing at that, but it is true. He tells me not to feel bad because he’s the one who said it.
I realize, in that moment, that feminism has done nothing. That Emma Watson and however-many more women and men who have supported the cause of equality have wasted their time, because in the heart of Los Angeles, there are women who are dogs, just begging for a bone. I understand that these women do what they do under their own free will (I think) and that it is legal and that this is a free country, but what I don’t understand is why someone would sacrifice their self-respect and dignity so much for money. I have dug myself so far into a financial hole that I don’t see myself ever getting out, and still, I don’t use my body for money. I could never imagine myself in that position, and I do really wonder what gets them there. College tuition? Supporting their children? Maybe. But as long as clubs like this exist – and I don’t see them going anywhere any time soon, or ever – women will never be treated equally. Not so long as there are women out there who crawl on their hands and knees for one-hundred pennies.
Unless women and men stop looking at each other as a single entity and perceiving each human being as they are: unique. Maybe then, a campaign for quality will reign. Because if it’s still just women and men, I might as well quit my job and crawl on the floor too, because until I’m known as the name my mother gave me and not just some woman like all the other women in the world, I am no different from them. I never will be.
I hate in that moment that feminists have chosen me for my gender. It’s no worse than singling someone out for their race. It’s disgusting, yet everyone I know does it. Including myself.
A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.