Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's a body thing. Part One.

I'm going to address the private show I mentioned in my last couple of posts next time. For now, I wanted to start getting some of how I've been feeling about my training etc into words. I've been preoccupied with the fact that in the next couple of weeks, I'll be finding out whether or not I'm moving on in the fire department's hiring process. Waiting for that phone call has got me thinking pretty heavily about whether or not I'd even make it through recruit school if I got in.

For over a year and a half, I have been beating my body into some semblance of an athlete, pretty much starting from scratch. I've weight-trained, canoed, rowed, stretched, done yoga, jumped rope, and struggled up climbing walls. I bike and (try to) run, indoors and out, climb stairs wearing a weight vest I can only imagine is that uncomfortable because it was designed for male bodies, and did I mention weights?

And in that time I've realized that I am not fucking built for this.

I'm 5'8", and right now, holding steady at 135lbs. I've been more or less trying to gain weight (lean muslce mass is the idea) since I started training, and I've gained 5 lbs and lost a pants size for my efforts. I'm still too freaking small. My bones are narrow, my joints a little delicate. Which leads me to the injuries. Right shoulder (weights), left knee (running), right wrist (rockclimbing). I'm leaving out the damage years of dancing has done to my body, and I'm sure that's not helping. Are any of my injuries completely healed yet? Hell no. Probably because, in between the icing and ibuprofen and PT exercises, I'm still training. If I stop long enough to heal, I'll have lost the strength that I've gained by hurting my body in the first place. Fuck.

Whiny, huh? I just want to admit that I recognize that what I'm trying to accomplish goes against my natural biology to an insane degree. That more than half the time I remain unconvinced that being a firefighter is a realistic goal for myself. Believe me, I realize that my mental block is just as much of a problem as my lack of the appropriate endurance and strength. I'm working on it.

Sure, I passed my recent fire department physical test. That's great. It shows a lot of progress on my part, considering that a year ago, I wouldn't have come close. Well done me. But really? It's embarrassing that passing it was such a joyous thing, such a relief.

That test is nothing compared to the rigors of any decent fire academy. And if I'm hurting now, how will my body hold up through three and a half months (40+ hours a week) of intense physical training? Climbing stairs and lugging hose and throwing 26 ft. ladders and dragging rescue dummies. All while wearing full firefighter gear (stars at around 50 lbs, but goes up to 75 depending on what you're doing). Bascially -- that ten minute test I passed, but over and over and over again. And again. And probably again. I think you're getting the idea.

Obviously, being physically able to perform the tasks of the job is, uh, kind of important. I'd say it's probably the number one requirement. With excellent reason (pulling people out of burning buildings, anyone?). So -- I guess it's just a question of whether or not I can do it.

A lieutenant in the department I'm applying to was talking about the only woman who made it through his recruit class. I guess she was even smaller than me. Her trick?

"Well," he said, grinning, "She just refused to be denied."

Friday, September 28, 2007

The day after.

Hmm.

So yesterday I did my first (likely only?) one-on-one private show. I don’t know if I have the energy to really go into it, but I will say two things. One - as I expected, there was less contact that at the bachelor parties, but it still felt a great deal more intimate. And two - immediately afterwards, I felt exactly the same as after the first bachelor party I worked.

As in:

That was so easy.
Wow.
I can’t believe I made that much money in that short amount of time.
How completely surreal.
And I don’t even feel weird about it.
I feel like I ought to feel like a tramp, but I don’t.
Huh.

Like I said, those were my thoughts immediately after the show was over. On the drive home. Sitting on the couch after I got there. During dinner. And then it starts to sink in.

And identical to the day after my first party is the inner dialogue I’m having today:

You Slut.
I can’t believe you did that.
Easy, huh? Aren’t you a little horrified by how easy it was?
Is this something you actually want to be comfortable with?
What the hell are you doing?

I usually don't give the word ‘slut’ such a negative connotation. At different points in my life, I’ve been happily and openly on the prowl. I'm also surprised by how much I've been judging myself today. Which leads me to a related topic, before I sign off for the night: How these new stripping experiences are affecting my sex life.

Something I realized tonight, after turning down what would have been a good lay -- I can handle feeling like a slut because I’m figuring out my work boundaries, and I can handle feeling like a slut because I’m having fun, casual sex or dating around or whatever. But I cannot deal with both simultaneously. The thought of having casual sex right now makes me want to vomit. Seriously.

And on that note, I’m going to bed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Seven years this month.

Last night I had dreams of dancing on a stage in my shiny black boots. I was naked and arching my back, sticking out my ass and swaying slowly around. I traveled up and down the pole, patent leather gripping the metal. A few men sat quietly in chairs around the small stage. My hands touched the pole, my hair, different parts of my body. I don’t remember lights or music or any other women. At some point a man stood and slipped bills next to my skin while I moved in front of him.

Most stripping dreams I have are full of anxiety. The exaggerated faces of customers, tongues wagging, teeth bared. I’ll dream that I’m at the peepshow and the glass will suddenly be absent. Hands and bodies start pushing in through the windows as I frantically gyrate around the room. In my dream last night, I felt completely at ease. In control. Those men were transfixed by each movement I made. And also unlike most dreams I’ve had about sex work, this one was hot as hell.

I bring this up because I usually dream about work when I’m nervous about something (though the dreams generally reflect how I’m feeling). I’m pretty nervous today. When I first started working bachelor parties two months ago, I was ridiculously nervous. I’d be twitchy and anxious a whole day before. I even lost weight because I was too nervous to eat. I’ve calmed down with some experience. Today is a different story. In a couple of hours, I’m doing my first private show. As in a one-on-one show with a customer at his apartment.

I’m not in any kind of way interested in having sex for money. The only reason I’m doing this private show is because it’s with Ben, my longest regular from the peepshow. I’ve built up a relationship (albeit a strange one) with him over the last six years, and I trust him. He’s shy and polite and completely respects my boundaries. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to do when I get to his house. At the bachelor parties, we pretty much work off a script: Bachelor in the middle of the room. Striptease. Games. Embarrass the groom-to-be. Flirt. Maybe some lapdances. Hopefully a two-girl show. It’s all choreographed, with adjustments made for the kind of crowd we’re performing for and how much money we think they have. From what I’ve heard about private shows from the other girls who work them regularly, it sounds more like a booth show at the peeps. Except that you’re in someone’s living room.

Anyway, I suppose I’m also curious (apprehensive?) about how it’s going to change the way he and I relate to each other. Is he still going to come into my private booth now that I’ve been in his kitchen? And finally, here’s my big concern that I’m pretty much choosing to not acknowledge: what’s going on with my boundaries, and how do I feel about it?

I’ve been stripping for seven years this month. But up until recently, my experiences were limited to performing behind glass. Working the bachelor parties has already meant a huge shift in my mental boundaries. What does it mean that I’m now going to someone’s house and performing a private show? Well. I suppose I’ll know in a couple of hours.

And with that, it’s time for some exercise and food.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Success.

I'll be brief, since I'm about to go celebrate.

Today, I finally passed the fire department physical exam. I'm in a little bit of shock. I've been training for this (and, well, for fire academy, which is so much harder) for over a year and half. And I actually did it. When I called my dad to tell him, I was crying so hard he thought I'd failed it. I think the most amazing part of it is how completely supportive my friends and family have been. I got at least ten text messages, emails, and phone calls today either from people wanting to wish me luck (beforehand) or congratulating me (afterwards). That's pretty freaking wonderful.

I'm so happy. Holy crap.

In other news. I'm on day three of a five day stay at my Gramma's house. D. and A. are out of town, so I moved out here for the week. To elucidate: I've been working as a primary caregiver to my grandmother for the last year. She has Alzheimer's, and, while she's still in the early stages, she can't be left alone. I really wasn't looking forward to this stay - in part because of my test, and nerves (which got bigger because I had to bring Gramma with me to the testing facility). But mostly because it's hard enough taking care of her a couple days a week. She has limited to no short term memory, which means that time spent with her takes on a surreal, circular quality. Five days in a row of being around someone who constantly repeats herself is exceptionally draining.

I'll go into detail about time with her when I'm not distracted by the awesome-ness that is me having passed my test. Plus I think Gramma's ready to go. A couple of my friends are meeting us at a restaurant/bar halfway between my city and Gramma's house (which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. At least the trees smell good.). I promised Gramma she could have a glass of wine, so I better get moving.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Last night.

Yesterday I had kind of a long night. Started out well enough, with a quick shift at the peepshow. I normally avoid Friday nights, but it was early enough that I eluded the frat boys and swarms of drunks. Ben, my favorite regular, gave himself a 60th birthday treat by dropping $120 for a long, chatty show where he alternately talked about his week and admired the old white cotton underwear that I model especially for him. In the last couple of months, he’s become even more consistent and generous, and with that, more infatuated. At least he’s stopped murmuring ‘I love you’ as he comes.

Next up: Well, let me preface this by saying that I don’t get called on to do many humiliation shows or dominatrix fantasies. School-girl skirts and pigtails, baby blues or powder pinks – these are costumes I employ to look as un-dominant as possible. This has less do with my personal sexual preferences and more with not wanting to spend the energy for the money I’ll make. Plus, I’ve got better things to do with my time than tell someone how small his dick is as he beats away. Bo-ring. I will, however, make exceptions, and one of these customers came in tonight, after Ben floated away.

I don’t know his name -- I think he’s only been into my private booth four times in the last six years -- but I remember his shows vividly. As many years as I’ve been a peepshow worker, and as many fantasies or fetishes that I’ve been exposed to, this is unique in my experiences:

You’re a sexist, egotistical, hypocritical, bigoted jew boy. Bad jew. A bad, dirty jew, with an ugly dirty jewish cock. A wart on the nose of humanity that I’m going to scrape off. You make me sick.

These are the main phrases he has me repeat over and over, particularly that first string of insults. And, like many pervs with specific fantasies, he needs it to be word for word. If he can’t mouth along with me, it doesn’t turn him on in the same way. Of course, there’s at least a vague storyline. Something along the lines of a scene from Nine to Five, a movie I’m only familiar with in the context of this man masturbating in front of me. In between hurling him anti-Semitic slurs, I praise the purity of my white Aryan pussy. I eventually mime paralyzing him by sneaking my pure Aryan breast milk into his coffee, then sliding his would be office chair up to the plate glass window of the tall office building he imagines we’re in. Dancing my cunt in front of his face, I simultaneously taunt him and threaten him, showing him the pure white pussy he’s too filthy to ever touch. Bad jew. Sexist, egotistical, hypocritical, bigoted jew boy. Bad, dirty jew. And. So. On.

Like most role-playing that I’ve participated in professionally, it’s quite repetitive; you just say the same things again and again (hopefully in different ways) until the customer finally gets off. This customer is twitchier than most, constantly interrupting the roleplay to, out of character, ask me questions: What do I actually think about sex with Jewish men. What do I and my coworkers really want in a customer. How do I feel about what he’s doing. I answer his questions as genuinely and supportively as possible, moving back and forth from white-supremacist blond bitch goddess to cheerful and encouraging sexworker-slash-therapist. The latter, not surprisingly, is by no means an unusual role to play.

On top of his usual skittish-ness, last night he was paranoid as all get out, fretting that the janitor mopping the booths would ‘out’ him as a pervert at his workplace. I very gently explained to him that a top reason that our business survives is because of our discretion (a point I had to make three of four times in different ways over the length of his show. Jesus.) What I should’ve said: he wasn’t worth the time or the trouble that would’ve taken. Nobody cares. Seriously. Plus, unless the performers explicitly point out a specific customer and elaborate on what turns them on, the janitors don’t know one guy from them next. And what’s so interesting about another man who pays money to watch naked girls. My calm reassurances unfortunately didn’t stop him from abruptly pulling up his pants, opening the door that leads into the hallway, and scowling up and down it to make sure nobody was listening in (three separate times). He also made several nervous jokes about looking for the microphones or cameras. His paranoia might be more understandable if I didn’t know he’s been a regular to this establishment for years and years. Then again, I am writing out the details of his fantasy and posting them on the web. Anonymously, sure. But still – they’re out there.

The rest of last night is too exhausting to describe. Last minute, I got called to work a bachelor party in the suburbs. I almost didn’t take it, and if I didn’t feel like I’d learned some important things about crowd control and payment negotiation with drunk assholes, I’d say that I regretted saying yes. I don’t like to complain. But these guys were pretty obnoxious. Only 8 or 9 men to begin with (and had I known that, I’d have said no. Fewer people usually equal less money. Especially if it’s last minute.), most of them drunk/stoned to the point of comatose. The other three – the bachelor, the host who set it up, and the best man – were waaaay too excitable. Still drunk, just louder and friskier. I had to reiterate what was and wasn’t okay way too many times. Good thing I’m strong, and that I don’t drink at these things. Haven’t come across a grabbier, more single-minded bachelor. Or a host who was so controlling and petulant. Jared (the host) kept trying to ‘negotiate’ the price of the two-girl show in such an offensive, drawn out way. I’ve been trying to figure out why he was driving me so nuts, and I think it was his bratty, manic demeanor, the fact that he was drunk and would not listen to us, just repeat himself over and over, finally accusing us of not liking him when we didn’t agree to his proposals. He tried to make out with me twice – easily deflected, but still irritating that I’d even have to bother. Hard not to belt him in the mouth. Plus, there was almost something sinister about his attitude – I could’ve readily imagined him losing his cool if we weren’t so sweet and reassuring. Ah, the customer service skills we learn. The patience. The ability to maneuver our way out of uncomfortable situations. Eight of them, two of us. Odds are usually even less in our favor, but both of us would pack a mean right hook. I’m strong enough, and Tess can probably kick my ass one handed.

I did appreciate the auctioneering voice example (he pretended to sell me the lamp in the corner) he gave me while Tess was trying to rally more money for the two girl live sex show (they didn’t have it, we were sick of arguing, we took off.). I took extreme satisfaction in turning down the money they were offering, which after a length of time was actually up to what we originally asked, and getting the fuck out of the there. Making out with and fucking Tess wouldn’t have been fun by that point anyway (and that’s a hard thing to make unfun)– they ruined the energy by haggling for so long. To be honest, we probably should’ve left earlier, but an extra possible $100 plus is a hard thing to walk away from. I am impressed with both Tess’s and my ability to maintain such a high level of professionalism throughout. It’s amazing what kind of people handling skills this job teaches you.

I meant to finish this posting before the bachelor party I was scheduled to work this evening (something I wasn’t looking forward to after last night) but they called to cancel at the last minute and I got sucked into watching America’s Next Top Model reruns. I’m actually happy I had the night off, mostly because my knee has been acting up and those heels just make it so much worse. Plus, they sounded like real pricks. They cancelled because the other girl they wanted wasn’t available, and they had their hearts set on two skinny white girls in their earlier 20s (if they only knew). The other girls who could take Rio’s place were either Tess – older, robust, and totally hot - or Envy, a lithe, seductive black woman with an amazing figure. Nope, not good enough for them. As far as I’m concerned, they didn’t deserve our services anyways. Especially since they were rude to Tess on the phone. No strippers for you, assholes. Too bad they waited until the last minute to cancel the show -- I’d already slutted myself out, hairspray and all.

So I'll sign off for now. For the record: my intention here isn’t to focus solely on stories about sexwork, though it’s tempting. A lot more glamorous than talking about taking care of the elderly or applying to the fire department. We’ll see what happens. Tomorrow brings a day and a half of gramma-sitting (thankfully, however, no church). Plus, as ever, training and more training. Stay tuned.

Here's a picture my friend N. took. I'm calling it 'Periscapular'.