A group have just been seated. Really young, no older than 20 I reckon. Two of them are typical young lads, so nervous they think they know everything.
‘Hi, my name’s Lottie.’ ‘Yeah what’s your real name, we all know you use fake names’.
Well if I wanted you to know my real name I would tell you wouldn’t I you prick?
‘Francesca my real name’s Francesca’. He smirks. He’s feeling good with himself, getting a stripper to tell him her real name.
My real name’s not Francesca, that’s my fake real name. All strippers have them. If they still don’t believe that I say my name’s Sarah. No one can argue with a name like Sarah.
I ignore the two know it alls and chat to the quiet boy Max looking nervous staring into his drink.
He’s nice, like really nice. He’s polite and obviously embarrassed of his two mates who are heckling the girl dancing on the stage. He’s only eighteen and is very sweet, you know those teenagers who you can tell were brought up well? The one’s who help their mum with the shopping, who willingly put the bins out on a Tuesday and prepare the dinner for their younger siblings. He’s the type whose parents will encourage him to spend his days planning his fancy dress costume for the next fancy dress pub crawl as they worry he will join too many political debate societies.
I ask him for a dance but he declines, he’s too nervous and feels uncomfortable.
His friends cheer him on, ‘Go on Max, stop being a pussy man!’
He reluctantly agrees so I lead him into the booths and sit him down, he’s shaking. Surely I’m not that bad?!
I get £20 out of his wallet as he’s stumbling.
As it’s his first dance I explain the rules, ‘spread your feet, out your hands and the armrest and it’s not touching’. I sit on him and push my breast near to his fee, I turn around and grind on his crotch.
I stand up and bend over unclipping my bra.
As I expose my breasts I notice he’s looking away. This is normal, a lot men don’t stare directly at you, they’re often too nervous and scared of seeming ‘perverted’. The pervert barrier was crossed as soon as they paid the entrance fee into the titty bar.
I put my breasts nearer his face and grind my body. He’s not responding well. In fact he looks repulsed. This is not what I expect from a customer.
‘I’m gay!’ He shouts. What the fuck? Sorry?’ I question.
‘I’m gay. I errr, I’ve never told anyone before’. I don’t know much about coming out the closet but I would take a guess that the best time wouldn’t be whilst a girl is naked in front of you.
‘I’m so sorry, I can’t do this…I’m gay. It’s horrible, no one knows’. Is this a joke? Am I on camera? I look around and focus on the security CCTV above the booth, Is there an ITV film crew in the office waiting to run in on me?
His face is so sad, this ain’t no set up, he is really is a fruit and I have to deal with it.
I sit down on his lap. ‘So, nobody knows?’ ‘No, my mates I’m here with don’t have a clue, that’s what I came for the dance, to try and act like I was enjoying it.’
He’s so young, so nervous. ‘Your parents don’t know?’ ”I can’t tell them, they’d kill me. What should I do?’ What, he’s asking me for advice? I can barely read straight men let alone confused sexualised teenagers. ‘Well all I can think is that your parents love you. I mean to be honest they probably already know.’
Well, if you haven’t shown attraction in the opposite sex throughout your teens and constantly have the Glee soundtrack on repeat, it’s obvious your parents will know. They might be old but they’re not dumb.
‘OI reckon they will, they’re probably waiting for you to tell them.’
‘You think?’ Oh god he’s holding on to my every word.
‘What about my mates, they don’t have a clue.’
‘Well if they’re your friends, they’ll understand, it might be hard for them at first but they’ll get over it’. Where is this advice coming from?! I’m literally pulling advice out of my ass. I’m desperately trying to remember the answers to the problem pages from Mizz magazine when I was thirteen. What would Dear Deirdre do in The Sun? Maybe he won’t mind if I get my phone out and google. ‘what to do when a customer comes out to you during a lap dance’.
‘You see I”m going to University soon and I want to go away with a fresh start but I don’t know what to do’.
‘Look, ‘ I turn all wisely and knowledgeable, god maybe I should be an agony aunt, ‘University is different, there are so many different people, being gay is no big deal. it doesn’t even matter’.
‘Really? You promise?’
‘Of course no one even judges you, you could even join the dramatics society, you know take up a part on West Side Story’. He looks puzzled. I thought all gay men enjoyed dramatics.
Promise me you will tell your family first then your friends, then when you go to University you can go away a new person, meet other gay men and come back with a hot boyfriend who you swap vests with. Or at least I presume that’s what they do.
‘Ok, I will tell my family, I will. So, when we go back out to my friends, what shall I say? I mean, what shall I say the dance was like?’
‘I’ll come out with you, say I took my clothes off, grinded on you and that you thought it was really arousing and that I have a nice arse.’ The last comment was unnecessary but a gay boy isn’t going to give me any compliments (apart from that my lipstick compliments my tan) so I’m going to have to make one up.
We head back to his mates, they cheer on his return too. ‘How was it?!’ Did you get a boner?!’
He looks embarrassed, ‘yeah, it was really good’.
I butt in. ‘yeah he enjoyed it. Now who’s next?’
They mope off with other girls and I give Max a caring look.
After an hour or so he comes back up to me, ‘Can I have another dance?’ I don’t know if I can cope with another revelation whilst I’m undressing.
‘If we go into that booth, you know you’re going to have to pay me, I can’t sit there and chat to you for free’. He understands.
He asks my advice on coming out. I have no idea what to say. I’d love to be one of those people ‘all my friends are gay!’ But they’re not. Maybe I should invest in some, my social circle seems so vanilla.
We chat for ten minutes and I attempt to sound well informed. ‘Yes, a lot of families struggle to accept a homosexual relation, for fear of not being able to relate to their partners or not being able to bring up grandchildren but nowadays that’s possible – I mean look at Elton John’. Seriously, what the hell am I saying?! He’s hanging on to every word. Maybe I’m good at this. I might look in to counselling courses. I’m feeling quite confident. I should go round the local gay bars and start spouting advice to people, I appear to be good at it…
The time’s getting on and I ask politely for another £20. I’m getting stares from other dancers when they pass the booth and see me talking rather than dancing. I wish the DJ would play Queen, that would really set the mood for this therapy session.
Max looks worn out, probably all my worldly advice I’ve given him (or so I think).
We go out and sit back with his friends.
‘How long you been in there Max? You dirty dog!’. He seems to have passed the macho test. They’re happy enough with his eagerness as a first time strip club goer and he seems pleased that they’ve believed he’s been ogling me rather than asking when Joe Mcelderry is next due to perform.
They leave and he gives me a knowing smile.
I wonder if he will ever come back in after he’s came. Just another Tuesday night in the club, full of perverts, drunks and closeted gay boys.