Lies

11 Feb

After my second week of dancing, I invested in lucite platforms.  I had been wearing a pair of Steve Maddens to work that, with a substantial platform and five-inch heel, might as well have been stripper shoes.  But I craved a deeper separation between my “real” life and my secret, double one.  It was the only way I could do this and still retain my sanity.  Outside of the club, I wore cotton panties and attended church on Sundays (and tithed $20s men had stuffed in my thong).  Bona fide stripper heels were a pivotal part of the equation.

I found the perfect pair in a sex shop on Christopher Street: every time I took a step, the bases flashed with red light.  “Oh, hell yes,” I told the sales associate after I tried them on.  “I’ll take them.”

“Do you dance?” she asked.

I nodded sheepishly.

“You have a beautiful body,” she murmured approvingly.  I was wearing a short dress, and I noticed with satisfaction the way the six-inch heels strained the muscles in my calves.  I tried to imagine the complete picture, with my face – which, at the moment, was devoid of make-up – painted and my hair – currently scraped back into a ponytail – blown out, teased.

The sales associate was smiling; she must have been able to see it.  “You’re gonna make a lot of money in those shoes.”

* * *

As she had promised, my new shoes made me very popular, both with customers and with the other girls. Men compared them to LA Gears, and I got used to hearing (and laughing uproariously at) the joke, “I had those shoes when I was in grade school!” several times a night. My new shoes were also just ridiculous enough to wink at the ludicrousness of my being an exotic dancer – although I seemed to be the only one who truly grasped the farcical aspect of what I was doing. Every time I worked, I half expected for my sexual inexperience to somehow be discovered and to be thrown out of the club.

“I can ask you at these sorts of places what you’re into – sexually, I mean,” an old man said to me once. He had one of those faces that had probably once been ruggedly handsome but over the past few decades had collapsed in on itself in all the wrong places. His skin was tan and leathery, and coarse gray hair sprouted from his nose and ears, but his eyes – dark brown and parenthesized by deep crinkles – retained a boyishly rogue gleam.

“I like to be fucked doggy-style,” I said matter-of-factly. I took a long sip of wine, allowing the lie I had just confessed – and the straightforward manner in which I had confessed it – to sink in.

The old man grinned, waiting for me to continue.

“I’m also bisexual.” Another lie – but this one, at least, contained a kernel of truth. I had, like most girls, experimented some in college and indulged in a few girl-on-girl make-out sessions, so as usual I embellished my past: “I dated a girl once. She’s gorgeous – half Japanese. I love Asian women. It didn’t work out, but we’re still friends.”

Later, when I danced for him, he refrained from touching me, except to pull back my panties just enough to garner a peek at my (mercifully just-shaved) vagina. It felt like a violation of my privacy – having spent the past few months writhing on men wearing nothing but barely-there underwear, my vagina was literally the only part of my body that had remained uncorrupted by what my college professors would have called the male gaze. I was about to protest when he let go, playfully allowing the band of my panties to snap at my smooth, 22-year-old skin. He smiled at me impishly, and I thought, “Fuck it. At this point, does it even matter?”

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