The ex boyfriend It’s a situation you can dream about or dread. On one hand bumping into the ex who dumped you and broke your heart when you’re wearing suspenders and stockings and have the whole room gazing at you can be a pretty good power trip. In reality you’re slightly sweaty with a hole in your tights and unsubtly adjusting your bra when you see him and all you think is ‘shit, has he noticed my cellulite? God I’ve put on weight since we broke up; has he noticed my cellulite? He always hated it when I wore my hair down; has he noticed my cellulite?’ This is one of those moments you think about post break up. You imagine situations where you’ll see him and be fabulous. You dress up wherever you go incase you bump into him and in In every scenario you dream of, you look amazing. For me generally it involves me laughing at something very intelligent that he would never understand and being really happy. (And very skinny, obviously).
This scenario is not the one I hoped for. I’m grumpy, I’ve exited a dance booth with a man who just groped me, I’m hot and sweaty and stood in front of the fan to get cool – oh god I hope he didn’t see me smell my armpits, I tried to be subtle – I bet he saw. I’m certainly not laughing, I’m definitely not having an intelligent conversation unless you count, ‘here mate, this isn’t a brothel, you can’t touch dancers you piece of crap!’ and I do not look happy. I see him out the corner of my eye, he catches my gaze and looks shocked but grins. A grin that reads ‘well I knew you would end up here, my current girlfriend is a trainee solicitor’. THAT’S NOT THE SMILE I WANTED. I wanted him to smile as if to say, ‘oh goodness you’re ravishing, you’re seem so happy without me, how could I have let you go? You appear much cleverer…so worldly… and wow, you’re really skinny’. I can’t ignore him, we’ve seen each other and as much as I want to run away, I can barely walk in my shoes, let alone attempt to run. I meander over slowly, theres no point in trying to do a sexy strut, firstly, I don’t know how to without looking like a drunken drag queen and secondly, I was never the sexiest walker when I was with him – the amount of times I demanded piggy backs after a few hours in the pub whilst singing Beyonce at the top of my voice is embarrassing. I sit down next to him, he smells of Hugo Boss, he always used to wear Dior Homme.
‘Fancy seeing you here’, I say, is that funny? Am I trying to be funny? ‘So, what, do you work here now?!’ He asks. No, I’m on a slutty fancy dress and decided to come to a strip club. Of course I work here you idiot. ‘Well, when did this happen?’ He questions. ‘After I graduated. Oh I finished my masters, did you know that? I just wanted to make some extra cash. It’s good, I enjoy it, I’m really happy, I enjoy it, it’s fun, I’m really happy’ – okay don’t over do it. ‘Anyway, how come you’re here?’ ‘I’m out with work colleagues, I changed jobs last year, just after I met, ermm, well Lucy’. Lucy is his new girlfriend. I act surprised. Obviously I know about Lucy. From the moment his Facebook relationship status changed I’ve been monitoring her movements every month. I guess she’s pretty. Actually she’s stunning. She seems a bit boring though, her status updates are always moaning about the postman being late or what takeaway she’s ordering. Plus her holiday ‘Magaluf with the girlies <3 XXX’ didn’t reveal any incriminating photos. Just a generic summer holiday complete with sunburnt faces and giant fishbowls. She’s one of those who puts unattractive pictures on her profile, as she’s so pretty she doesn’t need to try. I hate that. She also hardly ever wears make up, I hate that even more. On her profile picture (number fourteen out of fifty two) she looks like a better version of Sienna Miller. Not that I’ve stalked her much, I promise. Just the right amount an ex-girlfriend should. Anyway, she made her profile private. I can’t stand it when people do that, I’m forever getting paranoid that they do it because they’ve found out I’m looking at them too much. ‘How’s your job working out?’ I ask, trying to sound interested but not too eager. ‘Well it’s the same role but with a different company, the salary’s better and there’s room to travel’. TRAVEL? SINCE WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN INTERESTED IN TRAVEL?! One time I suggested that we go for a long weekend to the Lake District and he moaned he would miss being at home. One of the (many) reasons we broke up was he said he was born and bred in this city and never wanted to leave. Ever. But now, he’s changing jobs because of the travel opportunities? That’s Lucy’s doing that is, I can just tell.
In her album ‘mobile uploads 2′ there’s photos of her in some European city with her family. I bet they live there and she’s trying to make him switch jobs so they can move to Germany or somewhere and start their new life. That’s Lucy all over, I’m sure of it. ‘I’ve never been to a strip club before, the first time I come, guess who I see – you! How strange!’ Never been to a strip club? That’s a lie. I remember arguing with him when I found receipts in his wallet from this very club. This was at a time when I thought all strippers were nasty sluts who tried to shag the customers. That was a year and a half ago. In fact I’ve been broken up with him for over a year, and I would confidently say that ‘I’m over him’. But that’s not the point. I still want to win, you know? I want to have the better life, I want to be more successful and skinny. I don’t feel like it now, sat in my underwear with cash in my garter. I feel cheap. Gosh he’s good looking. Was he always this handsome? I always thought he looked a bit mousey. ‘You look good you know, I wish you’d worn stuff like that when we were going out!’ What? I look good? Has he not noticed my cellulite? Is he just saying it to be nice? Does he feel sorry for me? Or maybe he does think I look good. What if things are going wrong with Lucy and he wants to break up with her? Maybe he heard that I worked here and came deliberately? I start thinking about what would happen if he told me he still loves me, he would take my hand and carry me up the stairs outside. We’d kiss and he’d say he’s not stopped thinking about me since the moment he broke up with me. He’d forget Germany or wherever and stay here with me. His mum would be so happy, she always loved me. I’d go round to her house and she would give me a massive hug, ‘I knew he would always end up with you, no girl ever compares to you, especially that Lucy, I never liked her’. ‘So, how are things with you and your fella anyway? He’s such a nice guy’. Shit, my boyfriend. I forgot about him. Only for a minute though, that’s normal isn’t it? ‘Good thanks. Yeah, really good’. I reply. I’m glad, I’m really pleased you’re happy and you’ve got yourself sorted, even if it is, well doing this’. Got myself sorted? What does that mean? I was always sorted. More than he ever was.
‘Lottie stand by in one’. The sound of the DJ echoes the room warning me that I have to do a stage show in one track. I don’t want to dance on stage while he watches. This is weird. It was fine when we were talking, really mature actually. Like proper adults who stay friends with exes. Now I’ve got to go on stage and gyrate around the pole like it’s a giant cock. ‘Welcome to the stage, Lottie’. ‘That’s me, I best go and dance’ , ‘Oh cool, you go up there? Ha, I’m looking forward to this, you always had two left feet!’ Brilliant, thanks very much for the vote of confidence. I get on stage and try to do the best show of my life. I want to look happy and sophisticated – like I’ve moved on with my life. This is hard to do swinging round a pole to Wugazi. Why did I pick this song? At our club each girl choose two songs to dance on the pole to. We take turns and usually do three stage shows a night. Tonight, I picked ‘Sleep Rules Everything Around me’. Bad choice. He’s going to think I’ve started to like hip hop. He probably thinks I spend my weekends in Tup Tup. I’m no longer the girl who used to scout unsigned bands and interview them for the local radio station, he’ll presume I now bump and grind with bad ass drug dealers. I try and look sexy on the stage which is hard tonight as my shoe strap is broken so I’m kind of hobbling whilst spinning. I look at him, is he watching? Should I actually care if he is? He’s on his phone chatting to someone. He looks angry, like he’s having an argument. Wait, he’s leaving, he’s taking his phone call outside. What can be that important? At this time of night?
I feel a bit hurt, why would he not want to watch me? Does he think I look stupid? Have I put on loads of weight since we broke up and he’s disgusted by me? I’m deflated and upset. I finish my half hearted show and strut off stage as he comes back in. I go back over as he’s reaching for his coat. ‘Got to go. Lucy’s called and I told her I was here. She went mad and demanded I go back home’. What they’re living together? When did this happen? I didn’t know. He should have put it up on Facebook or something. That type of information needs to be shared. ‘Anyway, it was great to see you but I really should go, don’t want Lucy to be even more pissed’. He wasn’t this attentive when we were going out. That’s not fair, why is he pandering to Lucy yet he never did with me? ‘It’s nice to see you’re under the thumb’ , I snarl. ‘Don’t be like that, it’s just she hates clubs like this, thinks all the strippers are money grabbing whor…. well anyway, I best just go’. He looks embarrassed whilst putting his jacket on. He waves goodbye to his friends and there’s an awkward pause. Do I hug him? Kiss on the cheek? Grab his bum as a joke? I lean in for a peck on the cheek (I want to seem very chic and French) but as I lean forward I realise he was going for a hug. We clash into each other awkwardly as my lips are pursed – oh god it looks like I’m trying to snog him. Could this be any worse? This the opposite of French and cosmopolitian. I pull away and give a nervous giggle. ‘You know it’s no touching in here, I could have you thrown out for that!’ I laugh, embarrassed and pretend to push him away. He smiles sympathetically. He honestly thought I was trying to kiss him doesn’t he? What a big head. He squeezes my hand gently, ‘It’s good to see we’ve both moved on, I’m glad you’re happy’, he whispers. What a pretentious idiot. Who does he think he is? He thinks I’m still pining after him whilst he’s jetting off to Germany with the love of his life. I have moved on, I have! I want to scream at him but he’s already walking away. Symbolic of our relationship really.