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

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