Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chapter 7: My First Bachelorette Party

Chapter 7 from American Stripper
Previous chapter: Preparations

Chapter Seven: My First Bachelorette Party

March 2003.
It was Friday, the big day. Excitement prevented me from getting much sleep.
I had class that morning with Holly, and she offered her usual cheery greeting. “Good luck on your first show tonight!” she said as we walked out of class.
I shook my head. “I don’t feel like I’m ready.”
“Oh, stop that. You’ll do fine.”
“So how did your date go on Wednesday?” I asked.
“It went well,” she beamed. “We’re going out again tonight!”
“That’s great! I hope it goes well for you,” I said. To my surprise, I meant that. I had already convinced myself that she wasn’t my type, thus didn’t feel the pain of losing her to somebody else.
“Give me a call afterwards and let me know how your show goes.”

I arrived at French Addiction early that evening. Luckily, I wasn’t scheduled to work at the gym. Getting a shift covered on a Friday night was nearly impossible, so there would be a problem if this stripping gig took off.
Due to the neon lights in the windows, the lingerie store looked more like a brothel at night. The scantily clad female mannequins beckoned the occasional passerby to enter. There were three people in the store: Janice, the clerk from my first visit to the store, and a young, well-dressed Italian guy who resembled a Jersey Shore guido.
Janice looked up at me and smiled. “You made it, and you look nice! I love your shirt. It shows off your muscles!”
Janice's compliment pleased me. I’d worn the new black, skin-tight shirt made of Lycra and a pair of khakis.
I greeted everyone. The guy stared at me and gave a silent nod. He was clean-cut and stood a little shorter than me, with fairly long, black hair plastered full of gel. He wore a black, flashy button-down shirt with the top portion unbuttoned, exposing his hairy chest. He looked like the type of guy who would pose for the cover of a romance novel. His presence puzzled me since he didn’t seem like a customer.
“By the way, this is John,” Janice said. “He will also be training tonight.”
I introduced myself and shook his hand. Janice told us that Titus was on his way. She and the store clerk then went behind the counter to tend to the other duties of the store. With nothing better to do, I struck up a conversation with John while we waited for Titus.
“Are you nervous?” he asked me.
“I'm shaking,” I admitted, feeling my heart pound. Every few minutes, I wiped my sweaty hands against my khakis. “I just hope I don't chicken out.”
“Well, I’m looking forward to it,” John said with poise. He appeared calm and collected like this was a regular picnic outing, and that made me feel uneasy. “I’ve always wanted to do this. What about you?”
“I never really imagined myself in this job, but it seems like fun,” I admitted. “So how did you get into this job?”
“You know Alexis?” John asked.
I shook my head. “Can't say that I do.”
“She works here as a stripper, and we dated for a bit. She said I'd be perfect for stripping and she put in a good word for me to Janice, so all I gotta do is go along with Titus and do this.”
This unexpected development unsettled me. John had me beat in the looks department, or so I thought. I envied his confidence. And he dated one of the strippers!
At seven o’clock, Titus walked in like he was in charge of the room. He had a devious look to him. His choice of attire baffled me: he wore a faded button-down shirt with slacks, but had on a pair of flip-flops instead of dress shoes. Perhaps he planned on changing later.
Janice stepped out from behind the counter to hug Titus. She handed him a sheet of paper with the directions to the party and gestured to me and John, explaining that we were to accompany him for training.
“This is Titus,” she explained. “He’s been working with me for two years, and he has the most experience out of anyone here. He’ll tell you what to do, grade your performance, and report to me. If you do well, you’re in.”
As Janice spoke, Titus’s reptilian-like eyes studied John and me. His face displayed no emotion as he held out his hand and introduced himself. “You guys ready?”
“I'm ready,” I said, feeling the opposite. My hands were cold and clammy and I was breathing fast. I hoped no one else noticed how nervous I was. So here’s the guy I have to impress, I thought, resolving to get on Titus’s good side.
“Let's do this!” John said.
As soon as we were on the road, Titus began explaining the basics of male stripping to us.
“This is an easy job,” Titus said. “The most work you gonna be doin’ is drivin’ around. If they ask you to drive a long way for a job, don’t turn it down, ‘cause you gonna get paid more money for gas and your time. You guys hook up with a lot of bitches?”
“All the time,” John said. “Have to beat 'em off with a stick.”
I was too embarrassed to answer, thinking back to my unplanned quickie with Holly.
Titus chuckled at John's comment and continued, “Well, that ain’t nothin’, son, ‘cause you gonna be hookin’ up with more bitches with this job!”
“I like the sound of it already,” John said.
“One thing though,” Titus said. “Don't hook up with a bitch at the party. Get a number, leave, then get up with her later and hook up.”
“How come you don't hook up at the party?” John asked.
“Maaaan, you don’t want the other bitches complainin’ to Janice. Trust me, son. It looks bad.”
“So how did you get started in this?” I asked.
Titus explained that a friend of his introduced him to Janice two years ago and she offered him a job because she was low on dancers at the time. Since then, he had done over a hundred shows, stripped at every sorority at the University of Florida, and dealt with all kinds of girls. He spoke about stripping for rich ladies in expensive hotels, mansions, and limousines.
“Have you ever stripped for just one girl,” John asked. “Like she hired you for herself and no one else was there?”
Titus paused in thought. “Once. She answered the door wearin’ lingerie, and she was the only one there.”
“Holy shit!” John said.
Compared to my dreary life of gaming and schoolwork, Titus's life seemed like something out of a rock star’s biography. It was too good to be true.
“I take it that you like the job,” John said.
“Hell yeah,” Titus replied. “You two are gonna meet some bad bitches on dis job. Some bad bitches. It’s been crazy for me, son, and the money is good, too!”
John and I listened eagerly. Everything sounded so surreal, so perfect. There had to be a catch. “What do you hate about this job?” I asked Titus.
“Every now and then you’ll get a party full of stingy, stuck-up bitches, but that ain’t often. All you do is leave when that happens.”
I smiled. The gym had nothing on this!
John asked, “What happens if you’re dancing with a hot chick and you get hard? Do you just let it out?”
Titus laughed. “Man, this guy…”
We waited for an answer, but Titus didn’t say anything else. I was curious too, however. “So what happens?”
“You don’t get hard,” Titus said.
“What do you mean?” John asked. “Give me a hot chick and I'll get hard.”
I laughed, thinking back to the few times I’d danced with a random girl in a club – the very few times. I became very aroused at the physical interaction and imagined that the same thing would happen while stripping.
“Trust me on this: you don't get hard,” Titus replied. “You’ll be busy workin’ the crowd. It’s like givin’ a speech. You’re too distracted to think about sex. You’ll see what I mean when you start.”
“I don't know … I think I'd get hard if I was dancin' for a hot chick,” John said.
Titus snorted. “I’m not sayin' it don't happen, son.”
“So how good is the money?” I asked.
“Better than anything else out there. You’ll be makin’ at least a hundred bucks per party. Rich ladies will hook you up. This will be the easiest job you'll have.”
“How many shows a week do you do?”
“Depends, usually two to three times a week,” Titus answered.
I calculated the possible income of stripping and compared it to my current job. I worked an average of twenty hours a week for minimum wage, which was a little more than five dollars an hour. According to what Titus was describing, a good weekend of stripping could easily net a month’s salary at the gym. I’d stumbled upon a gold mine, and John must have surely felt the same way.
We arrived at our destination. Titus turned off the engine and said, “Always arrive early. They’ll complain if you’re late.”
Identical one-story apartments spread out before us. Titus pulled out his cell phone, along with the information sheet given to him at French Addiction, and dialed the contact number. A few moments passed. “Yo, I’m here,” Titus barked. “Come meet me outside.”
Before I could comment on how rude Titus was, he hung up the phone and looked over at me and John. “By the way, you comfortable dancin’ for black women?”
“Uh, s-sure,” John replied.
“Makes no difference to me.” It really didn't, because I felt like I was going to embarrass myself regardless of the crowd.
“Good. Because these are gonna be all black girls. They're usually a tough crowd … And another thing – always collect the money beforehand.”   
Two girls approached the car. Titus opened the car door and stepped out. John and I followed his lead.
“You got the money?” Titus asked them. Titus's lack of manners appalled and impressed me. No greeting or handshake, just a blunt demand. Customer service was not his best quality.
“Yeah,” the first girl said, handing him some cash, unperturbed. The second girl peered at me and John, confused. “Who’re these two white guys?” she asked.
“They’re strippin’ too,” Titus said as a matter-of-fact as he busied himself with counting the money. After flipping the wad of cash, he pocketed it with a look of satisfaction.
The second girl feasted her eyes all of us. “Lemme see y’all’s muscles.”
“Nah, ask them,” Titus said, pointing towards me and John.
The girl turned her attention to John. “Flex yo’ biceps.”
“Nah,” John said. “I don't work out much.”
“What about you?” she said to me.
I have never had a stranger ask me to flex before. Nevertheless, I lifted my right arm, flexed, and smiled sheepishly at her. I felt like an idiot, but the girl reached up and grabbed the baseball-sized lump. “Oooh, feel that,” she said to her friend.
“Nice,” her friend said, reaching out to squeeze my arm. Her hand brushed across my chest and my midsection. “Damn, you sexy for a white guy.”
“I’m half-Asian,” I informed her.
“Even better,” she replied. “I like me some Asian.”
The compliments from these two girls diminished my insecurities a little. Maybe I could go through with this.
The girls guided us to their apartment. Once we reached the door, Titus outlined his strategy to them. The girls would place the bachelorette in the middle of the room on a chair called the “hot seat.” He handed the boombox over and told them to play it when they were ready. That would cue us to enter.
Titus dropped his large sports bag onto the ground and pulled out a bottle of baby oil. He took off his shirt and began to lather his torso. The oil helped show off muscle definition better, he explained. It looked like a slippery mess to me. Nonetheless, I lathered some on when he offered me the bottle, then passed it on to John.
Next, Titus told us that he did push-ups to “pump the muscles up” for a fuller look. I doubted the girls would care whether or not our muscles were pumped or oiled, but I wasn’t going to argue with the person who was grading me. John also dropped down to do some push-ups. While we were alternating through sets of pushups, I noticed that Titus was still wearing his flip-flops and pointed out that fact to him.
“You wear these because they're easy to kick off,” Titus said, then pointed to my shoes. “You gonna have a hard time taking those off in the middle of the show – and you're wearing socks too!”
He had a valid point, but I still thought the flip-flops were unprofessional. Once again, I didn’t argue.
John asked, “So what kind of stuff will we be doing besides taking off our clothes?”
“Just pick a girl and booty dance with her,” Titus said. “That's all. It’s real easy.”
John looked confused. “Booty dance?”
“Like you do in a club,” Titus said. He offered no further elaboration, so I planned to just watch and mimic his actions. As I was doing another set push-ups, the sound of music emanated from the apartment. “That’s the cue – let’s go,” Titus said, opening the door. “Watch me for a few minutes, then join in.”
Everything happened fast. John and I scuffled into a den of shrieking ladies. Their screams caused me and John to freeze at the doorway. My whole body felt numb. The only thing I could do was watch Titus. My first instinct was to back up against the wall and blend in like a lizard camouflaging itself. I looked back and saw John already against the wall, wide-eyed.
The ladies hooted in excitement, bobbing up and down on the couches. They were, for the most part, much older – in their late thirties and forties. The bride sat apart from the rest on a wooden chair in the middle of the room. She wore a tiara, and tube top, and tight jeans that clung to her slender frame. Titus stood in front of her and took his shirt off, causing her to fan herself excitedly. The surrounding women cheered. The bride covered her face as Titus kicked off his flip-flops and took off his pants, leaving only a black thong. This caused an avalanche from the couches; some women poured over towards Titus to shove dollar bills into his thong. One girl fingered his chest and yowled in appreciation. Apparently, females did not have to abide by the “no touching” rule. They groped Titus like he was the last desirable man on Earth.
This moment seemed like a good time to jump in. I looked back at John. “Has it been about a minute? Should we go out there?”
“No, not yet,” he said, staring at the commotion in front of him. “Let’s wait a bit longer.”
Titus approached the bride again, and the girls backed off and resumed their original places on the couch. He grabbed the bride’s hand and pulled her up from the chair. She was smiling now and began to dance with him. Titus positioned his hands underneath her armpits, and lifted her up slowly. The bachelorette’s legs dangled just above the ground as Titus held her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck as if by instinct. Titus continued holding her up as he leaned slightly back and bounced her above his waist, giving the impression that she was riding a bucking stallion. I committed that move to memory.
After a few moments, Titus set her down and moved towards the other women. I knew that more than “a few” minutes had passed. I was supposed to join in, but I couldn’t bring myself to move. I looked at John for direction, hoping he would go so I wouldn’t feel so awkward. “Should we join in now?” I asked.
“Not yet.”
Titus seized another girl from the crowd and began dancing with her. He turned and looked at me and John and nodded.
John had backed up near the doorway and into a corner. Realization hit me – he was terrified, more so than I was. All of that bravado earlier was just an act. I looked back at Titus, who turned around once again and waved us over, this time his face contorted with a hint of irritation.
“You go ahead, man,” he said. “I’ll join in a sec.”
It was now or never. I felt like the kid who’d climbed the tall diving board at the swimming pool for the first time. I didn’t want to jump, but I couldn’t turn back now. There would be no second chance. So I took the plunge and headed straight toward the crowd of ladies on the couch.
They sat up as I drew near. I approached them with a detached air, as though I were playing a video game and controlling another human body to do my bidding. My shirt came off and a pair of hands began unbuttoning my pants. The surrounding ladies cheered and complimented me on my body, which caused my morale to soar. The shy demeanor disappeared.
I eased my pants down, exposing my black thong and my ass, which I turned and faced towards my audience. One of the girls reached out, pulled the side strap of my thong out and slipped a dollar in. That was the first dollar I earned in this profession. Another girl reached around and tucked a dollar bill into the front of the thong. My underwear resembled the collection tray at church, and everyone here seemed happy to donate.
By now, I felt comfortable enough to remove my pants completely so I could move freely about the room. I tried to kick off my dress shoes so I could remove my pants, but stumbled due to my pants falling down to my ankles. My face flushed with embarrassment. Now I understood why Titus wore those ridiculous flip-flops. One of the girls crouched down and said, “Here, lemme help you with that, baby," and she proceeded to help remove my shoes, socks, and pants. “I’ll help you take yo clothes off any day, sugar!”
I winked at her. “I’d love that.”
She squealed in pleasure as we embraced and moved along to the beat of the music. I imitated Titus's move from earlier and pick her up. To my pleasant surprise, she wrapped her legs around me, and I thrust my hips back and forth against her. After I finished and set her down onto the couch, I looked over at Titus. Apparently, he just dry-humped a lot of girls and shook his crotch at them. Not knowing what else to do, I copied him. Some girls were shy and didn’t want to participate. This was a little discouraging, but I moved onto the next girl until I found someone who was eager to participate.
As the show continued, a few girls surrounded me and Titus. A hand smacked my ass. Another plucked the string of my thong and deposited another dollar. The whole scene looked like the dance floor at a club, except that Titus and I were the only guys present amidst a dozen eager women, with one lonesome guy watching from the sidelines.
One woman pressed her ass against my cock and began gyrating it. Titus was right – I didn't get hard. My mind was too focused on entertaining these girls to fall into a relaxed state of arousal.
While the ladies danced around us, Titus waved John over one final time, but to no avail. John had glued himself into the corner and refused to budge. Being the only male in the room with clothes on, John looked ironically awkward and out of place. Titus gave up and resumed dancing.
 For the finale, Titus singled out the bride, picked her up, and lay her on the floor. He positioned his crotch over her face, then beckoned me over. “Get that side,” he said, nodding towards the direction of her waist. I picked up on his cue and took my position opposite of him, grabbing her ankles and spreading her legs. This gave off the impression that she was getting gangbanged, and she giggled hysterically as her friends snapped pictures.
Only one thought crossed my mind as I posed in the simulated sex position: Women actually pay for this!
The ending to the party was anti-climactic. Titus stood in the middle of the room and announced, “All right, bitches – it’s time for pictures!”
Everyone gathered for a group photograph. Titus told me to stand in the middle next to the bride as he stood on the other side of her. The rest of the ladies flanked us except for the one taking the pictures. After taking a few photos, she attempted to swap out with another girl so she could get in the pictures, but then she noticed John, who was still standing in the corner.
“Hey, white boy,” she said. “Can you take a picture for us?”
“Sure,” John said, pleased at finally having something to do.
 The other women promptly handed him their cameras, asking him to take a picture with each. He had to juggle the cameras to avoid dropping them.
First, Titus and I did regular poses with the girls, but we also took a few candid shots with the bachelorette. For one shot, Titus stood behind her, bent her over, grabbed her hips, and acted like he was ramming her from behind. During another shot, he told the bride to get on her knees, which she did. Then he positioned me to stand in front of her with my back facing the camera, so it looked like she was performing oral. The ladies giggled through every photograph.
    Once we finished taking pictures, Titus announced that we were finished. The ladies thanked us. Titus put his clothes back on, sliding on his shirt and pants while slipping his feet into his flip-flops. One lady handed me a drink and helped me put my clothes on. She kissed me on the cheek afterwards. I left that apartment with a feeling of euphoria that I had never experienced before.
“So what’d you think?” Titus asked me, as all three of us sat down into his car. I noticed that he was talking to me and not John.
“It looks like fun,” John answered before I could say anything.
Titus cast John a reproachful glance. “What happened to you, son? Why weren’t you out there with us?”
John sputtered a few excuses about watching and learning more, and promised to strip for sure at the next show.
Titus said nothing. Instead, he looked at me. “So how was it?”
“I loved it!” I said. “I can’t believe you get paid for this.”
“See? I told ya,” Titus said. “This is an easy job.”
“Speaking of which,” I said, pulling out the dollar bills the girls gave me. “This was your show. You should have the money.”
Titus looked at the wadded, wrinkled money without interest. “Nah, that’s your money, man. You earned it, not me. And it’s been all over your junk anyway, so I don't wanna touch it.”
“Thanks,” I said, stuffing the bills into my pocket.
“What was even better was that you were able dance for a crowd of black girls. They’re usually a tough crowd, especially if you ain’t black, and you managed to pull it off.”
“Those girls were awesome,” I said.
 “I’ll get the next show, man,” John said. “I just didn't think those girls would like me because I'm not black.”
“Man, he ain't black, either—” Titus said, pointing at me—“and he did it. If you gonna get into this job, you gotta strip for all kinds of people. I strip for whites, Asians, black – everybody.”
“I hear ya. I'll definitely nail the next show.”
 We arrived at French Addiction. As we were getting out of the car, Titus told me to stay behind for a few minutes. John shook hands with me and Titus. “Next party for sure, man!” he told Titus.
As soon as John was gone, Titus turned toward me with a look of approval. “You’re definitely in. I’ll tell Janice how ya did.”

We exchanged numbers and parted ways. I went home replaying the night’s events in my head, elated about what awaited me in the near future. From that moment, I knew that my life was going to change. I’d caught a glimpse of the other side, and wanted to spend more time there.

Next chapter: More Obstacles

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A First Time for Everything

A girl puked on me at a bachelorette party last night.

She was taking a body shot from my midsection. She took the first three with glee. I should have stopped there, but there was only a small sliver of liquid left in the shot glass, so I emptied it out on my abs. She lapped up the remnants and sat up.

Suddenly, she lurched forward and spat it out on my abs. Then she retched and more liquid followed. The rest of the party stared in horror as she got up and bolted towards the bathroom.

The girl next in line to take a body shot off of me quickly handed me a towel. "I'm so sorry about that!" she said.

Another girl directed me towards the shower, apologizing along the way. I assured her that everything was fine.

The party was officially over. Vomit wields that kind of power over people.

I have always said that stripping is an interesting job, because each day at work is different. Well, in my twelve plus years of doing this, I had never been puked on before.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chapter Six: Preparations

Chapter Six from American Stripper.

Previous chapter: The Interview

Chapter Six: Preparations

Being the type of person who rarely ventured out to clubs or dressed up, I hardly had anything appropriate in my wardrobe. I went shopping and dropped a good portion of my savings on some outfits.
I bought a cowboy outfit at a Western store, a pair of pleather pants from Hot Topic, and some khaki pants, a brown, polyester button-down shirt from The Buckle (when they still sold clothes for men), and a skin-tight black Lycra shirt. It was a questionable investment, especially if I flunked on Friday. All the more reason to pass the test.
A good performance required practice and planning. I figured that a girl would be the best judge of a male stripper act, so I called Holly and asked if she’d be willing to come over to my apartment and critique my performance.

“Sure! Of course!” she said. “What do I have to do?”
“Just act like you’re watching a male stripper perform,” I said. “Give me a few pointers on what you’d like to see, or what I can do better.” 
“Cool! Want me to bring some of my girlfriends?”
“Yeah!” I said. “Think they’ll want to see it?”
“Of course! Are you kidding?” 
We made plans that Holly to meet on Wednesday evening, just two days before my first show with Titus. That was also the day that my roommate, Beaumont, was scheduled to work, so I could avoid the awkwardness of having him around while I practiced prancing and dancing in a thong. 
The apartment was small, cramped, and unimpressive to the average observer. I had a decent home gym in the living room, complete with a squat rack, an adjustable bench, and a variety of plates and dumbells. The couch and entertainment center sat at the edge of the room beyond the weights. The kitchen merged with the living room, and a computer desk stood on its wobbly legs in the corner instead of a dining table. I hoped Holly didn’t mind the sparse furnishings.
I lined up adjustable weight bench and another chair in my apartment for Holly and her friends. A CD player with a burned CD mix of hip-hop songs sat on the kitchen floor. 
When Wednesday evening came, Holly showed up alone.
“What happened to your friends?” I asked, unable to hide my disappointment. 
“Sarah had to study for an exam, and Julie had to work,” Holly said. “Don’t worry about them. Show me what you got!”
I gathered my club attire recently purchased from the Buckle and the man thong, and disappeared into the bedroom to change. I returned and turned on some hip-hop.
Holly sat in the chair and looked up at me with a wide grin. “Let’s see your moves.”
I began to dance in front of her. My shirt came off first. Then the pants came off, leaving only my thong. Holly looked me up and down, still wearing a smile. “Nice! You have sexy legs!”
“Thanks.” I turned around, showing her my backside, feeling self-conscience and ridiculous.
“Nice ass!”
Her compliments fueled me to continue. After dancing another minute, I exhausted all the moves of my dance repertoire, which included gyrating my hips, swaying my shoulders and arm, and performing a few stationary slides and an occasional dip. Not knowing what else to do, I got closer to Holly and thrust my hips towards her in time to the beat of the music. She put her hands against my waist. Next, I leaned down towards her face, because at the time, I thought the point of the male stripper act was to be seductive.
Holly’s smile disappeared. She looked up at me with her eyes half closed and her lips parted. Her breathing became audible and deep. Even with my limited experience, I could see the lust in her eyes.
Our lips met. Her right hand went from my hip to massage the front of my thong, causing me to swell and burst forth from the top.
“Aren’t you big?” Holly said, stroking me gently.
She leaned forward and put her lips around the head. I closed my eyes, leaned my head back, and breathed out. Next, I reached down between her legs with two fingers and began rubbing her, feeling the outline of her through the thin fabric of her shorts. She spread her legs in response.
“Do you have any condoms?” she asked. 
My heart beat faster. There was a box of unopened condoms in the drawer of my nightstand, untouched for quite a long time. “Y-yeah. Just a second,” I said, sitting on the bed and fumbling through the drawer. This is really happening! I thought. 
Holly stripped completely naked and laid next to me on the bed. I rolled the condom on, clambered over her, and slid myself in. A combination of nervous and excitement built up too much pressure for me to control. It was over in less than a minute.
Holly looked up at me in surprise. “You’re done already?” she asked, the disappointment in her tone evident.
“Sorry,” I said, feeling lame and embarrassed. 
She went into the bathroom to rinse off. When she emerged, she was still naked. The sight of her lean body stirred a physical reaction from me, and I was ready for round two. This time, I vowed to deliver a more satisfactory performance. Unfortunately, I never got that chance. 
“I have to get going,” Holly said. Her face told everything. The lust in her eyes had evaporated and wouldn’t return. 
I still tried to persuade her. “Twenty more minutes won’t kill you.” 
“I’m already running late,” Holly said. 
“For what?”
“I have a date tonight with a guy from work!” she said impatiently.
I stood there in shock. We had just had sex and she was fretting about being late for a date. I couldn’t think of anything to say. 
Holly got dressed and headed towards the door. “I’ll see you in class tomorrow!”
I sat down and went over this night’s events in my head, feeling incredibly depressed. Not only did I not get a critique my stripping routine, I made a fool of myself in the process. My confidence for Friday plummeted. I didn’t feel like bothering anymore.
Later that night my roommate, Beaumont, came home from work and noticed my melancholy mood. “What the hell happened to you?” he asked.
Beaumont came from my hometown, and we graduated high school together. He’d joined the U.S. Marines and been honorably discharged due to an injury. We were good friends, so I told him about Holly.
He started laughing, which irritated me. I was not in the mood for ridicule. Then I recited the part about Holly leaving to go on a date with another guy, he broke out into a guffaw, clutching his side.
“You lucky son-of-a-bitch!” he said in between laughs. 
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You haven’t even worked yer first day at the job yet and yer already gettin’ pussy cause of it. Damn, man! Who cares if she didn’t like it? At least yer gettin’ laid! And you musta been doin’ somethin’ right while you were dancin’ fer her! Just do that same dancin’ for the ladies this Friday, and you’ll be fine.”
Upon examining things from that perspective, I began to cheer up a little. 
“Besides,” my roommate said with a giant smirk. “If someone’s gonna be upset, it should be that guy Holly went on a date with. At least yer not wining and dining somebody else’s sloppy seconds!”

Next Chapter: My First Bachelorette Party

Friday, July 17, 2015

Chapter Five: The Interview

Chapter Five from American Stripper.

Previous chapter: The Job Application

Chapter Five: The Interview

I arrived at French Addiction with a pounding heart and sweaty palms. The verdict on my future awaited me inside the store. I wanted this job more than anything.

The dark interior contrasted with the blinding, sunny day outside. A blonde lady in her late forties stood behind the counter. I assumed she was Janice, the owner. “How can I help you?” she asked.

 “I’m here for the exotic male dancer position. Here's my application – all filled out and ready to go.”

She took the application like I had given her an unwanted fruitcake for Christmas, then studied me for a few seconds. In my anticipation to get to the store, I did not consider my attire: a large, loose-fitting polo shirt that hid my frame and glasses that made me look like the typical Asian computer programmer. “Um, the job requires a more muscular type of guy,” she said. “And, um, you don’t look very muscular.”

Her words stung. That was not what I wanted to hear, especially after a week of escalating excitement. I felt the opportunity of becoming a male stripper slipping through my grasp. I was not about to give up so easily. “Well, I did take some pictures,” I said, handing four of the best pictures over the counter to Janice. “Can you at least have a look first?”

I held my breath as Janice peered through them. Time stopped as she flipped through and studied each picture. I had grown use to rejection when it came to both applying for jobs and dating women. I was the kid in high school who played Dungeons and Dragons when the other guys were playing football and going to parties. The idea of girls paying me to take off clothes seemed like a far-fetched fantasy. Who was I fooling? I, of all people, stripping? Suddenly, this whole idea seemed ridiculous. As Janice finished looking at the last photo, I expected the worst.

“Wow!” Janice looked at me again. “Are these really you?”

“Y-yeah,” I said.

Janice squinted at me. “These weren’t taken last year, were they? You look much bigger in the photos.”

“N-no, just last week,” I said.

“Take off your shirt and let me see.”

I looked around the store. No one was around except us, but I still felt self-conscious. “Here?”

“Um, yes, here. If you want to be a stripper, then you have to get used to taking off your clothes. Besides, people apply using old pictures of themselves when they were in shape, and then they come in looking out of shape. I need to make sure you're the real deal.”

My face flushed at her request. I wondered if she requested her aspiring female dancer applicants to show their breasts in the store. I took off my glasses and set them on the counter and pulled off my shirt, exposing my muscular chest and abs. I pumped a bicep for extra measure.

Janice whistled in appreciation. “Wow! I had no idea you were hiding all those muscles underneath your clothes. You’re like Clark Kent. Totally unexpected! I'm flattered to get a guy like you applying.”

An ecstatic jolt surged through me. “Thank you,” I said.

“Um, now let’s go over your application,” Janice said, skimming through the sheet of paper. “Let’s see, you have a cowboy costume … And you can sing?! Nice … Maybe I can promote singing telegrams with you. Uh, can you dance?”

“Yes, ma’am, I can dance,” I answered, hoping Janice would not ask me for a demonstration. I had a few simple moves in my repertoire and knew how to keep my movements in time with the music, but my skills were not worth bragging about.

“I guess everything looks good then,” she said.

“So does that mean I get the job?” I asked.

“It means that you're in training.”

She explained that to get the job, I would have to accompany her veteran male stripper, Titus, to one of his shows and take instructions from him. I would watch him perform in front of the girls and then follow his lead. If Titus found my performance satisfactory, then I would get the job.

“After that, my picture goes on the wall?” I asked, hopeful.

“Yes, I’d put these up in a frame for you,” Janice said.

“And how often would I work?”

“It’s depends on how much the customers choose you,” Janice said, going behind the counter and pulling out a planner book that showed the upcoming private parties schedule on a calendar.

“First, a customer comes into the store to pick out a stripper, or calls and books one over the phone. The customers who come into the store can choose their three favorite strippers from the pictures – we keep the pictures of the girls in a photo album behind the counter to protect the girls’ identity and keep the creeps from lingering. The customers over the phone get sent somebody based off of what they want in a guy.”

She continued, “For payment, we take cash or credit card. After the transaction is finalized, French Addiction calls the first choice of the three strippers to find out if he is available for the party. If the first person isn’t available, we call the next one and so on, so be sure to answer your phone when we call.”

I tried to absorb all this information.

“See this Friday?” Janice said pointing the Friday block on the planner. Titus’s name was written as the first and only chosen dancer. “They only wanted a black guy. Very common for black customers. Anyway, his party is at 9:30. Just meet him here in the store at eight o’clock. If you do well for training, then we’ll put you on the payroll.”

“What should I wear?” I asked.

“There’s no costume request for this party,” she said, “So wear something nice, like you're going to a club.”

“Anything else you suggest?”

“Yes, make those customers happy and you’ll do well,” Janice said cheerfully.

“Got it.”

“And shave if you’re too hairy – no one wants to see a hairy back, and especially a hairy ass. That’s the worst turn-off: a man with a hairy ass.”

Next chapter: Preparations

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chapter Four: The Job Application

Chapter Four of American Stripper.

Previous chapter: French Addiction

Chapter Four: The Job Application

Upon returning home that evening, I filled out the job application.

It was different from any other job application I had ever encountered. It asked for my height, weight, eye color, hair color, hip/waist/chest ratio, along with a stage name. It asked about special skills/talents, stripping experience, costumes, and the degree of nudity I was willing to do.

I wrote that I could sing, which wasn't exactly true, but I couldn't think of an actual skill or talent that I had relating to stripping. The costume inquiry worried me. I did not own a single costume for this line of work, and having no costumes would look bad, so I lied and wrote down “Cowboy.”. There was a western store that sold cowboy hats and boots ten minutes from my apartment.

But what stage name? The four dancers at French Addiction had gone by Titus, Maximus, and Adonis. Greek and Roman names sounded like the norm, so I leaned towards Dionysus, the Greek god of fertility. However, that name was too long for a crowd to pronounce, so I shortened it two syllables and settled on Dion.

I tried on the thongs. I had never in my life imagined wearing such a thing. It felt like cross-dressing, and the only thing missing was a pair of pantyhose and high-heels. It was a good thing no one else could see me as I posed in the mirror, admiring how my ass looked with an upside-down V-shaped fabric sliding into the crack of it.

The thong was uncomfortable. It felt like having a constant wedgie that could not be picked. However, the front pouch offered more room than briefs while preventing the painful jostling of the genitals that sometimes resulted from wearing boxers. The contrasting comfort levels was like a dungeon session with a dominatrix – half of it felt good while the other half didn’t. Now all I had to do was practice wearing it in front of large group of women.

My first opportunity was with Holly.

 I went to her apartment the following day so she could take my pictures. The sight of me in a thong caused her to grin. "That looks great on you," she said, with an unabashed stare. She was so easygoing that I had relaxed and even joked a bit while she snapped photos.

The concept of being alone with her while she had a boyfriend made me uneasy. “What about your boyfriend?” I asked her.

“Ugh,” she sighed. “Who cares about him? We’re not serious and I’m seeing another guy anyway.”

Judging from her sour expression, I decided to drop the subject and concentrate on posing for pictures.

Holly had a Nikon with a large lens that needed to be manually rotated. She directed me into poses. She took a few pictures of me standing against the wall of her bedroom, with the strap of my thong climbing out over the belt line of my pants. We finished up the photo session with me standing in the shower with a towel draped around my waist.

Since this was in 2003, her camera used film, so we could not review the pictures on an LCD screen to see if they turned out well, but had to wait through the tedious process of developing the film. Holly offered to develop the pictures for me. I pulled out my wallet to give her some money, but Holly raised her hand to stop me. “No, I got it,” she said.

“I insist,” I said.

“Just buy me lunch sometime when you get the job and earn some money,” Holly said.



A week after the photo session, Holly brought the pictures to class. I wanted to open the envelope immediately, but the presence of other students stopped me. The last thing I wanted was the husky guy sitting behind me or the frizzy-haired girl in glasses sitting next to me looking over at photos of me in a thong.

“How did they turn out?” I whispered to Holly, but she was listening to the professor's lecture.

Once class was over, I rushed outside and sat down at a bench, tore the envelope open right away and shuffled through the pictures. Most of them looked average. A few looked so ridiculous that I wanted to burn them. However, four pictures had turned out great. These four photos lacked the festivity of Titus’s party shots, but they looked semi-professional, especially when compared to the pictures of the other male dancers at French Addiction. My pictures had the edge when it came to the posing and overall image quality. However, a good camera and photography skills can only do so much. I worried about how far my looks would take me.

“My, aren't you the impatient one?” Holly said with amusement as she sat down next to me on the bench. “You didn't even wait for me after class!”

“Sorry about that,” I muttered

“You're so excited that it’s cute!”

“Holly, be honest – do you really think I have a chance at this?”

Holly sighed and rolled her eyes. “Ugh, for the last time, Dion, yes! I don't know how many times we've been over this. You’ve got the looks, you’ve got the body – you just need the confidence. That's the only thing holding you back. Just relax … And don't make a big deal about failing either.”

I nodded.

After a moment, Holly asked, “Did you decided on which pics to turn in?”

I handed her the four photos that I had selected. "What do you think of these?"

Holly looked through the pictures and flashed me a wide grin. “Great minds think alike!” Holly handed the pictures back to me. “Let me guess, you're going to French Addiction now?”

“Yeah, wanna come?” I asked, hoping that she would since her presence would bolster my courage.

“No, I have to study for a test,” she said. “I'll just see you in our next class.”

“All right, well, I'm going to turn these in now,” I said, getting up to leave. “Thanks, Holly. I owe you big time.”

As I was walking away, Holly called out, “Hey Dion!”

I turned around. “Yeah?”

Holly cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “Good luck and remember what I told ya!”

Next chapter: The Interview

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chapter Three: French Addiction

Chapter Three from American Stripper.

Previous chapter: University of Florida

Chapter Three: French Addiction

French Addiction, 2003

I remember that day clearly.

It was a warm, sunny day in Gainesville, around mid-February. Many students lounged around outdoors to study, hang out, and enjoy the Florida weather. My TESOL (teaching English as a Second Language) class had just finished, and my classmate, Holly, asked if I wanted to walk along University Avenue to kill some time before our next class.

Holly had an upbeat and energetic attitude, always smiling and remaining positive about life in general. When our TESOL professor announced a class project and paired us off into groups, I was paired with her. It was a pleasant surprise. She stood at my height and was very attractive. Some people thought she was of Middle Eastern or Hispanic origin due to her olive complexion and dark curly hair, but Holly was adopted at a young age and didn’t know her ethnicity.
 We worked on our project several times together outside of class. Her gregarious personality made the project fun, and her work ethic guaranteed that we would get a good grade. We spent at least half the time talking about anything and everything instead of working on the project. Her openness brought me out of my shell and I felt like I could talk to her a lot better than most women.

She told me that she was seeing someone, so I left her alone. I would not have pursued her even if she were single because I thought that she was out of my league. Plus, she dallied around with several boyfriends at a time, and I thought it best to avoid that mess.

Regarding future careers, Holly was a lot like me. She wanted to go to a foreign country to teach English. I wanted to go to Japan; she wanted to go to Spain. She was studying Spanish and was already fluent. Moreover, she already had a job lined up as soon as she graduated that summer. All she had to do was finish a few more classes.

As we strolled down University Avenue, we passed a few stores and restaurants. There was the Mellow Mushroom, a popular pizza restaurant, a music store that sold records and CDs, and a sports supplement shop. Holly stopped in front of a lingerie store called French Addiction.

“Let’s go in here!” she said with the jubilation of kid entering a toy store.

The large windows had neon, reddish pink, neon lights that ran along the bottom of the window frame, giving the store the appearance of a brothel in Amsterdam's Red Light District. Through the windows, I could see the outlines of lingerie hanging from the clothing racks. My face flushed in embarrassment. I did not want to go inside.

I was about to continue walking, but Holly would have none of it as she grabbed me by the arm and pulled me toward the store. She suddenly stopped at front of the store to stare at a flyer posted on the front glass door.

It read: “Wanted: Exotic Male Dancers. No experience necessary. See inside for details.”

“Oh look!” Holly said, pointing at the flyer. “They're hiring for exotic male dancers. I wanna see!”

My heart gave a leap. I heard a little about male strippers before. It sounded like a dream job – earning money while stripping in front of excited and eager women as they groped, fondled, and lusted over you.

We entered the store together, and I stopped in my tracks. I had never been inside a sex store before. Sexual paraphernalia was everywhere. Dildos lined the shelves. Some of them had an extra tentacle-like protrusions that appeared as if they were about to latch onto something. I saw lube and oils under the glass counter. Bondage gear, boots, and stiletto heels stood amidst the racks of lingerie. I felt too timid to even take another step, the surface of my face burning with embarrassment. The presence of an attractive, acorn-haired girl watching us browse from behind the counter only furthered my discomfort.

“Hey Dion, what do you think of this?” Holly asked, holding up a skimpy piece of clothing up against her. I muttered something about it being nice while trying to conceal my arousal. To my relief, she wasn’t paying much attention to my reaction because she returned the outfit to the rack and continued browsing the store.

“Oh look!” Holly said, pointing at some picture frames on the wall. “Here they are!”

Four frames depicting four different men lined on the wall. The men were in various poses, wearing underwear. The pictures had an amateur appearance, since men were posing in this very store in front of the dressing room. Furthermore, three of the dancers looked somewhat muscular, but they barely had visible abdominal muscles. I’d always assumed that a six-pack was a requirement for male dancers.

Only one dancer's pictures distinguished itself from the rest. “Titus” was a black man wearing a thong, surrounded by young women in several candid shots. In one picture, he was shoving his crotch into a girl's face while she placed a dollar bill into his thong’s side-string. In another picture, three ladies sat on a couch, one of them reaching out to tip a bill into his thong as he stood in front of her.

I wanted to be Titus. He looked like someone who lived life to the fullest. I imagined myself standing in front of those girls with their hands reaching out for my body. The exhibitionist part of me that had sat dormant for so long wanted out. It was a fleeting fantasy, though. No girl would pay me to strip.

“Oh my god,” Holly said, pointing to picture of Titus. “He’s dating one of my friends. I didn’t know he was a male stripper.”

The girl behind the counter came over and asked if we needed help.

Judging by the awkward expression on her face, the identity of the dancers was supposed to be confidential.

“It’s okay, I know his girlfriend,” Holly said. “That’s so funny!”

The store clerk smiled. “He’s the most popular dancer here.”

Holly looked at me, switched her gaze to the pictures of the male dancers, then glanced at me again. “Dion, you can work as a stripper here,” Holly said.

“M-me?” I stammered. My face flushed. My desires had remained unspoken for a reason. While I tantalized the fantasy of taking off my clothes and dancing in front of crowd of eager women, I never actually considered myself as the type of person who could do so. It was like watching porn: I always imagined myself being the actor who plowed the hot actress, but in reality, I would just be the guy who sat in front of a computer screen with a towel and a bottle of hand lotion. Now Holly was suggesting I enter the set and perform.

To my further horror, Holly asked the store clerk, “Hey, what do you have to do to become a stripper here?” Holly asked.

“Well, the girls can choose to strip down to lingerie, topless, or completely nude,” the clerk responded. “The more you're willing to take off, the more money you get paid.”

“What about the guys?” Holly asked. “What do they do?”

“Guys don’t get nude. They just strip down to their underwear or thong.” The store clerk turned to me with a serious expression and asked, "Would you like an application?"

I fumbled for a response, but Holly cut in. “You should apply, Dion,” she said.

“Y-yeah right, I don’t think I can,” I muttered.

“Of course you can! You have a better body than these guys,” she said, feeling my chest.

“But what about looks—”

“You’re hot!” she said. “The girls will love you.”

The store clerk nodded and smiled. “Yeah, you should at least apply.”

I couldn't believe it. Growing up feeling like the ugly duckling made me dubious of compliments. Now I was in the presence of two attractive girls telling me that I was hot enough to become a male stripper.

“Here, just take an application,” the clerk said. “You get paid pretty well from what I hear.”

I took the application. I was glad Holly was there to ask for me, because I would have lacked the guts to do so on my own. My heart was pounding with excitement. Deep down, I really wanted this job. What kind of guy wouldn’t? I wondered if there was a catch.

The store clerk told me to fill out the application and bring it back to the store's owner, Janice. She said that I needed at least four pictures as well, and offered to take a few pictures of me with the store’s disposable camera. Holly interjected and insisted on taking the pictures herself instead.

“I took photography and have a Nikon camera,” she told me. “I can take better pics than what’s on the wall there. We want you to look your best.”

The clerk agreed. “Yeah, it’d probably be better that way. We use a disposable camera.”

I studied the pictures of the male dancers. I saw that two of the dancers wore boxers or tighty-whities, but Titus and another guy named, Maximus, wore thongs. I decided then that I needed a thong too, not only because it fit the stripper image, but thongs seemed ideal for holding money. So with Holly's help, I picked two out from the men’s clothing rack – a blue one and a black one. Holly giggled at my embarrassment. The store clerk even offered me a “stripper discount,” which I would’ve found amusing except that my face was burning with shame.

When I left French Addiction, I carried with me the application, a plastic bag with two man thongs, and a feeling of utter disbelief.

Holly seemed to bounce with excitement on the way back to class. “That’s awesome!” she said with a grin. “You’re going to be a stripper!”

I didn’t know it at the time, but my life would never be the same after walking into that store.

Next chapter: The Job Application

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chapter Two: The University of Florida

Chapter Two from my memoir, American Stripper.

Previous chapter: Humble Beginnings

Chapter Two: The University of Florida

February 2003.

Gainesville was an entirely different place from my hometown, filled with people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds. The city revolved around the University of Florida, spreading outwards from it in a grid. Apartment complexes replaced the forests and farmlands at the rate of a few acres a year.

Upon entering the city, the first thing one noticed is the abundance of the Florida Gators’ team colors: orange and blue. Car decals, store signs, billboards, graffiti, buildings, lamp posts, and residents bore orange and blue colors to show support for their team. I sometimes mused that if the city had a devastating earthquake, the rubble would be orange and blue chunks.

I lived south of the university, off a road called Old Archer in an apartment complex called Hidden Village. It was hidden, all right, surrounded by forests. It had a small pond next to the entrance with a resident alligator in it.

 I was twenty-one-year-old junior and thought I had everything figured out. My goal was to graduate with a literature degree and become an English teacher in Japan. I took Japanese classes to further my preparation. I envisioned an extravagant and fun-filled life in Japan.

Socially, college was the same as high school for me. Little had changed except that I now had the freedom to purchase alcohol and get into nightclubs, neither of which I took advantage of.

I spent my twenty-first birthday going to classes and working late. The only person who called me to wish me a happy birthday was my mom. Other college students either had wild stories from their twenty-first birthdays, or could not even remember anything at all. I remember finishing up all of my homework.

My job was “fitness supervisor” at the university gym, a fancy name for my minimum wage position. In reality, the job consisted of checking student IDs, cleaning windows and mirrors, wiping sweat off of benches, and racking stray weights. I loved the work at first because it was easy, but quickly grew bored of the monotony.

Once again, dating was a disaster. Not because I was too busy or for a lack of trying. I cut my hair and wore nicer clothes, but I lacked confidence in myself and didn’t think I was good-looking. The ultimate verdict was that I was simply unsuccessful with women, mastering the ability to get into the “friend zone.” The few girls I did date soon got bored of me and the so-called relationship would dissolve to nothing. All in all, one hand was more than sufficient in tallying my sexual encounters.

The party culture eluded me, too. U.F. was ranked as one of the top party campuses in the United States, but weekends, I’d stay in my apartment and play video games with my roommate.

My saving grace was bodybuilding, a new hobby of mine. I lived at the gym when I wasn’t working there. Weight lifting became more than a routine; it was a religion. I memorized its scripture: reps, sets, super-sets, squats, presses, deadlifts. Whenever I wasn't in class, I was in the gym bench pressing, or squatting. I bought books and magazines on bodybuilding, and studied them more than the class textbooks. The gym became my hangout spot. I made a few friends and felt welcomed.

I became fairly muscular. I trained my legs as much as my upper body and developed a symmetrical form. A lot of people began complimenting me and asking me for advice on how to train, and this boosted my self-confidence. I even competed in a bench press competition at U.F. and placed in the top fifteen.

However, I was now at 5’10” and weighed 170 lbs. Even though a lot of other guys in the gym said that they wanted to look like me, I still felt unsatisfied and skinny. I wanted to grow massive like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he won the Mr. Olympia title. I wanted to go on stage in front of a crowd and win a trophy for my physique. Deep down, I knew that my slender frame limited me from ever attaining the Herculean size of the pros. I accepted this fact and continued to train to achieve the best physique my body would allow.

I banked all of my future excitement on Japan. I heard stories from people who’d been English teachers there that told of newfound popularity; some of them bragged about attaining a celebrity-like status just for being foreign. Those tales sounded nice. If I got a teaching job over there, everything would change for the better. My life would finally be exciting.

I wanted to have my own grand adventure story. I yearned for something beyond my homebody existence and didn’t want to wait another two years until graduation to experience it (if I could even get a job over there in the first place). Fate had something in store for me when I stumbled into a lingerie store called French Addiction.

Next chapter: French Addiction